It’s not often that I get to see and experience the kindness of strangers firsthand in this day and age.
But a few weeks ago something happened to me that I’ll never forget.
I’ve wanted to buy a small aluminum fishing boat for several years now, but for one reason or another (usually financial), things never worked out in my favor, and I’ve continued fishing from shore or using inferior boats.
I spend much of my free time fishing warm-water impoundments for bass, carp, pike and panfish.
I’ve used rafts and dory boats on these waters, but they prove to be far better at handling moving water than they do stillwater.
Ideally I wanted a Jon boat or small V-hull boat.
My plan was to find one on the cheap and to modify it to suit my needs.
Namely, it would need a camouflage paint scheme, front casting deck and tee box, fish finder and trolling motor, among other add-ons.
One of the coolest aspects of fly fishing is that you are always reaching new plateaus.
A few weeks ago, I took a nine-day staycation and car-camped across western Colorado seeking out new warmwater fisheries.
To make a long story short, the weather shafted me for the first six days as I endured rain, wind, snow and hail, all of which shut down the fish and the fishing.
Then, at the end of my trip, on consecutive days I caught my largest bass and carp on the fly; an 8-pound largemouth bass and a 17-pound mirror carp.
These two very powerful days are forever burned into my memory and even singed into my fingers.
How could life get any better for this lucky angler?
Well, it just so happened that a customer of mine mentioned to me that his fishing partner was looking to dump an old 14-foot Sears Gamefisher aluminum V-hull boat.
He casually gave me his friend’s phone number.
When I called to inquire about the boat, I was told, “Kirk, it’s yours! All that I ask in return is that you teach me to carp fish.”
I immediately said, “yes” as we both began making plans to go fish together, both equally excited.
I am forever indebted to Andrew Helsley and Tyson Harding for not only changing the way I fish, but also changing the way I think about paying it forward and really owning that term.
I can’t wait to share my passion of chasing carp with my two new-found fishing buddies and friends in my new boat, dubbed the S.S. Barbels.
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.