Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Lost MoJo of the Taylor

  It was only six or seven years ago but oh have times changed. As the yearly Arkansas River caddis hatch dwindled down the thought of the Taylor trip would heat up. May and June were spent tying and preparing for the GINORMOUS, elusive and almost mystical trout of the C&R section of the Taylor. The two weeks prior would be difficult sleeping, setting the hook over and over and then waking up and realizing that it was just a dream, looking over at Cat and knowing she is probably catching the 30incher right now as she sleeps. The shop would have a steady stream of glossy eyed dreamers; the look could be spotted the second the customer would walk in. Heading to the Taylor? Yeah, how did you know? A little grin, head nod and a pair of glossy eyed reply of “I’ll be up there next week”.

  The first few trips with Cat found frustration and after several days of getting skunked, the birds would be flying as we were driving over the bridge and heading home. They were right there!!!!! Why wouldn’t they eat my size 16 pheasant tail? I’m never coming back!!! Well a few trips later and things started to click. Some new flies and techniques and “game was on”. 30+ fish days with a 25 inch Rainbow and a 27inch Brown the lure grew even stronger. The Glossy eyes and the plans to try and get back up there again and again, dreams of those giant jaws opening and then closing on your bug.

  As I am preparing for my Taylor trip this year things just aren’t the same. I asked Alex yesterday if he has heard of anyone fishing the Taylor as of late and he said that a customer was in a few weeks ago and had just gotten back and had caught a few( shop speak for Skunked but to self conscious to admit it). Wow two weeks since the last Taylor talk, yes times have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally excited to head up there but the reasons have changed. Highs of 80 and lows of 42 compared to P-towns 106 and 80. Four days of hanging out with Cat, Brandon, Winston and even Jimbo rather than employees and putting the new Xterra to use ought to be fun. BBQ chicken, Omaha Steaks and Cats wonderful BBQ Brisket will be on the menu for the next three days. The last couple years have been productive but the sizes of the fish have dropped. Maybe it is just because fishing is just so good here, don’t really know. Maybe tonight will be the night I am too excited to sleep, good thing Cat is there. hehe. Maybe this will be the year that we get out Taylor mojo back.Hopefully we have some great pics to share when we get back, here are just a few from last year, Thanks always for reading, Connell

 Sexiest picture ever allowed on the internet ^

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday June 25th Guide Trip

  Had a wonderful guide trip go out this afternoon, Gary had fly fished a few times several years ago and Mathew got his first ever shot at tossing a fly rod. I know they were a little saddened when I told them they would not look like Brad Pitt but they enjoyed the day anyway. Gary and Matt learned two very valuable lessons today, 1.Line Control and 2. These fish are both smart and strong. Quite a few fish were landed with the largest being in the 16 inch range, the rocks aided the larger fish. Thanks again guys, had a great day with you. Connell

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off The Wagon

  In the addiction recovery circles they call it a slip, which basically means that the afflicted falls to the temptation and jumps in with both feet to whatever addiction they are dealing with. For the readers that are not aware, I suffer from a fly fishing addiction that manifests itself in serious tendonitis of my wrist. I know, it is a good problem to have. Hehe .Most years as the Spring turns to Summer the rivers explode and keep me from fishing them from the last half of May and all of June and my wrist is able to have the rest that it needs for our Taylor trip that we always take right around the 4th of July. During that time I normally only fish my pontoon boat with my rod and reel set up left handed. Normally problem solved and fresh and ready for the Taylor.

    Not this year……

  The river this early summer has been in magnificent condition and fishing has been off the hook (pun intended, if you have fished it lately you know why). I decided mid June that I would hop on the wagon until the Taylor trip. Like most addiction stories I started out strong and totally convinced that I was doing the right thing. Then the trip up to Rainbow falls, shouldn’t count because it was work related. A week goes by and I am going strong with only a few slight urges. Then Cat and I decide to take Winston and Mushka to play in the river and watch other fishermen do their thing. Next I go out and watch Cat and her friends’ fish.  The AA saying was “if you hang out in a bar long enough, sooner or later you are going to have a drink”. Then I realize that my “supposed” most loyal support group, Cat and Winston, are no support at all. Cat showing me the fishing pics and Winston just staring into space with those eyes telling me to GO FISHING, The water is your friend…….

