The War and Peace of Tying Videos

So I just made it 14 minutes into an epic 23 minute fly tying video and it got me thinking.

1: Who the F&@K spends 23 minutes tying a fly? I admit to fumbling through a bug or two in the pre K stages of this hobby, but I'm pretty sure this dude had been spinning thread a while. A few of my early creations may have ended up taking a week to tie but that was never the recipe. Tying has always been about filling orders and boxes quickly, probably thanks to the second tying book I read, AK's Production Fly Tying. Mixing Patience, speed and attention to detail can get messy. I was always bugged by 5 minute epoxy (thank you UV clear coat) and processing turkey feathers with fleximent was a drag (thank you thin skin) guess I might be a bit antsy. But purposely spending 1/2 hour on a fly that I could loose in 30 seconds just makes my right butt cheek hurt.

2: How much is my time worth? If spending 23 minutes to apply 47 materials to the shank makes the fish buy the bug 84% more, then I guess it's worth my time. One of the many teachers I had in the art, yelled at me for leaving to much tag when I started flies.
"Wasting a whole midge there son"
Think of all the money you would save on fly boxes; it would take a year of no fishing to fill a small one. Now all your doing is tying and starting to mess with time on the river and that can get costly.

3: Does a super realistic fly work that much better? Are you stocked up on your Tapered Variegated Antennae and your mono eyes with painted on pupils? I stopped tying legs on most of my small nymphs to save time long ago, maybe that's my lazy side but if ya fluff up the right dubbing in the thorax you give an illusion of legs anyways. I've had delicate tails fall off Beatis patterns and still wack fish after fish and the best midge larve patterns are still just thread. Prove to me I have to start investing in Real Bug Parts, wing burners and knotted legs and I will comply but for now simple and easy means more options in more boxes.

4: Who watches a fly tying video or for that matter a fly fishing video over 4 minutes long? Once my ADD kicks in, I'm  looking for the pause button quicker than my dad looks for the mute button on commercials.

BOOM, One Minute tying Video, thanks Jmac.

Big Bird

Most guide flies morph into something real simple over time. I see them lost quick so I want to tie them quicker and of course, cheap. This is a  good 2 material fly if you count the thread, doesn't get much easier.      Little love for the Ostrich.

The Big Bird

Hook: #22 Tiemco 2487
8/0 Black thread underbody
Rib: Stripped Gray Ostrich herl
Collar: Gray Ostrich herl tied in soft hackle style.

Tan Ostrich over rust 8/0, Olive over Brown works good too

When you prep the Ostrich, just strip about 1" of the barbs from the butt of the quill. When you tie it in, pull the stripped end to position the barbs you have not stripped at about the collar tie in point and wind back towards the bend. This eliminates having to tie in another piece of herl and reduces bulk. It doesn't always work out, sometimes you have to tie in 2. Before winding the quill forward, coat the under body with head cement to insure it lasts longer than one Brown Trout. Hen, Starling and Grouse will always be go to materials for soft hackling, but it can be a pain finding small enough feathers to pull off the tiny stuff. Ostrich herl is a great material to use when soft hackling tiny flies #22-#26 or god forbid.....smaller. 

The back yard beat is still looking good here in Min-urn.

Winter Blues

Daydreaming at the vise more than fishing as of late. Experiencing a more normal weather pattern here in the Eagle Valley,  cold and snowy has me filling boxes instead of  getting wet.

#16 Tungsten Winter Blue

#22 Piece of Cake

#24 Gray Wee Wee

#24 Yellow Wee Wee

#16 Blue Tungsten Softhackle

The gift of Macro

Fly Fishing is hard, so is Macro Photography. I have been struggling to take close up shots of bugs, natural or not for the better part of 10 years, with poor results. With the addition of the new camera (Nikon D3100)  the research department immediately began the hunt for a Macro lens to"get smaller". Along the way and through the information tunnel that is the Web we found that for under $10 you can buy a ring to reverse your lens and basically pull off the same shot. Saved $300 buy not buying a macro lens and only regretted the fact it took 30 days to get here until this afternoon, now we are in business. With a few toothpicks to jam the aperture wide open, a tripod, 2 lights, one Peak Vise, 3 days of patience, a couple of Google Chrome searches and here you go.

