Feast or Famine

15 04 2009

It has been a busy week of fishing here in Bent Rod World where every fish leaves completely satisfied with the encounter.  The Caddis hatch is on in E. Tennessee and things are getting silly.  This isn’t just any Caddis hatch but the big daddy Black Caddis hatch on the Watauga River. This is the time of year that epic days are made and the past few have not disappointed.  


Ryan and I met up with both boats, wives, friends, and my dog, Traveler, in tow.  The expectations were high as the day was bluebird and the bugs were out in full force.  We saw huge numbers of Black Caddis in a size 12, early Sulfurs in a size 14, BWO’s, and midges.  The trout on the other hand must have been wrecked from a late night kegger because the first 6 hours were slow…real slow.  

The dog and I learning a lesson in futility.

The dog and I learning a lesson in futility.

Angela, Ryan’s wife, once again proved that she is the Shera (don’t act like you don’t know who Shera is,  He-Man’s rockin’ hot mistress of the cartoon world…hello?) of piscatorial pursuits.   I saw another emasculation developing and was none too happy about it.  

Angela, surveying her vast fishy kingdom which she rules with an iron fist.

Angela, surveying her vast fishy kingdom which she rules with an iron fist.

We rolled into the “ledges” section feeling as if somebody had run over the dog. I am not a man that easily gives up however (my academic, social, and business life being the exceptions). I gritted my teeth, cursed the gods, re-rigged the rod with a soft hackle pheasant tail and let out a barbaric yop, “Not again, no not again Lord. I am a man, I am a man!” Well I guess the big guy was smiling down on this godless heathen on a beautiful Easter Sunday because the trout started eating in my favorite manner…recklessly.  


My wife Lindsey giving Leroy, the brown trout, a good old fashioned bum rubbing.

My wife Lindsey giving Leroy, the brown trout, a good old fashioned bum rubbing.

We all proceeded to catch them hand over fist till there were big shit eating grins all around (except for my friend Greg who must have missed 30 strikes and long distance handshaked at least that many fish in half an hour…stupid bastard. The last six hours were forgotten as if they happened a million years ago.  

Yours truly with colored up bow who was stupid enough to fall victim to a guy like me.

Yours truly with colored up bow who was stupid enough to fall victim to a guy like me.

It always amazes me how a turn in the action can erase the majority of the day’s frustrations and bring me down from the proverbial ledge.  Everyone left that day tired but fulfilled…that is till  Tuesday.





With the Caddis hitting, we decided it was just too good to stay away. Murphy made the trek down from the wilderness that is West Virginia and it was on again. We put in around 11:00am with one thing in mind… an epic day.  Once again we were not disappointed. The first hole coughed up 5 or 6 fish in fifteen minutes.  At this point we realized all we could do was put on our big boy pants and hold on.

Ryan striking a pose with Leroy.  Artistic ain't it?

Ryan striking a pose with Leroy. Artistic ain't it?

 It seemed like every trout in the river was looking up and more than willing to fling themselves at our dry flies in kamikaze fashion.  At some point one of us commented that we must have boated 50 fish between us. That was only 3/4 of the way through the float, and the last quarter of the float might have been the most fruitful (I have been trying to work the word fruitful into my everyday vocabulary as I believe it has nice ring to it. Say it with me…Fruitful…see).  The scariest part about this whole day was that it was in the 50s and rainy — I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if the sun had come out for more than fifteen minutes. Mind blowing to say the least.  


Murphy and Ryan are back on the river today (lucky bastards), as I am around the house finishing up finals, catching up on my blogging, and generally itching junky style to get back on the river as soon as possible. Next week the crew is heading to the North Fork of the White River, in the Show Me State of Missouri. We are going to do some filming, chase some tail (trout  and bass to be specific), and eat some corn (I guess that’s what you do in Missouri?).  All I have to say is that I am going to do my best to see if there is any truth behind these farmer’s daughter jokes I have been hearing (Wifey, I am only joking, I could never be attracted to a luscious, milky, corn-raised farm girl..seriously never…I love you, Honey).


