Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jedi Training

So we'd been out fishing as a family a few times this summer- nothing too serious, just whenever we had time to dap a line between camping, picnicing, mountain biking. Seems mtb has been on the brain this summer, go figure that for a diehard angler! So just as it does every season (round the time we get that school-supplies-tax-free weekend, hmmmm), I get in a bit of a panic wondering where the summer has gone already with too few trips in the bag. To whit, last week I found myself thinking I better get some quality time in on the water while the fishing's still good. Next thing you know, aspen time will be upon us, high country will shut down for another year, yikes!

So I casually mention it to the boy, seeing as he's been working so hard to improve his fishing game this summer, maybe we need to make a special trip, what say? A pilgrimage, as it were, to one of my favorite places- just so happens to be loaded with cutts, of the most beautiful sort letmetellya. Well, his eyes lit right up, no need to hardsell the trip, that'smyboy!

fueling up for the great adventure

So Sunday has us booting up at a favorite sequestered spot, high up an offshoot forest road, not wanting to attract any attention to our endeavors. What this 'bity creek here? Awe, not that good really, mostly brookies, small ones at that....

A bit of a bushwack is requisite- first to cut the trail, then again at our jumpoff point down into the tangled gully that serves as our portal into the dark canyon and its waiting cutthroat. I'm prepping W as we prepare to make our descent, realizing this descent is much more a paratrooper drop than a father might otherwise want for his youngster, don't tell your mother! W's a trooper tho, looking back up at our precipitous freefall, declared it the funnest thing he'd done, !evah!, is there more?

Oh you betcha, just wait a bit!

We scramble into our gear, eyeing the water: hmmm, water's down a ton, never seen it this low....maybe half the surface area I'm used to seeing. Gonna be tough today you think ,Dad? .....naw not with these cutts, they always come out to play.

Never disappoints. Low water, check. Cold temps in the am, check. Hand-numbing water, check. Some other sonofagun fishing ahead of us, maybe yesterday judging by the trampled bank? Check. Sheesh, never seen evidence of anyone else down here, bummer that.

No matter, the Force runs strong in these two anglers, master and apprentice: fish on! Now you give it a go buddy... fish on!

W fished the smaller pockets on his own, working to solve the riddle of Drag as the morning wore on. I punched longer casts up the bigger pools, we trading a single rod back and forth for W to manage The Take, as it came.

We managed to scare up a few fish before things got tough, time for lunch.

As if in respect of the tales I regaled to the boy over lunch, the stream offered up improved success as the afternoon waned. As the canyon shadows encroached onto the streambed, the cutthroats seemed to take advantage of the new found cover to lose some of their earlier caution, sweet. We caught more in those last two hours than we had previously all day. Now, that's the stream I know!

Next up, a triple series of long pools. We manage to pluck one fish from each of the two lower pools, get set up on the last. Up at the head fins a solitary, colorful cutt, his orange flanks flashing now and again. Oblivious, for the moment. Oblivious until one of his brethren scoots up the pool to give warning. No worries, he's still there, phew. W watches over my shoulder with anticipation from his perch on tabletop boulder midstream. In goes the pitch, and the river explodes as the panicked cutt blasts out of his lie, darts around the head, then screams on downstream to safety.....and highsides himself up on W's perch! There he's stuck, a literal fish out of water, flapping around like a dolphin at Seaworld kid you not, while we stare slackjawed at the scene. Incredulous, I finally break the spell to reach for the net, and scoop this beautiful cutthroat up like plucking fruit from the vine! We both break out in laughter at the impossibility of the Moment: my son the Fish Whisperer and the Cuthroat that begged catch me, Catch ME! Don't mind if I do...thank you sir! Just 7 years old and already he's catching them without rod, reel, or fly! Ha!

Later, Last Chance Pool signaled the end of our day, we had a long hike back out. Just a coupla more casts, wham! Dad, another one! Not surprised my boy. After this day, not surprised at all....

(who caught who here?)

& Release

captura y libera, mis amigos! mjh

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