Sunday, August 23, 2009

To Convert A Spinner - South Park Style

My friend Matt called me about a month ago and said he had 3 days off coming up and wanted to fish. I told him I would take him to a special place and show him a world that would be very unfamiliar yet fantastic.

I felt him lean forward in his seat through the phone.

"Under one condition though...", I lick my lips for the delivery, "You have to fly fish."

Lets stop for a moment and rewind. I need to tell you a little about Matt.

I met Matt the first day I arrived to Colorado almost exactly 2 years ago today. He was the roommate of my old-time friend, Ryan, from back in NOVA. Matt turned out to be an outdoors man, angler, and experienced snowboarder so we got along immediately. I even have a youtube video of the first trip those guys and my brother and I Hit the Hills.

Anways, Matt has always been a spin fisherman. Being that I'm a fly fisherman, I could never offer him advice on how to fish those ridicules "lures" for trout... I mean, honestly ;)

Then I picked up on him fishing worms in some of the gold metal water I was taking him to, lol. We had a couple friendly discussions about regs, rules, and why they are in place. However, he stuck to his guns and pretty much proclaimed that he didn't give 2 chits about that stuff and he'd ''do what he want''.

At that point, I cut him off and said (to myself) that I would never take him with me to fish reg'ed water again (which is with a few exceptions all I fish), and that brings us back to the story at hand.

"OK, I'll flyfish." He says.

To my surprise, he was actually psyched to give it a go. I'd like to believe that he had grown moldy with poachers guilt and that the fish gods had rained some righteously evil karma down on his arse forcing him to repent his wicked ways and come to the light. But he probably just wanted to catch bigger fish and thought that I could guide him to such.

His roommate Ryan had to work that weekend, so he let Matt borrow all his gear. Rod/reel (nice setup), waders, boots, belly boat, fins, even his damned net. Ryan is very generous and Matt is very fortunate.

We drove out Friday after work and set up camp just as it was getting dark.

We grilled some sirloins and wrapped some potatoes, tomatoes and asparagus in foil for the fire and then partied a little. We took our time waking up, enjoying the mountains, and leisurely eating breakfast. I gave Matt a 15 min. casting lesson / crash course on fly fishing at camp and then we meandered over to the water around 11:00.

We push out in the belly boats, anchor up, and right away my brother hooks into a decent bow. He has his back to me when he lands it. He proclaims that it measured 19.5 inches with amazement (a personal best for him). I'm waiting with the camera and as he is turning around to face me with the fish flops out of his hands and back into the drink. Oh well, he'll catch bigger soon enough I tell him.

After that I hook into something that feels nice but isn't fighting aggressively like they usually do. It was throwing around more head-shakes than usual and was just staying deep. I horse her up and to my surprise and glee it's a brown.

Next, Matt exclaims that he's got one on, and sure enough he's bent.

I was so happy that he had hooked up. I shot a video of him landing his first fish on a fly rod, for his first time using a fly rod, during his first time on a belly boat, and a PB trout (soon to be broken 2 more times).

I distinctly remember him laughing and exclaiming, "I really like this way of fishing!"

His first: (check out the wave splashing over his back).

He caught 2 more after that each one a little bigger than the last.

At the end of the day we drove over to try some river fishing but the flow was weak and it was land o' the dink. Not complainin' about scenery though...

One more night of partying (this time with real reasons to celebrate), and 3 cornish game hens (Oyey inspired) in the fire with stuffing and potatos.

No more sleeping in though. We woke up early and scurried over to the water to fish from shore.

Nick hooked up first with a colorful bow:

The other guys didn't fare so well for the rest of the morning once the wind kicked up, but I was able to tap into a few more bows.

Matt was asking me about purchasing fly gear at the end of the trip.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Hands are Numb. My face Hurts.

I've been busy recently and this was my first real fishing trip in 3 weeks (Sorry, but Boulder Creek and unsuccessful carping just don't scratch that itch). The last time I went three... heck, two weeks without fishing was probably some time in January.

The air was crisp in the morning, and there was a tolerable but stern wind. It was very nice hiking weather. We navigated woods with a few glances of the map here and there.

After breaking above treeline we hurried through the final miles up to the objective. The stern wind had meanwhile turned into an abusive, drunk uncle who stubbed his toe - wind. The lake was angry that day my friends; like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

Chuck and I had to throw on the wind breaker jackets and the pants. My brother is yet to invest in wind breaker pants and therefore paid the price in experience. He was reduced to curling up under a bush and behind some boulders for a while.

He snapped a photo pretty cool photo during the savage wind assault. Note my fly line defying gravity.

The little bit of my hands that were actually exposed were just within that threshold of numbness so that I could feel all the pain. I would turn my back to the wind and put my hands in fleece lined pockets to try to warm them up while the sound of the wind racing over my hood whistled like a cracked car window on the freeway. The gusts were having gusts. A couple times I let obscenities flow freely into the blameless wind, and cursed the almighty fish gods themselves! HAHA! Giving into the madness actually made things feel a little better, and all of a sudden I recalled that I had just busted my ass up a mountain to catch cutts, by God, and there was business at hand.

Glimpses of cruising beef under the wind broken, Picasso'ed surface boosted moral even more.

The indicator dips behind a wave, the set is solid, and a wriggling reflection of light starts lifting and flipping into view.

For a spawned out fish, she didn't look half bad. It took a neon orange size 20 egg.

Jason and I had additional hookups with bad sets that came unbuttoned shortly following that fish, and then the wind died down and the fish mellowed out. We put in hours with nothing to show for it. We would mark fish cruising occasionally, but they were all still very much distracted with spawning behaviors.

Later in the day the wind calmed significantly back to the stern breeze giving the surface a more rhythmic break... and another cutt was fooled. This time on a size 18 olive scud.

Yet later in the day, the wind totally died, and we got the aquarium view into the lake.

My bro caught a fish during this calm period (at pone point I was sweating in shorts and a tee shirt) effectively sneaking past the slumbering skunk.

Jason, however, was not spared... this was the last known photo of him before the skunk was consummated, LOL!

...I'm getting scared of the karma that he's building up when fishing in my presence. One of these days he's gonna catch some trophy fish while I simultaneously step off a cliff.