Graduate School

I suppose my son, Blake, was about 10-years-old when it became obvious that he was choosing fishing and hunting over skateboarding and Xbox. When he reached middle school I decided to dangle the carrot that would hopefully keep him on point. I promised him that if he made good grades, kept his nose clean, and got into a decent college, that I’d take him on a bigtime cool trip for his high school graduation present. We started saving our pennies and over the years we kicked around a lot of destinations. Last winter we finally decided on Alaska, and from there we narrowed it down to Royal Coachman Lodge.  We just got back, and the trip couldn’t have gone any better.

With a fairly narrow window, we decided to go for max species variety. Blake has fly-fished quite a bit in saltwater, but he’s never cast to any of the cold-water species. Our mid-July week promised lots of action and lots of new techniques, and Blake really took to it. We caught a ton of fish, we dined like sovereigns, the guides and crew were fantastic, and the scenery was unmatched. More importantly we got to reconnect before he takes off for college. His senior year has been a chaotic blur. We often went days with nothing more than snippets of conversation. I had a couple (okay several) small speeches planned for this trip about life and college and such, but I soon realized that none of that needed to be said. More than anything, it was great to have a full week with Blake without distractions beyond an occasional bear, and scads of salmon, grayling, pike, trout, and char that were bent on eating every fly in our box.

Thanks, Blake, for studying hard and toeing the line. It was a great trip and I’m bigtime proud of your accomplishments.

Oh, by the way, I took a small mountain of camera gear along and fired a few frames. Here are the highlights, and you can click here to see the entire shoot.

Alaskan taxi cab

(L) Better than Starbucks    (R)  Nuyakuk River

An ambitious grayling

Guide bling

Blake’s honker pike

(L) Evening entertainment    (R) Chrome rocket

Dolly or char?

And he gets PAID to do this!

Lake-run rainbow

Tuna on whole-wheat, to go

Does your dog bite?

Lots of moving parts

Go forth and be fruitful



11 Responses to “Graduate School”

  1. Ed. says:

    SPECTACULAR! What a great story, and it’s so great that you are able to document such a special occasion with absolutely stunning photographs. Just spectacular.

  2. BobWhite says:

    Just like being there… well, maybe better. There aren’t any mosquitoes!

  3. Phil says:

    Totally enjoyed living vicariously thru the photo journal of a recent graduate’s trip to Alaska. Both of you are fortunate to have this opportunity. The true value of these photos may not be realized for a while. But, when it is, it will be priceless. Thanks to both of you for sharing.

  4. Tosh…unreal good set of photos.

  5. i have been up there for twenty years and I do not have one photo as good those. Pretty amazing what you can do in a week. It was great having the two of you up to the lodge.

    • Tosh says:

      Thanks, Pat – hats off to you and your crew for a fantastic week. And, if for some reason you ever decide to leave the outfitting business, you’ve got serious potential as a hand model!

  6. Pete McD says:

    Awesome pike! Sorry, they’re all pretty awesome. I’m just an Esox guy at heart.

  7. John Chinuntdet says:

    Tosh, first I have to chase your tarpon leftovers with Albert and Lathrop and now I hear you were fishing the Coachman with Tony, Brad, Scott, and the crew at the Coachman as well as meeting my law partner, Kimberly, and her lesser half, Ben? What is the world coming to? BTW, great story about your son and you. My 15 yr old son, Jason, and I just returned yesterday from safari in South Africa. I am so proud of him. Jason took a big kudu and a really nice impala. Keep in touch.

    • It is indeed a small world, John. We had a blast at RCL and we really enjoyed meeting Ben and Kim. Give them my best when you see them again. The South Africa trip sounds cool; your son will remember that one forever. Take care, TB

  8. Crawdaddy says:

    You’re kid wears the right gear.
    You’ve done a fine parenting job.

  9. slumpbuster says:

    Awesome as always. Thanks, you make my day with stuff like that.

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