The Crip Keeper. Works even better with a bead.

It's awkward turning your lens around. The brain of the camera has no connection to the lens any more and the focal length becomes very small,  not to mention a gremlin could crawl in the exposed guts end.. By manually operating the aperture lever at the end of the lens the shots began to come. There is still a ton of blurriness, probably due to the fact that the shutter is open for 10 minutes while both my carpenter hands are on the camera. Guess the next purchase is a cable release so the camera doesn't move.

PMD Moltin MayFly

So's I guess the 3 of you who read this blog can thank my new Reversing Ring from Australia for all the dirty little secrets I'm about to take pictures of. They work and I've got a couple of filthy one's. I have plenty of my clients time to experiment with; thousands of hours of research and development go into this seriousness don't cha know.

Drop Zone Caddis

Frack off

I wonder if my brothers back home on the Marcellus Shale deposit had the amount of info we now have, how many of them would have sold their soul? I remember lots of my friends selling off mineral rights on their farms or hunting land assuming no one would ever knock on the door.
 I was lucky enough to pass through the gate of a piece of property that is part of who I am recently. It's a place that I wish was closer for Sam to enjoy, it is without a doubt a piece of my soul. I can't imagine having to dodge oil pads on my way to the tree stand.

If by chance your looking for me, this is where I be.

I want to be a terrorist

Pebble Mines, Pipelines, Dams, Firming Projects and Fracking are true threats to my family's right to enjoy nature, water, mountains, hunting and fishing. If standing up to them makes me an "Environmental Terrorist" then let me know where to send my picture to homeland security.
 If Buff is smart they will add a 40th way to wear it that makes us look like a wacko martyr, because apparently what a menace looks like is changing......Terrorist's are starting to look a lot like my peer group. Keep up the good work my friends, not doing something, not being heard will only add to the terrible weight regret will have on your heart.

Reel Life

 Back in the day, Fly Fishing media was called a book. Today it's an art form called video and it is every where.

 It seems the most popular spin on fly fishing movies is "following your passion", "finding yourself" or being "brave" enough to follow your dreams. It's beautiful, inspiring and an escape for tons of people, myself included. Shit, Vimeo's fly fishing channel has become Sam's version of Saturday morning cartoons, but he's watching for the pretend part, not for the charitable zen guidance of some fishing bum with an expensive video editing program .Camcorders and fly fishing videos have certainly come a long way and I am impressed. It's not the poetic interpretation of someones new found courage to face the day from a different yard as much as the way these things are shot that blow me away. The camera work, music and editing that makes up the end product of some of this genius can bring a tear to your eye or better yet make you quit your job and go live!

 Perspective on what's important and how to find balance is found through the experience of doing, not watching. Have these young Francis Ford Fishermen been given some moral burden to get us off our asses or are they just rubbing in the fact they found the way?  How we come to this life (fly fishing) is so much different now, it all seems just a click away. Human nature, technology and laziness strand a huge part of couch fishermen scrolling for the next video experience. They blame the life that was chosen for them for the lack of time to pursue meditative things. For the brave few who actually turn it off and go live their own way, today's fly fishing media becomes just another commercial in the show called reel life.

Giant similarities to the video porn industry right? They had it figured along time ago, get you addicted to the feeling of experiencing an easy escape to some fantasy land, lose a load, rinse and repeat. So the way I see it we either have to stop with all this inspirational fish porn or start charging for it before we are all desensitized, blind or everyone decides to go fly fishing.

Stop pretending GoPro videos don't give you a headache.

Rubber Duckies, Sasquatch and Ivan Drago

With little to do the past week, management was good about giving out a few jobs to keep biscuits in the jar.  It was suggested I go clean and roll up the 4 new duckies that were over at the ranch and take them down valley. Not sure if we bought them and are now promptly selling them or what,  attempting to do what I've been told while fighting my go fuck off gene is a challenge. The boss and Whitty took a couple of these  Cooper Minis down a stretch of the rivers middle a week ago and had some good success going hole to hole using the boats as taxis.
Check out the link for more on their day
There was talk about using the duckies for trips with clients, I get the theory, but honestly can not see any of my clients following behind as I kayak my gear to the next spot. Now on the other hand I can see say, Jmac and I on a secret weekday mission to some mystery water.

