Angling Antithesis

Wow, I got lucky. No, not like that...I'm talking about fishing. As in, I've been able to get out on the water twice this month.

And although I'm not one to stare a gift-horse in the mouth (unless said horse gives the appearance of being able to sing in a disturbing fashion*), I can't help but wonder what price I'm destined to pay for this miraculous gift...

First born? The chewed-up remnants of my soul? Having to sit through a Dane Cook special?

*And let me add that, while I find 'talking animals' seductively freaky, puppets are in a class unto themselves - and this video is no exception.

My schedule, as of late, has cooled down some, and I've managed to slip into a nice holding pattern, which suites me just fine, since I've got a laundry list of items that still needs doing.

And at the top o' that list, is getting my rod(s) repaired. Which I've been procrastinating on, because...let's be honest here, I'm an idiot.

Since I've managed to be stupid and haven't sent the broken ones in yet, I guess I'll just have to pony up for a new stick. And for those of you keeping track, that's two equine references thus far. I kick ass!

Good thing I know people...as in, folks that sell fly fishing stuff. Granted, it's probably not as beneficial as knowing someone that's in, say...the mafia, but it'll have to do for now, being that I'm in the market for a rod, not a pair of 'concrete shoes'.

Sporting 9-feet of TFO fast-action equalization (thanks M!), I was more than ready for a day of poking chubbies, come rain, sleet, snow or arterial spray. Well, maybe not the snow, since the roads can get treacherous in those conditions.

While I'm not one for checking flows or fishing reports (since I suck regardless of the conditions) I do check the weather, as this will tell me what kind of food I should pack (bet you've never heard THAT before).

And taking a peek at the forecast, it was looking fairly promising...until the weekend. Those darn Amish did it to me again.

After a less-than-stellar winter, that saw limited time on the water, I'm looking at that forecast and salivating like a stray in a butcher shop. What to do? Enjoy a day of spring-like temps, or wait and hit the river in cooler conditions?

I hate making decisions....so instead, I decided to let Fate determine my course of action - a vulgar display of decision-making power, as demonstrated by me. Yea, me!

My relationship with Fate has been a love/hate sort of deal...okay, mostly hate. Especially when she's been hitting the sauce - then it gets really ugly.

But this time around, she was purring like a kitten and much kinder to me than usual, and she got me to the water on a spectacular day...which, again, makes me suspicious as hell and a little uneasy.

While the temps were going to be pushing close to 70 along the front range, early morning in the canyon was brutally cold. All of my gear wound up with a generous coat of hoar frost - my line and guides were practically useless due to the ice build-up, and the felt-inserts on my boots kept freezing to the rock I was standing on.

Before the sun rose, it was more about 'survival' than actually fishing. I only managed one hook-up that first hour, and thanks to frozen gloves, frigid lines and ice on the rock that I was using as a perch, it turned into a comedy of errors and my catch eventually shook the hook to freedom.

After some hot cider (ahhhh!) and a little timeout to get the circulation going, I was ready to hit it just as the sun was lighting the canyon. Actually, I hit it out of the park.

Smashed a nice-sized 'bow on a Zebra, lost another when the knot on my fly came undone (knot-tying FAIL) , popped a hook on another...

...and then, somewhere around noon-ish, the bugaloos were swarming and the smaller fish went ape-shit. They were all over - sipping from the top, taking from below and hammering the goods in the middle. It was a feeding frenzy that continued, on and off, for the better part of two hours.

Looking back on it now, I wish I would have stopped to get some footage...it was quite the sight.

Instead, I pulled most of my weight, greased up a #26 RS2 (tan) and proceeded to pick them off, one by one. They were all in the 10-14 inch range, so I didn't even bother with the net (or camera) - just stripped the line in, popped the hook, and cast again.

Lather, rinse, repeat. It was a kick in the pants, since the little fellas really think they're tough and fight like hell to get away - unadulterated entertainment, plain and simple.

After that, I rolled a couple more decent-sized fish, and then decided to call it a day. The Fish Gods saw fit to bless me with an epic outing, so there's no sense in being overly greedy.

This time out I didn't lose any fish to the rocks on either side of me...came close one time with a pissy little brown, but I eventually won out. So take THAT you stoopid over-achieving pebbles...

I also managed to foul-hook two fish - which I don't count. However, I figure that's not too bad considering that this was my first full day of fishing sans an indicator. I'm trying to wean myself off of using them, and simply trusting in the power of the 'dark arts' to guide my fishing.

