Sunday, January 30, 2011

The MAD Fishing Show and the bad mojo

As much as I applaud the shameless fish bragging, a far more important aspect to me is honesty. In the spirit of that honesty I have to admit that the less than infamous and completely non-sponsored MAD Fishing Show is in a serious slump. Even the trips to the most consistent fisheries are coming up zilch. One skunkfest won’t dampen our spirits or lessen our determination but 3 or 4 zeroed out excursions can open a door of paranoia and frustration in my already frazzled mind. Catching fish is never guaranteed but typically Don or myself can find a hot pattern for the day and work it with some level of success even at the worst of times. In the last handful of trips we have slung at least 50 patterns over 1,000 casts to see nary a follow.

Some people tend to blame the weather or the moon phase. Other people may blame the season. I am not above any of those excuses but in truth I can an only blame myself for not catching fish. What makes this situation really bizarre is that I am catching fish on my solo trips but the Matt and Don runs are coming up empty. For the most part I am not a superstitious person unless it comes to fishing. A crazy slump like this will allow my imagination to point towards some type of bad mojo being involved.

Panic and desperation can subtract from a positive mentality as well as fishing focus, which are two very important aspects to fishing. Before my mind gets too carried away with thoughts of doom and gloom I need to remind myself this is January and the fishing can be real hit or miss. However…I am not above resorting to voodoo, even if only to calm the paranoid voices in my head.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

An underwater short

This morning I was able to convince a rainbow\cutthroat trout hybrid to do a little underwater video work with me. Underwater footage was something that I was really excited about at first but it simply added another layer of effort to the situation. Gathering the pictures and video cuts into the time factor which makes the extra step for underwater video that much more difficult. In an effort to get 2011 back on track I decided to set up some auditions for underwater talent. The turn out was light but at least one wannabe superstar with a twinkle in its eye showed up to try and steal the show. This is not some of my best underwater work but the fish gets an A for effort.

Clearly my directing skills need some work. A point or two gets deducted for the tip of the pole falling into the water as well as the large rock being in the way. The pole wanted to ham it up a little I guess and jumped into the shot at the last minute. This was one of the few areas I could set the camera down and not have it swept down river. Losing the camera would have been a bit more embarrassing than dropping a pole tip in the water but only a little.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this underwater short. My Name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photos from the Field

December started off so mild. It looked as if we were in for another drought period low water conditions to follow. Then came January and the blizzard conditions followed right along with it. Fishing in Colorado can be painful at times and pure bliss at others. Weather is a primary factor in regards to level of comfort when fishing. The transition happens very quickly and the differences can be like night and day or more importantly, tropical versus arctic.

Home on the Range

 (Above: Bison being completely “spoiled” on the Colorado landscape. Wild grasses and all the hay they can eat. There is even a pond for drinking. But even with a few hundred acres I think these native beasts still feel a bit cramped.)

Always someone more hardcore

(Above: Here is a guy that makes my cold weather excursions look like field trips from the kindergarten class. The crazy part is that I usually see him only on the worst cold weather days. Maybe on the sunny days he drives a convertible. For continuing to battle the worst blizzard days on the two-wheel scene…this hardcore award is for you.)

Snowball Range
(Above: To most folks this probably looks like a golf course. On the other hand I think it would make a fine snowball range for that youngster snowball thrower really looking to set the bar for him or her. Plenty of ammo to work with and none of those darn…what do you call them? Golfers? I call them people with metal clubs that don’t like anglers trespassing to their ponds.)

Cold White on Majestic Blue
(Above: A few hundred years ago Lewis and Clark reached a spot similar to this and exclaimed, “Sonofa!!!…These &#$%^ mountains @#$% go on forever!!!” (sigh) I kinda wish the whole planet were covered with this stuff.)

So much of my fishing and outdoors adventures don’t make it into the blog posts for whatever reason. A few of these shots are amazing enough even if not ready for the prime time fishing posts. For that reason I have created this excerpt called Photos from the Field. Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. It truly means a lot to me.

