The Long and the Short of it

NEW TOYS for Fall have arrived.

You may not know it by the slow leak in my boat, but I am always trying to keep things fresh and new. Understand clearly that I am not a product pitcher. I like Pepsi but will drink a Coke. Could care less about the car your driving, Ford-Chevy, V6-V8 blah, blah, blah. Tippet, fly line, leaders just need to be affordable, I could care less what name is on them. I also pledge allegiance to no one rod manufacturer but trust me I know what I like and lately I like em long.

Just injected my new Sage One 10' 5wt and a Reddington Hydrogen 10' 4wt into the program and wow what a difference a foot makes.

"Teaching Euro nymphing now too?"
Nope, just a bigger lever

One of the biggest hurdles for most guides who teach is getting the rod tip up in critical situations like say mending, roll casting or most importantly the hook set. It is a daily struggle that the rod manufactures have tried for a few decades to solve with lighter rods. Don't matter, they are still to heavy for most humans to lift so I just bought a foot.

The One is going to cost you, but during the brief time we have spent together I can say this is the finest stick I have held in a long long time. I own a few 9' 5 wt Ones also but they just became dry fly rods, The 10' is definitely heavier in hand but so are most of the rigs it's shoving around, big deal, man up and be an athlete.

The Hydrogen is lighter in hand and on the wallet. This is a great rod for the price point and will let people dabble without going broke. The 4wt has a much slower action than the One but I really have grown to like that in a nymph stick. The skeleton reel seat is kind of a cool feature if you are into bling and I like the mat finish a lot.

the boy's eyes were cross eyed after I made him pose for this picture

I have also been working on the short game. I broke down and bought my first pair of cheaters after 3 years of being blind on the close side. I gave in after spending an evening with Ed Nicholson, the founder of  Project Healing Waters, who I guess got sick of watching me fumble.

Very high honor floating around with this great man. Humbled

"Give in already and join the club" says Ed as he hands me a pair of cheaters just before dark.

I'm in. Best investment I have made in years.

Carry On.

Hitting for average

Lately I've felt the need to set different expectations with my clients. Most everybody comes blasting into the shop thinking they are going to set records on their first few swings because it's "just fishing". Used to be I would wander out and just let it be, just let them shoot what ever score they shot and try and put the day in perspective on the way home.

we began battling the weeds on the Upper Colorado

Ultimately clients say or do something very early on in the day to express their expectations. The smart ones ask what they might expect to accomplish seeing as they only do this once a year. The naive ones assume they are about to shoot 2 or 3 birdies cuz they paid for a good caddy. Truth be told this game called fly fishing is a sport. It requires coordination, focus and some concentration. If things are are not clicking the fly rod tends to have a mind of it's own and it's devilish if you don't take control of the pesky thing.

"Sort Of" for Trico Time
Extended Body Chocolate Thunder
PMD Version

So lately when peeps start discussing the potential success ratio I simply bring up of all things, baseball. Day in, day out I have been keeping track of all the stupid things that go on around rivers and fly rods and I have become very aware that nobody bats a thousand. A good hitter in the major leagues hits somewhere around 300, that's a 30% success rate. Now win, loose, success and failure are big words and ones I try and leave out of my language during my day but the fact is you are going to put a few shots in the bunker and strike out now and then, we all do, it's a sport.

Duane Redford at work

So explaining to my new friends very early in the day that there are going to be struggles, natural ones that just come along as baggage with this silly sport, can set a positive mood for all the shit that is about to hit the fan. I've seen all different reactions from people once they understand that they just plunked a whole bunch of jingle down and they realize their day is going to include struggling 70% of the time. But at the end of the day when everything is added up like most people do, if they went 3 for 10 on landing hooked fish, making good drifts or hitting spots, it was a good average, they hit par...Good job.

Like a man. 
The accounting dept down the hall from my boat does the numbers, and hopefully people are hitting more like four or five hundred but there will always be hic ups or hurdles. For the first hour of most trips, guides watch 1 in 10 casts go where they should. Most presentations are terrible and most everybody only understands 10% of whats being said. If people treat the process like a sport and try hard to get better, the percentages go way up and they begin to understand the rhythm of the sport. But if somebody takes the first 3 hours of a 4 hour trip to get things on par that doesn't leave much time to catch fish, especially if the fishing is tough, just sayin.

