Sunday, August 28, 2016

Josh...Another 20+ Club Member

The bag in the bow of the boat looked innocent enough. Most angler's bring something along with them on a trip and although I should ask, I usually just trust they wouldn't bring a bag of "stuff" that might hurt the fishing. Sometimes that "stuff" just slips under the radar...and sometimes, even though there might be "stuff" in the bag that might hurt the fishing, it turns out to be OK anyway.


This day was another hot August day. Temperatures would be in the mid 90's and the heat index well over 100 degrees. Josh had already been fishing when I pulled into the parking lot and it had been a slow morning. The mission was to convert all that slowness and the sad faces, into a good afternoon of floating and catching for the guy from Mississippi.
It took only a short time to knock the skunk off the day and our now happy angler was soon setting the hook with some regularity, as the bag with the"stuff" sat quietly in the front of the boat. 

Josh had the best place on the river. That place? That place is front casting brace and Josh would make the most of his fortunate circumstances. He stuck the first quality brown trout of the float which would only prepare him for things that might come later in the day. 
There isn't a lot trout water in Mississippi unless you count the water where sea trout are found off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. So Josh was trying to learn all the techniques he could to be used on future trips to Tennessee trout waters. The water has been clear which makes the need to be stealthy all the more critical. Less false casts, reach casts and slight mends have been the ticket for more and better fish. 
The temperature continued to climb and clouds, although few, were welcomed. Hydration was key and as it has been all summer, necessary to have the body ready when the opportunity comes. Opportunity came many times on this day and soon it came in a big way.

Josh was getting a good presentation right down a line of logs. The bottom dropped from 2' to 4' just along the line of blowdowns. A quick mend and the presentation was dead drifting along with the current. Josh lifted the rod tip and the fish made a big lunge to the top. The rod was bent and bouncing as the fish started head shakes, trying to spit the fly that looked so tasty just a few seconds earlier. Josh was trying to remain calm as the fish took him for the Nantucket Sleighride, Tennessee style. We anchored the boat and with some coaxing the fish finally made its to the waiting net. After what seemed like an eternity to Josh and probably the brown, this fight was over. The fish was released to be caught again and hopefully many times to come. Just like that, after all the instruction and all the learning, Josh is the newest member of the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club.

The remainder of the day was spent discussing the finer points of angling and well a lot of other topics. The bag, with the stuff? That bag rested calmly in the front of the boat until I just happened to ask, "hey what's in the bag?" To which the reply came some Gatorade and, you guessed it, a banana on a fishing boat. Maybe the superstition is wrong or maybe even more and better fish  may have been caught without the "stuff" in the bag...


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, August 24, 2016

Donnie Makes the 20+ Club

This one has been a long time coming. Donnie has been on the F/V Southeastern Fly several times over the past few years and each time he mentions the 20+ Club and how this might be the day. We were on the river and in the flow before we knew it. The drift boat was floating along and Donnie was producing some excellent presentations. 

He picked up a nice rainbow in the first several minutes and several other fish. Then we got into a fair number of good brown trout, some of which were very nice fish, but not the exact size we were looking for on this day. His Orvis Clearwater (which used to be mine) was bent more often than I thought it was going to be...and I offered to give him the money back for the rod. He declined.
Then Donnie dropped the fly right in the feeding lane. Feeding lanes are important for sure and he was hitting them a high percentage of the day. It wasn't long before Donnie connected with a strong hookset. The fish started to the bottom and began head shakes. When the fish flashed it made the guy on the bench (me) get up and start helping in the fight. As I moved the boat around the river, Donnie kept up the "good fight". It seemed to last well into the evening but in reality it was just a few minutes. At the end of the fight the fish was in the net. Mission accomplished.

All fish are measured if the angler is going to enter the 20+ Club and this one made the cut. Donnie did absolutely everything right on this fish. Fly in the feeding lane, check. Proper mend, check. Hookset at exactly the right time, check. Fight the fish and keep the rod tip at the correct angle, yep! So with all that, Donnie, nice work and welcome to the 20+ Club! Oh and I want my darn rod back.
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, August 22, 2016

Fly Fishing Middle Tennessee

The Elk River- This river is fishing well and especially within the first couple miles. The flows are low & slow. Nymphs and dry-droppers continue to work well on this river. Be patient with the drift and get all you can out of each presentation. 