The Roaring Fork was out automatically as neither of us needed to be seen in duckies, these things and their drivers can be a huge summertime menace out there and we didn't want to test the guilty by association theory. A section of water where only these stupid boats could go was in order. We have seen almost every inch of the home river except for the Delta and this stealth little play boat was going to be our ticket to see the rest of the map. The manual said there should be post spawn giants moving back to the big river in water no one floats and they should eat everything we throw.  Going into the unknown in  boats neither of us understood how to control was admittedly a nice rush for a Thursday.

We knew where to put in but not exactly where to take out, so phase one involved a parking spot for the 4 Runner on the bottom side. The most obvious spot was the boat ramp back up the big river but there was a huge bridge construction site right in the middle of said boat drag. A drive through the barrio down river had options but the bloods and crips of the area were known to break into unsuspecting gringos trucks. We were suspecting. We stopped and asked permission at the sales office and were granted access by Ivan Drago who was either in charge of rentals, cartel stuff or was watching the 2 pieces of Universal equipment they called a health club. White beard, wind breaker, thick eastern European accent, working the desk at a Latino subdivision  in the middle of the Colorado Rockies....not that weird.

The trip started easy enough but it wasn't long before we heard the river speed up downstream from the frog water we were in. Next stop, Lava Flows. We scaled down what we brought but we still each had cameras, chest packs and I was fishing the demo One from the shop (BTW boys, I have that, it's beautiful) stuff we didn't want to bust or loose. Pulling over and walking boats made sense, It was not a long float so we would be stopping  anyways, translates roughly into, we were scared of swimming. The run at the top of Lava Flows gave us a fish with a few  misses mixed in, we were off to a good start. We grew braver and braver in each rock garden and eventually grew enough hair to stay on board through all but the really shallow sections.

Every turn was new water for the both of us. It was Columbus shit. River right was mostly sheer cliffs of ancient lava while river left was a steep arid mountain side buttressing Cottonwood pass. At one stop a small rock slide started well above us and the abandoned railroad track across the river from our spot. Neither of us saw the creature but we were both convinced that a Bigfoot started the slide to make the men in strange boats go away and give him peace again. Everyone knows Bigfoots throw rocks, shits real when your in the unknown.

All in all we did not murder the fish. "We caught em" but it was not richter. I hooked 3 fish on a side channel to the big river stuck knee deep in some sort of quick mud and managed to lose a fish I would have measured not far upstream of the confluence. It was a gorgeous female Rainbow that came to my feet twice before roaring back to the current to break me off. It was nice to see a giant where we were expecting to find one, but we both figured it would have been a Brown.

I still haven't done what I was told. Maybe I'll put those toy boats away next week

50 Shades of Brown

I've been spending a great deal of time with our new camera. My new toy for an old fetish had me proudly walking around Savannah Georgia with the "I'm a tourist badge" hung around my neck, big deal. The books say spend part of everyday with your tool in your hand and you will get better with it. So I figure I need to shoot lots of pictures if I'm gonna get my next dream job at TMZ (that's like the national inquirer for you over 40's). I found out it can pay off.

I sat perfectly quiet, crouched over, hood up and motionless on the top of the hotel like some voyeur working on my youporn account . I'm scared to move even the camera in fear that the mob scene in front of me will spot my sniper like position. What a view,I was close enough  to know there were at least 40 bodies wreathing and pulsing to obvious adult activity in 2 separate tubs, but I couldn't get closer. Now I've studied my share of porn and I'm pretty sure this was an orgy I was trying to film and all I could concentrate on was aperture and the polarized filter thingy. I could tell the females were the main attraction, but from where I was sitting it seemed to me like most of the ladies getting the action were on the large side and for sure mature. Guess it all depends on what you are into. You could see the boys lined up for their turns, showing off and brilliantly strutting around while chasing youngsters from the dude line. Once in a while a chick would leave the tub and slowly try and get to the hotel while being chased and tormented by younger  males who had not gotten their turn. Most left the party looking totally exhausted, bruised and scared, their colorful outfits seemed ripped as they quickly ran for some solitude. The dudes shamelessly and tirelessly committed themselves to this seemingly acceptable fantasy gang bang, I wonder if they would have been more discreet if they knew they were on film?  Had this whole 50 shades of Gray stuff just taken over? They were not even trying to hide what they were doing, it was raw and at times powerful to watch a whole community be that open.

