January 27th, 2003

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Planting a Seed
By Cary Morlan (aka Linemender)

I had an interesting and enjoyable weekend this summer. On a Friday my sister-in-law Kate and her husband Doug made a trip over from Seattle in their new 27 foot Winnebago. They usually come over at least once a year just to hang out and catch up and share stories about kids and family. Their new RV is absolutely gorgeous. It is their fifth rig and will surely be their last. I say that after finding out how much they paid for it. Surely a couple can only afford one purchase like that considering one of them is retired and the other only has seven months left.

So my wife and I spent a couple days enjoying dinner out and a bar-b-q at my son's while everyone visited. The evenings were especially fine as we would sit in the shade of the Winny and enjoy the cool evening air.

Now just last week I had received my new Three Forks Combo from Cabelas and have been itching to get out on the creek for a test drive. I was afraid I would have a hard time evading company to go fishing without looking like my priorities were askew. I knew full well that Doug had no fishing license and was not a fly fisherman anyway, however I had convinced myself that he would enjoy going out to the creek for a couple hours just to enjoy the beauty of my little paradise. The tough part was going to be convincing him. Now Doug is a very amiable gentleman and besides if he didn't go to the creek with me for sun-up he would be sitting in the RV by himself from the time he arose around 5 am until we rolled out at 8 or 9. If I'm not going fishing I'm sleeping in.

Doug had fished wet flies with a spinning rig and a bubble on a previous trip to Yellowstone where he didn't need a license so there was a smidgen of interest in accompanying me to the Rocky Ford Creek. Curiosity and my promise to get him back in time for breakfast and a 9 am departure for home were enough to get him to agree to an insightful adventure into my little piece of Heaven. Needless to say I was excited for a couple of reasons. I get to use my new rod and I get to introduce someone to what I consider one of the most wondrous experiences of all time, catching big trout on little dry flies.

I awoke a 4:30 and brewed a pot of coffee and when I walked out the door at 4:55 Doug was sitting in the window of his RV just waiting for me to exit the front door. With travel mugs full of coffee we hit the road for the twenty minute trip to the creek.

The last few Sunday mornings I have made it a point to arrive as early as possible. Not many people have been as anxious as I to hit the water at sunup. Although there have been fishermen camping in the parking lots they usually don't seem to arrive on the banks until around 7 or so. I'm OK with that for it lets me walk my favorite beats to see the morning feed as it commences. As I explained to Doug, I like to find those real active early feeders sucking down breakfast from the surface as the first of the morning's hatches begin.

As has been the case the last 6 weeks, the Raiders of Rocky Ford were at it hot and heavy, making hay while the sun shines so to speak. For the next couple of hours they would have prolific hatches to feed on before the surface activity quiets and they are relegated to scuds and nymphs. This period of activity is my Nirvana. I invited Doug to pull up a rock while I affixed my leader and fly to my line. This is a time to check out the local denizens and decide which I am going to attempt to entice first. I could tell by Doug's expression that the rising fish had gained his full attention and there was anticipation in his gaze that may have exceeded mine.

The tricos were coming off franticly and the bows were trying to keep pace. At this hour of the morning I have a hard time follow anything that small on the water for the sun has yet to clear the ridge and with the surface being in the shade both fish and fly were hard to see in the course of a drift. It is for this reason that I tend to use a slightly larger PMD to begin so I may overcome the vision problems I tend to have until Del Sol peaks over my shoulder and I can go to the Polaroid clip-ons.

I could probably use a BWO as well but the PMD is a little more visible hence it is my starter. The key is just to get it through the feeding lane as the fish is rising and they frequently are so intent on not coming down empty handed that close counts. Wanting to believe that very much, I continued to cast over a nice fish in the middle of the creek that had his bib on the moment we arrived. Believing that patience and tolerance were the order of the day I continued my offering. Doug, obviously less patient than me, directed me upstream to another fish working a back eddy between a large boulder and the brush on the shore. Looking like I actually know what I was doing I made the perfect cast three feet in front of the fish and a second later was rewarded with a hook up to a nice 3 pounder. I loved the way my new reel sang as line was stripped by the suddenly demented creature whose morning meal had been disturbed. The rookie appearance of my 3 wt was a success. It cast those no-see-ums much softer than my 5 and had all the backbone I needed to bring a fish to hand. The biggest kick however was the look on Doug's face.

Not wanting to be late for breakfast and obligated to return Doug for his timely departure, I was more than happy with one fish under ideal circumstance. I made a few more casts to rising fish as we worked our way back to the car but nothing very serious. I was stoked about sharing the thrill of the hunt and the fight with my brother-in-law. With him retiring in seven months maybe one of those 3 wt Three Forks combos would be just the ticket for a retirement present. You know if he took up fly fishing he just might invite me along for a jaunt about the country in his new RV. ~ Linemender

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