Minturn Manglers

yes, that is milk, water and vodka

 My proper name is Robert. A grandmother, an angry mother and my middle school principle were about the only one's who ever used it though. I never really liked it.  The middle school principle took a pudding snack to the temple on my second day at catholic school, so for 2 years I understood why that beautiful woman called me Robert instead of Bob. For the first 13 years of my life the people I loved and trusted all referred to me as Bump. Apparently the blame went to my aunt Carolyn for addressing the baby shower gift to the "baby bump" cuz nobody knew what I was yet......a pain in the ass. The boys from Canisteo NY on a late 80's spring break whirlwind came up with Bubby. Not sure if it was Jimmy Davis, brother of Wiener, Snake, Fieldsy, AJ, Carnsy or Pete the Polish giant who came up with it, but that one stuck for a long time.

I come from a place where no one seemed to be called by their given name. Along about junior high someone would just give you a new one. I grew up with Tweety, Newbomb, Coach, Smitty, Smittie, Slider, Kermie, Gumby, Stiener and his brother Maze. There is Dunc, House, Tittle, Pie Man, Grover, the Big Cat, Smokey, Lurch, Sallie, the Mayor and EZ E. My parents never knew what to call anyone. Most of it came from sports fields and locker rooms growing up. Men's league hockey, softball and of course a life of hunting have also helped introduce me to quite a cast of characters, none worthy enough to be refered to by his true name I guess. All of this happened, for the most part 1800 miles away from my little mountain town here in Colorado.....basically another planet.

not worth trying anything like this right now.

My locker room of late has been Fly Shops and guide services. It's a freaking gold mine of quirky personalities and egos in a mildly competitive environment. It just seems easier to have a sir name in a business where everybody is in your business. We've got Jmac of course. Just a classic shortening of the last name. About the same as Zim, or as Sam calls him, "the Big Zim". Thats just because he's huge. I work for Arac and the Rattlesnake, with Fred Rodgers, Doc, Whit, LT Johnson, Magnum, Spock and Chef. I live with Kitty, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, Kmart, Zip,Samson, Dooda and Monkey. Then theres the always entertaining Hate, Worries, Ms Whitey, Fudge, Panic, Ghost in the Darkness, Killer and the Author. But the single most incredible nickname and my favorite of the year is Snookie. To know him and call him this, even if it was just for a week was true fun. I wish he liked it better. No harm meant, just clean one victim fun, love you. Cudos to the Rattlesnake for coming up with it. Funny cuz Sprech hates his nickname and he went and gave someone one they dont like either....weird.

At the end of the day it seems best to look at a nickname as a form of acceptance. A way for a dude to tell ya he loves you or that your doing a great job without actually saying it. Going to battle or say on a long fishing trip and getting a nick name is a badge to be worn proudly. Sam might say its your superhero name, either way, we usually earn the nick name for kickin some form of ass, good or bad, right or wrong. So from Bobber and all the boys at "Minturn Manglers", heres hoping you get it done next year.

this bug sucks too.

Ab work

My post thanksgiving AB tip. Just tie abdomens for a few nights, finish the bug later. I find that most of my nymph bodies are superhair or a small vinyl rib, which means white thread under body and consequently a bobbin change. At that point it can be easier to tighten everything up with some head cement and set it aside for another evenings assembly line. My first 3 flies every time I sit and tie are horrible, so I have found tying a larger quantity ends up helping quality.

You didnt expect this to be about your gut did you?

Zim provided some awesome little D Rib in3 different colors at Thanksgiving. It stretches like no other rib I've used......nice. Thanks Zim.

Out for a stroll with Kit, the animals and J Knight x2. We decided it was actually harder to be the last angler on a section of water for the year than the first. We scrambled down the tracks into a canyon up stream from town but we were a few days late. Time to give the tracks and canyons to the snowmobiles for the season.  J Knight magically made one jump on his junk though....not really surprising.
Minturn Rocks. Just sayin
Hope everybody had a great begining to feast season, I know we did......deep fried frosted german chocolate brownies is all I can say. 

Winter Vise time

We finally have river front property, at least for the next 11 months. It's been fun to have the tying bag spilled out over an entire dining room again, creating crap for use in my back yard.

#20 PMD Nymph
#22 Purple Soft Hackle
Of course theres a bunch of eggs being tied and fished around here, but winter is about nymphing with midges and small Mayflys.

#24 Cream/Yellow Soft Hackle

Just some winter junk from my vise to yours. Big to do's around here for turkey day and I'm sure the "downtown" beat of the mighty Eagle will be harassed, so we will at least be able to tell you whats working in the backyard. Winter fishing is not such an unusual thing any more. Every ones favorite winter fishing spots have their own mood and temperament but the one thing they have in common is the food is small. Tying small is fun and it doesn't take long to whip up a nice pile of bugs for about 18 cents a piece. 

