About Sportsman’s Quest

Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons was born in Nevada, but is a citizen of the world. He has led an interesting life as a Wildlife/Marine Biologist, and was a Game Warden in the far north of British Columbia, Canada. He was also a research biologist in Germany and a University Professor. He has hunted and fished throughout the world and led many expeditions himself. 

He also brings to his writings many years as a hunting and fishing guide in British Columbia, Canada as well as successful adventures in the, U.S. and other international hunting and fishing locations (Europe, Africa, Central and South America). Many of you share these experiences or have the desire to explore such adventures both locally and farther afield. 

His syndicated column “Sportsman’s Quest”, magazine articles and books afford us the chance to share our stories and adventures. Above all the goal is for them to be interesting and fun.  

Dan now lives in Southern Nevada and writes primarily for the Las Vegas Review Journal group while continuing his book and magazine writing.

 In his words, “It continues to be an interesting life.” 

You can follow us at www.sportsmansquest.org.,or if you would like to be part of this outdoor quest e-mail Dan at sportsmansquest.dan@gmail.com

 I’d like to hear from you and share your adventures.  This column affords us the chance to do just that, you’ll find stories here each week about my endeavors as well as stories about your neighbors hunting, fishing and outdoor trips.

We’ll talk of new opportunities, experiences and equipment or new ways to use the equipment we have.  Above all this column looks to be interesting and fun.  If you would like to be part of this outdoor quest give me a call or e-mail me at sportsmansquest.dan@gmail.com

He can be followed at www.sportsmansquest.org

Author, biologist, game warden, professor, and world adventurer Dan Simmons. 
by Ron Spomer

Dan Simmons is a people person. He has more friends than Trump and Pelosi have enemies. And he wanted to make another. So he walked right up and introduced himself, wisely adding a bit of flattery about liking my writing. I’ll forgive him his poor literary taste because my career hinges on folks having poor literary appreciation. 

Renaissance Man Went River of Doubt Fishing

Turns out Dan had been a wildlife biologist, wilderness game warden, university professor (I’ll forgive him for that,) chef, and newspaper outdoors columnist. And here things get really interesting. 

When you combine a people person with an outdoor passion, SCI membership, and writing deadlines, you get a world class hunter-fisherman who’s been around the block. Heck, around the mile. Heck, around the globe. Including Brazil’s infamous River of Doubt. Hang on, we’re getting there. 

Within hours of meeting, my new friend Dan gave me his book, Sportsman’s Quest, and I really began to understand what a world-class adventurer he is. Holy cow. I thought I’d been places. Well, Dan’s been there too. Plus all the places I haven’t. Page after page in Sportsman’s Quest reveals Dan and his multitudinous friends with salmon, gar, caribou, sheep, buffalo, marlin, kudu, rhino, cougars, bears, sturgeon, sailfish and peacock bass. 

 “You’ve fished the Amazon too?” I asked. “Pretty exotic for a British Columbia game warden.” “Oh yes. My friend Phil outfits in Brazil and not just peacock bass. We catch piranha, payara, arapaima…” “Whoa, whoa, whoa, back up a second. Are all your friends outfitters?””No; just the best ones.” 

Two Amazon Pioneers, One River of Doubt

Dan was joking, but that didn’t stop him from introducing me to Phil Marsteller. Marsteller, raised by missionary parents in the Amazon, is to jungle fishing in the Amazon what Jeff Bezos is to selling stuff on Amazon. Phil pioneered recreational catch-and-release fishing in the Brazilian Amazon. He launched the Amazon Queen floating fishing lodge in 1992. Later he initiated sport fishing on the Rio Negro. His clients zipped out daily on modern bass boats, targeting those black-striped, yellow-and-green peacock bass and various other Amazon fish I’d never heard of before. And then they returned to comfort and fine dining in the lodge. 

“Brazil is one bucket list adventure my wife and I haven’t done yet,” I admitted to Dan and Phil. “We’ve never been any closer to the tropical jungle than the coast of Belize. And the closest we’ve come to a peacock bass was catching a largemouth while a Missouri farmer’s peacock called in the distance.”  “We can fix that,” Phil said. 

River of Doubt Fishing in Roosevelt’s Shadow

Long story short, in five months we’ll be fishing the jungle waters of Brazil. But not just any waters. We’ll be fishing in the footsteps (or more accurately the wake) of the starving Theodore Roosevelt. 

Oh yes, this complicated story twists its way to some remarkable places, the most remarkable of which is Mr. Roosevelt’s River of Doubt. After Roosevelt lost his third presidential race in 1912, he joined a scientific expedition to explore a then recently discovered tributary of the Amazon. Through a combination of poor planning and brutal jungle conditions, the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition suffered mightily from hunger, malaria, rapids, insects, jaguars, pythons, piranhas, and disease. Roosevelt became so weak and sick from infection that he seriously contemplated suicide before the team made it out, two men short — one murdered, one run away to die in the jungle. 

No Starvation This Time, No Doubt

Fortunately, Phil assures us, we won’t replicate the Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition’s suffering. Phil has built a new lodge on the lower section of what’s now called the Roosevelt River near the location where its namesake almost shot himself. It is flanked on two sides by national parks and guarded upstream and down by rapids and falls. Instead of chopping heavy, clumsy canoes from jungle trees, we’ll ride in modern bass boats. Instead of dangling hand lines in pools, we’ll cast with beefy Bass Pro Shops’ Johnny Morris spinning rods and reels toward overhanging jungle foliage beneath which lurk ravenous, aerobatic peacock bass, fang-toothed payara, and all the other piscatorial denizens of the Amazon basin, most of which have never seen a hook in this stretch of river. 

Giant Arapaima and Parrots, Too

Our bonus round will be a short flight to a new reservoir where the long, tarpon-like arapaima grow to 200 pounds! Along the way we’ll see, hear, and discover Amazonian birds and beasts from blue and scarlet parrots to emerald and crimson hummingbirds. There’s a good chance for a jaguar sighting, too. Phil showed us phone videos of a pair of the big cats walking down a jungle trail. 

The author has caught more fish through holes in the ice than gaps in jungle foliage. He thinks that will soon change

Ron Spomer

Sporting Classics, Columnist, author

Ron Spomer Outdoors