What happens when your streamer box finds a new love?
It’s a cruel, cruel world.
MG signing off (because Meat Whistles like to dine out)
What happens when your streamer box finds a new love?
It’s a cruel, cruel world.
MG signing off (because Meat Whistles like to dine out)
The sun still rides high above the Front Range.
As I walk up the road I check my line. The tippet looks strained right at the knot I just tied. I bite down on each side of the blood while continuing the stroll, and then proceed with four wraps on either side of the loop around my middle finger.
Stop momentarily, spit, and pull tight. Much better.
Turning the corner, there’s a familiar face. We exchange glances, then greetings. The story is nobody’s been around here very much. Relief washes over me.
The water is low and clear of weeds. A stiff breeze is blowing in the face, slightly from the right. Damn.
Line falls from reel to ground, and then a few elbow tests are done. I let the little crawdad-colored, bullet-headed, curly-tailed bugger rip. It carries sixty or so feet, and left.
Self-reassurance: That’s a good spot.
One strip, two strips, three strips…four.
There were plenty…
…of jackrabbits spotted on the way back to the truck.
MG signing off (comfortable with the condition)
I pulled into the campsite two hours late. Storm clouds were brewing, and I thought it wise to get set up before seeking out the magnanimous Matthew Dunn of Fishbeer fame. Anxious to fish, I pitch my trusty pre-Black Diamond Bibler with speed and efficiency, then rig up my rods before heading over to the water. A momentary glimpse back to the residences for the evening, I can’t help but think I’m about to meet a modern day Paul Bunyan.
I’m working. Really I am.
For me this is a multifaceted scouting mission. I’ve been called here under the guise of fun and games, by a fly fishing Sasquatch who is casually working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Zymurgy. The end goal is to take big browns on mice, in the bright moonlight. Meanwhile, I’m also tasked with reporting back statistics on flow, insect life, and strip club locations for another crew I’m being forced to fish with after the Fly Fishing Retailer show, and also trying to figure out whether a Mystic fly rod can toss a Sex Dungeon fifty feet without the aid of solid propellants.
We meet. We greet. I ask myself “will this guy even fit in his monstrosity of a tent?” I tie on a streamer and get a few follows and nips. Burly Man heads back to his mobile supply depot for a sink tip and then does the same. An hour in we’re fishless, but as we continue our march downstream the learned one makes an executive decision and sizes down his flies. Who ever said “those that can’t do teach” needs to have their head examined, as all of a sudden we were into handfuls of 12 to 16 inch rainbows. However happy we became from them, the skies were not producing the same, and facing the prospect of getting struck by lightning we headed back to camp.
The wind is howling, and shelter is taken in a late model all-wheel drive. A hand creeps stealthily into a cooler, and low and behold out pop a couple of icy brown bottles. One is for Matt, a sweaty blonde named Betty. I pay homage to the evening still ahead with Blue Moon’s summer ale. “I’m technically a professor of beer, and I like my Bettys too,” he says. “Some of those Bettys can get a little nuts though.” Our conversation swings ’round and ’round: a recap of Matt’s travels during the last few weeks; our party plan for next week during the show; the value of friendships whether fishing-related or otherwise; how to split atomic particles with a dull hatchet. I tell my cohort I’m working on something semi-top secret, or at least that’s the way I spin it so he’ll think I’m half as complex as he. He tells me he hasn’t taken a shower in a week. I turn the key and crack the window, and we immediately guffaw in synchronicity. A team of Blackhawk helicopters comes whizzing by. We’ve surely been found out, but the skies break and we head back to the river.
Don’t mess with me pal!
This is the point in the story where you’d like to see lots of fish porn. But you ain’t gonna get any since we kind of got our tail ends handed to us for the rest of the adventure. Streamer fishing continued apace, but there were nothing but fish relatively the same size as the bait taking them on. We hit a different section of the river, one that had produced finely for me earlier in the season. It was not happening this turn, and then the story gets ugly.
See, this Matt Dunn character is a fine fisherman. He can pick flies with the best of them, throws double-haul powered silver bullet loops, and can
read water … make high-probability guesses … get lucky as hell at nearly my level of proficiency. He’s got the knowledge base all sewn up, but is less than assertive with the delivery. So when I proclaimed it time to go for broke, throwing on a dozen midges, a pound of lead, and a collegiate size football for an indicator, Doctor Dunn laid into me with a barrage of insults. And I let him have it back, with a Gracie-style left cross to the nose. Now before the week is up Matt is going to deny all this. He’s going to tell you that he isn’t used to the altitude, that the air was too dry, that the pace I cover water with streamers is just too damn much to keep up with. And I’m here to say that’s all bull. The guy called my momma a bamboo rod lover, and I knocked him silly for it. He’s twice my size too, but we are now even better friends as a result.
Morning glory, sans the glory
At 10pm we headed back out to the river once again, this time armed with mice and a moon so bright you could read Tolstoy to it and not fall asleep. Matt hooked up several times, including one occasion where we got the pig within a few feet of us before the hook pulled. I got skunked in the non-literal sense, but I didn’t care. Treading that prairie while turning on the headlamp just twice for rigging was enough for me. Ominous shadows all around, the occasion splash of water whose location we couldn’t quite make out, and otherwise quiet. Staring at the moon and the stars. Once again, it was just about being there.
