Monday, November 28, 2016

Learn to Fly Fish Middle Tennessee

Stephanie, Jessica and Morgan were ready to go fly fishing on a cold clear morning. So the drifter was pushed off the trailer and we climbed aboard. We set up just a few feet off the gravel bar and began casting lessons. Jessica and Morgan were first and in no time at all I was feeling good. Stephanie, who put this trip together, was next and when she got her cast dialed-in we were underway.
We floated a while and even backed up for another shot at a the first section of water. We had no takers. But, we got into the next section and all three of our new anglers put a fish in the net. We moved down the river again. A short while later we moved into some water that has been productive over the last few months. The fishing was technical but the fish were responding, then Jessica hooked into her nicest rainbow of the trip. We brought the fish to the net and Morgan got into the shot when it was time to take a photo. After the fish was released, Morgan took over the front casting brace. This young lady then started getting into a groove. 

We drifted downstream a little farther and Morgan set the hook on a large fish. The fish was nice and began to go just a little crazy. Morgan kept up with the fish for a short time, but as it raced through the pool and shook its head the fly finally came loose, then it was over. Morgan took the loss better than I did... It was time to bring out the chocolate. Morgan and I got back some of our energy and went back to work.  
Stephanie had been viewing the events of the day from the rear casting brace and was throwing some good casts of her own. She had experience with the fly rod but it seemed she was having just as much fun watching her daughter and granddaughter trade the fly rod in the front brace. Then she made the mistake of offering decision to give up the rear casting brace to Morgan. 

As we do on the F/V Southeastern Fly, there is no "helping" the younger anglers with casting or retrieving. If they want to fly fish they are going to fly fish and once they learn the basics they are going to fly fish on their own. Morgan began fly fishing just a few hours earlier and what happened next was pretty amazing.

Morgan wasted no time using her new found talents to put on a casting and catching clinic. I was surprised at how well she was casting, but her hook set is where Morgan really came to life. She didn't miss many as she began to increase the numbers for herself and the boat in general. 

With Jessica in the front brace, Morgan in the rear brace and Stephanie keeping an extra eye on both, we finished out the morning strong. It wasn't long before the drifter crossed the last gravel bar and skidded onto the ramp. 

This was a productive trip. The morning started with cold temperatures and clear skies. The fishing began with new anglers. The angler's who started with casting lessons, ended with a mini fly fishing clinic. Morgan really has the beginnings of being a superstar in the fly fishing community. Hopefully she continues to get opportunities to continue what she began on this day.  It sure was a lot of fun spending the day with Stephanie, Jess and Morgan.
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 14, 2016

Sometimes It's Just Your Day

Our late fall/summer-like weather is coming to an end. It is ending slowly but ending none the less. John and his son Alex came to fish and the day started off cold. Well let's say the day started off cold for late Fall. But if the temperature was like this in the Spring we would all be in shorts. It is November so we were wearing waders and layers. Later we would remove some of those layers in the name of comfort. 

The sky was clear and the water just a little stained, but the fish began to respond early. Good presentation, as always, meant more than most anything else. Alex and John had been on the F/V Southeastern Fly before and took their spots in the braces, both know the drill. John had offered the front but Alex had fished from the rear brace before and apparently was comfortable...time would tell if this was entirely the right decision. Fishing from the front of the boat was at a premium and John got on the board first. We boated his smallish rainbow and it wasn't long before Alex came back with his own smallish brown trout out of the same big pool.
The fish score was even and then the overall fish count escalated. Alex began to get better presentations. John wasn't far off and then we moved into some of the slowest flow on the river. Alex began to pick up some of the better fish.
We would hit every likely spot we could find and the guys would pull their fair share of fish to the net throughout the day. But after a while it was apparent that Alex would be the one who had the hot stick on this day
That slow flow had produced good fish over the Summer but now the grass has grown to the point that angler's need to pick just the right areas to drop their fly. Clean and short drifts through grassy waters were key. Alex found a path through the grass and produced a decent bow. After we released the fish Alex "went back to the well".
John put down his rod to watch his son fish the slot just off the wall. The Cast was a good one and the presentation was near perfect. I can't speak for John. But I thought, if anything a fish pulled from that spot would be smaller than the last. My thought was the bigger fish gets the best position and therefore gets the food first...sometimes. Sometimes that happens and sometimes not. This time Alex's presentation was still moving full speed slowly at best and when the fish ate, Alex was there to set the hook. Keeping the fish out of the heavy grass was a miracle in itself. The fish made more than a couple good runs but Alex kept the fish in the upper part of the water column. Finally we slipped the Brodin under the fish. Alex did a very good job with the cast, presentation and fight to get the fish to the net. All of us were smiling after this one and the fish certainly wasn't smaller than the last.

