Old Man Winter

Ok, so it was cold this morning. How cold, you ask? Really cold. Single-digit-freeze-your-guides-and-line cold. The put-your-hands-in-the-river-and-it-feels-warm kind of cold.

As if all the holiday decorations at the store weren't a big enough clue, the frigid temps and snowstorms we had this past week were a pretty good indication that Old Man winter had silently crept through the backdoor while I wasn't looking. Stoopid non-attentive eyeballs...

Not that cold weather would stop me from fishing - oh no, being about as thick as cement, it doesn't occur to me to stay home - the allure of popping some chubbies trumps what little common sense I do have, regardless of the temps.

Besides, winter has a way of culling the herds, eliminating the fair-weather anglers, which equates to fewer bodies on the water - and this greatly pleases the little anti-social gremlin that lives in my psyche.

For every 2 anglers packing up their gear for the season, there's always a nut-case like me still chugging along with indifference. And I'd venture to guess that some of you are the same way. Freaks.

Lacking common sense, I was at the river's edge at first light - and I was surprised at the water level. This time of year, flows should be down to a Larry-King-at-the-Urinal trickle, minus all of the grunting. However, the water levels were up again, and it was stained to the point that I really couldn't spot much of anything in the low-light conditions.

Not being able to spot targets, I spent the morning blind fishing runs, and managed to pull out a few smaller fish. And by smaller, I mean in the 6-10 inch range. On two of them, I didn't even realize that I had hooked them, so at the end of my drift, I pulled my line to recast and...OOOOPS.....airborne fish.

Yeah, not a good thing. Fortunately, they both survived the G's and their brief role as test pilots.

Actually, it was a smallish kinda day - by the time I left at 1 pm, I had pulled 11 of the little fellas out of the river.

Now, when the sun finally did manage to get up high enough....the clouds moved in. But not before I managed to zero in on several larger tubs in the Ice Box. With the higher flows, however, they were down deep, but they were all active.

So, lobbing some depth charges, I managed to bite into 3 nice subs - all in the 20 inch range. Two of them got lucky and managed to shake the hook after a nice fight, but one of them made it to the net. Oh yeah!

The only downside to an otherwise epic day? Burying a hook into my left index finger, and slicing my right index finger with the 7x. Seriously...that stuff was like a razor - cut clean and deep, and you KNOW it's bad when there's very little blood. Still hurts like hell as I'm typing this.

Not a good day to be an index finger, obviously.

Ah well - it was a great last day in the Canyon for 2010 - the parking lot will be closed for about 8 weeks, so it will be a while before I get to fish it again.

Frying Pan, anyone?


All Hallow's Eve

It's that time of the year - spooks abound, on the television, in advertising...and on the river, apparently.

And spooky is a great description as to how the fish have been acting - the smallest movements, the littlest flash from something shiny, and they are GONE.

And the numbers...where did all the fish go? Perhaps the same place my socks go to when in the dryer? It wouldn't surprise me to know that, somewhere, in between dimensions, there is a pile of my socks with a shit-load of fish just hanging out around them. Laughing.

Ah well, maybe I've just become spoiled and this is actually the norm - but it sure doesn't mean I have to like it.

Weather-wise, however, it's been nothing but fantastic - chilly autumn mornings, and mild (sometimes hot) afternoons. And with the water levels up, one would expect a bonanza of fishy targets to aim for, as the browns get freaky and the fish all start to gorge themselves for the upcoming winter.

But it ain't happening. At least, not when I've been around. Now, I know I can kill a good time faster than a positive reading on your swab test, but give me a break already.

This past weekend was a repeat of the past few trips to the river - fewer fish, that are a lot more sketchy than I've seen in some time.

I managed my first catch of the morning by basically crawling on my hands and knees to the edge of the water, while using a stand of brush as my cover.

Parked in about 4 inches of virtually dead water, I held no hope of keeping him close after throwing my line - but miraculously, he didn't flinch when I tossed my fly a couple feet ahead of him.