Good luck and good fishing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

‘bout time

Just something about battling these super fabulous fin slappers that makes me smile. But lately the less than average fish size has turned my shameless fish bragging into tales of “ho-hum”. Just to add a triple scoop of frustration, one of my trips had to be cancelled due to a big fat blizzard that sat down right on top of my fish planning. Instead of doing the early morning gear up I found myself angrily gnawing on a chunk of frustration.

With determination and low expectations the trout bag and one rod is tossed into the truck to play a little slip\slide on the metro scene. I am looking for any open lake or a river section that can be fished. Eventually the truck is pulled into the parking area with only one car shrouded in nearly half a foot of snow. No tracks from human or animal meant zero fishing pressure. At least I have that and a pound or two of flurries falling from the sky. Staring at the one spot of open water I cast across the pool to run the flat to instantly get a solid hit. The hit was so strong the lure stopped entirely making me think for a moment that it was merely a snag.

“Probably a dumb rock.” I say with my focus more on the surrounding winter wonderland than the water. The rod tip bends over and the pole tries to leap from my hands. “Hey…that’s a fish!!!”

Standing on less than secure footing I am a bit frantic as to how and where to land this amazing cutbow trout (hybrid of rainbow and cutthroat trout). Tossing all fear of hypothermia and frostbite aside, I step my boots into the water to land this fish as gently as possible. The area is thick with trees and the camera is set precariously on a snow-covered rock. Grab the shot and hope it turns out. Not enough room for anything more and the importance of getting this fish back into the water quickly is paramount.

Feet soaking wet I toss out a few more casts and then head back to the truck before the digits turn blue. Waders might have made a difference but the least of my concerns at this point. What matters most is that finally I land a trout that is worth bragging up on the blogilicious. Starting 2011 with a catch like this is fairly huge for me. Finally the pressure is off a little bit and folks see that I do actually catch a decent fish once in a while. On the way home all I could manage to say…” ’bout time!!!”

Where did I catch this fish? Answer: In the water. That is where I catch all of my fish. What did I catch this fish on? A lure borrowed from Don. Pure gold.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Inside Coloradocasters: Meet the Graphics Team

One of the things I have been bragging\complaining a bit too much about lately is my graphics team. It takes a lot of work to keep good blog content flowing and a person may have to wear many hats in the process. Writing and posting the fantastic fishing content is time consuming enough but once in a blue moon the graphics team will come up with something that gives a post that extra punch. Let’s take a moment and finally meet the graphics team of my fishing blogilicious.

Will Shanker: Team Lead

Will is the team lead but spends most of his time on the phone or goofing off. Other than a few clever title headers we don’t get a lot out of him. Will also runs the fantasy football league here at work so we can’t fire him at least until the Superbowl pay out is completed.

Mr. Shanker claims to be quite handy with the ladies and a bit of a player. In truth, if he were a player his game would be called “sorry”. He passed the drug test and doesn’t come to work drunk so we made him team lead (also designated driver for the boss when he calls sometimes on Saturday around 2AM). Thanks for being a team player, Will.

Ben Slakin: Graphics Specialist\Internet Resource Lead

Ben has been here longer than anyone and the only one that knows how to set up our servers to play World Of Warcraft, Halo and that new game they just came out with…you know the one makes your head explode? This makes him nearly irreplaceable even though he sleeps most of the time. Ben is also responsible for the occasional image ripped from a web source for whatever reason. Eventually we will have to let him go for liability purposes. Don’t worry, Ben. We’ll hire you back as a contractor as soon as you fix that little problem with your credit report.

Kenny Hep-yoo: Intern\Contractor
Kenny started out as an intern before we decided to hire him on full time as a low wage contractor. Kenny likes to show up early, stay late and pretty much does everything around here including making the coffee. Vital member of the team but we will probably have to let him go due to budget cuts.

So now you know a little more about Coloradocasters and how it all comes together. I hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes look and chance to meet the graphics team. This may also help explain why some posts have graphics and why those graphics look really lame at times. As much as I would like to think of Coloradocasters as a fishing club with a very select membership or maybe even an online magazine of sorts…in truth, it really is just one guy behind the curtain pulling the strings. Some of those strings may have snapped oh so long ago.

