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Bill Ryan column

St. Helena angler, Tor Kenward with a fly caught Giant Trevally in the Seychelles.

Susan and Tor Kenward flew 24,000 Miles… to give us local folks this major VFA (vicarious fishing adventure). Yep, 24 hours in a plane to the Seychelles is a new, local VFA distance record.

The story here is big fish caught on flies. Susan and Tor caught a bunch of wily bonefish. Tor went on to catch giant Trevally and a huge billfish. Because it was catch and release, his guide estimated that the fish was 8.5 feet long and weighed 100 kg (about 220 pounds). Tor said that the Seychelles was one of very few places in the world where you can target “bones and beaks”—bonefish and billfish—in the same water. They caught and released over 50 big wild fish on flies. That was a thrill, I’m sure.

BTW – the Seychelles is an archipelago country of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It has a population of just over 94,000 spread over hundreds of miles of ocean. They claimed independence from the United Kingdom in 1976.

The International Year Of The Salmon… to be celebrated right here in St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema on March 23. Don’t miss it. A marvelous coalition of special people have combined to bring this important event to St. Helena. Locally—Cinema proprietor, Cathy Buck, Congressman Mike Thompson, Napa angler Joseph Filippini. Add in Heather Hardcastle and her team from Salmon Beyond Borders and we’re good to go.

  • Program starts on March 23 at 2 PM at the Cameo.
  • Special presentation by award-winning photographer and author of “salmon in the Trees,” Amy Gulick
  • Screening of “Chasing Wild”—a journey to the pristine salmon rivers of Alaska and British Columbia.
  • Words from Mike Thompson and conservation leaders about threats to Alaska’s salmon fisheries.
  • Wild Alaska Salmon Tasting at the Odd Fellows Lodge featuring local wines and beers.
  • All of this for just $45 per ticket. All proceeds benefit Alaska salmon conservation work.
  • Order your tickets now at wild

Over One Million Sockeye Salmon… swam up Alaska’s Kenai River in just 62 days. That is 16,721 every day during the last July/August late run. We’re going to need them—and more—as our population continues to grow. Researchers and futurists have long said that we will need to take more food from the sea—and little pens of farmed fish won’t cut it. All of us need to sign on now to help keep our ocean systems clean and massively productive or our Great Grandchildren will suffer the dreadful consequences. The Alaskan salmon model is close by and vital. We can help it evolve to be even more productive. Meet me at the Cameo on March 23 to learn more.

Napa County Open Space District… is one of my favorite organizations dedicated to making our outdoors a better place. Love their slogan: “Go Outside And Play!” Even better, their Newsletter invites you to play with them. Look at these upcoming events and you’ll join me as a supporter: Third Saturday hikes include a geology hike at RLS State Park on Feb. 16 at 10. A Flower Hike on Oat Hill Mine Trail at 10 on March 16. Under “Our Spring Trail Challenge” is: A March Tahoe Experience package with overnights in tent cabins and yurts. And, much, much more—check it all out at

Local Support—For Local Students… Ron and Gary Menegon and the whole team at Steve’s Hardware were first to step up as supporting merchants for the new St Helena High School Fishing Club. Thanks, Ron and Gary, for your interest and involvement. It is this kind of community outreach that has propelled your business for 140 years—and still on the go.

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