The really stupid part of this story is, with practically no current in the water, I was forced to slowly 'tug' my line downstream, pulling my fly closer to the fish....I admit, that this is pathetic, but desperate times call for desperate measures...

The amazing part of the story is, not being able to tell where my fly was at, or even if the fish was somehow fooled by it's ridiculously unnatural movement, I set my line....and I'll be damned, I nailed him.

Surprise doesn't even begin to describe my reaction. Utter disbelief, is probably more accurate. In any case, I caught myself a fairly decent fish.

After that it was up to the Ice Box...where pickings were just as slim.

I spotted one nice fish in an outside seam, actively feeding - on the surface, it appeared to be an easy drift, but upon further inspection, it was apparent that he was feeding on the back eddy of a rock that was sandwiched between two currents.

While I strive for some challenge in my fishing...this was pushing the limits of my adventurous side. In situations like this, it's not about skill, but rather numbers (of casts) and blind luck.

The one positive I had going for me is that the fish did not run. No matter how many times I tossed my line, and no matter how often I adjusted my position, that fish didn't bolt - which is great, because I had to work him for the better part of 20 minutes before I finally struck pay dirt.

Come to find out, with damage to his eye, the fish is running blind on the right side - yeah, I'm reduced to picking on the handicapped now.

I managed to call it an early day (which was good, given my lack of sleep the night before) and got home early enough to start handing out goodies to all the kiddies that got an early start on their Halloween fun.

Truth be known, it was a pretty great day - losing a couple of fish, and getting a couple to the net. It's really hard to complain about a day like that.

The next few weeks are fairly booked on my calendar, but, I will make time to re-visit my little, squishy friends in the canyon and, just maybe, by that time, they've all returned from wherever it is they've gone to.

And hopefully they've brought my socks with them.


O Fortuna

For those that may not be up to speed on their Roman mythology, Fortuna is the name of the Goddess that personifies luck. Her more familiar moniker is Lady Luck, which is a name that most of you may recognize.

To me, she is known as Mistress Luck, since I spend most of my time groveling at her booted feet, begging and pleading for a smidgen of love.

Yes, I freely admit I'm a weak man when it comes to women - Goddesses in particular. My Id has thrown me under the bus far too often, so rather than fight it, I just drop and assume the position, hoping it pays off later.

In business terms, this is what we refer to as ROI, or Return on Investment and, yesterday, the returns were not looking all that great. Actually, had my last few trips to the river been reviewed by S&P, the analysis would have had Warren Buffett running for the door.

And speaking of Buffet, that dude still knows how to throw a party. A few years back, during a business trip to Omaha, we were having dinner at Gorat's, a local steak house, and in the room next to us was Warren and his crew. And let me tell you something, they were more rowdy than a frat house on a Saturday night.

Yeah, for an old dude, he still knows how to torch the barn - which is easy to do when you're as loaded as he is.

Anyway, as per the ritual, I made it to the water at first light, cursed the cold, the Amish and the Longhorns in one continuous breath, and then promptly armed my weapon...which was actually a back-up ugly stick, since I unceremoniously crushed my primary rod while gearing up.

Fortunately, I always carry a back-up in my truck, along with jumper cables, tools and the ever-important pack of Bubble Yum. I don't recall having placed that last one on the necessary item list, but then again, I don't seem to recall getting a cat, either, even though I found one lounging on my couch last week, as if it had always been there.

Seven-year olds are a kick in the pants and, if you haven't already, I highly suggest picking one up the next time you're at the store.

Oh, and a little after I pulled into the parking lot, I heard some noises all around me as I was getting ready and turned around to find a pack of coyotes casually strolling through the lot. By the time I had the camera up and running and the headlights turned on, I caught the tail-end (no pun intended) of the last canine (above).

Getting back to the story...an epic day was not in the cards - although the flows were up from my last visit, the fish were scarce. Don't get me wrong, there were some fish hanging about, but they were not present in the numbers that I am used to on this river. Or the sizes, for that matter.

