Unfortunately, I have only known Ben since the spring of 2019 when I came back to Alaska West as Operations Manager. It had been 7 years since I left Alaska West and for the most part, the crew was entirely new to me, but something about the attitude of this staff made it seem as though nothing had changed. They are all honest, caring and hard-working people that love to live the vagabond life of a fishing lodge employee. Leading that attitude at camp is Ben West, our Head Guide / Host / River Chef. He is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and is always fun to hang out with on the river or next to a fire.
We (DO – Deneki Outdoors) asked Ben (BW- Ben West) a few questions to help you get to know him a bit better, his replies are below.
DO: Experience: How long have you been guiding or working with Deneki Outdoors and Alaska West?
BW: I have spent my last six summers Guiding at Alaska West. This place has changed my life in many ways and allowed me to grow as an angler and guide! I have made some of my best friends while working for Alaska West and I have been able to connect and fish with some of the best people in the business and from across the world. This place draws in fishy people like a magnet!
DO: Do you have a nickname? How did you obtain it?
BW: They call me Big Country, or BC for short Hahaha. It’s because I’m six foot four, look like a lumberjack, and I grew up in the country. I was born to hunt and fish! A friend of mine deemed me that name in college when I was racing mountain bikes, and it stuck with me up to Alaska.
DO: What do you do when you’re not working for us in Alaska?
BW: I have done a mix of work throughout the years and in between guiding gigs. I spent a couple of years guiding wild turkey and whitetail deer hunts out in Nebraska. I have also worked on several farms, built houses, and installed residential and commercial solar arrays. I also consider myself an Artist, making portraits of beautiful fish that I have caught in oil paint and watercolors. I like to work hard and then fish hard too. I have spent the last three “winters” fishing and exploring the South Island of New Zealand. I love sight fishing for those big trout.
DO: What is something interesting about you most people don’t know?
BW: Well along with my passion for fishing and hunting comes a skill of cooking wild game and fish. If you have fished with us at Alaska West you might know I like cooking our guests shore lunches upon request. Having a hot lunch of fresh salmon on the bank of the river is a meal you won’t soon forget. At home I love cooking Venison, wild turkey, and of course our Alaskan salmon!
DO: Anything else you would like people to know about you?
BW: Favorite movies…comedies, anything with Will Ferrell! Step Brothers, Old School, Wedding Crashers, Talladega Nights! Hahaha! I’m also very much looking forward to seeing you all again in 2021 for some more shore lunches on the banks of the Kanektok…