home waters

what is a fisherman without home waters? without those places that you know inside and out, those places that fit your moods, fit your approach. those places that you've seen in every condition and offer you all you really need and sometimes just a little more.

if you are not careful where you land those places can be difficult, if not impossible to replace.

during the warm weather there is enough close by to keep a guy busy if you have an open mind or maybe in reality it's just really low standards. recently i've been unable and some days just unwilling to drive three hours one way to get myself on decent water. money and time are factors i've learned not to fight.

that means spending days on local lakes or ponds with in an hours radius, just getting in whatever time i can. i've found a few grass carp but have yet to even make a cast to them, i've caught billions of 7 inch bass and have occasionally spent time casting to pods of tailing catfish. you only need to carry a hand full of flies and then be willing to take whatever comes.

soon i'm going back to immerse myself in the familiar. to see friends, family and water that treated me well for so long. the adult me knows there is no real going back, time does not stand still after you leave a place. but my nights are already sleepless with the possibility that maybe things won't be so different and we'll understand why we still call somewhere so far away, home.

walleye

i was recently asked to fish in a walleye tournament.

this guy had his fishing partner bail on him and last minute he asked me if i could fill in. i laughed loud and hard and when i stopped i told him. "i don't know shit about walleye fishing. but they taste good so... sure, why not?"

then i said "maybe i'll finally understand trolling" then i laughed super hard cause trolling is mind numbing. but since he was in a tough spot, i filled out the paper work and he bought some leeches.

the most interesting part of the weekend was seeing just how into all of these people were. to this group of guys there is no other fish or fishery. sitting in a boat and watching rod tips bounce in rod holders is what gets them going. i love that. i love seeing people into their own thing. especially if whatever they are into keeps them off trout streams.

i had stashed a fly rod in the boat among the trolling stick and bait casters and broke it out during the pre-fishing to cast to cruising carp. the whole thing has got me thinking about how catchable the walleye in this lake might be on flies. there has to be a better way because trolling has not grown on me and even though walleye fight like a wet sock, i figure i owe it to my love of fish tacos to try to figure it out.

pelicans

it's still so strange to me that you find all of these pelicans out here in the middle of nowhere. my whole life i've thought of the pelican as an ocean creature. i guess it's all of those years spent surfing and  watching groups glide by as i bobbed around in the line up.

they are thriving in some of the colorado's reservoirs. maybe even doing too well. there were so many in some spots today you could smell them from a distance. they don't smell good and the smell seemed to get up in your nostrils and hang on. the carp don't seem to mind the foul masses but a cold front had them feeding in waves that lacked consistency.

we hopped around looking for signs of feeding fish. those runs turned out to be the best part of the day. turns out 150 horses pushing you across the lake was the perfect way to wash the pelican smell out of your nose holes.

pants

we were running out of light and i hadn't had a bump for close to an hour.

i say, "i'm going to go over to the dock and make a few casts"

my friend responds "ok... i'm going to put my pants back on.

some people just march to their own beat, like the dude i was fishing with for instance. tonight we roll up to a spot and he immediately hooks a pike. the fish burrows into some reeds and without hesitation he kicks off his shoes, drops trou and starts snapping cattails as he wades out in his underwear.

i laugh and then hook a pike of my own and follow it as it heads in a different direction. 20 or so minutes later i hear a hoot and then the proclamation "i got a nice crappie... my phone is in my jeans can you come take a photo?"

no there has been absolutely no reason not to put some pants back on but dude spent the rest of the evening just wandering around and fishing in his underwear.

when we get in the car to leave i say "why'd you fish in your skivves all night?"

he says "don't know. the water felt good... i don't know... i'm just livin' life i guess"

after a couple of hours spent catching pike in the fading summer light with pheasants and turkey sounding out a chorus all around us, that answer made perfect sense.

200R

i've used the 200R for a lot of years. i know some people that love it and i know some people that hate it. it's like the hot girl of the tiemco nymph hooks. she's so thin with that gentle, appealing curve. some flies just look so good on her. but she's frail, weak even, almost like she's got an eating disorder.

and after you burn a couple tanks of gas and get your ass handed to you all-day-long and your sink tip gets tangled in your trolling motor (again) you are about to bail and all of the sudden a very large fish eats your fly. everything stops and the question becomes, can you really count on her to be there for you?

how much does a hook have to bend for a gotdam very large trout to get off? not much.

how much does a hook have to bend for me to consider never tying on it again? not much.

weather

sun, wind, fog, thunder, snow, rain, lighting and sleet all in the same place, all within 8 hours.

review

had a nice guy reach out and ask me to review a product. i used it and i liked his product. swapping lines on and off a reel can be a pain if you don't have the right tools. i always end up with some level of rats nest. this simple solution makes it easy to swap and store lines or even clean your line without picking up a bunch of dog hair off the floor. take this streamer express for example, knotted coil or decent storage that you can easily remount on a reel.

check them out show them some support they've got 5 days to go and need a rally.

sprung

a good friend headed west and we were able to meet up for an early spring day spent chasing trout under deceptively blue skies. full of coffee and stories we switch-backed through the pass and drove by spots we'd fished years ago when we had stomped around the state on a week long fishing bender. the stream we decided to fish is named after dreams but none were made this day. neither of us cared. we fished and hung out and like only good friends can, fell right back into things despite the gap that distance and time can often bring. the fish we caught seemed tired, almost beat up and at times i regretted that i had added to their already torn up faces. once a trout's mandibles are gone they look sunken, like an old person without their dentures in.


the complete opposite of those pounded fish swim in a few gems that are tucked away here and there on these dusty plains. i wouldn't want to fish them everyday but they offer a welcome change of pace and don't require hours of windshield time. the best part is the fish always seem to be looking up. a small parachute and a decent drift will almost always reward you with spring creek colors.


spring is the time when everything propels itself towards summer, towards the future. predators move into the shallows and ensure a future broad and after that is off their to-do list, it seems like they are angry they will have to wait another whole year to "do it" again. so we played into that aggression and hedged our bets with steel leaders and plenty of bucktail.


even an exceptionally cold morning can seem ideal just because it is calm. we all know the wind will come. wind is a fact i've begrudgingly had to accept. a day spent casting straight into a gale can be brutal but when the rewards are measured in pounds, you tighten up your loop and learn to ask for help to get your flies out of your back. at the days end when you are good and wind burnt, you crank up the car's heat and rest your hands on the dash board vents. as feeling returns to your fingers you miraculously forget all the struggle and you start planning how quickly you can get back because spring is about rebirth and moving forward. it's about the opportunity to reach out and hold all of those things from our long winter dreams.