13 Sep
 Labor Day Weekend. The last “Hurrah” for summer. For me, I had to get away from the heat of the Valley Of The Sun. I had made plans to visit Sedona, Arizona on business. I thought I would also include some fly-fishing on the Verde River. It was decided to stay in Cottonwood, Arizona as it is centrally located between Sedona and Jerome, AZ. I made reservations at The View Motel located on Main Street. Di, Chloe and I arrived in Cottonwood Friday night and smoothly checked in. The rooms were comfortable and clean. The scenery were spectacular and clearly the motel lived up to its namesake.
The general plan for the weekend was to include fishing the Verde River for about three hours in the morning and then attending to business and research for my upcoming seminars and book in the afternoon. In preparation for my trip, I used the Arizona Fish & Games website to investigate several access points to the Verde River. I felt that we could efficiently combine fishing and work each day.
I woke early Saturday and performed my usual routine of Sanchin Kata and other Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate syllabus (See Endnote # 1) against the panoramic backdrop provided beautiful and bountiful views at The View Motel.
  Scenery at The View Motel
Awakened and enriched by my morning Kata practice I reunited with Di and Chloe. After a fast cup of coffee and fruit, we drove ten minutes to the first location that I planned to visit. This location is called “The Jacks” on the Arizona Fish and Game Website. The Jacks is located immediately within the boundaries of Dead Horse State Park. Upon arriving streamside at The Jacks, I was struck by the lack of easy access to most of the Verde River and the difficulty of fly-fishing. To mitigate the dilatory effects of the terrain, I fished with my treasured six foot Fenwick Ferrulite Fly rod, Panther Martin 64 reel loaded with weight forward five weight floating line ending with a 6X tippet. Once you were able to trudge and blaze your way to a fishing location, tight roll cats and exact presentation would be the modus operandi. Deviation would prove hazardous and result in tangles and loss of flies, and fish. We were able to fish about twenty feet of shoreline and did so productively. Di used a pink Berkley Gulp Earthworm. I fished a few dry flies (Purple Haze # 16, Claret Klinkhammer “16 and Mosquito # 18) all with good results. My best action was on double nymphs including a Rainbow Warrior # 16, Bloody Mary # 14, Tellico # 14, Beadhead Hare’s Ear # 14, Ju-ju Bee # 16 and Red Ass # 16. Fishing was fun and we were rewarded with catches of perch, small bass (about 9 to 10 inches).

Di with an average Bass for this trip.

I had a rewarding thrill when I hooked into a very nice size rainbow trout. Based upon a fleeting glimpse, I would estimate its length at about 12-14 inches. Ironically, this swimming, finned rainbow had been tantalized and seduced by a nymph bearing its namesake, a rainbow warrior, size 16. As if to tease me with its magnificence, the rainbow jumped twice. Upon returning to the river, it made such a loud splash that Di began to trudge through the underbrush with camera in hand. Alas, it was to no avail. Indignant at succumbing to the lure of the nymph, the rainbow dove deep so as to sulk within the branches of a submerged tree. In doing so, the colorful pouting creature broke my fragile 6X tippet. Thus my nymph was sacrificed to the ancient River God that oversees all fly fishing grounds. That fish would jump again and again in my memory all weekend.
           The Jacks          
After two hours of The Jacks, we drove further into the park and fished the two small lagoons. These lagoons readily produced respectable sized blue gill. In talking to a few fisherman fishing from jon-boats, I was informed that earlier in the morning, largemouth bass were plentiful.

Sensei John fly fishing the lagoon from a short pier.

It was soon time to attend to business so we left Dead Horse Park and returned to the View motel to shower and change. That afternoon, business took us to the scenic town of Jerome. We returned to the View and relaxed poolside. After a hard day of early fishing and business we soon returned to our room and hit the sack. As I lazily closed my eyes, my mind wondered to thoughts of that lost aquatic rainbow.

After a hard day of fishing & business, even Chloe snored at night.

Sunday morning we were again at the Verde River. We stopped at The Jacks for about an hour. After connecting with a few perch and with the lost trout no where to be found, we were on our way to the second location I had investigated. This access point is further along Highway 89A and located under the bridge leading to the Tuzigoot monument. Access is via a dirt road that requires some maneuvering. The stretch of river access was about thirty feet long and was composed of a rock and tree lined shore.

Sensei John fly fishing the Verde River at Tuzigoot Monument Bridge.

We fished this area for about an hour and a half with mixed results. Mostly perch and bluegill. We were joined by a local angler named Leonard and his grandson. Leonard, who fished the Verde for several years, informed me as to river access and species to be caught; including bass, perch, carp and channel catfish. He told me trout fishing was good when the river is stocked. I was required to be in Sedona early that afternoon, so we had to cut fishing short and once again, take care of business. (See Endnote # 2).

Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful. This was the day we would return home. Checkout time is eleven o’clock so we had a few hours. As we woke early, we decided that a quick trip to The Jacks would be possible. Like Melville’s Captain Ahab, I had to pursue my fish; I had to once again try for the rainbow trout, the one that got away. Ahab eventually met his white whale. This last day of fishing the Verde, my rainbowed fish was a mere illusion, a whiff of smoke, glimpsed and seen no more. Like a spurned lover, I knew it was time to leave all hope of a successful encounter. It was time to go home. Soon, we were again on the highway bound for the all to familiar heat of the Valley Of The Sun. The 2 ½ hour ride home was mundane, except for the seductive memory of my “white whale”, that nice rainbow, the proverbial “one-that-got-away“, that virginal fish that would remain but a fond memory and a knowing smile upon my face.

Every fly-fisher-journeyman knows that no fishing expedition is complete unless accompanied by satisfying, hunger-sating food. During our journey, Di and I had several memorable meals at the following establishments.

Murphy’s Grill, Cottonwood, AZ. Located directly across Main Street from the View Motel, Murphy’s Grill provided convenient, satisfying, tasty dinners. If patronizing this establishment, I would highly recommend the traditional Shepard’s pie, the Verde dip sandwich (a western play on the French dip sandwich), the corned beef with cabbage and the fish and chips. I am not usually one for desert; however, I would recommend the bread pudding for desert.

Marmalade Café, Jerome, AZ. This eatery features good wholesome food and wonderful views from their outdoor patio.

The view from the Marmalade Cafe Patio.

I recommend the either the veggie sandwich which features vegetables and hummus or the Caprese sandwich with fresh Mozzarella cheese, a rarity in Arizona.

Bing’s Burger Station, Cottonwood, AZ (WWW.BingsBurgers.Com) .

Bing's Burger Station

Bing’s is a tribute to old time burger joints; they offer a limited burger, fries and drink menu and they do it right. I recommend the burger which is fresh, tasty and clearly made from good quality beef. The chicken sandwich was flavorful and moist. Either way, you must order the French fries. They are made fresh cut and fried in rice oil to a crisp, non-greasy, texture. The hand mixed peach soda and root beer freeze will provide the coup de grace to a nice dinner.

George’s Café, Cottonwood, AZ. This is the place for a truly gratifying breakfast. I recommend the home made corned beef hash with an over-easy egg or the pastrami and eggs.

Until the next article about chasing fish, wetting a fly and the inevitable one that will get away, I remain,

Sensei John


1. For those interested in benefits of Sanchin Kata, please see my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

2. For the portions of my trip as they relate to Sedona, Arizona and my research, please see my blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.   This aspect of my trip will be posted shortly.


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