Tag: nymphing

“Three” becomes the charm

As of January 22nd, I had not caught a trout in the year 2010. It was not for lack of trying.

On January 1st I hit Cheesman Canyon. And despite decent weather and plenty of spottings I went home empty handed. Last weekend I could be found tromping around the Blue River. The temperature was bitter, but the fish were plentiful. From Spectator Bridge a buddy watched me bop resident pigs in the nose, time and time again. Not a single take. That makes two skunks.

Yesterday was different.

A wildly popular section of the South Platte River was the target. When we arrived arrived there were a half dozen cars per lot, and anglers in every imaginable hole. This particular section has never been an MG favorite, and the reason is abundantly clear: crowds, even in the dead of winter. The fish have seen every pattern a million times. Even the yearlings shift feeding lanes when they see beadheads coming their way.

They (and I’ll note that “they” seem to be omniscient, whomever “they” are) say that bad luck come in threes. “They” probably don’t know me, but I love pushing my luck. To the nth degree, just in case I get a chance to give bad luck the middle finger (back luck deserves it now and then). So on my third trout-ing this year, after two previous pummelings, I not only picked a spot I didn’t care for, but also a start time (in the water by 11:30am) that guaranteed a mob.

And then came the three. Two bad decisions deserves another – the weather service predicted decent wind for the afternoon, so I threw caution to it and carried a three-weight. Not just any three-weight, however, but a Sage 389-3 LL three-weight. I now call it my fly-fishing middle finger.

For those just joining, the Sage 389-3 LL is kind of like the Ferrari 250 GTO of fly rods. It’s precise, beautiful, and has won accolades far and wide. It’s nowhere near as quick as today’s fast-action drivetrains, but it sure is fun to take for a spin. I figured if the odds were already against me I had nothing to lose.

The end result: it was cold, moderately gloomy, crowded, and the midge hatch that appeared about an hour in lasted all of minutes. The breeze blew, not strong, but non-stop.

And I caught more than my fair share of fish. Plenty of littlies, and only a few of chunk. But no more skunk. Three becomes the charm.

MG signing off (to give bad luck the middle finger every chance I get)

It’s all fun and games until someone loses their footing

Trent stalks the morningIs there a difference between “obsession” and striving for the perfect day? Does wanting to be good, just for the sake of being good, automatically take the fun out of the game? And what is good after all? Maintaining purity of art form? Or being flexible in the face of difficult conditions, broadly switching tactics so you can catch fish. Foremost…can a fly fisher party until the wee hours and still go out the next day and not bust their own ass every two steps they take in the river?

You must be hungry

This last weekend I aimed to find the answers to these questions. Invited up impromptu, bags were packed and traffic beat. The plan was to prowl some (now) really low freestone. On trout patrol were a professional fanatic, a first-timer, a bonafide professional guide, and some loudmouth (?). Handicapping was involved. One of the crew decided that running up a respectable tab down in Vail Village the night before was really smart – I still can’t remember who that person was, but I was feeling the effects until at least noon. Healthy living be damned…you have to be sure everyone is mentally prepared, don’t ya’ think? Text messages began flying through the air at 6:30am, and less than an hour later we were sitting at the Westside scarfing down what would be the only meal of the day and talking venue and tactics. Then the caravan loaded up.

Contemplation in the canyonMockery is the most sincere form of flattery

Sun barely peeking over the canyon wall, a gang staged up fifty yards apart to prove their mettle. The guide and his student fiddled with gear and technique down low while I stumbled upstream. The fanatic, patient as ever (and having the added benefit of an early morning drive up to clear his head) started off in between. Driven by the guide’s ribbing we were all throwing dry droppers, but the fanatic hooked up first.

The day was far from over, however, and with the sun moving overhead target sighting in the low water were written into the history books. As a percentage player I then took to the bottom. Shrugging off criticism of my fast pace (i.e. running ahead), tiny stuff was weighted down with bricks. The fish took to my charms with fervor, and consistency – by the time the call came in to head for the trucks everyone was emulating. “I know another spot,” the pro said as the engines were cranked up.