The full moon greeted us again in the morning. “Good morning, Moon,” I thought to myself. Matt continued buttressing his renaissance man status by whipping up cup after cup of espresso. We returned to the river, and Matt, still whimpering over the beating he’d received the day before, didn’t say a word as I assembled my nymph rig. Pounding our way upstream past several anglers who had queued up at the tight turns in the river, we began banging fish as well. By morning’s end I think we had roughly three dozen between us – the only problem was the average size was only half a dozen inches. You don’t general bump into predators when there are so many small fish around – if the angry brown behemoths were there the little guys wouldn’t be. We call it a day.
Looking at the map, I suggested Mr. I Need A Shower get one, and the best place to do so and get a few more hours in might be the Blue River. Hands firmly clasped, we thanked each other for time well spent. “See ya’ at the show” “Yep, see ya’ at the show.”
MG signing off (to go buy a camping-capable espresso maker)
Brown bunnies aren’t the target – they’re the ‘bait’…
Bunnies are so cute. But the trout will be thinking lunch.
I was once called a ‘dirty bird’ for throwing this kind of stuff. All I could do was smile. These sculpin-y, crawdad-y, what-ever-fish-want-them-to-be babies are bulletproof too, thanks to tier Tyler Kendrick.
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?
If you want to put your fellow fly fishers to shame when on the river, go back to school for that entomology degree. Not the academic type? Just carry around some handy reference materials like this guy does…
Kyle Deneen of FGFF says to hell with bugs if you want to catch really big fish
Something tells me UK chalk streams will never be the same.
Editor’s note: No sheep were harmed during the creation of this post.
I whipped this rod around for ten hours straight, just like I said I would. I’m anxious to describe how I feel about its performance, but I think a little primer is due first…
Roughly ten years ago, one of my fanatical fly fishing friends booked a trip to the Bahamas and stuck me with half the bill – so I went, if only to make sure he didn’t bullshit about all the bonefish he caught. We were out on the skiff day one, and he won the flip for first on deck. A few cruisers were spotted, but my buddy couldn’t reach them. Then I stepped up to the plate, and my bat was a rod (sorry – different brand) I had picked up in Miami just a month before during a secret Biscayne Bay practice session. It was a rocket launcher – nearly impossible to load without half the spool in flight, but when she did the bend right it was sayonara Crazy Charlie. Anyway, my buddy sits next to the guide watching, in awe that quickly turned to disgust – finally he gives, and we spent the rest of the day using one rod. When we returned to the dock, I picked up the gear and he sprinted back to the hotel – when I arrived he was on the phone with outfitters on the mainland, looking for that stick. He finally found one, in California, and had the shop do a FedEx Priority (yes, to the Bahamas).
The Orvis Zero G 906-4 Tip-Flex 10.5 may well find itself in a similar predicament. All I have to do is wind up on someone else’s big trout trip – I’ll demand we fish streamers, and then I’ll pull this puppy out. We’ll make sure there’s a company FedEx account handy.
There are several people in the world who were tired of my incessant research on a new streamer rod. I’d been searching for months, read reviews until my eyes were sore, and cast at least a half-dozen different models. Sure, I already had a decent rod for streamers (the Sage 690-3 SP), and my short casting stroke and obsessive use of sinking lines and 6-inch pieces of dumbell-ed rabbit strip was pushing it – nonetheless I was pretty satisfied with its performance. I’d been lucky too – no multi-ounce flies had yet knocked a tip off – but I was in need of a backup quarterback just in case. Instead I wound up with what may be a starter – the Orvis Zero G 906-4 Tip-Flex 10.5.
Like my last ostentatious and frivolous purchase rod review I’ll being doing this one in two parts: paint and trim, and track acceleration (reels do the braking). I purchased this beauty from (where else?) Orvis – specifically from the Cherry Creek location. I’d hinted to the folks there that I was in want of a rocket launcher, and a few days ago Kerry Caragher said I had to cast this one. Fast forward to this afternoon – I was back in the shop, BYORL (bring your own reel and line) and out on the grass for a test drive. I’ll have more to report in regards to performance later, but I can say I was false casting 30+ feet of 5 inch/second sinker with barely a twitch of my elbow and some short tugs on the line – you guessed it…I was sold.
Following is the first half of the review, and some pics, of the latest addition to the quiver…
If you’re a party goer, you have to hate getting up at 4am so you can drive to the club in hope of getting a seat at the open bar before the other guests arrive. You shouldn’t care if a rave is deemed better than work – you wind up exhausted by 2pm and you’ll inevitably sleep way too late the next day, so make sure you do this on Saturdays. At the party the drink of choice is 158 parts of vodka clear (we don’t drink gin around here and we don’t drink much vodka either, but the phrase “gin clear” is quite tired). It’s mixed at a temperature around 40 degrees (F), while the air temp swirls at much the same.
By the time your feet are wet you realize everyone else wants to party too (i.e. the dance floor is shoulder to shoulder at 6:30am). Everyone is dressed for success but you’re on the wagon – you’ve sworn off subtle charm in favor of cockiness. You “peacock” your way around the venue, showing the audience every color imaginable. But the DJ never turns up. By the time you succumb to peer pressure, the guests have all left but the punch is all gone too.
You inevitably wind up mingling in the corner with with outcasts – seven lonelies, all seven inches or shorter. Your wing-man notes that you shouldn’t feel bad – everyone else went home alone. It’s little consolation – you’ve been talking smack half the summer because you’ve been “picking up” week after week.
It’s now mid-morning Sunday. You are sitting in your bathrobe in front of the computer, wondering whether your “rap” will ever return.
Fly fishing translation follows…
…where the buffalo roam…
…and fat trout eat black sculpins for play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and skies are free of tornados all day.