Do you have a lucky hat?
It was a beautiful warm day in the mid 70's. Typical of what we get in Colorado during September. I started out by checking the stream flows on the stream flows page at fly-fishing-colorado.com. The South Platte below Cheesman Dam was just perfect running 250 CFS. The water should be clear and not too much moss yet.
I was fishing the bridge pool where CO 67 and a Jeffco Highway come together. The water was crystal clear. The pool had just enough moss in it to offer fish protection and challenging fishing for the fisherman. After two hours, I had only had a couple of strikes but could not get hooked up.
So I headed to the car for my secret weapon. The "Lucky Hat" or in my case "Lucky Cap". Mine is old and dirty. I purchased it in 1990 on a trip to Cancun, Mexico. How long it has been my lucky cap, I rightly can't remember. Probably some 12 years or so. It has a logo on the front that says "Hard Rock Cafe". It is not even a fishing cap. Yet when I wear it, I almost always catch fish.
Armed now with my fish catcher, I headed back to the pool. On the way, I noticed a hatch of very small insects coming off. Letting one land on my hand, I examined it. It was a baetis hatch getting started.
Hurriedly, I clipped off the RS2 from the 7X dropper and tied on a 24 baetis I had purchased on a recent San Juan River, New Mexico trip.
Wading carefully to my casting position behind a medium rock, I dropped the two fly rig into one of the runs feeding the pool. The currents swirled the fly into the depths of the pool and by some big rocks in the middle. Then out into the faster currents at the tail of the pool.
Nothing this cast. Repeating this same drift pattern for the third time, I felt a solid strike and raised my rod to set the hook. After a good 5 minutes of fun, this beautiful rainbow came to my net.
A couple of casts later, I hooked up with a really nice brown. This one was 10 plus minutes of fun before netting.
During the next hour, I caught and released 3 more bows on my #24 baetis out of the bridge pool before the hatch tapered off. Switching back to the standard rig I usually fish. (A #16 flashback, gold ribbed, bead head hare's ear upper and a #18 or #20 gray RS2 dropper on 7X tippet) I fished the west bank downstream from the bridge. After catching and releasing a couple more fat 15 or 16 inch rainbows, I headed upstream toward Deckers, CO; stopping a mile below to fish. This is one of my favorite areas of the S. Platte. Often it will be crowded but today there were only a couple of other fishermen upstream from me. I fished a couple of small pools, while wading toward a main pool farther out. I caught and released a couple of small 12 inch bows from these pools. At the larger pool, I added more weight to get closer to the bottom. This pool is deep even at 250 CFS. About 10 minutes later, the line stopped dead half way through my drift. I knew that a good fish was on. Raising the rod, the battle started. After ten minutes, the fish was still racing up and down the pool. Finally I got his head to break water. Thinking I had won the battle, I put too much pressure on. With a pop of broken tippet, the fish disappeared into the depths of the pool.
That was the last fish of the day. But my tally was nine very nice fish for a day on the S. Platte. I had fished the S. Platte off and on for many seasons. This was my best day on the Platte.
I had worn my "Lucky Cap" a lot that 2000 season. The 2000 season was my best ever with over 425 fish hooked and released.
Was that cap responsible? Of course not! Such a thing would be superstitious. "Right!" All I know is that I seldom get skunked when that cap sits on my head. Probably I pay more attention to my drifts and to fishing conditions when I wear my Lucky Cap.
It just couldn't be that cap! Could it?
If you don't have a Lucky Cap or Hat maybe you should.
Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall Estes, editor
Colorado Fly Fishing Tips
copyright 2004 Marshall Estes
Marshall Estes , editor Colorado Fly Fishing Tips has been a fly fishing and fly tying enthusiast for over 30 years. Check out our other issues at http://www.fly-fishing-colorado.com.