TORTILLA FLATS

The next several hours were spent casting and crawling and kneeling amongst the bushes and pleading and grumbling along the banks of this section of water in an effort to entice these fish to strike. Time and time again I watched two-foot long Carp follow my flies only to turn away abruptly and inexplicably.

When I finally did get a strike, the fish immediately dove into the rocks and broke me off before I could turn its head around. Based on the unhappy groans coming from over Sean’s way, I surmised that he was having similar woes.

After thoroughly working about a quarter-mile of the River we decided to head over to Atwater Village and fish below the Hyperion Bridge – a well-known and commonly fished location. We were disappointed that we hadn’t landed any fish but we were thrilled with the number and wariness of the fish we had stumbled upon in this new location.

As we crested the hill on the path leading to the Hyperion Bridge section of the River, our first image was that of a lone fisherman sitting in the middle of the flats in a folding lawn chair. He was using two rods and even from a couple of hundred yards away, we could tell that he probably had them both rigged with 40-pound test or more. By the time we got to the bottom of the embankment, he was busy landing a foot-long fish.

Tortilla Man

There was a backpack on the shore and after Lawn-chair-guy had let his catch go he waded over to the backpack, sizing us up as we drew near to it. He took a cigarette from out of the front pocket and lit up as Sean asked him how he was doing. He smiled and said it had been a very good day. Sean asked him what he was using for bait and the guy replied, “tortilla”.

We looked at each other, wished him well and then somewhat frantically started digging around in our respective fly boxes as we walked toward a favored pool. Despite a plethora of flies for practically every location we fish, neither of us had any approximation of a tortilla. After some hard thinking, I considered snipping off a corner of my boxer shorts and using some tippet to tie it onto a #10 hook but then, aside from the obvious logistical problem of dropping ‘trow in the middle of the River, I remembered that it was Sunday and I had on the plaid ones anyway.

So, we fished until near dark but did not have the success of our lawn chair friend. The ride home was a mixture of contentment over our new-found location and amazement that we had been out-fished by tortillas. I could tell, though, from the animated way Sean was speaking that a fire had been started in him and we would probably be using a very interesting pattern the next time we hit the flats at Glendale Narrows.

New LA River Spot

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