Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tight Line time of year...

Sundays in the park with a fishing buddy... what could be better? I went fishing with Caleb Abramson this past weekend on a clear and crisp day.

Fishing in December has its joys. Water temperature is not among them. The water was a balmy 38 degrees near the Sinks, and consequently fishing was a grinding ordeal of high-stick nymphing.

I have a fair amount of experience with high-sticking, dating back to my Steelheading days. However, I am not in the same league as Caleb. Local guide Tim Doyle refers to Caleb as the "Jedi of the Wet Fly". Caleb grew up fishing in the park with many of the old timers, emulating their favored technique.

There were many subtle differences in Calebs style of high-sticking. Most notable was the lighter rig he was using. I am used to using a great deal of split shot, actually bouncing it across the shale bottom of my Ohio home streams. Caleb uses little or no shot, relying instead on the weight of the nymph to get his rig to the bottom. He also favors a 3-4 cast and move on approach where I am used to repeatedly dredging the same slot until I am convinced it is a futile gesture.

I learned a few other things Sunday. I learned the Little River is one slippery stream. I learned that when you combine a cold stream with a slippery bottom, you can end up shipping a bit of water and are left with some very cold feet. But I also learned that with patience, high sticking can be a very effective way of taking fish in the park when there is no hatch activity to speak of.

In the end I caught 5 fish including an 11 inch rainbow, but I am not yet a Jedi. Caleb, at home on bith the river and with his chosen technique netted just under a dozen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

9/6/2006 Little River GSMNP

I managed to get away for a day fishing with Tim Doyle. Tim is a good friend and local guide. He runs Smoky Mountain Flywerks guide service. We started out the day throwing big terestrials to over hangs and under cuts. This is one of Tims specialties and I learned a lot of great tips. My first fish was a 13 inch brown trout. This was my largest fish to date in the GSMNP. We continued fishing and ended up in a very well known place that holds some large browns.

After Tim caught a couple I started fish some likely spots. I had absolutely no looks and started working my way up stream. I was looking upstream and a flash of white caught my eye. I froze to get a better look. What I saw astounded me as the largest brown I have ever seen appeared before my eyes. He was lodged in a large slot on the stream bottom. I yelled at Tim, is that a fish. Your "F"ing right thats a fish he replied. Tim immeadeately knew what was on the menu.

While I stayed frozen, he placed two flies on a stick and threw it out to me. Hands trembling I tied on the two flies. On top was a small girdle bug and on bottom was a size sixteen bead head pheasant tail nymph. After four drifts the brown looked as though he had eaten and I set the hook, but nothing was there. At this point I was completly frazzled, hands trembling and my heart was ready to jump out of my chest. I took a couple seconds to recoupe. Three drifts later he ate and the party was on. He came to the surface and shook his in fustration. After a couple of good runs I managed to beach him in a small back eddy. This was my second fish and now largest fish to date in GSMNP.