Author’s note: In yet another attempt to teach readers about fish and fishing while they read a steamy romance novel, here’s another story about hunky river ranger Rod and scrumptious Kenai River fishing guide Jenna. — LP
On a Monday in September, Jenna had a day off. Rod had asked her to spend the day patrolling with him, looking for “evil-doers.” She had eagerly agreed.
She had met Rod at 3 a.m., already waiting in the patrol boat, motor running. The morning air was near freezing. Jenna regretted that she hadn’t worn warmer pants than jeans so tight that a casual observer could tell whether a dime in her pocket had been minted in Denver, Philadelphia or San Francisco.
As she stepped into the boat and sat down near the handsome ranger, Jenna’s heart had stuttered like an outboard with a bad fuel injector. The heat generated by the sight of his powerful frame almost made her forget the icy rain and gusting wind during the ride up the river. However, after an hour of lying on her stomach in an alder thicket, that heat had dissipated.
“Tell me again, why we’re here,” Jenna said.
“I’ve received reports that a guide has been fishing from a guide vessel at this location,” Rod said. “From Aug.1 through Nov. 30, downstream from the confluence of the Moose and Kenai rivers, fishing is prohibited from a guide vessel on Mondays. What’s more, upstream from the confluence of the Moose and Kenai rivers, fishing for coho salmon from a guide vessel is prohibited on Mondays, and any coho salmon caught must immediately be released.”
“How long do we have to wait? I’m cold.”
His muscular arm encircled her slender waist, pulling her close. As powerful as the wake of a Willie Boat containing 20 gallons of fuel, five fat anglers and five limits of fat salmon, a wave of passion washed over her.
“Hold on!” Rod said, grabbing his binoculars. “We’ve got company!”
Downstream from their hiding place, a boat with a guide sticker and number had rounded the bend. Not more than 100 feet from Rod and Jenna, its occupant dropped anchor, picked up a spinning rod and began casting. On his second cast, he hooked a salmon. He reeled in the fish, netted it and pulled it into his boat, after which he released it.
“That does it!” Rod said. “Let’s go!”
It was all Jenna could do to keep up with Rod as he trotted through the brush to the boat, hidden on a nearby slough. He started the motor, checked the safety on his pistol and raced over to the “perp.” Once tied alongside, Rod pulled a booklet from his jacket and began reading. Jenna immediately recognized the occupant. Rod was too busy reading to notice.
“A coho salmon 16 inches or longer that is removed from fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who originally hooked the fish,” Rod read. “Furthermore, a person may not remove a coho salmon 16 inches or longer from the water before releasing it. I’m citing you for these two violations, as well as for fishing from a guide boat on Monday.”
Having finished, Rod looked up. To his surprise, his “perp” was Sister Providence, the one-legged nun who had more than once chastised Jenna for seeing him.
“If I were you, I’d go on my way and forget you ever saw me,” the Sister said.
“Sorry, ma’am, but I have to do this,” he said. “If I didn’t, I’d have to cite myself for not citing you.”
With that, Rod spent an hour looking up the various numbers needed for filling out the citations. Just as he was finishing, another guide boat had rounded the bend. Seeing the patrol boat, it turned and sped away.
“OK, that wraps it,” Sister Providence said. She stood and pulled a very official-looking badge from under her habit. “You just screwed up a DEA sting operation against drugs and money laundering that’s been five years in the making.”
“Are you really a nun?” Jenna asked.
“No, and that’s all I’m saying,” the “Sister” said. Turning to Rod, she said, “You’ll be hearing from the Justice Department. Wagging a finger at Jenna, she said, “And don’t say I didn’t warn you about this guy.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rod said. “Now, if you’ll just sign these citations, we’ll be on our way.”
On the way back to Soldotna, Jenna reflected on how “her” tall, strong ranger had dealt with the federal agent. It must’ve been good, because she felt as squishy and warm inside as a spawned out salmon on a gravel bar in July.
Les Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org