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The Alaska Chronicles: An Unwashed View of Life, Work, and Fly Fishing Hardcover – April 1, 2009
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Bald with honesty, frequently on the edge, technically accomplished, and willing to take risk--we need more writers like Miles Nolte. --The Fly Fish Journal
Forget about lilting odes to delicate fish. The Alaska Chronicles is a hard-edged look at the outfitting business, stripped of all the hype and glamour. Direct, forceful, and engrossing, it offers a glimpse into a fly fishing life few have seen, and even fewer would endure. --The Trout Underground
Just when the idea of the alternative occupation seems to have lost its center, along comes Miles Nolte who risks dignity and normalcy to give us a guileless narrative of life as an Alaskan fishing guide. Nolte's equitable but unsparing take on guides, clients, and his own foibles is as engaging as any book of its kind. --MidCurrent.com
About the Author
Miles Nolte was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Kailua. After high school he attended Pitzer College in Claremont, California where he earned a Batchelor's Degree in English and World Literature.
After college Miles moved to Botswana where he spent two years teaching writing and occasionally casting streamers at tigerfish. In 2002, Miles returned to Hawaii where he lived with his parents, surfed, and worked days as a carpenter's apprentice, and nights as a cocktail server at the local country club. In 2003, he used his savings to buy a plane ticket to Bozeman, Montana. For the next three years Miles fished 150 days a year, taught snowboarding, waited tables, and worked as an advisor and teacher's assistant in the English department at Montana State University. It was during this time that he cultivated a long-distance fascination with Alaska's famed Bristol Bay watershed.
In 2006, Miles realized that the only way he'd ever get to fish Alaska was to work there. At that point he applied for the guiding job that eventually spanned two and a half summers and led to the writing of this book.
Currently, Miles is back in Bozeman fulltime with plans to eventually attend graduate school. Until then, he'll continue to teach snowboarding, work in the same restaurant that keeps him employed between seasons, and guide fly fishermen everywhere he can.
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Top Customer Reviews
Secondly, too often books by fishing guides are written under the guise of the wise, old sage, imparting wisdom to the rest of us. Nolte tells it like it is, or at least, how he sees it. He's impatient, frankly critical of his fishing camp's management and downright disparaging about some, or at least one, of his fellow guides. He sees his paying anglers as ordinary people, full of expectations, only some of which can be realized. Fishing is not always easy and not always good. He's generous with his help to those anglers who are trying hard to do what's needed, and contemptuous of the lazy and those unwilling to learn.
I'm headed to an Alaska fishing lodge this fall. Nolte's book will be very helpful in making my expectations more realistic. And it will certainly encourage me to be as nice as possible to my fishing guide. The Alaska Chronicles is highly recommended, especially for fishermen, even more for fly-fishermen, and most of all to fly-fisherman headed to our 49th state on a fly-fishing expedition.
Mr. Nolte, you owe us another book, quick!
Good News - It is absolutely fantastic. True grit narrative of being a guide in AK. Miles Nolte does an awesome job of taking you there (even if you've never been). Funny, painful and genuine.
Bad News - I stayed up too late reading it and am now exhausted. There are not (yet) any other Miles books for me to pick up once I finish this. I am now twitching like a crackhead to get on the water.
Of course I knew going into it that would at least really like this book because of the subject matter and adventure of the entire thing.
What is so freakin' great about this book is that it is so real, so funny and so very human. While it is completely entrenched in the blood, sweat, tears (and other bodily fluids that will remain unnamed here) of the fishing guide life, it also completely transcends to anyone who has to deal with clients. The chapter on the "Pinner" was especially poignant. But, the best surprise has been the first-time author's genuine writing talent. Not only does he paint a very realistic picture, but it is also strewn with the thoughts, emotions, ups and downs that we all go through. That is what makes this such a killer read... even for those of you out there that don't even fish.
My wife is officially sick of me keeping the bedside lamp on til the wee hours. She is glad Mr. Nolte doesn't yet have other books. I, however, am not.
I might just start drinking my canned beer at "tent temp", too.
For all of us who have hired guides (great ones and shitty ones) and wondered just a little what they were thinking, this is a wonderful, honest, empathetic read that reinforces what you knew all along.
The great ones love the river, nature in all of its raw force, coaching and teaching willing students, and excelling at their craft. They are moderately curious about the income gap between you and them, as are you, but they are gods on their turf, and you are not. And they know it. And you know they know it. And they know that you know that they know it.
They despise crappy, lazy, arrogant, blowhard, clueless fishermen as much as you do. They especially despise them if they should happen to be a fellow guide.
Miles has done his compadres a great service by humanizing the stilted guest/host nature of most guided fishing experiences. The best floats are where you feel like you are fishing with your funny smart nephew who is a great mending coach, and you willingly take his advice. Maybe this book will help more guides and fishermen achieve an experience more like this. And maybe more of the lazy motormouth guides and pompous for-no-good-reason (FNGR) guests will recognize themselves and seek a new vocation or pastime.
Miles: More please.