My perch atop the hotel, it's tough to tell but I am about 8' above the water . The fish were using the under cut shadows of hotel rock to hide or rest.

Shades of Brown, my view of some of the nookie.

Now get your minds out of the gutter, you knew we were discussing Brown trout spawning behavior right? The low water this fall has given us a chance to see things we might not get to see if the water levels were normal. Now watching a spawning redd is really just a waste of time because none of us would ever be that disrespectful to wild fish. But like's cool to watch. This pit is right in downtown Minturn, everyone knows its there and it's a well guarded no fishing zone, the sign does not say anything about fishing with a camera though. During the 2 hours it took for me to get 5 pictures, at least 3 sets of people walking dogs passed behind me and I didn't move, I'm almost positive a little girl used the word troll.. Every time I moved even slightly it seemed at least one fish saw me. Now I know it's rare to have that many eyes on you in one pool, or to be sitting 8' above them, but it reinforced in me how much they actually do see, even when they are concentrating on getting busy (typically when I am my blindest).How a fish behaves is pretty valuable information. Observing how fish in your watershed , in your secret spot or in your back yard live is priceless. A bright spot in low water years is the ability to observe more but you have to fish less because they see so much more, just like us.

Small water

I find myself casting less and less these days, especially when I have the chance of doing some sight fishing and lightly pressured small water always offers that up nicely. A trip with Specialist Logan J to Crik X was a great opportunity to creep around and watch what the fish were doing while someone's bugs were in the zone.  The gin clear low water and the almost blue colored sediment made it very easy to watch a healthy trout population react to what we were doing. This was a nice change from the Eagle which badly needs  its dusty floor vacuumed. One fish holding in a bucket the size of Karma's dog bed let me get to within 8' and hit her with at least tippet a dozen straight casts before she freaked.  How close could we get while we while we spotted from the bushes? Were males responding differently than females? Were they feeding on naturals and where in the water collum? How far would spooked fish move? How important was tippet size or fly pattern? Fishing less to fish you can see can fill you full of info for the next time you are blind fishing. Treat your approach like every eye in the river is on you and you are doing something you don't want them to see.

Logan Be Johnson hooked up.

Blog Season

WHEW! Lots to catch up on now that the rat race is over. Highlights a many from a tough year with mother nature (still) . I know it's cliche but the more I am around this the more I enjoy the experience and the people over the fishing anyways.

It's always watching, I'm always watching are usually looking at your hands.
Sweatshirts with the Dark Bobber logo coming soon, probably to a fly shop near Minturn.

America Cup continues to be one of my favorite events of the year. The after hour activities involved 3 women instead of machetes,  Sando and Zim. Things were clearer to me after that night or at least my head felt great the next day.  Mikey D from that green island giving me a world class lesson on how to row a boat on a loch over shadowed winning a net as FN Volunteer Man. Re gifted that gorgeous net to the most interesting man in fishing ...Bond.

There was the MA Teequeelay, Mohawks  Redfish, 4am starts, Rudy and the One this year. A very special thanks to Wonder bread, Skittles, JuJu anything, Chi Wulff, Monahan, Mr J and my best friend...Kitty. Rader slayed a good one down low, that's one I will remember, and Fieldsy (Faldo) definitely shot under par. LaChance met a good one while the cameras were running and sweet justice came to breakfast for Eddie as he claimed my Public water fish of the Year....14 strokes into my day. There were gentleman hats, A trip with Kit to the Juan, Sam's first Eagle float, largemouth in GA and our first 8 min Heli trip.

 "Don't worry ladies, I'll handle the netting today"

 Bravely I faced the Lord of the Dark Aura and avoided drunken rattlesnakes while kindly teaching the "art" to new friends with a smile, no matter how impossible the situation. For one magical 10 day period this summer the average age of my new friends was either dying or just getting pubes, success involved blow pops and a nap, not 18" fish. Sell, sell, sell and book it back fired a few times this year, just ask the 11 year old girl who thought she was going to crush clay pigeons all afternoon (keep growin Katie) or the "scenic" horse back trip through down town Wolcott. I transported one dog and 2 ankle biters under 4 in the boat this year...sell, sell, sell, starts to sound like hell, hell, hell, don't get me started on lunches. How about the 3 China men chain smoking in front of the shop during a fire ban, half our state was on fire and these lads considered cancelling the trip if they couldn't choke down butts. No one understood a word I said that day, not even "fire" and apparently "No smoking" does not translate to Mandarin but "$50 dollar fine" does . My Olympus waterproof, shock proof camera was not sink proof, if it was I swear I have a picture of Jackie Chan puffing a Winston.