Americas Cup

Camp machete

So how about you are getting ready for a trip to your favorite stream and you get yourself an email from some dude by the name of Fips Mouche explaining the rules. Thats right, your passion now has a set of international rules and a governing body for fair competition. Enjoy your day, play by the rules and add up your points when your done. Here's the important stuff.

Leave your bobber at home. You can however follow the recipe for a super cool "curly cue" and if I heard correctly they stay all squiggly if you freeze them after you take them out of the oven.

No split shot, that's right Spreck this is where your fishing  life ends. Oh and to complicate things further, no exposed weight on your bugs larger than 4mm and stop ordering coneheads.

In line leaders only so forget the hook bend connections while your rigging your match the life cycle rig. Leave those tags on your knots thick and stiff so they dont end up married to your leader every 3rd cast. Tapered is now a thing of the past, you can now buy leaders by the spool in the big box fishing dept....I think its called Spider wire :-)

At some point during the day you will feel strangely compelled to fish a "boobie", "blob" or a Vlad condom worm.

Replace your teenie, tiny, tech patterns with split tails for a  small (#14) orange bead Hares ear. Dont worry if you cant find this stuff, the team has a tyer or two, just give them a call and put in your order.

Think in centimeters, carry 7 spools, 2 nets, and maybe swipe your kids old hockey gear for some knee protection.

Every 4th trip you have to go to a lake or a pond and fish down wind from a boat with a drouge.

Ready? Now keep track of your points and maybe you get a shot at representing this great country and making the team......Team USA. Congrats to this years fab 5 (3 from Colorado) which was named this week amidst a bit of controversy. Imagine that, drama in the fly fishing industry. Good lads here though even if they did leave a few high draft picks home.....good luck in what ever euro water park they hold this championship.

Shot gun start on Loch Sylvan

That's the world of competitive fly fishing (cliff notes) and every year I get a taste by helping out for 3 days or so at the America Cup here in Vail.  I have enjoyed meeting the different personalities an event like this gathers up  but also seeing how these guys operate and adapt with in a set of rules completely foreign to my game. Its opened my eyes to a few specific things.

*Presentation is king. These guys are seriously throwing some giant flies (in some cases) with bright bead heads on 3x tippet and catching boat loads of fish. We humorously refer to some of our three fly rigs as "Christmas trees" but seriously I think they plug some of this shit in at night. Concrete evidence that if it looks close enough to a snack, some fish will put it in its mouth.

*Long leaders. These guys are using some really long rigs all in an effort to get deep quick with less drag. Its easy to see more hook ups the further you get from your just have to be quicker on the set. Not sure if its sink rate or a few Milli seconds of drag free drift but I am a believer.

* Drag. With no indicator these "all world athletes" rely heavily on drag, lift, swing and feel. Maybe I shouldn't bitch about mending so much.

There are lots of arguments against competitive fly fishing but at least what these guys are doing is actually fishing, its not a casting competition on the lawn of some foo foo resort.


Had a little time on my hands this week so I thought I would put a care package together for Arac's steelhead adventure. Growing up on the great north coast these nuggets of love were some of my first all came back to me and I am sure they wont work. Popsicles and softhackles in size 8 for swingin with the spray pole took a touch longer than the  usual fare but it sure was fun. If I cant go at least some of my soldiers can. Swing away boss.......I want pictures.

Happy holloween !

Yeti sightings

Just a small chunk of Yeti Nation getting "ready" for a year ending company float. Fishing was moderate at best although every time Zim heaved Chinchilla something happened. One of those days when we should have fired something other than Ms Magnum Rabbit in brilliant sinshine.

Confusing isnt it.

2011 Product Reviews

Every morning I pack MY things up, rig MY rods, hook MY boat up to MY truck and pump gas on MY rubber debit card. This is the way it is in the fly fishing guide business, it's going to cost you $10 to make $8, thats life (still want to be a guide?). I've always said my 401K sucks but my doctor loves stress, just broke and happy.

I had the pleasure of shooting a fishing show with Chad LaChance for  Fishful Thinker TV last March. During our day of completely fucking up the Roaring Fork we were able to talk about gear and how the industry takes care of guides......or doesnt. Baits come to his house on pallets and rods are delivered by the dozens, FREE. I have no animosity towards Chad, even if he does drive a sweet late model billboard for a guide vehicle.He's cool as they come and I'd fish with him anywhere...just jealous. Chads a bass fisherman, I'm a "fly guy". Apparently in the fishing business thats like comparing Nascar to professional Lacrosse, somebodys going broke for the love of it.

