Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 fly fishing goodness

Favorite fly fishing stills from 2009~

June: backpacking trip

June: Father's Day

July: mountain bike fly fishing

August: high country angling

August: backcountry cutthroats

September: season's end

November: San Juan River NM

well that's it for 2009 sportsfans, see you all in the new year~ mjh

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 mtb sweetness

A look back at some of the ABQ Roughriders' favorite MTB stills of 2009.

March: Spring Break trip to sample the trails of Fruita CO & Moab UT

May: Memorial Day Weekend in Durango CO

July: Hood River OR

August: Continental Divide Trekking

September: Dragon's Back & Winsor Trail NM

October: Aspens along Winsor Trail

November: High Desert Trail, Gallup NM

Wow, we sampled a lot of tread this year, hope 2010 can keep up!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

fresh rubber

Nothing quite compares to that dialed-in feeling that accompanies fresh rubber on tacky trail.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas pudding

Road ABQ Foothills South today, along with everyone else it would seem! Rarely do I see the TH so crowded, cars lining both sides of Copper, guess everyone has the same idea about workin off that Christmas pudding. Cut my usual ride back a bit due to late start, wind chill , general cookie season malaise.

The snow we received last Wed could still be seen sticking to the north slopes, the trail offered plenty of snow and ice-packed stretches to keep your speed honest.

Managed to break in one of my favorite gifts as well- one of those sweet 1/4-zip merino wool pullovers that seem to be all the outdoor rage these days. Must say, it is indeed a sweet piece of gear, thx to Mrs Roughrider, think I'll keep her around. ;-)

All-in-all it was a beautiful ride, looking forward to more of the same tomorrow~

Thursday, December 24, 2009

snow angler

the kids made the best of our smattering of snow~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa's Big Show, T-Minus 48 hours

Guess practice does indeed make perfect: seems the Big Guy doesn't sweat the details anymore. On the eave of his big show, looks like Santa's thinking about phoning it in~

Merry Christmas from la casa de Roughriders~

Monday, December 21, 2009

once I was king...

Desperation struck precisely at 2.30 today, snapping me out of my reverie to realize I was jammin' to an old favorite college beer-swilling anthem: Led Zeppelin's Fool In The Rain. A song of brotherhood, of freedom, of beer hall revelry for my college buddies and I. It wasn't the song itself mind you that jarred me to the bone, rather the bitter irony of my current circumstances: on hands and knees, toilet brush in hand, scrubbing away under the withering gaze of Mrs Roughrider. In Mrs Roughrider's defense, I will concede I had relinquished all hand in the matter, as it was my parents whose imminent Christmas week arrival had indirectly contributed to my temporary incarceration~

60 degrees outside, sunny skies, not a breath of wind, the foothills beckoning thru windows newly cleaned, yet there I remained imprisoned, sentenced to labor of the most egregious sort. First windows, now this. How did it ever come to this.....?

Once I was king...

...and eventually paroled with today's ride finally fulfilled, am once more again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

an angling initiation

Took the boy out for his first trip on the Juan, he was positively giddy at the prospect the entire week leading up to the trip. I had been hesitant to bring him up in the past, trying to gauge his growing interest in fly fishing against the technical fishing, low catch rates that could potentially derail his enthusiasm before it's even off the ground.

But I had forgotten the heady effects the Juan has on the uninitiated, no need to worry really. I had seen it before in my own father's singleminded stalking the resident pigs of the Cable Pool, my brother's manic casting his newly-minted emerger pattern to huge pod of smutting risers. The Juan can have that affect, the size and sheer numbers of fish creating a fever of sorts not unlike Bogart's in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. And this of grown men!

So the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, I began the boy's initiation to the Juan, first and foremost with some important introductions. I showed him around my favorite fly shop on the river- Float 'N Fish, sorting amongst the huge selection of flies for my favorite midge patterns. Afterward, we posed for pictures at Abe's Fly Shop, a mecca on the Juan. To complete the preamble, we fueled up for the day's adventures at Abe's diner, the boy marveling at all the ginormous fish mounts between bites of his angler's breakfast.

how many pictures taken at this door?