  I guess it always starts with good intentions. Some friends came by the shop today and one has been having problems landing fish. Ahhah, I should probably go to the river and see if I can help, and what the heck maybe I’ll just catch a few and then head home. One cast is too many and a thousand is not enough, I slipped big time. Got in about 3 and half hours with spotty results. Landed about a dozen or so with the largest measuring off at 21 inches, a 19 two 18’s and a bunch of the 12 to 15 inchers. The fly of the month continues to be the FOD in both grey and in the PMD colors, I know we don’t sell the PMD colored one in the shop but if you can tie and stop by the shop I can give you the recipe. As I sit and write I know I should have the guilt burning through my body but the only pain I can feel is a slight twinge in my wrist. I will quit again….Tomorrow……..

Slip 1-4

Enabler number one (should be in fish-er-non)


Enabler number two and could be considered a dealer.

  To all of our faithfull readers we would like to give a huge thank you. I know I try to make fun of most situations in my life and try not to be too offensive, but just in case I am, I am sorry for that as well but would like to give this little piece of advice. If you can't learn to laugh at yourself, then you are going to miss the greatest joke of your generation. Thanks ya'll, Connell, Cat and The Winston........and The Drift Fly Shop......

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cat Chimes in on Magical Night

                Due to his amazing creative nature Connell has been writing most of the blogs, but tonight was magical so I wanted to chime in…. So here I chime:
In the shop recently I ran into a friend from my home town and being from a small place this is a rare and wonderful event.  During our chat it became clear that not only had he never fished on the tailwaters of Pueblo, but he had also been told by others that it was not very good.  I took this personally.  There is no other place on the planet that I know more intimately (house included, I still haven’t learned the light switches in 7.5 years) than this river.  So when her value comes into question I don’t hesitate to do what I can to defend her honor!!  So to the river we ventured with an added friend (also a Pueblo virgin).   These two men are great fisherman and took to my nymphing strategies quickly.  The flow for this evening was about 315cfs which is amazing, the clearity was only about two feet, and not many adult insects were around…………… so what was so magical?  THE FISH!!  I have seen a lot of large fish in this river over the years but tonight was exception because of two things.  First was the fatness of the fish.  To say these fish were footballs is likely to give footballs a weight complex, they were tubby.  A few of these guys were even wider than long.

Then secondly the magic came from a brown.  The brown population is few and far between down here and browns of much size are even rarer.  Tonight however this brown (see below) was landed and it was the largest brown I have seen in person in three years…..magic!!!

New Believer #1

So I try to learn something new each time I’m out and tonight I learned this:

Sometimes the river doesn’t need me to defend her honor….. she does it on her own J

New Believer #2

Here's a quick video of me :
Have a good night, thanks for reading. Cat

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Shoulders of Shame and the Grins of Victory

  Who could ever forget the iconic double fist pump and fall to the knees from Tiger Woods after he chipped in at the Masters or Husker fans will never forget Tommie Frazier’s smiling face after he broke the 7 tackles and was heading for the end zone in the National championship game. This blog is not about those glorious times. If you are old enough to remember Jose Canseco, one of the bash brothers, then you probably remember the time he was racing back to the warning track and while reaching up to catch the fly ball, he miss judged and the ball bounced off his head and up and over the fence for a home run. The first thing he did was look at his glove then the ground and back at the wall, then he dropped the shoulders of shame on us all. We have all seen it on National TV, the shoulders drop and usually coupled with a head grab and finally followed by anger as to why they screwed up.

  Luckily for flyfisherman we don’t usually have high def cameras following us around all day. When Cat and I started doing the videos we never even considered adding in any failures in fear that some of our readers would not still think of us as perfect anglers(hehe), so all you guys get to watch are all the double fist pumps and the touchdown runs. I have found that on most guide trips that clients don’t understand that not all takes will produce a landed fish. Late spring can be especially frustrating and I don’t know if it could possibly be a physical change to the fish’s mouths or the way they take thy fly because it seems to be the time of the year when we lose the most fish. May guide trips are a lot of strong takes broken lines or just fish off and clients dropping the shoulders of shame and turning around and asking me what they did wrong. Maybe this or maybe that or maybe, they are just better than us. They don’t get that big by being dumb and lazy (the fish).

