Monday, June 29, 2015

Steve and Mitch Learning to Fly Fish

With most new anglers there is the lingering question. Will we catch fish? Fly fishing is after-all supposed to be hard, a pastime that is learned over a lifetime and all those other things we learned in "the movie". The night before the trip everyone is usually a little anxious, then we all step into the boat and push away from the gravel bar to start the trip. The anchor is lifted and begins to float with the current, which in my humble opinion is when all those things that fill the brain in everyday life need to be left on the bank..and usually are left there. 
Steve and Mitch may have been asking themselves the same question, but that question was answered very early in this float. We worked on everything from the cast to netting fish, everything from start to finish. Both guys are gear anglers so when it came to picking the fishy spots and presentation they picked up quickly. The rainbows responded early and often throughout the morning. Mitch was quick to dial-in the brown trout from the front of the boat. The numbers were going higher for both anglers and with smiles all around we floated toward our lunch spot.
Father and son trips, as I have said many times before, are some of the most memorable. There is usually a little healthy competition as well as a chance for them to get away. In the case of new father and son anglers learning to fly fish can be a chance to learn a pastime that will bring them together for many years to come. By lunch Steve and Mitch were into double digit catches and had their share of fish lost. Those catches and losses are all part of the learning process and make the story they tell all the more interesting.
We refueled at lunch while we watched some recreational kayaks pass by, but the guys were ready to start fishing again. Before I knew it the guys were getting us all up for the second part of the day and then we were shoving off. It wasn't long before the fish were hitting the nymphs we were offering and the fly rods were put to good use. 
The fish weren't the only reason we were out, there were other things to be enjoyed. Geese, turtles, osprey and other wildlife were making an appearance on the river for our enjoyment. The highlight of the afternoon was the groundhog that came down to the river and grabbed a mouthful of river-soaked vegetation before retreating back up the bank. Then it just disappeared as floated out of sight.
The ramp came into sight and the guys were still setting the hook on the fish. We caught a good number of fish as we approached the ramp and those smiles kept coming. As all good trips do this one came to an end. After stowing the gear we were loading the drifter onto the trailer. Steve and Mitch were quick learners and it was fun to spend the day with them on the water. Hopefully their new found pastime will bring them together for many years to come.
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, June 21, 2015

Fly Fishing Near Nashville

The first day of Summer brings with it hopes of more terrestrials falling in the water and making fish look up. The fish are starting to eat hoppers, beetles and ants but not full force like we want. That is just around the corner though...
The Caney Fork River: The Army Corps has some interesting release schedules, which make our floats interesting. But, we have a couple different ways to work around the releases and still be on fish. The floats have been good and the results have been productive. The river has been producing mostly rainbows with some browns showing up here and there. Even the smaller rainbows have good color and look healthy.
The fish have been taking nymphs in the deeper water upstream and at the base of the shoals. The longer shoals have been receiving some midge patterns that seem to be working well. The nymphs are still working best on solid dead-drift. The least bit of drag in the clear water has the fish refusing most every pattern. The clear water is giving them plenty of inspection time and they are using that time to their advantage.
We have booked several trips on the Caney for anglers who want to learn the river and get to know some of the techniques that work best on this popular tailwater. Standing in the casting brace is a good way to know learn the river. In my humble opinion there is always something more to learn about any body of water. 
The Elk River: Most of our full day trips are on the Elk. The floats are lengthy with long periods of solitude. The fishing has been good for everyone with plenty of shots at fish. Catch rates have been higher here than most other tailwaters. The upper and lower sections have been fishing very good. The middle section, which is fished in the highest sun, has been a little slower. There have been some higher quality fish coming to the net in that middle section.
Nymphs have been leading the way on the Elk. Have midges been working well? Not so much on this tailwater. The meatier the nymph the more likely there will be a strike. The fish are starting to look up for that better meal. It isn't full-on terrestrial season, but there have been some strikes on top and seeing fish eat on top raises angler's excitement level. We have several different patterns to try along the way. Want some solitude to go with your fishing? Come fish the Elk with us and enjoy a nice day on this smaller tailwater.
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, June 14, 2015

