Upfront Notes

Upfront Notes

  • By: Greg Thomas
Greg Thomas

I was wandering Market Square, in Helsinki, Finland, checking out a variety of smoked and cured reindeer meats along with an array of seafood, ranging from mini-octopus all the way to Arctic char and deep-sea cod. And then I ran into the cheese gal—one of Helsinki’s ubiquitous blond, blue-eyed vixens.

I tried a piece of gouda and bought a can of snow grouse pâté, hoping to land in good favor. But things weren’t going my way.

After brief conversation she said, incredulously, “You just travelled halfway around the world to catch an Atlantic salmon?”

She had a point. Just to reach the fishing grounds, I’d flown from Bozeman, Montana to Minneapolis, Minnesota, then on to Amsterdam and, eventually, to Helsinki. A couple nights in that beautiful city and I was in the air again, this time to Murmansk, Russia. Then it was a two-hour ride in a rickety helicopter to a remote camp on the Ponoi River.

Until I outlined those details, and explained a similar itinerary home, only this time with a multi-day layover in Amsterdam (…to see the Van Gogh Museum, really… no, really…) I didn’t consider how outlandish my travels might sound to the lay-angler.

We anglers get it—fishing and adventure go hand-in-hand, whether the action is found down the street on a golf course’s private bass pond, or halfway across the world in the form of Atlantic salmon. If we can be categorized as anything, it’s big dreamers.

We spend winters at sporting shows gathering material about fly-fishing’s top destinations. We subscribe to magazines displaying glossy images of anglers hoisting giant fish and we picture ourselves in their boots. We spend months tying perfect flies and organizing essential equipment. We do all of this for a week-long trip that could be the best days of our lives or a fishless fiasco dominated by damnable weather, grounded planes and temperamental guides... or all three.

As one of my fish-head friends put it, “If you aren’t willing to roll the dice, you won’t fish far from a stocked trout pond.”

What comes from a willingness to roll those dice is character and intelligence, a unique lens through which to view the world, and an excuse to visit people and places that, otherwise, might hold little interest. And, of course, there’s an opportunity to catch fish, lots of them, in all variety and size.

So, rest easy, we “get it.” Now kick back and have some fun perusing the pages of Angling Adventures. Then pick up the phone or get online and secure your trip of a lifetime now. Why now? Socrates put it best when he said, “Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.”

—Greg Thomas