I've been endorsed before, by the Orvis company. They took great care of me and they still offer incredible deals to their endorsed guides, lodges and outfitters....I'm just not one of them anymore. So I am forced to pro form and beg from reps that supply the goods our shop sells. This year I went GREEN, as in the rod line has gone Sage and Winston. Someone swings a BIIIx for the day and theoretically they stop back and buy that beautiful weapon from the shop the next day and the shop gives you a little theory. It took an act of god to get a free hat from Winston and the sticker Sage gave me has long since fallen off my boat. Take a note from Nascar boys and at least make your stickers hold up to the weather. I guess I dont care who I'm pissing off here. If I dont get my "deals" anymore I'll just do what most of America does now adays......Ebay baby.

In a past life I was working construction and one day a rep from a big tool company shows up with goodies. When it was all said and done my boss handed us all the goodness and explained they are more valuable in the hands of those who use them everyday. Do you really think Lowes remodels Rick Hendricks (team owner) house for free but charges Jimmy Johnson 40%? Dont think so. So why do Fly Fishing reps hand shop owners free stuff when most of the time they are on the water 60% less than their guides? I know, I know....there is only 4 shops in the world making any dough and nobodys livin in a mansion unless your a trust funder (Panic). But what good is that swag in the hands of somebody who fishes for fun more than with clients?

I dont really want to loose my 51.021% off status or piss guys off I actually like despite the fact they wouldnt buy me a coffee. So I feel compelled to give a few product reviews before I get fired. Winston rocks. Love the new BIIIx but who wouldnt.The new graphite series (GVX) is super cool and affordable. The Sage VXP is not the old XP but I like it lots for a nymph stick. Guarantee your products for life like Patagonia and you go to the top of the list. My waders, jacket and boots might be full of holes but at least I can send them back. Umpqua makes great bugs, Solitude gets them to me quicker. Tippet is tippet and Rio is my stuff, the versa leader has changed the way I streamer fish (John Knight will tell you they dont work with Dries though). The purple thingambobber is revolutionary and even Stevie Wonder can see it in low light. Floating fly line still sinks but that Sharkskin from SA does what they say and makes a cool noise.

There ya go, hopefully my next blog doesnt look like a resume.

Arts and Crafts

The Big Zim has a crush on this little piece of work I've  been calling "Scoots". Floated the lower Eagle with Jmac and JK yesterday and threw this in the middle seat of the parade (3 streamers). I've been tying it in Olive and Fox Variant in size 8 incorporating a few of the tricks we use for "Sams Sock". All that bunny can lead to a few tail strikes but by finding a hook you can bend and opening the gap has increased hook ups ( thank you Hutch).

Theres a few hooks on the market that you can bend with out breaking, these size 4 streamer hooks are from Orvis. I have tied the fly on straight hooks and bent them later but I find it easier to bend a few before hand and go from there.

Back to painting split shot again, I guess it's this crisp fall weather that seems to bring out the arts and craft side of me. Has your state outlawed pegged eggs like Montana? You'll be surprised how many fish eat yellow tin. Check out for more about it.

Fishing with Bin Laden

My first impression of "Ronnie" was a positive one, even if he was 15 minutes late appearing from his luxury condo. As he stumbled by the line of high end valley vehicles towards my very used 4 runner, I noticed he was hauling some serious gear. Packing his small fly shop into my boat and truck made me feel all fuzzy inside. I caught myself thinking things could be good , even if his new wading boots were still in the box and it looked like his waders were fresh from the dry cleaners.

I tried, really I did. Lefty couldnt have helped this guy in a week, honestly my 4 year old can move graphite better. Terrible is not a powerful enough adjective for Ronnies grasp of our sport or his ability to learn. All the finest equipment our industry offers was useless.  Until one of these Rod manufacturers produce a remote control for their rods, I think people like Ronnie should be banned from possessing a nice one. 

So 3 hours into my 5 hour trip I realized nothing I said or did was going to help; I began to think. Maybe it wasnt Ronnies fault. What if fly rods could be possessed? A good soul might spend eternity as a rod in the hand of a true master, destined to enjoy countless days beautifully catching fish while traveling the world. Ronnies Z-Axis was definitely not the soul of Lee Wulff or Mel Kreiger, more like Osama Bin Laden. I saw enough to know there was nothing I could do, this rod was never going to enjoy another day of its existence as long as Ronnie held it. So rest assured America it's true, Osama is dead and his soul will be tortured forever. 

Definition of the Month:

Dance: the tug, wiggle or pull that a fish produces on the tip of a properly moved rod; something Ronnie may never experience; something we never watch on TV around my hut.

It's here!!

Sure it's a few months late, but its here to jam in stockings everywhere. 2 hours of pure fish porn from RA and JMac at Beattie Outdoor Productions. Including 3 featured movies, 12 shorts and some great highlights of a couple of years fishing with cameras....hell they even found a few minutes for my ugly mug. Get it today!!

