Tag: San Juan worms

Tallying the score for my fly-fishing year (2009)

I’d planned on fishing Christmas day, but with high temps expected to climb no higher than the teens I’m likely to bag it. Hence, my fly-fishing year is over, and this year-in-review comes a few days early.

The learning curve

I spent 30 minutes talking one-on-one with Lefty Kreh, in the second week of January. I should have quit while I was ahead. (+30)

Creating infamy

The Wall Street Journal showed up in Denver after I guaranteed them some carp on the fly footage, and Tom Teasdale got front page billing in the print edition, nationally. I know self-made entrepreneurs with $250 million net worths that never made the front page of the WSJ. So I take all the credit for this one. (+250)

Time spent fishing is better than time spent working

I had 22 days on the Blue River, 21 days on suburban lakes, 13 days on the urban South Platte, 10 days on the Dream Stream, 4 days on the Williams Fork, 3 days on the North Platte, 3 days on the salt, 1 day in Cheesman Canyon, 1 day on the Colorado, and a few minutes on Gore Creek and Ten Mile Creek. (+78.5) ALMOST FORGOT: 2 days on the Eagle, and a day on “Moose Creek” – so +81.5

Worth a mention

I caught this fish and this fish using 5X tippets and tiny flies (+2). I used a San Juan Worm one day this year – this fish was the result (+1). I almost died from dehydration in the Carp Slam, but thank my lucky stars Barry Reynolds was my partner (+10).

Some gear runs through it

I acquired five fly rods and four fly reels this year (+9). I dumped one 2009 rod for another (+0), gave one rod up as a going away present (+1), and passed on three reels to folks that really needed them (-3). At least two rods will get ejected in the spring, and I’m on the hunt for another reel (-1).

I retired some waders, and waited patiently for some others (+0). I booted three pairs of wading boots, and wound up with two pairs in their place (-1). I gave away two wading belts (+2), and I found my socks (+20).

I bought seven fly lines, was given one fly line, sold two fly lines, and gave seven fly lines away (+13). I ruined one fly line, and one fly line just plain fell apart on me (-2). Two fly lines are still in the boxes (-2). I gave away a tippet dispenser, six spools of tippet, 250 yards of gelspun backing, and spooled/rigged four reels for newbies (+261).

Fly boxes are for civilians

I purchased 780 flies, tied ten flies, bent four hooks, popped 28 leaders with two-fly rigs, and snagged 2,462 flies on tree branches. (-1,732)

Liar liar pants on fire

I caught 225 brown, rainbow and/or cutthroat trout over ten pounds, 150 carp over forty pounds, 90 largemouth bass over eleven pounds, and one state record brook trout (at twelve pounds) that I didn’t get a picture of since I was by myself in a desolate location with no food, water, or camera. (225 X 10) + (150 X 40) + (90 X 12) + (1 X 12 X 11,500 foot elevation) = +147,330

High note

I acquired a king’s hoard of new friends, but unlike royalty throughout history I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And I spent some precious time fishing with some dear old friends too. ((7382 + 6) X 1014 = 7.382e+17) (Note: score arrived at by adding total friends, new and old, to the number of beers consumed in their company, individually, post-outing, then multiplying by the ACTUAL VALUE of time spent fishing and/or drinking with them)

Final tally

I want to say I lost count, but the reality is I’m an accountant, which means I don’t know how to count it was just a darn good year.

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, What-Have-You, and a Happy New Year to all.

MG signing off (until 2010)

The Flyfish Journal, on film maker RA Beattie, on carp

They may be trash fish, but boy do they swarm when you show up with a bucket of bread balls pocket full of red San Juans. The Flyfish Journal quizzes RA Beattie about filming, and carp.

Carp on The Flyfish Journal

Those goldfish are damn photogenic too, eh?

Editor’s note: The picture above was blatantly pilfered from the pages of The Flyfish Journal, proving that on the interwebs it’s much easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact than permission beforehand. Providing some [sarcastic] credit and then keeping your fingers crossed never hurts either.

When the client’s away, the brownliners will play

Trent's PigI’d been working like a dog all week, and seeing it was a short week I was extremely worn out. A man can only go without fly fishing for so long, and my limit seems to be…uh…well it has been roughly ninety hours since I last cast a fly to fish. Pathetic I know, but it was a really time sensitive project.

At 9:30 am the phone calls ceased, meaning the work was either complete or no longer in red-level alert mode. A half hour later there was a knock at my door, guaranteeing that any additional work requests wouldn’t get fulfilled on contact anyway. Fly rods were our keyboards, and the new client was carp.

Our arrival at goldfish city started with disappointment – the water was silted over throughout, making sight fishing a difficult task. We stalked what tailers we could see, stacked up anywhere from 20 to 60 feet off the banks, and did what devoted brownline folk do, exercise extreme patience. Colleague in arms Trent was first to score, with a roughly 15 pound piggie that ate a red sparkle worm. He felt mighty proud, and with good reason – it was his first carp on the fly! I was beaming too – Trent had been standing where the surface glare obscured his view, and I had spotted the fish for him. It took just one perfect cast and three short, fast strips to hook the prize, and more than ten minutes to get it to net. Carp usually give anglers a black eye, but in this case it was the fish that showed up with one.

