Monday, June 21, 2010

Silver Bullets

The Esopus Creek in Ulster County, N.Y. is chock-full of wild rainbow trout. They are not necessarily very big, but the "silver bullets" fight way above their weight class.

And half a dozen of these little eight to 12 inch beauties make a superb meal.

Here's a rookie getting a lesson from a guide. I can hear it now. "Too much line. I said too much line! Ya tryin' to strangle 'em? Hell, lemme show you."

The guide flipped his cast over his left shoulder, just to rub it in.

Also spotted: Harry the Heron and Curtis the Crawfish

In the mid-1990s, I lived in Albuquerque, N.M. and worked at a bookstore. One of my co-workers was a guy named Glenn May, known to me as "Glenn the White Man" because he was indeed the whitest person I've ever met — completely immune to the high desert sun, it seemed.

(He also dated Phil Donahue's daughter, which is neither here nor there.)

Anyway, neither of us had any money but we fished all over northern New Mexico and southern Colorado in a style we dubbed "raggedy-assed" fishing — wet wading, backpacking, tent-living, jalopy-driving trout bums. We couldn't afford "angling lodges" (or even no-tell motels) so we pitched our tent wherever we fetched up. We even invented an inexpensive backpacker's meal, with the unfortunate moniker "Donkey Dick Stew." (It was based on kielbasa.)

I haven't heard from Glenn in a while — he disappeared into Cameroon with the Peace Corps — but I remain true to the raggedy-assed ethos.

Note contusion on right shin. It ain't fishing if you don't get banged up.


Kurt F. Weist said...

Tell you what ... those little wading sneaker-boots don't look so raggedy-assed. (The cowboy wearing them seems a bit worse from wear, but healthy and happy as can be, no doubt.) I'd love a pair of those thingies for out here in Oregon ... if summer ever gets here. (It's been gray and cold forever now -- and the waters in these parts always chill you to the bone anyway. Maybe I'll reconsider.)

Patrick said...

Those are Orvis' wet-wading boots. For years I've been advocating a wet wading boot that is essentially a felt-soled basketball shoe. This is as close as I've seen.

They come with a neoprene bootie but I can't find them, so I use a Smart Wool sock with a Wigwam over it to fill up the space.

Now the real trick would be to make these with the same studded/rubber sole Orvis is using on their full-bore boots — good traction and much easier to clean, to avoid spreading rock snot etc. (Reportedly good traction — I haven't tried them.)

I use these boots exclusively in the Esopus, even thogh the rock snot has disappeared, on the theory that the stuff is dormant in the water. A lot of the anglers I talk to along the Esopus have dedicated one set of gear to the river, which means a lot of guys are patching their leaky waders and hoping for the best.

As far as water temps go, the E this past weekend was warmer than usual but cold enough that I had to make sure to get out every so often.