Thinking still

The water here sucks right now to put it politely as I care to. Off the ranch and back on staff again after a few weeks away and I'm creeping around the upper reaches of a few tribs with every other guide in our valley. With the right explanation, description and gear a crikin trip can satisfy any ones wants and wishes here in the Rockies. Hell the people I had today thought they were going to our private water. Pretty sure the Minturn Anglers whirly bird is still in the shop and that's the only way any ones guiding that place right now. Either way these people never gave a second thought to the private water after they saw the place. It's a necessary time to be in the headwaters but an enjoyable time never the less. For someone who spends so much time on a boat seat in the bottom of the valley, it's especially nice to enjoy the view.

At basically the same elevation are some incredible lakes just recently becoming open water again. I'd like to give some credit to my little boat captain for my interest in stillwaters. It's been a safe, fun place to float with an infant and I've learned a few things without a book or a mentor. Ms Whitey would have killed me if i put him on moving water before this summer any how. It's been fun already messing with the "no drag zone". Even though nothings lit up just yet, it's been fun being there; no ones been skunked if that's what your thinking.. I got to float a very special Loch on Saturday and Sunday with J Knight; Loch Nottingham, downtown Avon. We fished a bit and tested his drogue system on Saturday and he hosted a Loch style tourny as a prelim to his Americas Cup this September on Sunday. Check out for more info, Its a cool event with international players, national teams, youth teams and adaptive teams. This year will have 2 Loch beats along with the usual incredible river venues so we have been thinking still alittle more lately. I'm really not sure why some people look down their nose when it comes to puddle fishing or why I don't have clients interested. Sure I get it, your in the Colorado mountains so you want a river or maybe a crik. What could be wrong with a clear water situation with hungry fish this time of year. No drag, minimal current, maybe some a drogue. When your bored of watching your dry dropper rig sit equally as bored, just strip it over slowly, that's how they are going to eat it anyways. Loch on!

Guide house meal of the week: Stuffed Poblano Peppers, no lie. Credit to Thompson, I'm still grilling frozen chicken breasts from a bag.

Room for rent by the way. Before anyone farted, the happy couple moved out. 24 hours is going to be hard number to beat.

Definition of the week: Crikin: Fishing a teeny rod on a two to four step body of moving water for little Timmy.

Mexican Pasta

It's been a busy few months, I apologize Uncle Jerry.

Made the move from Eagle to Minturn to over see guide house summer 11. I like to call it 3 1/2 men, a lady and 3 dogs. This could be a TV show let alone a blog. The official over and under before i get the talk from Ms Whitey is 5 weeks when I am sure Sam will have learned a few new words.I am sure there will be more to this story with Capt Craig, Scott, Lauren, Sam, Me and 3 dogs, but dinner the other night got me to thinking. Rather than document all the craziness i decided to chronicle the journey through the recipes that grace our big log kitchen table and who might be there. Scott the Scott (as in Scottish), prepared me the tastiest Italian red sauce, with Mexican chorizo from a hot wok. It was delicious even though it broke every law of Italian cooking. I know a few little ladies back east that would castrate him for putting the garlic into anything first. Regardless, delicious even if he does need to see a witch doctor. The boy allegedly likes to cook so there may be more coming from the big fella.

I am currently on a world class streak as far as the fishing goes.....yes even during run off. I have made 25 casts in the last 6 weeks and hooked a fish on every one. I've lost 3 I'll be honest. Every river I know and love looks like a chocolate shake, a very fast and angry chocolate shake. I have been  very fortunate to have been working at the Round up River Ranch out on the Colorado the last 6 weeks or so. Swinging a hammer has felt nice and the location isnt bad. I have watched the Big Mud swallow up our newly constructed Archery Range and flirt with 18,000 cfs. The coolest projects have been the 2 docks we have built for the kids to enjoy some boating and fishing. Brand new state of the art trout and boating lake complete with a brand new batch of Kamloops. That should explain my streak....I'm not that good. All dry flies, just sayin.

Guiding seems along way off with as much water/ snow as we have. The color isnt horrible but one false step and you are in Glenwood. Floated Sylvan the other day, I guess that should count against my cast count now that I think of it. Everyone is trying to gear up for some stillwater stuff which I think is going to be very cool. I'll just sit and think about my Aunt Patience, she's gonna see that i'm floating the Eagle in early September. I can hold my breath a little longer for that.

Had a great visit to camp Kitty in the beginning of the month. My 10 year old dog has just moved for the 10th time. My 3 year old best friend stopped pissing and shitting himself. My vise is set up and actually running, thinking big, ugly and rubber legged. It's coming this spring man....Jmacs Girdle. Hockey playoffs, Ncaa Lax tourny all nice run off events. Had a VERY nice last minute trip to Montana and the Bighorn.....enough said.There is a coat of arms holding our rods on the porch of a quiet little peaceful guide house in Minturn. Good night John Boy, pass the chorizo Scott.

Definition of the week : Free fish: A Zimmism, a narrow fast moving channel of goodness where the angler casts where he or she feels best.