Happily I finish every busy season to the reality check that is Reel Recovery. Big thanks to Paul and the Reeder Creek Ranch for the chance to help Gary forget for a bit and for me to remember. That is a gentleman, a fish and a series of events that highlighted my summer. My friend Mark Shaw, a graduate of sorts has finally begun to fill the hole in his brain with fishing junk instead of cancer...Be Well, Fish On.

So there, I'm back for another season of writing about nonsense instead of living it. 

Living here sucks!

March has been a very busy month and it feels good. My inner groove has enjoyed every single one of this stupid weather patterns gifts, the weather has been honest to goodness tremendous. The other end of this weather teeter totter is the suffering we may go through this summer, but like I said, the skinny monk that I am is gonna enjoy stuff in the moment, day to day style.

The float season is on the porch and ready! The Fork has been mighty nice to me this month, midgezilla, BWO's, rizzers (as Imbach would say), and bitchin, no lie. Hell I've even avoided the crowds somehow. It helps to take Saturdays off to spend around the dojo with Kitty and "chain saw" (sam), but it seems I've picked the least busiest stretch for 3 weeks now. I know its early and I'm sure everyone is saving up the grenades but I'm actually getting smiles and real data from locals. Minding my own business tryin to rip lips with Trip last Sunday I started playing hop scotch with a 2 man local jam, magnum March beards, camo and all. Truth be told they were havin a better day to my good one. I'll be clear as I can and promise you, I never asked. About the time I made it to Killers Island ( whitey hole ) they had to tell me anyways. With the oddly perplexed look of 2 dudes just givin a late St Paddys day blessing they shrugged and said.......streamers. It was cloudy, precipitating  and shitty but the water temp never got over 40. I admit,  I agreed with their looks, it shouldn't have worked and the manuals say so. Damned to the last half of a good trip rowing around with my head in the sand, we chucked single black buggers on a 5wt with a sinking leader and got it done with the our new best buddies. I felt like I owed them a tug off the bottle of Makers or worse, my tip. Beatis is about all the rest, of this delicious mess I care to fess up on.

Trip from the hip on the Fork. That one made a bobber move.

The Eagle has been OK. Not much to talk about if you know what I mean, I'd wash the car or pound that shipment of girl scout cookies instead. It still has nothing to do with purple, matter of fact gray, brown, yellow and olive anything, definitely will just get snagged on the bottom only to be lost forever. Don't get smaller, lighter or longer and avoid shallow fast water at all cost. Green is good, brown is bad and Pats dead till that water boils up for real, right around the time I expect the egg shipment. On a happier note the ghost ship is ready and I'm just 50 cfs away from a 2 man bump and run. Sometimes it really sucks living here, especially when the weathers like June.

For the 3 clients I have, 1 of which I hope reads this, please consider making your trip to my neck of the woods a touch early this year. If you love the boat ride down that pin ball game hucking drys' I'd have a BBQ at home for July 4th  and come in June this year, maybe early June. The snow gods have not been kind but Mothers day caddis from the Bus sounds like fun to me.

A special shout out to the readers of Chi Wulff for their kind words and for nominating my net as one of the "greatest innovations in fly fishing". Humbled and broke, thank you.

Way to hack up a good memory

Got to chatting with Jmac the other day about teaching people how to hold fish for a picture. I dug around and found a few examples of how not to.

Classic pose by most dudes from south of the Mason Dixon line. Least his stubby fingers were not in the gills.
The full hand cover.

 The Hug.

The Stiff Arm. Damn you have giant hands and short arms, BTW you need a manicure.

The squat.

The Drops.

