Usually for me fishing is a solitary thing, a self imposed exile to a land of greens, browns and blues. It’s time alone for me to feed my imp, carousing with the forest spirits and generally being a slave to my impulses without offending, or worrying anyone (a little Tibetan throat singing anyone?). The few times i’ve fished with others i’ve had particular moments that stand out in my mind, but none can compete with getting to fish with my two brothers A.J. and David on one of the last days of 2011.

We’ve never fished with just the three of us, so it was fitting that this was the way i tied up a year of piscatorial firsts. The drought, the carp (and the madness that ensued), the Jack Rabbits, the Peccaries, escaped exotic African Sheep, spin fishing and many new spots all came to fruition for better or worse this year. So when i found myself standing knee deep in the ice cold waters of the Platte in Colorado, tucked within the breathtaking confines of Eleven Mile Canyon on one of the last days of 2011 with my brothers working their way down stream from me, it all seemed natural, like it was meant to be.

It had been a long day of no fish and lots of empty casts, and all signs were pointing to me getting skunked on the last fishing day of the year. Staring around at the wild world that cuddled me in it’s bosom, i somehow didn’t feel bothered by the idea of heading home empty handed. Suddenly, as i was coming to terms with my fish less day, David starting yelling and pointing up with an urgency that shook me back to things at hand. Looking up, i was just in time to catch a Bald Eagle flying directly overhead…another first.

As the sun started to shrink beyond the walls of the canyon, the leader tangled itself into endless unsolvable wind knots, and my hands starting to go numb, i decided “to hell” with the proper lightweight flyfishing tactics i’d been using. Tying on the largest unibobber made, and applying split shot that broke the surface of the water like a skipped stone, i cast and waited, expecting nothing.

On that ONE last cast i hooked the Rainbow that gave me one of the greatest thrills of my life. The line ran out as the fish shot across the current, making my 10′ 3WT rod with 6X tippett suddenly feel more like a 1WT, the chances of me landing the fish quickly diminishing with every leap and run. Screaming down stream for a net (want to catch a fish? leave the net in the car.) i realized that my brothers and the net were far out of range and that this fish would have to come to hand. I worked the fish over and over for 5-8 minutes, trying to get the bundle of energy close enough to hold and free. Grabbing the fish and sitting it on the ice shelf along the river for just enough time to snap one photo (10 seconds) i returned it to the water expecting to have to slowly revive it after a long and beautiful battle. However, upon being lowered in the water it bolted like a silver rocket right back to it’s spot where it immediately leaped and snagged a BWO out of the air…energy to spare. These are the moments i live for.

Winter trout in Colorado, another first.

With all that 2011 brought me, i’m a little nervous to see what adventures 2012 holds. Whatever they may be, you know where you can find me…