I have seen some heroic flying in the wilds of Alaska. But the single greatest feat of aerial artistry I’ve witnessed happened a few years ago, above a certain steelhead river, courtesy of a pilot who humbly chooses to remain anonymous.

Several guides and anglers (myself included) were experiencing symptoms of hops deprivation one afternoon. We radioed for assistance. And within an hour, we heard the low, distinctive rumble of a DeHavilland Beaver. The relief flight had arrived.

“Captain Suds” made a quick pass over the drop zone.

On the next pass, he hung a package by a rope out the pilot’s door, holding the rope in one hand and the controls in the other. You can see the orange package by the pontoon under the plane, shortly before the pilot let go of the rope and the package splashed into the river. Also note the intense focus of the guide with the landing net.

The package: A case of beer, wrapped in a plastic trash bag, and buoyed by being strapped inside a personal floatation device.

Package landed. Anglers happy.

I am never surprised by the sheer ingenuity of Alaskan pilots and fishing guides. If anyone else has a better fishing/beer run story to share, I want to hear it.