The farther down stream you go the more thick the grass becomes. Finding pockets that are void of grass is difficult. The fish are laying along the edge of the grass and they can be somewhat picky to say the least. Each presentation really counts on these flows. The results can be very good though.

First fish on the fly can be extremely exciting. Zach (see photo above) worked on his presentation for about 30 minutes and had a couple misses before this healthy rainbow ate. Zach brought it to the net and had his first fish on the fly and another first was made on the F/V Southeastern Fly. It has been a good year and I have been very lucky to help a good number of new anglers get their first fish on the fly. 
The Caney Fork- this river is getting some heavy use right now. The flows are nice for some good floats. We are boating healthy fish most every day. There have been some quality fish coming to our flies which include some midges, nymphs fished deep and terrestrials. 

The large sluice is now running when the the USACoE runs a generator. My recommendation is to stay out of the dam pool while the large sluice is running. Over the years I have seen more than one boat get sent to the bottom and some have been torn to pieces. It's not a good place to be while the generator and sluice are running.

Also, the small sluice (250 CFS) is running most of the day. The 250 CFS is another reason the water drops out slow. Wading can be limited for a period of time after the generation is turned off. Be careful because the water release has changed the conditions just a little.

TWRA has also been on the river with regularity. It's good to see these folks on the river and they are "catching their share" as well. We have been stopped several times over the past few weeks and we appreciate these folks.
So there is the report for the Middle TN area. It doesn't matter if you are a beginning angler like Zach or a seasoned veteran we are working hard to make each angler's experience one to remember. The dates are booking into September and the fishing has been good. If you want to get a day in the casting brace please contact  us using the information below. Thanks and see you on the river.

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, August 15, 2016

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Weekend

"Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™ is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings."
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This weekend was the annual Tennessee Valley Region Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Outing. I've been lucky to be a part of this event for several years and each year I enjoy the time I spend guiding the veterans who fish out of the F/V Southeastern Fly. They are "my vets" for the day and we have fun.
So on the morning of the event I towed the drifter to the campground and asked who would be my anglers for the day? The coordinator pointed me to Clarence and Gary. Each had practiced their casting and turned out to be pretty good for their limited experience. Neither had fished with a fly rod.

Clarence and Gary loaded up and we hit the river. This would be a short float as we needed to keep the guys close to the campground. However, that didn't keep us from catching our share of the Caney Fork trout. Clarence was the first to get a solid hit, but the fish spit the fly before the the line came tight. Gary was quick to learn and stuck the fish shortly thereafter. Gary would be the first to catch a fish on this day. This was one for the good guys in the boat.

Clarence learned from his first bout with the trout of the Caney and when he got his next chance his line came tight and Clarence boated his trout on a fly rod as well. We spent the next hours hitting all the likely spots. We ended the day in a good run that produced its share of good fish. The finale was all Clarence. Clarence hooked and fought a larger rainbow before the fish let go of the hook and was deemed "the one that got away". We ended the day on that note and headed to the ramp.
I could talk for hours about how this event affects the participants and the guides. The written words just don't seem to do the Tennessee Valley Region Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Outing justice. So let me leave you with this invitation. If you want to help with the event next year please let me know and I will get you in touch with the folks who put it together. If you are on the fence about supporting this event, my suggestion would be to volunteer just one year. Let that experience help you decide if it is worth your time the next year... My bet would be that you would want to come back the following year just like me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Stephanie and Blake Fishing Hot Flies

Last year Stephanie and Blake took to the braces of the F/V Southeastern Fly and had a nice day on the river. And last year Stephanie was really just getting started and learning. Fast forward to this year she was ready to build on the things she learned last year and of course get some bigger fish on the fly. 

Blake is a very good angler and extremely competent on the small streams. He was ready for a good day and ready for the chance to spend the day with his wife doing something both love. Eventually we would get Blake into some good water and the fishing skills he has built throughout his years of fly fishing would come in handy.

