"Grinnin' like a mule eatin' saw briars."

Monday, February 22, 2010

... and boy are my arms tired!"

What a weekend. Temps close to 55, water temp rising above 42. Beautiful spring day, a brief respite from the bitterly cold temperatures we've had for the past ... well, seems like forever.

We began the morning early anticipating crowds on a spectacular stretch of the South Holston known for its gently rising bruisers. My favorite part about fishing this section is the flat water. While most people fish riffles, slots, and runs, (but mainly riffles) I stick to the slick, flat water. Why? Out of necessity. I learned long ago that if you're gonna catch the big fish and have the most fun, you're gonna have to learn to fish where no one thinks there are any fish, or you have to be incredibly sneaky; sneaky is an art forgotten by many fisherman, most practice the splash and wave. But to avoid a lengthy diatribe, I'll get back to the point of this post. FUN!

Wow, what a day. I brought at least 30 fish to hand, lost about as many. Most all were caught on BWO comparaduns #'s 20 and 22. A few on split case BWOs, and even a couple of sulphur dries. The average fish was 15" with a few pushing the 20" mark and one over 20.

OK, back to the flat water. It takes a long, delicate cast in flat water. And it's important to study the water from the bank, looking for the good holding spots and cruising fish. I love flat water. But I love riffles to, there I can dive right in and save the crouching back. Have great week, y'all! I'm tired... let's get back on the water!


typical brown from the South Holston

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chill Out, Homes

The Crackberry said we had a sweet little warm front moving in, giving us partly sunny skies and 40 degrees. This was confirmed by local meteorologists; so finally there'd be a day where I didn't freeze my behind off or become a prime candidate for frostbite.

The reality was more snow and a high of 27. But, what the heck, it's only ice and snow.

Austin Campbell's Slumpbuster did the trick and close to 20 fish were taken and released (delayed harvest time). Had some pigs hooked, but two knots failed. Can't complain, though, it was a great day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

the best laid plans ...

often go awry. So is the story of fishing in the Southern Appalachians this year. You've heard me piss and moan about the water releases, heavy rainfall, and bitterly cold temps. Now it seems the snow and ice have found us. We're usually fairly well protected on the windward side, adjacent to the valley. But this week it caught up to us. At this time the snow has blown away to leave lovely ice. Fun!

Some of the best fishing I've experienced was in the snow. Since we're not in Minnesota, ice fishing has yet to catch on. The plans were to meet John Dollar at a local DH stream, but he had to cancel. Like that's never happened to me! That's fine, I'll go with my father-in-law. Austin Campbell tied some nice patterns for me with some still in the experimental stage. Well, they'll have to wait too.

I guess we could take the drive to Oak Ridge and fish Bull Run, as suggested by Sean McKay at Smoky Mountain Troutfitters. Then again, I may just stay home and catch up on some housework. Ha!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

With Friends Like These ....

The fly fishing industry is filled with characters. Some old and set in their ways, some young and gunning for the latest technique or gear. But all have one thing in common and that's a respect for the angling community. Well, maybe not all ...

As reported over at Compleat Thought there's apparently a thief lose in the Denver area. A guy, or dolt, or scum, like this once hit our local shops. Our guy would take advantage of busy days and walk out with tres expensive gear. He was caught and begged for forgiveness. He got none. And this wreck of an idiot in Denver shouldn't either.

Hope we can keep the word spreading and catch this loser.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Slip Slidin' Away ....

I decided to take the break in the weather as a sign to cast about. Had a relatively productive day, bringing 6 to hand and breaking off some rather good sized ones. I think getting over a cold and pushing myself to "have fun" kind of backfired. I didn't have a great time and that's breaking the cardinal rule of fly fishing (or any outdoor sport, for that matter). Fortunately I realized this and began to take my time. It was relaxing and I felt I wanted to drive around to see some other areas.

Typical bow for the day.

So I found the mountain pond pretty quickly. It was a rough drive, simply because of the potholes and mud ruts, but hey... a Jeep can handle it. Held some nice fish, moved a helluva Smallie off a brush pile, but she wasn't interested. So, time to move on, with a little haste because some grunting and growling was a tad bit disturbing, particularly when I couldn't pin down where it was coming from. Back in the Jeep, up the hill we go.

Off to see some American Indian drawings along the rock cliff... always nice.

Then, the decision came. It's 5 miles back to 107 if I take the forest service road, or 12 if I take the creek road. Simple math, less is better, ever more so when you're tired.

What, the road is closed? No way, gates would be shut... they forgot their sign. A quick 3,500 feet and all was clear, if not a little wet and muddy. No prob. Keep in mind this is one of those roads that should be one-way, when a body meet a body in this rye, then someone's gonna have to back it up. Very few pullouts. I counted two. And no rails, of course, it's a service road, and the drop down is anything but gradual. I get to the crest and all was well, until down the south side, which obviously has seen no sun, it was completely white and icy. Oh, crap.

So, after a tumultuous reverse for a few hundred yards, I found the one pullout I needed (which is still barely large enough for a Jeep).

Anyway, I guess it's one of those "you had to be there moments," it was tricky and not fun. It was dark, I was alone, and for one who doesn't freak out often, I had a moment. Maybe it's age catching up to bravado? Maybe it's thinking about what I could miss. Maybe it was the joke I told my wife as I left, "Hon, I am X Creek, in case I don't come home, that's where they'll find my bloated, bloodied corpse." Maybe I should keep my mouth shut and not take closed roads. They're closed for a reason, and so is my mouth.

Keep it rural,