We pulled anchor rope and the anchor hit the stop on the arm. The float continued. The guys caught their share of fish at other stops along the way and finished with strong numbers before the drifter came to a stop on the gravel bar at the takeout.  The float came to an end but didn't end their fishing for the day. After a few more casts we were cranking the winch and the drifter was settling on the front trailer bunk.

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, November 6, 2016

Logan and Addison- A Couple's Day Out

It seems lately folks have been coming back to fish more often. Logan had already been on the water with her friends and this time brought her husband Addison back to enjoy the river. So we put Addison in the front brace and backed the drifter from the ramp. We weren't even 5 minutes into the float when he hooked up and brought the first fish to the net, removing the skunk from the boat. We maneuvered through other anglers and found ourselves in some open water. 
Logan was next up. She stepped up to the casting brace and got comfortable. We were fishing a ledge and she set the hook. The fish made a short run and then turned into the softer current. Logan kept the line tight and brought her first fish of the day to the net, a nice brown.  She followed that brown with a rainbow and both our anglers were now getting it done. 
The fish were responsive to our bugs. We have made a few adjustments to the shade of the bugs since the cooler nights have been more the norm. Middle Tennessee is experiencing longer than expect summer-type weather, but the cooler nights are making us adjust more than just the shades of color in the bugs. The cooler temps are also bringing out the fleece and the waders.
We were floating along at a good pace and the fish were responding to good drifts. The drifts didn't have to be perfect on this day, but they had to be good clean drifts on the correct lines. Even with that, sometimes it is just one angler's day. This day was Logan's day and she was getting some good fish. We would drift Addison through a good feeding lane without a bump. Logan would drop her bug a short distance behind and Logan's bug would catch the fish. Addison was not phased and was glad to see his wife have a good day. 
Both anglers were catching fish with good presentations. Addison has a great cast and dropped his bug in some quicker moving water, then he got his mend right and set up a good presentation. The fish ate and Addison set the hook. He made all the right moves as he began his fight with a decent rainbow. The fish went straight to some rocks but Addison got the rod ahead of the fish and brought it into slack water. After two more runs the fish had nowhere else to go but into the net. We dusted up the bug and he caught more fish with only minor adjustments. 
A good trip can be made great with one more ingredient... Everyone who reads this fishing report on a regular basis knows we are big fans of chocolate. Snickers. Recently I visited Chicago and went to the Ghirardelli outlet. As a result of that trip another chocolate will be on the drifter from time to time. Because even though sometimes it is all about the fishing, other times it's about all the creature comforts...and the fishing.

After a good number of fish, some nice fish and some creature comforts we came to the end of the float. We were racing a front that was coming in from the southwest. The last rod was stowed, the drifter was securely on the trailer and the anglers as well as the guide were in the warm truck headed up the ramp. Looking back it was good we found that open water and it was good to have these two angler's in the casting braces. As the year winds down I'm thankful to have met a bunch of really cool folks who I hope come back to fish more often.
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.

Marty and Tony in the Casting Braces

There are good times when friends can come together on the F/V Southeastern Fly to enjoy a good day of fishing. Tony came in from California and had a chance to fish with with Marty. Tony doesn't get to fly fish too much (compared to some), but from his first cast I knew it was going to be a good day with few adjustments needed. Tony had a good cast and took mending instructions very well. So now we were prospecting. 
After a few casts and some mends Tony was into fish. A couple missed strikes, then we had a fish on and in the net. Yep, this day was shaping up to be a good one. While Tony was dialing-in his game Marty was just getting started.
Marty has been around a while and has fished the rivers for years. He is becoming a fly fishing fixture in Middle TN and knows the river well. Marty is also a columnist for Kype Magazine and self appointed Mayor of Funkytown. Long story short, if there ever was a vote needed for Funkytown Mayor, Marty would get mine. Fortunately he already takes care of those day to day mayoral duties well, including Friday posts and funky shirts on the appointed day. In short his dedication to Funkytown leaves the rest of us time to fish and to generally mess around in boats all day. So on his day off from those many duties, he came to fish with his friend Tony and brought some more enjoyment to a good day on the river. Yep, we were having some fun!
The fish were biting and then not biting on this day and we were hooking up and then not, while making the most of the best situations. The browns were starting get interested in each other and some had just started to make their redds. So we stayed more on the rainbow trout side of the fishing throughout this day, but would stumble across a hungry brown here and there. The day began to heat up and we made a couple subtle adjustments to flies, which helped somewhat with the catch rate.
While Tony had the best seat on the river, which is the front casting brace, Marty took his knowledge of the river and put it to work. We floated slowly into some productive water Marty laid a good cast on the water, the fly settled and we drifted along. Marty set the hook just like he did many times throughout the float and the fight heated up pretty quick. Staying in front of the fish and having some  flexibility of the moving boat helped to land another nice rainbow for the Mayor. We made quick work of the after party of the catch and the fish was released back into the deepest part of the pool. 

