Saturday, December 31, 2011

Choose your fishing partners wisely!

You're having a fine day working your way up a favorite creek with a trusted fishing buddy.

And hooking the occasional little fish.

You pause to look upstream and quickly survey the spots on this little stream that are most likely to hold a nice trout.  You spot a nice pool up ahead and know that a good fish has to be living there.

You stop for a second to fuss with your tackle and grab a quick drink of water.  When you look up again, your fishing partner has leapfrogged ahead of you and claimed the pool for his own.  He doesn't even look sorry about it.

You briefly entertain throwing a big rock into the hole to show him what you think of his tactics, but decide instead to see what happens. He is rewarded for his devious ways.

The pool gives up the biggest native brook trout you've ever personally witnessed.  Even though, by rights, this should have been your fish, you are happy for your buddy.  

You think: It's a good thing we're friends.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Down Time

It feels like I haven't been fishing in forever. In actuality, it's been the longest stretch I've gone without wetting a line in several years - almost 2 months. I may be about to lose it if I don't remedy this situation soon. My recent weekends have been filled with house hunting and the task of finding just the right house has prevented me from getting in any stream time. On the weekends I've been free, the weather hasn't cooperated. Oh well, hopefully I'll be back in the game soon. In the meantime, I've been spending a lot of time at the vise trying to get the boxes stocked. So in an effort to not let the blog go completely by the wayside, I thought I would post up some pics of the patterns I've been working on.

Small rubber legged stonefly nymph:

March Brown Para-Wulff.

Christmas Para-Wulff I tied for the weekly tying contest on my local forum:

My take on the Tellico Nymph.  A true Southern classic:

Flashback Pheasant tail nymph:

And my favorite.  A stonefly pattern that I wasted a bunch of materials and hooks on until I was satisfied with how it came out.  I think this one's going to be a killer:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fly Tying for Dummies

What follows is my first attempt at a fly tying video. I mostly just wanted to see how this would turn out and I'm generally pretty happy with the results. I decided to spare everyone my commentary and set the video to music instead. As witty and insightful as I'm sure it would have been, I think the tunes are more enjoyable. I picked an effective streamer pattern that can be tied in an endless array of color combos and is quick and easy to tie. Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Just a short video I put together from several trips to TN. Most of these clips have been in my other videos but I thought they would make an interesting collection strung together by themselves. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back to Tennessee

Once again I found myself in East TN last weekend with some buddies from school. I've been wanting to make a true video report for a while but always seem to fail at getting enough good video to tell a story. I end up with basically a picture slide show with some video thrown in. One of these days I'll get it right. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Perfect Pause

Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.  ~Carol Bishop Hipps

This quote sums up the way I feel about the month of October pretty well.  It's my favorite month - a perfect pause.  I love the crispness in the air on those first cool mornings.  I love the colors of Autumn as the greens of summer turn to oranges, reds and yellows.  I love the cool nights, sitting around a campfire, swapping stories with good friends.  And I love the fishing that October brings.

Trout are gorging themselves in preparation for the spawn and the hardships of winter.  They are lit up in vibrant colors that match their surroundings.  October is just a pause, and I know it won't last long, so I get out and enjoy it while I can.

This weekend I met a great group of guys from my local fly fishing board for the 24th version of PFF (Psycho Fly Fishers).  They've been doing this event twice a year for the last 12 years and were nice enough to allow me to join in this time around.  East TN was the destination of choice on what is arguably the finest trout river in the South.

Since I had never met any of these guys in person, and I was the new guy in an established group, I was a little nervous about how things would go.  I needn't have worried though as they made me feel welcome right away.  Each day began with a group breakfast and ended with a group dinner followed by ample campfire time.  Having a professional musician in the group was a nice touch.

The fishing that came in between was pretty good too.  Midging was the name of the game in the morning, but some sulphurs popped off every afternoon, giving us an opportunity to land a few fish on dries.

The weather and the foliage were as outstanding as the fishing.  Blue skies and mid 70s during the day cooling off to comfortable sleeping weather at night. 

Eventually, all good things must come to an end and this was no exception. The end came too soon, as it always does, but I got to meet some great new friends and catch a few trout.  The perfect weekend - a perfect pause.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


 Fast forward 2 weeks and I'm back on the stream.  College football and various errands kept me at home last weekend but I'm planning on taking my revenge today.  I've picked a little stream on the SNP boundary that holds browns and a few lonely brookies.  I'm in a brown trout kind of mood.

The Hardy has been mailed out to see if it can be salvaged so I dust off an old Meisselbach that goes well with the vintage cane.

Drizzly, cold weather does not bode well for dry fly fishing so I go with the stonefly again.  It doesn't take long for the fish to show they approve. 


