Monday, July 20, 2009

Fly fishing Colorado through the eyes of the Fat Guys

It was warm outside, those with xeriscaped lawns might call it muggy. My pack and camera case weighed heavily on my shoulders as the double doors slid open and I stepped out onto the shaded asphalt. I spotted the hoard of moderately attractive, middle aged women and knew that I was in the right place.
A bald man stepped out of his SUV to post-pubescent screams of lust and after pushing his way through the crowd, extended his hand. “It’s good to finally meet you.” This was the first time I met the man known as Michael Gracie.
We pushed through the swarm, threw the mildly-smelling-of cat-crap gear in the back of the vehicle and punched the go button, off to destinations unknown to me.
Pleasantries spouted, and hey-how-are-ya’s done and over with, we drive his modest cleaner-than-most bachelors abode, drop off the gear, and head to the local fly shop.
Discount Fishing Tackle is a non-descript storefront in a non-descript strip mall paralleling Sante Fe Drive. One fat guy, and one three-quarters fat guy pulled into the parking lot.
The man often known as MG turned the key and leaned over my way. “There is something I have to warn you about before we go in there,” he said. “As soon as we walk in, if the guy behind the counter calls me a [explicative] or a [explicative]…. don’t worry about it.” They say forewarned is forearmed, and I had a knife in my teeth and a blunderbuss in hand as we breeched.
“Oh shit, look who is here!” The stubbly counter guy exclaimed as the door beeped MG and I walked in.
There is fishing stuff on the walls, there is fishing stuff on the floor, there is fishing stuff falling out of and bulging from every crack, nook and usable cranny. My kind of shop.
The guy behind the counter smiles as he walks around the corner. “How you doing, I’m Tom.” I shake his hand and he shifts his glance to Gracie, “What’s up, bitch?”
This is the one, the only... Tom Teasdale.
My situation explained, Tom browses the fly selection, picking out all the flies I will need to, as a fellow named Nate Taylor would frequently exclaim thereafter, “crush some huge fish.”
Paid up, and paid out; rung up and run into the parking lot Gracie and I stowed our booty and headed home. Me with a new box full of flies and Gracie with some pimp new shades and net were ready, apparently, for any fish to come our way. A half a bottle of peppermint schnapps and a 12-pack later we were ready for bed.
A few hours later the coffee was brewing as we prepared for a day on water when the doorbell rang and in walked the aforementioned Mr. Taylor.
Dressed in white from head to toe, closely resembling a Bermudian cricket player, Nate seemed a little sleepy but nonetheless ready to throw flies. The drive to “this particular section” of the South Platte River allowed to sun time to crawl out from behind the Front Range and warm the preparing anglers.
I was told that because we had been so late in leaving the house, (what had once been a enthusiastic 2:30am departure time faded into a partially-hung-over 4:30am) that between four and eight cars would be cooling off in the river parking lot, and their passengers already beating the waters before us.
But it appeared that on this Saturday morning we were ahead of the curve as we pulled into an empty dirt lot and began to gear-up in the fresh morning light.
The air was crisp, and the mosquitoes many, as took to the trail and headed down stream.
The fish were plentiful but all small stockers as we threw and walked west downriver, and the aforementioned Mr. Taylor soon made an executive decision to halt westerly progress and head back up stream in search of larger fish to “crush.” That he apparently knows are there.
I shrug and begin the walk back through the grass and shin-stabbing bushes to find Gracie, who had intentionally fallen behind to beat up the pools we had turned our noses up to in our hunt for larger prey with stimulators and trailing emergers.
After a drink back at the car, and a short walk in the opposite direction, the little rainbows that had been so plentiful before started to disappear. And for good reason... the fish here are big, and in no mood to put up with the nonsense from their under-developed brethren.
Gracie on the reel! The aforementioned Nate Taylor on the reel! Big beautiful browns, with a surprising tendency for aerial acrobatics find their way into our nets.
Even a big fat rainbow (that Gracie spotted, but I "stole") liked my bug enough to accept the invite to the net party.
Hours and some fantastic dry-dropper and nymphing later, the afternoon faded into brought slower bites and annoying wind, but that was fine as we all felt it had been a very kick-ass day and turned back toward the parking lot.
Back to the house we flew! And then Ding-Dong! Tom Teasdale, Greg Drapeau (Some Primal Dudes) at the door and ready for partying.
We all drink a beers and as soon as my I-only-brought-one-pair-so-I-had-to-wash-them-before-going-to-the-bar-because-they-stunk-from-wet-wading shorts dried, then left for manly refreshments.
The night progressed as expected, and after the crew walked home from the pub we wished Tom, Greg and the aforementioned Nick Taylor luck as they left for shenanigans unknown, and crashed our sleep-deprived asses into bed.
Sunday morning was a lazy one and we slowly gathered our gear from some South Platte carp fishing.
We arrived and found James Snyder balls deep in the river already, with nothing good to report. Fish everywhere but not eating. We decided to head to some double-super-top-secret-well-populated-suburban lake, but the story remained the same. Slow.
Aaron Seymore , visiting from out of town, did manage to hook a fatty carp, and to the sorry fishless faces of his comrades exclaimed, “That’s how we do it Michigan!”
Enough said, Aaron.
In to the car, back to the house to meet Kyle and edit images… Then to the bar.
And now, here I sit in MG’s house, stealing his CPU time spilling the beans. I will be fishing tomorrow with Kyle, but will not have access to a computer machine for another week, as I will be in the White Mountains of Arizona catching beautiful (but most likely smaller) fish.
More eye candy...
Gracie contemplating the existence of fly

An ace double-hauler (Mr. Teasdale)

This is how you hero shot, drop a fish, and recover like a pro

My own badassness, from MG's perspective

Gracie's badassness from a professional standpoint

-Alex who thinks it would be really funny to go sit on Kyle’s passed out head.


  1. Great post. I love that shot of Discount Fishing Tackle.

  2. Sounds like you guys had a fine time. Some really cool photos.

  3. shit yeah. At least those South Platte carp didn't give their cherry up for a foreigner. Gotta respect that.

  4. Anonymous6:26 AM

    Well I did need a new net after the moose incident:

    Great fun Alex. Come again anytime.

  5. That's pure badass - from my standpoint.

  6. great post. i'm headed to CO next month and can't wait.


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