The black lab? Well that was a wading angler's dog. The dog waited stream side while "his angler" searched out fish. As with most labs this one didn't meet a stranger and assumed everyone should be provided the opportunity to give it some petting...and that's just what we did.
This day would be the tale of two floats. We got on the water pretty early and our couple went to work with nymphs. The water was stained from the heavy rains the night before. It took some time to get dialed in but finally we were into the fish and they picked up some nice ones. Nymphs would be the breakfast of champions for the fish on this day and perfect presentations were key. Midges would come later. The morning warm-up was just that and as the generation release hit us we loaded the drifter, then went for some lunch...
After we pushed the drifter off the trailer the second time it wasn't long before we had some more action. Indicators and hoppers were each getting their turn to go under the surface. The action wasn't on fire, but the fish they were getting to the net were of some better quality.
The coolest take of the day? That has to go to Stephanie. The decision was made to fish the high-value areas. We floated into a normally productive spot and Stephanie dropped her nymph against a log. After a short float she lifted the fly to get past some more structure. As the fly came to the top a fish chased. Stephanie stopped the fly and then continued to raise it to the top. The fish kept coming and just as the fly came up over the log that fish ate. All this was in clear view and we all celebrated a nice take as well as a good fish. Nice work Stephanie.
The biggest heartbreak? No not that kind of heartbreak, we are talking about fishing heartbreak. Anyway that one has to go to Blake. As this report stated earlier, Blake is extremely competent small stream angler. So we tried to get Blake into as much structure as possible. The strategy was to get him close and let him place his hopper with a nymph and midge rig in all the likely places, while Stephanie fished along the outside of the structure from the front of the boat. Blake was picking some really nice spots and then a big rainbow ate one of the bottom flies. Blake set the hook then it was a battle. The fish went back to the structure and Blake kept good pressure. I've seen some big fish in the river and this rainbow was as big as I have seen. Blake brought the fish out of the first bit of structure and the fish was coming out toward the boat. Then the line went limp and it was over. The big rainbow ghost back into the structure and we were done. Blake had a good hook set and good pressure, but this one just didn't work out. He handled the lost fish well though and it wasn't long before he was back in the brace and fishing more structure. Then picking up more fish.
We continued to build technique into their presentation and had a lot, OK a whole lot, of laughs throughout the day. But the float was coming to an end and the afternoon heat pushed the fish into cooler water. So we all counted this day was a good one. 

The day started with a cool morning,  stained water and some fish, An early lunch was next and the friendly lab helped lighten the day even more. After that we were on more clear water and some fishing skills came more into play as presentations became more critical. There were also some good takes, long fights, short fights with lost fish, then Stephanie threw fish poop at me....The End
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, August 2, 2016

Patrick and Jeff Find'em on Hoppers, Nymphs and Midges

After fishing aboard the F/V Southeastern Fly, Elton decided his son and grandson needed to experience fly fishing in middle Tennessee. So when Jeff and Patrick arrived from Nevada they took a day to relax and then we put them in the casting braces.
Some anglers are new to this great pastime and some are experienced. We are ready to help all anglers to become better at fly fishing. Jeff and Patrick were dialed in by the time I ran the shuttle and had already brought some fish to the net. Now it was a matter of putting them on the fish and let them work some magic. The fish began hitting nymphs by the time we were a few minutes into our first good stretch of river. The fishing was fast and furious and our anglers were reminded that the trip would have some slow points, specifically toward the end...
The fish were in most of the usual places but they were picky at times. We went to hopper/dropper rigs and it wasn't long before we found them looking up. Jeff was dialed-in with the hopper rig. He had some drive-by's, some slaps and some takes. if they decided wrong and didn't take the hopper, the nymph was there several times to take the fish. 
Jeff and Patrick normally fish the mountains of Nevada and Pyramid Lake, yes that one, they adapted to fishing from the drifter quite nicely. The fish kept responding up until lunch. We stepped out of the drifter and slowed our day down even more. The heat turned up a notch as the oars dipped into the current. With a couple pulls on the oars we were in the current and the guys were fishing catching again.

