The 1st of May - known as May Day and traditionally associated with labor relations and Socialist ideals. Who cares, I'm going fishing.
After my last outing (which I never got around to posting), I was thinking of heading to the Frying Pan, or even the Taylor river, for a weekend away and some sub hunting, since the only fish I've been pulling lately have been small.
But given the wacky Spring weather that we experience here along the front range of the Rockies, those plans were quickly changed.
From clear, blue skies and temps in the high 70's to golf-ball sized hail, tornadoes, rain/sleet/snow/a visit from Joe Biden in the space of a couple of hours. Yeah, it can get ugly real quick at this time of year.
With the high passes looking to get their share of grief (which they did), I made a game-time decision to stay close to home and, once again, found myself on familiar waters.
As it turned out, the Platte was itching for a fight, and I was more than willing to oblige.
Like a bug to a zapper, I was drawn to the same spot that I've been on since January - and like a bug, I got smoked. The night before, I had changed out to 7x, anticipating the lower flows and sketchy fish - and by mid-morning I was a pathetic 3-9 in the netting department.
After several hours of fishing, the angles, rocks and fish all combined to methodically beat my ass into a prone position. I finally decided to change out my line to 5x, and that only helped the Platte to pitch a shut-out.
So, I took a lunch break to regroup - changed my line back to 7x and finally decided that I had had enough. For the past four months, I've been hell-bent on trying to make my fishing as tough as possible - I had paid my dues and then some, and now I just wanted to fish.
After an hour's break, I moved up-river to an area that provided 'normal' fishing, and within the space of ten minutes, I had landed two nice fish - a harbinger of the 'Grade A' beat-down I was about to level on the Canyon.
A lot of my success had to do with the fly I was using...it had produced all morning under brutal conditions on the rock...but unleashed here, in some decent water, it was downright deadly.
But also, after months of a self-imposed exile between two boulders, fighting the impossible drifts, angles and depths, fishing on straight seams was almost effortless.
I'm convinced that all of those days spent on that uncaring rock were more valuable than all of the fishing trips of the past few years, combined - no amount of magazines, books, bullshit sessions or hired guns could have taught me what I've learned there.
As a result, I was nailing obscene numbers - some popped off the hook, some snapped my line, while the unfortunate ones found their way into my net. Some were big, some were small and others were just right - but it didn't matter, since it was turning out to be a day that was off the charts. The gloves were off, and it felt good to kick some ass.
After a rough three weeks, it was nice to relieve the frustration by dropping the hammer on some fish - most of the time, I didn't even bother with video - I was in the moment and enjoying the sport, and wound up with the single greatest day of fishing I've had in recent memory.
A few times, when it was convenient, I did pull out the camera, but as backwards as it may sound, the largest fish I caught, I didn't film. In the 21 inch range, he put up one helluva fight - and when I finally managed to get him to net, I found myself out in the water, and my camera was on shore, next to my backpack. Without hesitation, I released him.
For the most part capturing video or thinking about this blog were not at the forefront of my mind this time around. Actually, there wasn't much going on in my head - I had tuned out work, life...everything. For about 8 hours Saturday I had escaped into a place that I sorely needed to be.
It was just me, the river, and the fish. And it was epic.