BigGuy came up for a visit to Nuevo Meh-hee-Co to fish the venerable San Juan. Since I’ve known him, he’s regaled me with tales of the early days up there under the watchful eye of our patriarch of local guiding, Harry Lane. It had been many years since he had visited and, while we were flogging the bayou earlier this year, I put a bug in his ear about rolling north.
His son Clay, aka LittleGuy, or BigGuy Jr, or BigGuy 2.0 came along as well and provided a fine level of drama to the weekend. More on that later... Pulled into the place we were staying at and it seemed promising.
But, knowing this was a ‘boys weekend,’ the garden sculptures gave me a pause. Fortunately, I heard no banjos or saw any pics of Ned Beatty.
Air temps were high 90’s for the trip. I honestly never though I’d be wearing waders in that kind of weather, but they were an absolute necessity. Water temps coming out of Navajo Lake were hovering between 39-41 degrees. Damn strange to have sweat trickling down your back when you can’t feel your feet. The fish didn’t mind and it took all of a few minutes to get on the board.
I started out Czech nymphing as the flows were at 1100cfs, roughly twice what I’d ever waded there before. But, Bruiser tied us up some classic San Juan midges (read as size 22-26) that I felt compelled to work. Good call. Even in high water, they worked well.
BigGuy & Son got in late afternoon and we grabbed what was left of the day. There’s something right and proper about seeing generations on the water, whether it’s Careless Ethiopian and his little fella, or BigGuy and a 40 year old son. We fished til the sun went below the horizon.
And closed the evening sippin libations from custom Pyrex Catagonia tumblers.
Next day, the flows drop to 600 for a kid’s derby. While it made the river more crowded, it was an amazingly worthwhile cause, and it put the fish on the chew.
Stepping back a second, I mentioned LittleGuy offering up a little drama. First afternoon, he went swimming. I’m talking multiple dunks, the involuntary gasp when 39 degree water hits you. We all (well at least me and BigGuy) got a laugh out of it as he slogged back a mile to the truck.
Next day, despite us warning him, he went under on the same damn rock he slipped on the first day out. I was just getting ready to rub salt in the wound when I heard him in a panic. His wedding ring had come off... He’s a newlywed... And his bride is a Cajun gal... And the ring was custom made from his grandpa’s ring. Fuck......
We looked in the hole where he slipped for about 30 minutes for nada. The water depth was 3-4 feet, and the clarity was iffy at best. Upstream, there were some of the kids and guides kicking up silt, which is usually a meal ticket for downstream anglers on the San Juan. I left the search to ask if they’d be willing to relocate while we searched. Not gonna lie- I though it was futile.
About 100 yds up the bank I hear BigGuy saying for me to hurry my ass back. LittleGuy had slipped and gone under again on the same damn rock. Only this time it was a good thing. BigGuy spotted a glint and sure as hell, there was the ring in deep water. BigGuy had an old school, fine mesh net he propped downstream of the ring. I stabbed at it with the point of my wading staff and, on the ultimate ring toss, we flipped it into the net for the win!
Beers were drank, fish were caught. And in the end, it was a nice visit. Hoping BigGuy chimes in with some pics as well.