This post is all about lessons learned. I have learned so much from my fellow anglers and I hope this little story will help some of you one day.
Setting The Stage
Earlier in the Spring, I went fishing with a guide on some beautiful private water near Bailey, Co. It was a beautiful day in mid March. There was a crispness in the air, but as is typical for Colorado, the sun was shining which made the cold seem to disappear. The runoff from the snowy mountains begins to fill the rivers in earnest toward the end of March, and I wanted to get some fishing in while the water conditions were still good.
I love fishing with a good guide. As a relatively new angler, it is a perfect opportunity for me to learn. On this particular trip my goal was to learn to fish with a streamer. The guide did not disappoint. He showed me the ropes and it only took landing one fish on a streamer for me to be hooked on streamer fishing (a big shout out to Jeremy Hamilton @5280Angler for being an awesome guide and teacher!).
If you have never done it, I highly suggest giving it a try. It is very different than using a nymph or a dry fly as I explain in To Nymph or Not to Nymph. It is exhilarating when the fish hits the streamer. When it hits, it hits HARD! You are stripping line in very quickly, and BAM! You know you have caught a fish.
Throughout the day, Jeremy had to continually remind me to not walk backwards. That is probably because I kept walking backwards and tripping all over myself. Toward the end of the day, when he reminded me yet again, I asked him how often he has clients “fall in.” His expression turned very serious and he replied, “We don’t talk about that, it’s bad luck.”
Then It Happened
Yep! You guessed it. Not even 5 minutes later, I had a fish on the line who was fighting very hard. I took a couple steps backward (go figure), tripped over a rock and proceeded to fall face first into the water. There it was. My first face plant.
I mentioned earlier that it was mid March, right? Now, the runoff had not started in earnest, but it had begun. Needless to say, the water temperature when you are 7,500 feet above sea level in mid March is typically between 34 – 39 degrees Fahrenheit. I came up out of the water unable to breathe. The icy cold water took my breath away. Regardless of the face plant, I held my rod up out of the water and was still holding a tight line when I popped upright. The funny thing is, the only thing I was worried about was landing that damn fish.
The guide was very concerned and said, “I’m going to cut him off”. I exclaimed, “don’t you dare! I’m going to land this fu@#er!” Sadly, in all of the commotion the fish found his way under some brush and broke the line off. Dang it.
After the rush of the experience started to fade, I realized I was shivering uncontrollably. My waders were filled with icy cold water. I was drenched through and through. I was done for the day.
So, what are the lessons learned?
- Do not walk backwards in the water. You can’t see where you are going and you are likely going to end up in a face plant of your own.
- ALWAYS bring a change of clothes. By change of clothes, I mean everything (yep, all the way down to the skivvies)! I was only partially prepared by bringing a pair of sweat pants. I had to ask my husband to disrobe and give me his shirt.
- It doesn’t hurt to have a nice bottle of bourbon on hand. It may help you warm up and recover from your face plant.
Ed’s Note: When not wading carefully amid trout streams, hucking streamers for bucknasty browns, or tying up some money bugs, Regina is telling her story via www.thecouturefly.com. Check out her blog and follow her on Instagram @thecouturefly
She wasn’t joking when it comes to Jeremy’s superstitions regarding falling in the river – he’s described this on a few podcasts –
Listen in to Ep. 1 with Denver Outfitters
Listen in to Ep. 24 of the TroutPornPodcast