6/16/2009

The Agony and the Ecstasy

video

Sure, the late Irving Stone would not blink an eye at the events of Saturday, but then again, I doubt he was a fly fisherman either - but we, having been out on the water, know better, so it will be up to one of our own to write about it sometime in the future...


It's been eight months since I've last had the chance to fish the famed waters of the Taylor, so pulling into the parking area in the C&R section essentially sent my 'Angling Pleasure Receptors' through the roof.

Yeah, this river is a kick in the pants for fly fishing addicts everywhere - it's like (insert your politically-correct winter holiday here) for big people that fish.

Having bunked-down in Buena Vista Friday night, we were up at 3:30 am to make the drive over Cottonwood Pass and into the Taylor Park area, hoping to beat the horde of people that this river attracts (and for good reason).

The point was to get a good spot and hold it for the day - yeah, I know, to get the really big fish you need to walk the river and hit the holes where they're parked.

Since this was Eva's first time fishing this river, I thought it would be good to find an open section, with good seams that she could work on and hone her drift. Plus, I kind of liked the idea of staying put, given the heavy traffic that is on this river.

So, we wound up picking a section on the water, and worked it over good through the course of a day. On future trips, I promise that we'll play nicely and let others hit the section that we were on - Eva learned a lot, so next time I think she'll feel a little more comfortable walking the river and working more varied water.

Anyway - fish? Oh yeah. There was a ton of them in there - in the section in front of us, there were too many to count.

What's really cool is that, on the HD video, you can actually see all of fish in the water - and they're everywhere. It looks like a freaking fish hatchery, there's so many of them. But here's the catch: yes, the fish are plentiful, but they're not always so accommodating.

Watching a handful of 20+ inches of actively feeding trout, three feet off the bank in a foot of clear water and they're not hitting a damn thing you're throwing their way? Agony in it's purist form.

Even more hurtful is when the fish actually move out of the way of your fly as it drifts past, and then, just as smoothly, move back into place after it's gone. That goes beyond being 'snubbed' and is downright hateful on their part.

However, move downstream a few feet, throw your line in and you hit a bruiser on the first cast. Confusing, frustrating and pure excitement all wrapped up into one - a roller-coaster ride of emotional highs and lows, and I love every minute of it.

With that many targets, it didn't take long for me to hit my first trout. The second one I nailed was a certified Taylor hog, which I pulled from some deep water a little upstream from where Eva was. After about 10 minutes of fighting, and a scenic walk down the side of the river, my line broke and I was left with....not disappointment...but exhilaration. He was a beast of a fish and it had been a rush trying to get him in the net.

As for Eva, she did well for her first time on a very tough river - she bit into some nice-sized fish, but the line either snapped or they popped off the hook. Also, the environment is not the most relaxing to be in when you're still trying to get your feet under you - lots of spectators and heavy traffic along the dirt road can make one feel overly-exposed, so she's earned another badge of respect for braving that testosterone-soaked Angling Gauntlet.

Me, I set and lost more fish on Saturday than I have in a long time - snapped lines, bent hooks, etc. seemed to be the norm. And I did it using only ONE fly and a pea-sized indicator. Josh, I know that makes you cringe to hear that, but you know my philosophy - find the depth, nail the presentation, and there's no need for multiple flies and gimmicky set-ups. Maybe sometime in the future, we'll hit some water, and you can try to teach me the errors of my way...

Up until mid-afternoon, the weather was fantastic, but then the 'storm' came in. And it came in with bad intentions. The initial gust of wind damn near took me off my feet - I had to kneel to keep from getting blown over. And the grit (from the dirt road) that it was carrying was brutal - I felt like I was staring, point blank, into the nozzle of a sand-blaster - and when you mix that with freezing, stinging (horizontal) rain....it made for a very unpleasant experience.

Overall, it was a well-earned break - sexy company, beautiful scenery, good fishing, some hooks embedded deeply into fingers and a seriously wicked storm. Yup, I'm living a dream. Oh - and loaded hot dogs from Coney Island in Bailey? Yeah, that's a great way to round out the weekend if you ask me.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

dude you have to fish a 2rigger its the best way to go.

Colorado Angler said...

Ah...the Anonymous First Poster...like clockwork, you are. : )

Nope. One fly for me...I'm good, thanks. Prefer the challenge.

SM said...

Get a job you @$@$@#!% bum and call me next time you go. jerk.

Colorado Angler said...

Jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick - look who decided to crawl out of the woodwork and post...but then again you always preferred lurking in the background while adults talked...

HA! All those invites to the Deschutes and Owyhee and you rolled out more excuses than a meth-head being busted on COPS.

You never did accept my invite from Facebook, you moron.

Linda said...

I agree with what SM said - get a job but you do not have to worry about calling me when you go again. I will just watch the BLOG! And how did you end up on Coney Island? Did you just keep walking up the river?

Colorado Angler said...

Ha! Yeah...Coney Island....if one wishes hard enough (like I did) you don't have to go to it....it will come to you! That's the power of the giant Hot Dog.

