On the River: Buddy float trip | AspenTimes.com

On the River: Buddy float trip

Heather HicksSpecial to The Aspen Times

As we put in to the river last Saturday morning, six pairs of Buddies and six fly-fishing guides sported full smiles that matched the sun climbing overhead. Oxbow Outfitters owner and fishing guide Jonathan Feinberg and the Buddy Program staff had been planning this float trip for over a month and could not have asked for a better day to be on the river.Jonathan, interested in giving back to the community, contacted The Buddy Program and plans were set. Together with several local fishing guides who donated their entire day, equipment and boats, we took to the Roaring Fork at the ramp in Carbondale with many Little Buddies who had only dreamt of fly-fishing.The whole day focused on the kids. Each guide worked with a Buddy pair, which they taught the basics: casting, mending and the dance of reeling in a fish. The brown trout and whitefish were biting. A boy in one boat caught a fish with a red worm on the line, so I suggested that our guide Aaron switch over to this lure. I thought that maybe it could bring us a little luck, and within no time, his Little Buddy, Francisco, had the fish biting! I watched as Aaron gave positive reinforcement to Francisco throughout the day. “I’ve taken a lot of people out fishing,” he said to Francisco, “but I’ve never seen anyone who was better at casting than you.”Maybe it’s their innocence or the natural ability of children to learn things quickly, but the Little Buddies seemed to have the best luck with the fish on the river that day. Nearly every Buddy caught something or at least experienced the rush of getting a bite on their line. We even got to stop for lunch at the riverside home of Rick and Maria of Thunder River Market for an epic Rocky Mountain picnic. This day reaffirmed the generosity and beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley we live in. And unlike the fall colors, I’m sure these memories won’t fade.