Ultimately it's on me to show peeps how to hold a fish. I show em once and if they botch it the rest of the day they can be bummed when I send them the pics. Handling fish is the main reason we hurt fish and when there are other dudes on the river I'm just not going to leave fish in the net for an hour.

Be very careful wearing stupid glasses while there is a camera around

Dont Flush it

Small, loud and proud....not sure where he got that from

Governor Hickenlooper,
My name is Bob Streb, my little family lives in Minturn, Colorado on the banks of the Eagle River, just one of the incredible places we enjoy in the mountains we call home. One of the other places is the Upper Colorado River. I am a fly fishing guide and I spend many days showing friends, both new and old, this very special place. The Upper Colorado River has become part of me and I often feel a deep need to be in a boat feeling her currents under me. The loss of this freedom is a very real possibility if any more of her water is diverted. I understand this situation has economic implications for everyone but, I hope you understand the spititual and emotional impact it will have also.
Four years ago my life changed forever with the birth of my son Sam. He now comes first in my life, without condition. We try and answer every question he ever asks and that can be challenging with a child who's main hobby is being curious. He is very aware of what his daddy does for a living and already knows how important water is. Sam has officially stopped flushing the toilet so he can "Help Save the Colorado". His prayers, which used to include his dog and spiderman, are now for our River. He has never asked to save Daddy's job, only the river. Sam has no perspective on the economic impact this has on everyone, only a simple love for one of nature's most incredible water sheds
We very rarely journey to Denver, we live in this state for it's natural beauty and the city just offers a view, not the feel we have grown to love. We felt a strong need to leave our mountains and come to one of the many rallies for the river on the steps of your office. I don't like cities, and I especially don't enjoy going there for a fight that seems has already been lost. Sam sat on my shoulders and screamed proudly as loud as all the adults. "Why are we yelling Dad?", "So a man up there in his office hears us and does something to help son". We painted our faces blue, like water. That was not an attempt to hide our identities. It was so we had no resemblence to the generations before us that contributed to so much destruction of nature all over the great American West. My family has no desire to be recognized as part of a generation that destroys the Colorado River. I hope you feel the same way. I hope you are not remembered as the Governor who sucked the Colorado River dry. I do not envy the position you are in and how hard it must be, but know there are choices and answers that will help. Little Sam has already figured one way out so if need be I am sure he is willing to sit with you and figure this whole mess out.
All of us who enjoy that River hope you will at least slow the process down some more, absorb all the data, explore every option and educate your fellow state officials on all the facts. Conservation of water is the way. Conservation will lead to preservation of this place. Our 4 year old already understands how to help do his part and now its your turn to lead by example. I am blown away at the realization of how many people in this state just believe that water comes from the tap. Knowledge is power and you currently sit in a seat fit to educate the growing front range on how valuable a resource water is and where it comes from. This river can not give anymore of her blood and continue to be the heart of this state's image. I know some look at the mountains when they think of this state but last I checked there isn't one named Colorado, there is a wonderful body of water with it's name though.
All things start at the top Sir, everything flows downstream or at least should.

Bob Streb

Its in the mail Hick, lets go for a float this spring, I promise I wont wear the war paint.

KISS MY @#!%

In honor of St Valentines day....

Ballet dancers do it

Jmacs full of love

Big Lew isnt scared of showing his love

The "Premiere float guide" on the Colorado is no sucker.

Is Zim french?

One for the ladies

Dry fry

This one kind of freaks me out

Happy Valentines Day.That will teach all of you for posing Jimmy Houston style. 

Fork You, its Feburary

Just finished scrubbing things up for a float on the Fork tomorrow with a couple of my favorite clients, Alan and DJ. These guys only book trips in the winter.....for good reason, its crazy good. It's certainly no secret and it can be a trick to schedule if your weak when it comes to the weather, but if you take the risk, the rewards can be great on this world class fishery. No pressure, clear water, plenty of bug life and fish who love to eat the egg. Honest report to follow.

Alan with a fine Roaring Fork Bow from last February

I will never understand some fly fisherman's reluctance to fish egg patterns, it is certainly nothing that I suffer from. One day last year I was wade fishing a spot with a couple of clients and we were having quite a day. A local fishing the other side of the river finally broke down and asked what we were using, "eggs" I replied. He shook his head and said he didn't have any so I offered to walk a few over to him but he explained he never fishes them. 20 minutes later he disappeared leaving me to try and explain to my clients there wasn't any controversy or ethical boundary we had crossed. They must have been convinced because they stopped asking questions and went back to railing fish.