Good luck and Good Fishing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Third swing on the Hot Tip

Looking to make the most of the December warm spell I headed out to cover some more ground on the Hot Tip. This is that place one angler said that I might want to check out considering that I had covered the other sections. 

Get to the parking lot running late. This is starting to become a problem on some trips where that extra cup of coffee or two grabs me in a headlock and forces itself down my throat. There are already a handful of cars stacked up and the trail is showing signs of wear. Public pressure is not my friend for many reasons.

Sometimes I like to cast a few times and see what the hot flavor is before reaching a few of the better pools up ahead. Stepping off to test a couple of patterns and a few fish roll into the hand.

 (Above: Little cutbow sporting the greenish back and less dots than a genuine rainbow yet not quite enough cutthroat trout to be a pure bred cutty. Get on you crazy little hybrid. Go get big.)

A few more casts and another tug comes along. This one has a bit more gusto. Land the fin slapper and see it is another cutbow. This photo shows more of the markings near the jaw line that gives the fish its name. Cutthroat is about as respectable as a name can get for a fish.

(Above: Maybe this is the bigger brother of the other fish or maybe that other fish was just dinner for this one. Apologies for a little color strain on this one…the colors of this fish are so much more vibrant than this photo depicts.)

Instead of moving on to the one or two better spots ahead, I waste too much time dinking around the first few areas on the way upstream. Sling a few more lures here and there poking around rocks or riffles to pick up a brown trout that had a bit of fight for its size.

(Above: It is hard to capture the fight of a fish with just a photo. This one had some scrap!)

By now an hour or two has faded into the distance. A few fish have been caught and one or two of them have confessed enough details for me to formulate makings of a successful day. Now I need to reach the one or two prime spots that lie further up ahead.

Climb up and step back onto the trail and my hopes fade at the sight of three persons walking up the road ahead me. These were not dog walkers, bird watchers or otherwise sightseers…these were anglers. I would have to contend with them for whatever water was upstream. To make things completely strange, I noticed they were eyeballing me to some extent. If I picked up the pace of my walking…so would they. One time I moved off the edge of the cliff to the water in hopes of drawing them to the river but they didn’t bite. They seemed set on walking ahead of me.

“Oh I bet those bastages are going right for the sweet spot….sonofa!!!” Screams the voice inside my head while I chastise myself for those two extra cups of coffee. “Guess I’ll work what I can til they move off…dangit! That one spot is the main reason I came here. Only have myself to blame.”

Turn the bend and see the trio looking at the large pool of water that flows around several large rocks. All they have to do is walk down a few more feet and they would see the fish stacking up in the shallows and even bigger ones lying in the trough. This is the last patch of pooled water on the stretch and these three guys would lock it up for most of the day. Curses roll off my tongue as I look at the guys staring into the water and then they look up at me. One of the anglers point at me. The other angler looks at the road up ahead.

“Maybe I can get them to move off…it’s my only chance…”

Quickly I move to the other side of the road away from the water, lower my head and act like I am power walking for all I am worth. Under the tip of my eyelids I see the trio start to panic as one of the anglers is making his way down to the first big rock. If he takes one look into the water, the jig will be up. Just then the second angler taps the third angler on the shoulder and then points at me. The third angler looks at me with the panicked confusion I know too well. Then he whistles to the rest of his trio.

“Hey…I think there’s better water up ahead.” The third angler blurts out and they begin to move on.

One angler is still looking down on the water and starts to question the motives of the group. Undeterred I stay on the far side of the road and manage somehow to pick up the pace even more. This clinches the deal and the trio breaks off in a brisk walk ahead of me. As the trio slips around the next bend I turn and drop down the cliff to the sweet spot.

Looking at the pool of water is reward enough. Work a few casts to pull out a beauty splake. That’s right, a splake! Part brook trout, part lake trout. Decent sized one too for this slip of water. Setting things up for the photo op and it nearly spells disaster as the camera slips and starts to tumble towards the water. It was all I could do to release the fish and save the camera.

