Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Salt River - Big on scenery, small on fish.

It was like those Southwest Airlines commercials, where the dude does something stupid like call his girlfriend the wrong name in bed... you know - "Wanna Get Away?" Yea, that's how it felt around here, minus the mid-coitus faux pas (you need to have a girlfriend for that to happen). As Aaron put it during one of our where-the-hell-should-we-go-fish phone conversations, "If I don't get out somewhere soon I think I might kick a baby into the sun." Which would be totally impressive, but very out of character for the guy.

After some thought we decided to take a drive up to Phoenix to play in the lower Salt River, where during the hot summer high-flow months bored teenagers and sun-baked alcoholics alike pay a small fee to float the few mile stretch on old inner tubes and try not to pass out and sunburn their nipples.

(This bridge is about 1/3 the way down - you wouldn't notice your nipples roasting till later)

I can't say for sure what the flow was, but I would guess it was somewhere in the 300 range as Aaron and I arrived on the sunny Monday afternoon. After yanking on a pair of waders and a quick head scratching session over the contents of my fly box, I picked the 2 least abused-looking things I saw and jumped in feet first. Aaron quickly hooked a small rainbow on a copper john, and I decided to take a little stroll across the river where upon arrival at the far bank realized that that funny feeling in my boot was water pouring into my sock. Lovely.

A few hours and as many hook-ups later we decided the action was about over for the afternoon and so Aaron, I, and my soggy toes decided to head to the hotel. A hour later with a stomach bursting with Golden Corral and a bottle of 92 proof rum we retired to rest up for the next day. And by rest up, I mean get stupid. (See video in previous post)

The next morning after sleeping through the incessant beeping of my phone telling me that it was time to fish, we checked out of the hotel with minutes to spare and headed back to the river, this time to a place stop named Water Users, where a few months from now buss loads of relatively sober half naked thrill seekers with "Show Yer Boobs" sloppily written on old beer boxes would begin their slow trek downriver.

I have only been to this spot in the summertime, and it is a completely different beast during the winter months; the colors are somehow both calm and vibrant, the situation as a whole seemed  muted but full of potential.

The afternoon fly fishermen stacked in the quick shallows, eavesdropping on one another, being privy to a apparent midge hatch, drifting zebras and what-have-yous under caddis flies and other floaties, doing just alright.

I decided to stick to my nymphing... and struck out. Some days this would ave bothered me, because I, like other fishermen will occasionally admit in a drunken state, think going fishing and not catching fish is basically a failure. But when the beauty of the location outweighs the lack of success, one must just be happy to be there, and I was.

As the evening pushed the afternoon under the horizon, it was just about time to head home and we packed the rods and wet gear into the truck bed. It was a pleasure to meet Dan and Ron (I apologize if I messed up on the names), I am sorry we didn't get to meet up with Greg from AZ Fly and Tie, and I missed the guys from Goodyear, but we will be back soon. You can bet on that, and hopefully before the first wave of drunken reprebates of the new year contaminate the shrinking shores with old socks and empty beer cans.



  1. Sorry I missed you guys...had to work time though...

  2. Anonymous7:36 PM

    When I lived in Phoenix (1983-84) it was before my fly fishing days. I was going to school and could have been one of those reprobates defiling the river with rubber. However, even as a 19 year old I didn't spell it "yer," and never once used the euphemism "boobs" (we used a shorter word) so I know you couldn't be talking about me. And I do (vaguely) remember an interesting episode out in that general vicinity with an Uzi and Ouzo (deadly combination, but we all made it back unscathed). Is there much gunfire out there, or do you smell licorice wafting on the wind, these days?

    It's too bad to hear some things don't change.

  3. Greg- No worries. How was the webinar? :)

    The early 80's must have been a strange time, Scott, but fortunately the river has no memory and the broken Greek glass has since begun its transformation back to sand. I can only assume that the behavior remains the same and only the brand and caliber of small arms varies from time to time, as well as now you are required to pack your inexpensive spirits in plastic containers.

    Yeah, some things don't change, but sometimes it is nice to know what to expect.

  4. Hey guys, actually saw you out there. Wasnt quite sure it was you guys (Aaron your beard is way gnarlier than in your picture)but had a sneaky suspicion. Big fan of the blog. Great photography. Thats my dad there in the middle picture. Keep up the good work. See you next time!

  5. Yea, Aaron's beard has become pretty beeftastic, you should have seen it before he accidentally used the wrong clippers on it and removed 2 inches, it was super-beeftastic!

    Derek, I have a few other photos of your pops, just shoot me an email, alex (at) fatguyflyfishing (dot) com, and I will send them along if you like.



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