Deeter: Converting Bears to Fly Fishing

Once again Fly Talk has proven that, if you put a fly rod in a dedicated fisher's hands, he/she cannot help but latch on to the sport. We've done it with commercial fishemrmen... spin fishers... even worm dunkers. But on this last trip to Alaska, we've kicked that up a notch by working with some of the most stubborn, set-in-their-ways fishers on Kodiak Island: The bears.

Buddy Bear, for example, was a gifted caster, who immediately took a shine to the long rod.

"Let's be honest... we get tired of sticking our heads in the cold water. I recognized fly fishing as an entirely more sophisticated and enjoyable way to go about catching salmon and trout," said Buddy, who prefers swinging flies with a floating line off a 7-weight switch rod. "I'm thinking about heading down to the Keys to chase tarpon next spring if I can wake up in time."

Lacking thumbs made cranking the traditional fly reel a challenge. But the only truly "dicey" part of fly fishing with Kodiak bears was addressing the rather sensitive issue of catch-and-release.

Deeter