Joel, Dane....and Chevy

Two friends gather to catch up with life and while they are at it they will solve most of the world's problems. They will not solve all of the world's problems because some will need to be left for the next time the two get together. Joel and Dane were up late, or early depending on one's perspective, catching up and solving problems, but they were able to answer the bell to fish. Nobody likes to be late for fishing and these two are no exception.
Under slightly cloudy skies and with early morning starts we floated out to the middle of the river then began to work. Dane was up first and this trip, being his second time to fly fish, there were opportunities to improve on several fronts. He had some of the  fundamentals and we worked from the things he was already doing well. We worked on distance first. Dane quickly began getting good distance and with good distance comes opportunity. Then we worked on presentation. When he achieved the right distance and the proper presentation, Dane was soon setting the hook on his first fish of the float. "Bang that just happened".
Joel was up next. Joel had been on the river several times and already had good distance. We worked more on control and then presentation. The proper drifts would be more and more critical as the morning wore on. Joel was getting dialed-in, which was going to help his catch rate. It wasn't long before he was bringing his first fish of the day to the net. 
We began our trip down the river. "Mend" was the word of the morning. "Mend" is the word on most mornings. Presentation is everything when the water is as clear as it has been over the past month. As the morning wore on we discussed the advantages of the proper presentation and the mechanics of the cast. Then the wind came and presented a completely different challenge.    
The wind, oh that wind... The wind began to give the guys its own presentation. Some folks get frustrated with high winds and tangled lines, but these guys quoted Vacation movies instead. "Aunt Bethany does your cat eat jello?" A good attitude in a difficult situation is normally better than all the talent in the an angler's arsenal. With the good attitudes came better casts, more precise mends and improved catch rates. The guys began to really "fish" the river at the 3/4 mark of the float. 

As the miles passed the boat became less about instruction and more about good fishing. We ended the day with back-to-back doubles and smiling faces all around. Joel and Dane brought the first back-to-back doubles to the net this year which is no small feat.  And the fact they did it in front of a small audience made the doubles all the better. Guys it was a good float and a good time! Hope to see you on the drifter again 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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Curtis and Jonas Fish Without The Downpour

Curtis and I talked on the phone a few weeks before the trip. Our discussion? It was about rain and the times Curtis has been on the drifter. On their last float we had a big rain event the day before and spent the day chasing clean water in a torrential downpour.  There have been several other trips including the time Curtis brought his bride along and while I was running the shuttle they were drenched by a small thunderstorm that came and sat on the gravel bar where we would launch. That was a tough day but a good day. 
This time, this time the weather, the fish and the float were on their side. We slipped away from the same gravel bar as the first trip. We caught the current and with lingering fog we floated on falling water. Jonas had practiced his casting a little the previous day and he was dialed in quickly. He remembered the mend and we began working on the reach cast to settle the fly in a quicker fashion, before it even touched down on the water. The adjustment paid off almost right away and would pay big dividends for Jonas later in the day.
Curtis is a fishy guy and knows about getting the right drift. He began pulling the larger fish to the net in each section we entered. He dropped his fly in good water all day long. Good drifts and solid hooksets where his from the first ten minutes of the float. 
Jonas was the first to strike the big fish. The rainbow took the fly off some structure with a flow that lead to a dead pool. The bigger rainbow ate and Jonas played it perfectly throughout the several runs up and down the side of the boat. A hero shot and some wet shots were gathered before we turned the rainbow loose to eat again. The fish was just outside the 20+ Club but still a worthy opponent for this early morning float. 
We drifted into some good water, then just after we passed one of my favorite blowdowns a huge brown rolled on a small rainbow. The brown was on top of the water for a short time and we saw almost the entire incident. We would go back and try to entice the brown out again, but it wouldn't come out to play. The fish must have been full after the quick meal. Going back to the scene of the crime did time the float perfectly for what was to come.
Curtis was picking apart some really good water. He set the hook on what we thought was a decent fish and it was giving his 4 wt a workout. Curtis stayed in front of the fish throughout the tug of war. The fish finally relented and we slipped the net into the water. One more quick burst and then it came to the net for good and Curtis made the 20+ Club, not to mention winning the boat bet of the longest fish in the process. 
We floated along hitting all the likely spots. Adjusting the flies and fishing the different structure. Even though Jonas had the best seat and was doing everything right he couldn't top his nice rainbow brought to hand earlier in the day. The banter wore-on as the miles passed slowly. We finally rowed to the last blowdown. Jonas wound up his cast and dropped the fly in a good flow. The fish took and after a quick fight it tossed the hook. Jonas would have to wait until next time to grab the biggest fish and the boat bet. The rain held off until I arrived back home. Both of my anglers stuck some good fish and both lost a good fish or two as well. No rain, big fish, smiling faces and a good day on the river... Can't wait to do it again guys.

