The Keeper

How to avoid a Saturday morning hang-over: stay in a town where there is only one restaurant and it closes at 9:00 p.m.  We were actually kicked out at 9:15 p.m. while trying to get in one last game of pool as three horses ate grass outside the restaurant window. Just in case that does not paint a clear enough picture of what life in Montana can be like sometimes:

 Friday night we drove to Dave Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler and stayed at one of Dave’s cabins on the river.  We ate a nice dinner at the Riverbend Restaurant (the only restaurant within ten miles of the nearest town, Libby) and went back to enjoy the porch of our Otter Cabin.

 Saturday morning we woke up early, drove the 10 miles in to town, and ate breakfast at the Libby Cafe.  We went to the Libby Cafe a couple of months ago on another weekend trip so I knew exactly what I wanted to eat since our first visit I suffered serious food envy of the Southerner’s meal.  The Southerner does not eat a lot.  He generally takes a few bites of whatever he orders, contemplates the universe for like 20 minutes, and then takes another few bites and he’s done.  He’s a great person to eat with if you want to learn how to not overeat.  Sooooo, when I asked him if he wanted to split the chicken-fried steak with me for breakfast Saturday morning, I was shocked when he said “I don’t know… Do you think it’s big enough?” Either the universe has spun off its axis or the steak is THAT good.

Um, yes. I think it's big enough.

After breakfast we met Dave at a put-in to the Kootenai where I desperately tried to go Numero Dos in a porta-potty by the river.  I have learned many lessons while fishing this summer, the most important of which is empty thyself before spending 7 hours straight on a boat where the nearest bathroom typically consists of a bush and a wad of toilet paper.  A special thanks to the chicken-fried steak for making this a non-issue on Saturday.

Dave was a great guide and the fishing was fun despite the cold and slightly rainy weather conditions.  I love watching the guides’ demeanor change once the Southerner starts casting.  It’s like we have instant street cred and you can tell the guides enjoy the day more getting to guide someone who actually knows how to fish.  Then I start casting and ruin it all :).

Towards the end of the day, I got to try streamer fly-fishing appropriately nick-named “Chuck and Duck.” Dave said to come back on the cast as if I were throwing a soft-ball and something clicked in my head.  Fly-fishing typically requires a lot of grace and patience of timing that I do not possess.  Streamer fishing, however, was a little more geared towards my personality: just fling it as I hard as I can and hope I don’t hit anyone in the eye.

When we got off the river, Dave told the Southerner that I was “a keeper” and that in 30 years of guiding he’d never had a woman try to streamer fish, let alone in the cold and the rain.  In fact, almost every guide we’ve had has made the “keeper” comment in some form or fashion and I always find it amusing.  I could be a complete psycho off the water, but because I can hang in the boat I’m a keeper.  Try hiking in Iceland during 33 mph winds and I’ll show you a fucking keeper, boys.

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