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UNDERCOVER FISHING GUIDE 17...ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

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on Monday, 03 December 2018
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    High Point, Montana was always a hard place to figure. The scenery was good and the river fished well but something was missing. In the old days, the Indians never stuck around in the winter, clearing out like so many New Yorkers headed for Miami Beach. That should tell you a lot.

   These were some of the topics me and Jenny were tossing around as we sat at the Wagon Wheel bar on an October Happy Hour Friday afternoon, waiting for the rest of the crew. But there were more.

   Jenny Bishop coming into my life was a blessing. She just showed up in High Point one spring day…said she was from Evergreen, Colorado by way of Aspen…and had to get away. Away from the fast lane in Aspen and away from her abusive boyfriend. She never really talked about him except to say his name was Calvin.

  Jenny fit right in. A lot of us in High Point had come from somewhere else…big cities and small towns…got here away from past failures, broken promises, bad relationships or the law. Change your name, wipe the slate clean, start over.

   She bred fine, yellow Labrador Retrievers. Her dogs quickly gained a reputation as being tough, birdy and reliable as heck. She tied magnificent trout flies, including one she called the Bishop Special, a blonde elk hair stone fly floater with an orange foam body that became the go-to killer during our local salmon fly hatch. She baked scrumptious strawberry pies featuring fresh berries from her backyard patch, sold them around town and shared them with friends.  Add a little Reddi-wip…bingo!

   She was blessed with natural beauty and seldom wore make-up save for maybe a touch of rose-colored lip gloss on date nights but that was it.  Her shoulder length wheat colored hair parted in the middle blended perfectly with her understated beauty. She was tall at five foot nine but had plenty of curves, high cheek bones and sky-blue eyes.  She favored faded jeans, high leather boots and bulky sweaters. Her smile lit up the room.  She was enchanting me.

   And I had gotten away, too. Away from the family ranch in Two Dot, Montana. Away from feeding cows all winter, fixing fence and moving pipe all summer...away from being broke all the time. When the powers-that-be cut a deal for the Interstate to be built right through town it was enough. We sold the ranch. Time to move on.

   It took me a while to find High Pont. After ten or so years of basically doing nothing but fishing all over most of the Western world I settled here. I finally found what I was looking for. Well, not everything.

   Jenny and I sat at the far end of the main bar. Before long, Corky and T-Bird rolled in and then Lonnie and Huey showed up. Rachel Kenworthy came in alone dressed in all black, wearing a high-dollar hammered silver and turquois necklace looking like a Montana version of Cher, and joined us. We all convened to a table in back of the bar.

   We talked about the summer and the fishing and how we were doing and what was the winter going to be like and then Lonnie butted in, “What’s with this Prescott dude buying the fly shop and the motel and the dude ranch and now the bank?”

   “No big deal,” chimed in Huey.

   “We taught him a lesson,” added Corky.

   “Who gives a fuck? Let’s drink.” Rachel always had the last word. “Hey Smitty, another round por favor!”

    Jenny was in a great mood. Her ladies fly fishing school had taken off…she was booked solid for the summer and even had a waiting list. Her lab pups were bringing top dollar and she had a group of high school kids tying flies to her specs which she sold online. We had grown close in mind and spirit. Jenny had moved in with me a year ago and life together was good…really good. We found ourselves spending more and more time together…long hikes with the dogs…moonlight canoe trips on the lake…evenings in front of the fireplace with a little Steely Dan or maybe some Boz Scaggs.

    We talked a lot about the future…our future together…making our relationship a strong one, maybe even having kids. I could feel Jenny gradually opening up to me. She talked about growing up back east, attending private all-girls high school, her debutante’s ball, a childhood of money and privilege in Greenwich, Connecticut. With both of her parents gone and being an only child, I got the impression that Jenny had inherited the family fortune.

   But something else was bothering me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was there. Like the town of High Point, something was just not quite right with Jenny Bishop.

   At the same time the crew was chatting it up during happy hour at the Wagon Wheel, a white van drove slowly by out front. It stopped in front of the bar. The driver looked out of the van window and surveyed the scene. He had gaunt, drawn facial features with dark, sunken eyes, a bad case of adult acne and a scraggly beard. He then made a right turn and headed out of town toward the Interstate. The van had “Big Sky Outdoor Adventures” printed along the side panels.