Fish don't spawn after 3pm

As I sit here watching Thomas the Train with my spawn I am reminded how complicated this procreation process can be. I am so thankful for him and that no one came by daily and jumped up and down on Ms Whiteys belly while he was still in there. While I'm pretty sure fish don't have a connection to their offspring like we do, they seem to work awful hard to keep their genetics going. So why is it that every spring I see anglers standing in the middle of spawning redds fishing to Rainbows busy doing things other than eating? Is it really any different than handing your kids mother to be a crack pipe or putting dirt on her breakfast cereal?

On a spring float down the Eagle last year we approached a section of river with a well known spawning area and sure enough there was a dude trying to force feed his junk to fish in the nursery. I'm not one to throw rocks or play policeman but I think I had some hops in me and couldn't resist saying something. Joe and I still laugh about the response we got. After we explained that "only douche bags fish to spawners", ol Doc Kavorkian looked down at his watch and explained that they were done for the day. I learn something everyday and I still look for him this time of year after 3:15.

I know, sometimes it's hard to find fish to throw to, especially here on the Eagle. A spot of clean gravel the size of a VW makes it a whole lot easier for someone who didn't read chapter 2; Reading water. If you need to sight fish go to a tailwater, but they spawn there also. It's one thing to have some out of towner standing in a bowl of caviar it's another thing all together to see a local or some new guide doing it. If you care, you need to say something in an effort to educate certain people, some guys just don't know any better.

The Brown trout in the fall have a huge advantage when they have their yearly nooky, the event is not followed by run off. These poor Rainbows which we all cherish here go about the rigorous and exhausting act of courtship and fertilization only to have a hurricane of water and silt blow through their kids bed room as soon as they are done. Why make the process any harder? If you really need to catch a fish that bad all you have to do is slide 40 feet down stream of the redd and you'll find all the eager fish you will ever want. But if you are on your way home from the dispensary after picking up your pregnant wife's "medicine" and you cant resist, just make sure it's after 3:15.

My new grand-daddy has eight fingers

I stood in front of 30 or so people at Gander Mountain in Denver Thursday night, speaking on behalf of my favorite river, THE Eagle. I believed everything I said but Its fishing after all....anything can happen. So as I finished my 16 hour day with a drive back up the hill to an elevation my clogged sinuses could handle I wondered if I promised too much. We floated the Eagle several times this week at very low water and It was magic. Of course I had some real talent on the rod in JMac, that always makes a difference. It's a team thing in low water and my boy has honestly become an incredible oars man on what alot of people call the hardest row in the state, he put me all over fish. I watched him and my boat pass me twice yesterday as I did a full day wade, the boy bores as easy as me. You can read Joe's sales pitch on this very special pre run off season at

My faith in the Eagle was confirmed yesterday on a full day assault with my client Bruce from Denver. He has heard the word (at the fly fishing shows in January) and this fine angler booked a trip to find out for himself. We pounded about 2 miles of river in 10 hours and I know Bruce would tell you he was not disappointed. I'm not a fish counter but we put up a very big number with several fish displaying a girth that would make a porn star blush. My girl showed her true colors for us, even surrendering a huge Rainbow well over the 20" mark late in the day that I rudely dropped before a picture could be taken. At the end of the day I asked him to spread the word amongst all his fishing buddies and he was hesitant. "Maybe i should keep this quiet" he said. Hopefully I changed his mind when I explained I have diapers to buy, but I understand where he was coming from.

Not sure what to stare at here, that pretty Eagle river Bow or Bruce's hand built Sage XP with a cool Gary Borger reel.

All in all it was a great week on my home river. The Rattlesnake inked a deal for a private take out with an 8 fingered man effectively solving my gas price issue. No more doubles on the Colorado while the water here lasts. An old proven pattern that hasn't worked for the last couple of years decided to pay some bills all of a sudden.....thanks, I had faith you would be back. I found a tattoo artist willing to barter, decided it's time to move and beat the cold my boy Sam gave me. Of course the fact my streamer rod has been getting used does not suck either.

Definition of the month:

Dropping Bombs: Long range casting, a distance not comfortable for someone who can't mend, A Sam fart.

Hand to hand combat: Short range target casting often involving radical freelance casting to pockets the size of a couch pillow.

Where's your water come from?

On the bright side, shallow water Largemouth fishing on the Upper Colorado would be easier.

A Buddist's tapered leader

I believe I have gained insight about what it's like to be a Green Bell Pepper. No my devout connection to our good mother earth has not entered a new level, I have not added another quarter. Just seems to me like there is a lack of emphasis on good old faith, instinct and ancient teachings these days. Data is "easier" to collect and store, shit I witnessed it being done with an app on a phone the other day. That day turned out to be 2 hours of insane fishing to boilihg trout, one rod, two fisherman, lots of fun. Ironically I saw no post fishing key board activity, there must have been faith that memory would serve. Where, when, who, hatch, temps, tip, did lunch suck, etc. Old school "journal" that fits in your pocket and beeps at ya, fishing reports at your finger tips. I have not contracted "technological evolution difficulty syndrome", I dig it, data rules the world, I'm just more of a flip phone guy..

