Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Brent Gets Back Into the 20+ Club After a Long Absence

It's been awhile since Brent has been able to get some time to fish aboard the F/V Southeastern Fly. But, when he finally gets time, Brent makes the most of that time in the front casting brace. This trip wasn't all about the fish. Let me me rephrase that previous statement. This trip didn't start off all about the fish, it quickly turned that way. We were floating along discussing the life events in both of our lives. The fog was thick and the wildlife was out. When we approached a group of deer, which were standing in the water, we realized they were eating vegetation from the bottom of the river. As we slipped closer, they slowly made their way up the bank and then into the woods. They were aware of our presence but did not seem worried as we drifted slowly downstream and through the layer of fog. With the wildlife out, but no rises to speak of, we went to work.
Brent stepped up to the front brace and began to hit the feeding lanes. It wasn't long before we had the first fish in the net. Brent's casting was spot-on. He laid the flies where I asked with accuracy and brought a couple tricks of his own. Other anglers were catching fish as well and a day of big fish quickly became the feeling. 

Every guide has certain banks, runs, riffles and flats they like to fish. Most all of those favorite haunts would produce fish on this trip. The first likely bank brought two good fish to the fly, but only one to the net. 

It wasn't too long before we slipped up to the edge of the Hog Trough. After a nice rainbow came to hand, Brent laid another cast into a likely spot. A big fish swirled and ate. The fight was on. Brent was doing a great job keeping the fish out of the weeds and the sticks. As I made my way to the front of the boat, net in hand, there was a lot going on. That's when I saw a submarine pass by the 20+ fish Brent was sparring with from the front brace. The other fish caught my eye as it spooked and I will be back for that one. Brent had his hands full as he fought his fish in tight-quarters. Keeping the fish out of trouble was a miracle and series of correct moves. The big brown came to the net and Brent was once again in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. But the day wasn't over...not by a long shot.
There were some other fish eating and some nice fish too. Brent continued to be dialed-in and didn't lose focus. For most, fly fishing is about getting outdoors, enjoying the river, enjoying the fish and hopefully the company. There are many other things that come into play that may not be listed here, but of those things the fish are what seem to draw the anglers to a river. Sometimes when the river is fishing good, angler's can lose focus. It's easy to let your guard down once a milestone has been accomplished. Like I said, Brent didn't lose focus as he raised the rod tip and brought more fish to the net. The numbers were good and we were adding quality fish to that count.
We rode the slow drift into the Meat Locker, a good piece of liquid real estate that has provided us with quality fish in the past. I will spare the details of the hook-set and we will start the story where the fish takes enough line to get on the reel without Brent's help. This fish was on a long run and didn't want to stop.  Keeping the rod tip high and with the correct angle Brent got the head turned...finally. The fish was pulling and accelerating by using its big tail. Brent kept working the Orvis Recon and the fish responded by making shorter runs each time, then it started coming our way. The big Brodin net waited. 

We talk a lot about fish making one last run. This fish was no different and made its last run to the right. Brent used the butt of the rod to gain enough pressure to stop the run. When the head of the fish came to surface Brent lifted the rod even higher and the fish slid safely into the Brodin. Brent was once again in the 20+ Club. 

We wrapped up the day by seeing some familiar faces and getting a few laughs at the craziness that is a Middle Tennessee boat ramp. Yes, I am going to write a book, with pictures, some day. For now there are fish that need to be caught and released and anglers who need to get out on the water. It was good to spend the day on the boat with Brent again. With all the action we had, this is one trip that will be difficult to top. Congratulations on your two entries 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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Grumpy Enters the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club

Digging through the CDs in my truck, yes my truck still plays CDs, I found an old homemade CD with some Jimmy Buffet tunes. Those tunes passed the time with the miles and reminded me of some other times. Before I knew it I was at the exit and a bit early too. Ronnie was on time and after a couple quick stops we were headed down the ramp. The drifter was bobbing in the current when I returned from parking the truck. We got on the water at the time our plan dictated. Ronnie was in the front casting brace as we slid into the feeding lane, then did our best to trick a fish into a bad decision. It was slow at first. We discussed the current fishing situation with everyone and no one in particular. Then we caught the first fish. 
Ronnie had his plans for fishing and I had mine. After a short time, he came around to my way of thinking and we were moving downstream at a good pace. A short time later we had another fish and then another. We were onto something and bringing fish to the net with some consistency.  

