Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Highs and Lows of Winter Fly Fishing

The past few days have been cold and snowy here at the World Headquarters of Southeastern Fly. The temperature went from 50 to 15 degrees in just 48 hours. The ramps are covered with ice and snow but the big thaw is underway as this report is being written. The tying bench has been getting some heavy use, as has the music from The Lumineers Live from the iTunes Festival.  Some good stuff has been coming off the vise.
We have been fishing high water when the conditions are right. Fishing streamers has been working and working well. The techniques have been variable while results have been pretty darn good. The fish have been eating flies void of color and the action has been dependent on the speed of retrieve.  Faster has not always been better.
We have enjoyed warmer weather throughout most of this Winter and even with the high water most of the days have been comfortable. But the winds of the jet stream have shifted and now we are layering-up. 
Even as the jet stream movement the fish continued to respond with big eats and good fighting energy. The numbers have been down a little but we have been getting some nice fish. The few musky floats have seen fish continue to follow, eat, then get away. The browns have been our bread and butter. The browns can be picky and as I said before the results have been dependent on the speed of the retrieve. Actually the speed has been critical. 
Over the next few weeks our floats will rely on water levels as well as angler's tolerance for colder temperatures. The lower temperatures are welcomed and if you have read the reports over the last several winter months you know why. The wintertime flies have been tied so we are ready for whatever might come our way...including top water fishing on the tailwaters.

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Middle TN Streamer Fishing Report

The high temperature today is 31 degrees with enough wind to help move that cold through many layers of dress. So today I am inside and catching up on the many off the water duties. But our trips to the river have been productive so far this winter season. 
There is high water everywhere so we have been pulling streamers for over a month now. Anglers are booking trips and some days we are rescheduling due to water conditions. But, I wanted to take a moment and say thanks to those who have wanted to book trips only to have to shuffle plans because of the water conditions. The next few weeks look good as far as the weather goes and hopefully the tailwaters will get on a more normal routine.
The high water has meant we are pulling streamers. The right speed of the strip with the right pattern has been producing some pretty good results. Fly color has been important for trout and the lighter the color the better the chance of picking up a good fish. On the musky waters we have a couple color-patterns that have been producing most of our follows, fish-on and if everything goes right fish in the net.
This Winter a boat has been about the only good way to fish the tailwaters. For the anglers who have been getting on the water it has been a lesson in high water streamer techniques for sure.  If you want to learn high water techniques, want a shot at some really nice fish and have the mental toughness to keep casting and stripping, then it looks like the next several weeks are a good time to get out there. Just give us a call, text or email and we will get a date on the calendar.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Welcome Anthony to the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club

The musky waters were higher and more stained than I like so today Anthony and I went to the tailwaters. The water release was high and we did not expect really good results. The fish had other ideas. We will get to all that later.

Anthony has been fishing with me since before I started trying to put people on fish. He was there and towed my first drift boat. He was also there on a lot of days when I was trying to learn how to row without hitting too much stuff in one float. He has always been a good streamer angler, but he hasn't been able to break into the 20+ Club. Those are just a few of the reasons I couldn't wait to get home and put together this article. Another reason I couldn't wait was because Anthony has laid out some really good casts over the years and has been within an inch of the 20+ Club on several different occasions. His time has been coming.

On this day Anthony was dialed in and was into fish almost right away. He brought a 16" brown and another fish to the net. We were well into our float when it all began to come together. With his favorite streamer rod, heavy sinking line and what turned out to be the right fly choice he was laying out some good casts.

Anthony set the hook and and the line began to run upstream. We were moving along pretty slow and for the first few seconds I thought it could be a log. But, logs don't shake their heads and they don't move from one side of the boat to the other either.  Being seasoned anglers and all that, we were pretty sure it wasn't a log. 

Anthony gained control of the fish and mentioned something about 6X tippet, which made me cringe. He kept ahead of the fish and finally it began to come to the top. At first it looked like a medium sized striper, then it came closer and I got a little jealous we kept working the fish. Then the fish came quietly to the net and there were high fives as well as fist pumps all around. I am sure Anthony wanted to whip and nae nae, but this is fly fishing and not pro football.  We took the appropriate hero shots and released the fish to catch next time. For the next several minutes he had that glassy eyed look, like we all have when a nice fish has been brought to the net. Like every other angler who catches a nice fish like he kept saying "that was a nice fish..."  Congratulations Anthony nice work today and welcome to the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Welcome Daniel M. to the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club


How bad do angler's want that big fish?  Dan wants the big fish so bad he would drive three hours, throw a big streamer for hours on end and then drive three hours to get home. After all that he somehow answers the bell to be at work the next morning. 
When I rolled into the ramp parking lot early there was a lot of activity. Vehicles parked all around and blocking the muddy ramp. People scurrying around not doing much of anything but getting in the way. Eventually the people moved those vehicles out of the way and began to go about their day. 