Even though the guys picked up a solid number of fish after lunch, as the thermometer climbed throughout the day, the fish began to seek cover. We went deep to wood and rock structures and that's when the browns came around. Patrick was the star for a while and picking up some good fish. Then he had a good drift just off a rock ledge and the hopper was pulled down by the trailing nymph. The big hopper was pulled to the bottom as the fish grabbed the nymph that was lodged tightly in its upper lip. Patrick did a fine job fighting the fish. The fish came to the net but made one final run and tried it's last trick of the fight. The fish was no match for the 5 wt and the Brodin net that waited. Score another one for the good guys (that's us for anyone who isn't sure who "the good guys" are). 

It wasn't long before the three of us who were hot and tired came to the end of the float. The ramp was clear and soon we were winching the drifter onto the trailer. The day was a lot of fun. The fishing was good and so was the catching.The guys would hopefully get another day to relax before they boarded the plane and headed back to Nevada. 
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, July 13, 2016

Fly Fishing Near Chattanooga

For anglers who live in Chattanooga and for those who may be visiting for business or pleasure, there are several options for fly fishing. Two of those options will be listed in this report. Want to know the latest info about what's working on the river? We can let you know the latest bugs that are working and the more productive areas. Want to get yourself in the casting brace of a drift boat for a day or half-day? Just email me for the latest bugs or to get a date on the calendar. The fishing has been very good aboard the F/V Southeastern Fly. 
Finally the terrestrials are starting to come around to our way of thinking. We thought they'd never turn back on. Fishing a terrestrial with a nymph or midge dropper is beginning to turn some fish's heads. The water on the Caney Fork has been as clear as I can remember. The fish are skittish (that's may be the understatement of the year) but they will still go for a well placed terrestrial on the correct tippet.
Speaking of the right tippet, the smaller the better...up to a certain point. Presentation is critical, as I have said many times on this report. The trailing midge does require some smaller tippet, but after the trout is fooled  there's still some work to be done. The tippet still has to keep the connection between you and the fish. The Caney does have some fish that don't mind testing tippet and of course your knot stength.
Fly fishing from the casting brace of a drift boat, well, there may not be a better way to fish for trout on the planet. Presentation from the boat is important and easier. The Elk has a lot of vegetation right now. Those who do not know the river will have a harder time finding the right water to drop a fly. Nymphs have been really getting some attention this summer. The rainbows and browns are responding well to our offerings. Again the right presentation in the right area has been giving anglers an above average shot at good numbers of fish.
If you've seen seven states at Rock City or stood in the Falls Room at Ruby Falls and felt the wind, it may be time to occupy one of the casting braces in the drifter. Or if you just want to do something different that a normal tourist doesn't want to, then it may be time to get on the water. The fishing? Well it has been very good aboard the F/V Southeastern 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.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Tonto and Bubba Go Fly Fishing

Dang this was a fun float down the river. If you notice there are a lot of smiles in the photos and it was that same way when the camera was off too. Duane and Ted, that's there real names, had been on middle Tennessee waters for several days and on their way home stopped by to float with me. Yep they were getting on another Tennessee tailwater before heading home. 
Two friends who have known each other for 40+ years. They have been on many adventures and have shared a lot of things that life can throw at us. I think this float is one that I learned more about life than they could have learned from me about fly fishing. But all in all it seems like it worked out for all involved. Well let's get to the fishing portion of this fishing report. Here we go in a hundred-fifty words or less....
We got on the boat and made our way downstream. There were some fish sipping midges but not real hungry for anything up top. The guys saddled up to the casting braces and went to work on some fishing feeding just off the bottom. It took no time for the fish to start coming to the net and they didn't let up. We ate lunch and so did the fish. After lunch the fish were still eating the same stuff and they got bigger but there were less of 'em. Before the day was over we were sun burned but almost satisfied. We loaded the drifter on the trailer and said by to the riverbillies, then we hit the local BBQ joint and ate too much. We said our goodbyes until the next time we get on the drifter....and we all lived happily ever after....err well you know what I mean. Thanks guys that was a fun day!  THE END
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, July 4, 2016

