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

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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.