A quick fly change and I cinched down the knot, or what I thought might have been some resemblance of a knot. Ronnie grabbed the Orvis Recon, wound up a cast, the line went right where he pointed the tip of the rod. The line, leader and tippet extended about 40' to his target...however, the fly came down about 2' in front of the boat. After a good laugh I retied the mid section, tippet, and a new fly just to be safe. All that was done with slight embarrassment. The laugh was on me and we sure had a good one. Retying the mid section, tippet and fly knots would come in handy later in the float.
We were dialed-in and catching a fair number of fish. We lost two large fish, but we soldiered-on. Then we came upon a bank where several good fish have been caught this year. There was one spot in particular I wanted Ronnie to hit. After seeing him make some really nice casts throughout the morning, this cast to this target seemed routine. The fly hit the water and settled. It was just a second or two when Ronnie came tight to the fish. He doesn't get too excited about too many fish, but his voice was a little higher when he said "this is a nice fish." Then it surfaced and my voice went a little higher too! The Orvis recon was in full bend down into the cork as I backed the drifter, Ronnie, and the fish into the middle of the river for some structure free water. This battle was going to fun to watch,

The fish kept pulling and digging and Ronnie kept just the right amount of pressure on the rod. All I could think about was the knot I tied earlier, while having the hope it was a good knot this time. The fish tested the rod, the fly line, the leader, the mid-section, the tippet and every knot in between throughout the fight. Ronnie did an excellent job keeping just the right amount of pressure. 

We were having good communication throughout the battle. Just as we discussed the possibility of one last run, the fish took off upstream.  The fish had its tail up and head down as Ronnie let little drag run a few feet of line off the reel. Then he turned the fish and after one trip around the front of the boat, the fish came to the net with one last acceleration.

Ronnie fought the fish like a pro, the knot held until the fish got into the net and then the fish spit the fly as soon as the net came over the gunnel. But, the fish was safely in the net and we had some fist bumps and handshakes to take care of. 

The bigger fish can be a little hard to handle. We were able to get a couple nice shots before we put the fish back in the net to revive. With some shaky hands we released the big brown back to the bottom of the river. It was a heckuva a fish and another great day on the F/V Southeastern Fly. Let's welcome Ronnie 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.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Keven Takes His Place in the 20 + Club

When we started this float it was overcast and sunny depending on where we looked. There was an 80% chance of  storms predicted for Middle Tennessee and before the float was over we would run the gamut of the Weather Guessers broad "forecast". 

With the falling water I really thought we had a chance at a big fish. Keven was of the same opinion and with both us thinking positive, we headed down river and into the approaching weather. Keven was fishing well and with a little bit of coaching he was soon using the techniques I had brushed-up on while in the West a few weeks back.

Keven was banging the banks and took a shot at a likely hold. Nothing. Although he came up empty he decided the spot looked too good for the fly to come back with a blank. It was the right decision. The next cast was right on the target and after a few short strips the fish hit. The brown didn't seem big but did begin to head-shake. Keven was able to make quick work of this fish and soon the fish was coming to the waiting net. We took some pictures, released the fish to catch again and completed a fist bump to seal the deal. 

The shadows were growing longer and the fog was getting thicker. Before we could make it to the ramp darkness had set in and we both had places to be the next morning. A few cranks of the winch and the boat was on the trailer. 

We were lucky to get on the tail-end of a good weather pattern and I think that helped. Picking the right spot and going back to give the fish a second look was really key to this entry in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. Nice work Keven.

Want your chance at some nice fish? Check out the full and half day floats. Another option is a Happy Hour Float. (no alcohol will be served, but these floats really give anglers a chance at quality fish). For those interested just call, text or email (see the info below).

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 29, 2017

Fly Fish Nashville

Wow July has passed by quickly. As we head into August, it looks to be shaping up to be a good month. Reflecting back on August of 2015 and August 2016 there are reminders of how many anglers caught good fish on the F/V Southeastern Fly in the month of August over the past few years.
There have been many days helping folks catch their first trout, while it has been great to help other anglers catch their largest trout. After a trip to Colorado and reading back through fishing reports from previous years, it is time to bring some summertime techniques back to the river. So far those techniques have been productive.
More bugs are hatching with the warmer weather and we are catching fish as those bugs move quickly into their different stages. Compared to other seasons of the year, it seems the next 45 days should be epic. 
Fish aren't the only ones eating on trips. Guide trip foods consist of round bars (donuts) for breakfast. The shore lunches are best served while sitting in a riffle or under the shade of a tree, riverside. The nutrient of the afternoon continues to be chocolate and the anglers as well as the guy in the rower's seat are both appreciative. Early morning and late afternoon half-day floats are created with snacks for anglers in mind and snacks for the fish too.
The Elk River and the Caney Fork are both fishing well for us right now. So if you are thinking about getting on the F/V Southeastern Fly, in my humble opinion the month of August will be a great time. Anglers could possibly catch their first fish or the fish of a lifetime. 
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, July 13, 2017