Those dogs are great, by the way - sitting outdoors, next to the river, soaking up the sun and clean mountain air....didn't want to come back.

SM said...

havent been on fb in ages. u still jumping out of perfectly good airplanes when ur not flying them into the ground?

Colorado Angler said...

Not for a while now - strange as it may sound, fly fishing has been more challenging (and has held my attention longer) than anything else I've done.

Check your email....

Jeff Allen said...

One fly? Sight nymphing? Small indicators?

Man we have got to hit the river. You might be the long-lost third Allen Brother!

I use a two fly rig in some situations, just because a tungsten nymph makes a better (and less toxic) weight.

But ... on the Taylor I'm with you all the way. I almost always fish a single fly. In fact, if you pay any attention to other anglers on the Taylor you'll see a sad amount of fish coming in backwards.

Note: lots of biomass and multiple heavy flies equals "trotline" fishing and foul-hooked fish.

I'm going to make a prediction and say that you have a yellow dispenser of micro split-shot in your vest.

Am I right?

If so, I have some indicators that might interest you greatly...

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff, it's funny that you mention that - there was quite a bit of foul-hooking going on. Eva even commented on the 'elaborate' rigs that a lot of folks were using there - 2, 3 flies, fancy bobbers and indicators.

While I understand the idea behind it all, I guess it's just not for me. Unfortunately, Eva uses the same set-up that I do - so she's really taking the hard road to learning this sport (I tip my hat to her on that!).

Dude...would love to hit the river with you folks - that could be a riot. And yes, I have the weights in the little yellow dispenser - and it see's heavy usage on the water! I change weight more than Oprah.

I see you posted some more - I need to check out the Pan post you've put up....after we get back from the Zoo! Hopefully ya'll are on the water today...

Jeff Allen said...

I had full intentions of hitting the Taylor today (your report got me psyched), but with the weather we went to the Gunnison and then were driven off by lighting about 15 minutes into it.

I might try again tomorrow...

Yeah, if only I could figure out a way to keep those weights from sliding. You get to a point where you just have to pull them off and put a new one on. Once the pliers have turned them into pancakes they're useless.

One of these days we'll catch up on the Cheeseman. I'll let you know when I'm coming that direction. Or, if you ever have the time for Black Canyon, but from Denver it's at least an overnight adventure. East portal has a great campsite right on the river that you can drive to. That is always nice.

Colorado Angler said...

East Portal, huh? Camping is not a problem on my end - love it. I'll have to send you an email and get some directions to some good water. Although we were making some plans to be out that way late-June, due to a vacation black-out we weren't able to follow through. Now it looks like mid-July at the earliest.

Weights that don't stay put...hate that. And if you crimp them too much, they score the line and you're ripe for losing your entire set-up from the leader down (been there, done that...a lot).

Jeff...I would be interested in hearing about your indicators...I'm not a huge fan of them to begin with...and use mine mostly to gauge where my fly is in the water as opposed to actual strikes (which never works for me - especially on the Taylor since the take is so subtle). Good ol' fashioned observation beats out a strike indicator any day of the week in my book when sight fishing.

Hope you're out on the water today - it's a great day out...

Jeff Allen said...

Yeah, I'm with you anytime you can pull off the "no-indicator" routine.

Unfortunately, for me, I've fished Colorado high and wide and I've found that Cheeseman is one of the few places where the water speed is slow enough and the clarity is good enough (and the fish actually hold in good sight-nymphing spots).

Most everywhere else is like you said on the Taylor. Actually, in the late fall there will be some big dogs up on the flats at Taylor when the CFS are around 60-70. Then you can pass on the indicator.

I grew up fishing Pennsylvania Spring Creeks. You would lose your mind!!!! That is where sight-nymphing was born.

I'm thinking July's Allen Brothers article is going to be on "how to make the world's best indicator"...

Jeff Allen said...

Favorite "no-indicator" technique:

1. drop the fly 3 feet in front of the fish.

2. Give it a micro twitch 6 inches before the fish.

3. Watch the fish swing left or right.

4. See the whites of his mouth.

5. Lift up.

6. Smile.

Colorado Angler said...

A friend of mine was born and raised in Pennsylvania, too - she grew up fishing those streams as well, and used to tell me all sorts of stories. Makes my palms sweaty just thinking about it.

Ok...I like the 6 step process you have listed - I'm going to put it into play the next chance I get.

Rebecca said...

Ok, I'm going to pretend I didn't JUST notice the links on the side of your blog that may softly hint -Fly Fishing videos-
That should tell you something... when I come for a visit I go straight for the meat of your writing and it keeps me quite focused. So of course my inability to notice subtle hints is a direct result of your writing style and lets face it, pictures of fish that make me drool. I can blame you or I can blame the Amish =)

Anyway ~ Fantastic video. Loved the music, the editing style and of course the fish. Way to get me all riled up again right before bedtime.

Colorado Angler said...

I think that would be the fault of the Amish! They're always plotting...

Glad to see you saw the videos finally! I need to head up your way, so's we can get some killer vids of those monster browns you're always flashing around!

Talk about getting riled up. geez...