Take it Like a Man

I essentially dropped off the face of the earth for a bit - and aside from a quick trip to the Taylor C&R over the Memorial Day weekend and the Kid's Day event in mid June, my life has been devoid of fishing-related activities.

About the only thing keeping me sane is the memory of sticking and landing a fat, squishy 28 inch bow on the Taylor, along with a few other choice slabs.

But, like Marlon Brando riding a moped, that memory is only going to go so far before it falls apart...and folks, let me tell you something, it's coming apart faster than Rod Blagojevich's defense strategy.

In other words, I need to fish. STAT.

However, if there was ever a time to be mired up to my eyeballs in work and unable to wet a line, it has been the past few weeks - with weather that's been more unpredictable than the recent NCAA conference re-alignments and rivers raging harder than Mike "I'm a Man!" Gundy during his (now) infamous rant, I'd like to think that I haven't missed out on too much.

So on the first weekend that I've had free in a while, there was absolutely no question as to where I was headed - the Canyon.

Little dirty ponds full of stockers, Blue Gill and Bass are cool, but I'm a man! I'm 40 and I need some manly tail-water action. And that, my sticky little friends, is the catalyst to getting up at 3 am on a Saturday, even though I can't remember the last time I've had a full 6 hours of sleep.

Gear? Check. Breakfast biscuit with extra bacon? Check. Ice-cold coke and a new can o' dip? Damn straight.

When I first got to the water, I saw that the flows were down to about average for this time of year - a tad off-color, but nothing to worry about. And there were fish everywhere and some of them were in the large-ish, BBF category.

For the most part, they were in shallow water within 5-10 feet of the bank, in seams that we anglers live for. No fancy mending or creative drifting required, but do you think I could stick any of them? Hell no. And it wasn't for lack of trying or lousy presentations, either.

At one point, late in the morning, I had a group of fish (8 of the SOBs) bunched together within a run about 4 feet from where I was standing. I fished to them for what seemed like hours and hit nary a one. Nada. Zip. Zero.

You want to talk frustrating? Try it and see if a few choice words don't fly out of your mouth. It even got to the point where I was talking to them...pleading with them, and trying to coax them into feeding on what I was throwing their way.

But, like Eva during one of my caffeine-fueled rants, they chose to ignore me.

The really strange thing is, most of the fish I saw today were not actively feeding like one would expect - they were low and showing little to no signs of movement. Every once in a while you would see one move slightly and eat, but that was the exception rather than the rule.

Now, I wonder...the moon was big and we actually experienced a partial lunar eclipse around 5 am...coincidence? Perhaps...or maybe just a convenient excuse for me to cover up a fly fishing failure of EPIC proportions?

The three that I did see actively moving up and down in the columns I managed to stick - so the old man can still take a fish when they're showing signs of life, which is a relief. Had I been completely shut out, I would have been cranky as hell and feeling a bit insecure, since I know there's no little blue pill that can solve fishing problems.

Anyway, next up, is a well-earned vacation that should find me on the Provo and Frying Pan, with a possible trip out to Bigerrfish's neck of the woods for some potential hog rolling on the Gunni.

And rest assured, I'll be back in the Canyon within the next week as well, to dish out some payback...oh yes, I will have revenge...because I'm a man. I'm 40. And I can do that.


Kids Day 2010

Every year, a group of fellas (known as the High Plains Drifters) put together an event that is specifically geared towards teaching kids all about the sport of fly fishing.

Actually, it's a little more than just educating the wee ones on throwing a fly - they also make it a point to teach them about river conservation, aquatic insects and their life cycles, knots and fly tying.

It's a fantastic clinic and one that I have been looking forward to for over a year now, and the fact that it was Father's Day weekend just made the event all that much more special.

For some time now, I've slowly been introducing my son to fly fishing - nothing too extreme, just a little taste here and there to get him familiar with it.

From occasional casting practice, to fly tying, at almost 7 years old, he's no stranger to the sport that consumes me. He's also been with me on the river a time or two, and has seen some fish action...

So having some familiarity with it all, my son had a lot of fun rotating through the individual stations with his small group - fly tying (San Juan Worms), fish identification (including where and how they live), and the aquatic bug presentation put on by a gentleman from the Denver Butterfly Pavilion.

And I have to admit, it was all extremely interesting to me, as well - including the talk by Landon Mayer, who brought along some videos and pictures of some rather impressive trout that were caught on streamers - which got the kids (and some adults, too) really pumped up.

After that, the kids all got together with Landon for a group photo.

Around lunch time, we all moved over to Lake Lehow for some hot dogs and chips, followed by the chance to put everything the kids had learned that morning into action.

By the time Tristan and I wrapped up the afternoon, he had hooked several decent trout (they loved the BDSP) in about the 12 inch range, 1 bass on a hopper pattern (he LOVED seeing him take it from the surface, followed by a nice fight) and more Bluegill than you can shake a stick at (30-40 on a simple #22 red midge pattern).

It was an absolutely great time for the both of us, and I want to thank the guys over at High Plains Drifters for a job well done - they don't have to do this, but they volunteer their time and money to help introduce younger folks to this sport, and they have my utmost respect and appreciation.