It's as if they all had a party somewhere (Buffet's place, perhaps?) and the only ones left were the unlucky ones that didn't get an invite, either because they weren't cool enough, their mommies dressed them funny, or they smelled of urine.

I managed four hook-ups - but only one made it to my net. The others all spit the fly, with one of them being a big, slow 'Lennie Small' of a fish who was playing all alone in the Ice Box.

This one really displeased me - he was parked in the middle run of the river, and was down low, in about 3 feet of water, so it took me a while to nail the proper drift and depth, which in and of itself, is not a bad thing, since these are the targets I love to set my sights on - the ones that others will pass up after one or two casts because of the difficulty.

So it's really satisfying to finally stick the chubby SOBs, but equally frustrating to lose them after investing so much time and effort (read: actually having to think). In other words, this is an unfavorable ROI.

Add to the frustration quotient the fact that there were limited fish to stalk, and this one really rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously. I felt chafed and itchy for most of the morning after losing this guy - and the expletives that I hurled against the canyon walls are probably still bouncing around up there, indiscriminately scorching the flora and fauna.

Two weeks ago, I actually got a nice 22 inch rainbow to the net (above) in this same stretch - but he wiggled to freedom as I was going for the cliched 'grip n' grin' shot. By the way - caught on a Mamba.

The rest of the time was spent hiking the canyon, looking for some action - but overall, it was actually a really great day. The weather was outstanding, the traffic on the river was minimal, and THE Ohio State got some humility rammed in their collective 'buckeyes' on a trip to Madison.

I can't really argue with that - mainly because I need to get over to Fortuna's house and start groveling again.


Change of a Season

"Grey-bearded rime hangs on the morn,
And what’s to come too true declares;
The ice-drop hardens on the thorn,
And winter’s starving bed prepares."

John Clare - Autumn

Although the temps have been unseasonably warm here along the front-range, the calendar says that autumn should be in full swing right about now. And the calendar is right, even if the weather here in Denver says otherwise.

Higher up it's fairly obvious now, with a difference of color in the foliage and mornings that bristle with much cooler temperatures. Actually, they could be considered cold, until the sun reveals it's warm, chewy goodness, that is.

Early on, you need to bundle up like that little dude in a Christmas Story and, as the morning progresses, you have to start losing articles of clothing faster than a stripper working a group of Asian businessmen.

Not that I know the nuances of working Asians from a stripper's perspective...it's strictly speculation on my part, but if the economy continues to ravage my portfolio, that may change.

Yeah, I'm nit-picking and trying to find something to complain about...after all, stopping to remove one's clothing isn't all that painful - unless it's at gun point. And the guy holding the gun keeps referring to your mouth as 'purty'. But I digress...

Actually, I consider myself fortunate for many reasons, and the fact that I get the opportunity to fish as often as I do is one of them. Not having to undress for the erotic entertainment of inbred hillbillies would be another.

While I didn't get to follow through with my original plans of an extended weekend of fishing central Colorado, I did find myself, fully clothed, and on my way to the usual haunts a few hours after ushering in the month of October which, again, is another check in the box next to fortunate.

As always, it was early, since I'm just not one to be 'burning daylight' where fishing is concerned. Hell, I don't even 'burn night-time' when it comes to fishing. While I subscribe to the idea that one should never be late for fishing, being on time is still being late, in my opinion.

And I was the one that was late today. Pulling into the parking lot, I found Susan already there and gearing up, proudly parked in pole position. Damn. Being that she is such a kick-ass fishing partner, I give her full credit for her enthusiasm and freely admit that I got beat - this time.

So there I was, with a full day of fishing ahead of me, and a brand new net clenched tightly in my grubby little digits. That's right, a new net to replace the other 'new' net that isn't up to snuff when it comes to bagging the ladies.

Shallow, concave nets force the fish onto their sides...which causes them to flop, sometimes, right out of the basket.

