Sunday, October 31, 2010

Family Fun

Another rough day on the Poudre yesterday, despite the gorgeous weather and my declaration of war on the fish.  Another day, another skunking.  Starting to get a complex.

Our pre-Halloween festivities compensated for the lack of fishing productivity.  I decided to honor Halloween with a well-constructed scarecrow, and the rest of the clan put their artistic abilities into play during our annual jack-o-lantern contest.

Maybe he'll have better luck than I have lately.

Happy Halloween from the Flywriter.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What's That Smell???

Something stinks here at Flywriter Headquarters.

It's a slightly familiar stench - I swear I've smelled it before, but I can't quite put a finger on it.

Wait...could it be...?  Yeah, it's THAT stench!

The animal pictured above is symbolic, of course, and really doesn't deserve such an unfair, slanderous commentary on my part.  He's really just the namesake for the most offensive, embarrassing, and dreaded catch phrase a fisherman can hear:  the "skunking."

Unfortunately, I received one today, the first in many, many days on the water in 2010.  Today's skunking was so incredibly thorough that I began to wonder if I really know anything about what I'm doing when it comes to fly fishing.  Not only did I not catch a single trout, I'm fairly certain that not a single fish so much as sniffed one of my budget-conscious flies.  While I could come up with a litany of excuses - the water was too high (it wasn't); the water was too murky (just slightly); the sun was too bright; the barometric pressure was radically different; the river gets too much fishing pressure - none of them would be plausible to even the most naive among us.  More likely "operator error," as they say.  I was fishing lazy and shaking off rust from two weeks on dry land.  

It's like anything else, this obsession of mine.  Use it or lose it.  Practice makes perfect.  Blah, blah, blah.  

I'll stop short of bathing in tomato juice, but tomorrow it's game on.  I'm declaring jihad on the Poudre's trout.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall on the Poudre, 10/10/10

All too often, I tend to lose sight of the blessings that God has granted me in life.  I'm prone to bouts with self-absorption, and quick to whine to myself when life just doesn't go according to my wishes.  It's one of my many imperfections.  So, I'm fortunate to attend a church where service to others is not only something that's preached from the pulpit, but something that's supposed to be put into practice.  Today, the congregation broke into small groups and embarked on a series of efforts to live those principles.  Among other things, some visited nursing homes, others prepared packages for the homeless, and still others wrote letters to soldiers and missionaries.  It's something I should do a heck of a lot more of.  It keeps me out of my own head and puts me in a position to practice humility while reminding me that my challenges in life aren't quite so dramatic as I sometimes make them out to be.

Fat Poudre 'bow
It was a fitting lesson for today.  My afternoon on the river with Doc was one that might have normally caused me some minor annoyance.  We arrived to find the wind blowing steadily; hardly the ideal weather condition for fly fishing.  Right from the get go, things were challenging.  I lost three flies to the trees across the bank.  I dropped a full container of split shot into swift current, hopeless to retrieve it.  Somewhere along the way, I lost a pair of forceps, so I had to be extra careful removing flies from the fish I managed to land.  All this within the first hour.  Through it all, we managed to land a few small trout.

My pretty brown

The wind briefly stopped, and a few fish started rising to the surface.  No sooner had I replaced a double-nymph rig with a dry fly when the wind picked up again and the skies opened, unleashing a deluge of rain and small hail.  So much for dry fly casting.  As I sat drenched in the passenger seat of Doc's pickup, it occurred to me what a great fall day it was.  The air was crisp, temperatures nice and cool - very "Octoberish."  The great outdoors always feels a little more wild when the wind blows.  How could I possibly complain about that?

As it turns out, we managed to do OK on the fishing as well.  All it took was a little patience and some serious trial and error with the bugs.

Doc bends the rod again...
...and a quick catch and release

I can't speak for Doc, but I had the most success with a size 16 gold stone fly nymph, with a bead head providing enough weight to get down to where the fish were feeding.  I also had a good run with a size 16 pheasant tail, as close to the original PT as I have been able to tie.