By Zak Beavers
The water comes to a rolling boil. I put a heaping amount of freshly ground coffee into my French press, and then add the appropriate amount of water to make the concoction, which will fuel me for a few solid hours. Things are shaping up for a good, yet cold morning on the water. My partner shows up at 6:45am for us to embark our journey. We stop on the way for some chorizo burritos, snacks, nicotine, and a few cold ones. A quick, smoky drive through the San Juan National Forest, and we arrive at the trailhead. The stars are in alignment for a stellar day on the water (or so we think).
The morning sun is reflecting off the frosty grass as we set off down the trail. As we approach the mile mark on the trail, I notice something horrible: I’m missing a dog. MY DOG. The 10yr old mutt must have gotten his signals mixed up and headed back to the truck. I decide to backtrack and find the pooch. My fishing partner decideds to man the gear and wait it out with his dog. As I hike back to the truck (about 30 mintues), I start to think that we are going to lose the battle with time. Trusty ol’ Steve was waiting patiently by the Ford. We double our time back to meet up with the rest of the crew and set sail, yet again.
An hour or so later, we arrive at our destination. We begin to rig up, suit up, and stuff our bellies with chorizo burritos and frosty beverages. The sun is moving up the sky to project light all through the meadows along the river. I think to myself, “this is going to be a perfect day for fishing”. My partner signals that he’s seeing signs of midges flying around. Again, this is shaping up nicely. We are predicting a slower morning that gradually moves into warmer temps, bugs flying around, some rising fish, and maybe catching a 20in+ fish.
As the day winds on, the beers get warmer and the fishing gets colder. What we were encountering had us befuddled. There was no reason for the fishing to be this dismal. The weather and water conditions were just too perfect for the results we were getting. We decided to head out after six hours of fishing with no fish, many miles hiking, sore shoulders, and, inevitably, no more beer.
I’ve been fishing most of my life. To be frank, getting “skunked” happens from time to time, and it flat out sucks. Long days on the water with no fish are not uncommon, but happen far less frequently to me now as opposed to years past. However, there are some things that still ring true. The day we had out on that water with the dogs and the beautiful surroundings did not suck. We are fortunate enough to be able to do these things, and they shouldn’t be taken for granted. The best things to do when the fishing is grim; take a deep breath, look around, sip your beer, have a smoke, and just enjoy where you are. Fishing never takes us to ugly places…
(It also never hurts to document your fishing buddy not catching…)