Back from Russia at Last


After 4.5 months of guiding on the Ponoi, I’m finally back stateside. Now that I’ve had a couple weeks to readjust and reflect on the experience, I’ve come to realize that my most salient memories aren’t the awesome salmon fishing or wild scenery that I had the privilege to witness, but rather the many friendships I forged during the process. Going through the thousands of pictures I acquired, I notice a conspicuous lack of actual fishing photos given several months of daily fishing. Instead, the parties, poker games, and general camaraderie were deemed more important. Eventually, one comes to realize that the objective of catching fish is really beside the point, and at its core is simply an excuse to share our passion with like-minded individuals. Our camp consisted of guides from all over the world – Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, the US, and of course Russia – and I’m thankful to be able to count them all as friends in my expanding sphere of fellow fishing fanatics. The Russians especially earned my utmost respect. Probably due to years of Hollywood movies that depict them as ruthless, cold-hearted commies, I wasn’t expecting them to be especially friendly, especially towards Americans. To my surprise, they proved to be some of the most fun-loving, honest and hard-working people I’ve ever met. They’re tough as nails, loyal as shit, and never complain. Most Americans are bunch of lazy, limp-wristed choir boys by comparison. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m just looking forward to getting back over there.