Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stoned on Sunday

First, let's be clear about the title of this post.

I didn't go off the deep end and start experimenting with mind-altering substances to fill the hours on a Sunday evening.  Not that kind of "stoned."  Neither did I join some puritanical cult practicing a severely medieval variety of punishment.  Rather, I chose another form of frustration - tying stone flies in preparation for the mid-summer high water.

It's inevitable.   Every year, I spend the early spring months pitching small dries and nymphs as the weather begins to warm up while the water level stays low.  Come June, I get sidelined during the painful, intolerable run-off, and pace back and forth like the lunatic I am, waiting for the water to drop.  This year, I'm planning a different approach.  The annual run-off hiatus won't disappear entirely, but with the help of some big, heavy stone flies (along with some San Juans and annelids), it's going to be a lot shorter.

My only problem is that I have yet to master the art of tying stone flies.  Not that I've really mastered any flies at this point in my short tying career, but the stone fly gives me fits - specifically, the legs.  I pulled up an old photo I took last summer of a stone fly casing that sat on a rock along the Poudre and tried to replicate it as closely as possible.  After a number of drafts that came out pretty ugly, I at last got to a version I can live with.

I'm hoping this one will fish nicely along the banks and shallower seams during the post-runoff period.  It's based on a pattern tied by a local tier here that Doc and I have had some success with the past couple of summers.  I tied it awfully big (size 10), but I'm cautiously optimistic that it will draw the attention of some big browns that have been eluding me for awhile.

Hook:  10
Thread:  Olive
Tail/Legs:  Light brown goose biots
Lower body:  Gold wire
Thorax:  Peacock hearl 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm a Fishing Legend in my own mind

Flywriter's Note:  Thanks to the folks over at Wind Knots & Tangled Lines for the writing prompt.  Also, check out to see a really cool logo and a great, original website with a decidedly unorthodox, refreshing viewpoint on fly fishing gear.  

There are no two ways about it.  I'm a fly fishing legend.  In my own mind, that is.  After all, crazy people with hobbies tend to live in their own minds, where just about anything is possible.

Wouldn't it take "legendary" skills to catch a fish on something as ugly and unrefined as this?:

I sure think it would.  Oh...but wait...turns out I never caught anything on it.  DAMNIT!

Still, my experimentation with the Colorado Humpy notwithstanding, I'm a fishing legend in my own mind. 

My exploits should be well-known by now:

1)  I sling San Juan Worms - with no apologies - whenever the conditions call for it.  Call me part of the "ham and eggs crowd" if you must, or scold me for abandoning the "purity" of the sport.  The fact remains that the good old San Juan Worm is thread and man-made material, pretty much like any other fly;

2)  I once hooked an 80 year-old man in the earlobe on a back-cast, the result of which was a string of expletives that had never before crept into my 12 year-old ears;

3)  A 10 inch rainbow single-handedly caused me to fall into a raging patch of whitewater;

4)  My nymphing ratio of snags to legitimate hookups is, by my count, somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000/1.  (Yes, that's 10,000 to ONE);

5)  I once caught a whitefish and asked Doc what kind of trout it was.  Haven't quite heard the end of that one yet, after 20 YEARS!!  (Put it to bed, Doc); and,

6)  I fish with a $20 fly rod, patched-up canvass waders, and until very recently, old boots that weren't made for walking.

All of this, of course, makes one wonder why I keep coming back to the river.

Oh yeah!  Here's why! (and please make note of the aforementioned San Juan Worm in his mouth):

The stuff of legends?  I think so!