As you can see in the photo above, even Uncle Morty is a bit put off by my lack of posting over the last few weeks. Lots of work, writers block, lack of fishing could all be factors and likely each plays a part, but none are an excuse either alone or in total. In fact, lots of stuff has been filtering through my mind every day that normally makes it to "paper" either here, or in one of my notebooks. I guess there has been a disconnect, and it took three consecutive days of golf last weekend to break the funk. Golf is fun; it's time with friends that don't fish, but what it really is/was for me is an eye opener - it made me realize how much I miss being on the water, and that's all that matters.
So let's start with a quick Montana trip report - Part 1 The Big Horn
On Saturday July 26, at 7:30 AM, when I got to Newark Airport I dropped my suitcase off at the United Airlines baggage check counter and headed to the gate with my fly rods and a shoulder bag that contained my fly reels, some tackle and personal items in case my baggage got lost. In all of the decades I have been traveling/flying to Montana to fish, any luggage I had checked arrived with the plane I was on, so when I got to Bozeman it was a surprise when my suitcase never showed on the baggage claim carousel. It was a direct flight, too, so it should have been a no-brainer for the airline.
In any case, they assured me that it would arrive within the day and they would deliver it to the lodge in Ft. Smith the next day. No big deal; I was in Montana with 7 friends, I had my rods and reels and wading shoes, and I wasn't scheduled to attend a wedding or fancy shin-dig, I was going fishing. I also figured it was only for a day.
After all of us arrived in Bozeman, we hit a local watering hole for a quick meal, some brew and some catching up as we are scattered around the country most of the year. Then it was off on a 4 hour drive in three cars to Fort Smith, with a quick trip to the grocery store in Hardin. The folks at the IGA there had a few laughs watching 8 grown men shop for food, beer, wine, and basic necessities........beer is a basic necessity, right?
When we got to Ft. Smith, we dropped our stuff off at the lodge and got our gear together and headed to 3 mile access to wet our lines. Having no vest or waders, I stuck a box of dry flies in my shirt pocket, bought a couple of spools of tippet, a nipper and forceps, and wet-waded in the 64 degree water. The air was in the upper 80's, so I was quite comfortable until the sun dove behind the mountains. I walked down river a few hundred yards from the access and found a nice run that had fish rising steadily to the egg-laying little black caddis that filled the air, bounced on the water surface, and that crawled all over me. In the next 2 hours I took a bunch of feisty browns, all on dries, before the sun went below the horizon and air temperatures dropped like a lead balloon.
We got back to the lodge around 10:30 pm, pulled out the cold cuts, rolls, snacks and beer and sat on the front porch eating "dinner", talking and busting chops. Around 2 am or so, we went inside and crashed knowing we had the entire next day to float and fish the Big Horn.
I'll post some photos and more exciting stuff this weekend.....I promise.
Sharpen your hooks.