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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Minute to Win It (A Condensed Version of Nearly Everything That Happened)

Bradley Fork, Smoky Mountains. A 45 minute drive for fine fishing. What keeps me away? This relative after-thought offers fine fishing and a quick chance for the slam ('bow, brown, brook).

Coming down 441, or Newfound Gap, two elderly women jumped out in front of us. I stopped and asked if they were OK, apparently not. Broke down since one A.M., and no one stopped for them. Who wouldn't pick up old ladies? Dropped them off at Smokemont, hoping my decency (really, I thought this) would bode well for fishing. Apparently it did.

Got to the river after 7AM, breath fogging for the first time in what seems like years, I was committed to dries all day; turning over large dries is hard enough on a 2wt, droppers be damned.

Bradley Fork is flat -- an oddity that only North Carolinian's are used to -- an easy hike-in or wade-up for any angler. Especially if you're from the Tennessee mountains. Our streams are so steep you'll skin your nose walking up 'em.

We caught tons of fish, nice sizes too.

I'm recovering for tomorrow. Seems like the fishing and hiking refractory periods are a smidgen longer than they used to be.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Something new?

Heading up to Bradley Fork, a tributary of the 'Luftee, tomorrow morning. I'm going to try my hand at more video and posting pictures. Wish you all could come!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another thought ...

Sitting here, as most days, I'm thinking about fishing. That's what I do at work, and I work right next to the Pigeon River. The BP, or the Dirty P, as we call it, is as diverse a river as there is. At it's head waters you'll find native Appalachian strain brook trout, mid-ways, down you'll find nice wild bows, a little further TWRA stocks bow, and below that the best smallmouth fishing in the country (not to mention HUGE red horse and gar, and if you've never fished for either red horse or gar on a fly rod, I highly recommend it).

Tennessee holds some nice fishing records. The world record smallmouth came out of Dale Hollow, weighing in at 11 lbs 15 oz. I know I've had some wild times with 6 pounders on the Pigeon.

Which makes me think of other records.

The record brown trout, from the Clinch River (arguably the countries finest tailwater) is 28 lbs 12 oz.

Even an unusual record. A mere 6 oz cutthroat was pulled out of the Obey River in 1969. Now, either the boys stocking had a sense of humor, or that little guy swam a damn long way.

From a from a 90lb carp to a 75lb paddlefish, there are almost too many fish in Tennessee to list. I'm glad I've traveled all over, but the minute I'm home I think "I could've caught better in the backyard." Well, but then it's all about experiences, really, and I can't catch Apache or Golden Trout here. So, all's fair in fishing.

Here's a short video I shot of Sean McKay of Smoky Mountain Troutfitters and me fishing (well, just Sean and a picture of me). I guide for Sean when I can, and this fall looks to be great. It's smallouth on the Pigeon. We know there has to be a world record smallmouth in this river -- we've seen 'em. Now, to entice them...


check out http://www.smokymountaintroutfitters.com

Things we think about ...

Chasing some small stream 'bows at Tremont yesterday morning, I had to laugh. Not at the size of the eager little turds, but at what I was thinking about. TV. I've never watched too much, but my wife loves shows. Good ones at least, so there are never "reality" shows on in our house, unless it involves cooking. So... here are some musings on TV entertainment.

Best shows: The only time I really watched a lot of TV was in college. And that was only because I had to stay home and study, and didn't like to study at all. So TV was a great way to bide my time. Here's my list of shows that I really came to enjoy.

Frasier. Could there ever be a dynamic like that on TV again? Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce played snobby socialites to perfection. No show has ever made me laugh so hard. I've even bought all 11 seasons on DVD. Can't get enough, wish there was a reunion show in the works.

Seinfeld. We actually had a finale party my senior year in college. Well, three of us did. Seinfeld reminded me of everyone in my life; I thought of myself as Jerry, not that I was funny, but I seemed to date girls that were way too good looking for me. Just like Jerry. But even he was more of a failure with them, and that made me glad to watch.

X-Files. Probably my favorite. Not only did I watch religiously, but I even dated a girl only because she looked like Scully. The conspiracy buff within was made whole by X-Files, and the show was even pretty deep when you began to see the big picture.