Small molting Golden Stones are a favorite winter snack and a good point fly for those not willing to toss Egg a Muffins.

Another bad choice.

 On a positive note our coldest months historically are past us. The most snow usually comes in March and April but the bitter cold should be about done. There are some killer deals on trips this time of year, mention this stupid blog and I will sweeten it some more.

The Magic Button

One of Davie Mcphail's emergers and a new favorite guide tie. Quick, easy and deadly. 

Remember that kid back in the day that could pick up any stick, club or ball and make it look like he'd dated it forever? Smooth, effortless motion, speed and strength screwed firmly on a clear head under pressure. When I was in grade school it was the Burke brothers of the 19th ward. Junior high was Steve Anderson and in high school it was Tittle and Kermie. While everything came naturally to these .001%ers the rest of us practiced and worked hard to be at least good enough to be on the team when something great happened. Some guys would skip the work expecting the magic button to turn it's self on and end up with a sour taste for the experience.

 The challenges of fly fishing require practice, dedication and attention. When you put the work in you are rewarded be it with fish, incredible natural beauty or a set of perfect presentations. Two dudes putting the work in right now are my friends Theo Anest and Brandon Soucy. They both make fishing and guiding seem effortless, I have been witness to both. These youngsters are that .001% of our sport but they have worked hard to stand there by spending hundreds of days a year with a rod in hand  Lately they have decided to take the show to the limited competitive fly fishing circuit and have been racking up wins for a few years. Their latest win came last weekend at the Frostbite on the Ark. To go along with the "huge" prize money ($1000, plus $250 for the big fish by Soucy) they were rewarded with a few grenades. I'm not going to be that guy to add to the drama with specifics, some other ass munch on a losing team beat me to it. The tournament is in existence to raise money for TU, not to make fly fishing legends of a bunch of Wanna Be's who simply don't have enough game. Do you need a reminder of what's really important (water & fish) and who helps protect that (TU)? The reality of it is our sport is filled with more punters and high school golfers than dudes willing to go in the corner and take a hit. If you are going to enter and compete bring your version of Tigers old game, practice hard and  shut it.

  Everything worth doing  requires work; tying flies, parenting, running a business, guiding, rowing or enjoying a great relationship takes time, patience and practice. I thought the other day as I continue to teach my boy to skate that "this is going to take a while", then I took him to the High School game and thought about how soon it will be. Unfortunately in my world  most people show up without practicing and that's fine, but like learning to skate, expect to fall. I guide in a tourist trap, not north of here, and its my reality that some people think they can shoot a few pars on their first trip. My boat has no room for the magic button, I bring the jelly beans instead and  normally only share with those who try. Thankfully the experience is worth it and most people have no expectation of catching  fish like Theo and B, hell I dont.


If you can make it.....Go

We need snow real bad here in the Mountains of Colorado and not just for the ski industry that we rely on so heavily to put clothes on our ankle biters backs. Or for Denver (see above). As the early winter that wasn't continues we have made the best of it. The team has managed a failed float, 2 trips to local tailwaters and a 5 boat float on an ice free Big Mud, all in January.

The failed float turned into an incredible afternoon on the Frying Pan. The Pan is a delicacy I don't treat myself to enough and I always leave wishing I could guide there. As usual we arrive at the Dam with a boat in tow from some put in down stream that was jammed with ice. It at least draws attention away from my truck covered with stickers from that "other valley". It was crowded so we didn't get the best beats but it didn't seem to matter, we all had nice eats.

The rest of the report is  standard, typical winter fare. The Blue through Silverthorn is still my favorite place to go shopping. This fishery is very healthy and equally as popular on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Don't believe all the reports, I found plenty of fish in real fast water wedged between people fishing classic runs and pools. Take what you can get at the tailwaters. The float was your everyday January float.....except it rained cats and dogs. Nice to guide with my old buds Pete Mott, The Big Zim, Will Sands and Kyle Holt, true professionals.

Yet another shitty fly for the winter. By all means do not attempt to put traces of blue ice dub and Ostrich in your winter midge patterns