   Next stop, Spokane, Washington.black_mask_guy

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UNDERCOVER FISHING GUIDE 16...THE ROAD TO GLORY

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on Sunday, 18 November 2018
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   The jet-black Hummer rolled ominously across the winding ranch road through golden stands of cottonwoods, willows and aspens. Along the spring creek, the frost- bitten browned-out bear grass has given up growing and droops lower and lower to ground level, grudgingly waiting for the first snow to flatten and bury it for four months.

   October in Montana is two things: a reluctant farewell to summer and an inevitable intro to a long winter.  

   Dexter Prescott steered a course towards town, downhill past scattered double-wide trailers and single story bungalows, finally leaving gravel for a paved two lane, then leveling off inside the town limits. Nicer three and four bedroom newly built two-story residences tried valiantly to blend in with old, traditional ranch homes without much success. Silly looking freshly constructed log cabins with green tin roofs crashed the party here and there, looking as if someone had built them on the fly using mail order, do-it-yourself kits.

   As Prescott drove through town he thought, how easy this is, how simple.

   He passed Busby’s Family Grocery store, the Wagon Wheel bar and Bettie’s Café, turned right at the post office and crossed the railroad tracks. A vacant real estate office had a FOR SALE sign out front. He eased the Hummer into a parking lot in front of a chain-link fence with strands of barbed wire strung tight across the top and stopped at the locked gate. A sign read U STORE-IT.

   Prescott took out the key from the ignition switch and fumbled with the key chain until he found the right one. The lock popped open and he swung the gate to the inside. He re-entered the Hummer, drove slowly through the entrance and locked the gate behind him. Moving down the double rows of smaller “mini” storage units he finally came to the larger ones toward the back. They had double the space and enough width and height to store a vehicle if needed. The Hummer ground slowly to a stop in front of unit 48. The combination lock on the storage door was the large, heavy duty variety and without hesitation Dexter Prescott put the Hummer in park, hopped out, spun the dial on the combo lock and clicked it open. He raised the storage door up over his head in kind of a lift, clean and jerk move, stepped inside and flipped on the light switch. He lowered the door behind him.

   A plain, white Chevy van sat parked in the middle of the unit, backed in, headed out. The side panels had “Big Sky Outdoor Adventures” stenciled in block lettering with caricatures of rafts, canoes and river boats pictured underneath. Behind the van, lined up neatly according to color and stacked three-high, were rows and rows of outdoor picnic coolers…the expensive, heavy duty fiberglass 110 quart variety… in white, tan and mint green. Each cooler had “Bigfoot” stamped under the lid with the circled outline of a bear paw print underneath.

   Prescott removed one of the mint green coolers from the stack by gripping the side handles and set it down on the concrete floor. Opening the lid, he removed a strip of hard rubber molding that covered the inside rim of the cooler and located four Phillips stainless steel pan-head screws set in each corner of the inside top of the cooler. He opened the rear doors to the van and selected the correct screwdriver from a tool box. Carefully unscrewing each, he set the four screws aside. He then used a wide-blade standard screwdriver to gently pry up the inside liner of the cooler. He slid the liner out and set it on the floor. The inside of the cooler revealed a false bottom. Lined up carefully, surrounded by styrofoam and stacked two-deep were rows of sealed, white plastic baggies stuffed to capacity. Each baggie had a black letter “Z” scrawled with magic marker on the plastic. Prescott’s facial features transformed.

   He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a four- inch, switch-blade pocket knife. It had two blades...one was the standard “Old Timer” variety, the other was a straight razor. Using the razor blade, he carefully made a small slit in one of the baggies. Moistening a little finger, Prescott dipped into the clear powder and raised his pinky to just below his left nostril. The snort sent an electrifying jolt through his system. His eyeballs rolled and bounced like pinballs and his body lurched. The walls of the storage unit spun like a merry-go-round and Dexter Prescott imagined himself being launched into outer space like some celestial meteor trailing fire.

   It was Godzilla, or “Z” for short. Monster methamphetamine cooked to 99 per cent crystal purity in the remote hills of Northern California where Prescott grew up. It was almighty powerful crank and commanded an almighty powerful street price of $300 per eight-ball. Dexter Prescott had a direct line to the source and an A-list of clients tripping over each other to pay the price. Each cooler concealed eight pounds of pure crystal meth at a street value of over $300,000.

   Prescott sat down on the rear of the van and gathered himself. So simple, so easy he thought.

