It also saved her 22-pound catfish
With the grudging aid of a 22-pound catfish, Marne Baines added to the already rich legend that is duct tape.
Glue was involved too.
But, as is so often the case, it was the duct tape, and not some lesser adhesive, that really binds this story together.
It all started just after dawn Monday.
Baines drove out to the Highway 203 Pond, just east of the freeway a
few miles north of Baker City, with her husband, Tom Baines, and her
son, Ron Skipper.
They hoped to hook some of the rainbow trout that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department recently dumped into the pond.
"It's my favorite spot," said Baines, who moved to Baker City eight years ago.
She tried worms and PowerBait for a while, but had no bites.
So she tied on a lure - "pink and blue, kind of decorative," she said - and dabbed a glob of PowerBait onto the lure's treble hook.
Baines was reeling the lure in when she felt a tug on the 15-pound line.
"It made a strike like a trout," she said.
That's the only trout-like thing it did.
"You would think that big of a fish would put up a huge fight," Baines said. "But it didn't."
It didn't do much of anything, in fact.
After a minute or so Baines began to wonder whether she had hooked a fish or the bottom of the pond.
She had gotten her hook hung up earlier.
She backed up a ways so she could brace herself against her pickup truck.
"When I pulled it sort of felt like something kind of pulled back," Baines said.
She told her son, who was fishing nearby, "I think I have a fish."
"You've probably got some sticks," he said.
But then they saw something break the pond's surface.
It wasn't sticks.
Ron ran to fetch the net.
A minute or so later the 22-pound, 29-inch-long fish was ashore.
"It's the biggest fish I've ever caught," Baines said.
But it was a very near thing.
For one, only one of the lure's three hooks was lodged in the catfish's mouth.
For another, the pole Baines was using - just a plain old pole, she said - had been broken some time back when a bucket of water fell on it.
Tom Baines fixed the pole with a bit of glue and - of course - liberal wrappings of duct tape.
The catfish gave the repaired pole a far sterner test than Baines ever expected.
"That pole was really bent over," she said.
When the Baineses cleaned the fish they found, besides a mass of eggs, one whole trout and the rotting head of another.
They sliced the catfish into fillets and put them in the freezer.
"I've never eaten catfish," Marne Baines said. "I've heard a lot of people say it's really good. I'm going to have to look up a recipe."
The catfish, by the way, was the only fish she landed Monday.
Her husband bagged his limit of five trout, and her son got two.
All of which looked like minnows next to Marne's catch.