Taylor Revisited

Ah, the high country. Nothing quite like it, especially at 4 am, being that it's still dark. And really cold. Due to a 'slight miscalculation' in timing, we wound up at the C&R section of the Taylor at about....oh....'WAY TOO EARLY' am.

Had I been the navigation officer for Columbus, he would have 'discovered' the America's around 1480. That's Christopher's loss, I guess.

So once the sun did start to rise, and we managed to thaw ourselves out, the fishing was pretty decent - the flows were down, though, and a lot of the fish were parked deep.

Which wouldn't have been too much of an issue, had my drifts not been skewed (which I want to attribute to ice crystals in my blood stream).

From the start, things just didn't 'feel' right...I was missing a lot of potential sets (or what I thought were sets) and it wasn't until later in the day, while drifting a San Juan, that I actually saw my fly outpacing my indicator by a good foot - which really tweaked my melon (not that that isn't easy to do - I get mesmerized by bright, shiny objects on a regular basis).

As for Eva, she did well, hooking her first Taylor brown and getting him to the net - along with some other fish that she hooked, but lost - which seemed to happen quite a bit for a lot of us on the river Saturday. But, that's part of the fun, right? RIGHT?

Around 9ish or so....I can't really say for sure, being that it already felt like we had been on the river for the better part of a year....Jeff Allen, of the Fly Fishing Mind of Jeff Allen and the Allen Brothers Quality Hand-Tied Flies met up with us - and being able to hang with him for the rest of day really made this trip a little more special.

His knowledge of fishing is vast, and it's really a pleasure to be able to watch a guy like Jeff get down to business. I'm more of a 'slash-and-burn-scorched-earth' kinda angler, meaning other guys send someone like Martin Sheen upriver to 'exterminate me with extreme prejudice' - I know enough to be dangerous and I have my own methods and style - 'Guerilla Angling' at it's finest (or worse, depending on your point of view).

Jeff, on the other hand, is the consummate angler - and it was really great to see him on the water, and talk to him about the finer points of fly fishing. Plus, he's just an overall great guy and it was a pleasure to get to meet him and throw a line together. If you're going to be in the area, and need some flies and/or information on the local waters, Jeff is your man.

He's also the one that bit into a genuine SUB. And when I say sub, I'm talking in the 30-35 inch range. This thing was huge. No kidding, when this thing made a run downriver towards me, I saw the water levels rise as it displaced the volume around it. It was so big, it had little fish orbiting around it.

To make matters even more interesting, Jeff was using 8x - which is a fine balancing act to make even the Ringling Brothers stop and take notice. Unfortunately, this hog made straight for a rock and wrapped his line, which snapped it clean. I would have really loved to have seen that fish in the net...yeah, like it would have even fit in the net. I would have had to make a full-body tackle on this thing to bring it in.

Aside from the constant wind, it was a really fine day on the river - great company in Eva and Jeff, and a lot of other friendly anglers that we happened to meet throughout the day (like the guys that ate our cookies with their beer - you two kick ass!). The sun was out, the sky was blue (I'm purposely avoiding mentioning the gale-force winds we had to contend with for much of the day)....what more could you ask for on a weekend in August?

Towards the end of the day, fatigue was really starting to hammer me - throughout the week I was getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night - with the Coup De Gras being Friday night and the bountiful 3 hours of sleep that we managed to get. Water-boarding has nothing on the rigors that I seem to put myself through.

After 12 hours on the river, in the sun and getting assaulted by the wind, you can maybe relate when I say that the drive back on Saturday was a study in torture.

Hell, I was exhausted at noon...let alone at 6 pm...I kept going thanks to copious amounts of energy bars, caffeine, sugar and 'dip'.

The drive back was surreal, to say the least, including the three large bucks that ran in front of us on Cottonwood Pass (I think this may have been a shared hallucination due to exhaustion). That's right...three large bucks that were running together - which is never a good sign. Obviously, they had been up to no good, and after they passed, I waited a little while longer to make sure there wasn't a police car chasing after them.

And what trip to the Taylor would be complete without a stop at Coney Island in Bailey? Jay, I know I promised you a picture, and I made a sincere effort to get one of some loaded dogs for you...but it was too little, too late. So this will have to do (I'll post the pic as soon as Eva sends it to me). Bon appetite.


Anonymous said...

did the shrimp work?

Colorado Angler said...

Anonymous he/she person: good question, and here's my 'not-so-good' answer:

It could have - I tried the pattern at first light, but given the way the drifts were playing out Saturday, it's possible that the fish were taking them, and I just didn't realize it. With your fly drifting a foot in front of the indicator, it's not going to display a take - couple that with the fact that I was not expecting my fly to be so far in front of my indicator...and that's a recipe for a goose egg.

In the afternoon, when I finally realized what was happening, I didn't throw the mysis at all - it was midges and scuds that bore the brunt of the workload (with the scuds being the clear winner, by the way).

Since it will be a while before I get to the Pan or back to the Taylor, I have some time to tweak the pattern a bit more - smaller size, a slightly different shading and possibly some epoxy. We'll see.

I honestly believe it's a solid pattern, but conditions this past weekend weren't the most ideal to be testing it in - so I'm not writing it totally off just yet.

Unknown said...

Ah ... your too generous! I'm blushing over here.

Plus, I'd hardly call you a "slash and burn" fly fisherman. Anyone who is at least aware of the concept of "sight nymphing" is in his/her own class, and you're a dedicated, single minded "sight nympher" if I've ever seen one.

As for the 8x ... I learned my lesson, though he was definitely landable if it weren't for that rock. I'll be sticking with 6 and 7x next time.

That underwater shot turned out pretty sweet!

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff! Dude...the test shots that I did with the camera did turn out really nice - but all the other stuff...we kind of ran into a communication error:

I was turning on the camera when I handed it over to Eva...and not telling her that it was already on, she pushed the button and essentially turned the camera off...so we didn't get any under-water shots longer than 2 seconds.

Next time I'll just let her turn it on and off and vice-versa.

SM said...

After reading this one thing comes to mind. Shes to good for you. and it looks like you still dont know how to shave yet.

Colorado Angler said...

Sean - you're absolutely right on both counts and I couldn't agree more.

How about this: I'll learn to shave when you learn proper grammar and spelling? Your command of the English language is appalling - and it goes to show that even lower-order primates can get a license to fly planes (but it takes a REAL man to be able to jump out of one!) HAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

River Rat said...

Great blog and I love that you fish with your lady! Mine's spent the better part of thiry years on the water with me and it's great to have a partner like that!

Zach said...

Looks like an awesome trip. I know the sleep deprived feeling but it is worth it in the end.

Colorado Angler said...

Thanks for the comments, fellas....

RR - Congratulations on 30 years - as you well know, it's a blessing to have someone like that by your side and as mentioned above, I consider myself very lucky!

Zach - It was a great time all around...always a treat to make it out to the Taylor...I've yet to net a big one this year on that stretch, so we'll be back (tired or not!)

SM said...

thats right moneky boy they gave one to you to. This xmas Brit and me are sending you a electric razor. I suggest you learn to use it.

Colorado Angler said...

Sean - they did indeed. The point you miss (aside from this being a blog about fly fishing)is that some of us are more evolved than others.

My thanks to the both of you, in advance of the holidays - tell Brit I said 'hi' and that I'm surprised she hasn't smothered you in your sleep yet.

SM said...

that makes two of us