(Above: This would have been a much better picture had the camera not started to topple over. You can see my hand leaving the fish. Caught the camera just before it hit the water. )

Several hours were spent picking apart the pool for more splake along with the occasional brown trout. After the near camera catastrophe earlier I decided to only use the camera if I caught something of real quality. Throw a few casts into a not so fishy looking spot just ahead of the big pool and wham! At first I think it’s a beauty brown trout but once it gets within sight my jaw drops a little bit. Land the fish and see it is as close to the genuine article that I will find in this stretch of water.

(Above: Even though this is likely a cutty\rainbow hybrid, it is close enough to a genuine cutthroat in appearance that I will claim it as such. Without taking a tissue sample and sending it into a lab somewhere…I can only guess.)

Climbing back onto the trail I bask in the feeling of triumph. My third run into the Hot Tip and still catching quality fish. Being able take full advantage of the sweet spot and a few holes along the way was an absolute treat. Showing up late tends to offer lesser results but with a little extra determination you can still hit the prime time action.

Note: This is the last of my December on the Warm Trend series. The weather has now turned to cold and snow. Looks like I will be breaking out the ice gear as well as searching out tasty tailwaters for January. Its good to be finally caught up on the blogilicious (for now) and a few posts were let go to help make this happen. Some posts take longer than others to generate and hope that viewers truly enjoy the material so far.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, January 7, 2011

1470 GS…It’s totally Plano!

No one gets crazier about plastic tackle-type containers than the good folks at Plano. I am a big fan and use a lot of their products, as they always seem to make that one thing that fits perfect in my game plan one way or the other. Now they have come up with a Waterproof Box in their Guide Series line of storage containers that just may possibly have a million and one uses. They make four different styles that vary in size accommodating almost any setup. I was sent the 1470 GS after being selected out of a hat of many other fantastic members of The Outdoor Blogger Network. How cool is that?

The main reason I wanted this unit was the fact it is waterproof. A gear review would not be complete without testing this aspect even if most of the water in my region is freezing up or already frozen over. Willing to risk it all for an OBN gear review, I put my last roll of toilet paper inside the 1470 GS, locked her up and sat there submerging the box for 30-minutes in my bathtub.
After 30-minutes I opened the box up and the inside goods were dry as a bone. Not a single drop of water made its way into the container nor did I see a single air bubble makes it’s way out. I did my best to rough the box up with a bit of manhandling and the seal still remained closed. Brackets that clamp on three sides create a seal reliable enough to put electronics in for say a kayak or canoe situation where the risk is very high that something is going to get wet.

Waterproof products have disappointed few people more than myself. The 1470 GS Waterproof Box has lived up to my initial expectations. Only time will tell how long it lasts through my tumbles, cliff dives and recreational pursuits.

The container itself has no shelving or compartments to maximize the overall storage space. The interior dimensions: 12”x7”x 4.625 didn’t really sink in until I actually got it in my hands. You can put a lot of stuff in this container that stays water tight, even in outdoor conditions. There are so many practical uses for the Plano Guide Series waterproof container but for the sake of this review (and to answer the challenge by the awesome folks over at Outdoor Blogger Network) I trimmed the list down to ten.

Mattsabasser’s Top Ten uses for the Plano Guide Series Waterproof Container:

10. Tackle or boat box. Or maybe a box for your smaller tackle boxes that you need to keep dry. This idea is pretty obvious and likely the most common application.

9. Must for camping! (Cameras, radios, I-pods…truly I think this is what the box was designed for.)

8. First Aid\Emergency Kit. I used the 1470 GS to max out the basic kit stashed in the truck. Now I am ready for an actual first aid emergency and watertight!
7. Ultimate Sewing or scrapbook box. Uh…imagine a ton of sewing stuff in the photo below.
6. Small cooler. Believe it or not you can fit (6) 12oz cans of “soda” in this thing with approximately two ice cube trays to boot!
5. Tooner Box. For the valve wrench and adapter, extra couplings, patch kit and anything I need to keep ultra dry. Maybe even add some Velcro straps! (Thanks Josh @Bigerfish\Blogspot for the idea.)

4. Dry Fart storage. Fellow co-worker Scott is looking at purchasing two of these just for this purpose. “Now I can save them for special occasions!” No picture provided, and my sincerest apologies for the behavior of some of the people I work with.

