Sell it like it is

It’s no secret that all of us are going to be wearing rubber soled wading shoes in the very near future. While felt has been the traditional bottom for all purpose traction, it’s terrible for the environment. Felt carries ick around like a kindergarten student without Kleenex.
Wader companies have always taken grenades from fishermen who wear their waders more than 25 days a year and they just can’t win. Boots fall apart, waders leak. They should just put that on the label and supply some aqua seal. River bottoms, weather, temperature, snow etc will vary so much that the "ultra grip rubber"marketing campaigns are destined to fail. Sell it like it is, Rubber, Eco friendly and great in winter.
The men who make water proof pants are rallying the same way a high end university pubs their star QB for his Heisman run. Adjectives are flying like leaves, Gripper, Sticky, Non slip and Traction to name a few. Does this leave a vulnerable part of the industry even more susceptible to criticism? Don’t promise Sticky when High Float and Never Leak did not work, it’s just never going to satisfy an already tough crowd like fishermen. What happens when Dime Bag Daryl takes a header in his “Ultra stick Eco track tread boot” and wants an explanation? After years of unofficial testing most guys will tell you they slip all over the place in felt and expect the sliding to increase dramatically with rubber. The Teva sandals I run for boat shoes are no better than roller skates on my dog, but they leave a cool tan line. Since the weather has gone straight to winter and I am back in waders for a while I decided to field test a few of my own ideas. I am starting with a pair of hybrid 2006 Henrys Fork's with felt on just the left sole and Patagonia laces, Call a spade a spade. Rubber is not felt so slipping is inevitable. If they sell us "the best damn sole for the environment" then we will have to take their word on it, if the sticky isnt grippy we will notice. Let's not loose sight of why all this came up in the first place and thats to protect our fish and their fragile habitat. I'll slip around for that. Maybe this will lead to a new division for the industry..... helmets. I’m calling Under Armor, maybe they can shoot a commercial of Lew getting out of the drifty done up Adrian Peterson style. Someone should come up with a $29 wading staff with a Eco friendly rubber tip.

Fishing was good over the weekend. Managed a trip west of Glenwood with Scott and Steve (thats them in the pic) on Sunday and the last couple of hours made the trip. Mid to late day fishing was best and the streamer action was consistent once the water heated up (i guess). Not may bugs besides a few waves of BWO's and Midges. It didn't matter as we landed quality fish on big rabbit.I counted over 20 beds on our float so the spawn is in full swing, be careful where you wade.

Hasselhoff was the man

I have been cranking on it hard lately, the vise that is. Sam has even been interested enough to sit on my lap and patiently play with tweezers while daddy makes "ffwhys". This time of year makes me think of what fly i used most, what i relied on in third down situations and weapons i wished i had in the arsenal. We saw a small yellow Sallie this year and there was just no nymph close enough, so yellow Barr Emergers and Yellow Pheasant tails went on the list. Soft hackles have been around forever and have made a serious come back as of late. Natural materials like Partridge, Hen saddle, Ostrich herl and even Wood duck can add life and action that's very different from regular nymph ties. Playing with tried and true patterns and trying to customize them to make them all the more sexy is an old practice. Hasselhoff was the man but eventually Brad Pitt works better. The fact that you can buy Pheasant Tails in 4000 different styles proves all bugs go through an evolution, even an Elk Hair can grow rubber legs. Barr Emergers, Pheasant Tails, Hares ear etc… can find these bugs by the billions in every fly shop on the planet, why tie them when you can buy them? I agree, I never get wet with out the above mentioned baits in my box. They have all been proven 1000’s of times over, but some of us always think we can twist some innovative magic on the shank. A little flash, a softhackle, a bead, epoxy or some glass, there are so many ways to help our favorite flies leave the box with a more confident swagger, because it’s different, because it’s special. Personally i have begun just using black tungsten beads and cones. The stuff sinks like 2 week old fly line and the color can make it just that much different.The latest science experiment is the Tungsten JuJu Softhackle and as Zim would say "it rocks". It’s always great to explain to your boy that "the fishes are biting on my JuJu” not the store bought model. That size 18 Tung JuJu Softhackle was probably my best fly on the Fork Thursday afternoon. Same exact float on Saturday and I could not buy a fish on it. That’s fishing. We managed a few fish on streamers but I didn’t try real hard either day, nymphing still rules and the small bugs are being eaten by some very big fish on the Fork right now. Still leading with 16's and 14's tungsten stones and quills even a few eggs. A beautiful Cutty just above town rounded out the slam on Thursday.

