The South Holston

13 05 2011

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Proverbs 37:4

Brent, Bregitte, Rosemary, Gail and I headed to the South Holston River (Bluff City, TN) to celebrate Brent’s graduation (MA) from App. State. We were there from Monday, May 9 – 13. It is a truly beautiful place and Brent and I enjoyed three days of fishing. Tuesday we figure we got about 20, Wednesday was not as good as we had a lot of rain Tuesday night. Thursday things picked up again. We got a lot of fish on top with a BWO. Most of the fish we caught were browns which was pretty neat as all the browns in the SH are “wild”. (Meaning that although not native to the SH they are no longer stocked but are naturally reproducing.)

The Dam Area

The Stretch of River Brent and I fished (mostly). 

A couple of “average” fish.

Brent and a good un’

 

 





What obligations?

6 04 2011

“Studious men, who live in the country, are more advantageously situated; but he, who is pent up in a town, vexed by the excitements of the day, and driven, in spite of himself, to late and irregular hours, could get profit every way, if at times he would seek the purer air, free from the city’s smoke, and with his rod as a staff, climb the hills, and ply his quiet art in the brooks that wash the mountain side, or wander through the green valleys, shaded by the willow and the tasseled alder.” –   Rev. George Washington Bethune, 1847

Vexed by the excitements of the day, indeed. In need of “purer air” that is lacking in our laundry/dressing/office room, I hit the Watauga for the first time in a month or more. I am well into the fishing section (think: magnum opus) of my thesis, and the excursion just sort of planned itself. Alone for about three hours (who would be out at 40 degrees and raining?), I didn’t think about anything. I even tried pondering poems and quotes, but nothing came besides “It do feel good to be back out here.” At any rate, the fishing may be the best I’ve had in Carolina. Them trouts wanted the boog. Virtually every hole in the way to the usual spots held scores of ravenous denizens of the brook. On the swing, on the strip, even when I walked upstream (and who doesn’t look around with hopes that no scornful stalker witnessed the method of delivery?) these creatures were on the prowl. This brookie was the last of the spoils, and though I hadn’t expended myself, I figured he was a good one to end on. Prolly went two pounds, 18 or so inches. Add to that the fact that I was greeted by two angels and homemade cinnamon rolls when I got home, and the vexations melted like last night’s snow. Amen!
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Watauga Brookie





Have Mercy

22 06 2010

Well, what a trip so far.  I wonder if I can talk my wife into embracing such a transient lifestyle.  I think the Trout Bums are onto something, moving around, chasing fins.  I made it to Newport, Rhode Island to Papa Lars and Mama Nellie’s place.  I tried to find out about an angling mayor from the early 1900s, and since that turned up bupkis, I am trying my hand at striper fishing.  In Narragansett Bay.  Atlantic Ocean.  I haven’t thrown the fly at them yet, but last night, the ol’ Rappala did just fine.  Them boys were flailing around chomping on squid, but a well-aimed cast with the king of crankbaits elicited a few slashing strikes.  You could see them in the light cast by the largest ship I’ve ever seen  (on the navy base, this monster transport used for Abrams tanks and heavy armored vehicles, dwarfed even the aircraft carrier docked next to it) as the stripers were surfacing.  I tried to cast just in front of them as they were cruising, and surprisingly, it worked.  I attribute most of my success to leaving my camera at home, but I managed to land three of the brutes, lost two, missed one, and had several chasers.  The fight left a little to be desired, but my weaponry consisted of some pretty heavy tackle, and I was just horsing them in.  This keeper measured 30″, and was my second fish.  We are making plans to hit it tonight, and I’m bringing the six weight St. Croix, so we’ll see what kind of match the ol’ noodle is for these salty beasts.
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Striped bass from Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island





Green Mountain Boy

22 06 2010

Well, the northern Appalachians are no less beautiful than their southern cousins, and their waters boast some of the most famous trout fishing in all of Creation.  After a fantastic stay in Pennsylvania, I made for the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont and the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester.  The research revealed that perhaps the clergy of the American nineteenth century were thwarted from conservation/nature talk because of the current backlash against natural theology (apparently a trend since the days of St. Thomas Aquinas).  Nevertheless, a host of names were revealed, and I plan to peruse sermons of the masters of the rod and pulpit, to explore what their ideas of nature and God were, as revealed to them through their fishing exploits. (I can’t believe angling is serious scholarship, but hey, its a niche.)