3. Lunchbox…I mean a serious lunchbox for anyone who has outgrown the regular sized lunchbox and looking to hold six or seven sandwiches underwater.
2. Backup buoy with about 10-pounds buoyancy. Not too shabby. Use it for a temporary marker or tie on some extra gear in case it goes overboard. I may use it for ice fishing so they can see where I broke through as I manage to go through the ice every year for some reason.

1. SOS Message in a box. “When the message in a bottle method just can’t be trusted.”
(Above: Had the 1470 GS been sent in July as opposed to December…I might have done a video reenactment. Instead my graphics team spent a whole 5-minutes with my own version of “cast-away”.)

More fab features of the 1470 GS and the Waterproof Box series…

Smooth but tough plastic surface with additional soft lining (small mat that can be placed bottom or top) keeps scratches to a minimum. I dare say this one of the better options for electronic storage in the outdoors. The exterior is very durable with the polycarbonate structure that is pretty tough for plastic.

Cam-action brackets!…Sounds really fast! Ok, let’s be clear that these are dense plastic latches that rotate on two separate hinges. This allows the lid to clamp down solidly and secure a watertight seal. These are not racing cams or anything like that. We raced the Guide Series against a few office chairs at work and it didn’t win a single race. Locks up tight and solid though!

The manufacturer suggests no more than one meter depth for 30-minutes. Not being able to find the breathing apparatus of my scuba suit (Did I mention this is December?) my tests were done in a bathtub. I weighted it down for over an hour and the seal held so maybe they tossed the extra disclaimer on the top to avoid unwanted liability.

Plano is sold everywhere from tackle shops to hardware stores as well as available online. My favorite source for Plano information is their home page listed below.

To view more about the Plano Guide Series check out the link below and click on the Guide Series Waterproof Case section.

I want to express my sincere thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for selecting my comment and sending me the 1470 GS to add to my collection of Plano gear. It is an honor to be selected and know that I am going to use the #$% out this!

For more amazing Outdoor Blogging information OBN is a must see.

Good luck and good fishing.

Disclaimer: ColoradoCasters is not endorsed by Plano or anyone really, which is a darn shame. Mattsabasser gear and product reviews are done as honestly as possible from my point of view. Coloradocasters as well as the manufacturers of gear that I review are not responsible or liable for injury or damages related to anything I say on my blog.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


There has always been a trail in the areas that I fish. A road to drive down, a sidewalk to ride on or at the very least a deer trail to follow is present on my cast making adventures. In this case the road turned to trail and the trail ended at the creek. The pathway vanished within the rock and thickness of the forest. Thick brush, fallen trees and large rock generally add to the scenery and ambience of the quality fishing experience but now they stood as impassable obstacles guarding several miles of creek before me. 

This is an area that I had scouted a few times on foot as well as using Internet maps and G.E. But one area seemed very difficult to traverse due to the absence of “trailage” and I had only been able to explore the edges. The natural growth had taken over virtually reclaiming the area from human intrusion.

“No one in their right mind would fish this.” I said circling the area with a big red marker and scribbling the words MUST FISH.

The following Saturday I was up early, parked at the trailhead and followed the gas pipeline road down to the short trail section that followed the creek. At the end of that was a wall of branches and rock. From here I was on my own.
Once into the thick it seems like everything in nature turned against me. Even the largest of branch openings would shrink as I tried to make my way through. My gear was getting hung up no matter how careful or slowly I moved. Some areas were so dense that I simply had to plunge forward with my head down. Scratches on my hands and face will heal and hurt far less than any scratches to my gear.

“I’ll be %$%# amazed if I don’t break something on this run.”

Open areas of grass or small trails that did manage to follow the water for a short time seemed like mana from heaven. But these moments were short lived and would end in a wall of branches or steep rock soon enough. Then I would have to look for another route or battle what was in front of me. In some cases the water would be too deep or swift to wade across without some level of difficulty. In some cases the rock was slippery and perilous but the only way to move forward.
This sounds quite grueling and to be honest it was. But there were so many fishable spots to cast into. Blinded to the anguish and abusive terrain to some degree I continued to cast, explore and land a fish here or there. My mind was dead set on seeing what this final stretch was all about and reaching the area that had been trekked too on a previous trip from the other direction.

