"Here the alpine vegetation is stunted by a short,
rich growing season, effusive in
a variety of wildflowers. The sparkling snowmelt tumbles between boulders..."
Unlike the Big Fisherman,
who was an Orvis man on Galilee, the author prefers to fish intimate
Colorado streams near treeline, wading in Teva sandals. No cell
phones allowed. No farm raised couch potato trout either, no sir. At this
elevation the wild ones live and die a natural cycle without ever seeing
or smelling the indignity of a number 6 hook covered in fluorescent Powerbait.
Here the alpine vegetation is stunted by a short, rich growing season,
effusive in a variety of wildflowers. The sparkling snowmelt tumbles between
boulders and the exposed root systems of winter blowdown where cutthroat,
rainbow, brown and brookies unexpectedly thrash just about any lure presented.
The key is in the approach and presentation; always from downstream and
behind cover, the author learned as a boy in Oregon to read water, knowing
that a wild trout will accept no lure once the fisherman reveals his position.
His lure of choice is a #2 Jerry’s spinner fly, a Rio
Grande King pattern with a single split shot on 4 pound test line.
Pole and reel are always an ultra-light spin combination. He likes his
trout small, feisty and naive to the hook, and while it’s mostly
a catch-and-release affair, he also likes them tasty and untainted by
any trace of industrial waste. A daypack with a propane burner pitched
on the lush bank allows his wife to deep-fry a few fresh pink morsels
in grape seed oil, flavored with garlic, salt and pepper, the way God
Sadly, Stephen Bransford's works are out-of-print, although he writes,
"...they are available, autographed, from my garage (at premium prices)."
Riders of the Long Road (Doubleday) won the Texas Literary Festival
award for fiction in 1984, a historical novel set against the emergence
of the circuit riding preacher in America (hardback $35). High Places
(Crossway 199) a redemptive scorcher about a corrupted television ministry
(special order only, trade paper, used, $25). The Last Photograph
( Thomas Nelson 1995) has been described as “A River Run Through
It” for the Vietnam generation. It traces the conflicted paths of
two sons of an Oregon laypreacher (hardback, $25).
Stephen Bransford lives with his wife Meganne, in Colorado Springs. He
can be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com
(allow perhaps days and always weekends, for a reply during Colorado summers.)
about the illustration at top of page:
Stephen Bransford in a "watercolor" created from a photograph
taken at one of his favorite trout streams someplace in Colorado. The
"watercolor" was manipulated using Virtual Painter in Photoshop.
about the rod pictured above: An R.L. Winston made in
Twin Bridges, Montana, an old company known for its beautiful fly-fishing
gear. You can contact them at the address below:
The R. L. Winston Rod Company
500 South Main Street
Twin Bridges, MT 59754
SILENCE THAT SLAYS
to the reading room