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By ANDREW SHEELER
Daily News Staff Writer
When Mitt Romney came to Southeast Alaska this week, it wasn’t voters he was searching for — It was trout.
The 2012 Republican nominee didn’t catch any, but his fishing guide and Haida Chief Tom Skultka said he still had a pretty good time.
"He loved it. He loves Southeast," Skultka said in an interview Friday.
Skultka, who works with Julie Mattson as a fishing guide for Family Air, said his business learned Romney was in the region from an employee of Doyon’s Landing, a private Ketchikan mooring facility. At 8 a.m. Thursday, Skultka picked up Romney, four friends and a bodyguard from a yacht anchored outside Petersburg. They then flew in an Otter De Havilland aircraft piloted by Kevin Hufford to the LeConte Glacier, which they circled from above. Romney frequently commented on the beautiful scenery, Skultka said.
After that, it was off to Secret Lake on Prince of Wales Island, where they fished for trout.
Romney didn’t catch any, Skultka said, "but he’s an excellent caster."
He said the weather was sunny at first, but that the rainstorm in Ketchikan "caught up with us." By the end of the day, "we were drenched."
Though Romney no longer is escorted by Secret Service agents, he still travels with a bodyguard. Skultka, who carries a .44-magnum when traveling with clients, said the bodyguard, a Scottish man, noticed Skultka was armed and the two began collaborating toward "keeping our celebrity client safe," he said.
Throughout the six-hour excursion, Romney "was pretty talkative," Skultka said, but the talk was about fish, not politics. Skultka described the former governor of Massachusetts as "a great guy. He was really friendly." At one point, Skultka said he jokingly told Romney all politicians have to sit at the back of the plane.
Romney smiled politely at the joke.