Brown Trout Fly Fishing with Michelle and Lane

When Lane and Michelle stepped into the casting braces the sky was blue and the water was low. The low water and clear skies would call for stealthy approaches and longer casts. Also, it wouldn't hurt to have the patience to fish long stretches at a snails pace. We hooked up pretty quick with some rainbows but this was more a day of quality browns and good company.
Lane would start off the brown trout fishing with a slow low water presentation. After several shots into productive water Lane settled into a slow drift. The fly traveled several feet before the brown took the fly. Lane played the brown into the net and he was warmed up for the next section of the river, which would prove to be pretty productive.
We boated a few more before we located another low and slow moving seam. Michelle dropped her fly right in the seam and it didn't take before another brown took the fly "on a dead-run". When Michelle raised the rod and set the hook the rod actually looked like the fish set the hook right back at her. The Orvis rod took on a solid bend as line began slipping through the guides. Michelle began to play the fish. This one tried several different things to get away, but Michelle didn't have time for those tricks and brought the fish to the net. Score another one for the angler in the front brace! But, the "catching" wasn't over and after a stop for lunch while watching the river slowly pass by there was more fishing to be done.
The river would continue to give up some fish throughout the float. We just kept picking them up by using clean presentations of productive nymphs. With nothing much going on "up top" we bounced and ended up in some recently productive water. Lane continued to bring numbers to the net but once again Michelle would bring the quality.

"Drop the fly right there, OK mend, mend a little more, shake out some line...set" Michelle was spot-on with the instruction and frankly a little ahead on the set. The fish was quickly moving into the the flow and trying to get an edge. Where do these bigger fish get there fighting techniques? It didn't matter because now Michelle had the fish hooked and the tippet was connected to her brand new TFO. This brown was as good as caught from the hook set. It wasn't long before Michelle was releasing that fish and we were making our way to the ramp after a good day on the river.

Michelle and Lane were a lot of fun to have on the boat. There were some periods of slow catching but they kept their head in the game and were ready when opportunities came. They fished the low water and clear skies with stealthy approaches and longer casts and they had a great brown trout day.
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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bernardo and Andy on Hot Day

When Bernardo and his son Andy stepped on the boat the temperature was already close to ninety degrees. We knew it would be a hot and muggy day. Even though there was only a 20% chance of rain I think we all knew there would be a chance of getting wet, not from the river but from the rain. We would indeed end the day wet but smiling while looking for the chance to catch some fish.
We pushed the drifter off the trailer and it settled on the anchor. After getting the rods rigged we were soon drifting in the current. The water was still a little high but Bernardo wasted no time hooking up. The skunk was off early and it wasn't long before Andy followed with a rainbow of his own.
The guys were hooked on a fairly regular basis throughout the morning as they fished tight, and mean tight, to structure. With off-color water they had to put the fly right in the face of the fish and that's what they were doing. Andy was especially good at fishing the blowdowns and it showed with each passing log. Still the count was neck-n-neck with Bernardo leading the way throughout most of the float. The temperatures continued to rise and so did the humidity. Even the livestock found the shade and cool water just to make it through the afternoon. 
After lunch the water release hit us and the river began to rise. We went deep with nymphs but the water was too stained to be real productive. Andy was first on the streamer and picked up the first smallie of the trip. 
The rains came and when most of the recreational folks headed for cover the guys fished-on. Andy hit a productive bank of rocks with some swift water flowing off the corner. A big freakin nice fish hit Andy's streamer and blasted off the corner. Andy set the hook as the fish began to make the first run and when it felt the sting of the hook it accelerated even faster. All this happened within what felt like two seconds and then the line went limp. It was over. Andy handled it much better than I usually do with only a few words and some mumbling. Soon he was back to casting the streamer and retrieving. Bernardo was soon on a streamer as well as we picked our way down the bank.
We were coming to the end of the float and things were getting interesting. Andy was once again hooked up as his fly came across a popular and deep pool. After three other boats had fished, Andy had just the right retrieve. He had a good hookset and was in a pretty strong fight. This fish wasn't as big as "the one that got away" but it wasn't going to come to the net without some tricks of its own.

We followed the rest of the fleet into the final stretches of the float and the guys didn't leave a stone un-turned on this float. At the end of the day the guys caught some nice fish using a few different techniques. Their presentation was good from start to finish and their skills of getting the fish to the net made for a more productive day. 

In the end that 20% chance of rain found us. So the chance of rain on the river must have been 100%. But, when others ran for cover Bernardo and Andy decided to catch fish vs. give up and miss a chance to catch some 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.