Marty’s enthusiasm for fishing started in Alaska. During the summers, his father would take the family fishing and camping. He and his friends would ride bikes to local rivers and lakes to catch salmon and trout as a kid. After graduating high school, he landed in Upstate New York, living along the Upper Delaware River, one of the most technical fisheries in the USA. While there, Marty learned all about dry fly fishing for giant Brown Trout, raising his enthusiasm to the next level as a fly fishing guide, where he works when he is not on the Kanektok River at Alaska West Lodge.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder for many of us and becomes true for Marty. After being away from Alaska for half his life, Marty’s beacon started to chirp, then turned into a clear calling. Having fly fished in many other places, Marty’s urge to go back to Alaska to fish for Trout and Salmon grew stronger. Long story short, Marty found the best possible way to come back to Alaska, being a guide on the fabulous Kanektok River at Alaska West Lodge. As the sagacious rhythms of Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, and Sage The Gemini, say…” Don’t get much better than this.”
When you come to Alaska West Lodge, and you are being guided by Marty “The Party,” you know you’ll have a great time, droppin’ rhymes, casting for Rainbows, striking Silver and all the other fish that call the Kanektok River home. Let’s get to know Marty.
Deneki Outdoors: DO, Martin Yi: MY
DO: How long have you been working in the fishing industry?
MY: I’ve been guiding for the past seven years, mainly on the Upper Delaware River fishing for Big Brown Trout.
DO: What’s your favorite food?
MY: I like Korean food. I could eat it all day.
DO: Do you have a nickname, and how did you acquire it?
MY: Marty the Party, PartyMarty, or just Party – I acquired this name because it rhymes….and my personality. Clients often enjoy my upbeat and easy-going personality.
DO: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
MY: I was a Combat Medic in the Army.
DO: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
MY: I wanted to be a bush pilot. I spent my teenage years working at a floatplane charter/ outfitter, which is how I got into using a fly rod.
DO: If you weren’t a guide, what would you be doing?
MY: Most likely something similar working outside. Ski patroller maybe, which I have done in the past.
DO: If it’s one skill you wish you could learn, what would it be?
MY: Tie a hackle game changer in 15 minutes.
DO: What made you want to be a guide?
MY: It’s a good bridge between being a bum and having some sense of normalcy in my life.
DO: What personality trait makes a great guide?
MY: Optimism, Smart, Non-hostile, and good at shootin’ the sh’t.
DO: What do you like best about Alaska West Lodge?
MY: Besides the river itself, definitely the people that work there. There is a group of core people that really run the lodge, and they are amazing at what they do. They have taught me a lot.
DO: What do you think are the biggest challenges the fishing industry will face in the next five years?
MY: The “Too crowded vs. We want the sport to grow” battle. We have all taken people we loved/friends fly fishing. We encourage our family, neighbor, buddies, etc., to come fishing with us, but then we complain when we show up at our spot and the parking lot is full. As guides, we ride the middle line. We try and stay on the fringes of both. The sport is growing, but the water is not.
DO: What makes a successful day of fishing?
MY: Managing expectations. Whether I am guiding or fishing, I always maintain the expectations of what is realistic. Also, catching fish.
DO: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a fishing guide?
MY: Don’t expect an easy go, especially in the first year or so. Be smart about everything, whether it’s safety, finances, business, finding fish, competition. Buy some nice gore-tex.
DO: If you had a warning label, what would it say?
MY: Not Reel Action (it’s a story. Ask Marty about it when you see him).
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