Early Morning Madness

The last time I ventured out to the water, it was a comedy of errors - chock-full of insane goodness. This time around, however, I was proactive to insure that my time at the river would be pleasant. Having packed all my gear on Thursday night, the only thing I had to worry about at 3:00 am Saturday morning was how much bacon I wanted to put on my egg and cheese biscuit.

That's right - I cut out the middle-man (middle....clown, perhaps?) and bought a box of Jimmy Dean breakfast biscuits - which I add extra bacon to because, let's be adults here....is there such a thing as too much bacon? Of course there isn't....and these folks seem to agree. Their slogan kicks MAJOR butt: 'Everything should taste like Bacon' Damn straight.

Wait a minute, you say...3 am? That's right...3 am. Here's why:
  1. It's summer - the light at 5 am is perfect for fishing.
  2. Crowds. Saturday up in the high country is crowded...crowds make me cranky.
  3. Monsoon season. Which, here in Colorado, means severe afternoon storms...which has basically been the pattern since...oh, MARCH??!!?!?!
So, I hit the river early to avoid the crowds, have a great time, and then blow town about the time the storms are rolling in. Pretty simple.

Needless to say, I was at the water's edge just a little before 6 am, and the fish were out and about in a big way. So, as is my protocol when fishing the canyon, I started off by throwing some scuds at 'em....and they went nuts. They hit that fly hard...one after another. The first three fish that I set...I lost. But the fourth wasn't so lucky. Or the fifth, sixth and seventh for that matter.

And let me tell you about the seventh one - he worked me over good by dragging my carcass up and down the river, through weeds and bushes...I tripped several times in the process, and even went down on my ass when I accidentally stepped off the bank while watching him. It was a classic fight, and judging by the video, we we're both out of gas...

After that I managed to set two more fish - the first one popped, and the second one snapped my line and, in the process, took the last of my yellow/brown scud patterns. So I tied on an olive variation, but the fish were having nothing to do with it - they loved the brown scuds and I was out.

After that it was hit and miss - I hooked up a nice fish on a hare's ear (my LAST hare's ear) and he snapped my line. Hit one on a chartreuse Zebra...and my line snapped. What are ya going to do? There was some big fish in the river on Saturday...including one that was a monster.

While scoping the water, I noticed a dark shape moving upriver, and my jaw dropped. On the Taylor, a fish this big is pretty common - but in the Canyon? You don't see them very often. The last time I saw one this big, was last December, when Eva and I were fishing the Deckers area, and she helped me hook the darn thing.

This fish was easily in the 30 inch range...probably tipping the scales at the 6-8 lb. mark...and it parked right in front of me, in the middle of the river, on a nice, simple seam. It was like hitting the lottery. I sat there and stared, before changing out my tippet and making sure my knots were all nice and tidy. After filming the beast (as proof), I moved downstream a few paces and started to cast to him - hitting perfect drifts...and then he bolted. Off to the far side of the river...and then back down towards the fence-line. Ah well. Next time.

After that it got a little slow...and hot. By 11 am I had gone through both bottles of water that I had packed in...and there was a nasty storm brewing just to the north, so I opted to head on out. It was an incredible day...I hooked a lot of fish...and netted some really nice trout, so I had no complaints. By the time I got back to my truck and changed, the rain started coming down pretty heavy.

Yeah, that 3 am wake-up call was right on the money.