Two piglets - only the one in the blue shirt stinksOnce we had a clue about flies, the rest was pretty easy still like pulling teeth. We got plenty of strikes on variations of the sparkle worm, from armored cars to straight red San Juans following small, flashy buggers. But carp mathematics are complex. For every hundred hits you think you felt, maybe two are legit. And for every ten hookups, you’re lucky if you land one. Even worse, you get a [potential] strike about every twenty or so casts to fish you specifically target. If you ask a commodities trader, a poker player, or even most fly fishers, they’d say that is a chance not worth betting on.

It’s that one good fight that immediately puts you at even money. And it’s the infrequent, but big, payoffs that keep this brownliner in the game.

Fly Fishing Tip #219: Don’t let your dog plan your outing

After lingering around Orvis for an hour yesterday, I took the prevailing advice and decided to head for the Blue River – a little morning green drake action seemed the ticket. I thought scooting up there immediately, catching a late hatch and maybe a little streamer action, then catching some zzz’s under the single-wall, would have me set up for a solid Sunday adventure. Scheduling around the Gracie household usually involves the collie dog, but since he’s recently been sleeping his days away in air conditioned comfort while I toil away on mosquito-laden gold medal waters, I thought he should join and do all the planning as well. Or at least, in retrospect, that’s what happened.

Arrival and investigation

After packing for the overnight stay, which included securing dog food, dog biscuits, dog leashes, and a dog bed, we set off. We showed up at the desired location and took a quick walk to survey the scene. The dog spent his time sniffing, and I struck up a conversation with the first fisherman I saw (who just so happened to be hooking up as I approached). Red San Juans were the hot item according to this guy, so I side-barred with the pup. A tilt of the head during the ensuing communication was the nod I needed – red Juany followed by a greenish Copper John would start things off.

Underdressed for the party

Not five minutes had passed and I already had a dink in the net (and please note: “dink” means anything under a foot in Colorado speak). But, several fish had already rolled on the indicator, midges were dotting the water, and PMDs were fluttering around too. It was cloudy and cool out, so the dog had decided to stay in the truck – I was therefore safe from criticism regarding the relative chances of scoring surface feeders. So I switched to up-top – now throwing a size 16-ish PMD followed by a tiny Griffiths Gnat.

At first this combination seemed a good choice – less than ten minutes of laying it behind two rocks just upstream produced one pursuit and one hookup – I now had a decent rainbow in net. But it was time to walk up a bit, and it was precisely at that point which I remembered the dog telling me I didn’t need studded soles. See…the Blue has always been a wading nemesis for me, so I’d bought “some steel” for this very moment. But I’m also wary of “signs”, and a waggle of the tail always meant ordinary felt was fine – again, I’m superstitious. Damn dog! If I hadn’t listened to him, I’d would’ve been dancing up to those fine pockets ahead – instead I was now bumbling towards them.

Needless to say I didn’t make quick progress, but spent the next hour and a half pretending the part (and managed to land one more). The light was now in front of me, so I couldn’t see bottom. I felt like I was wading in beach sandals. And now, it seems, my legs were feeling soggy. What? Yep, my waders were leaking. And they were leaking a little last week too, but when I took them home, dried them out, and started studying the issue, the dog brought a squeaking stuffed toy into the office and begged to be played with. I ended up putting off the wader repair to satisfy this canine’s need for on-demand attention. What do I get in return? Soggy legs!

We can wet wade in the morning, so let’s sleep on it

Once back at the truck, I realize the only one who had food was the dog. Ironically, said furry passenger barely eats a thing when we’re out and the driver usually snarfs down at least two cheese dogs and a half-dozen donuts before we’ve left the city limits. This was a problem, so we cranked up and headed for the closest convenience store. Convenience is a relative term when it comes to Colorado open space, meaning the closest outlet for acquiring even stale snack food was a cool fifteen miles away. And we had to double back, so in reality we would now cover an additional thirty miles as a result of four-legged selfishness.

Gullet satisfied and stores for the morning secured, we went searching for a camping location. I drove through two maintained venues, only to find tents tripled up at each site. We then scooted back by the last fishing spot, but people were hootin’ and other dogs were howlin’. And no sooner did I leave that parking area then the already dark skies opened up – it started dumping. Now I’ve got nothing against rain, and have pitched plenty of tents in downpours. But dragging a sopping wet collie dog into the tent, and then trying to sleep soundly next to the mop, pushes the limits of even trout-driven fanaticism.

We drove home instead

So…for forty bucks in gas I touched three fish. I’d be happy with that count if they were all 20+ inch piglets, but nary a trout hit 16 inches so I’m calling Saturday a bust. I’ve got nobody to blame but the dog myself. Had he I filled the cooler, left a little earlier, secured a campsite before dusk, and tied on a PMD first, I might have had a decent story to tell. Flash visions of slurping fish gave way to unpreparedness…

And this (hopefully) memorable blog post.

you-are-not-taking-this-blanket

My owner is a sucker. And couches rule!