oops! pardon me my friend! Where'd you boys come from? Dunno, got kinda turned around I guess...;-)
We round the corner only to find an angler in each of the three pockets we were hoping to start out on....welcome to springtime saturdays on the Juan, boys! No worries little man, let's just set up on this pod of risers right here, look at them go!
With the occluded water obscuring most of the fish, looks like our skilz will really be put to the test this weekend. Which is not at all what I was hoping for my young Jedi in training.
Hey Dad! Looking back I see the rod bent double as the boy gives the fish da business. Schweet! and there's the !pop!, and the boy ducking the rig flying back, the fish leaving a wake across the pool. Shoot! Nice fish, gotta let em run when they want to buddy!
No baetis that afternoon, we head on up to the Texas Hole parking lot toward dinner hour, see if we could squeeze a real kid into the Kiddie Pool. No go however, as the pool was lined with a bunch of 30-something 'kiddies' casting fruitlessly about. Jeeez o pete!
We head on over to my series of honey holes, the boy landing his first fish of the trip, maybe fourteen inches, but the grin said twenty. Fun! Finally had our chance in the Kiddie Pool towards dusk, to no avail, bummer.
Whaddaya say we go get a burger?
Now for those of you who haven't been, the Sportsmans' Inn is a literal icon on the Juan. Seems everyone there fishes the river, even the matronly waitress can give you 'catching' advice, solicited or no! Saturdays are almost always crowded in-season, with anglers from across the country sharing their day's stories, laughs, outlining plans for the next day's outing. To top it off, virtually half the establishment is wall-papered in dollar bills, all decorated and plastered up on the wall by patrons (plastered themselves from the looks of many of em), dating back to the 80's at least.
As the boy soaked it all in, over and around his Reuben sandwich dinner, we laid plans of our own to return and post our saga the following day.
Sunday AM, we wolfed down an angler's breakfast. For the uninitiated, an angler's breakfast differs from say, a rancher's breakfast or banker's breakfast, in that an angler's breakfast is made purely to stuff fuel in ya, so you can get on to the day's business at hand- fishing. Like, duh! I've found a coupla packets of instant oatmeal, coffee or hot chocolate to your preference, and a power bar on the drive down to the river seems to fit the bill. Breakfast? Sheesh, we don't need no stinkin breakfast- you can eat that tomorrow! ;-) But I digress...
Shhhhssh, watch this! I pitch in, one of the larger fish slides over, there's the wink, fish on! Now that'swhatI'mtalkinaboud!
We set up slightly behind the pod, angling from our perch on the raised bank. We manage to hook and play two more trout (!pop!) before our upstream wading silt muddies the pool. We rest the pool, waiting for it to clear, chomping more angler's breakfast, enjoying the day. The boy can finally stand it no longer, counting 4 ghosts finning once more at the head of the pool. I rig up a fresh red hot and zebra combo, pitch it in, fish on! The boy wrangles a good 20incher around the small pool, steady....steady...now hand off the reel....he's a big one...careful....watch your hand he'sgonnarun.....!pop!.....dammit! he was huge!
Ah, buddy I'm sorry, he was just sooo very big. We both take deep breaths, I coach him carefully thru another dry run of fish darts and runs, how to best fly by the seat of your pants when all hell is bustin loose on the end of a 6x tippet.
Cmon, buddy let's go get another one.
And we do just that, on our very last red hot and zebra midge combo. Fish on! and never was a 15-incher played, brought to hand with more deliberate skill, aplomb and ultimately, pride, than that one fish Sunday, on the fabled San Juan river, New Mexico.
Epilogue: The boy and I sat down to a well-earned angler's dinner (Bartender! Two Reubens, with onion rings, root beer, por favor!) that evening at the Sportsman's Inn. There we recorded our saga, added now to the annals of the Juan. You can see it there, posted in the SE corner of the dining room, proudly announcing not just the results of our trip, but also the promise of trips to come. Mike and Will, 2010: 5 landed of 17 hooked, largest at 17".
captura y libera mis amigos~