One grip and grin can't hurt

I'm not making excuses here, I am always rooting for the fish to cooperate, but sometimes they don't. But I would rather pick a guy up by telling him he did a great job even though it was only 30% of the time. Dude just went out and put up Jeter numbers, he hit for average and should be happy with himself. Earthlings need to know that's how it goes and they should come and give this fly fishing stuff a try again.

It's been a busy time around me this summer, sorry for the lack of work on this blog thing

Mr Redd Wrecker and My Monthly Product Review

Management has always had a legitimate gripe with my lack of sales prowess and rightly so. Unless you wet yourself over something you used while putting up with me for the day, I am not going to bring up all the exciting new product that you have to streak back to the shop and buy. It could be that I don't enjoy that type of thing so I think three times about doing it to you. But in an effort to keep the giant standing I have promised at least a review and helpful tip this month.

My Simms Boots have finally died.

Guides are incredibly hard on stuff but we all just keep trying to find that bullet proof, guide resistant silver lining product we have pride in. Persistent bunch. To the point....
Simms makes quality junk 
I have destroyed every wading boot on the market while still spending the busiest 3 months of my season floating in sandals. The uppers gave out before the soles on almost every pair of boots I have retired EXCEPT for these Simms. For what it's worth I can't seem to destroy my waders, rain jacket or sling pack either and they all say Simms on them.
The only failing grade these boots get involve the shoelaces, but it would seem that no manufacturer has a handle on the challenge of tying wading boots. 
This leads me to my tip of the month: Replace your laces with Hockey Skate Laces. 
Credit Mr Alex Forsberg (the fishing guide). I have half a mind to put them on my new boots right out of the box just to see how long they will actually last. Leave it to the game of hockey to teach others that there is always a stronger, tougher solution.

Lots of people love and respect our home water and we will always notice when people are taking advantage of her. If you are unethical you can not hide.

Hey Mr REDD WRECKER, or should I say DBAG, 
I am terribly sorry you took your chance to learn something this week like a pussy. A few of us just wanted you to know it is not cool to rip spawners from their business and if you do this crap in plain site on our river somebody is going to say something. More than one of us did.
If you have actually "been fishing this river for 25 years" we assume you knew exactly what you were doing so shame on you.
You guys are very observant though. You managed to remember what I was driving so you could secretly go to the put in and let the air out of my clients passenger side tires while we were on our float. 
Ignorant Cowards you are says Yoda. 
Heres your next problem you butcher, We know what you were driving also. That is one gorgeous white truck, with sweet aftermarket monster tires with bro rims to match. The rod rack, lack of stickers on said vehicle and your Blue Native Colorado License plate are dead give away's and it only makes it easier to describe to the whole entire valley.

My blood pressure says thats all I got,
Carry On   

There is no bottom

Dear Mr Expert Angler,
Oh how I hope to someday have your eyes.
Your ability to watch a bobber swim upstream 2 feet but still KNOW it's the bottom shows a level of awareness and uncanny vision that I am yet to master after a thousand days on the river.
The confidence you have developed while expertly analyzing what your flies are doing 8' below your bobber has done nothing but help you loose countless fish before my eyes.
It's almost as if you don't want me to think you are slow, not paying attention, looking at your hands or just not really as experienced as you explained to the shop dick. It's OK, I don't need an explanation, I know what happened, you farmed another one cuz you are scared to pull the trigger.
I just can't figure out how you know its the bottom.

My boy Scott Thompson got so sick of this poop he started telling people there is no bottom to the river. Every time the bobber moves its a fish, every time you don't react back you miss a fish because well, there is no bottom. Goes to show you how far a guide might go just to get Mr Expert to lift his rod up suddenly.

For the absolute last time in my guiding career I need to be clear about this and I need your undivided attention for this huge announcement....After all these days on the river, I still can't tell the difference between a bottom bounce and a Trout, I'm sorry. Just set the damn hook already.

Hang on your guide and he will take you to the fish, you just have to trust he or she is a professional.

Big thanks to Crazy Mountain Brewery for hosting our fly tying nights the past few months.

Wrap up

This weeks rap up:
Why we love the things that hate us...

Check this weeks wrap up:

White bead, white rappers....

