Staff Writer

Few things in life give Joe Linscott more pleasure than casting a fly across pristine waters and waiting for a bite.

“It’s just kind of more of an art,” Linscott said of fly fishing. “It’s more precise, it’s more delicate. When you hook a fish you can damn near feel every one of its fins shaking. You’re more connected to the fish.”

A former standout baseball and basketball player at Cony High School in Augusta, Linscott grew up hunting and fishing under the tutelage of his father, Joe.

“He put a fly rod in my hands in the late ’60s,” said Linscott, who recently turned 50.

It seemed natural when Linscott took a job at L.L. Bean not too long after college and eventually became a fly-fishing instructor for the company. That brought his job and his passion closer together, but that relationship became a marriage when Linscott took a position with Frontiers Travel, a company 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, Pa., that caters to those seeking specialized hunting and fishing experiences around the world.

Frontiers, which has been in operation since 1969, calls Bean regularly for fishing and hunting gear. When an opening surfaced at the company in 2005, Linscott jumped at it.

“They thought I would be a good fit for the Bahamas,” Linscott said.

As Bahamas program manager, Linscott travels to those islands two or three times a year, generally angling for bonefish along with his clients. Even before he got his current job, Linscott was well traveled, accompanying his dad and family on duck hunting and fishing trips to Montana, Alaska and Canada. He makes a point to of returning each spring to Maine to fish northern lakes with his buddies.

Since coming to Frontiers, though, Linscott’s travels have cast a much wider net. In the past couple of months he’s gone on junkets to Christmas Island in the South Pacific and the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula in north western Russia, a spot that features some of the world’s best salmon fishing.

“Seven clients accompanied us.” Linscott said of the Christmas Island trip.

Also along for the trip were noted outdoor photographers Barry and Cathy Beck.

“It’s good to have Frontiers staff in the picture,” Linscott said. “So much of this industry is relationship building.”

Christmas Island, or Kiritimati as it’s also known, is three hours by jet out of Honolulu and 140 miles north of the equator. Linscott and his guests stayed at the Capt. Cook Hotel, named for explorer James Cook, who discovered the island. The island is known for its world class bonefishing.

“You fish an enormous lagoon system,” Linscott said. “It’s easy to walk on. It’s easy to spot the fish, too. You have to see the fish in order the catch the fish.”

Linscott went to Russia for a week near the end of June. Many of the eight to 10 clients flew out of the company’s London office to fish flies for Atlantic salmon, catch and release only.

“It’s probably one of the best rivers in the world as far as catching numbers of Atlantic salmon,” Linscott said. “It’s really remote.”

Linscott flew from Pittsburgh to Paris then to Helsinki and on to Murmansk, Russia. From there it’s a two-hour helicopter rider to the river.

“It’s probably as remote as I’ve ever been in my life,” Linscott said.

Each angler has an elaborate tent, complete with wooden floors. woodstoves and running water. At $11,000 per person, Linscott said, it’s one of the pricier trips his company offers.

Linscott also goes on wing-shooting trips in the states but said he doesn’t hunt as much as he used to. Fly fishing remains his passion.

“It’s just enjoyable casting a fly,” he said. “As much as anything it’s brought me to places I’ve never seen before.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]