Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011


Got a bit distracted there, appreciate your patience everyone!

Been kicking this post around for a bit, wondering how to best convey heart-thumping elation and crushing disappointment both.

Time to get on with it- I think I'll shoot to dwell more on the experience as a Whole, less on the fact I got schooled yet again this year down in the depths of the Gorge. 

Less painful that way, I'm sure you'll sympathize.
happiness is an empty lot
I've been fishing each year in the Rio Grande Gorge for some time now, most often in the Fall, other years in February-March.  Fall offers predatory browns ambushing big streamers, late winter: big cuttbows making their way into the Red for their annual spawn.
opportunity dawns

hella climb
In my experience, fishing the Red in Winter offers the more challenging fishing- limited water, your quarry fewer in number, less avaricious than those hook-jawed browns of Fall.  Up from La Junta, there's a scant 3/4 fishable miles on the Red before you find yourself squeezed by basalt boulders the size of Winnebegos, forming glory pools dark and deep.  And swift!  Setting up a drag-free drift thru the depths requires a metric ton of weight, only to get hung-up, broken off on unseen boulders lurking below.  Again.

Wading in the Red's box is next to impossible thru the deep runs.  Instead, you're scrambling over basalt boulders slick as snot, fighting your way through streamside brambles and thickets.  And just when you've exhausted yourself from the day's fishing do you remember you still have that killer scramble back to trailhead before you even attempt the 800' climb out of the Gorge.

black canyon

So what's the attraction?  While the Red offers a good mix of homegrown browns and 'bows, resident thirteen-inch fish can be found elsewhere at lesser cost.  No, it's those Cuttbows, many of considerable size, that keep this angler coming back despite the abuse. Paired with the absolute Wildness of the Gorge, the experience proves an unshakable Addiction.

Year after year.

So that explains the sentiment last year as I turned away from the Red, having been schooled by no less than two bruisers for the day.  One, a leaper, thumbing his nose before parting my tippet.  The other, more torpedo than fish, unseen but for the line ripping thru the water, on around that last boulder and on down to the Rio in a blink of an eye.  Defeated, I trudged that long climb out of the Gorge, and mentally refought every mistake on the long drive home.
victimized by crane fly larva, #14
resident bow

Fast-forward to just last week, and I'm brawling toe-to-toe with this year's Adversary.   Gorgeous cuttbow, vivid crimson flanks, 18 inches if he's an inch.  Luck is in my favor as he continues to bulldog upstream into the  heart of the plunge pool, sapping his strength, where a more crafty fish would bolt downstream to safety.

Finally I have his head up, my moment of Victory is nigh!  He's now broadside to the current, I'm reaching across body to net him with my left hand.  Just one thing- we're at the bottom of the slick, where the current squeezes out of the pool and down into the next.  My quarry, broadside still, begins to gather steam as the current quickens.  In slow motion, I realize I'm about to blow it, I have now just one moment of opportunity before our roles are reversed.  My heart beating in my throat, I strike out with the net, execute the scoop, I have you now.  No wait! Balancing momentarily on the net rim, in a wink he's out and gone, leaving me staring at net, sans fish, and opportunity, lost.


The black canyon walls echo my pain on down the canyon, themselves silent and unmoved, impartial witness to the failings of Man As Angler.

la junta
Later that afternoon, on the long hike out, I take a moment to catch my breath on a switchback far above the canyon floor.  Looking back down into the Gorge, still in the black funk of Fail, I wonder why it is that I keep coming back to this Place.  Turning away, the slow, steep climb offers plenty of opportunity to re-fight every mistake, which I do sure enuf, again and again. Before achieving the rim, breathless, bruised, ego battered, I'm vowing to never return.

Yet, back at home, even as I write this, I find myself wondering if I can squeeze another trip down into the Gorge before snowmelt this Spring.  There's that small matter of a score to settle, yet more cuttbows to chase. 

Addiction can be a funny thing that way.

trail's end

Thursday, February 17, 2011

La Junta

La Junta- confluence of the Red & Rio Grande.
Spent my day Wed chasing cutbows in the depths of the Gorge.  I'll post up in a day or two.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


compliments of Elevation Coffee House- Taos, NM

Those guys know their java~

Sunday, February 13, 2011

awesomeness: fresh rubber

Mrs Wulff recently introduced our team to the idea of giving daily thanks for those small things that make our life on this planet simply awesome.   

Her inspiration comes from the (awesome) website 1000 Awesome and the daily Awesome Thing emailed out each day.  

Peeling an orange in one shot?  Awesome.  Awesome Thing #908.

Blaming your fart on the dog?  Awesome again!  #427- look it up!

