Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frozen Eyes, Frost Bite and Tall Tales: Part 3

   So equipped with the knowledge that there are 20" to 30" browns on the Upper Owens I had headed up there the day before to maximize my fishing time on the river, but with that I left the relative warmth of the valley floor at 4,471 ft and headed up to 7,800 ft.  Lets just say it got colder, how cold you may ask? Well lets just say it has been a few weeks since the trip and I still do not have feeling in a few of my toes.  Seriously, not full blown black-toe, cut'em off frost bite, but the stage right before where you damage your nerve endings.  When I woke up in the morning my temp gauge said 7 degrees and I slept in the back of my truck with a sleeping bag and a dog.  The cold part wasn't sleeping mind you, it was when I decided to tie four San Juan worms flies for my morning on the river.  Standing almost motionless in Solomon Trail Running shoes is not a good way to keep your feet warm I found out, even if I was wearing Patagonia wool socks.

  So I lite the fire again and tried to warm my feet back up to no avail, frozen and now starting to hurt very bad.  They were so cold that when I tried to put another pair of thicker Patagonia wool socks on I could not get my shoe back on, because I could not feel my foot at all.  So I cranked my truck and broke camp in a hurry.  All I could think about was get warm and get to my fishing spot so I could get cold again.  Funniest part of the morning is that Boone would hop off the tail gate and do his business then hope back up and curl into his sleeping bag.    Jump down eat and get water, up into the bag again. He'd disappear into the bag and didn't want to come out. Truly comical, but that is my dog he is a little off.

  So I was warming up and driving the five miles of dirt roads to the starting point when about mile 31/2 I started to feel my feet again, not my toes mind you, just my feet. I got to my spot hoped out and started to wader up, and oh man that was cold.  But, it was a necessary step for sure.  As I started to cast out my San Juan with a Pheasant tail special David had given me, I started to run into a problem.  Every time I stripped line water from the line would get onto the eyelets and freeze instantly.  So every few casts I had to break off the ice on my rod so not to bind up my line.  It was strange and yet a really peaceful day fishing.  I caught a ton of little 8" to 10" rainbows and browns on a size 22" BWO, there was a hatch going on that morning, and I almost had my arm ripped off by a fish that broke my hook.  Not broke my hook off, but actually broke the hook off below where the barb was.  It sent my reel flying and when I tried to get some headway, snap and gone.  It was awesome to say the least.

  Well I am cold once again and I can not feel my hands at this point, so I decided it was time to pack up and head to my next interview with the legendary Bill Eddy of Big Pine, CA.  And though there is more to the story of the weekend I am going to save it for another post on another day.  Bill and Irv were great guys and great to talk too.  I had a long, but satisfying drive home that night that made me so excited for my next trip up there.  Good times and really great people.

Thanks again all, hope you enjoyed.

The Bearded Boar


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