For fly anglers, a ride on a floatplane signifies the beginning of something epic about to happen. And, as legendary writer John Gierach notes in his essay about the iconic flyers, “I always have the same rush when I walk down to a floatplane tied up to a dock, riding high on its pontoons and bobbing gently in the chop: This is the plane that will take me into the kind of wilderness where there’s too much water to go anywhere by land and too much land to get very far in a boat.”

Words: John Gierach

Fine, but as much as I love flying in floatplanes, I’ve never had the slightest hankering to operate one; just being a passenger makes me feel plenty intrepid enough. And, frankly, I’m not the kind of meticulous, technical guy who’d be good at it. Once a friendly pilot explained to me what all the controls in a Beaver did using language he wouldn’t have considered particularly technical. Afterwards I nodded and asked, “But which one makes it go up?”

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