   He felt like the most powerful person on earth.black_ski_mask

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GLENN SCHWARTZ 1940-2018

by Randy
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on Saturday, 03 November 2018
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glenn_6       When I first met Glenn I was twenty and he was twenty three. When you're that young you have no clue what's ahead...no clue.  If Glenn would have known what was coming would he have changed? I don't know. I doubt it. He always stuck to his beliefs...and he always was one-of-a-kind.

   Playing drums behind him was like watching fireworks on Fourth of July...always a light show...snap, crackle, pop, boom! Everybody watched in ooh...ahh! It was a slow night unless he broke at least two or three strings.

   It was Cleveland, 1963-64...the Sensations. We played joints like the Peppermint Lounge W. 53 and Lorain Ave...Leo's Cafe (not Casino) E. 76 & St. Clair and the Tramend Lounge...another place on West 25th St. (the Band Box or Swing Inn)...Tony's Subway in Painesville. We played mostly blues stuff and rockin blues...that was Glenn's first love. 

glenn_bw

   Our lives changed dramatically after those younger years. To say Glenn headed off on a long, strange trip doesn't touch it. But at least he came home.

   

   And now, finally, he can lay his burdens down.

 fortney_road

http://m.fortneyroad.com/thestory.html

 

 

 Watch Cleveland Blues Hall of Fame interview with Glenn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_facPkxPGc&t=6s

 

 

 

 

 

glenn_5

 Glenn on stage with Joe Walsh and Dan Auerbach of Black Keys

 

 

 

Live at Coachella 2016:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VMx7IzLv6w

 

 

from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

https://www.cleveland.com/expo/life-and-culture/erry-2018/11/46aaefa89f2144/cleveland-rock-legend-and-inte.html#incart_river_index

 

"Lord, one of these days
There'll be no more sorrow
When I pass away

And no more hard times
No more hard times
Yeah, yeah, who knows better than I?"   

lyrics by Ray Charles 

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THE FLYING ANT HATCH

by Randy
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on Monday, 03 September 2018
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   The ants are out!

   You hear about it but have you ever seen it? The flying ant hatch on the Madison is elusive and undependable, but if you hit it right, oh boy!FlyingAnts

   It could happen anytime between mid August and mid September...on a hot, still, windless afternoon...usually late in the day...in several spots on the river.

   Through the years, I have seen the ant hatch in the following places:

 

Shewmaker Ditch area

The Cottonwoods

The Snag Hole

Main Street, Downtown Ennis

Above McAtee bridge down to Indian Ck.

Above and below Varney Bridge

Ruby Cliffs

Palisades

East channel across from Eight Mile Ford

Side channel of river above Ennis Lake

Madison Meadows Golf Course

flying_ant

   What flies should I use? I have had success with several patterns, all in size 14 or 16:

Foamy Ant, Royal Trude, Goofus Bug (Humpy), Royal Stimmy, Royal PMX...or any of the CDC patterns with a white post or cluster wing.foamy_ant

  The rise form during the ant hatch is unmistakeable...more of an eruption than a rise, usually accompanied with a jet stream of river water shooting straight up in the air. The folic acid in the ants is addictive. Think trout crack cocaine!anthill

   The hatch is tricky. The least little gust of wind will knock it out. It can happen on one stretch of river and nowhere else. All the stars have to line up just right. So if you are in the right place at the right time with the right fly you are in.

   Oh, and one more thing...watch for the night hawks.nighthawk

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RBMF FUZZY BUNNY AWARDS

by Randy
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on Thursday, 16 August 2018
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Time to recognize the noteworthy people, places and events in the fly fishing world, the Madison Valley and Ennis, Montana...

THE FUZZY BUNNY AWARDSfuzzy_bunny

 

FLY OF THE YEAR: The RB Bunny. The Dark Side never looked brighter on a #4 hook.rb_bunny_edit

 

RIVER OF THE YEAR: The Madison..producing year after year against incredible odds and the Invasion of the Bozemanite Barbarian Hordes.

 

MOST FLIES UNDER ONE ROOF AWARD: Dan and Nancy Delekta's Beartooth Fly Shop. Best fly selection I've ever seen...anywhere.

 

BEST DRY FLY FISHING GUIDE: Dave Scully, no contest.

 

BEST OUTFITTER TO GUIDE FOR: Mike Treloar/ River Borne Outfitters...Rainbow Valley Lodge.treloar_big_bow_2_001

 

BEST FISHING OUTFITTER TAG TEAM TANDEM DUO KEEPING IT ALL TOGETHER HOW DO THEY DO IT? AWARD: Chris and Julie Eaton, Madison Valley Ranch. 