My new net (which is the same as the old net that I lost) is deep, made of rubber so it doesn't harm the fish and, best of all, has a flat bottom, so the fish can sit upright, which keeps them from freaking out.

So now I have a fishing buddy and a new net to make the day that much more pleasant. The only thing that could have made it any more fantastic would be a talking monkey wearing a fez cap. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Excited as I was, my mood soured a bit once we got stream-side - water levels were loooooow. And from the waterline on the bank, it was obvious that the flows had been adjusted sometime in the past 24 hours...and that's never a good sign.

And sure enough, the fish were meth-head paranoid and flighty. One cast upriver from them, and they were gone faster than $50 dollar laptops at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. On top of that, they were not being very co-operative in the 'taking-the-fly- department. Oh no...they required spoon-feeding, today. Spoiled brats.

So with conditions like that, it's a total miracle when you can get a large target (20-23 inches) to stay in one place, while you try to fish to it. That's exactly what Susan had in front of her - a nice, big hog, that was just waiting for her to feed him his breakfast.

Until the dip-shit across the river tossed his gear INTO HER SPOT, slapping the water hard, and scaring the fish away.

What the hell? Did the institute for the Common Sense Challenged have a massive jail-break recently? It seems like river etiquette and critical thinking skills have been sorely lacking these past few months, as these knuckle-draggers descend upon Colorado's waterways.

As I was saying... the fishing was tough....but the weather was nice, and we managed to hook some fish (and lose some fish) - plus, I made some more new friends in the process.

Later in the afternoon, Susan's friend, Andrew, met up with us on the river. Turns out, he's one cool cat, and I'm looking forward to possibly shredding some water with him in the future.

Also, at the end of the day, in the parking lot, I met Scott, who was just coming off the river, and we started to compare notes about our day. To make a long story short, we had a great conversation, and it was the perfect way to end an already great day.

On the drive home, it sunk in how much I actually appreciate days like this - it helps to remind me that sometimes, it's not always about the fish, but rather, good friends, fantastic weather, and sharing a passion.

Of course, a talking monkey would make it even better...unless he referred to my mouth as 'purty'.


Hammer Down

Yea...it's been a while since I last made a post - partly because the last two trips to the river were relatively uneventful. Except for a couple of average fish, my last couple of outings has been an orgy of snapped lines and popped hooks, which doesn't make for an interesting blog entry.

However, I did manage to hit the river with Josh (aka Bigerrfish) one weekend, and we had a good time - from disappearing fish, to the elusive (yet all too real) hummingbird hatch, to a fish eating a bat, the day seemed to have it all. Except some fish to net.

The following week, I was on the water with Susan and Laurel ("...did you really have one on?") - again, great time, but lots of lost fish. And flies.

And if there is one way to get me riled up for some payback, it's by sandbagging me on the water.

So with about three weeks worth of frustration at critical mass, I hit the river early this morning. Matter of fact, I was a little too early, and spent the first twenty minutes blind fishing in the dark - and managed to pull out a sickly little fella.

Seriously, this guy was like a side-show freak - larger melon with bulging eyes, humped back and elongated fins. Bizarre. After releasing Quasimodo, I used a ton of hand-sanitizer, just to be safe.

A little after that, it became light enough to see and I proceeded to unleash hell upon those fish. Weeks of frustration dropped like a ton of bricks...and it felt good.

A handful of little fellas, and quite a few lunkers, to boot. And yes, I lost some to popped hooks and snapped lines, as well.

It was about as close to perfect as it gets - except for two things:

My new net. It totally sucks. Not only is it not deep enough, but it's just too damn small. I lost two fish when they 'flipped' out of the net and back into the water. Rest assured, I'll be picking me up a new one this week...like my previous one. Stoopid shallow net.

Secondly, around 11 am my body started cannibalizing itself from hunger - so I decided to take a quick break to eat some food, only to find SURPRISE! I forgot to pack my grub. Now, this isn't the first time my brain has let me down - the list of disappointments is loooooooong, and I'm starting to think it's about time for a Come to Jesus meeting with my gray matter. Stoopid useless brain.

