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San Juan River Fly Fishing Trip

AZHunter

Fire Eater
My son and I took off this past weekend for a father-son fly fishing trip to the San Juan River in NE New Mexico while my wife and daughter were on a girls trip. I haven't been to the San Juan in 11 years and its always been bugging me to go back, especially to get my family really into fly fishing. We've all fly fished a couple of small streams here in AZ and Jacob has landed a YOY rainbow w/par marks, but that's it. We got to Abe's about 1pm Friday afternoon, got checked in, license purchased, and grabbed some local fly patterns. I was nervous about Jacob wading since he's the skinny kid who has to dance around in the shower to get wet, but he did great. I had a life jacket for him to wear, but the guys at Abe's put us in a spot where he wouldn't need it. When we got there, I asked a guy if we could squeeze in downstream or if he'd prefer we go somewhere else and he graciously offered Jacob his spot. Its nice to see (especially for Jacob) that kind-hearted people are still out there. We started off close together with him upriver of me and me not fishing until I knew he was ok wading, getting his casting game on, and knowing what to look for when a trout takes his fly. He was amazed at all the big trout swimming within a foot of him and he fell into a groove. After an hour or so, the river started clearing, so we moved up to the next good looking spot. I re-rigged his set up, removing the weights so the emergers acted like true emergers and, after 20 about 20 minutes, I hear "I got one!" I coached Jacob on how to use the rod and we were able to net his first real trout on a fly rod. It was a fat 15" bow and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was completely addicted to flyfishing. That was the only fish of the day, but we stayed for the hatch. Jacob said "How about we stay for 30 more minutes." when the hatch started. Three takes and three misses later, an hour had gone by and we finally worked our way back to the truck. He made it clear that he LOVED dry fly fishing! As we were walking back, I turned around to snap a sunset pic, and I saw a 10-year old boy walking with the swagger of a seasoned fly fisherman.

Jacob's first real trout: 15" fat bow
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Kid with swagger
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We got up early Saturday morning, had breakfast, and were on the river by 8:25. It didn't take long for Jacob to hook into another bow, then another, and then he had some real fun. He hooked a 15" fat brown and figured out why I've always said I'll take a 15" brown over an 18"-20" bow any time. I managed to finally get on the board with a smaller bow, but I was finally on the board and giving Jacob some competition. We took a quick lunch break and short nap back at the truck and then decided it was time to get back to our spot, hoping someone hadn't come in. During our lunch break, I reemphasized his casting technique to work on because I spent a big part of the morning undoing wind knots and/or changing leaders because the knots were so bad. That worked and his casting came back solid. I noticed several fish rolling subsurface, so I took my weights off and, after missing a few takes, I ended up landing a 15" fatty bow, too. Jacob and I both played that game off and on, after I set him up with the same flies I was using and removing his weights. We stayed until the hatch went off and I managed to land two bows on my brand new TFO 4wt. Jacob missed a couple of more takes, but is definitely loving this new addiction. He asked me several times on the drive home when we're coming back to the San Juan. Yesterday, we finally set up or fly-tying bench and organized our kits. He was off school for a fall break day and he ended up tying four flies, following the instruction book. His elk hair caddis (#12) needs work but its a great start. His beetle, wooly bugger, and nymph were all pretty solid. He's loving this whole fly fishing thing and I'm loving having a fly fishing buddy!

15" brown
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Lunch Break
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My 15" bow
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Jacob's fly tying (he's tied about 6 more since Monday)
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Central Iowa

Administrator
Love this, good times. My son actually got me into it he started tying flies first and then the fishing! Looks like beautiful country.
 

Daver

PMA Member
I missed this last week, but I LOVE it...especially the part where the boy comes back jacked up and starts tying his own flies! Good stuff!
 

AZHunter

Fire Eater
I missed this last week, but I LOVE it...especially the part where the boy comes back jacked up and starts tying his own flies! Good stuff!

I've actually had to tell him he can't tie flies on a couple of occasions, Dave, so we can get stuff done around the house that needs done! And I've had to tell him no more woolly buggers for now. Time to start learning to tie the dries that work the best!
 

Daver

PMA Member
I've actually had to tell him he can't tie flies on a couple of occasions, Dave, so we can get stuff done around the house that needs done! And I've had to tell him no more woolly buggers for now. Time to start learning to tie the dries that work the best!

Funny, but that is the stuff that he will remember fondly all the rest of his life too. Dad took him fishing, etc...

I do a little fly fishing here in Iowa, on ponds normally for bluegills. Woolly buggers are killer for big slab gills. Would your son like to make some to sell to me for a few bucks?
 

AZHunter

Fire Eater
Funny, but that is the stuff that he will remember fondly all the rest of his life too. Dad took him fishing, etc...

I do a little fly fishing here in Iowa, on ponds normally for bluegills. Woolly buggers are killer for big slab gills. Would your son like to make some to sell to me for a few bucks?

I'm sure he wouldn't mind at all! PM me some sizes and colors and I'll get pics posted of the ones he's made so you can decide if you like his work!
 

AZHunter

Fire Eater
That's a big 'ol yes, Dave! He be happy to make you some woolly buggers. Let me know what size(s) and color schemes and he'll get started. Here are the ones he's made so far. As you can see, he's gotten a little carried away with the flair. That flair won't be on yours unless you specify that.

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