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Combat fishing.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Troy Stinson navigates through downtown Anchorage in a sportsman's traffic jam with 100 other hard-core anglers on Alaska's Ship Creek.

Suddenly there's a hum 60 feet overhead. It's Michelins instead of mosquitoes on the commute in Anchorage, and Stinson wants no part of it. This security forces staff sergeant from Elmendrof Air Force Base finds fraternity with Anchorage's brokers, truckers and teachers. They share their prized waterway with South African tourists, angling for king salmon in a wild sport known as "combat fishing."

"It's something else," Stinson said. "We have rivers that run through my town in Indiana. But we'll never see fishing there, like in this creek. It's the cream of the crop."

Such praise did not woo the "kings," as they merely trickled in.

The crowd size this day was mild. Slinson only crosses lures with another angler once -- in mid-air, at mid-stream. That's what close-quarters fishing is all about. Sometimes, the gauntlet runs shoulder-to-shoulder when the kings are running.

Stinson and his afternoon partner, Elmendorf intelligence airman Tech. Sgt. Ken Shannon, indulge in some of the world's plusher fishing spots, but Ship Creek holds special allure. Some of its kings are tagged as prizes worth up to $10,000 in Alaska's King Derby competition.

Anchorage's main street and the Alaska Railroad both cross the river here. Three pipes under the rail trestle are "holes in the dike," and on good days salmon squirt out of those portals like gold from a blessed prospector's pan. Everybody knows it, so they wait like hungry bears for the tasty kings.

So, where's a primo place to fish Ship Creek? Can you hook up a fellow airman? Shannon casts his voice in friendly response above the noisy, slithery-fast current of the creek. "If you are with me to see where I catch my fish, well hey, good on you!"
COPYRIGHT 2001 U.S. Air Force, Air Force News Agency
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Anchorage, Alaska
Author:B. Dendy IV, Tech. Sgt. John
Publication:Airman
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Words:310
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