Tuesday, November 16, 2010

fins and grins on the juan

Well this is one blog post that should be an easy one to write.  What a trip!

Had the boy out chasing fins on the San Juan this weekend.  We opted first to fish that stretch of water up from the pumphouse parking lot- the Lower Flats.  Fly shop relayed how the BWO's were kicking off reliably in the lower reaches, I figured I knew all the right honey holes to ferret-out some fish for the lad.

BWO spinner, #24

We weren't fishing but an hour before the hatch started to kick off.  I could hardly keep pace changing our rig first from nymphs, to emergers, then finally full-on dries before we began to really get some action.  The BWO thorax dunn #24 we eventually settled on seemed to finally turn the tide in our favor-  we landed 4, missed just as many before we put the pod down.

Our SOP had me pitching in, minding the drift and the take, handing the rod over for the lad to wrestle the fish to the beach.  Worked out well enuf, but looking back on it, I wished I had just gone ahead and rigged two rods to give the boy some casting and drift management between fish.  Thinking he could use the practice...

Which I promptly remedied when we moved up river.
smorgasbord: #24 BWO dun.  Note the brown larva worm at left, like #48!
Late afternoon found us prospecting that chain of pools centered around the Kiddie Pool.  Kiddie Pool itself was locked up tight by a grim-faced trio of 30-something 'kiddies', each showing noticeable signs of strain, wear as they (vainly) endeavored to hook just one of the noses snarking repeatedly within two-rods' distance all around them.   Veritable Faustian Feast spread out all around you, and yet not a spoon nor fork to be had.  Been there, done that, boyos!

Huh, guess we'll try across town, buddy.

We begin to wade across the main current to some of our favorite spots, marveling at the clarity of the water, the multitude of fish darting out from underfoot.  The boy stops short midstream, able to contain his excitement no longer-  Cmon Dad let's try for those guys right there. Nodding ahead his eyes remain locked onto a pod of rather large noses blissfully sipping tiny midge adults from a quicksilver surface.   With not another angler for 40 yards, schweet.

like he owns the place
Allright, I get him set up, within range of the closest risers, and turn back to assemble my own rod and rig.  Can't hardly make progress, what with the failing light, my failing nearsightedness (cripes, when did that happen?!), and the boy's distracting casts.....sailing out in near-perfect roll-casted loops. What the what?!

Whoa, dude, that's some nice casting!  You been practicing out on the lawn?

He just laughs and shrugs, as if he's been casting like that his whole life, silly Dad.  I have to stop a moment and marvel a bit as yet another loop sails on by, gracefully unfolding at the head of the pool, just the slightest dimple as first indicator then flies settle onto the glassy surface.  Holy cow, that's my boy getting it done!  I finally tear myself away, attempting to focus on the futility of stabbing 6x tippet thru a #26 midge larva eye. 

Can't though, 'cause the boy's hollering over- Hey Dad I got one!  Sure enuf, a freight train whooshes on by, the trailing line ripping thru the water.  Holy smokes! And just like that the fish is off on down to hell and gone, leaving a father breathless and the son laughing in the joy of the moment.   Woooo he was huge, didja see that!  You bet I did!

Now I finally get rigged up, and we tag-team a few fish, 'bows  mostly, with a solitary brown mixed in for good measure.

After a bit, the boy begins to get discouraged as it's Dad hooking all the fish, he might as well be throwing meatballs for all the good its doing him.  In his frustration, he manages to cast over and snag my line, I reel us both in to untangle, or I should say UNTANGLE.  He's got the makings of a first-rate birds' nest spouting a coupla midge patterns, #24.  And lost his split shot.  And his indicator has slipped down to within 6" of the lead fly.   Sigh.

Hey buddy, I don't think you've been checking your rig well enuf...

He just smiles all innocently, as if nature's wonders never cease, the rascal. 

I cut away his nest, get him squared-away, decide to take this opportunity to switch my own #26 thread midge back up to something a lil beefier.  Say like a #24 cream larva, oh yeah, that's the ticket allright.

No sooner do I clip-off than my sixth fish-sense causes me to track a disturbance in the Force.  I look to the pod I was just harassing and out of a big boil emerges a bow wave and trailing wake as another freight train bullrushes between us.  For his part, my lil poacher is trying to make sense of it all, facing upstream still, while his adversary is already behind us high-tailing it on downstream.  With a snap, first rod, then boy whip around and now that reel is just singing, line peeling off like a sewing machine.  Eyeballing the rod surging in his death grip I start to coach out some fatherly advice-  keep that rod tip up, let him run, yada yada, but just don't grabthereellikethatandpop! he's gone.  JeezLouise nice fish little man!

The boy's grin says it all: Let's go get another one Dad. 

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