On to the fishing, err field research!  I camped on the Battenkill (yes, that Battenkill) the home waters of Mr. Charles Orvis himself, the first two nights.  Unfortunately, I left my Battenkill model Orvis reel in the AK (would have been like having a Sam Adams with Sam Adams), but proceeded anyways.  I caught a nice 10 inch (disregard the word nice if you’re fishing Alaska this season) brook trout and a few small browns.  The river, the locals say, is on its way “back” because of a recent catch-and-release mandate, and to bring in even a handful of fish, particularly for an outsider, should be counted a success.  Didn’t fish much throughout the week, but Friday, at the insistence of some real nice folks at the Orvis shoppe, I hiked a couple of miles to Little Rock Pond.  Of course, my camera jacked up just as I was loading my tent, but that is perhaps the very reason that I did well fishing.  I found a kayak stashed in the woods and as the night descended and the winds died, I chased little native brookies all over the lake.  Landed about 7 or 8 on the Royal Wulff, and slept like a king.  First time doing some real camping in a while, and although Ging and Bougaloo weren’t there, I was thinking about them and had a great sleep.  Woke the next day to some hot sunshine, and a couple more Brookies on the fly.  I have to leave, though reluctantly, this afternoon.  Kind of felt a little like Thoreau must have this week, not exactly Transcendental, but Romantic at the very worst.
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American Museum of Fly Fishing, Manchester, VT
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Vermont countryside
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Battenkill River, near the New York border





PA

22 06 2010

So much for the Alaskan fishing. In an endeavor to secure research material, I flew back to North Carolina and prepared for a trip around New England researching our forebears of angling legend. On my way to Vermont, I stopped in to see an old friend, Lee Michaels, who now resides in Southwestern Penn’s Woods. We overnighted on the Laurel Hill Creek, and to our delight, just as night fell and darkness suspended our fishing exploits, the water began to explode as little rainbows gulped the evening hatch. We didn’t do all that well, but had a killer time hanging out creekside, and fished when we woke up through the afternoon. Pennsylvania holds some of the most classic trout water in the East, and it was a delight just to wet a fly in an area so famous for its angling history. Lee, it was great hanging out, can’t wait to do it again. (Put the driver away, and pick up the rod every chance you get, brother).
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Lee, fishing the evening hatch on Laurel Creek

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Pretty little PA rainbow





North Carolina 3/25/10

25 03 2010

Gail and I are visiting Brent, Bregitte, and Rosemary this week (leave for home tomorrow) and are having a grand time!

While not a “real” fishing trip Brent and I did get out for a couple of hours yesterday and today. We fished the Watuga only a couple of miles from where they live. All of the fish are stocked but we had fun anyway. Did pretty good both days.

Here are a couple of pics from the trip.

Marme holding Rosemary.

Brent (without his head) holding a fish.

The view of the Watuga from B&B’s house.





Early Fall, WNC

16 10 2009
Nice Brookie

Nice Brookie

Early fall here in Western Carolina brings with it crisp weather, amazing forest reds, yellows and oranges, and wouldn’t you know, pretty good trout fishing. Dad and Miss Gail showed up early this week as I was on fall break, sort of, with a few days off from school. Though rainy and brisk, we have all had a delightful time enjoying the fall colors here in the mountains. As per my previous trip to Wilson Creek, Dad and I rose early Wednesday morning and made for the creek, about an hour’s drive away. We were a little early, thankfully were able to navigate a treacherous mountain road in thick, soupy fog, and before light broke over the mountains, took a swell nap in the truck as the rain pounded on the roof, an ominous start to the day. My second or third cast produced a little rainbow on the PT, and several more followed. I stayed with the nymph most of the day, and Dad used it some, along with the (surprise) olive wooly, and we had fairly decent success. Since I had class that night, we packed up early, but not before nailing a bunch in a row on the ole egg pattern. We guessed that we probably landed somewhere around 25 to 30 (remember we are fishermen.
We were so pleased with the fishing Wed, that we got up early Thursday to do it again. We left a little later, and that didn’t make much difference, only we were able to see the deadly drop offs on the edge of the mountain road. We started out with the egg, and soon found ourselves into some pretty good fishing. I dropped the egg quickly in favor of the olive wooly, which I used most of the day. There is nothing as exciting as a bump on the swing. Dad used the egg most of the day, and we figured that we probably caught 40 to 50 fish, and missed many more than that. The two biguns of the day were a brookie that was about 16 inches or so caught midmorning, and a nice brown that was a little bigger, both hung on the wooly. Overall, we had a fantastic time. WNC is full of tiny creeks, ditches really, that are difficult to fish and as far as reward for fishing, the little guys are small. It is nice to find a bit of a larger river with decent fish, and most importantly NO OTHER FISHERMEN.
Rosemary, of course, had a great time with Papaw and Marmie, and they enjoyed spending time with our little Frog. She didn’t get to go fishing like I know she wanted to, but she did go all over the High Country with Momma and Marmie. I hear she was sweet on the rides, and I believe it.

Brown on Wilson Creek

Brown on Wilson Creek


BroD on Wilson

BroD on Wilson


Rosemary in her new hat

Rosemary in her new hat


Rosemary and Marmie at Valle Crucis Park

Rosemary and Marmie at Valle Crucis Park