On 4.18 a group of 9 guys organized a private fly fishing tournament to be held on the Arkansas River, West of Canon City. I was included. The tourney was in honor of Jim flying in from Chicago for a full weekend of strung out fly fishing the Colorado pre-runoff.
It was originally supposed to be a 10 man gig with 5 guys representing the aptly dubbed "Team North" and 5 repping "Team South". However, at the last minute Jamie had something come up and couldn't make it.
For those of you that have followed Tangler.Blogspot from the beginning, you will recall that my first entry was written about a trip Jamie and I took around this same time last year on the Ark.
After some discussions we decided to divide into 3 teams of 3 - drawn out of a hat at random the morning of the event over breakfast. One member from each team was then paired with one representative from each other team, forming 3 groups with no two teammates together.
Jason N. then divided the river into 6 sections. Each group was assigned 2 beats to fish for 2.5 hours at a time. The assignments were drawn from a hat.
To top it all off, each person tied a pattern of their choice; two for each participant. These 18 flies were swapped and were the only ones allowed during the tourney.
We tried to eliminate as much X-factor as possible.
A bit of a competitive bunch, can you tell?
The night before many of us drove down and slept at Jason's house because a 2 day blizzard was hitting Northern Colorado on Friday. I left work at 2:00 and it still took me 3.5 hours to get to Pueblo. The snow was piling up quick. By the time I got South of Colorado Springs I drove out of snow through rain and then emerged from purple clouds to sunlight and dry highway.
At Jason's place Friday night there was lots of beer drinking, brandishing of reels and rods, fly tying, shuffleboard, small insect talk, and big fish stories.
We ate breakfast, selected teams, groups, and beats and hit the water.
The average size of fish:
I hooked into something very heavy during the first heat about 9 feet deep in a run. I thought I had a monster brown on so Jason started filming with his digi. It turned out it was an 18 inch sucker foul hooked in the tail. You can hear the disappointment in my voice when I come to the realization that it is indeed a sucker, upon which Jason laughs at me.
We fished for 2.5 hours and then moved to the next spot. The road runs along the river for miles and miles.
It was a gorgeous day for fishing. The sky was overcast and clouds clung to the mountains in the canyon which were laced with sugary snow.
We finished up and met for lunch in Cotopaxi where we compared numbers and experiences. This is how the numbers played out by team:
Total= 28 fish
Total= 25 fish
Total= 15 fish
Left to right: Tangler, Jim, Al, Joe, Dean, Jake, Brett, Alex, and Jason.
I really enjoyed the experience. It was cool to see what it would feel like to fish in an official tournament. It's something I would be very interested in if given the opportunity. It was also really cool to spend the day with such an awesome bunch of anglers that are as enthusiastic about the sport as I am.
After fishing I drove up to Denver and slept at my buddy Ryan's house. The following day I would wake up and head for Deckers with Jim, Jake, John G., and Wyatt. Stay tuned for that report.