By Kirk Deeter
I will say this on writing about fly fishing for a living: It won't make you rich in the material sense, but it definitely affords a wealth of adventure. And I'd never trade the latter for the former.
I've now lost count of the number of times I've found myself in a surreal setting: Sitting at a table and drinking Coca-Cola in a sweltering conference room with a Bolivian army colonel; Grilling fish over a fire on a desolate beach in the Baja with a retired member of the "Hollywood by the Sea" gang; Casting in downtown Ballina, Ireland, as the nearby church bells chimed; Climbing out of a bush plane to stare at a Kodiak bear fishing the other side of the river; Riding a dugout canoe at night amidst an array of glowing red caiman eyes after an evening of chasing giant arapaima in the jungle in Guyana—the list goes on, and on...
So here I am in Helsinki, Finland (pictured here, several hours ago on my walk to dinner). It's 3 a.m. Last I heard, my luggage was still in Amsterdam. I will meet my friend Chris Santella in a couple hours, and we'll join a group to take a charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. From there, we'll board a Soviet era Mi-8 helicopter to fly two more hours down the Kola Peninsula to reach the preeminent Atlantic Salmon fishing camp in the world: Ryabaga, on the banks of the Ponoi River.