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'.