 I've seen the stomach pump in and around the shop for about a year now,  I actually own one, still in the package  from Panorama Outfitters back in 1989. The political or maybe religious discussion quietly bounced around the huddle of guides last summer; would a stomach pump make me a better guide? It certainly gives you fresh data with a side of proof, but at what cost? Maybe it's a past life heavily influenced by PETA, but I just figured that doesn't look pleasant; especially after the merciless half drowning by a low rod angle and 3X. The little beast worked hard fighting you and for that tiny larvae dinner let her swim away with a little pride.

Buddhism and blind faith is chapter 5 in the manual. Listen to your teachers, they own the noble truth. The wise sage of six casts an hour, the early years fundamentalist, the observer, the know it all and the minimalist are a few characters of worth on the path. A wise yet ridiculous fly pattern at the all together wrong time of year is a gift that may appear in words and give reward for years based on how you treat the secret. Separation of mind and thought in an effort to simplify the process has historically meant, get a good drift. Any info your collecting from the gullet of some unsuspecting fish can be actually viewed while "alive", in the water, air and bank side foliage. Unfortunately collecting data in that manner would require long slow breaths, patience, and concentration all of which cost you blind casting time. Who we have learned from, where we have learned, how we learned become more important than why we learned in games like fly fishing. If you are"aware" there is a connection to our surroundings that stays with us to be used again, all without being recorded to a devise, answers will come naturally.

A good old school Prince or Pheasant Tail still works but data and thirst for solutions have lead to must have hybrids of the same fly. The original data was good, but change happens always, there is no stopping or controlling that. Purple flash butt wiggle prince works great too as long as its drifting right. How we continually connect with the organic matter around us determines the severity of our journey to contentment in this sport. Its funny how experience and  attention has crossed paths with the quick burn of technology. Kind of like the bell pepper. Has anyone but me noticed the quick fall from grace the bitter Green Bell Pepper has made. Why go green when you can get some quick heat from a hybrid hottie instead. Think about it next time you go to your black berry for a fly selection and it says pink flash prince with rubber legs and a dash of jalapeno.

Definition of the month:

Junk: your flies or rig; hopefully not a discription of your drift, the stuff you stashed under my rain jacket before our float.

Credit Nick Williams for these 2 great photos from a few winters back. Still one of the best in the business with a camera and he's holding a few from a recent trip to the Yampa.

As of late

My apologies to the two of you who read this. I have not been a good blogger lately. It's been quite a month, and it had nothing to do with an orange jump suit.

The old computer dinosaur finally died which hindered my blogging and dropped stock in a few porn sites. Many many thanks to John Knight for furnishing me with a new one for an exceptional price, flies. No I cant just steal a handful a week from the shop, he wants the custom top secret variety for his upcoming summer of competitive fly fishing. He's probably screwed but I'm back on line.

Things have gotten very busy around the ol fly shop and I have been doing floats on the Roaring Fork almost daily for the last 3 weeks. Believe me or not, the fishing has been off the hook. Rank beginners, kids and even drunk fly shop owners have been sticking Fork piggies. The water has begun to stain a bit below the Crystal River but that has only seemed to make things better. At least I've been able to put my 6x away.

A very loud shout out to Outcast boats! I am a terrible rower so I have always felt that my baby was one tough ship, but apparently they make them strong enough to drag down the highway. On my way to pick up my regular March clients Ms Shay and her husband Lenny my boat became dislodged from its cradle. Luckily the tattered winch strap which should have been replaced 3 years ago is rated for 78 mph. I dragged my girl a few hundred yards, much to the dismay of the rush hour traffic around me and she survived to float again. Funny enough I credit Mag Chloride. There was enough of the crap on the road to protect the bottom of the raft and when I leaned underneath her at the Wolcott exit for a heart pounding inspection I scraped a nice 1/2 inch layer from the hot rubber. Thank you to the fine people at the DOT.

We shot an episode of  "Fishful Thinker" for the Altitude network in early March on the Roaring Fork. My open mind was running in circles in preparation for having a gear guy in the boat on top of some of my favorite employees. The dinner conversation was a bit tense when the demand of cutting trebles from 7" swim baits came up but the Makers Mark helped.....alot. I honestly did not realize they don't swim or sink right when you cut that many hooks off, it didnt matter, he caught a bunch. The host Chad and his camera guy turned out to be great guys and Chad can honestly chuck a chunk of gear in any spot you ask. Their dull knife was a welcome addition to the tying session even if I was not allowed to touch it. They ended up very happy that my boy Scott Thompson was able to catch so many fish. I guess he has tried to film the "Fly Guy" vs the "Gear guy" episode quite a few times and the Fly dude never does that well. My friend Scott represented the fly fishing community extremely well. Look for my bad rowing, poor decision making, buff covered melon on Altitude the morning of March 26th. And No, Outdoor Television does not pay very well, they did tip nicely though.......Thanks Chad and Tim.

