Caleb VanWagner is a professional Fly Fisherman from Colorado. While his personality might match more to what you’d expect from one of those wing-suit bearing base jumpers in the Swiss Alps, he is an absolute master of his craft. Caleb joined the FUGOO Ambassador team after we met him at the GoPro Mountain Games earlier this year. It didn’t take long to get a sense of his passion for the outdoors and need for adventure.
Caleb’s first entry to the FUGOO Journal comes from his last trip to the lakes for some Fly Fishing before the winter freezes them over. Enjoy.
The lakes are just as I had guessed… frigid, windy and uninviting. The excitement began to stir as trips of years past ran thru my mind. October in the high rockies can test anyone who dares to challenge it. After enduring countless hours of the worst it has to offer I know exactly what I’m in for. My wife on the other hand had no clue!
Bravely she packed her cold weather gear and tagged along. As we hopped out of our 4runner we were greeted by a balmy 30mph wind. Glancing at her she produces a sarcastic smile as she heads for more layers of clothes. I take to un packing the fishing gear and unloading the catarafts.
The fishing was steady, not lights out but enough to keep you out on the water. Numerous fish in the 20+ inch range were caught, enjoyed and released. The night bite is what we were there for, during the twilight hour is what we call “power hour”. Almost every cast produced a fish for the better part of an hour. Looking across the water at the sillouette of my wife on her boat I can hear her giggling again as her hooks another fish. A healthy 24 inch rainbow trout. Paddling over to her I attempt to get a picture of it, as she pulls it from the water the moon shimmers silver off the fish. Holding it up proudly the fish senses it’s chance and flopped free of her grip and blogs back into the dark depths of the lake.
A true fishing story… ‘The one that got away’
Fish after fish falls for our crawfish fly pattern until the bite slowly begins to tail off. Just as we are about to call it for the evening I look up to see wife getting pulled around in a jerking circle by something HUGE on the end of her line. I thought the beast was going to rip the fly rod right out of her hands! After a very intense yet brief fight it ended with a snap… the fish had won. With a scared intense excitement she recapped the moment-by-moment play back as we paddled back to camp for the night.
The weather began to deteriorate quickly and an ice storm warning came across the radio. We decided to skip dinner in order to hunker down thru the storm, hoping it would blow out threw the night but we all knew better. When the wind starts up here its generally windy for days. True to form the next morning brought even colder temps and stronger winds. Already wind burnt and tired, we voted to leave before it got worse.
Although I didn’t catch my big fish of the year I got to watch my wife land… and drop… her biggest trout to date. The lakes are now frozen until next spring and we’ll recount her “The one that got away” story to bide us time until the warmth of spring releases the lakes.
It’s going to be a long winter, cheers.
Learn more about Caleb on his profile page on the Ambassador section of our website. Give him a shout here in the comments or tell us about your fishing story of ‘The one that got away’