So, there I was, starving...it was getting hot, and the fishing had slowed down (or maybe it was me and my low blood sugar)...and some loud-mouthed knucklehead comes to the water, and starts fishing right next to me and my gear - in a bright white t-shirt and throwing a line with more gear attached to it than the Space Shuttle prior to launch.

What a tool.

But, after the morning that I had had...I let it all slide, loaded up my pack and called it a day. And what a day it was. Well worth the wait...although some other folks may disagree, when they end up buying the first round.


Semi Epic

Yup. Semi epic. Well, I caught some fish...but since I forgot my net at home, I couldn't get any pictures or video since it was all about trying to get them close enough to remove the hook...and then release them immediately since there was no way I could get any pictures.

Some were average-sized, a couple were big (and snapped my 7x like always). Ah, the 7x - - flows were down and the fish were skittish. Seriously skittish. 5x freaked them out. 6x sort of tweaked their melons. 7 x...well, some fell for it.

And this one, I caught right after I replaced my line from the previous tank that broke me off. Fortunately, there were a couple of folks down river that let me borrow their net. The gentleman was also nice enough to be a hand model so I could get a clean shot of the 'bow (top image).

BDSP (olive version) strikes again.


Fishing in Two Parts

Ouch. Too much work...too many responsibilities. This whole 'adult thing' is not what it's cracked up to be. And bills. Who the hell invented these things? As I've been slaving away at my projects to earn money to...pay bills (imagine that), it occurred to me that, if there weren't any bills, I wouldn't need to work.

Ergo, more time to fish, hang out with my son, or just sit on the couch and watch College Football while inappropriately scratching myself every ten minutes or so.

I know - those brief moments of brilliance are scary, aren't they?

So...trying to juggle tight deadlines, spending quality time with my son, while trying to get him ready for the new school year, I've come to the conclusion that I need a different clock - one with say, 36 hours in the day, instead of the old-fashioned 24 hours that is so yesterday.

And that new clock would also allow a little more wiggle-room for fishing. Which is totally cool, because I need my river time, otherwise, I'd end up on the front page of the Denver Post (read: not good).

But, since I am a loser and don't have a 36 hour clock, I need to make due with what I've got...and what I 'gots' were a few windows of fishing opportunity that just happened to present themselves over the past few weeks.

Actually, I lied. They didn't just 'present' themselves all conveniently like a stripper popping out of cake. No, I made them happen by bending the space/time continuum with my well-worn MEGA flat-head screwdriver (aka Hammish) that I use for everything but screwing (Yes, I realize how wrong that sounds. Freaks).

Originally designed for maintenance on military aircraft, it's a lunker and far too big for every-day-around-the-house screwing (stop it). So instead, I've focused it's powers for my own personal gain.

Impacted molar? Hammish is also an amateur DDS. Tristan stuck in the duct-work again? Step aside and let Hammish handle that. Bank tacked on another senseless fee? Hammish thrives on righting a wrong.

As you can see, there isn't much Hammish can't do - including the ability to bend the very fabric of our existence, when needed.

So a while back, before my life became measured in bechmarks, deadlines and outlandish requests, I had tied up some old-school Pheasant Tails and some Killer Bugs, and I was eager to try them out on the river...which I did, (thanks Hammish!).

Flows, however, were up that day, so the PTs didn't quite earn the Belle of the Ball label. The Killer Bugs, however, were able to pull a few fish, which makes sense, given the conditions. Ultimately, though, it was the worms that did all the work. And work they did.

There were a lot of big fish in the water that day, and I lost a lot of them. I'm starting to think that I might be 'big fish challenged' given how they always kick my ass. Especially this year - I've lost a lot of big fish in 2010.

I can stick 'em, I just can't seem to get them to net as of late.