 

BEST CHEESEBURGER, CHEESEBURGER, CHEESEBURGER, AWARD: Gravel Bar.gravel_bar

 

HOTTEST BARTENDER AWARD (tie): Marie Clark/Silver Dollar, Carey Croy/Sportsman's Lodge.

 

 BEST DRIVE THRU MONEY PIT: First Madison Valley Bank $$$$$.

 

 BIGGEST CLUSTERFUCK SALMON FLY HATCH AWARD: McAtee and Varney parking lots.

 

FRIENDLIEST FLY SHOP GUY AWARD: John Way/The Tackle Shop, Ennis. (He also serves a great hot dog with spicy brown mustard).

 

NASTIEST OUTHOUSE AWARD: Ennis Campground....did somebody die in there?

 

 NICEST OUTHOUSE AWARD: Ennis Lions Club Park...pristine!

 

GUIDE MEETING OF THE DECADE FIGJAM AWARD:bert__rbguide_pic_8-3-15_004

            Mike Treloar, Randy Brown, Brandon Struckman, "Dirty Mike" Elliott

                             FIGJAM = "F**K I'M GOOD JUST ASK ME"

 

 ZEN MISTRESS SOUL SISTER VOODOO CHILD AWARD: Carmen Smith/Norris Bar.peace

 

UNSUNG HERO AWARD: All the shuttle drivers workin' it hard.

 

 CHUCKHOLE(S) OF THE YEAR AWARD: Ennis Post Office.

 

 FLYFISHER, HORN HUNTER, ELK TRACKER, SPIKE CAMPER, CALF ROPER, MULE SKINNER, PICKER AND GRINNER AWARD: "Dirty Mike" Elliott, Discover Montana Outfitting.dirty_mike__the_chief_edit

 

PRIVATE FLY FISHING RANCH MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Mike Actinson/Channels Ranch.

 

STUPID HUMANS CAUGHT ON TAPE AWARD: Yellowstone National Park.

 

DISAPPEARING ACT OF THE YEAR AWARD: Madison River Recreation Plan.

 

 GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS, MOST NUMBER OF TURKEY SANDWICHES MADE IN ONE YEAR AWARD: Madison Foods Deli.

Dagwood-Sandwich

 

MILKSHAKE OF THE YEAR: Yesterday's Soda Fountain, Ennis.

 

 MOST KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER RIVERS TO FISH AWARD: Eric Shores.

 

 COOLEST PLACE TO VISIT IN ENNIS: Lions Club Park.

 

BEST PLACE TO FISH AFTER MIDNIGHT: Lions Club Park kids pond.

 

 HARDEST WORKING FISHING GUIDE: Todd France (by far).

 

BEST NEW FISHING GUIDE:  I can't think of any.

 

"SIMPLY THE BEST" award: Shedhorn Sports, Ennis, Mt. Nobody does it better.shedhorn_gun_show_edit

 

 

 

BEST FISHING CLIENTS: Mine.

 

STILLWATER FLYFISHER OF THE YEAR: Ed Schroeder (nobody else comes close).

 

HAPPIEST FISHING GUIDE: Brandon Struckman.

 

BEST FOURTH OF JULY PARADE AWARD: Ennis, Montana. Just gets better and better!

 

UNSOLVED MYSTERY AWARD: Madison County Sheriff's Dept.sportsmans_crime_scene

 

SHELL GAME OF THE DECADE AWARD: Madison River Foundation

 

SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD: Dave Kumlien/Montana Troutfitters.

 

BEST COFFEE: on_the_fly

 

BEST SCENIC FLOAT: Lyon Bridge to Palisades.

 

BEST BIKINI HATCH: Warm Springs to Black's Ford.

 

BEST FISHING SPOT WITHIN TEN FEET OF THE BOAT RAMP: Windy Point.

 

MOST POPULAR THROW A STICK FOR YOUR DOG SPOT: Ennis Campground boat ramp.

 

"WE DO IT RIGHT" AWARD: Ennis RV Village. First class operation all the way.

 

 

 

IN MEMORIUM: Leon Homer Thexton

"I got ahold of some bad tobacco."

leon_rb_001_edit_crop_close_up

 

 

 

                      "You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It's the pursuit of the dream that heals you"...

...Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota (Sioux)

Pine Ridge, South Dakota 

Olympic Champion, Gold Medal winner

 

 

               WALK THE EARTH...RBMF 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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