On the Fly
I’m a pretty lucky dude. As my father will tell you, I’ve never held a “real” job throughout my entire life. I’ve been working in fly shops since I was 16 and have happily fished my life away ever since. They say when you love your job, you never feel like you’ve worked an honest day in your life. And guess what: it’s true. Fishing is simply part of who I am. I need to go fishing in order to keep my sanity, and truth be told, it is my job. So this past week, when the flu hit me like a ton of bricks, I had to stay in bed over my weekend and miss out on what would surely be the best fishing day of the year thus far.
Temperatures downvalley climbed into the mid-40s that day. I remember sitting in bed, thinking to myself, “Man, I bet the Colorado River would fish really well today, and that the midge hatch might even come off.” In the past, the decision to go fishing when I’ve been sick was always an easy one. I could stay at home and be sick or I could be sick and go catch a few trout, but not this time. I was down for the count. I was legitimately sick and couldn’t get out of bed. Physically, I wasn’t up for fishing, but mentally, I was in the zone.
During the height of the season, I always end up with a fly-drying patch that serves as a temporary docking station until I have the time (winter) to put the flies away in their rightful place. As I peeled through the layers and layers of flies in my bed that day, I was reminded of what a wonderful year 2014 was for me.
I found a large, purple-and-red bass fly that took the biggest bass of my career back in March — an 8-pounder. I also stumbled across a size-12, olive-dubbed carp fly that was inhaled by a 30-inch mirror carp. Of course, there were trout flies, too, including such secret weapons as my reverse 20-incher, my friend Trav’s triple-H caddis (hair, hackle and hook) and even some old favorites like a Zug Bug.
Each of these flies I’ve since retired and go back into a single cup where I fondly remember each fish that each fly took. Some of the flies in that cup go back many years, and in a way, bring me back to those fish and those days better than a photograph does. No matter — I can’t wait to see what new fly additions appear in my cup over the next year. I’m finally ready for 2015, especially since I’m finally out of my bed!
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”