So my Mom is in town this week to see her Grandson Sam. She doesn't get to see him as much as either would like, so when she is here the education is constant, fast and furious. The potty training  lessons started in the airport, god love Grandma B. So as a distraction and a way to get the young prodigy to take a nap I suggested we take a drive to the upper Colorado so I might check the water for another option in the days to come. The water looked great, clean and clear, free of ice and 39 degrees. The unusually deserted put in at Pump House offered me a perfect opportunity to again teach my young son the joys of relieving himself in the great outdoors. Unfortunately during my manly right I sharted, I'm sorry, I shit my pants, right there in the bushes next to the river I love, in front of my mother and young son. Who needs the potty training? I could only imagine the shuttle driver or the DOW driving down and seeing me buck naked while learning first hand how soothing those baby wipes actually are.
I've been busy as of late.

Yes Zim, pictures of people holding their rods in their mouth bug me, but I don't like the taste of cork unless it has something to do with red wine. I also just admitted that I shit my pants so who's gonna listen to me.

Definition of the month: In honor of the pro football mess.
Occasionally when arriving back from a trip other guides will ask how your peeps did. We or I have developed 2 teams.

AFC Team: Awesome Fucking Chances

NFC Team: No Fucking Chance

High and Dry

My good friend Scott Thompson, fellow guide, fishing buddy and video guru has just finished some genius work I can't help but share. It has a PG rating (particularly gruesome) as it's an eye opener, If you are a trout fisherman here in Colorado (or any where) Please watch this. Look for more from these guys soon on the water problems we have on the upper Colorado River Basin. Also check out the website Get involved before it's to late.


I am superstitious. I read my horoscope everyday and my left sock always goes on first. I go through certain routines to insure cosmic participation in the ultimate game of chance, fishing. It definitely stems from my back ground as a very average Hockey goalie. Getting scored on early usually could be traced back to the amount of times I tapped the post before the whistle, always 3 on each side.I have a few rules I follow in an attempt to keep the planets aligned during a day of fishing. Some i try and discuss before we get too wet, others I leave unexplained for fear of looking like a loon.

Shortly after I bought my first fly rod, my older brother came to me and wanted to join the team. He was hooked instantly and still is to this day. Hes honestly one of the best fisherman I spend time with. For the first year or so the poor boy was out fished badly and I'm positive he didn't enjoy that part so much. Being a cocky younger brother I vividly remember letting him know I was kicking his ass, I would find out that doesn't help. I went on one of the longest loosing streaks of my life, not including my 10 years with Ms. Whitey. I specifically remember getting out fished 8 trips in a row which spanned a few months since we both had real jobs at the time. Not going to lie, it hurt. If I knew a witch doctor I would have made an appointment. All my skill, all my luck had been drained. I was young and dumb, I placed the blame out side of my responsibility. I was sure I was maloiked by my girl friends Italian grandmother for not having 5ths at Sunday dinner. In the end I realized it was Karma and it was my doing. So every so often I'll have a couple of dudes in my boat and one will be mowing the others lawn pretty good and the teasing begins. I've warned a few guys of the danger in this and I have seen more than once, the switch flipped. It doesn't always work that way. Jmac rode poor Zim endlessly last Friday as we floated the Fork. Both these guys are in a different league than 98% of my peeps so I really didn't think planetary alignment counted. Zim got an ass kicking, but he didn't mind. It hurt to watch.

Another quick way to a batting slump is holding someone else's fish for a picture. I've had more than one Dad catch a fish and want his son or daughter to hold it for a picture. Surprisingly most kids refuse. I'm not sure if that's because they are afraid to touch slimy fish or they are wise old souls but I am always impressed. I just can't imagine looking at a picture on the wall of me holding a fish someone else caught. A snagged fish should also never be held in front of a camera lens, Bad Karma.

This week an organization I love and respect fired a man that I really admire(pictured). I hope this organization has stock piled a ton of juju because from the outside looking in, they may be in for a rough patch. Never interupt a perfect drift.

I fished a couple of summers with a hunting buddy named Dale. It's kind of a reach to say that we fished together because most days he got as far out of sight as possible for some reason. He always hammered fish, I just never saw one. I'm still not going to call him a liar but I will say that, terrible bluffs don't help when your playing cards with the gods of fishing.

