My grandfather was the first person to take me fishing. I was probably 6 or 7 years old and don’t remember much from way back then, but my first fishing trip still stands out clearly in my mind. We went to Ashley Lake, just outside of Kalispell and fished from the edge with bobbers and worms. What I remember the most is the excitement when the red-and-white float would twitch from the first nibbles and then go under when the fish took the bait. I missed the first few bites and my grandfather showed me how to keep the line tight and when to set the hook. It took hand-eye coordination and he got a little impatient with me when I didn’t follow his instructions, but soon I reeled in my first fish, a colorful bluegill, followed by numerous sunfish and a few yellow perch. Although I had fun, it was just the beginning of my education and there was still a lot to learn. On that first trip my grandfather baited the hooks, cast the line out, and unhooked all the fish. I can’t remember when I started handling my own catch, but it took years before I began to feel proficient at all that goes into the sport and I’m still learning today. Over the years, I have kept up my love of fishing and most weekends, you will find me casting out on Clark Canyon Reservoir. It’s really quite beautiful in the mornings and as the sun begins to rise in the sky, it creates intricate patterns of rainbow colors over the water’s gentle ripples. The Montana mornings, especially in the Fall, can be cool and windy. I’ve discovered as I get older that my skin dries out more frequently. At times this can be very uncomfortable. For years, I used petroleum jelly on my hands and face to make it more bearable, but this is very greasy and makes holding a fishing pole a major challenge. I began just casting my line then propping up my pole and waiting for that inevitable tug that indicates a fish is hooked. Not really my kind of fishing, but hell, beggars can’t be choosers, right? A few months ago, some friends invited me on a fishing trip along the Canadian border. It had been a long time since I’d been fishing with anyone else and I was almost giddy with excitement. We packed up enough supplies for 2 days and headed out just before daylight that Friday. After setting up camp, we wasted no time hitting the water. As I began my usual routine of applying Vaseline to my hands and face, my friend Jack laughed at me. He reached into his bag and tossed me a small blue bottle of Gloves In A Bottle. “You don’t need that crap”, he told me. “I’ve been using this for years and it always does the trick” he continued. I was a bit embarrassed. I wiped off the Vaseline with a rag and applied the Gloves In A Bottle to my face and hands. It dried quickly and I was amazed at how effective it was. I continued using it throughout the weekend and not only did it keep my skin from getting chapped, it wasn’t greasy at all. Jack gave me the rest of the bottle and I have since bought another two bottles. I use it everyday and my skin never gets dry anymore. Thanks to Gloves In A Bottle, I am now back to fishing the right way. No more propping up my pole and hiding my hands in my pockets. No more Vaseline or greasy skin. I love this stuff.Jean-Pierre Denard is a retired school teacher and an avid fisherman who resides in Lewistown, Montana with his wife of 47 years and his Pomeranian, Keeno.
The Joys of Fishing in Montana by Jean-Pierre Denard