I've been intent on the business at hand and finally take a look around.  I notice that some of the leaves are starting to turn - mostly yellows right now but it won't be long before the reds and oranges turn these creeks into a painting.

I continue making my way upstream and pick up a few fish here and there.  I wouldn't call it a feeding frenzy but this creek has never been about numbers anyway.

I sit down to eat some lunch and reflect on the morning.  I've fooled a few fish, managed not to bust my ass again and successfully put my last outing behind me - and that's good enough for today.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sometimes it's just not your day

Everything starts out well enough.  Yesterday's greyness gives way to blue skies over the mountains as the sun burns through early morning clouds.  I am on my way to a favorite trout stream that treated me very well last October.  My mood brightens along with the day.

Arriving at the stream, I find that the water levels are perfect. Temperatures are just right for wet wading and hiking without breaking a sweat.  This is going to be fun.

I fish an elk hair caddis with no action for a little while and then switch to a big stonefly nymph when I see empty shucks here and there on the rocks.  I had been hoping for some dry fly action but it doesn't really matter because I'm about to slay 'em with nymphs.

I make my way farther and farther upstream and can't buy a look.  I switch back to the dry.  No dice.  I try a different nymph.  Nothing.  I should be catching fish but I'm not.  I grow impatient.  In my haste to get to the next spot, I go too quickly and it happens.  My foot comes down on a slimy rock so slick it feels as if it's covered with ice.

I go ass over teakettle in the middle of the creek.  Laying on my back, wedged between two boulders, I utter some words that would not make my Mom proud of me. I have wacked my shin hard enough that it takes several minutes to stop hurting.  I stand up and start to collect myself and realize that something is very wrong with my reel. Then I look at it.

The frame is bent so badly on my prized English made Hardy reel that the spool cannot turn.  I utter a few more words that are the foulest I can think of, but which I feel are entirely appropriate for the occasion.  This does not make me feel any better.  I remove the spool and pull enough line off to be able to make a reasonable cast, replace the spool and continue upstream.  I still have caught no fish today.

I fish for another hour or so, but my heart is no longer in it.  I hit the trail and retreat down the mountain with no fish and a busted reel. 

Along the road back to the parking lot I pass the flower bed fisherman and think that I would have been better off down here with him. 

Sometimes it's just not your day.  But there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I can run and jump and fish

After a few months of doing nothing but spring creekin', I was ready for something different. To that end, I broke out the brookie flies, strung up the trusty 7030 and pointed my truck towards one of my favorite places in the world. My plan was to do it up right and start the morning with some biscuits & gravy at the Mountaineer Cafe in Madison but the snooze button won out. I got a later start than planned and had to be content with a blueberry muffin from Sheetz - the brookies were waiting.

My usual starting point. There's a stretch of fairly unproductive water above this spot that I decided to skip today - I would keep to the trail.

Problem is the trail kicks straight up as it climbs the ridge above the creek. A summer of walking flat meadows has made my legs soft. Nothing to do but make the slog.

Finally the trail swings back towards the stream and I jumped off above the marginal water at the top of the first big waterfall. Time to get down to business.

This stream produces some big brookies on a pretty regular basis - big being relative to the size of the water and skimpy supply of food.  The bigger fish were shy today but the ones that did come to hand were so purdy it didn't matter. 

The scenery ain't half bad either.

Nothing really happening today in the bug department so I picked a yellow stimulator on the theory that brookies like yellow - and stimulators. It works as often as not.

And I finally arrived at the spot that occupied my brain last night and most of the morning. I stood and took it in for while.

The honey hole was being moody today but did give up one chunky char.

That was as high as I was going today and good enough for a first trip back. Back to the truck where dry clothes and the cooler were waiting.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pre-Hurricane Party

With the impending weather disaster looming over the east coast, I figgered this weekend was going to be a wash out. Only one thing to do - take Friday off and go fishing. I woke up earlier than I thought I was capable and made the 2 hour drive out to the valley. The creek is purdy at dawn.



I made the effort in hopes of finding browns rising to tricos and although the bugs were swarming in abundance, the fish were uninterested. No worries though because terrestrials still proved effective a bit later in the day. Action was pretty consistent with little browns in this size range.


I don't know how many times I've pointed the video camera at a likely looking spot in the hopes of capturing a take, but it rarely works. Fish usually get lockjaw when video is rolling, but it worked today.

On a happy note, I spotted our big fish from a few weeks back again today. He relocated about 50 yards upstream to a new hole and I never would have seen him if he didn't rise for, and refuse, a real hopper. If the picky SOB refuses the real thing there didn't seem to be much hope for my foam imitation, and sure enough, he scoffed at me. I tried him with a beetle and then a streamer before admitting defeat and calling it a day.

Now on to storm watching for the rest of the weekend.