Check your hat at the door. I know this is amusing to everyone but baseball pitchers, bass fishermen and rabid Nascar fans, but I'm serious. I am usually very uncomfortable fishing in a new hat. Theres no mojo. Certain hats have experience, they have been present for some form of magic, and It's noticeable if you keep track. I seriously suggest hammering your buddies stocked pond with a new hat to pump a little confidence into it before taking it on a float down a real river.

In the end our cosmic energy, our luck, our Karma is the fruit of our actions and intentions. Loving your brothers success while fishing will always help, your soul has to believe that though, ya just can't say it. My dog's name is Karma who dispite her name has not been the greatest dog I've ever owned. Probably my fault.

Definitions of the month:
Timmy: a trout under 10 inches

Ronnie: a trout 10-16 inches

Bubba: a trout 16-20 inches

Kamongaheela: a trout over 20 inches

Laugh a little and slow down

Everything is harder in the winter, I’ve discovered it can be pretty funny too. The comfort and warmth of the indoors confuse the urge to spend time in moving water enough to make it a major decision. Tying flies on, untangling a client’s new leader, scrubbing the mag chloride from your boat or even enjoying a handful of skittles just become more time consuming. Anytime there is a trip booked in the harsh months of December or January and I am pleased, no matter the forecast. This is much different than it used to be when there were enough winter clients to keep pop tarts in the cupboard. Like elsewhere, it’s become more of a struggle and lest we forget I live in the Beverly Hills of the Rockies where its simply harder to get by. Winter peeps have evolved a touch in the time I’ve been doing this. With no tone of prejudice I can explain that during certain holiday events here, my client base is very Latin. In the past, winter was when we got “true” fishermen, guys with experience. Not so much anymore; true blue Patagucci wearing Americans got a little soft with the economy or something. Latin it is, the Euro aint bad either.. Incredibly nice people for what I understand, I hope they say the same for me.
A big key to winter fishing or winter guiding for that matter is to take things slow, think things through. So just before Christmas I pick up a very excited “Pablo” and his not so psyched uncle “Juan” from a snow ridden fancy hotel in Vail. They are from Mexico City and Madrid with so much baggage I thought I was dropping them at the airport when we were done. Air temp 5, expectation meter reading around 100 but no pressure, so I just try and go slow. Slow to answer, slow to drive. The pace of summer is all around guides and sometimes its hard to shut off. We are always in a hurry. Hurry to get there, hurry to rig, hurry to fall in line or better yet beat it, hurry to eat, hurry to bed and sometimes in a hurry to level out the expectations. The excitement surrounding a 400 dollar float trip understandably includes some expectations, almost like, the cash that bought this person dressed in drab colors driving the truck and boat guarantees lots of large Trout.
Pablo is a “very experienced” salt water fisherman all of 19. Juan is the 40 something uncle who pays for these “crazy” adventures. Never fished a day with a “fly pole” though, but “they should be fine”. Before they both took a pre float nap in the 4 Runner (which was weird but relaxing) they spoke endlessly of the great success they were looking forward to. I took it slow and said nothing. My spirits jumped when I arrive at the Fork to 35 degree air, 39 degree water and not another fisherman to be seen. What shook me from my optimistic glare made me want to laugh, no cry with laughter…….bright sky blue neoprene waders, a few sizes to small, with a very confident Pablo packed inside. I took it slow and said nothing. About the time I thought I had seen it all, Pablo produces a bottle of Powerbait spray. He turns, holds the bottle at me and says “this stuff only works in the summer right?” I smile and nod. Maybe I should have said something cuz it just didn’t end, before I knew it Pablo came across some more gear he could not live the day without and wanted to know where my dry bag was. I only smile as he buries his Berkley scale deep inside the bag like it would be ruined if it got wet. I took it slow but had to ask, “how high does that scale go?’ I heard 50 lbs and then smiled. We didn’t catch a thing.
The wind really started to howl around 12:30 so I found a bridge and some bushes to take shelter for lunch. I never understood a word spoken at lunch but I come from a time when you didn’t need a language class to escape high school. After 17 mins or so they were nice enough to ask if I understood Spanish and then promptly went back to speaking it. Sure it would be easy to feel sensitive or left out at this point but I just enjoyed giggling once in awhile to make them wonder. Tone is universal. I didn’t need to understand the language to know uncle Juan was over it. It was 2 or so when the weather went bad enough for the snow to hurt. It was 3 ish when after a spirited discussion I didn’t understand ended with “how far to the truck Bob?” In English, in the winter, that means, Time to hurry.

A helpful winter tip for booking a trip: If you call the shop during an arctic cold blast to schedule some fishing with your 6 year old daughter, don’t explain you are from Minnesota if you’ve lived in Arizona the last 9 years. Lasting 1/4 the time of your trip should convince you that you are no longer a northerner. Your little girl was a trooper though.

Definition of the month: Chewer: A trout that puts a fly in it's mouth long enough for Helen Keller to set the hook; a fish trying to give you a chance