Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Must Be Nice..

...fishing, doing what you love best and getting paid for it". A refrain I hear so often yet still leaves me at a loss for words to answer...calmly. For starters, let's say fly "fishing" is what I love to do best. But by definition at any given moment your "guide" is not "fishing" but rather engaged in one or more acts of servitude which granted are "fishing related" but can hardly be deemed actually "fishing." Right.

Take my typical guide day itinerary, for example. Up at 5:30 (that would be a.m.) gulp down coffee and a bowl cereal, load cooler with ice, water and soft drinks, clean boat of yesterday's garbage and left-overs, log-in mileage and other necessary info as required by IRS, Montana Board of Outfitters, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to make certain I can "prove" where, when, with who, how-much and so forth should suspicions (audits) arise the "what I love best and getting paid for" is indeed on the up and up. Lest you think the you  think the Guide Police stuff is made up, consider that I and all the guides and outfitters I know were checked by on an almost daily basis (a couple days twice) on the Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers by the so-called river ranger and/or game warden . Who by the way of late seem to spend inordinate amounts of time and effort playing gotcha; in almost every case when one of us do screw up it is in all honesty a matter of poor book-keeping rather blatant dishonesty. Really.

Back to the daily grind.

Then around  6 or 6:30 its off to the gas station to fill up; on to the fly shop or lodge to pick-up guests and on to the river. Should said clients be holed up in, say, Twin Bridges and wish to fish the upper Big Hole, say Squaw Creek to East Bank; it's roughly 30 miles to Twin, 28-miles teeth rattling, trailer and tire busting miles across the High Road to Melrose and about 45-miles to Squaw Creek...100-miles and change in case your calculator's broke down. 

Where I get to rig up the guests, get the boat ready for launch...And now...At least now the guests can start doing "what I love best and get paid for" meanwhile I get on the sticks, do a little (lot of) coaching, take care of tangles, re-rig as necessary, net a few fish (hopefully), deal with the wind, get broiled many days well beyond well done and of course get to listen (and depending on subject) even participate in the endless B.S. for all fisher folk are notorious. And then after 8 hours or so "doing what I love best and getting paid for" I get to load the boat, de-rig, deliver the guests back (perish the thought they be too late for cocktails) and drive the rest of the way back home...Admittedly with the exception of Madison River sojourns the upper Big Hole, Squaw to East Bank is my longest drive. That said, still is a really rare day portal to portal is less than 12 hours and 14-hour days are not uncommon. Maybe half-dozen days a year I get lucky and find the day cut short for one reason or other. 

But I do have to admit also the view out the office window (see photo) really is kick-ass top shelf and I am  outside which I suppose in all honesty just being outside really is "what I love best"...Now if I could just find a way to "play" outside and pay the bills...Oh well...

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