We spent some extra time floating on this day. We would fish, stop, fish some more and trade some good stories. The day was warm, as it has generally been throughout this summer-like Fall, and we were in no real hurry. The fish would come to the net and then we all got back to work. All that "work" came together and we made it into a good day of fly fishing in Middle Tennessee.
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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cory and Eddie Fly Fishing Near Nashville

The weather? What can we say, the weather in Middle Tennessee has been outstanding. This nice weather could take a turn at any moment, but until then folks are fishing! Cory called and wanted to get himself and his father Eddie in the casting braces before the weather made that turn. So we marked a date on the calendar and hoped we would have a good day, like we had last year when they came to fish.
The rods were rigged with nymphs of a couple different varieties. There were a couple spares in the rod holders just in case, but the guys wouldn't need a change on this day. With very little coaching they were into fish before we were 20 feet from the ramp. It was casting, mending and catching in record time. We had the skunk very early on this float.
With fish caught early in the float we were then hunting quality. The traffic on the river was tolerable, but also borderline for chasing quality fish. Cory was working just off the bank when he pulled up with a quick hookset. After stinging some Hatchery Brats to get him in the groove Cory came up with a nice brown. What is hard to see from the photo are the other folks who were anchored on the other side of the river. Yep, Cory got their attention right away. Cory, nice work...and there were more to come.
The food has been plentiful and the color on most fish has been good. The rainbows have been gaining color all year and have been fighting well for the most part. The low generation, in my opinion, has helped with the health of the fish. Eddie and Cory were both taking advantage of the good conditions with a few slow periods thrown in just to keep us adjusting techniques...and depths. 
Last Year Was Last Year- We came to a particularly "fishy area" of the river. As we pulled off to the side of the flow we made an adjustment to depth and Eddie dropped the fly in the feeding lane. It wasn't long before the rod was coming up and the line was coming tight on another fish. This fish pulled a little harder than the others and the rod bent a more. Eddie kept the correct angle on the rod and kept the right leverage on the fish. The fish made some strong runs. It tried to shake the hook that was lodged just in the upper lip. Finally the fish slowed and Eddie slid the brown in the waiting net. That's when I recalled last year Eddie pulled a nice brown from the very same spot. 

This trip was a pleasant way to spend the day. The guys got on the boat and went right to work casting, adjusting ends and of course setting hooks. Overall the float was enjoyable, as most are, and even somewhat relaxing. Sure we worked for fish at times while others just seemed to come with ease. Good weather and good company sure helped with the enjoyment of the day and there was no doubt Cory and Eddie came to 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.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Laura and Nate Fly Fishing Middle TN

The skies were clear and so was their schedule. So Laura, who had been on the drifter a couple times before, finally brought her husband Nate to experience a day of mending drills enjoy a day on the drifter. Nate and Laura were also looking for a good way to spend an anniversary. It wasn't long and there we were floating along on a nice fall-like day while trying to catch a few fish.
The skies were clear but the water was stained. The fish were still eating as we floated nymphs into their feeding lanes. Laura was dialed-in from the start with good casts and presentations to match. Nate and I worked briefly on presentation and he quickly came up to speed. When we all settled-in the fish came to the net with regularity.
We made stops at what are generally considered the high value areas.  The fish would respond to the right presentation, but anything with drag would get left in the drift. The numbers were running up with seemingly every cast at times. The action helped to make the morning pass by quickly. The afternoon would be different. 

