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Cigars, Cutthroats and Cycles

Bob Rivard
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Winter 95/96

(continued from page 1)

With the journey still weeks away, anticipation grew. Practice casting sessions were held, endless trips were taken to San Antonio's Tackle Box Outfitters to talk fishing and buy flies. The Harleys and camp supplies were loaded aboard the chase truck and trailer and sent ahead to Jackson Hole. Fully Clingman, the grocery store executive, simply couldn't wait. Pleading a business trip, he snuck off to Idaho and spent several days with a fishing guide, fine-tuning his presentation, seeking an edge.

Stephens handled the packing of 10 cases of wine. I handled the cigars, carefully packing nearly 200 smokes into our "travel humidor"--the largest Tupperware container I could filch from my kitchen.

We brought plenty of Avos; a pricey smoke, for sure, but favored by many club members for their consistency, quality workmanship and good flavor. We took finely rolled pyramids, No. 3s, No. 5s, and No. 7s, and plenty of Petit Belicosos, which for the money are about the best "morning cigar" available: short, smooth and flavorful.

We also included some excellent Zino Veritas, my favorite big smoke of the trip, and a few other assorted Zinos. Another flavorful, yet mild, small cigar, the Macanudo Vintage No. 3, represented the only Jamaican smoke to make the cut. Best of all, we brought Cuban-made Montecristo No. 1s and No. 2s, Cohiba Robustos, and Hoyo de Monterrey Epicures.

"Those Hoyos were the best of the bunch, hands down," said publisher Larry Walker. Who argues with the boss? Anyway, the guys smoked them all before I could get one.

Cigars in hand, we turned to the next order of business. Fly-fishing friends suggested Bressler Outfitters, a blue-ribbon guide service based at the Orvis shop in Jackson. Dave Miller was the best, they said. He proved to be a friend as well as a guide, working tirelessly to make our trip a memorable one.

One day we fished the spring creeks in Star Valley, Wyoming, on property owned by Lee Perkins, who built Orvis into the world's premier retail fly-fishing outfitter. High grasses and still waters made sight casting a singular challenge. Fish on hook were few, but each was a story.

John Peveto, who owns the brake shop empire, outfought and then released a brook trout that easily topped two pounds. Stephens, fishing with an heirloom bamboo rod, landed a 21-inch cutthroat.

Later that day, it must be reported, I landed a slightly larger cutthroat while fishing with my delicate 7-foot Hardy packrod. It was one of the best trout I've ever landed, and the first time I've gone splashing and galloping down a spring creek in pursuit of a big trout.

The high point was a two-day trip down the South Fork of the Snake River. Everyone caught and released their share of trout, but this was more than just fishing. Save for the occasional passing strangers, we were alone as we moved in drift boats downriver, each boat separated by a mile or so of water and manned by a guide with two men casting.

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