Mid-morning found us gearing up at the Texas Hole parking lot, the boy receiving approving nods and even words of encouragement from some of the grizzled Juan veterans. I swear he walked a foot taller on the way down to the river!
fishing buds

We proceeded across the lower reaches of the Kiddie Pool, taking note the Game and Fish folk must have recently stocked this reach judging by the numbers of planters rising literally all over the place. I stop midstream to remind the boy to look down around his feet. Sure enuf, a pod of fish slowly meander up to take station below us, picking off insects we've scuffed-up into the water column. Eyes grow wide in amazement as the boy slowly counts more large fish schooling within a rod's reach than he's seen in all his born days. Yep that's the Juan my boy!

We set up shop on one of my favorite pools, I have the boy spotting risers while I finish rigging up the rod we'll share for the day. I cast a coupla times, to give the boy the idea of the line and drift mind you ;-), manage to hook our first trout for the day before I could even get him started. The boy struggles in playing a nice 18" bow, the fish literally leading him hither, yon around the pool before he's brought to net. I laugh out loud at the sight of my boy massaging his cramped arm muscles, recognizing a familiar gleam in his eye as he recounts the play-by-play of the fight. C'mon Dad, let's go get another! Thus the San Juan sets its hooks into another angler...

We manage to hook two, beach one more in our first pool before I move us on up to the Honey Hole. I regale the boy with tales of fishing exploits at the Honey Hole, namely of his Dad and Uncle pricking no less than 10 fish in a pool the size of a residential bathroom, only to return later in the day to do it all over again. We negotiate the beaver-made trail thru the willows leading to the Honey Hole, only to startle a majestic blue heron upon emerging. The boy's mouth hangs agape as he tracks the heron's stately flight on downriver- Ahhh Coool! Yes indeed, it's a fine day to be on the river.

The Honey Hole proves a bit less than its spectacular self, but reliable nonetheless, with 2 fish brought to hand. Our tour around the middle flats basin then continues at a leisurely pace, taking time to explore and explain likely holding areas in the various braids. We break out of the braids and tinker in the larger pools of the upper flats area, gaining no real success other than marveling how you can be constantly trailed by a pod of trophy fish, and yet sometimes catch none at all when you get down to business.
the braids of the middle flats

Late afternoon, we make our way back towards the parking lot, and encounter a rare sight on the Juan: the Kiddie Pool and not a single angler plying the water, huh. Seizing the golden opportunity, I set the boy up at the head, fish are dimpling the water all around the pool the size of your backyard. Schweet, nice midge hatch kicking up. I couldn't resist showing the boy how to hook the first one, then step back to hover at his shoulder while he proceeds to hold forth on some willing pupils.

Now most San Juan anglers dabble at some time or another in the Kiddie Pool, though mostly for novelty's sake only. I've been known to stalk it myself, sight fishing to the bigger fish in shallow water maybe 12" deep. While it can be a fun way to close the angling day, the Kiddie Pool mostly serves as a nursery of sorts for the smaller plants introduced into the river. There's a ton of fish to be had, but most fall well under the Juan 17" average in size. The big fellas are to be found, but they get chased around a good deal by the frequent crowds. Ergo it remains a place to marvel about, but quickly loses its shine for more seasoned anglers and headhunters.

That Saturday, I finally realized the Kiddie Pool's true potential, unlocked when experienced thru the eyes of my boy. True to its name, the Kiddie Pool offers unbridled encouragement to the young angler. All the components to learning the larger river are represented, in smaller scale: current seams, foam slicks, prolific midge hatches, finning trout on the feed, all bound in wadable water upstream and down.
mending line

No sooner do I hand the rod to the boy and step back to frame a picture, than the line is tight and already streaming from the reel. The first of what would be many trout that afternoon dashes around the boy as he endeavors to bring all the heat his skinny 7-year-old arms can muster. Late that glorious day, we commence that familiar ritual I myself had only witnessed before on the Juan: the son casting, hooking, wrestling trout as long as his leg; the proud father laughing and lunging to net each and every catch.
giving em the business

All too soon, the day is done, both of us now talking over ourselves as we make our way back to the truck, reliving the day's exploits, added now to the annals of the fabled San Juan.

We'll be back, a promise easy to keep.

captura y libera- mjh

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not cool, dudes

Blogging via cell phone has its limitations, apologies. Unfortunately, blogger centcom has been offline of late, many thanks to the fine engineering work of HP + Vista. New hardrive, windows 7 upgrade in the works, meanwhile posting to suffer the consequences a bit longer.

christmas tree hunting 2009

favorite spot - Jemez Mountains NM. Scouting friends made it the best trip yet- thx guys!


kids had a ball on the new sled

campfire fun


home again