Owned 101

That's right - there is no video. No pictures. Because shame and humiliation are a state of being, and cannot be fully appreciated in a digital snapshot or sequence of frames. Let's rewind...

It had been a while since I was able to swing two trips to the river in one month, so I was fired up and ready to go. And this time, Eva was going as well. Or maybe not. A few days prior she started to feel under the weather and, well, you can guess the rest. By early Saturday morning she was in no shape to be hitting a river to fish and, wisely, opted to stay home. (insert Red Flag #1 here)

Weather-wise, this weekend was panning out to look vaguely familiar - a cold front, clouds, wind, rain, snow, deadly gamma-ray bursts, Dane Cook's 'comedy' special, etc. In other words, it was supposed to be yet another lousy Saturday. (insert Red Flag #2 here)

The night before, I got some of my gear packed and ready to go. I also attempted to put on a new leader and tippet. I say attempted, because I could not tie a knot to save my life - and, come to find out, this 'curse' would dog my every step the next day as well. (insert Red Flag #3 here)

On the drive up, I almost 86'd a wild turkey that was crossing the road. Anti-lock brakes are my new friend. (insert Red Flag #4 here)

Oblivious to all of the red flags, I managed to make it to the river, and here's my sad day, presented in a neat, concise, list:
  • Arriving at the river, I froze. It felt more like February, than a mild May morning. The November Witch is still out and about - will someone please kick that hag in the taint and send her on her way?
  • Right out of the gates, I spilled all of my split-shot into the weeds, so I spent the rest of the day trying to scavenge old lead from used lines in my pack and in the bushes along the side of the water. The only thing missing was me holding a brown paper bag with a bottle of MD-20/20 inside.
  • Water flows were down - as were the trout, and they were not taking this 'fishing thing' quite as serious as I was. Did they not get the memo?
  • Early on, I landed a nice rainbow on a Hare's Ear, which made a quick run, jumped twice, and popped off my hook - that's the closest I would get to a legit hook-up the rest of the day.
  • I managed to snag every bush, tree, weed, and small animal within a 3-mile radius. Twice.
  • It was slightly windy - but from my poor casting, you would have thought I was throwing my line into gale-force winds.
  • By the afternoon, it was alternating between sun and clouds, which resulted in baking one minute, and freezing the next. I felt like a junkie in full-on withdrawal mode.
  • I don't even remember how many flies I lost - but it was a lot. How freaking hard is it to tie a knot?!?!?!
  • I got sunburned. Real bad.
The highlight of the day came late in the afternoon (of a very frustrating day), when I spotted a massive shadow cruising up the seam in the middle of the river. Following this sub, I saw that it had parked in a nice drift right behind a rock, just begging to be hooked.

After about 10 minutes, and several fly changes, I felt the set, my line tightened, and this pig took off as my reel made that wonderful sound we all love to hear.

Almost immediately, though, my heart sank, as it became obvious that I had foul-hooked him - which was par for the course this day. And a fish this big, foul-hooked, is near impossible to net by yourself. Fortunately for me, a guy was walking up river and offered to net him - which I gladly accepted.

Ah, it was a nice fish, too - easily pushing the 20+ inch range, and healthy to boot, probably somewhere between the 3-4 pound mark. But it doesn't count, and now I am left with a bad taste in my mouth, a sunburn from hell, and a void in my psyche where my man-card has been violently ripped from my possession.

I need redemption. I need to know that my skills are in tact, and that I'm still smarter than a fish. But most of all, I want my man-card back.


Unknown said...

Oh... I don't know whether to clap for joy or cry.

I woke up on Saturday at 5 AM in C. Springs heading out for a funeral in Gunnison thinking, "overcast skies, he's going to hit a sick baetis hatch and I'm supposed to be there".

Turns out it was alright that I missed all those red flags. Bummer for you though.

My day wasn't much better. After the funeral I went up to the Taylor and proceeded to fill my quota for the year on "lost fish".

I was fishing deep pocket water and the browns were hammering it ... I hooked 9 fish (none under 12", most were looking a solid 15"+) and only landed one!!!!!!

I don't know what was up with it, they were just Houdini's that day.

Next time ...

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff - you fished the Taylor? ARGH! That seriously qualifies as a good day regardless of what you net!

It was UBER slow on the Platte - I did not see any hatches where I was - and never saw a rise once throughout the day. The only trout that I saw that broke the surface was the fella I hooked (and lost).

Yup - you sure picked a good day to skip out on, but you're right: NEXT TIME. Oh yes, they will pay for their insubordination. They will pay dearly! BWAAAHHHAAAAAA!!!!

Unknown said...

I suppose I should clarify a bit ... I fished the lower Taylor, not to be confused with the C and R stretch. Some days your just not in the mood to fight off 25 fishermen in a 300 yard stretch of river.

The lower is fun, but realistically the average fish is around 12" and you can frequently be on the lower and never land anything above 8". Really, I was hoping to hit a caddis hatch.

It was still a very fun day, but judging from your comment I imagine you thought I was looking at all those 10 lb.+ hogs all day.

Colorado Angler said...

Yeah, I hear ya - that upper portion can be pretty crowded - and yes, I assumed that's the section you were fishing.

BUT...The Taylor is the Taylor...and it's a fine ol' river wherever you're at, regardless of the size of the fish. Besides, it's about the experience, right?

Cottonwood is open - we're planning to be out there on the weekend of the 12th if our plans hold...will keep you posted!