The biggest of the day was a beautiful, active 25 inch-ish Rainbow. Solid. Healthy. And it was a clean, fair set, but after a little teasing and fighting, he broke me off.

A couple more in the 20 inch-ish range...also gone.

So anyway, the day was great - the fishing was awesome, and I got to play some mighty big fish. I'll take it.


Now, every year, my son and I go camping - it's our special weekend to get away, ride, enjoy some 'fire food' and deal with free-range cattle that keep you up all night.

This is also the one time of year I get to go Hulk with my chain-saw on all of the dead-fall...which appeases the reptilian part of my gray-matter.

We also manage a little fishing (duh)...on the Taylor, which is my favorite stretch of water. Period.

The sheer number of fish in this section of the river never ceases to amaze me. And the sizes are off the charts. If there is a Heaven (or Hell, depending on your experience there) for me, this would be a possibility of what it might look like.

Minus the crowds, of course, and maybe throw in Kate Beckinsdale just for good measure.

When I die, I've requested that my ashes be thrown haphazardly around the place, so if you want to keep me from coming home with you, I'd suggest you keep your dog from rolling around in the dirt and clean your boots thoroughly after my ticket gets punched.

Now, for those that are familiar with this water, you know how tough it can be to nail some of those fish. 'Technical Water' is a term you hear quite a bit in regards to the Taylor.

While I have my own theories, the fact remains that it does seem to be tough to hook the fish there - so I helped Tristan with his cast, drift and set, and together, we managed about a handful of the slower 'D-student' fish in the C&R section.

After my son had had his fill, and his attention turned to digging in the bank on the side of the river, it was time for the old man to put the smack-down on some fatties.

And these larger fish aren't going to fall for a #18 Black Mamba or Zebra like their less-than-stellar smaller kin - oh noooo. In the past, I've had great luck with the BDSP on this water - but I was out, so those were not an option.

Enter Plan B, which should actually still be the original Plan A, since I normally go this route anyway on this river - but I went smaller. Much smaller. In the #24-#26 range.

Nothing fancy - just simple little thread midges in olive, red, white and black. And I scored pay dirt. While there were some 'normal' fish, in the 15-18 range, there were also three rather large fish - all well over 20 inches - that fell for my delectable mini-treats.

And, since I'm not one to break precedence, I decided to snap two of them off just to keep with this year's theme ("Hook Big Fish - Lose Big Fish 2010").

But I did manage to net a sweet brown.

Now, normally, I would be peeved to have lost the two larger mules - since coming to the Taylor is all about sticking the slabs - but earlier in the year, over the Memorial Day weekend, I hooked and landed (I shudder to think what price I'll have to pay for that miracle) a nice 28 inch-ish Bow, so my monster quest for 2010 has already been filled.

Anything above and beyond that, now, is just a little bonus thrown my way by the Fish Gods. Last year at this time, I was desperately running the two-minute drill to get my yearly 'white whale'...and barely eeked one through the uprights in the closing seconds of the 4th to win the game.

No worries like that this year - I can put this baby to sleep knowing I hit my quota back in May. Granted, babies wiggle and toss and make all sorts of noises when they're playing grab-ass with the Sandman...so another Taylor run isn't totally out of the question before the pass is closed.

But on the docket now, is an un-hurried trip to the Canyon in the next few days, followed by a return visit the following weekend when Bigerrfish makes his way out here.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and find a 36 hour clock on eBay.


Living a Dream...

Nice - fourth time in the Canyon in less than three weeks? All that clean living must be paying off for me....

Actually, my schedule has had me close to home for a bit, and it just so happens that I've had a little extra time to hit the river.

And believe me, when I see an opportunity like that, I'm going to grab it and run like hell - just like Orpah with your Twinkies.

Now, I've been trying to get some leeway to go fish the Gunnison area, but it's looking like that won't happen, now, until the end of July-er-ish...or there about.

In the meantime, however, I can go back to some familiar haunts and torment the fish there - and we all know that they have it coming.

