Monday, February 29, 2016

Rocky Ford Report: A Leap Day Tradition

You see your wife at lunchtime. "We get a whole extra day this year!" she says. You hadn't thought of it quite that way. You think to yourself, "What would you really like to be doing with a whole extra day?"

Ten minutes later you're heading down the road for Rocky Ford.

It's mild and breezy. Fish are working and you show them a few dries before you find the right one.

A big, beautiful rainbow, one of Rocky Ford's best, comes up and takes a renegade, of all things. Why did you even tie it on? Because things like this happen.

A few minutes later you have a one-winged spinner on. Because you can. First cast and a little fish hammers it.

A little later, after trying out a few more dries, you settle on a Lady McConnell.

Another beautiful slab of a fish takes it practically at your feet.

You just leave the Lady McConnell on. The breeze is blowing steadily, and the little shellback fly cuts an enticing wake across the riffles.

A third beauty follows it and sucks it in.

The breeze cranks up a notch and changes direction. Blowing downstream, or blowing upstream, you can handle. Now, though, it's blowing directly in your face. That's rare, and it creates it's own challenges. You keep punching out casts.

A final fish plucks the Lady McConnell out of the riffles.

The light is going. You tie on a muddler dry. It casts easier in the wind, and you want to see if there's a chance the fish might go for something bigger--like a mouse, for instance. But...they don't. The wind keeps blowing in your face, the fish go down, and you decide to head for home.

It was the shortest trip of the season--and one of the best. You've caught more fish before, but you haven't caught more quality fish.

As you hike back to the truck you have to wonder where you'll be on the next Leap Day four years from now. Wherever it is, you decide, you'll be fishing.

A tradition is born.

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