Nowhere Man. Didn't last long, but it was superb. Again, another X-Files type show that didn't quite hit the big markets. If you're unfamiliar with the show, I'll give you a quick rundown. A documentary photographer named Thomas Veil took a photo of a war crime -- when "they" find out, he loses everything and no one seems to know who he is. He secures the hidden negatives and sets off to find the truth. It was a great show and I'll always think about what could've been.

Honorable mentions: Twin Peaks and Everybody Loves Raymond. Loved 'em. But not as much as those mentioned above.

Anyway, I promise not to talk too much about TV or movies, unless I have another day on the water where I think about it. It's funny what comes to mind when fishing alone. Maybe it's reminiscing, maybe it's thinking back to simpler times in your life. I don't know. I don't get too deep about things, even with nymphing lines.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Everybody's Workin' on the Weekend...."

I've decided to come to the office on Saturdays. After a week long mental debate, I think taking Sunday/Monday for a weekend will be much more pleasant, especially for fishing.

So, what days do you like best for fishing? I know for many of us, the weekends are sacrosanct. But I can't take the Saturday/Sunday fishing routine. If I work Saturday, my wife and I can still go to the movies or dinner at night, and I can fish Sundays and/o Mondays. Then again, what about a Wednesday/Thursday weekend?

And while your busy mulling over the best days to fish (save weather, stream conditions, et al), how do you like the new look at the blog? I'm not tech savvy, so it took a long time to change.

Have a great weekend, y'all. See you on the water soon, fish on!

Keep it rural,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shout Outs

For all my new blog friends:

Check out Seven Bridges Road by John Dollar. John's a Western North Carolina dude (right over the hill, as we say) and an outstanding fisherman. He takes great pics and videos, too. An all around great blog to follow.

Then mosey on over to 365 Fly Fishing by Austin Campbell, he's a Yankee transplant in North Carolina, but we've accepted him as an honorary Son of the South. He's been pursuing his passion in a blog, one solid year of fly fishing, either on the river, on the road, or in theory. And Austin ties beautiful flies, too. I had the pleasure of fishing with Austin and John Dollar late last year, a great day that ended in frozen feet and home brews.

Then have a gander at Compleat Thought by Kyle Perkins. Kyle is a Colorado kid who his holds true to his Western sensibilities in fine form. Kyle talks about everything from videos, to felt, to movies. (He's also a pretty darn good fisherman.)

Then there's Tyler Legg at http://www.tarheelflyfishing.com/. Tyler's destined to be the next superstar in our sport. When I was his age I was too busy acting a fool on the river and wasting time, but his calm and cool talents are already being noticed -- and he ain't even in college yet, folks.

All right, just wanted to send up some shouts. I hope to read everyone soon!

Keep it rural,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Busted flat in Cherokee, lookin' at the rain ... Or, goodbye, Tooby Tuesday

Apologies to Mr. Kristofferson and the Stones.

Early to bed, early to rise. Or not. Late to bed and groggy on the road, but as long as I make it Bryson City by 7AM, I should be fine.

And I did, but what was the beginnings of a fruitful day of fishing turned into a busted trip (who hasn't had one) and a few dollars less than I had when I cussed the tourist traffic. Seriously folks, you can drive faster than 15mph, even on curves.

Made it to Deep Creek only to find I didn't bring my camera, which is usually preamble to fine fishing reports -- if that was only always the case. Regardless, I was pleased to see only two cars in the lot and no fisherman in sight. I've always wanted to fish for the wary browns in the lower sections of Deep Creek, so I began. At 7:30AM, on a Tuesday. I missed the first strike of the day -- a slow roll of disinterest -- and while I was busy chiding myself, I caught something orange out of the corner of my eye. And I'll be damned. Tubers. This early. 7:30AM on a Tuesday. After a short 3 mile hike, well above where tubers are allowed, guess what I saw? That's right. More tubers. Dismayed and watching the skies slowly fade to gray, I decided the hell with it, let's go to Ravens Fork, the Cherokee Tribal waters now a trophy section. But I'd need some flies appropriate for these monster stockers, and a tribal license.

Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing, located for years in the heart of downtown Cherokee, is closed. What? The sign politely told me I could proceed another 18 miles into Sylva for Hunter's new fly shop. No thanks. Now I'm not even angry, I'm laughing. The first sign of insanity. And just when I decided I'd just drive there, the skies opened up. Well... there's always the casino.

40 bucks, a new friend, and a complimentary drink later, I left for home. It was actually a pretty fun day. I wouldn't say I'd do it again, but at least I wasn't at work.