Planning World Trout Domination

10 03 2009

It has been kind of busy lately so sorry for the lengthy absence.  The season is so close that I can smell the bird nests a brewing.  I have recently been picking up days at the shop which works out well since I desperately need the money and I get a bigger discount.  These two facts seem to have something to do with each other.  Between school the shop and the rest of the crap that seems to creep onto my calendar I actually did get to go fishing on Sunday.  I met up with Ryan from Bent Rod Media to catch a day on the boat.  This trip was the first time I had seen Ryan since we met on the river a month or so ago.  I checked out some of the short films the guys had done and was impressed.  Ryan and I had proceeded to correspond over email about how I could help out with some upcoming filming and other stuff.  When he showed up at the house I kind of felt like a fly fishing internet predator.  Technology has queered a lot of things.  Thankfully it seems that neither of us are complete douschbags (maybe just a little on my part?) and we headed out.   The Watauga “Trophy Section” was the chosen spot as no where else around was running any water.  I needed to get on it to scout anyway.   We were definitely not the only boats on the water but putting in late always pays off and we wound up being the second to last people off the water.  It was sunny, 70’s and frickin’ gorgeous outside.  We immediately got into a Blue Wing hatch.  The Watauga is the only river I have ever seen where the BWO’s hatch bigger on sunny warm days……weird.  Things started kind of slow as we bullshitted as much as we fished.  The flotilla was strong and we were happy to hang out at the top while the guides made their sprints for the lower end.  We eventually started picking off fish on micro mays, split-case olives, cdc bwo emergers, and soft hackle pheasant tails.  The fishing was not by any means hot but was more than good enough on a beautiful day in early march.  More importantly many plans for future trips to exotic locales were hatched, and sometimes planning can be almost as fun as fishing.  I am going up there again tomorrow and will take my wife’s camera this time (as mine has recently shit the bed) and get some pictures up on this rag.

What the Tuck?

17 02 2009

Yes, sports fans I am referring to the mighty Tuckasseeggee (I always forget how many ee’s, ss’s , and gg’s are in that word so I have added extra to cover my bases) River in beautiful Jackson County NC, affectionately referred to as the Tuck by most everyone ’round them parts.  Sorry for the colloquialism but I am southern and never feel like I can get away with writing southern without sounding like a jackass, but I digress.  Yesterday I was propositioned by my boss to join a shop flotilla on the Tuck.  As I am new to the shop and jockeying for days I graciously accepted the invitation to row some folks around  and maybe even get to see a fish or two as there were three guides, a fine bamboo rod maker, a fly shop owner, and a board member of our local TU on the boats.  The day started off as usual in February on the Tuck; cold, slow, and waiting on water.  Duke Power had said they were running the big generator and yesterday they actually did it.  The sun shines on every dog’s ass one day, or so the saying goes. We pushed the boats through the top section picking off a few fish along the way.  It was at this point of the trip that the ‘boo rod maker on the boat proceeds to tie on a fly that I was not familiar with.  I caught a fleeting glimpse of something fuscia but my mind was a flutter and I let it go.  Well he starts sticking fish at a higher rate than the other chaps and I ask what in the hell is that pink thing he is throwing.  I get a mumbled response which I press him on.  Well, I will just say that this man, that crafts beautifully expensive bamboo fly rods, was throwing a certain plastic product that the trout love and that comes in all different flavors including root beer and candy corn.  When I remark on the hilarity of what is transpiring in front of me, he looks at me with a smile and tells me, “It’s February, these are stockers, and I like catching fish.”  

The moral of this story is let’s not shame anyone for how they go about catching a fish on a fly rod.  To all you guys that have spent countless hours at the vise tying up the ultimate pellet fly, or even for you guys out in WY that chum up the water in the elk refuge by kicking up hoppers  (you know who you are, I saw you do it last summer you slimy bastard)…..REJOICE!!! Let there be no shame it’s all just fishing in the end.  Unless you are using spinning gear, then I won’t have anything to do with you…….cheater!

At the end of the day fish were caught, some even on flies.  My boss only caught one but it was the last hole and it was the biggest fish of the day.  I am sure it will be making an appearence on a certain shop site in the near future.  They were taking the usual DH stuff as well as midges.  My advice is spend the next couple weeks tying because it’s only gonna get better in march.

Wet Tail(water) Dreams

8 02 2009

So with guide season looming I am spending a significant amount of time scouting out wading water around my home of Asheville.  The weather has been generally cold, colder, and really frickin’ cold.  This doesn’t bother me so much as it does the trout looking up through the ice.  Half the wild water around here has been iced over as much as it hasn’t for the past month and every Mexican and redneck has poached all the fish out of every delayed harvest stream in North Carolina.  I will take a moment here to say that I have nothing against and generally admire the Mexican people as hardworking and honest BUT, can you please  go rape the catfish populations and leave the trout alone?  Seriously trout that eat dog food taste like dog food. That being said, I have been able to get some days on our fine smaller free stone waters here in the western corner of the state and I have decided that all you small stream, brook trout purist guys can keep that shit for yourself.  I love you guys but I have nothing in common with you except our shared disdain for all things not  trout on the fly.  Why would I haul my admittedly out of shape and lazy ass up or down a steep trail so I can fish a 20′ section of creek for 4″ fish all day when I can comfortably sit in my boat and fish 4 to 7 miles of river where the trout make their creek trout cousins look like Emmanuel Lewis (T.V’s Webster) compared to the Fridge (The fattest man of my childhood), all while drinking my beer out of a cooler like a civilized human being.  You savages of the woods be warned I will not tolerate your tom foolery on my tail waters.  There will be no bow and arrow casting, there will be no Taliban like belly crawls through the shallows, there will also in no way be demonstrations of your superior physical shape or fishing abilities at any time on our waters below the dams.  Any of this behavior will result in swift retaliation, mainly me complaining some more every time my clients hook the eightieth tree for the day.  Tuesday i go float the Watauga and leave all my small worries behind.

