“It’s just fishing.” Nothing is more insulting to an Alaskan fly-out fishing guide than this Napoleonic statement. Commonly said by ne’er-do-well non-anglers who regard fly fishing as something more of a hobbyist activity rather than a trade skill used for gainful employment. My typical response to such statements is to politely issue a challenge to simply keep up with me for one day. That’s it. Just keep up. This usually evokes the question of “exactly what do you do?” Once we get to that point, progressive conversation can be made.
Ok so as much as I would love to fancy myself as a gold medal triathlete, I’m not. Not even close. I have friends who are. I can’t keep up with them. I’m old with old injuries but in my mind, I’m still 25. I can still tundra walk most people into a gasping coma but I have to work at it in the off-season. It doesn’t come naturally anymore. I’m in great shape for my age but, I have to constantly work at it to maintain it.
I don’t really do anything out of the ordinary to stay in shape. It’s a pretty simple lifestyle.
- Low carb, high protein, lots of green vegetables
- Push-ups (as many as I can do)
- Sit-ups (as many as I can do)
- I walk miles (uphill) with 50 pounds in my backpack.
I would love to tell you about how I vigilantly count calories and monitor my alcohol intake but I don’t. That’s too much trouble. I just do common exercise and I do it daily. Once you are in the habit, it becomes easy to do.
Now, you may not need to walk miles uphill with 50 pounds in your backpack just to go fishing. However, we will ask you to do things that you don’t normally do. Such as, getting in and out of a floatplane or walking over loose, slick rocks. For people that don’t do it every day, it’s an exhausting labor of love.
Fly fishing requires core strength. Lots of it. Every guest that contacts me in regards to trip prep, I tell them to start walking. Just put on some comfy sneakers and start walking every day. Walk a mile, then two miles, then three, then just walk as far as you can. Then put on your backpack that you will take fishing with ten pounds in it. Upgrade the weight to as much as you feel comfortable with and KEEP WALKING. Then review your backpack choices but, that’s another subject all together.
One might argue that this form of exercise is good for anyone. The doc might even say it’s the very best medicine for losing a few pounds or lowering your cholesterol. The doc is more than likely right but, isn’t it a better feeling to know you are exercising so you can go fishing? After all, without fishing who cares about life at all?
Thanks for reading,
Chad Bryson, Head Guide Rapids Camp Lodge