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.  

Sunday

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.

 

 

 

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).





Sticking Pigs On the Reservation Pictorial

27 03 2009

These are the pictures I finally tracked down from that trip to Cherokee a month ago.  The other guy is Nate, another guide from the shop.

 

One of the genetically mutated rainbow trout that has become part of the stocking fare at Cherokee

One of the genetically mutated rainbow trout that has become part of the stocking fare at Cherokee

 

Another view of that "Tracer" Trout

Another view of that "Tracer" Trout

 

Nate with an 8-9 lb. (if it's an ounce) Bow

Nate with an 8-9 lb. (if it's an ounce) Bow

 

Yours truly (just to prove the sun shines every dog's ass one day) with a battle scarred slab of a Bow and huge shit eatin' grin

Yours truly (just to prove the sun shines on every dog's ass one day) with a battle scarred slab of a Bow and a huge shit eatin' grin

 

Another one of me just you can't get arrested for being awesome

Another one of me because you can't get arrested for being awesome.

2 Guides…Six Hours….20 Landed….18 over 18″….Thank You Native Americans…..Thank You





Spring is Springing

24 03 2009

The smell of spring is in the air and I am taking a big  ‘ol wiff.  Much like the budding trees and returning songbirds, I feel a stirring in my loins that marks the end of the winter doldrums and the beginning of bugs hatching and our fishy friends rising.  There is truly no better time of year to be a grad student and guide without a 9-5 to go to.  I have been guiding the delayed harvest lately with a couple of tailwater floats thrown in there. Lady luck has been my bitch lately as all my clients  have been drinking at the plentiful trout waters that WNC and E. Tennesee have to offer.  I have found a couple of hours to fish on my own which leads me to my parable for the day children, a tale of two fisherman.  Our story begins with a float on the Watauga with a “dude” from the neighborhood.   This guy is not a fly fisherman but does occasionally enjoy dipping his big toe in the salt with full spinning gear attached.  He shows up at my house an hour late with the bait chuckers in tow.  I am an asshole by many standards but one thing that I am a stickler about is being punctual,  this rule is punishable by testicle tugging when it comes to fishing.  I am new to town and can’t afford to dismiss folks on minor transgressions though so I moved on.  The day’s fishing was somewhat slow as rain had brought the river to nearly unfishable conditions in terms of color and flow.  The lull in the action provide for some interesting conversation that I won’t go into but will say there is no story sadder then when his whore of an ex-wife cheats on him him with his  shit head of a best friend.  A couple of fish were molested but some truly deep emotions were tickled and  came out to play.

A couple of days after that another guide in the shop and I went to scout out some delayed harvest and wild water.  He showed up at the shop ten minutes late (which is early amongst most guides I know) and we set out.  The topics discussed were mostly fishing related and the only time the subject of women was brought up was when his girlfriend called to inform us that she had  stuck a 15lb. rainbow on the private trout club her family belongs to.  (I understand that this last sentence has made some of you moist as it did me writing it)

Well two very different days with two very different folks. I am going to rise above judgement here and  say that they were two days on the river that were still better than anything else I could have been doing that day.  Floating Sunday and will post something after that





The Shortest Watauga Report Ever

12 03 2009

 

My Apologies To Red Stripe

 

HOORAY TENNESSEE

HOORAY TENNESSEE

 

 

 

HOORAY TROUT

HOORAY TROUT

 

HOORAY ANOTHER TROUT

HOORAY ANOTHER TROUT

HOORAY FAT TIRE IS IN THE SOUTH

HOORAY FAT TIRE IS IN THE SOUTH

 

HOORAY NORTH CAROLINA

HOORAY NORTH CAROLINA





Sticking Pigs on the Reservation

27 02 2009

I have fished the trophy water over in Cherokee a couple of times in the past week scouting for the season.  For anybody that doesn’t know about this water don’t read any further because there are already too many people there already.  This means all of you Georgia guys.  I got nothing against you guys but we already have every asshole from Florida up here and the infrastructure just can’t take you guys too.  The kind Native Americans have taken to stocking a lot of very big fish in a 2.2 mile stretch of river that is fly fish only, catch and release only.  When I say big fish I am referring to fish that are measured in pounds and not inches and make you start worrying about breaking your 6 weight when you have one on.  In order to fish this water you have to pay of course, but only seven bucks a day and a twenty dollar year pass.  This has officially become a public trophy trout club for the everyman.  The proletariat in me wants to bang my hammer and sickle and shout, “Fuck the elite”.  But as usual I just nod and wave and ask the elite if there’s anything I can do to help them out in hopes of getting a good tip.  Now that I have gotten a trophy club experience I have come to conclusion that these type of waters with pellet fed trophy stockers are really nothing more than a pay to play trout pond with water running through it.  This type of water is like a New Orleans hooker, fun at first but eventually maces you and steals your wallet (Didn’t happen to me but I know a guy).  Don’t get me wrong I have pulled fifteen or so bad mama jammas over 20″ out of that water the last two times I have gone and it hasn’t gotten old yet, but I fear like all things in life it will.  I just hope it doesn’t ruin 18″ trout for me.





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.