Howard is Back in the 20+ Club

Howard has been fishing with me for several years, probably many more than either of us would like to admit. There was an evening several years ago that we had a disagreement about a fish that should be in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. That fish was actually just about a 1/2" short or so. He caught it on a dry fly which is supposed to add length. But, well, it wasn't quite 20" so that fish didn't make it on the tape, so that fish didn't make it into the club. 

Fast forward to several more trips down Middle Tennessee rivers and more hours on the water, we returned to a stingy river. On this day there were some tight-lipped fish, at least for a while.

We got on the water early and began sight fishing. With super-clear water we were looking for our stealth but the fish were on to us more times than not. We tossed a lot of stuff and could not find our consistency.

We spent the morning staying just ahead of the traffic and playing defense with other watercraft when we came to the better holes, runs and shoals. We were seeing some friends along the way which was making for a nice day. We were on nymphs and fishing deep in a slow pool. With a blowdown coming on the outside of a slight bend, Howard was in a perfect position to get a clean presentation. He flipped the right mend and the fly settled into a slow drift. Then the fish ate and Howard came tight. The fish made a nice bend in the rod and the fight began. Watercraft began to stack up behind us as he stayed with the fish and I tried to keep the boat in the best position. There was a nice audience as Howard brought the nice bow to the net. It was good to see such a nice fish, especially with people watching.

We snapped a couple photos and taped the rainbow before reviving it, then released the fish to catch another day. This fish would make the club, but I still caught grief about that other fish, so many trips ago. After a slow day Howard put the icing on what little cake we were able to find. Good work Howard and I am looking forward to the next time we can get our schedules to line up!
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, July 2, 2017

Fishing a River-Flat

There are many structures in any river. Most of the time when angler's talk about fishing a flat, they are talking about chasing bone fish in saltwater. But after studying the river bottom for more years than I care to admit there are also "river-flats"on the waters of Middle TN. 

Definition- A River-flat: A long stretch of water that is relatively straight with a consistent and many times 1' - 3' in depth.

(Disclaimer- The same stretch of water could be known by other names. However, for the purposes of this article we will use the definition above.)

So if we use this definition, some stretches of water will come to light on many rivers that you may fish. Even though a section of the river is relatively flat there are some holes, points, and other objects that might hold a fish or two. Some flats hold an entire morning of fishing fun.

Holes- there are holes from the size of a hat to the size of a drift boat in some rivers. A lot of times a hole will appear behind or downstream of an object. To get a clear picture of how an object can create a hole, I suggest reading Kevin Fedarko's- The Emerald Mile. In the book Kevin tells how a lump the size of a walnut, in a concrete tunnel, caused a hole the size of a moving van. 

Many times a fish will hold against the side of the hole. The side of the hole is a good resting place with access to an occasional passing meal. Although we fish the structure a lot of the time, fish come out of the hole more times than not. Fish just hang around and wait for something to pass. Picture a cowboy leaned up against a wall, with one foot against the wall, waiting for something good to come by. When something passes that he wants he just reaches out there and grabs it. Fish seemingly will do the same thing. If the fish is hungry they might reach a little farther then if they are not hungry.

Points- The flat may also have slight points along the banks from time to time. The point may be made of rocks that were put there to save a bank or it may just be a natural point. That point will speed up the water and create more oxygen. The increased oxygen is something fish seek.  It's real hard for a human to get too much oxygen and for fish it sometimes seems they can't get enough, especially on a slower flowing river. With the increased flow across the point there is also food. Increased oxygen and food are both a bonus. Also for those soft water resting fish there is normally a small eddy downstream of a point. The eddy is a great place for fish and hopefully a big one, to hold. 

