This has not been released by Air Force, but Tim Horton has accepted a coaching position at the academy. Gives me another reason to visit Colorado next summer. I love fishing the South Platte not far from Colorado Springs. Not sure of his coaching position. This is his second go-round at Air Force. He will fit like a glove there. Go Falcons! Obviously, I am excited for Tim, an old family friend.
One of the classiest guys that has been o the hill.
He loved his time at AF.
The AFA is a very special place that has very special people. I would think Tim would fit right in, and Colorado Springs is a neat town. (How many know it is the home of the PRCA & Hall of Fame?).
Now what I could say about Clay and his fishing trip near there. I will just leave it at Dead Man Walking and more chocolate milk consumed than I thought possible by 1 person.
Jim set me up with a day on the South Platte with guide Pat Dorsey, a Colorado legend. Pat marched me up a canyon for 3.2 miles. We fished some on the way up and on the way back.
I had a back pack that had six large bottles of water. I had no idea you lost so much water in the summer at altitude.
That night – on a drive to the Rio Grande River about five hours away – my legs started cramping. I kept downing Gatorade. Little did I know that you aren’t going to catch up. I’ve learned some tricks since then, like chocolate milk. There are also some tablets that can replace what your body has lost.
There is nothing like a long truck ride with your legs cramping and no place to straighten them. It makes me hurt just thinking about it.
That was the start of a wonderful 7-day trip. We fished the South Platte, the Rio Grande and also fished in snow at altitude at a beautiful lake. We were going to fish the Delores River west of Durango but a rain storm washed red silt into the river. It was a red river and no way to fish it.
I have a picture of a wild rainbow caught on the South Platte on my mantle. It’s a gorgeous fish. There was a shot at a true monster.
On the way back down the canyon, from a path about 50 feet above the river, Pat spotted a massive rainbow taking nymphs in slack water next to a Volkswagen size boulder. He said I had one cast with a perfect aerial mend to get a shot at it.
I climbed down the side of the canyon, made the cast and the fish refused the fly at close range. I climbed back up and Pat said, “Sit down, you are tired and we will wait 10 minutes to see if it moves back into that feeding lane.” I think Pat just wanted me to rest. He could tell I was fading.
While we were sitting there, Pat explained, if the fish took the fly, I’d have to put pressure on it immediately because if not it would likely move into the fast water and it would be over. The big rainbow would fly down the river and I wouldn’t be able to turn it and I would likely break off 5X tippet. Then, he said, “But first you have to make the right cast and get it to eat.” That in itself would be a victory for the angler.
The fish came back and I climbed down and into place again. I made the cast, a little more on target the second time and got the eat. I set and had the fish on.
Boom, it moved out towards the fast water and I put some muscle into my 5 weight rod and moved it back into the slack water. I thought I was about to land a fish of a lifetime, a wild South Platte rainbow that might be 26 to 27 inches. That’s what Pat said it was.
Pat came scrambling down the canyon wall with the net. He was coaching me hard on where to move the fish for a landing shot. He said he would get only one stab with the net.
Then, the fish won. He scooted up river and got a little slack and darted to the heart of the current. Down the river it went and I broke it off. There was no way to go down the canyon fighting the fish. The huge boulder blocked my path.
It really wasn’t so bad. I just smiled at Pat and he congratulated me on the cast and the eat. It was an incredible rush to just get the eat.
I am sure Jim got tired of hearing me tell that tale on our drive to the Rio Grande that night in between stops to stretch my legs.
Oh, that was a fun trip.
We spent a week on a ranch near Delores over 20 years ago. My son in law and his brother fished small creeks for brook trout with little luck. Me and their dad fished a pond full of trout and caught a couple of nice rainbows. Tons of fun. Colorado is simply gorgeous.
PS - Those trout that us old guys caught were on flys that looked like the fish food in the feeder by the pond. We would throw out the food then cast among the trout hitting the food. We missed many but both of us got one to the bank. Pretty sure Jim and Clay would not drop to that level to catch a trout…they are true sportsmen.
Flies that looked like fish food? Not sure exactly what that is, but for stocked pond fish that does not bother my ethics!
I bet they would eat a ruby midge, but to each their own is fine with me.
I’m definitely not an expert on trout fishing although I have pursued them occasionally. Back in the 80s wife and I traveled to Colorado for a week of touring and camping. I did by chance found a turnoff that put me on the Arkansas River. I managed to catch a nice meal of rainbows and cutthroat.
Great stuff Clay.
On that same trip, we did stop at the Akansas River above Salida. I told Clay we needed to catch a trout in the Arkansas River (something a couple of guys from Central Arkansas could not imagine in our early life). We both caught a couple. Nothing too special although I think any fish is special, but they were trout and they were in the Arkansas River.
Along that same vain, one of the things I like to do with folks from home is to take them to the first highway crossing of the Arkansas River just below Arkansas Peak and take their picture stradding the “river” with the Arkansas River sign in the background.
Yes, fishing the Arkansas on our own and figuring it out is fun. It is a gorgeous place. Flows at Salida were a bit strong but fish were caught.
It is a great fishery. Lots of fun places to fish. If you see water in Colorado once you get past Denver, there is a good chance there is a trout there.
Chances are real good they will eat my ruby midges. Guides may tout something that works better, but don’t bet against me finding some midge water and catching a few.
The fish food was like small dog food pellets. We went to a fly shop and found a small brown fly/lure that resembled the pellets. With barbless hook of coarse. The trout would get so worked up over the pellets they would occasionally grab the fly/lure. But hooking them was another matter. Especially for two greenhorns. We had fairly light weigh fly rods so the fight was fun.
Yesterday I caught a 3 pound largemouth on the pond here at our RV Resort in central Florida. I had my trusty Zebco 33 and a white spinner bait. He made the drag sing a little. Certainly not a big bass but he put up pretty nice fight. I had my down’s syndrome buddy with me. He got a huge kick out of watching me catch the fish. I took his picture with the fish. We had a blast!
I think that qualifies as big.
A great “fish that gotta away” story. It reminds me of my golf. I tend to remember my golf shots that went awry more than my few exceptional shots.
3 pounds and up do qualify as in the bigger range. It’s about that size where they can start to really put up a fight.
Here is a true FISH STORY. I was 15 years old fishing the Buffalo with a couple of other Boy Scouts and a scout leader and my dad. I had a Mepps in line spinner that was catching a bunch of fish. One of the scouts talked me into letting me use it. He was a super bad fisherman. My dad and I trailed the other two flat bottoms down the river. It wasn’t long before I happened to notice my spinner hanging across a limb. Dad and I were able to retrieve it. We paddled on down the river and were starting to beach to join the others for a shore lunch. I took one last fling across the river using the Mepps spinner, with my father objecting. I immediately hooked a big fish. To our complete surprise it was about a 3 lb rainbow trout. That is not a species you catch in the Buffalo, but we were in the exact spot where Marble Falls a spring fed creek emptied into the Buffalo. Marble Falls was stocked with trout.
I understand he’s going to be running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
Grew up with Tim in Fayetteville before he moved. Just a fantastic human being! Happy for him.