"My fly is stuck in the drapes"

So how would you feel if a couple of artist type’s offered your community a boat load of money to show their art in your back yard. The hitch is their art is approximately 40 miles long and it’s going to cover your favorite trout stream. Seriously, two frenchies, Jacques and Jean-Claude want to hang draperies to form a roof over miles of the Arkansas river. I’m not sure if they are French, maybe they are Canadian but most Canucks I’ve drank with have more sense. Of course there is a lot to be discussed and approved, the BLM is going to have miles of paper work on this one. So what’s it worth? The artist’s estimate 560,000 visitors and 195 million to the state in travel revenues. That more than doubles the visitor numbers for rafting in the area. And they estimate people will spend 4-5 additional days in surrounding area’s with their jingle. That’s money to my fishing guide ass, but then again they are not proposing making my favorite trout stream a dome stadium. I did not read anything about how long the “art” would be displayed or what time of year, I assume not winter. They did say that they were working with all the recreational businesses that depend on the river to make as little negative impact on their lives as possible. Maybe they will pay all the raft guides summer rent (camp site and fire wood fees) and put them on salary for chillin instead of rowing the river of no sun. I know I would not be the only one hemorrhaging if the Eagle was their mark. I could just see it, no sun screen, sunglasses optional and side arm cast’s only. I’m sure when the wind howls those drapes are going to flap so loud I would have to supply ear plugs. If this thing is planned right, they could run some electric and we could do night floats. “Oh no sir we do trips 24-7 now that we have a roof and you can leave your 400 dollar rain jacket home”. Just think of it, fishing mice could become a daytime affair and the blue wings would hatch all season. Sam’s 7’ 5 weight would be the rod of choice anything longer and you couldn’t even roll cast. Occasionally I float under a bridge or a power line and I feel compelled to let peeps know that it’s “in play”, a roof would just put me over the edge. You can get all the facts and read more about it in the latest issue of Trout.

Reel Recovery

Big shout out to the guy’s at Reel Recovery for putting together another great retreat here in Colorado; Stan, Coy, Andrew, Rob, Rees and who ever else i forgot, great job!!! Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly fishing retreats for men recovering from cancer. All of us who enjoy this sport understand, casting a fly has some "healing powers" in spite of it’s tangles and Reel Recovery helps introduce that feeling to men in the battle of their lives. The RR Gang have found a nice prescription for distraction and to ease the worry symptom, they provide a huge dose of hope and faith in a pill called fly fishing. From a "buddies" perspective, the medicine RR Retreat's push works, even on perfectly normal guides (if there are any). As a buddy you spend part of the day acting as a guide for some amazing fishing but you are also there trying to talk about some pretty personal poop, which is definately a different angle on a normal guide day. It was great to have Pack Man along, nothing like a day away from the shop on private water, I know the guy's he spent the day with apprieciated it for lot's of reasons. Does the owner of your favorite guide service or fly shop give back?
I have only participated in the Colorado retreats so I cant comment on the whole program but I see a great increase in the amount of Buddies that show up, Kudos’s gentlemen!!! Our shop was introduced to the program by the Big Zim. He of the large calve tribe and his side kick Sasha are great ambassadors for Reel Recovery here in Colorado, every state should have a buddy with the heart of a Zim. This was my second trip to guide the headwaters in the last few weeks, very very cool stuff (guiding private water gets that type of reaction). The retreat fishing took place on the Reeder Ranch which operates as a private club on 2+ miles of the Colorado just below the Williams Fork. What a spot!!! Hat’s off to the Reeder Ranch and the Bar Lazy J for donating their time, facilities, kind staff and incredible water to Reel Recovery. You don’t have to donate your kick ass club water to help. You don't have to give a portion of every trip you sell. You don't have to keep your resort open an extra week for free. Just check out the website and get involved. Help out as a buddy at a retreat, attend one closing ceremony amongst these men and you will get it. Hear men speak in forums that are usually uncomfortable, experience what it’s like to come out of a shell and open up all because of fly fishing. I have never forgotten the first time I heard one of these gentleman thank me for spending the day with them and saying they didn’t think of cancer once. Our sport has a true meditative sense about it and it truly can have healing powers if we let it. This is the kind of thing that can really help a dude appreciate his health and man kind who give a fuck. Once you have participated you will never want to miss another opportunity to help.
What came first, the Floro fibre midge or the JuJu?
Is my Thingamabobber dragging my junk around more than yarn used to?