The Gift of Time

Arkansas at Pueblo (Map)

I allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in so I didn’t arrive at the river until noon, which suits me just fine. I am now able to leave for the river without my clothing and gear checklist so I have made some progress. I still have some challenges with getting my rod set up. This day proved to be especially trying in that regard, but no problem because I now have the gift of time.

San Juan WormThe day before I had used “fabric flies” in the words of a local, i.e. San Juan Worms and egg patterns. I was eager to try some other flies so I tied on a Hare’s Ear and an RS2. (The names of flies are about as colorful and creative as the flies themselves with their own stories.) Another 20 minutes or so passed as I knotted extra tippet (line) and my two flies, attached some slipshot (weight), figured out what kind of indicator (bobber) to use, and prepared the rod for travel. No problem, I now have the gift of time.

I wanted to return to the redds where I could take some time to photograph the brilliantly-colored rainbows making babies. Before reaching the redds, I passed a hole where I had come up empty the previous day so decided to return to that spot first to see if I could find some of those 20-inch browns my guide told me about. Casting carefully to avoid underbrush I passed enough time to know that either my flies were wrong, I had too much weight on my line, I wasn’t mending properly or the fish weren’t feeding. No problem, I now have the gift of time.

Trout

The redds contained even more fish than the day before. They all scattered as I waded within 10 feet of them, but I stood still for 5 minutes and they returned to their spawning grounds. I just learned about HDR photography and tried to test it out with my shots of the fish. I took over 100 photographs and came up with a couple of acceptable ones, but I need to spend a lot more time understanding how to shoot HDR and photos of fish underwater. No problem, I now have the gift of time.

KilldeerAfter passing some skittish killdeer, I moved on to the hole where I had caught a really good-sized rainbow the previous day (and a sucker) still with my Hare’s ear and RS2 flies on my line. Right after my first cast another angler moseyed nearby indicating silently that he was interested in fishing my hole when I finished.  Without even a flash after 20 minutes or so of casting, I gave in to the “fabric concept” and decided to re-rig. I had an especially hard time tying my clinch knot and ended up having to spool out some more tippet and start over. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I probably spent half an hour re-rigging. There’s no room for impatience on the river. No problem, I now have the gift of time.

On my second cast with fabric, I caught a two hand stretch rainbow – about 18 inches. A friend asked me recently how long it actually takes to release a fish once you net it. It’s really only a matter of 30 seconds or less unless you want to take a photograph. One of the many skills that guides have honed is organizational skills. Knowing how to position all the gear on your body is crucial to making your day more productive and doing the least amount of harm to the fish. This takes times and practice… but I have the gift of time.

After having caught this nice-sized fish I wanted to fish the hole one more time before relinquishing it to the patient angler nearby. I checked my line, recast and when I released my line a second time, I noticed that I had lost everything on my line. I should have felt lucky that I hadn’t lost my previous fish but instead an “oh shit” came out of my mouth, which inspired a stare from my eagerly awaiting comrade. Re-rig, again. Trouble with the Surgeon’s knot this time. 30 minutes slips away. No problem, I have the gift of time.

What I didn’t realize is that my expletive reached the ears of another angler upstream. This kind soul thought I might be a damsel in distress so started walking toward me. I had to come up with a story as to why I swore and was spending so much time on tasks that normally take half the time. Got it! I could say I forgot my glasses and couldn’t see well. When this gentleman heard my “problem” he was kind enough to offer me a single magnifying glass that clips on to your hat. I tried to resist his offer, but he insisted and said I could return it to his guide shop at my convenience. I was embarrassed that I was having so much trouble with my rig and now the fact that I had embellished my story  (e.g. lied) made it worse. I will return it one of these days when I’m back down in Pueblo, but in the meantime, I acknowledged to myself that I need to spend some evenings practicing my knots. That’s ok, I have the gift of time.

2 thoughts on “The Gift of Time

  1. Great post, Shelley! I love how you use the “s” word; it’s not as common as it used to be!
    Have a great time on the Yampa and in Steamboat.

  2. You do indeed have the gift of time…enjoy it! So rarely do we allow ourselves time to really follow our passion. We who have managed to carve out some space whether a day or a year are truly the lucky ones.

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