Another note-worthy piece - I went a whole day with some heavy action and never snapped my line. Which tweaks my melon, since I was throwing 7x instead of my usual 5x. That stuff actually held up to the rocks and punishment better than the heavier line. Go figure.

So...two trips in March, one was great, with the other being exceptional. A little tough to follow up those two performances, unless I can somehow manage to incorporate a singing horse and some puppets into the next outing.


Kicking Butt and Breaking Things

I managed to dodge a bullet - much to the disappointment of a lot of vultures...er, people.

Whatever I had, didn't kill me and I wound up convalescing on the road, which, as we all know, is the ideal place to get one's health in order....which may explain why I'm still trying to shake this crud.

When all was said and done, I found myself with a wafer-thin opportunity to fish...and then it SNOWED FOR THREE DAYS and completely erased any chances that I had of hitting the river.

And that, kids, is unjust and inhumane - plain and simple.

Now I could point the finger at any number of people for this, but will instead, blame the Amish on my misfortune (since the odds are in my favor that they'll never see this).

Which is good, since I'm not sure how I would handle being on the receiving end of a Mennonite beat-down...

"Brother Angler, thou hast gone too far! Prepare thy buttocks for a righteous kicking...just as soon as we finish raising this barn."
Jump forward a week or so, and the stars have aligned: Saturday's forecast was showing sunny, dry and 55 degrees, and my schedule was WFO. If ever there was a time to squeal like a little school girl, this would be it.

But I refrained, being that I'm a guy.

Instead, I opted to pee myself, while leaving little concentric circles on the carpet, like an over-excited puppy, as I danced around in joy at the prospect of hitting the water in some mighty fine weather.

By early Friday night, my bags were packed and my gear was stacked. The only thing standing between me and the river's embrace was about 5 hours of sleep. Stoopid need for sleep...

Funny, it takes an act of divine proportions to drag my rusty frame out of bed on a morning I have to work. Not so on fishing days - alarm goes off, and I'm out of the rack before I'm fully awake, dragging the sandman, kicking and screaming, down the hall.

Its all about priorities, I guess.

For once I actually timed it right on the money - I got to the water's edge just as it got light enough to see. I scoped out the Family Pool first, but didn't see a whole lot of action to be had there, so moved on up to the Ice Box.

And, as usual, there were fish a-plenty. Throughout the day, I hooked and played quite a few - several which I lost...one to the rock and three more to popped hooks and snapped tippet. The weather was spectacular, and the fishing was just as good.

I actually managed to net half-a-dozen nice fish...and wouldn't you know it, my video camera decided it didn't want to play anymore somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd fish.

So much for that - it's been a good little camera, and it's seen it's share of abuse. It's endured ridicule by it's older twin 'brothers', the SONYs, and my son and his friends as they set out to capture proof of the afterlife. It's been dropped, frozen, baked and rolled over (long story).

I think it's safe to say that I got my money's worth from it, especially being that it was a freebie from a client to begin with.

Oh, and the trail of broken items doesn't end there, either. Oh no...

There had been a fish that I had watched all day - parked further out in the river, and riding the sandy bottom tight. From time to time I would throw a few casts his way, just on the off-chance I could get him to go for it.

Finally, late in the day, as the canyon was moving into shadows, I tossed my line his way. Once. Twice. And on the third try, I set him. He wasn't freakishly large, but he wasn't small, either - I'd say average for this spot, which is in the 20 inch range. A nice fish, and even more impressive when he came out of the water.

And as he did, I stripped the excess line, and brought my pole back, like I've done countless times before....only this time, I heard a loud CRACK!

WTF? My rod simply snapped. Broke. In two. I just sat there and stared at the damn thing, as the top half slid down the line and into the water. So I started hauling by hand...basically horsing the fish in, until the tippet gave out and cut the fish loose.

As great as the fishing had been, it was a real buzz-kill to prematurely end the day like this.

I wish I could say that my rod broke as I grappled with a beast of a fish - a record-sized cut-bow that was fighting like hell to get away, while I tirelessly struggled to get him to net. But I can't.

But, it was all worth it - I can always use an excuse to buy a new video camera and the folks over at TFO will be more than happy to help me out on the rod-end of things. Yeah, in terms of fishing days, they don't get much better than this after a long winter.

But that doesn't mean I still can't blame the Amish for the camera and rod...