A Good Life Wasted
Big Hole 459 cfs Jefferson 927 cfs
I just finished reading a book titled, A Good Life Wasted or Twenty Years As A Fishing Guide by Dave Ames. While reading this book I could relate to the many different clients and situations I have encountered through my years as a fishing guide. I won’t say exactly how many years that has been as after twenty I quit counting. A lot of my clients ask how long I have been doing this and my usual response is, I don’t know, what year is it? Or they will ask when I will retire and my response to that is when you see my dead body floating down the river in my boat—that’s when I’m retired. Through the coming winter months I will relate to you some of my experiences as a fishing guide for the past umpteen years. One particular trip which remains vivid in my mind and will for the next fifty years is the one I will call the New York Princess or the trip from hell. I had never met these folks before as I was doing this trip as a favor for another outfitter. I knew it was going to be a tough day the minute they showed up at the shop. He seemed like a nice guy but she had this attitude about her. After you have been guiding for a number of years you can usually size up the fisherman on the first meeting. After the initial introductions I asked her if she had waders and wading shoes. She said no because she didn’t like wearing them. I asked her if she had a rain jacket as they were predicting showers later in the day. Her response to this was negative and she said it’s not going to rain, and can’t you tell, there isn’t a cloud in the sky. So on the river we went. Around mid morning this ominous black cloud appeared over the mountains to the west. In about twenty minutes the mother of all hail storms hit. I pulled the boat along the shore and under some over hanging willows to try and get some protection from the storm. We were getting absolutely hammered by the hail. I had an extra rain jacket which I put on her but her skin tight spandex pants were offering little protection. When the storm finally let up she literally looked like a drowned rat. The boat was half full of water and branches and hail stones. The language that came out of her mouth was not to be repeated. Of course the storm was my fault and why did I let it happen. After she ranted and raved for some time I tried to defuse the situation with a little humor and asked what she thought of my boat and the Big Hole River. She went off like a rocket. She screamed, I hate your boat, I hate your river, I hate Montana and I want out of here. If there had been a boat race down the river that day I would have won hands down from that point on.