Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flyrods, the endless search for perfection....

During a family retreat in Grand Lake, in 1989 my father handed me his Sage graphite fly rod and said "go on over to the water and try it out..." So I went to the lake side, as it was close, but I could not get the fly very far out, the lake is so large and the wind so ever present, you need a boat really. I decided to go into the park, headwaters of the Colorado, and see if I could use it more efficiently there. I went to the edge of a nice little bend in the water and sure enough, a brookie hit this big ol' black cricket on the line. I was such a rookie, not sure I even knew about catch and release at that time, but I did release...not sure if the little guy survived, I sure hope so. And then I had little brookies racing after this fly...I kept it away from those guys...I figured it out a bit that this bug thing was attractive to fish.

So I kept this fly rod, at my father's request. And I used it a few times, but nothing to talk about. In 1994 I took a great little class in the Colorado Mountain Club, for $69, six weeks of fly fishing "school". Started out with a dozen people, ended up with four, and the three instructors stayed on the entire time. So by the third week I had my own instructor basically. It was the best six weeks of help one could get for the dollar. Classroom, to grass lessons, to Waterton Canyon for bug lesson, then three trips to the St Vrain. And they liked my Sage, said it was perfect.

Then I got distracted. I met a man with a Harley, and that led to a decade of riding motorcycles. I even bought my own, and for 45,000 miles I passed streams and rivers, with longing in my heart to be standing in water, or near water, with that rod in my hand. One can only do one thing at a time and do it well. The Sage gathered dust.

In 2008 I sold my Harley, my husband sold his Ultra Harley, and suddenly like a light switch we found empty time. In the quiet of long days, we realized that we needed something to do, and me, being the one to always say "I am thinkin'....", and that would lead us down some long road somewhere, for an adventure just about every time, I said let's look at those fly rods. My father had given me another rod along the way, and a man's vest, and we basically had the stuff to put on my husband and get him on the water for the first time. His vest by the way had NOTHING on it, no implements hanging from it, I think we had one net between was baby steps at day one for him. However he was game. Not sure he felt about it as I did, as he is used to fishing with a chair, container of worms, bobbers, and beers...going no where too fast and watching for the tip of his line to start a wigglin'. That would drive me insane, sorry about that, I have to move, discover, wade, inquire around the corner, and SEE fish.

So we started heading up to the hills and standing in water. And Harley's would roar by us, and at first our hearts would break and we would say "oh well..." But then....I would take his hand down to the waters, and we would step in and I would say "look at the fish over there!...Good spot!" And he would say "ok, what do I do?" And I would go back to Colorado Mountain Club words that I was taught, and repeat it to him, and we would start the teacher and the learner bond, standing in flowing, musical waters. He started to understand.

That began new pages in our life together. The most fun was a week in Crested Butte, which was really what it takes sometimes, to immerse yourself in opportunity to fish. We had a guide for a day, and Mike finally caught some fish on the Taylor, lower section. Then we went out the next two days and did the same tasks, much easier with a guide I must say. However the Sage rod was working well enough, and Mike's Pflueger rod was ok. Would not be my choice, but it was free, and you have to "earn" your way up the fly rod ladder. If you like to fly fish, reward yourself with a nice rod, if you don't like it after all, won't hurt to hang up a beginner rod.

One day on the Gunnison by Three Rivers he caught a really nice brown, on his own, working the water his own way, I just backed off, always a time to shut up and let someone get the space to work on the skill their own way.   He was so happy.

We went to the same bend that evening, under a full moon rising, and backed the Explorer up to the river, put on some great Andean music, ate dinner on the bumper of the car of all our leftovers, as it was our last night in the Butte, and fished under the setting sun.  Life could not have been better.  Was a moment that when I think of these days, always makes my eyes water. 

He started to like fishing with me. His vest began to be a piece of clothing to hang everything sparkly under the sun on it, which I then had to say "hide some of that stuff, these are wary fish here".... Just as he gets going I change the rules on him.

And no, we had never used a Ross fly rod, just bought on their reputation.  Which is ok to a point.  This rod has landed some very nice fish, not big ones like on big water, but nice nice fish.

So now it is Christmas again.  I do not want jewelry, I don't wear it well, seems to get in the way, I do not need more clothes, just gave Goodwill clothes I will never get into again, once being a size 4 as I did not live with a person who wants dinner every night, before we were married, so I put on a size or two.  I don't want a flat screen, good with the HD that we have had, even if it is outdated a few years.   What do I want?   Well, a fly rod.  A new fly rod.....

This summer I had a guide for a day, my own guide, just for me, as I had been treating everyone else in the family to a guide, now it was my turn.  I had been following AJ with Estes Anglers, who I just have a lot of respect for, and took him on as a guide and the two of us spent a full day on the Upper Big Thompson, with a RL Winston 4-5 wt., 8'7.    I loved it.  Was a better feel than my Ross.  Surprised me.   I think before one buys a fly rod they should use one on the water first.  This RLW had such a nice way that it cast, felt solid but light when fish on, and overall I liked it....

Now what to do with the Ross, if Santa brings me the RLW....I was thinking to give my nice Ross to my husband, and then turn around and sell his on Craig's list, or somewhere, as it is a nice rod, but mine is a bit better.   Have to think about that....I have a 3 wt., a nice Ross 6-7 wt. and a Ross 4-5 wt.   I am set for about any water, little water or big water.   Some people carry two rods with them, rigged up for different water when they hike in....Lord am I that good yet?   Not sure!   To hike up a trail with one rod and waders on etc. is enough alone when one is bushwhacking!   Two going through the brush, ha ha, that would be interesting.  

So now husband is thinking about fly rods in a new light.   I came home from using the RLW and could not shut up about what a great day I had...

Hurry up Santa, I did sit on your lap at the Toy Run and I did say I wanted a new fly rod, and you did say "it's always good to want..."    What???   Really??? 

I have been such a good girl!  Would this smile lie to you.....


  1. A wonderful read! We all have such interesting stories that led us to fly fishing. And I hope Santa brings you exactly what you asked for this year. :)

  2. Very nice story, FisherGirl. Never was one for motorcycles, but my path to fly fishing was not through my childhood, but through my child. As long as you don't get in too deep, I think fly fishing is a safer endeavor ;-)

    Merry Christmas.

  3. If you've been a good little girl then you shall get your wish ;-)

    Let us know what happens.

  4. I am so exicited to even think about getting a new flyrod, I can hardly stand it...