Early last summer, my friend Sam and I discovered our young friends Kami and Nick had purchased an inflatable AIRE drift boat for their business.
The boat is well-outfitted for fly fishing. There are metal casting decks to stand on. The seats are comfortable, and there are bars to lean against for balance and a stripping basket in the front.
Kami and Nick’s business is TwoFisted Heart Productions. Their company specializes in film and production work in the fly fishing world. Go to www.twofistedheartproductions.com if you are interested in seeing their work.
Anyhow, Sam and I wanted to fly fish from their new boat. We figured asking for a trip was rather crass on our part, so we came up with a two- prong attack to angle an invitation to go angling from their new boat. Part 1 was for me to whine, a lot, to wear them down. Part 2, Sam would have them over for dinner. Part 2 won an angling invitation shortly after the dinner.
Nick emailed us – no one uses the telephone these days, and old guys don’t text – with an invitation to fly fish on the San Juan River. Our initial verbal reaction was “great,” and quietly to ourselves a little disappointed. Sam and I have fished the San Juan on many occasions, and we were hoping to go some place we hadn’t fly fished. Nick then let us know we would be fly fishing the lower San Juan. In all our years here, neither of us had ever fly fished the lower San Juan. Nick told us we would launch from the ramp next to Rainbow Lodge and pull out at the Hammond Tract, a float of approximately 13 miles. We were like two children on Christmas morning.
So, as we launched on a perfect Chamber of Commerce weather day, the first thing Sam and I noticed was the total lack of other boats. Unlike launching at Texas Hole, where you row and fish among large numbers of boats and people, there was no one to be seen up or downstream. We also discovered everything we saw was private property. Therefore, we couldn’t anchor and cast to rising fish. However, we didn’t care. We were virtually the only people on the river.
As we floated and Nick rowed, we were treated to a beautiful river. The river banks were lined with Russian olive and salt Cedar trees instead of people. There were also a large number of homes, ranches and several fly fishing lodges. Oh, and the best part, there were lots of fish that hadn’t seen thousands of itty-bitty flies. While the dry-fly action was slow, the streamer fishing was great. We found the best pattern was a large green Woolly Bugger with enough weight to get it down to where the fish were feeding. Our buggers found lots of browns and a few rainbows. A couple of the browns were of grip and grin photo size.
As I mentioned earlier, the banks and bottom of the river are almost all private. So, be prepared for no stopping to get out and stretch, or a picnic on the shore. However, having no other boats on the river and seeing only a couple of people who had accessed the river from private property made being in the boat all day bearable. In fact, it made it an early Christmas present.
For me, when planning my next trip to the San Juan, I’ll be looking for someone with a boat that wants to float where most people don’t go. What a great way to fly fish and a great way to get ready for the upcoming Christmas season. So, in closing, I will leave you with my annual politically incorrect statement – I only make one a year. I wish everyone Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, a good Eid al-Adha, and, of course, Merry Christmas. If none of these fits your beliefs, then may whatever touches your heart with hope be with you all of 2018.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.