At lunch I let our happy couple know the afternoon would be slower. Most of the better fishing is in the upper portion of the river right now and the fishing normally gets tougher later in the day. 

The oars dipped into the water and with a couple oar strokes the current picked us up and moved us downstream. We were still in sight of where we ate lunch and Nate was already producing some fish. Laura was bringing fish to the net as well and everyone was full of smiles and laughter. It was quite fun to spend the day with these two. 
Later the fishing slowed but we had one more pool, one more real opportunity one more...well you get it. So we drifted into the pool and our happy angler's set up for long drifts. We fished along the small rock bluff. The flies were drifting along and we were at the end of the bluff. We were making an adjustment on Laura's nymph and she told Nate to cast just upstream of the old blow down. Nate, being the thoughtful husband he is, did what he was told.

Nate got good line speed and dropped the fly upstream, then it settled into the slow flow of the feeding lane. Nate and Laura were paying attention to the drift and Nate set the hook as he had done many times on this day. The fish pulled back and bent the rod. Nate kept just the right amount of bend in the rod throughout the fight and kept the odds in his favor. When it was time Nate brought the fish to the net. We were all happy with this one. The plan worked and we moved on to catch a few more fish before the day would come to an end. 

The next day, the conditions were completely different. But, I saw Laura and Nate on the river again. They were using some of the same methods we used the day before and some of the methods they knew prior to that day. It was still early in the day but both Laura and Nate already had better reports than other anglers on the river. I'd say they found a good way to spend an anniversary.   
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, October 2, 2016

Fly Fishing Near Huntsville

The leaves of the trees along the river that provided shade throughout the hot months are getting some color. The brooks and browns are getting their color as well. Our clothing has gone from shorts and breathable shirts, to waders and a couple layers to keep warmer in the morning and evening. Fall has arrived. 
The rivers have been fishing well. Most every trip has produced good numbers of fish with some nice fish thrown in to keep things interesting. We have been fishing with several beginners and they have been much improved at the end of the day. To all those who have floated on the F/V Southeastern Fly, so far, this year...Thank You! For those with dates still on the schedule take a few minutes on the days leading to your trip to practice accuracy casting up to 30 feet. Accuracy is much more important than casting 90 feet of line. Practice in the back yard has been paying dividends while in the casting braces.
The Caney Fork River- We continue to see clear water. If you go back through the years of fishing reports you will notice the water in the previous years has been stained throughout September and October. The water from the sluice, in those years, has been off-color compared to the water coming through the generators now. We count this as a blessing especially when sight fishing. If the weather holds and we don't get a big rain event we should see this clearer water continue through the time the Army Corps turns off the sluice.
The bug life on the Caney Fork is improving with the usual hatches of the mighty midges and some nice Mayfly hatches to catch the angler's eye. The fish are looking up, but not past the surface film in most cases. Anglers who find dry fly action should make the most of it when they stumble into a that situation. Midges and nymphs have been the grocery of choice for most fish. A well presented nymph will bring'em to the net more often than any other grocery in the cart. The river is getting a lot of attention right now so don't be surprised to see many other anglers at all the usual spots.
The Elk River- The water clarity on the Elk right now is about a foot. The lack of rain has turned the water color from clear throughout Spring to a more green color now. The fish in the upper river are still looking for food though. There has been minimal rain over the past several months in this part of the state. This little tailwater could use about a four hour period of generation just to flush debris and take away some of the weeds in the lower section. What is the good news? 
The good news is the fish remember our flies. If you fish this tailwater, I would suggest nymphs. The word accuracy comes back to mind for this river as well. With the off-colored water comes the need to place the fly right on their nose. Nymphs have been working better on this river than anything else, but drag on the nymph is evil for this river. So bring patience and a clean presentation.

There is a quick report from the rower's bench. The musky are waiting to be chased. So, when the water level gets just right the F/V Southeastern Fly will see a sight change of venue for month or two. Once real cold weather is here we will be back on the tailwaters looking for the "shad hatches". Angler's are already on "Will Call" for both of these events. Hope everyone has been enjoying themselves as much as we have been enjoying ourselves. 
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, September 22, 2016

Hank - the Latest Addition to the 20+ Club

Sometimes life just takes over. Life isn't all about fly fishing and sometimes competing priorities take the place of our time on the water. Hank had some other priorities and wasn't able to get on the water for a long period of time. So we were going to spend the day knocking the rust off the cast, brushing up on the presentation and he was just going to enjoy an afternoon on the water...and perhaps catch a few fish.

