WEB BONUS: More on Yvon Chouinard

WEB BONUS: More on Yvon Chouinard

Travel and conservation thoughts...

  • By: Paul Bruun
Surf Casting

Recently returned from the Gaula in Norway, Yvon Chouinard bucked the trend of using the giant tube flies and enjoyed great Atlantic salmon success with small Eastern Canadian patterns. “We landed some fine 20-pounders and turned them all loose,” he reported, despite the tendency in many countries to keep large Atlantic salmon.

“In Iceland I kept one salmon that was a bleeder and froze it hard as a rock to carry home in my suitcase. Then my gear was lost for three days in Salt Lake City in over 100 degree temperatures,” he remembers. “Phew! I had to bury it and the suitcase out by the road!

“I’m a firm believer in catch-and-release,” he emphasizes, recalling another incident in which he was releasing brown trout on a stream in Bhutan. “The local women were doing laundry nearby and they got really mad watching me. In their country the butchers and blacksmiths are ‘untouchables’ and historically are allowed to kill and work with carcasses. It’s okay for the people to receive trout but not to kill them. Letting brown trout go infuriated them. So I moved to a safer location!”

This is a guy who was never meant to sit in an office, attend business luncheons, check a BlackBerry or slap his name on the dealer list for the latest turbo Porsche Even after Great Pacific Iron Works and later Patagonia with its extensive research-and-development emphasis, dealer network, catalog sales, company-owned domestic and international stores and the growing demands of distributing.

Products range from SST Jackets, superior synthetic insulation, user-friendly and lightweight boots, wader and suspender systems, waterproof tackle packs, to comfortable, no frills tropical fishing clothing and luggage suitable for surviving baggage handlers. Camel-packers and third-world assaults evolve from hucking a fly rod on trips to surf, climb, kayak, ski and dive from British Columbia, Norway, South America, the Bahamas, Tahiti, Indonesia, Alaska, Africa, Antarctica, Russia, Iceland, Belize, New Guinea and such obscure, bonefish jammed Pacific atolls as Christmas, Fanning and Palmyra. How’s that for research?

Paul Bruun is a writer based in Jackson, Wyoming.