Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jackson Hole One Fly 2012 - Day 1



September 8, 2012

I love competition fly fishing.  I know many don’t but I’ll be honest, I think comps are a thrill.  Tournaments are the only times when catching numerous small trout matter.  You actually find yourself working to catch them and frowning when they free themselves before you touch your leader.  Big trout are superior to midsize ones and your casting and angling skills must be at their best.  Although competing in the Jackson Hole One Fly is not nearly as competitive as the World Championships once were for me, I still give the two day event my heart and sole.

I am part of a four person One Fly team, the “Good Times”.  My captain and sponsor, whom you should know by now is Gary Eckman.  The other members are famous fly tier Scott Sanchez and owners of the Triangle X Ranch, Don and Ann Turner.  Don and Ann each fish one day of the two day competition.  The actual fishing takes place on Saturday and Sunday.  You get one fly each day.  Not one pattern, one single fly.  If it sucks or it falls apart, you won’t score points.  The idea is to catch and measure at least six fish more than 12 inches for bonus points and as many trout as you can that you don’t measure but each adds two points to your score.  You are judged both as a team and individually. 

Day One – September 8, 2012

Today I competed on the Pritchard to West Table section of the Snake River downstream of Jackson, Wyoming.  My guide/judge and long time friend was Jean Bruun.  Jean is married to Paul Bruun who is frequently on the blog as he and I fish together a bunch when the weather goes bad in late fall.  Jean and I have been on a few big floats together but this was actually the first time I’ve been her boat.  She’s been a fishing guide for almost 20 years and has built a name for herself as one of the best.  Although I didn’t consider myself lucky to draw my stretch, I considered myself extremely fortunate to draw Jean as my guide.

My boat partner and opponent was also a treat.  I fished against Ray Thurston.  I met Ray through my days running the fly shop in Jackson and we have gone on to be great friends.  Ray doesn’t get to fish nearly as much as he would like and even though technically we were competing against one another, Jean and I both assured Ray he was in excellent hands.

My fly was the honey ant I planned on using after yesterday.  Scott Sanchez tied me the bomb proof fly.  Remember, the fly must last all day even if you catch a ton of fish.  Scott is the only tier I trust to make me a fly that will not self destruct after more than 50 fish.

I’ll make this short because I fish tomorrow and I need rest.  The three of us had an incredible day.  Ray fished a Sanchez Double Bunny and although he didn’t fill his six fish card, he landed a few and one was 19 inches.  Ray scored over 200 points on a day when more than half the contestants didn’t break 100 points.  I had an even more fortunate day.  I filled my card and measured six cutthroats from 13 inches to 20 inches and landed a total of 43 trout.  My 20 incher earned me the day 1 big fish award and my 595 points earned me the top score award for day one.  Best of all the “Good Times” team is in 4th place and not many points separate us from 1st

Most the credit should go to Jean for a superb guiding job.  She supported both Ray and my fly choices and took us to the waters where the two very different fly patterns could do best.  Jean also had a pet fish or two that she guided us to and luckily we caught them.  She is really fantastic!  I also credit Scott for tying me a fly that not only fooled some big fish even though it was attached to 1X, but it still looks new after catching 43 fish!

I’m on the Upper South Fork tomorrow.  Results from there today were awful.  I have my work cut out for me to help move the team into first place and keep my individual status as well.  More important to Granny and me than my individual placement is that my 20 incher not only won today’s big fish award, but that the beast wins big fish for the entire contest.  Granny and I paid $100 to enter the big fish Calcutta and if the fantastic fish stands through tomorrow we will win $3900!!!!!!!!!!!!  I guess best scenario is I catch a bigger one on the South Fork tomorrow.  I will use the same exact ant pattern tied up by Scott.  Time for some well needed rest.

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