Other Objects- I've seen many things laying on the flats of Middle TN rivers. Objects such as tires, huge sycamore trees, grass beds, and rocks. All these objects and many more have the potential to hold a fish or two.  Obviously after discussing holes earlier in this article, there are holes behind most of this type of structure. Fish will also hold in front and beside objects as well. The fish are moving their fins just waiting for some food or your fly to pass. The speed of presentation on dries and nymphs means a lot. The flat sometimes leaves the fish more exposed so clean presentation is a must. Streamers, fished over structure, can entice a fish leave their cover and eat from reaction.

Keven, in the photo below, was fishing a flat the other day. I had just tied on a new bug and he settled it into a clean drift. This fish was sitting on the flat before the bottom dropped into a large hole. Just before the hole there is a rock-pile and Keven's drift was right in line. The currents were conflicting across the rocks and this fish was just waiting for some food to float by in one of those currents. The fly must have caught the eye of the fish and it stepped out to grab the bug. Keven set the hook and did a fantastic job keeping ahead of the fish as it took off upstream and then made a quick trip around the boat. The fish finally came to the net. We snapped a quick photo before letting if go back to the rock-pile. 

Fishing the structure on the flat can be rewarding, but knowing the holes, points and other structure can produce a good day of fishing. Anglers who are a long way from the saltwater flats can spend a day fly fishing the river-flats on the waters of Middle TN

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 18, 2017

Fly Fish Middle Tennessee

The weather has been on the wet side this year. The lakes are just high enough and anglers will to watch the generation forecasts closely. There are still good windows of excellent flow to get on the water and find yourself in the casting braces of the F/V Southeastern Fly. Clay found himself in the front brace on high water, slingin' streamers, and came up with some nice browns and this fine rainbow (see above). On the other end of the flows we found Eddie some nice brown trout (see photo below), with as little flow as I've seen in a while. Plenty of anglers have been with us and found good flows and good fish.
Both the Caney and the Elk have been fishing well. We are finding ways to beat the heat and the traffic by scheduling at more the right times than not. Don't let anyone tell you different, you can get some water to yourself even on the weekdays and weekends. We are having a good time on both rivers.
If you aren't following Middle Tennessee Fly Fishers on Facebook, I recommend pulling up their page up and take a look at the entomology work they did on the Caney Fork the other day. There are good photos and those photos can provide plenty of ideas for fly tying.

For anyone waiting until just the right time to book your date with me in the drifter, the summertime bite up top is just around the corner. The fish are starting to look up and those terrestrials we have been holding in the box are getting some good looks. The calendar is filling so if you are ready to fish, please get in touch with me to get your date set.

If you aren't following Southeastern Fly on Facebook and Instagram you are missing some of the action. Good and entertaining conversations on very serious subjects like chocolate and Fishtail Fridays. It's worth a click and a follow for sure. 

For all the people who booked trips this year, some who had rescheduled for weather and those who repeated already, thank you for choosing Southeastern Fly! It's been a good year so far and there is much more 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 4, 2017

Fly Fishing Nashville TN

Tonto and Bubba came back again this year to the casting braces of the F/V Southeastern Fly. Last year they caught good numbers of fish. This year we got on the river with a high flow and struggled throughout the morning. Well, Tonto struggled, or was it Bubba that struggled? It's hard to tell who is who, but it wasn't hard to tell who was having a great time when the water was shut off and the fishing picked up. That was all of us! The Little Southern Tailwater came to life and the holdover browns decided they liked the way our nymphs looked. See you next time guys.
The Elk River- With the big rain events, that have been spread out just right, we have been fishing more high water than ever. The fishing on high water can be hit or miss and getting the fly in exactly the right spot is critical to success. Proper mends in the right seams make for good presentation and that's what we work on...always. As we move into summer we will see lower flows. So far this year the Elk has been fishing good on low water. The normal Middle TN bugs have been working just fine to trick the fish and don't be surprised when a good holdover challenges your A-game.
The Caney Fork- This river reminds me of a saying I heard once. "Good fishery - Good fishermen". The Caney continues to give up some nice fish. Streamers on high water and nymphs/midges on low water. Anglers in the braces have been bringing plenty of nice fish to the net. Timing is everything on this river when the traffic is heavy, but we've stuck good numbers of fish in traffic. Also, believe it or not, we've been the only boat on the river several times too. 
The Streamer Bite- This year the streamer fishing has been as good as I remember. And, well, it's lasting a little longer too. The hot color has been easy to spot, just look on about any tree limb it seems and you will see a streamer hanging out of it. But, the color may be starting to move a little darker on the the ole color wheel soon...
The days are getting busy- It's been a little tougher to post the report like I want to post. However, I'm going to try to do better with this report. If you want to keep more "up to the minute" on what's happening on the river just follow Southeastern Fly on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There seems to be something going on every other day or so. 