The day started with some casting work as the other boats pushed downstream. Hank was fighting a strong headwind, but casting well. It wasn't long before the the cast turned to the mend, the mend turned presentation and the presentation turned into to a fish in the net. Then not long after that one fish turned into two and then we had a few nice rainbows added to a few brown trout. Hank was getting back to the basics of fly fishing and we were doing well early in the float. Then we went for a dry spell. Other boats were reporting similar results which made us all feel better. This has happened before and sometimes changing every fly in the box doesn't even help. Then we caught another fish or two and the mojo came back. The mojo brought along with it, a nice tailwater brook trout. This was the first brookie in a couple years or maybe even longer. Then Hank hooked a real big fish and after a short fight the fish broke off. So right there the decision was made, we went headhunting.
After losing that first nice fish we gathered ourselves up and started down the river. All the other boats were now ahead of us and we were picking the best water to match Hank's best presentation. Then a big fish came up and inspected an ant, the fish stopped short then ate. Hank saw it all unfold and he came tight to the fish. The fish immediately started across the river. Hank was doing a nice job on this one, then it jumped and the fly came to the boat... without the fish. The big fish score was- fish 2 and the good guys 0. Soon that would all change.

We were now beginning to race daylight just a little. The shadows were getting long and the temperature was starting to fall. With a long way to go we were looking for water moving at just the right speed. Hank found some of that water. This time the fish came to the sinking ant, gave it "the once over" and opened it's mouth then inhaled that it. The Orvis H2 bent double right away. Hank sure did have his hands full with this one. The fish was doing its best to get back to the bottom. All the coaching throughout the day, all the stuff we worked on with the other fish and all Hank's previous experience was being tested on this fish. The fish fought all the way to the boat three different times. Each time the fish would make another run. A short time later Hank was getting the fish closer and bringing this fish to the net. After the one last short run that all the bigger fish seem to make. It then came quietly to the net. This would be the last fish of the day for Hank. We stowed the rods and made the long row to the ramp. Nice work Hank 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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

M.E. Makes the Most of Her Time in the Casting Brace

Zero generation. That release, or lack of release, leaves the float plan wide open. So after we made our plan we shoved the drifter off the gravel bar and began to float. M.E. was quick to bring a few fish to the net. She brought Ronnie and her own flies. Her flies were working good early. These fish have seen most of the flies in a 10 county radius so a good presentation was critical.
M.E had a good morning and the fish were responding in all the usual places. We were searching the more shallow water and fishing the slopes of the shoals. That would work well throughout the morning, but by the middle of the day we would need to change the water type we were fishing.
When the anchor dropped and the boat came to a rest beside some downed timber M.E. went to work. We found some feeding fish that were hanging in a distinct feeding lane. It was clear these fish had found the conveyor belt and were tuned into something small. A nymph fished too deep wouldn't even seek a look. A hopper fished over their head would get a long inspection but no strike. We reached into our bag of tricks to try one more thing and one of the bigger fish ate. The rod came up and the line came tight, then the fish reached in it's bag of tricks and went straight for the structure. M.E. did a nice job keeping the fish going in the right direction and as the anchor came up to move the boat into open water she brought the fish right along.  The fish kept trying to get back to the downed timber but she kept it in the open water and finally the fish had no where else to go but to the waiting net.
We left the conveyor belt and that nice fish was soon followed by another nicer fish. The afternoon wore on and this lady was catching fish when most people on the river were really struggling. The presentation was key to her success. We worked on casting some but worked on presentation mostly. I know the presentation is "preached" in these fishing reports but it really is the key. Slight mends mean everything on some days. This day was the type of day where it meant everything.
The weather?  The day went from partly cloudy to clear and hot. The fishing went from good to almost great and then simply back to good. And so it went. As other watercraft passed and people would ask "how's the fishin?" we would respond "not bad". But it was hard for M.E. to keep from that big smile. 

When the drifter finally touched the take out and enough fishing gear for a day on the water was stowed, we cranked the F/V Southeastern Fly onto the trailer. Then we pulled to the top of the ramp for a quick recollection of the events for the day. There was only one thing left to make the day complete. That's right open that Yeti cooler and pull out those Snickers! Ronnie also had a Snickers. Nice work M.E. this was a good day and a good trip. We will chase those musky soon. 
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.