Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peace, Love, Happy New Year!

Okay so in case you haven't noticed this is my new thing; Peace, Love and Fly Fishing! Oh and Happy New Year 2016!!

For the last few days I've been trying to figure out how to cover an entire year of traveling 20,000+ miles, 20 states, 58 RV parks, floods, drought, fires, stellar fishing and being skunked on the water. Let me just say it ain't happening to the extent I had in mind. I've been down the rabbit hole writing other things and there's no time left so here are just a few highlights.

I had high hopes for the White River in Arkansas but a flood the night after we pulled in killed the fishing there.

Birthday fishing with my son. This will for many years be one of the highlights of my fishing life, right there with our camping/fishing trip to Yellowstone in 2012.
Disneyworld! Not fishing but an awesome time none the less. Let's face it sometimes you just have to let the kid inside out to play.

We headed back up through Texas to see friends and family with some sunfish and small bass fishing. I miss those warmwater fish sometimes so a nice fix was just the ticket.

Up through New Mexico for some trouting on the Rio Chama. It's a small intimate river at the town of Chama that's worth a stop if you ever make it through that part of the country. Lots of small to medium sized browns that are eager to take a fly in the morning and evening and at the time we were there one really large brown that beat me on what has become my new favorite light rod.

Colorado Fishing on the Dolores River between Telluride and Dolores. Always a great time there, more on that later.

Made a stop in Gunnison to meet up with some friends. Tom has the inside scoop on a couple nice fishing spots that he shared with me on the condition they both be mentioned only as Forbidden Creek 1 and 2. Thanks for the great times Tom!

Awesome stuff without crowds and more fiesty fish than you can shake a stick at.

In between the two Forbidden Creeks I made a solo trip over to the Taylor River tailwater where the fellow working the local fly shop said the drakes were just starting to come off along the lower and middle sections. It was a super catching day and a loosing day at the same time. While trying to photograph a nice brown mid-river I lost my favorite net. Oh well I've got more. ARRRRGH!!!!!

A stop along the Yellowstone River near Livingston turned to another flood experience like the White in Arkansas but De Puy's Spring Creek saved the day. It was tough, tough, tough fishing!! Those trout are smart, educated whatever you want to call it.

I was able to land four good trout. Well worth the $100 it costs to get on. If you ever have the chance do it!!

The swing over through western Montana through Idaho and into Washington was tough to see. The land was so parched and dry it was hard to look at in that condition. By the time we got into Washington in late August the state had recruited volunteers to get out on several salmon rivers and re-position rocks to make navigable channels for the salmon to be able to get to spawning grounds. A huge sigh of relief has since been collectively breathed as rain and snow have come in spades to that region of the country. As it was at the time it forced Sharon and I to move on just to get out of the smoke. It wasn't all bad though.

Back to Priest Gulch Campground and the Dolores River. No text or photos on that one here. You'll have to pick up the January/February issue of Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine for that story, page 46 in case you're interested.

No fishing for a while after that. We swung down through Las Vegas BABY!! And you know what they say about that..............

Then down to San Diego Swami Beach, Coronado Island and the San Diego Zoo. Big fun even though it was a butt-load of walking......makes me tired thinking about it!

From San Diego we made the short jaunt up to Anaheim for a few days at Disneyland. After all that serious adult time in Vegas we had to let the inner child out to play again, and play we did. We both agree it was our best Disney time yet on either coast.

Back up to the Springs to take care of some business before heading south for the winter. A stop in North Texas to see some family and then south.

We chose Kerrville as our first monthly stop for the winter. I wanted to do some serious fishing and did I ever. The park we stopped at has a catch and release pond. I was able to land some small largemouth bass and sunfish. Good stuff!!

If you think you're seeing the same rod over and over you would be correct. I really need to tell the whole story behind that one.

The biggest thing that happened on this leg of our trip is that I was finally able to meet some cyber-friends (Facebook) for the first time in person. Not only were we able to finally get to meet and fish together were able to catch a bunch of fish. Fishing the Llano with Nick was a hoot. Lots of Guadalupe bass and sunfish were caught and one Mee-Maw lost. Maybe I'll share that story later.

L-R; Me, Chris, James, some old guy in the back, Nick and Robert.

Fishing the Guadalupe with Nick and Robert for stripers was a bust as far as the catching but the company was great. Again a hoot was had by all present. We also had a great lunch that day and met a couple more friends.

Being a bit of a bulldog when it comes to catching a fish I've targeted I headed back out a few days later determined to catch a striper. It wasn't the 30 pounder I was hoping for but it was a striper and that has to count for something. Are you kidding me? It was sweet to be able to land a striper for the first time in over 10 years!!!!!!

Our next group outing on the Guad, as it's locally known, was more of a catching day. GRTU had just stocked some of the 14"-20"+ trout they put in the river annually. Nick, Robert, Joe (yet another new friend) and I spent the morning in one location catching trout all morning. Joe had to leave for home after lunch and the others of us caught yet more trout until evening.

A few days later Sharon and I headed for Mission to wait out the cold weather before moving back north. Mission is an interesting place. Nick and I met in Port Aransas for a day of casting practice where I hooked into something nice on my first cast and we spent the rest of the day scouting and casting, casting, casting.

So that's 2015 for J Wood Fly Fishing. During that first group outing on the Guad the subject of blogs came up while Robert and I were wading into the river trying to catch Nick who had bolted out ahead like an antelope being hunted. Robert said he was surprised I hadn't been chronicling my journey here on the blog. I told him how I had been somewhat surprised by the lack of chronicling myself. Covering 20,000 miles was a little more consuming than I had expected. This coming year will see far fewer miles and hopefully far more chronicling. Heck I may even be able to do some back tracking a cover some of 2015's adventures in more detail.

Until then Peace, Love and Fly Fishing!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Peace, Love and Fly Fishing

Yes I know it's been a really long time and a day since I posted here. Seems odd since this has been one of the most event filled summers Sharon and I have had in years.

In part my motivation to write went out the window due to politics and what it's doing to divide the country into segments of people that dislike one another. Looking around on Facebook and in the news there is so much disagreement, division, derision and hate over political and religious differences that I let it get to me; not something I would normally do but there you have it.

It's time for a new attitude though apparently not everybody is on board. It's true! I have already been scolded for posting this photo on both of my Facebook pages. Yes I know politics is in my life whether I like it or not but I am NOT a politician. I vote, I have political opinions and sometimes even share them. But let's face it that IS about all we as citizens can do without actually going to the dark side and/or seeking elected office. I won't go into it any deeper than that because that's what the new attitude is all about.

Peace, Love and Fly Fishing! Leave the politics to the politicians, I just want to catch a few fish and try not to get into too many more fights before I die.

What brought about the change in attitude was finally getting to meet some of the people I've been Facebook friends with for a long time. Some fine men with, I'm pretty sure, varying political and religious beliefs but one thing in common. We all really, really like fly fishing and catching fish.

Just when I was on the verge of loosing my faith in humanity these guys came along and saved my soul. A bit far fetched? No. That may sound a bit too touchy-feely, squishy (insert your own adjective here) for some but the truth is I was right on the dark edge. Spending time with these guys on the water has brought me back to a place that used to be familiar but had become a all too unfamiliar.

So thanks guys and let's get together again in February.

Peace, Love and Fly Fishing!