The Suckers Are Spawning! The Suckers Are Spawning!

15 01 2009

It has been a while since I have been able to bear my soul electronically, mostly due to the recent move to Asheville, but also because of my constant self loathing.  A lot has been going on and not enough of it fishing.  In my internet absence the TVA has ruined one Eastern TN river by filling it with a BILLION tons of fly ash.   I read that the TVA blamed the subsequent Clinch River fish kill on a monster wave that traveled down the river pushing fish outside the natural banks of the river, into the flood zone. When the waters receded the fish were left high and dry on the banks.  Now, I am not calling the TVA liars (incompetent, maybe?), but isn’t it the least bit plausiblethat the unholy amounts of arsenic dumped into the river could have had a little to do with the fish kill?   The damages done to the ecology of the area are nothing in comparison to the poor sons-a-bitches who actually lived in the path way of this tsunami of shit.  The most frustrating aspect of this story is the non-chalance the national media showed for an environmental disaster that rivaled the Exxon Valdese.  To all my brethren that used to make a living on that river, come on down the road and I’ll buy you a beer and listen to your plots to overthrow the TVA with nothing more than an 12 wt. rod and a four foot long articulated streamer.  Vive le Resistance!

Now that I have hugged my tree for the day I will tell you a tale of a man, a river, and a week of rain.  I found out that I was guiding a float trip this weekend and figured I would make the run across the mountain and scout the Watauga as I had not fished it in a couple of weeks.  I did not however find any reason to check the CFS before I left at 6:30 in the morning.  If I would have checked the CFS,  I would have known that due to recent storms the river was higher than it has been in a few years as far as I could tell.  When I say high I do not mean, “Oh…the water is a little off color I better throw big flashy crap.” I mean the water had deposited debris twenty feet into the parking lot of the put in.

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

The sign on the tree actually says, "No Littering"

I decided there was no need for me to pop a tire so I decided to wait.  Day after day I checked the flows.  The river did not come down for six days straight.  Well yesterday was my day come hell or high water (the pun is completely intended so suck it).  I got to the river early and found the Department of Wildlife Services had brought the backhoe to clean off the boat ramp.  This was a good thing because the snow shovel I had packed, for the very same reason, would have take a wee bit longer.

Put on your big boy pants

Put on your big boy pants

These guys in the raft were nice enough to share their secret after a slow morning.  The secret was orange eggs.  Now I hate fishing eggs, but I like getting tipped by clients.  Weighing these two sides I have decided that the suckers are spawning, so orange eggs for my clients and little American flags for everyone.  I caught fish on orange and peach beads (pinned Alaska style), attractor nymphs, and streamers.  Turns out when you triple the flow and add in the sucker spawn, the Watauga Tailwater acts more like a DH stream.  That’s the great part about what we do though, you learn something new everyday.  Well school has started and I have to go learn how to read,  Ta Ta for now bitches.

Movin’ On Up

23 12 2008

Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope I am not brought to violence by the end of the season, as I am holing up with my family in the mountains for the next few days.  I plan on pulling streamers on the S. Holston while most are cuddled up with their loved ones and I am not planning on apologizing for it (except to my wife who is left alone with my family while I fish). The other big news is that wifey and I are moving to Asheville after the first of the year.  This has been on the books for a while but she just found out that she got a great job up there, so now she can continue to support me and my fishing addiction in the manner that I have  grown accustomed to over the years.  I will now only be 20 minutes from the closest trout water instead of two hours.  I can’t even describe how much this is going to rule, and by mean rule I mean, “FUCKING RULE”.  So as I say my goodbyes to Charlotte for the last time I will leave you with a quote from a classic, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you. I’m out.”  Cuban B, Half Baked

(Sorry for the sailor talk but the holidays bring out the worst in this non-practicing Jew Agnostic)

Daddy Got A New Rod

17 12 2008

My newly ordered Scott S4 has arrived and I am off to the park to make sweet love to it for the first time.  (I hope it’s gentle)  I have also added some blogs I find hysterical and informative to the blog roll.  I will no doubt write about the new rod as it will become my new best friend.