Standing on an abandoned rail bridge, we peered down into a deep, crystal clear pool. Large rainbows, easy to spot against a sandy bottom from high elevation, queued up below. The clouds rolled in and we debated how the hell we were going to get down there. This would wind up being the finale, much to the guide’s chagrin. I wasn’t tired in the least, but I put down my rod and took in the scenery. It was cool, and I could smell an entire valley’s impending autumn in the breeze. I sat perfectly still, focusing my eyes on one point in the pool in front of me. Low and behold a trout, which soon ate one of my brethren’s flies. The angler goes wild. “You know that feeling you get, Gracie, when a trout rises to your dry fly? It’s as good as it gets, and watching one eat your nymph runs a close second.” I think to myself…ode to flexibility, you purist.

Fold ’em

No brand loyalty in this bunchGuides love putting people onto fish. One man had taken off, and the remaining two non-professionals were ready for showers and drink. We loafed on sofas, sipping cheap brew in preparation, while the guide pestered us to get our asses up and hit another water before it was “too late.” Obsession lost the debate.

A grand adventure in understanding – when to hold ’em, and when to clean up and catch a cat nap before carousing. Quitting time is eventual, and I think it should come when you are assured you can end the day on a good note.

We laughed with and at each other. Smiled gleefully when we hooked up. Felt both competition and camaraderie. Later someone noted that when you’re fly fishing, there is “always something going on.” You’re scanning the water for fish, and making educated guesses the rest of the time. Reading water. Tying knots, and untangling them. Moving with stealth, observing everything, and hoping…no, praying…that you don’t take a spill. I say that is having fun.

Just you wait

Mystic on the rocksComing soon…a special treat. Last week I was handed a few Mystic fly rods, with the goal of fishing them over the next month or so and reporting back my thoughts. Opinion should be pretty comprehensive (if worthless, considering the source): I can’t cast so this fine rod isn’t going to help me one bit; No you can’t borrow one of them, because they aren’t mine to begin with; Did I leave that rod tube in the bar last night?

It’s a never ending quest for answers. Particularly since none were found here.

MG signing off (to redefine the word “obsession” for Merriam-Webster)

Editor’s note: The slightly peaked member of the party did not get wet during this outing. Which was an answer a miracle.

Links for the Lazy – 1/15/09

Mixed bag


  • Google starts axing services, but Google Reader is safe for now. There might be something to all that attention data value, but it isn’t going to benefit you anyway. I’d be looking for a substitute reader (preferably desktop) just in case.
  • New Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz on the [first] dotcom bubble“I’d go to investor conferences—with standing room only at presentations by Used-Fucking-Golfballs.com—and I’d get four shareholders listening to me.” I love it.
  • XRDS-Simple at home – I’ve added Will Norris & Company’s WordPress plug-in to the previous OpenID install. Now I do my OpenID logins here instead of at a third party. As expected, works nicely.
  • Finance

  • Ready to play The Bailout Game? Personally, no. Like Hasbro with Scrabble, Parker Brothers will probably sue the makers for the likeness to Monopoly, and when that doesn’t work out they’ll join the RIAA in suing the players.
  • TED spread shrinks, so the TARP is working – Greg Mankiw concludes as such, although Citigroup and B of A equity investors might want to hold on doubling down right now.
  • Do you know what the multiplier for government spending means for you? You might want to brush up, as with the amount of public cash being dumped into failing institutions to compensate for idiocy, Zimbabwe-style currency destruction could be in your future.
  • Fly Fishing

  • Cuba Releases Hemingway Archives – Fishing Jones has more.
  • Strike indicators find love – Call it a bobber if you like, but I always laugh when high-profile guides talk about how they always see the fish eat the nymph. While using indicators.
  • Winter sucks – But the Frying Pan makes it more than tolerable.


Trout Underground’s Tom Chandler to be Knighted by Queen of England

Ominous times indeed

Moldy Chum reports:

The kingpin of the Trout Underground Writer’s Network has been named “The World’s Greatest Business Mind”, and with geopolitical and economic strife on everyone’s short list rumor has it Mr. Tom Chandler will soon be addressing the UN General Assembly.

The Chum has more. Meanwhile, my personal take on all this…

While Mr. Chandler certainly leads a venerable team that can solve all the world’s problems, too much power in too few hands means many will soon suffer from planned indicator shortages. Don’t believe the empty promises – nymphing will be swiftly outlawed! This anointment should come as no surprise either – the TUWN has been propagandizing its impending global domination for nearly three years, and watching everyone so closely as to make George Orwell posthumously gleeful.

I’ll cautiously congratulate, toss streamers as often as possible, and seine my preferred waters for surveillance devices from here on out. I’d also warn beginners to the sport of fly fishing to keep looking over their shoulders, but they probably already have that covered.