Thursday, May 23, 2013

Record Breaking

I've been breaking records the last couple of weeks.  Might call me a bit of a record smasher really.

How many times can I ruin a perfect opportunity with horrendous presentation?
How many fish over 20" can I lose at my feet?
How many times can I risk injury by wading into fast, chest-deep current to salvage a $3 fly and 18" of tippet?
How many homeless people will yell some kind of indistinguishable coaching tip at me before I nod in feigned gratitude?  (The answer to this last one is three.  I'm sure of it.) 

Incidentally, should I be concerned that all homeless adults possess vast fly-fishing expertise?  Is there a causal relationship between these two things?  Am I inching my way towards the streets with each hook-set?

I've got into some great fish, but haven't closed many deals.  I genuinely believe that many of the urban runs I frequent are full of hard-knock, street-smart trout.  I mean, I know their brains are slightly larger than a chickpea, but somewhere in that chickpea is a catalog of fishing gear, triggering horror and aversion.

A typical bow and brown from the past couple weeks.  Both of these li' guys were convinced I didn't look like the catch-and-release type, and fought above their weight class.  I'm enjoying the Hydros rod for these baby bouts.

It's become a bit of a curse that if I lose a large fish, I inevitably catch a thawed out fish-stick on the next cast.  It's an emotional yo-yo because for a brief moment I think I'm getting a second chance.  Redemption is near!  No, never mind.  She left five minutes just missed her.

Here's one of those booby prize fish, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't mind the ol' memory card got this shot instead of the beast before it.

I nymph 90% of the time so big stones, hares ears, baetis, and micro mayflies have been doing the heavy lifting.  Looking below, it isn't hard to see why.  March brown and baetis adults were fluttering past me today, occasionally landing on my sling pack to rest.  I suppose that's safer than the water's surface most days.

Here's to some more meaningful records getting smashed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Passing It On

A little soundtrack for this post...

We try to make sure our kids know that good choices mean rewards, and bad choices mean consequences.  This isn't easy, and it becomes even more complicated when you try to teach your kids what "grace" is.

All that to say, one of my son's favorite rewards is what he calls, "adventures".  Translation: river stomping.  After snagging whatever container looks the most intriguing from the recycling bin, we head down to the water.

We worked our way down the bank until we found a pocket of 9"-12" planters.  The evening quickly turned into the perfect evening of kid fishing: constant grabs from small, easy-to-manage fish.  I lost count after 15 but the bead-head flashback hare's ear was getting it done.  

Shortly after we started a middle-aged man wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat joined us across the river.  He was throwing spoons and was visibly pissed that he wasn't getting the same results, but when I saw that he had a stringer on his hip with two 10" fish I decided not to feel bad about it.  

Fishing with a 3-year-old is very different than a quiet evening midstream but it has a sweetness to it nonetheless.  His favorite part is watching the indicator disappear, gasping each time.  That and giving each and every trout an enthusiastic farewell that usually includes the title, "Mr. Fishy".

Call it fatherly bias but I think my kid has some good handling technique; soft hands and quick releases.

I suspect the dynamic of these trips will change over the years.  It has between my father and I and these sort of things tend to repeat themselves.  Assuming he keeps an interest, we have a lot of river to cover together.  It's hard not to look forward to watching him downstream with his rod doubled over.  That said,  I treasure the curiosity and simplicity of this chapter too.

Driving home listening to his retelling of the evening's events over the top of The Lumineer's "Charlie Boy", while watching the horizon change colors is the perfect end to any day.  Grace indeed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Has Sprung...and Slowed

River clarity and my fishing efforts took a dive about two weeks ago. I've heard theories all over the map from construction to the Verdi pump house.  At one point I actually stood midstream and watched the muddy-wash work its way towards me like a disease on the CDC map.

 Then 10 minutes later.  Literally.

I was in the pacific northwest for the last week on business so I was pleased to see that when I got back the river had straightened itself out a bit.  There are a few parks in town I never go to.  A variety of reasons really; overcrowded, constant pressure, car break-ins etc.  I broke that rule are tried Dorostkar this past weekend, but I should have listened to my gut.  Not only was the fishing slow, but someone's car got busted into only minutes before I pulled in.

This little baby beaver (I believe it's called a kit) watched me for a bit, then charged right at me like I had a bag of wooden treats in my pocket.  I was so confused by his tactics that I just froze and filmed the whole thing.

Baetis chaser with baby teeth.

Today I stocked up on midges and hare's ears and headed down to the river for a little redemption from the streak of dismal outings the last couple weeks.  Started great.  3 hook-ups in 7 casts, including a very aerial brown.  About 10 minutes in, my feet got twisted and I ended up flooding my waders.  Awesome.  The drive home with my son was quiet.

If at first you don't succeed, watch some epic fly fishing videos, get inspired and get waist deep again.