Dan and David K. were suited up and soon loaded their stuff in the drifter. There were boxes of flies, fly rods, jackets, leaders, lunches, nets, cameras and all the other things that make a good day on the water. What was the most important thing in the boat? In my opinion David brought chocolate brownies! An entire large Ziploc bag of fresh chocolate goodness.

After backing down the muddy ramp we slid the drifter off the trailer. Before long we felt the boat push away from the gravel bank and take its rightful place floating high on a smooth flowing river. And it felt good too.
Musky fishing is not really as glamorous as people think. There is a lot of time spent casting, pulling big streamers, turning some figure eights, and picking the next likely spot...then casting again. 

Each angler will take a different approach. David K. is one who likes to change flies throughout the day and he is good about experimenting with those different patterns and colors. That helps pass the time and gives a boost to his confidence level at times. Dan was sticking with one fly. That fly apparently brought him confidence. As the day wore on and the follows came for both David and Dan their confidence was building in both ends of the boat. Me? I couldn't buy a follow.

We were bombing a particularly a good bank. I was keeping the guys more toward that bank and Dan was in the front brace getting some good shots. He was swimming that articulated fly off the bank and across some vegetation, skipping it across some smaller pot holes. I felt the line come tight from the rower's bench and looked up to see Dan was already leading the fish. He was gaining control and putting a big bend in his 11 wt. It seemed like we all knew what to do. I stayed on the oars and grabbed a camera, while David dug out the net. Dan was staying ahead of the fish and it was now making some runs around the front of the boat. The fish made a big run to the right and jumped a couple times, Dan grabbed a handful of cork and lead that fish back to the left side of the boat. Then we saw the head come up and he coaxed it into David's waiting net. We clicked off some photos and soon the fish was released and swimming away. A few compliments to the angler and we were floating again. 

Dan summed up this musky take in an almost perfect manner. His recollection of the still fresh events? "I was watching my fly coming back toward the boat, the fly disappeared and there was a big fish on the line". Sounds pretty simple but nothing is quite as simple as it seems.

Adventure Problem Solving: David K and I have been in some situations that would require some serious problem solving skills. The end of this float was deemed the adventure portion of the day when we finally made it to the takeout. Arriving after dark, the takeout was solid mud with no way of getting the truck and trailer to the water's edge. So after some thought, as well as an extra strap we pulled the boat up the muddy bank using the truck.  It wasn't too long before we had the boat on the trailer and were headed down the highway after a long day of casting big flies to big fish. Dan and David it was another good day thanks for the fellowship and good stories. Dan, congratulations on joining a group of really good anglers in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club.

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Winter Streamer Fishing in Tennessee

The last days of Fall got us into some nice fish and as Winter comes our way we are off to a pretty good start. We have a strong number of musky haunts picked out and ready for anglers to throw meaty streamers. The musky flies are tied and the 10 weight rods are loaded with just the right lines. Also, from time to time throughout the winter floats I expect to pick up some smallies. 
Are bigger musky streamers better? There are many different schools of thought on this subject. Such as which types of food are available in the system at a certain time? The answer to this question supports just one of those schools of thought concerning the size of the fly. Getting a fish to strike isn't about what catches the angler's eye. It can be more about what the fish is looking to eat in the system or what the fish has been eating in that system the last few days.  Reaction strikes? Reaction strikes are a different situation all together. Some of our best fish have come on the reaction strike. The fly hits the water and after a pull or two on the streamer, bang, fish on! Normally these strikes are very much blind luck. But, blind luck strikes can be among least expected and the most exciting. Ready to get out there and fish for those toothy critters? We have everything to put you in position to pick up your fish of a lifetime.