I think deep down inside their fishy little brains, they know it, too. Which is why they always have that look of 'fake astonishment' on their little fish faces when you get them to net - not unlike small kids when they know you've busted them.

"Hey now! Why'd you do that?" is what they appear to want to say, their eyes wide with disbelief. At least that's how I filter it through my distorted take on reality.

Or maybe I've just spent far too much time alone, on the water, with creatures that have no eye-lids.

Anyway, you know the drill - pack and stack on Thursday...blah blah blah...up at 3 am on Saturday, yeah, yeah...Alpha Male needs meat...so on and so forth.

Having used the literary version of the WABAC(forward?)-machine above, I'm now at the water's edge with far less writing than previous posts and, after saying farewell to Sherman and Peabody, ready to start re-living my own Improbable History segment.

And now that we're at the water's edge, the first order of business is to study the river:

"Water? Yup...its still there and, by the Gods! it's WET just like it's supposed to be..." Yeah, I'm a finely-tuned angling machine.

Once that tedious task is out of the way, its time to roll up the proverbial sleeves and get to work dishing out servings of punishment, Colorado-style (which comes with your choice of red or green chile).

Now, today, the flows were up quite a bit from last week, and the current of the water was moving a helluva lot faster - which had me a little bummed out. High, fast water means adjusting the fishing tactics and using heavier weights. Ugh.

So, I load up the line with some split-shot and drift my fly through a happy bunch o' fish and POW! right in the kisser! And I thought to myself, '...eh, maybe today won't be so bad after all...'

Wrong. That would be the last fish I netted for quite some time and by about 11 am, I was 1-9 and getting a little antsy.

Granted, I was sticking some pretty hefty fish - plus, they were really active and aggressive today, so when you did hook one, it was a serious fight: lots of running and jumping and quite a bit of name calling, crying and ruined mascara, to boot.

Losing a few I can handle....but 8? IN A ROW? Plus, a couple of them were really sweet fish which makes it all that more painful. They would either shake the hook after a tussle, snap the line, bend the hook (twice) or, in one instance, snapped my fly like it was made of plastic.

Also, as the morning ground on, the hits were harder to come by - I came roaring out of the gates early, but by chow time, things were moving at a snail's pace.

So I decided to take a break, eat some lunch, and then decided that if I went 1-10, I would raise the white flag, flee to the comforting shelter of my home and, once there, wallow in my suffocating misfortune while I plotted my revenge.

And maybe do some laundry. You know, multi-task...plotting/laundry....that sort of thing.

Now, for the 'final' attempt before my planned walk of shame, I decided to go old-school, and attached a #20 Pheasant Tail (a solid TMC 2487). I also decided to go Medieval and changed out to 4x. Yeah, I know....Medieval Old School....someone stop me before I hurt someone...

After that, the fish started to roll on in...nice fish. Big fish. Pissed off fish. That 4x was about as harsh a mistress as money can buy (not that I would know.)...and the Pheasant Tail? They were hitting that fly like it was a speed-bag.

And they only wanted the #20 - I lost one fly, and tied on a #18, and got skunked. Digging through my pack, I found two more #20s and, tying one on, was back in business in no time.

I managed to take a few from the deep runs, but where I really did some damage was in the flats above the Family Pool, where they were piled up like the skeletons in my closet.

I turned that section of river into my own personal fish farm and there was nothing they could do about it.

The icing on the cake was that the 'crowds' were not an issue - where I was, I saw 3 people all day. It was the kind of day that dreams are made of...provided you dream about fishing, and not about being chased by rabid clowns, having your teeth fall out or, God forbid, Carrot Top.

So, having narrowly averted a stint in the 'Cone of Shame', I can rest easy now. But that doesn't mean I still won't plot against them while doing my laundry.


...Let Slip the Dogs of War

Ok, so my plans to make it out to fish the Gunni (or whatever other water Bigerrfish was going to subject me to) fell through for this weekend, so as a back-up plan, I set my sights on the Canyon.

