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Twenty Days in September

I failed miserably at Orvis’s #20Sepdays challenge to get out on the water and fish for twenty days in September.  I didn’t come close to twenty days (a mere six — I think I actually got out to the river more days in August than I did in September!) and my pictures weren’t even competitive with the fantastic photos submitted by fellow anglers.  But, hey, is it really a fail?

My adventure began with fishing at Prospect Lake during the Labor Day Lift-off when balloonists launch over the course of the three day weekend.  I had a few fish rising to the Amy’s Ant, but no takers on this early morning.

I had better luck fishing the North Catamount Reservoir on the north slope of Pikes Peak.  So the picture came out a little blurry, and the fish is not Facebook-post worthy, but he did eat that Amy’s Ant.  That backdrop, though!  Can’t top that.

I saw some fellow anglers on a local tailwater.  Shared a great stretch of water we have come to call “Earl’s Run” to honor one of the guides from our shop.  The beauty of the morning, shared with some others, was hard to beat.

And I fished with a group of four guys from the shop to explore some new backcountry opportunities.  It was a beautiful adventure into uncharted territory!

And on my last day out, fishing a hole that I have fished before with little luck, I caught a couple of nice fish.  They challenged me to bring my A-game to the hole as they rose and dropped up and down the feeding column.  They were willing to eat, but they were being a little picky.  I got them to turn, though, and the fight was on.  That day, in particular, was a success since that hole had proven to be a challenge a time or two before.

And that brings me back to 20 September Days.  It’s funny how a challenge like that will impact your mindset. The Orvis challenge got me thinking about time on the water.  About what defines “the season” and what barriers I put up to keep me from pursuing the adventure.  There’s something to be said about those late summer and early fall days that beckon for one more cast, or one last hole, before we call it a day.  And the challenge made me appreciative of each of those days on the water. Of course, catching fish is great, but even on the days where the fishing was tough (and the photos blurry), it really is about more than the fish.

We’re blessed in Colorado Springs to have several tailwaters within an hour’s drive from the shop.  So I’m going to make myself an October challenge.  And maybe something like “Nine in November” or maybe it will be eleven for the eleventh month.  Maybe it will be a single day that I turn my attention to — my full, undivided, be-in-the-moment attention.  How can that be a fail?

You can see the photos of the ten finalists on the Orvis website and vote for your three favorites.  Add a comment after voting and you stand the chance of winning a pair of Orvis nippers.

And as my baseball friends remind me, there’s always next year.

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