- Jay Walden
September 9, 2018
Round, round, get around, I get around... While pondering the recent passing of Burt Reynolds the other night, for some reason, this old Beach Boys tune got stuck in my head. While news of another celebrity joining the ranks of the hereafter seems to always bring to mind my own personal, precarious hold on life; this particular one one was different in a way and reminded me that I have been somewhere—seen some things in my time, because I had met the old boy, even shook his hand, years ago—not to mention he leaned over and kissed my girlfriend about the time the handshake ended. Now normally when you meet a stranger in a bar and he kisses your girl, a scuffle ensues, but this was Burt Reynolds —"The Bandit"—the guy with the mustache, the one that drove that black Trans-Am like it was stolen, the guy that delivered a semi-truck load of Colorado Kool-Aid east of the Mississippi, back when such things were illegal—so I kept my mouth shut—I'm sure my girl didn't mind. Besides, I had seen "Deliverance" several years earlier and knew that Burt had a penchant for dispensing with hillbillies with a recurve and I wasn't about to push my luck. Sometime later, I met Ned Beatty at some Derby Days shindig in Kentucky, but I didn't mention Burt or the "Deliverance" thing because I had heard he considered that role a sensitive subject, as well he should. Anyway, out of the two encounters, my girl ended up with a better story to tell than I did.
Okay, now as fair warning, we are gonna run a little long today, so if you're planning on reading this in one sitting you might want to make yourself comfortable—maybe grab yourself a beverage or two. How this next story has anything to do with the first or transitions here, is a stretch, I'll admit that much, but the "I get around" theme started rolling around up there where all this stuff apparently originates and another recollection popped up, and well, I just couldn't help myself. Besides, I have found that as I grow older if I don't share these thoughts as they come to mind, they have the propensity to disappear into some netherworld ether, never to be recalled again; which is, probably where some readers prefer that they stay, no doubt. Anyway, I had this job one time working for a big corporation that shall remain nameless here, lest they try and pursue legal avenues against me for revealing some of their more questionable means of operation. Our property was located in a well-to-do retirement/college town which meant that help was hard to come by because half of the population didn't need to work and the other half didn't want to. At any rate, the policy at this place when it came to hiring was that as the head of a particular department, you submitted a formal request to HR for the position you needed to fill along with a staffing budget, business projections, and a lot of other red tape, etc. and they did all the recruiting, interviewing, background checks and drug screening and sent you someone. A person showed up complete with uniform and time card, and it was up to you to train them and make it all work out. Well, since the labor pool in that town was shallow to say the least, some genius down in HR came up with the idea to use the local half-way house as a resource for new employees and that's how I ended up with this guy I'm about to tell you about. He was likable, intelligent, clean-cut, and picked up on the training quick enough, and the good thing was he was extremely reliable because all I had to do was send his schedule to the folks that ran the half-way house each week and they made sure he was there each day—on time. So as time went on, we became friends in a boss/employee kinda way and I even vouched for him for extra time off from the house, as long as he was with me at the gym. So we became workout partners, which was mutually beneficial, because if your're looking for a strength coach to get you to your benching goal of 235, I can't think of a better guy than someone that's been in stir for a few years and this guy knew his way around a weight room. Sometime into all this, he found out I was a fly fisherman, and having done a little of it himself in the past, asked me if I'd take him sometime once his parole lightened up and he was allowed days off, away from the house. Being the good friend that I was I said, "Sure," which was right about the time that he told me he was in for robbing banks—seven of them to be exact, although I don't think the authorities were aware of six of those. Although I am unaware of the recidivism rate of bank robbers, I have read enough about the exploits of John Dillinger to know that incarceration doesn't work for all of them, so I wasn't totally shocked when I caught him forging tips on guests room service bills despite the fact that he already had a twenty-percent guaranteed gratuity coming to him, and I had to hand him over to HR. Needless to say, I never got to take him out on the water as he returned to his former federal employer, making license plates. I guess it was well enough that he never got around to teaching me to rob banks, either. Like I say, "I get around," and I have really lived a charmed, blessed life, so if I should slip tomorrow on that greasy rock that I have been skating across all summer in the Cable Hole and I am seen never more, pine not for me dear friends, I went out with my wading boots on, cleats and all, and my only sadness is that I will not be around to write the story, because it would be a good one.
If you have reached this point, I thank you and I marvel at your endurance. Okay, what's happening on the San Juan? Well, flows of 700 cfs and very clear water conditions, and great fishing. The weather—spectacular—with highs in the low 80s and 50s at night and in the early mornings, and a zero percent forecast of rain for the week. How do you like them apples for an upcoming week of fishing? I'm not going to go out on a limb and be a prognosticator on what the BOR will do in the near future with the water level other than to say they are highly unlikely to lower it and if there is an increase this week, it would most likely come in the form of a 100 cfs bump, or so, and won't affect the fishing any. That said, it's business as usual here on this river with our tiny flies, much to the chagrin of some fisherman. Small, dark midge patterns are de rigueur for the upper river (size 24 and 26) on 6x fluorocarbon tippets and the obligatory mix of baetis nymphs (size 22 and 24) anywhere from the Texas hole and below. There are fish feeding from daylight until dark, mostly on emerger patterns throughout the larger part of the day. The upper river was experiencing some better midge hatches this past week than we have seen for a while with rising fish from around 11:00 till 4:00 and then again from 6:00 until 0 dark:30, although the wind has been an issue on that evening rise, almost every day. I did see some BWO adults on the water in the lower river and the fish were on to them, but the hatch, which started around 2:30 or 3:00 would start, stop, start again, then repeat, so for about two hours there, I kinda drove myself half batty switching back and forth from size 24 fore and afts and size 24 comparaduns as these fish alternated back and forth from midges to baetis patterns depending on what Mother Nature was dishing out at the moment—and these fish were being very selective, so you had to match the dominant bug at that particular time or no dice. The BWOs I saw were very small (size 24 Adams and Comparaduns are a good approximation.) I am still pulling a good amount of fish up in the shallow stuff on ants and PMXs when the hatch isn't going on or when the wind puts the fish down, but the trick is to find fish high up in the water column or holding in a foot or two of water and work as may fish as you can. Other than that folks, it's just all good times out here right now, so hope you can make it to the Juan soon, because everyday is a story waiting to happen. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.