Dinner these days has us listening intently to each one of our day's awesome moments, so add that as yet another thing I'm grateful for: sharing such awesome moments with my favorite people on this good earth. 

Mrs Wulff?  Awesome Thing #1 in my book.  I love you Hon!

So in keeping with our meme, I thought I'd share the joy of those smaller things that make life at Dry Flies & Fat Tires simply awesome.

Sunday:  a twofer

Fresh rubber?


Hardpacked adobe tread on a bluebird day? 

Awesome again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

in the flybox: midges

ham & eggs with side of baetis
I went and upgraded my midge box this weekend- bought one of those double-sided Umpqua Pro Guide slot boxes, small.

In lime, schweet.

By Umpqua's count, there's room for 270+ flies.

That's $540 stuffed into a box the size of a sopapilla, day-yam!
1:red hots; 2:zebras; 3:black beauties in chocolate, brown biots; 4:black beauties, KF emergers
I went to transfer over my midge assortment, could not bring myself to move over almost half- too battered, flayed, rusted from fish and dunkings both.
1: yong specials; 2: olive biots, olive mercuries; 3: flashers, dark lords, wire; 4: grey miracles

So I dusted off the vise, spent some time Sunday-Tue filling slots with those patterns I seem to reach for most often on the Juan.
1: grey miracles; 2: black/green discos, root beer discos; 3: cream UFO's

I managed to get thru maybe 6 dozen.

my minions await my command
Midges, larva + pupa mostly, a few KF emergers in there too.  #20-24.

Filled the front half of the box, whoa.
houston, we have a go for launch

It ain't no Juan Ramirez box or Midge Man's, but a gal can dream, no?
#24 black beauty midge pupa, in chocolate and copper- yum!
#22 KF paratrooper awaits the drop zone
#24 brown biot- luv it!

I'll add some baetis to the mix next session, but for now, The Creator must rest and contemplate the fruit of His munificence.

Monday, February 7, 2011

fire hardened steel


As a longtime Michigander, this one struck a chord.

Get it done boys, get it done.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

wishing i were there

Our foothills are snowed in, looks like it'll be a while before I can sample some of my favorite pursuits via dry flies, fat tires.  To make matters worse, it seems I've lost whatever tolerance I once had for being cooped up inside due to wintry weather, bleh.

While we wait for the inevitable thaw, I took a moment to change-out that mtb tire that arrived recently, spent some time loading up the fly box.  

Couldn't help but daydream a bit of warmer times, sigh.

Wishing I were there:

Thursday, February 3, 2011


-5degrees this AM at la casa de Roughrider.  WTH!  I thought we left that all behind back in the great white north.
rare indeed: a thermometer pegged in the desert southwest

Now if you'll excuse me, I need make a call to notify myself I'll be on a 2-hr delay for work.

Edit: NM Governor has now declared state of emergency as the entire state is literally running on fumes.  We are apparently dangerously low on the natural gas reserves that fuel everyone's furnace in this state- a bunch of communities are actually out.  Of natural gas! 

Jeebus, it's getting like the Road Warrior out there.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Area 51: Bialetti Espresso Maker

Yep, you read that right- I am indeed a latte drinkin', blog writin', pedal driven, lover of fishes.  Dam proud too.

Bialetti man giving me the finger?
Celebrated our first coffee production out of the new kitchen (yay!), a rather creative endeavor given the fact we are still without a kitchen sink.

Wanted to review this little beauty for some time, a Christmas gift from my parents.  As an espresso devotee, I've been wondering how to carry that addiction out into the field, looks like Bialetti has the answer.  Who knew we'd be field testing it in the kitchen?!

Bialetti makes a variety of these, sized by the number of ounce servings of espresso each machine churns out.  We have the 6-oz size, perfect for one cup of coffee.

bottom basin fills w/ water
filter w/ coffee fits above basin

bialetti heats on the range
while the bialetti heats up, churn a hot cup o milk
aerolatte whisk foams milk in seconds- thx kids!
black gold
damn near perfect latte
Start to finish, it's a 5 minute cup o joe.  Dam good too- better than our elec espresso machine by a long shot, dint expect that.

All in all, I'm looking forward to espresso around the campfire this summer, can't beat that with a stick!

EDIT: March 2011.  Finally got to field test the Bialetti in Moab. 

Ever crave a basecamp latte?  
 Bring the coffee bar with you.

basecamp latte?  Awesome.
Edit: Christmas 2011 Large 12-cup Bialetti is adopted into la familia.  Makes enough for two latte grandes or 4 cups o joe. 

Both Bialettis brew a superb cup on par with your favorite coffee house espresso.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

cookin with gas

caught mrs wulff wiping away tears of joy just now- dual LG appliances installed today