Tag: skunked

Fooled by trout

Just submitted to Fly Fisherman Magazine for the next issue's cover

Actually, made a fool of by trout.

The lovely picture to the immediate right is an absolutely perfect reproduction of my finest catch this weekend, while fishing a famed Colorado tailwater. In fact, said picture also depicts all the other trout I caught during this fly-fishing excursion. And, as if you already thought I might be pulling your leg this very moment, I am here to say this image, in all its technicolor glory, additionally represents the sum total of the trout caught by the two people I brought to this magnificent stretch of water, ostensibly as their guide.

Alrighty then.

MG signing off (to realign the stars Matrix using this picture)

Fish sighted New Year’s Day, but the air smelled not so faintly of skunk

It’s a tradition amongst the losers with no date for New Year’s Eve hardcore flyfishing set, starting off the year on the water. Venturing out on January 1st is the means to prove thy mettle, braving ice and snow and wind to hook otherwise lethargic fish with singular tiny flies and tippet of thickness more akin to a human hair.

As you well know, I love the delicate scenario. That bit I’ve sold about slapping fat pieces of meat on the water, invoking territorial responses with saltwater fighting butts and three-foot pieces of 20# Maxima leader? It is bunk! Who in their right mind would do such a thing, experience the sight of a fish’s dorsal fin breaking the surface in chase, thrashing at a fly that otherwise hangs over the palm of the hand, when you can drift #22 UV-winged emergers through water devoid of snag-prone vegetation and watch trout after trout move calmly over to it and…


In the midst of a heck of a midge hatch to boot.


Total Fly Fishing Emersion Weekend – Day 3

You didn’t think we’d really skip did you? Sleeping in is for nancy boys.

Despite splitting headaches and a dog that had received about fifteen minutes of walk time in the past two days, we checked the weather and packed up the truck. But this venture took extra precautions – we pre-rigged several rods so we wouldn’t have to waste precious minutes when we arrived. The sky was devoid of clouds, which actually worried me from the start – visibility into 7+ foot deep holes was ‘unlimited’ and remained as such. But, rather than hang around for 28 days before switching methods, we moved to riffle water and fatter flies (buggers, hotheads, and chunky strips of rabbit fur) within hours. It’s a good thing we have management skills to brag about too, because there were certainly no fish available to back up our efforts. Yea, we got skunked.

The bright side of the story was Chris hooking up several times, thanks in no small part to my fly selection (and the ridiculous midge hatch that cranked up around 2:30). But after swapping him into my Scott G2 to make up for his lack of rod loading skills, he couldn’t get a decent hookset (yes, noodle is noodle, whether it’s made of graphite or panda food). As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the reason fast action rods exist – you can actual get the hook firmly buried in the fish’s mouth like you should, and unless you have a penchant for constantly holding a latte-mocha-caramel-something-or-other in your line hand, pool cues are still capable of delicately dropping #16 EHCs on a bank at distances of more than three feet. We might have attempted looking like ‘seasoned veterans’ (i.e. carrying – and wearing – natural fibers), but where I fish that can get you truck jacked by someone holding a Browning Citori Grade VII Lightning if you’re not careful.

Today (Sunday) is bon voyage. My takeaway – the only guy willing to put up with my shit throughout college, persevere through our first tastes at professional life in the same big city, forgive my mooning guests while standing up (barely) in his wedding, and still take the opportunity to taste life in the Mountain West, can say he took the road less traveled with me as his guide.

Ok, so this road goes straight to Breckenridge too. Whose fault is that?

Winter solace isn’t supposed to mean ‘cold, and sans fish’

Cold Rod

I spent roughly four hours today playing winter river commando. Ducking behind rocks and blending into tree shadows cast by a low sun. Slipping on ice, tucking hands into jacket, and repeatedly coming up short on casts when ice magically appeared on guides that moments before were clear as a summer day. You know the drill.

I expected there to be a few people out – we haven’t had a storm in what seems like weeks, and the temps were supposed to climb into the high 30’s. From the looks of the banks, the section I did icicle dancing on was well traveled. But I’d been there before when it was shoulder to shoulder, and was plenty fine with taking my fair share and moving on. Today, I not only didn’t get as much as a look, but the temperature was still lingering around 30f when I got back to the truck.

What did I throw today…Mysis, San Juans in red, pink, and purple, a tungsten-weighted golden stone, Black Beauties down to size 24, Discos in three colors (and in the same size range), Black and Red Jujubees (yep, tiny), and a few darker WD-40s that were so small I generally stuff two in each slot in my box. Zero, zip, nada for fish.

Frozen laces

By 2pm I had plenty of sun on my cheeks, and headed back to the truck for some grub. Thereafter three more vehicles pulled up, and out jump four humans apiece already donning waders. I decided I’d write the afternoon off (or what was left of it, since the glorious sun would be disappearing behind the mountaintops in another hour anyway). I broke down the gear and then reached for my bootlaces – they were still frozen stiff. So, I had to stand in the middle of the lot facing the sun for another ten minutes in order to thaw. I eat slow – high 30’s my ass.

Before I left I called a friend who’d being hunting out on the eastern plains, to see how they had done. He told me they’d bagged precisely nothing, and on account of the weather. Said it was too warm! Had we been forced to live off the land, the sign on the kitchen door would say ‘closed’ right about now.

Nevertheless, I’ve dodged cabin fever for another week or two – and frankly, I’m not really complaining about the cold as much as the lack of action – the latter just means I get to continue having nightmares (of popped tippets) and hallucinations (of angry browns attacking me with piranha-like frenzy) until the next try.