(Editor's Note: This is the third and last in a series
of columns on Roger Stouff making the second of two episodes
of Fly Fishing America with Blackfeet Indian Joe Kipp of Montana.)
I trailered the big fiberglass boat about 20 miles to
get to the ponds Wednesday morning. Though the film
crew had asked me to bring my dad's boat, I declined
due to the distance and not wanting to trailer it on
U.S. 90. We arrived at the pond in weather that had
not exceeded 45 degrees and though the wind was only
a breeze then, by the time we got the boat into the
water and loaded was blustering at 15 miles per hour
Joe and I were in my boat and the crew in a small aluminum
johnboat with an electric trolling motor. I wish I could say
the last day of filming was the saving grace, but it wasn't.
I missed two fish on short strikes, but thankfully, Joe
managed four small bass and a green perch that morning.
We worked the edges of one side of the pond over and over,
back and forth, since it was the only portion out of the
wind, to pick up those fish.
At some point during all this I commented to the crew,
"You know, it suddenly occurs to me that if my father
were here right now, he would ask me if I had lost my
mind, fishing in a 20 mile per hour wind in 45 degree
I thought about that for a few moments more and then
added, after Joe had landed another small bass, "He'd
also tell me that the reason I am not catching fish is
that I'm 'not holding my mouth right.'" When I was a kid,
this comment always led to some strange facial contortions.
Perhaps the glowing moment of that whole moment was when
a water moccasin snake swam by near the bank. Joe's reaction?
Let's just say that a man who has faced off thousand pound
grizzly bears with only a pistol in his hand didn't find
himself too comfortable with a three-foot water moccasin
nearby. You see, there are no venomous snakes on the Blackfeet
reservation, probably due to the altitutde, so Joe's people
haven't much experience with them. As I have had absolutely
no experience with grizzly bears, I considered the score evened.
After noon we managed to get the boat trailer stuck at the
boat landing and had to get pulled out (thanks Fred!) then
headed for Polito's Café for lunch, where we met up with
some folks from the Banner.
Then we went back to the Rez for a tour of the Chitimacha
museum, which really gave Joe a perspective of who we were
as a people and the vast, impressive history of the Chitimacha
Nation. Our museum is perhaps one of the finest in the state
of Louisiana and we are very proud of it.
There was only one thing left to be done that day, and we
tended to it in the last half hour before dark: I trailered
my father's wooden bateau to Bayou Teche, where Joe and I
fished along the bank for some filming. Of course, it's for
television, we weren't expecting to catch anything, but it
gave us the chance to close things out the right way, I think,
and the dusk rays of the sun made the boat glow like amber.
That little boat was, after all, the place where all this
fishing stuff began for me.
I took Joe to meet my mom after than then we all went our
separate ways to get cleaned up for supper. Lamon, Pat and
Bob Miller along with John O'Niell welcomed our guests in
the best possible way: A south Louisiana down-home cook-out,
I guess you could call it. I'm not going to make you suffer
with mouth-waterin' by reciting the whole menu, but let's
just say nobody left hungry and everybody was pretty impressed
with the selection.
Back on Tuesday when we were fishing south of Houma, the
sheriff said something that was important to the whole
experience, I think: He said the catching of fish is good,
it's always nice, but really it's about being with friends
and family and having time outdoors. Wednesday night at supper
Lamon finished that tale by noting to our guest that the
cooking and comraderie was the same thing. It's our way, it's
our lifestyle. The crew, suitably impressed and rarely treated
to such extravagance, took it all in appreciatively.
On Thursday the lot of them took off for the friendly skies
again and we said our good-byes, with the mutual promises
that should I ever wish to return to Montana or Joe and the
crew to Louisiana they'd have a roof and a pot of something
good to eat ready for them. And that was the end of the shoot
and a rough, rough week of fishing. I spent the rest of the
day sleeping on the sofa with the National Geographic Channel
on the television. I awoke a few times during the day and,
though hazy, half-asleep snippets of programming, firmly
believed someone was mating iguanas with king cobras and
producing offspring of bats. I went back to work Friday.
Both episodes of the show will air in the spring. The crew
assures me that, while they wished too we had caught more
fish, we had enough material to make a show. I will announce
the dates when I know them. It'll air on the Outdoor Life
It's been quite an experience. Back in the spring of this year
I had no idea what was in store for me until that first email
from Montana came in. Before I knew it I was on an airplane to
the Blackfeet reservation, catching trout in the Rocky Mountains
with Joe. It's been quite a ride and I can't thank Joe and the
folks at Barrett Productions enough for the opportunity to do
all this. Back home, my thanks to Francis Todd, David Naquin,
Lamon Miller and family, Carlos Snellgrove and John O'Niell for
their hospitality toward my guests. Also big thanks to Kim and
Jacob at the Chitimacha Museum, and of course to Allan, Vanessa
and Michelle at the Banner for allowing me the few days
off I needed to do this during a busy and hectic week. Most of
all, thanks to Susan for keeping me relatively sane in the days
leading up to and during the filming down here at home.
Nea'se. Thank you all, too, for sharing my ramblings, my waters,
and my road. ~ Roger
It's out! And available now! You can be one of the
first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A
Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat
Order it now from
or Barnes & Noble.com.
Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to
readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin
Board on that soon.