Laser Dub Crane Fly

March Face Shot

Carry on

The heavy weight of an asterisk

All sports have record books and all of them contain asterisk.
An * in THE book lets the reader know there is more to the story and often times it has to do with getting tangled up in the rules during some important feat of wonderful.

Luckily the fly fishing record book is not that thick nor that important (to some of us). However the sport of fly fishing and all its nuances, traditions and history can make an angler feel as if he crossed some mythical line now and then and he might feel his success requires an asterisk. No one really is keeping track of the amount of * your fishing soul is haunted by and I am pretty sure it won't count for much when you end up at the gate. The manual explains that to stay aligned cosmically and spiritually in the affairs of fly fishing when receiving an * it is  highly recommended you lead with "yeah but....." when glorifying your extraordinary skill to your fishing buds to keep the voodoo away.

Because the original governing body of American Fly Fishing according to some hip boot wearing, silk line, stuffy Catskill dude, never had funding for a Rules, Moral and Ethics committee, there has been a few things left for personal interpretation. Everyone has to look in the mirror or at the picture and decide; is that an asterisk fish?

Lets go through a few:

"Yeah but I was being Guided"= no asterisk.
Unless the guide caught it you did all the hard work. Sure you cut a few corners and maybe a year or so off the learning curve but being guided to fish and eventually catching them was what you paid for. Enjoy, no penalty stroke here.

"Yeah but I was pegging eggs"= no asterisk
There are rules and regulations to follow here, as long as you are playing by the book the fish you catch should not have an *
This is however NOT a Fly so that opens up a chapter in a totally different manual.

"Yeah but it was on the Squirmy Worm"=no asterisk
All of Europe would love to have an asterisk next to the last 4 Youth World Championships. Its no secret that doll hair/ furry ball material in pink, brewed in the mountains of North Carolina has changed the fly fishing world forever. But they actually have a rules committee and they decided  the junk is legal. No asterisk.
"Junk"=*  because junk in my world is good
All the hate surrounding fishing with worm and egg patterns just comes from their unsophisticated nature within this sport that seems to thrive on complicating things. I'm starting to suspect there is a secret society of Beards trying to prevent the holy grail from being discovered and protecting the difficult nature of catching trout on a fly.

Stocked fish in wild trout water=*

"Yeah but it was a Great Lakes Steelhead"= no asterisk
"Yeah but it was a B run"= no asterisk
"Yeah but I didn't catch it on the swing" = no asterisk
God sometimes we are just to hard on ourselves. When your quarry is a migratory fish that technically is not interested in eating and maybe swam like 700 miles to get to you you can go ahead and drop any unnecessary explanations.

As we have waded deeper into fly fishing in Merica we have come across some interesting little rapids to navigate. At one point Beadheads, Indicators and even Nymphing had an asterisk attached to their incredibleness. Hell, tying with synthetics was a big time sin not long ago.
A Maniac* I know puts it best "It's just fishin"

Whats an asterix in your book?

The best Winter fishing EVER.

SERIOUSLY.....THE BEST conditions for early February anyone can remember.

So far, this has been the winter that wasnt and while some of the ski peeps are losing their minds the fish are psyched.
I am not one to get to freaked out about the weather, it's coming, it always does.

But what if it doesn't?

Well then you will be listening to the chorus sing "you should have been here yesterday"

Suffered through a few 50 degree days in January early February

Don't look back this spring and wish you fished the best winter conditions ever.

Don't put off till tomorrow what you should be fishing today.

Lulls in the fishing can be typical during winter fishing, usually because of water temps, weather or lack of available bio mass. This Feburary has been much more like spring as the fish are visibly fattening up before my eyes on loads of bug life and this has made things tricky at times.

Lots of sun bathers and even a few risers in the neighborhood to sneak up on


The stomach pump has been full of large midge larva and almost every knot, hook or split shot is covered with them after just a few drifts. The fish have gradually turned away from the larger lead flies of late as they seem to be keying in on Midges. Strangely enough this is when red, purple and blue patterns pay the bills.

5 doubles that afternoon (that's something I count)

There's a lot of love up here right now, maybe it has something to do with cupids day. All I know is this has been one of the best stretches of winter fishing I have ever experienced. Get up and fish so you don't have to hear some ass tell you how good it was yesterday.