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, June 6, 2015

Michael Returns for Round Two

Rainy days were the norm for a while. On those days the mornings were the best time to get in a trip to the river without getting pummeled by heavy downpours. Michael returned to the drifter after several attempts that were thwarted by mother nature and heavy releases. After a successful trip last year we just kept rescheduling until we found that open window this year. Our choice of days this time around was a good one.  
We were among the very first anglers to hit the river. The water was falling after a brief generation release and Michael began dropping nymphs in the faces of likely suspects. The trout were a little tight lipped at first. So we adjusted depth and worked really hard on getting just the right drift. The hard work began to pay off as Michael began bringing a good number of fish to the net.
There are small pockets of prime water that hold good fish even in high traffic areas. I have a couple picked out and each trip they get a nymph floated through them. Good water in high traffic areas can get pounded but those pockets can still hold multiple fish. The biggest fish, which often times we label as the smart fish,  are usually the last to eat or so it seems. We slipped the drifter into position and Michael dropped the nymph in just the right spot. We watched the fly settle and then Michael was setting the hook. A nice brown came off the structure and began to tug. It made a short run and a high jump then on the way back down off the jump the line went slack. There would be more shots at good fish throughout the day, but that brown stung our ego just a little.
Throughout the day we kept our routine going with nymphs. There were a good number of rises but very few fish eating on top. Michael kept focused and dropped the fly were I asked the entire float. We met up with a TWRA officer who came from the woods to check our licenses and to give us the latest on the river. He asked if we were catching and we asked him the same. We were all having a successful day. Then we pulled up the anchor and began the last leg of the trip and he disappeared into the brush.
We had been hitting the spots all morning and I asked Michael to drop his fly on the upstream side of a high spot on the river bottom. The fly came across the high spot as it fell through the water column. The fish flashed in the clear water and grabbed the fly. Michael came tight and the fight was on. The fish took us for a couple trips around the front of the boat and then came quietly to the net. The TWRA officer had retreated back into the woods, but had a front row seat for the entire episode. We took a couple body shots of the fish and revived it to be caught and hopefully released another day. Michael is one of the few anglers who can call it a day on a good catch. On this day he wound the line onto the reel and said it was a good day. I am not one to roll up and leave after the a good fish but this was his trip. Michael had the right idea though and it was a good ending to a good day. We floated into the gravel bar a short time later, among the first to finish our morning on the river.
To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our rates page.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jack On The River

Jack spent his youth around the Army Corps dams where his Grandfather Colonel O'Neil worked to bring us boat ramps, campgrounds and some of the other things we enjoy on the tailwaters we fish. We loaded up the drifter and shoved off in search of trout.

Like so many anglers Jack brought along a spinning rod and like the highest majority of anglers he did not touch it the entire day. Jack had fly fished a few times many years ago, but had forgotten the mechanics of the fly rod. We quickly got Jack into form and soon, because of his coachable attitude, he was setting the hook on some pretty good rainbows within the first several minutes.
The fish were holding tight to the bottom and close to rocks. When we located a rock or ledge there was sure to be a fish holding and looking for our flies. There weren't a lot of people on the river, but the anglers who were wetting a line seemed to be hooked up more often than not. 
Jack was casting well and when the drift was right and the right amount of line was laying on the water the fish would respond. The smallest amount of drag and in the clear water we could watch the fish move aside and watch the fly float on by.
The further into the float we drifted the better Jack was doing, while his prized spinning rod lay in the hot May sun. Jack was putting the Orvis Clearwater to good use and was into double digits quickly. While numbers are great and all, everyone wants to catch more fish than their buddy, Jack was also getting some healthy fish with broad shoulders and good length to eat his flies.
Jack improved throughout the day. It was fun to watch him cast 20 feet at the beginning of the float and then toward the end cast as far as I asked and be able to place the fly where it was needed to catch the fish. What a fun day with Jack on the river.
To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our Homepage.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tennessee Trout Fishing

Fishing has been good for several weeks. Fish are looking up a little more and parachute patterns have been the ticket if you find fish feeding. Nymphs are still bringing the numbers and size to the net. We have been getting  Alain came aboard the drifter the other day and we fished the entire float on nymphs without a pattern change. He had a big number day.
As soon as we found a break in traffic the fish started eating his fly. Alain dialed-in on a low flow with a slow drift and the fish couldn't stay away. Cast, mend, set, bring'em to the net. The fish were happy and at times the catch rate was very nice at times. Alain has been on the F/V Southeastern Fly several times so he knows the routine.
The trough truss bridge for the railroad was built in 1907. The railroad still runs trains over the bridge and along the river, although probably not as often as in the early 1900's. There are a couple holes around the pylon that sometimes will hold a fish, but the better holes are away from the pylon on most days.

Never know what you are going to see along the river
The low water presents its own challenges. With more anglers on the river right now getting a god spot can be difficult. Getting on the floats at the right time require a little flexibility. Slowing down and speeding up to be in the right position at the right time is a premium. Being ready to cast at the right time, line management and the right mend brings the catch rates up. 
We are booking into June now with a few dates on the schedule for July. Both rivers are producing and we are starting early on most dates and going late when the generation dictates. We will be moving into some better hatches in the next month or so.
To see the latest fishing report click here and for more booking information see our Homepage.  If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river just email or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water.