Dentist Root Cause of Humiliating
Fishing Trip

Coyote does it again!

by Don Jordan

DJ's Note: Before reading this story, you might enjoy reading "Cutthroat Copping Coyote Caper"



A disastrous fishing trip is worse than a bad tooth.

Here's how. It began with a cracked filling in the first molar, lower left. Tired of sucking on it and being 1,600 miles away from Dr. Robin Roberts, Bloomington's dental diety, a Cody, Wyo., dentist got the nod.

I should have known better when I saw the Kentucky Wildcats license plate on the wall as I reclined in the doctor's chair. Don't get me wrong, he was a good fellow and a painless dentist, but he wanted to pull my tooth. Figuring the magical touch of Dr. Robin back in Bloomington could probably avert such drastic action, I instead opted for a temporary filling.

"I'll be seeing you in a week," warned the Cody dentist, Dr. Keith Nance. He has relatives who live in Indiana, and he was a fine guy, despite the fact that he's from across the river. And he was right about seeing me again soon. The filling fell out, making a return trip to Cody necessary.

It's an 80 mile drive to Cody from Silver Gate, but the route takes you along the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River and it's many tributaries, one of which is a creek I'll call Coyote Creek. It is, without question, the most beautiful brook trout stream I have ever seen. It holds lots of these spectacular little fish, many going to 13 inches.

But there's something about Coyote Creek that works against me. I, I am sure, it is Coyote, the trickster of native American lore who is the root cause of this bad medicine. This is Coyote with a capital "C," a supernatural creature prone to pulling nasty jokes on humans.

You see, the last time I had fished Coyote Creek, I drove away and left my ziplock bag holding three trout lying on the ground where the truck had been parked. Since there are grizzly bears and coyotes and maybe even some wolves running the creek valley, I know the fish didn't go to waste. Still, it was a bad omen. Heck, I had never left caught fish anywhere before, ever.

After driving to Cody one more time to get my tooth's gangantuan hole refilled, I figured it would be easy to stop at Coyote Creek and test the brookies one more time. I had a small cooler with iced beverages and citrus fruit for after the fishing, as well as coffee and all sorts of apres-angling goodies to munch. I had tied up a batch of new flies-parachute Adams', green drake emergers, even a few hoppers.

dilbert.gif (20972 bytes)And, the night before this trip, I had removed my No.3 fly rod from its case and tied on a new tapered leader, taking great pains to tie tidy, compact knots, gluing the knots where necessary. I loaded a towel to wipe fish goo off my hands, and made sure I had plenty of Hall's Mentholyptus (sucking a cough drop relieves thirst like sucking on a pebble does). I had a new plastic bag for my permitted three keepers which I knew I would be grilling that evening.

Dr. Nance's refilling job was painless, and he even got a laugh out of the IU baseball cap I wore to his office for that second visit. The receptionist was nice and there were at least two dental office les tres jolie juene femmes working there. They brightened the visit nicely.

I was back in my pickup and truckin' for Coyote Creek within 20 minutes of walking in the dentist's office. It was 90 degrees and sunny. Water level in the creek was low, and it was so clear that I could see small fish. Fish were rising. I could see them as I drove along a parallel, dusty U.S. Forest Service road. It passed through campgrounds filled with bow hunters out after deer and antelope, but the creek is always in sight.

A stretch with the larger brookies is about 12 miles up this rugged road. When I finally reached where I wanted to fish, there were no other anglers, no hunters, no horseback trains, no nothing except the stream, me and the brook trout. Or, so I thought.

As I was pulling on my wading shoes, a coyote came ambling right down the middle of the road, watching me. It even stopped when I spoke to it. The coyote and I locked eyes for a moment before it trotted off, unconcerned.

Coyote (THE Coyote) has been bedeviling me now for about five years During our first encounter, Coyote snatched a nice fat cutthroat I had just caught. He carried it away into the woods, pausing to look over his shoulder, to see if I would pursue.

Just a day or two after this initial encounter, I was driving my buddy’s truck inside Yellowstone park with two friends. As I headed through the Lamar Valley, we saw a coyote walk casually into my lane about 100 yards ahead. As we slowed and watched, the coyote squatted and defecated in mid-lane. It stayed there until I was forced to a complete halt. Then, watching me as he did it, this rude character lifted a leg and urinated on the same spot, then trotted away without so much as a "pardon me."

In our next meeting, I managed to surprise Coyote who was standing on the same gravel bar where I had been standing that time Coyote stole the cutthroat. We had locked eyes that time too, for a moment.

Shortly thereafter, I got a speeding ticket inside Yellowstone National Park from an eager-beaver shavetail cop/ranger, making me the only person I know to ever get a speeding ticket instead of a warning inside the park. This ranger was so new that he had tape over his badge number, because he hadn't been issued his own badge yet.

I suspect this was Coyote's work.

So it was that an uncomfortable foreboding that I slipped into my fishing vest up Coyote Creek after the dentist visit. I pulled out the rod case. No rod. The rod, complete with new tapered leader and neatly-tied and glued knots was sitting on the porch back in Silver Gate.

Following several minutes of verbal self-abuse, I took off the waders, slipped out of the vest, loaded into the truck and turned around to head home. I got about 20 feet before I noticed the truck was pulling hard to the right. Right front tire flat.

It was a new truck. I had to dig out the book to find the jack and tools. It took nearly 90 minutes to get the tire changed there on that hot, dusty road with the mountain sun beating on me. I rolled in the dust, groveled under the truck to get the spare, then did the same to jack the truck. My clothes and every bare patch of skin were covered in grease dusted with powerdy road dirt.

When done, I looked around for my prescription, polarized sunglasses only to hear a disturbing "crunch" from under my foot. Yep, I stepped on 'em. That meant yet another trip to Cody, to an optician this time.

Coyote. Had to be.

I had already used every expletive known to man, so there was nothing left to do but pick up the pieces of my sunglasses and head for home, fishless, minus one good tire and one pair of very expensive glasses. I had no fish, indeed, no fishing rod, and I sucked down the last cold libation as I dodged bow hunters on four-wheelers on the way to the highway.

This is the probably the world's first case of a visit to the dentist being much better than a fishing trip. Of course, I may yet have to make a third visit to Dr. Nance for a session with the pliers. Do you suppose he could be Coyote too?



Readers interested in the outcome of the infamous "bad tooth Coyote fishing trip" story will be glad to find that, back in Bloomington, Dr. Robin Roberts saved my poor old tooth from the pliers.

Roberts lived up to his reputation as the world’s best dentist. He not only saved the tooth, he root-canaled it and capped it for the price some dentists charge for simply filling a cavity! And, please note, that Robin’s dental office juene femmes are just as charming as the ones in Wyoming and are even more friendly.



©Copyright 1997. 2011. Jordan Communications

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