Anyway, moral to the story? No, this isn't your zen station salad. Just fish when you can, play when you should, and don't complain about the rain. Fish love it. And so do casinos.

Oh, and what's with all the Chinese comments on my blog? I can't read that stuff, you communists. So stop it.

Keep it rural,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Second Verse, Same as the First ... ?

How many of us in the South are still whining about the weather? Hands up. I count... all of us. Well, all of us anglers, anyway. I see you pool puppies and lake wakers are still somewhat happy.

The CFS are up slightly due to some unexpected (and who knows where from) rain in the mountains yesterday, but the temps are soaring. Hovering around 75 degrees in the lower els, the water is perilously close to fish kill temps.

North Carolina streams that boast large fish rely on more stocking that Tennessee waters. Not that I'd harp, I wish Tennessee's management was similar. But stocked fish turn to floaters more quickly than their heartier native cousins. And that's what we've been hearing a lot about -- floaters in the Davidson and other surrounding streams. It's only a matter of time until the natives go belly-up as well, thanks to what's going to be the hottest Summer on record for the past... who knows how long.

I haven't been fishing much. I don't like to stress fish, or myself for that matter, in this hot weather. But if you do go...

7x even 8x would be preferable. Be stealthy, wear muted colors, and fish the fast water with the longest casts as possible. Fly selection won't matter much, stressed fish aren't as picky. But if I were you, I'd stay home and let them recover. I mean, I have to recover too. Man, we need a week of rain and 10 degree drops.

Have a great one!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ain't that Quaint, or Isn't That Quisn't?

As I sit in my office, my back turned to Clingmans Dome, I think "ain't that quaint." We seem to be in a standoff, my mountains and me, and that probably won't change for a while. It's a classic love story. That which offers intrigue and desire can be the same object that seems too big to conquer, no matter how well you think you know it.

While the Ohio plated convoy passes through, I sit in resentment. These folks see only what is passable by minivan, never knowing the ethereal beauty possessed in even the shortest walk or breathed in during briefest of engine stops. In short, I'm part of the select few that realize what lies beneath my girl's gorgeous exterior surpasses even the hardiest mountain mans idea of grandeur. It's a seasonal love affair, and I hate it. No, that's not right. Actually I need it.

So, if you're with my girl this week, don't get too attached. She always comes home to me, she just likes to have fun.

And if you commune, be sure to commune in the high country. Fishing will be good, but it will be better early and late. Dries with small droppers, you pick the pattern. You'll do well.

September is right around the corner, then the next thing you know it's winter. And we all know that winter fishing, for those of us who are lucky enough to live where that's applicable, is the best fishing of all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Once every blue moon

Social media is a wonderful annoyance. No other form of media can make me so ill so quickly, but then, I could be alone with no on-line friends, basking in the misery of talk radio. Been there, still go, but let's not talk about that.

Let's talk about the weather, women, sex, and fishing.

It's been hot. Damn hot, or, as Robin Williams said in Good Morning Vietnam,

"The weather out there today is hot and shitty, with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon. Tomorrow a chance of continued crappy with a pissy weather front coming down from the north. Basically it's hotter than a snake's ass in a wagon rut."

Walter Cronkite couldn't have said it better. And I'm over it. But the one thing that has been pleasing is the amount of rain. July was the wettest in many years, and the streams are looking to be in prime shape for Fall fishing. August has seen rain too, and that means September should be dry. Or so the old folks say.

I've been a bit of a wuss, and a broke one at that. With bills piling up as quickly as the heat index, I've taken to fishing lightly. Forced, anyway. Oh, sure, I get out some in the evenings, or early mornings, but I lack the desire to stay all day, hike, and face heat stroke. I'm sensitive to the heat which means that being from the Southeastern mountains, that are more like a tropical rain forest than anything else in the U.S., the father land isn't always too kind to this devoted son. But I persist. And regardless of what those scrawny westerners say, I'll take humidity over high desert any day.

I just got back from a trip, a family jaunt, more or less, during which I'd planned some fishing. Well, I got to fish, but on a stocked pond for large mouth and blue gill. Not the fun I'd intended, but that's what family is for.

Euripides said that one loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives. That wouldn't sting if it wasn't true.

And about women and sex... well, you got this far, didn't you? Pervert!