Owner operator, Scott McDaniels, had been out of the wheelhouse for a while. Sidelined when, after 20-years of fighting chronic embolisms in his left leg, the skipper decided to have the thing removed.
While fishing the WON charter last March to San Nicolas Island aboard Toronado, the boat’s owner, Joe Philips approached me with an interesting and generous proposal.
“I’d like to use the boat to take a bunch of veterans out fishing, giving them a free day on the water, to be with other military vets, and maybe get some fish,” said Captain Philips of the endeavor.
Beginning in the 1980’s Tim Alpers raised triploid Coleman strain rainbow trout at his Ranch at the headwaters of the Upper Owens River. In the pure spring water, these well-fed trout grew to enormous proportions, full-finned and gorgeous, then were sold to Mono and Inyo Counties and local businesses and stocked throughout Eastern Sierra waters. His trophy trout became so ubiquitous that every big Eastern Sierra rainbow was referred to as an “Alpers”.
Overlanding (self-reliant adventure travel) has become a popular pursuit in recent years. You may have seen stories, watched videos, or witnessed folks crisscrossing the U.S. and foreign countries in outfitted pickups, Toyota 4Runners, Jeeps, or Range Rovers. For those people, the experience of travel is the reward. The same is true for me, I just like to throw fishing into the mix when I’m on an overland journey.