“Keep going. Just around the corner is where you stopped the last time…well maybe the bend after that.” I would say looking upstream and taking another cast. Cast, retrieve…Bam!
After several hours the fatigue started to set in. My legs grew heavier with every step. Move past another small pool only to have the rock turn underneath my right foot. Sploosh! I barely catch myself before doing a river face-plant. This may be one of the most humiliating experiences an angler can face on moving water. Even if only trees and rocks were able to laugh at me, it would still be a terrible experience. Instead I just looked like I was trying to fly for a few seconds and managed to catch myself under my feet. Two seconds later a rock rolls under my left foot and I repeat the whole ridiculous scene all over again.

This would have been a great time to take a break and catch my breath. Maybe take a sip of water and give my legs a little rest. Nope. I keep plunging forward through brush stumbling over loose rocks and dodging angry branches. The only thing that seemed to divert my attention from moving upstream was the stream itself. Take another cast into a gorgeous slice of water and get a few bumps. Sling it back just a bit deeper into the trough and wham! Another stocky brown shows up for the photo op.
Finally I do a time check, 2PM. I need to be back in the city by no later than 6PM. It is difficult for to calculate how far I have gone at this point and still need to make the 1.07 mile hike out as well as add an hour drive time. Once again reason fails me. Not only do I continue to fish but actually keep moving upstream looking for the spot that I reached on a previous trip.

“Yeah, I better turn back here…or maybe after the next bend.” My lips seemed to repeat over and over.

Finally I turned back my mind a whirl of fishing euphoria mixed with a bit of exhausted panic. A lot of tough ground had been covered up to this point. Going back would not be a leisurely stroll. It was becoming apparent why not too many people fish here and this section of water has been left to squirrels and other wildlife for the most part. Being able to look for trails rather than spots to put a cast helped somewhat. At this point I am battling for distance rather than battling the fish. Wade across, battle along a small deer trail and then wade across again to a short grassy trail and then back across again.
Finally I reach the bridge and my cell phone decides to lose signal. This phone has had a few close calls, stream dunks and lots of condensation. The battery only holds a charge for about 48 hours and soon to be placed in my growing collection of damaged electronics. No way of knowing the time I try to gauge the sunlight behind the ridgeline. More than likely I am behind schedule.

Completely exhausted, I take a small break to re-adjust the backpack, take some water and prep for the hike out. At this point my legs are on fire, my left ankle is throbbing, every bruise and scratch is starting to sing out in agony. Despite the flashing “empty” light on my body’s energy reserves, there is no other option than hiking out along the dirt road\trail to the parking area. This is a one-mile trek mostly uphill. One more sip of water and then the arduous journey out begins. By the time I reached the truck I was practically on my hands and knees. Do a quick time check at the truck with a mere 45 minutes to cross town. Arrive at the destination a few minutes late looking like hell warmed over with a side of catfight.

“What the heck happened to you!?!” the inquisition starts as I reach the door.

“Just doing a little fishing.” I say picking the pine needles out from my shirt.

My name is Matt and I'm a fishaholic.

Note: This trip was taken mid-December. Took me a while to put it all together.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

ColoradoCasters Upgrade 4.0

This will be my 4th year of hosting my fishing adventures here on the blogger format. I have experimented with many formats such as fishing forums and even websites but admit that I am enjoying the blogger\blogspot format more and more.

Admittedly my downfalls are some of the promotional aspects as well as upgrading the format. One of my goals for 2011 is to give the blogilicious a little more polish. Hopefully this will freshen things up for the fantastically awesome followers that stop by on a semi-regular basis.

Introducing: Alan Myers

Alan Myers is a graphic artist and I stumbled across his work a few months back. After some modest pleading he accepted my request for a new banner design. Alan was able to generate an excellent banner design in quick fashion. In truth, I was absolutely desperate to update this element of my blog and ecstatic with what he came up with.

Alan’s work is creative with an array of categories that he covers. The outdoor scenery designs that he has done for other clients is superb and exactly what I was looking for. Check out Alan’s blog to view some of his amazing work as well as reach out to him for your graphic artist needs.

Good luck and good fishing.