Winter and early Spring on the tailwaters are some of the best "big fish days". Even though it is early and really cold weather is still around the corner, the big fish "are on the eat." We have been pretty lucky so far and caught our share of nice ones. If you want to trophy hunt we can put you in position to do that too.
I called David K. and we agreed to meet up and float the river on high water. The weather was going to be wet and nasty with additional nastiness as the day wore on. We began the day banging along the banks. There was very little action. A few fish flashing but no real commitment was just the way it was going. We swapped tactics and anchored to fish the edge of a gravel bar. A few hours early the gravel bars were high and dry, but with the high water we finally found some feeding fish. I was lucky to be in the front brace and David was in the rear brace. Both of us were thrashing the water wildly tossing smaller streamers. The absence of color was getting the most looks. Finally the 6 wt, Helios 2 stopped in mid-presentation and the first fight of the day was on. 

It didn't take long to figure out this was a big fish. There was the stop of the rod, the hook set with a pull back from the fish and then the head shakes. There were a lot of head shakes and when that wasn't working the fish went to the bottom of the river to try something new. Fortunately, I saw this fishy move the day before with Donnie in the front brace and remembered what to do. I didn't completely lose my mind but it could have happened. While all this action was unfolding David K. moved into the rower's seat and lifted the anchor. He also had his net poised for the scoop. When the time was right and the fish was ready, we moved the fish into the net. A couple hero shots, some time to revive the fish and then it was over. The river was once again calm with a quick flow. Just like that we were just watching the river pass. However, now we were both saying "wow what a fish". Then it was David's turn in the front brace as I checked back in at the rower's seat. A short time later we spotted an eagle enjoying the river as well. It was all came together just as the rain picked up.
Do you want to learn to streamer fish or already know how but want your shot at a big fish? The rivers in Middle Tennessee are pretty darned pleasant right now and should be that way for the next few months. The recreational traffic is non-existent for the most part and the fair weather anglers are couch-sitting. That's fine because just these two factors open up more opportunity, which is needed as the metabolism of the fish slows a little. There are no guarantees when hunting for that trophy fish, but there are some open dates on the calendar before and after the New Year to get your shot. Just get in touch via email, phone or text to get a date on the books.

There was 5" of rain that fell in Middle Tennessee so right now there is enough water to go around. But, already the lakes have peaked and have begun their fall. We are expecting heavy generation for the next few weeks at least. After that we are hoping for some longer windows of fishable flows as we move toward colder weather. Stay tuned for reports throughout the upcoming months. 

If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Donnie on the Drift Boat

Donnie booked some time in the front casting brace of the drifter and caught the largest brown since he began fly fishing. Karl came along strictly for the entertainment value. But we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. We started the day on high water and Donnie started with a streamer rod in his hand. After a good 30 minutes there were no signs of fish and certainly no fish in the net. It was going to be a long day...or so we thought.
We stowed the streamer rod and brought out the prototype nymphs. Then we began our search for high water seams. After dialing in the boat position and Donnie's presentation the hatchery brats began to come to the net. All this on high water was a good sign. It wasn't long before the generator turned off and the water began to get flat. At the same time the fish turned off almost completely. On this day there weren't even the rises to the little white specs after the generation. With the exception of the sound of the fly rod casting and the oars dipping into the water, it was almost dead calm. 
A little while later the fishing picked back up and the fish were coming to the nymph. After we got them coming to the nymph they came to the net on semi-regular basis. We weren't setting the world on fire but it felt like Donnie had a real shot at a nice fish even if the water was still on the high side. The plan was to fish deep and try to dredge a nice fish... 
Donnie was dialing in the cast and presentation. He was getting it more together with each turn of the river. Then the fly bottomed out on back to back casts. On the third cast Donnie's fast hook set stuck a nice fish. The fish didn't move too fast at first but when the fish came to the top we both knew it was a nice brown. This brown saved all its energy for a fight at the boat. Donnie was ready and his Orvis rod had just the right flex throughout the entire fight. Finally the head came up and Donnie slid the fish into the net. Smiles all around for the guys in the drift boat! Donnie just caught the largest brown since he began fly fishing. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Middle Tennessee Fly Fishing

It has been almost a month since the last report but we have been on the river as generation, weather and general flows have permitted. We are booking trips and shuffling dates as needed to get anglers on the best water. Adjustments have been key, as usual our anglers have remained flexible and the fish have been there when we arrive.
The Elk River-  The draw down of Tims Ford Lake is in full swing. Fortunately for us TVA is leaving full day windows on most weekends. Fish are eating the usual offerings with nymphs being the best bet for bringing fish to the net. Streamers will work especially if anglers can get on falling water. Color on streamers has been key.