The calendar is filling up with more days on the water. If you want to get on the river just call, text or email for the open dates! Until then thanks for stopping by the fishing report. Well gotta run and get an afternoon float in before the storms arrive. 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, May 22, 2017

Jim Steps Into The Front Brace

There are days on the river that just leave you with good memories. This was one of those days. Jim was given a gift from family, for a day on the river, to learn fly fishing. We met for the first time at the ramp. The weather was warm with a significant threat of rain. We were going to get on the water and just hoping the day would give us a good float and the weather would hold off until we were finished.

We floated for a short distance and then dropped the anchor. We went through the usual drills as Jim began to understand what I was asking with his cast and his presentation. Jim was quick to understand my ask and was soon getting good distance and a presentation at just the right speed. So we began to fish.

It wasn't long before we were coming into some soft takes, but the fish were eating so softly that commitment was in short supply. The fog was still hanging close to the surface and with coffee still warm in the cup, Jim set the hook and the fish that had once again ate softly, came to life. The fish made a fast run toward the boat as Jim tried to gain line. When Jim got control of his first trout, it had already spent most of its energy. The fight went quickly and soon Jim was lifting the rod and bringing the nice little rainbow to the net. From then until lunch we fine-tuned casting, presentation, and the fight. Oh and he brought a lot of fish to the net.

The usual gravel bars were taken and as lunch approached we were running short on space. So, we pulled the drifter out of the flow and just set the table in the river for our own quick bite. Summer in Middle TN is getting an early start and the cool tailwaters running over our feet were a welcome change. At one point Jim confessed he was hoping to catch at most just a few fish. We recounted some of the fish caught and realized he was deep into double digits well before lunch. That conversation has been common on many trips this year and the discussions on this day came easy between angler and gillie. Lunch was complete and clouds were beginning to push. We loaded the boat and moved on. 
As the afternoon wore on, Jim was really getting dialed-in on the hook set. It was becoming more and more evident with each fish. Jim was dialing-in when he set the hook on a nicer fish. Was it the largest of the year? no. Was it a nice fish? Yes it was. Jim handled the fish like a veteran. Sitting on the rowers bench, the most impressive part of that fish was the hookset. It was decisive and stung the brown hard. It took a little bit of time, but Jim made the right moves at all the right times, then the slid the fish in the waiting net.

We finished out the day just a short time later. Jim was a lot of fun to fish with and responded to direction like a dedicated angler. This was a good day on the river that left us both with good memories.
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, April 30, 2017

The 2017 Middle/West TN Casting for Recovery Retreat

The 9th Annual Middle and West Tennessee Casting for Recovery was held under overcast skies and sometimes rainy condition. Fourteen ladies were invited again this year at no cost to the participants. There was food, fun and fly fishing.

My job, again this year, was to get fourteen guides to show up and spend the morning helping the participants to "perhaps catch a few fish". And as usual their was a waiting list to be a guide, which makes my job really easy. Catching fish and fun was high on the agenda... in-spite of what was at times pretty crummy weather.

The Duck River was high when we started so the guides kept the trout flies in the boxes and prepared for the day by pulling out the warm water ammo. We would be fishing for bass, brim, crappie and catfish from five lakes on the property. Within minutes the ladies were casting, thanks to their lessons the day prior. It wasn't long before the rods were bent and fish were coming to the net.

The morning moved along quickly under the grey skies. In-spite of the liquid sunshine the ladies were having fun as one after the other felt the tug of the fish on the end of the line. The guides were not lacking for smiles either. They seemed just as happy as their partners when the fish would decide to eat. 

Our morning of fishing was coming to a close. One after the other the ladies brought their last fish to the net. After the waders were stowed and the last of the rods were broken down we all made our way to the dining room for some of my favorite BBQ of the year. Finally we said our good-bys and went our separate ways. 

The Middle Tennessee fly fishing community came together under the direction of the Music City Fly Girls for another fantastic event. As always it was an honor to be part of this day and as usual I'm looking forward to next year!