Which isn't a bad thing, since I have some unfinished business up there with some aquatic life that I won't name....simply because I'm not a fish whisperer and privy to their identities, so labels such as Fish 1, Fish 2 and "...the bastard that snapped my line..." will have to do.

Let me recap: at the end of June I went in there and barely escaped with 3 netted fish after a long, hard day of fishing.

Last Friday (7/9), I went in there, all touchy-feely, and wound up getting smacked around like a Rodney King pinata at an LAPD birthday bash.

Going 0-5, in as many hours, was like waking up in the morning to find a naked Nancy Grace passed out next to me - the disgust and self-loathing was almost too much to bear.

It's obvious that the distractions of the past four months have softened my angling edge, and I've been fishing like a metro-sexual daintily sipping his double-latte-mocha-sheeple-frappuccino while browsing antiques, INSTEAD OF the aggressive, testosterone-laden Guerilla Angler that I truly am.

Plus I was slinging some...er, 'defective' 6x that snapped at the slightest sign of tension. Hell, it seemed like I could say one bad word and the line would cower and snap on it's own. Stoopid sissy line...

It's high-time I refocus and don the 'War Face' again - Sun Tzu and his battle philosophies be damned - we're talking a full-frontal assault, Ladies, and it ain't going to be pretty.

Back to the 5x? What took me so long? Jimmy Dean breakfast biscuit with extra, extra bacon? Alpha Male thrives on meat products. Throw in a super-sized pinch of cope to go with the coke, and some uber-aggressive tunes for the drive up, and I can literally feel the short-hairs growing as I drive.

Once on the water, I saw that the flows were down considerably from last week - and that's a good thing, since the fish tend to bunch up tighter in the deeper runs, making them easier to pick off.

On top of that, they were all active - feeding and moving within the columns. Yet another plus. [insert evil laughter here]

My first 3 casts all stuck a fish - sure, I lost two of them (and my flies) but that's a really good sign. Turns out, those first few hours on the river were beyond crazy - fish on, fish off, fish on, line snap, fish on, get him to net....lather, rinse, repeat.

Some were small (8 inches or so) and some were big. And some even made the big ones look small. And you can bet your sweet arse I tried for every last one of them.

I didn't get the video that I would have liked to have captured, for two reasons. The first is because I'm an idiot - apparently, I left the camera in record mode several times, and when I went to film the catch, I pushed the record button which actually paused it. Yeah, I be educated.

Secondly, with the summer crowds around, I feel a little stupid filming myself - especially when the other folks around me aren't having the same luck that I was. Blog or not, I don't want to look like an asshat if I can help it.

Anyway, around 11 am, the fishing slowed considerably, and by 1 pm, it ground to a complete stop. Oh, the fish were there, to be sure, but they weren't taking anything, which just made it frustrating as hell...and a good time to call it a day.

All of the fish I took today were caught on 1 of 3 flies - BDSP, the Black Mamba and a silly little worm that I threw together late last night while watching a rebroadcast of a Big Tenleven-Twelve(?) football game (when I should have been sleeping).

Although a really simple tie, it was deadly when I still had them in my box - #20 200R TMC hook, with tan 8.0 ultra thread and then wrapped with micro tubing. That's it. And it tore through them like black coffee and a bran muffin through your plumbing.

Not that I'm familiar with your plumbing and how it handles coffee and bran....eeew.

After that, the BDSP and Black Mamba did all of the heavy lifting - if the fish didn't take the scud, I switched out to the Mamba and scored a hit. When the Mamba stopped producing, I switched to the scud...

The two biggest trophies of the day were on the Black Mamba - one, put up a fight and ran me down the river before breaking my line (I got THAT on video), but the other, a nice 20+ fat, squishy rainbow wasn't so lucky.

Overall, it was a great day - I got my revenge through a vulgar display of superiority over aquatic denizens that run on instinct and have the brain the size of a pea. Which qualifies me for a management position.

Alpha Male is at peace.