The Caney Fork River- The sluice has been staining the water for over a month. Now the large sluice has turned off and the water is clearing a little. With zero, one and then two generators, early floats are the best bet for folks booking trips. That all could change with the next days schedule release so we are setting float plans the night before the trips.
Nymphs are bringing fish to the net. Reach in the box and try some midge patterns, if something is not producing keep going through the rotation until the fish turn on. If we find one fish we usually find another. We are on the move throughout the day but we also are not afraid to stop when we find a feeding fish and it feels like there should be more around.
We have been doing a little musky fishing with double digit follows and fish on...then off. Look for more reports as time permits us to get out on the right flows. The toothy critters are stepping up and there is a possibility for some good fishing through Spring then hopefully into the warmer months. Smallies have retreated for the most part and are setting up themselves for the winter months. However, they will still eat an extremely slow moving fly.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall on the River with Greg and Mike

The weather is turning from warm weather to wader weather. We worked a little on presentation and delivering the fly, then climbed into the boat. A couple pulls on the oars and the current wrapped around the hull, then we began our drift toward feeding fish. 
It wasn't long before the fish were responding to the nymphs and midges. Greg and Mike were both into fish within the first 10 minutes of their drifts. Business picked up even more when we located a large pod of feeding fish. We collected some doubles along the way as the morning fog lingered.
We continued floating and hitting most of the structure. Creeks that joined the river held some good fish as well. The fish were eating, but not rising and we never really got into good rises. The dries would stay in the box and we would adjusting indicators most of the trip. Later in the afternoon we would have a shot at rising fish.
After lunch we were back on in the drifter and continuing to seek out the best structure. Greg was on the boat a couple months ago and he knows the routine. But this was Mike's first time to fish from the braces. He was in the groove quickly on this trip and began to understand presentation as the shoals passed under the boat one by one.
We stopped along the way to break out the dry flies, but nymphs were still the king of catching. Presentations had to be spot-on and presentations made of anything less wouldn't work on this day. Greg and Mike were both presenting a good fly so there were no worries about getting a bite when we passed the most likely places. On the final leg of the trip we boat a few more fish. The sun began to settle behind the trees and as that happened fishing slowed. We rowed to the takeout and soon the bow touched the gravel bar on another good trip. Greg and Mike, nice job guys it was a pleasure to spend a day on the river. See you on our next float.

The weather continues to move toward waders and fleece. We are moving into shorter days, but there is still time to get good floats where we are presenting flies to feeding fish.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Elton and David Come Back on the Drift Boat

It's been just over a year since Elton and David were on the drifter. So, they are no strangers to our way of presenting the fly. For our trip this year the temperature was 75 degrees and the weather was exceptional, with an early morning fog laying on the river. Under that layer of fog, fish awaited our flies. Elton was on the board early and had already hooked up with several fish while I ran the shuttle.
We moved downstream immediately and began working on presentation. The fishing wasn't setting any records early in the float, but we did net some quality along the way. Early morning nymphs, with a solid dead-drift were the flies of choice. Structure was holding the fish. That structure included the gravel bars and the ends of the long-slow pools. Elton and David were getting in a groove with good mends and solid hooksets. 
The morning continued with hot and cold fishing. After lunch we were back in the drifter with plenty of water left to float. We kept presenting nymphs and moving from one productive stretch of water to the next. Presentations had to be "spot on" to get the results we desired.
It was most anglers favorite time again, time to present dries to feeding fish. Both Elton and David took turns on the dry fly. The fish were a little picky and we went through a large portion of a dry fly box. Parachutes would produce a strike, but the presentation had to be dead-perfect. As we were getting ready to make our next move and the anchor was on the way up, David tossed a small terrestrial into the pod of feeding fish. He hooked up. The anchor went back into the water and soon we were bringing another fish into the net.
We began the drift toward the ramp. Under the watchful eye of the resident osprey the guys continued fishing nymphs and dries. In the shade and away from the afternoon sun the nymph out produced the dry. The guys finished another successful day on the river. This year the catching wasn't quite as easy as last year. The quality was good, the time in the drift boat was therapeutic and the company was outstanding as usual. Thanks Elton and David it was another good day in the drifter.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.