9/07/2009

Hog-Wrangling

video

Geez, where did the time go? It seems like forever since I was last able to post. With a massive project approaching it's deadline, the start of a new school year for my son, Tiger Scouts, fundraisers, a water heater that needed replacing (with several ice-cold showers to boot), and the in's and out's of the day-to-day routine...I haven't been able to post for quite some time. I suck.

As it was, this past Labor Day weekend was supposed to be a relaxing way to end the summer - a few days in the back country spent fishing and hanging out with Eva was the original plan. Also, I was going to hook a pig - if I only nailed one fish the entire weekend, so be it, as long as it was a BBF (big beautiful fish).

That was my sole intent - to hook a freakishly-large fish for 2009, so I made sure to pack some extra OCD before I left the house.

"Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!"

So reads a verse in Herman Melville's epic masterpiece, Moby Dick. A fine metaphor and one that resonates with me, being that I'm mental.

As it turned out, Eva was unable to make the trip, the weather was less than favorable, and the water was fishing slow. How slow? "It's like casting to a painting..." replied one older gentleman as he was coming off the river.

Ouch. That didn't bode well, especially if it was a Warhol. Too cliche' and over-rated for my taste. I'm not a fan of 'pop art'...which is not to be confused with 'pop tart', which is far more palatable than the former, if you ask me.

Um....yeah...

...so I geared up and walked my way down to the water's edge which, upon inspection, seemed to be chock-full of fishy goodness. And most of them were huge. The middle seam of the river had more jumbo's lined up in a holding pattern than O'Hare on a Friday afternoon. Granted, they were hugging the bottom tighter than a pair of Daisy Duke's, but at least there were fish. And when there's fish, there's always a chance of hooking one.

While I casually changed out my tippet and fly, I was studying the water and coming up with a battle-plan - the depth that they were at would require an Oprah-sized serving of lead, (which is not fun trying to cast on my Finesse 5 wt) unless I could get my fly upstream, into an eddy, which would then pull my line down for me.

Hopefully, the current would then straighten my line, and drift my fly directly between 5 of the bigger fish in that section. Of course, an indicator would be moot at this point, being that my entire line would be submerged - so precise execution would be key. Or, to paraphrase a line from the movie, Big Trouble in Little China - "This is gonna take Cracker Jack timing, Wang."

The cast itself was absolutely ridiculous, and I was thinking to myself that this was starting to look like a twisted fly-fishing version of a Rube Goldberg Machine - I was dropping my fly about 15-20 feet upstream, and about 2-3 feet to the left of the middle of the river, followed by a hard mend to the left. As my line came down with the current, it was then pulled under, and driven to the right (with a subsequent mend in the same direction), at which time, I had to tight-line the hell out of it. Whew.

Fortunately, my theory worked and I wound up pitching strikes over home plate. Now if I could just get a fish to swing...

As my fly approached, there must have been a subtle twitch on the 3rd fish in line - something that my sub-conscience registered, because instinctively I set the hook and was rewarded with the sound of my reel un-spooling line as the fish took off to the far side of the river.

And it was a nice fish - and as such, it took some patience on my part to avoid snapping my line before I could net him - which I eventually did, to the excited yells of some small kids that were spectating (with their mother) from the over-pass. They got a serious kick out of seeing me haul this whale out of the water - which made this catch a little more special.

On the bank, were a couple of folks watching as well, and in my haste I asked if they could run the video camera for me - had I had my wits about me, I would have taken some shots of this fish before handing the camera off - it was big, fat, healthy and had some brilliant colors.

So, as I tried to pull this slab out for the money shot, he bucked and wiggled his way to freedom. Ah well. It was the big one that I was looking for - 25 inches (?) and a good 6 or 7 pounds. I've got no complaints.

After that, I managed one more (which popped the hook) before I made my way back to Buena Vista for some grub from the Pizza Works (awesome pies, by the way) and some college football. As a side note, when in Buena Vista, check out the Great Western Sumac Lodge. It's reasonably priced, locally owned and operated, very clean and the folks there are as friendly as they get. Especially the resident dog. Although I would recommend avoiding the big white cat.

Tangent: the pic below is of Taylor Res. It's about 5 in the morning and the view is from the west side of Cottonwood Pass. The fog bank had formed directly over the reservoir and as the morning progressed (and the wind picked up) it blew the mist directly down the canyon, along the river - which made the first hour of fishing a little more interesting.

As I said, it was slow - the rest of the weekend I managed one small brown (on a leech pattern) and an average rainbow that I foul-hooked (which doesn't count) near the eye - I hate that. Even more-so, being that the hook was so close to his orb - that freaked me out a bit and left me feeling dirty and guilty inside. Not a pencil in sight, he wasn't running (initially) and yet he STILL almost lost an eye.

But, I can rest easy - I got my White Whale for '09, and all is good.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

thats a great fish! we need to fish together

Colorado Angler said...

Hello anonymous he/she person - welcome back!

Ok...I'm all for fishing together if you're up for it, but I see two problems with your proposal:

1. I won't be fishing for a while. Which really sucks. Bad.

2. I have no idea who/what you are or what you look like, so it would not surprise me if I saw you at the river and, not knowing you, I wound up walking right past you, being that I'm anti-social like that.

: )

Linda said...

um......yeah....I guess this guy is bigger than some of the others you have caught. If nothing else at least you were able to get out and enjoy. Happy Fishing!

Colorado Angler said...

Yeah, he's a big one, alright. Along the lines of the ones I snagged last year on this river.

Happy fishing, indeed! Too bad the warmer weather is past us now - I'm not quite ready for winter!

Jeff Allen said...

Bugger on the release! My wife actually gets FURIOUS when she loses a fish or doesn't get a good picture. Which is funny, because I've been fishing so long that she's sitting there yelling and steaming mad, and I'm sitting there laughing. It's a pretty comical sight on the river.

It seriously takes her 5 - 10 minutes to cool down!

Yeah, Fall weather and low flows can put the fish glued on the bottom there. We may be heading up there today to give it a go. I'll let you know how it goes.