Sigh... Yes deep breaths... It's going to be okay... Just wasn't your day ...AGAIN.
Just took a morning 3-4 mile bike ride up Waterton Canyon. You might know that the South Platte river runs through there.
The ride was actually very good despite being uphill in a slight breeze. The weather was actually great, If only I could say the same about my ability to catch a fish
I hate to say it but I am beginning to forget the last fish I caught. I have gone fishing several times and for some reason have not had much luck at all.
I have used every excuse I can muster from "The fish just aren't biting yet." to "just a bad day...next time will be back on track." and now "I can see the fish but they just aren't interested in what I am offering." While I am not on a "single fly" philosophy, I am trying to not worry about hatches. I have been trying some new patters and would like to not blame these flies for the deficit.
Certainly every fisherman gets a dry run on their fishing. I am still waiting to start the new season on this year's fishing license with a catch. Riding up the canyon road I tried to delay my gratification to just get in and go fishing at the first spot I saw. I pushed myself to go further up the road to where the fishing is supposed to be the best.
Today I did come closer than ever with at least one good bite that I just missed the hit on. I saw this "pod" of fish rising from a ways off. I made my way down as stealthily as I could and began to try and tempt them. There were several fish feeding off "something" on the surface. I must have worked that hole for at least an hour. Patiently casting and drifting and recasting. I would reposition myself and cast some more using a different angle on the current. I tried twitching the fly, I tried dead drift, i even dropped my leader into the water hoping to get a deeper fish to hit. I had my GoPro camera with me and even video taped the risers. (So there is evidence should I need the documentation. )
I only had one surface hit that I was too slow to set. Eventually the rises stopped and I decided to move further up river with a bad taste in my mouth that wasn't the chocolate cookies I had brought along.
After fishing the slow deep channel hole I decided I should just focus on pocket water. I found some just a little ways upstream and had absolutely no luck at all. Even though I know that this is actually the more recommended way tof fish this canyon.
Could it get any worse? Well I had to ask didn't I?
So I am dropping my line near a good sized rock when my line snags. I grew up with one of those dad's who always got onto me for not taking better care of my stuff. Damn him for being right. I gave the line a solid jerk to try and free the snag. YES..I KNOW and I KNEW Better.. CRACK! Not the tip but one of the mid sections of my Tenkara Times Rod. This is the same rod that I have had to replace the tip on twice now and that I swore I would be more careful with.. The rod broke at the 3rd or 4th section from the bottom...it may have been the fifth but I just can't bear to look at it and know for sure yet. I was able to rescue the other half of the rod that was still attached to the rocks. Thinking to myself "Well at least I didn't break the tip" (As if that was some kind of consolation)
But Wait! Could this get worse?
Okay yes..Yes it can. So I was feeling good about saving my $20 furled leader from being lost to the river. I undid the loop connection and wound the leader up on a spool neatly and satisfied. Made my way to the bank to survey the damage. Wouldn't you know it...I unhooked the loop but forgot to not let the tip (top 3 sections that I've replace twice now) slip out the bottom of the broken rod pieces. I didn't even see it happen but I am absolutely sure of what I did. I could hear my dad's voice "We can't have anything nice."
I had a back up rod with me but by this point I was done for the day. I packed up and hopped on the bike and made the downhill coast down the cayon road. Grumbling and feeling sorry for myself a little. Trying to find the positive in this.
So what is the positive?
Well despite being skunked and breaking a rod..I had spent a good amout of time on the water. I fished without interruption, kept my flies out of the trees and really had some good quality time. I had fished to the best of my ability and despite the goal oriented nature that fishing usually throws at us..I was able to just be in the cool water trying to catch those rising fish. I batteled my own inclinations to try and match a hatch or to get closer still. I just fished. I came home to an understanding wife and my son who makes me smile every time. I got some exercise and scouted out where I want to keep trying. Last but not least. I have a full growler of beer next to me and a restful feeling none the less. Take that skunk!
Dennis Vander Houwen lives in Colorado with his patient and supportive wife, talented artist son, a cuddly dog, and a very lucky cat. Dennis is an avid minimalist, wood craftsman, curious tinkerer and learner and most notably a deeply focused tenkara angler.