  Today was especially frustrating for Cat, just before I started videoing one of the clips I saw fish run and come out of the water about 3 feet and she was able to keep control when it hit the water and fought it for another minute or so till pop, all three flies. Like me the night before, I think she hooked seven before she finally landed a fish. I can’t help but laugh when I see her Shoulder of shame accompanied by the rod wave of anger, if you know Cat, she never gets angry. My” shoulders of shame” video moment was quite calm and I think it was more because I had already landed several, and not because of my cool, calm demeanor.

  Scarlett O’Hara finished off Gone With the Wind by remarking that “tomorrow is another day”. She may not have been a flyfisherman but I think it is a great quote we can live by. Maybe not tomorrow, how about “the next cast” or “the next rock cluster”. Remember that we pay a ton of money and spend a lot of time trying to enjoy this sport so we might as well enjoy it. And by the way, Cat finished the day by landing a 21inch bow and I landed the largest fish I have ever landed on this river. I know the pics don’t do it justice but it was a full 24 inch rainbow, the battle’s was fierce but victory was ours…………..

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Best Friends 06-06-2012

  Hello and thanks again for reading. Cat and I were lucky enough to sneak out Wednesday afternoon and ran into a mixed bag of results. I wanted to try out a few new patterns that I have been messing with. The first half an hour I only got one take and was off before I knew what was going on. I switched to a blood worm followed by my new version of my FOD followed by an, Alex inspired, lime green midge larva. I started getting takes immediately but had no idea which flies because I went zip for my first 7 hookups. Number 7 was pretty funny, I hooked up right across from Cat and when she looked up, her flies swung a little and she hooked and landed the first fish of the evening, a 16 or 17 inch tub. Soon after Cat headed up river and I started heading back down.  I could not get the Rolling Stones song “I can’t get no satisfaction” out of my head and was beginning to wonder if this could be the night, it has been a few years since I have been skunked. Finally I saw a few fish feeding in what I thought was a strange place and I casted, off the schneid with a 12incher. A couple more casts and I landed my best fish of the night. He was about half an inch shorter than the 21 inch line and healthy as an ox. I relaxed at this point and kept moving back down river. I caught a few more heading down and Cat caught up to me about an hour before dark. The last hour was phenomenal, fish were rising all around so I removed most of my weight and started catching fish just below the surface. I did have another that just ate my lunch and took all three flies. Anyway, I can’t think of a better way or person to spend my Wednesday evening, Cat and Winston, my two best friends and doing what I love to do………….
Sorry had some issues with the video quality, hopefully this will be better.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday June 6th guide trip

   If you happen to see the little purple bruises up and down my arm, I can assure you that it is not my wonderful wife Cat being abusive. The last three days I have had to pinch myself over and over to make sure that I am not just dreaming that the first week of June is still fishing great. I was lucky to take Dave on a morning guide trip today and the theme of the day would be “VIOLENT TAKES”. We got to the water just a little after 8:00a.m. and after just a few casts Dave hooked his first fish, unfortunately he popped off. We spent the next half hour or so working on technique with only a few bumps. I switched out Dave’s point fly to a blood midge and first cast had the indicator shooting about four feet up river, a really nice bow came about a foot out of the water and then he was off. We moved down to the next hole and after a few casts the indicator shot down and across and the 4x tippet exploded. We rerigged and a few more casts hooked another pig and unfortunately he cleaned our clock as well. I assured Dave that sometimes the fish are just better than us and the next hook up landed this beautiful 19 inch bow. A few minutes later Dave landed one of those tank 14inch fatties. We moved down stream and more fish were hooked with one coming out of the water that my best guess would be 20 or 21. The last few takes were just as violent as the first few. The feeding seemed to shut off at about noon with the heat rolling in. I know Dave was a little frustrated with his landing percentage but these fish right now are amazingly strong. The big bow in my mind was quite an accomplishment; they don’t get that big by coming in easy. Thanks again for the opportunity to serve, Connell