Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fly Fish the White River

Recently we took a trip to the White River in Arkansas. It was a good trip with a good group of friends. The fishing was good and we caught our share as well as someone else's share of fish. All fought hard, all put a smile on our face and all were welcomed when they slid into our net. As with every trip to the river there were things we learned. So I thought it might be best if some of the things learned were shared...along with some photos from the trip.

Things I Learned on a recent trip to the White River in Arkansas.

1. If you are dialed-in on your local tailwater you will probably be OK when you get on the White
2. All fish in the White are not 30"
3. All 30"ers in the White are not 30"
4. It's OK to be lazy and just fish what you want
5. The right cabin is a long way from the best pizza in the United States
6.  I-840 was paid for by tire companies and those tire companies have recouped their investment 10 times over
7. It is not impossible to sleep well the first night in a new place
8. 4 decades = 9 monkey years
9. John Prine is a good traveling partner
10. I stole this idea
11. Buffalo City is a long way from...well anything
12. There are no Buffalo in Buffalo City, Arkansas
13. On a multi day trip it's OK to take an afternoon off from fishing
14. Playing music should be part of every multi day fishing trip
15. Don't play banjos when you are a long way from nowhere
16. Riverbillies look exactly like you think
17. There are no "pretty good" crop duster pilots
18. Snakes are bad but close lightening is worse
19. Friends can fit in the front compartment of a drift boat (see #18)
20. I stole that too (see #19)
21. Cutthroats occupy the same types of water as every other trout
22. You can get 2nd degree burns on your lips with the wrong sunblock
24. Do the same float multiple times to learn the river

25. Sometimes an angler will give you accurate advice
26. It's hard to tell when an angler is giving you accurate advice
27. Life is better at the cabin
28. No cell signal is both good and bad
29. Fish eat well just before the lightening starts
30. It's good to have a bailing bucket in the drift boat
31. The bailing bucket needs to be in the boat
32. It seems no matter how many times an eagle is seen it's still cool
33. Wall Hookie is a useless game that everyone needs to master
34. Subway food is consistent
35. 97 degrees on the river is just as hot as 97 degrees on land
36. Pilar can be friend and foe
37. Shoals hold fish and boat parts
38. A bottle of mace still works even after being dunked in the river
39. Messing about in boats is one of the best ways to pass time 
40. Arkansas is a beautiful state
41. I skipped 23
42. Planning the next trip on the ride home is the best way to pass the time on the ride home
43. Give 5 guys, a river & one fly rod and there will be hours of entertainment
45. This is a great year so far
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 19, 2016

Greg and Brooke Come Back to the Casting Braces

The last time both Brooke and Greg were on the drift boat it was Brooke who had the upper hand on her Dad. This time Greg was ready to do battle with the fish and, frankly, to get some revenge on a river that owed him.
Between busy schedules we secured a good date and would float on a cloudy and sometimes rainy day. Greg and Brooke were ready to fish though and when we launched the drifter off the gravel bar we all knew our role. Brooke would take the front brace and Greg would occupy the rear brace. The fish would hopefully do their part and eat only our flies...
Brooke would be hooked up quickly and was back in her old form. Greg also warmed up on some fresh hatchery brats, but he was looking for a nice brown or rainbow to make his day. Greg was soon hoked up with a nice rainbow that rose to a hatching bug. He tossed the nymph into the feeding lane and the fly barely settled when the bow correctly chose his fly. It wouldn't be long before another fish would choose correctly.
Brooke continued to pick up a fish here and there but it was turning into the "The Day of Greg". He tossed the same fly under an overhanging branch. This was not an easy cast but the fly was on-target. The water was slightly less deep than the depth we had set for the fly, but that didn't stop Greg or what turned out to be another healthy fish. Greg set the hook and the fish went ballistic. We caught a glimpse of a nice brown that was head shaking and trying to get to the bottom to grind the fly off. Greg played the fish to the net and with congratulations from the front brace and rower's bench we released the fish to grow and choose our fly the next time we pass by.
Good fishing was hit and miss at times. But even the time of slower results provided time for good conversation. Lunch was quick as the storms began to rumble. We were well into the second leg of the trip and hitting only the most productive water when Greg once again set the hook on a good fish. This time the fish came from milky water as the rains began to turn the water to a brownish-green in color. This fight was slightly shorter in duration than the previous brown but once again Greg played the fish perfectly. And again there were congratulations from the front brace and rower's bench and the fish was released to choose our fly again.
Then the storms began to catch up with us. Oar power is not the best way to out run a storm but that was all we had. We would only stop momentarily to fish only the best holes, but then the water was too milky and the thunder too close. We rounded the last bend in the river and could see the ramp. 

After starting the day with a nice rainbow and following that up with a couple nice browns...with all the fish that chose correctly, all the proper mends...speed eating through lunch, dodging storms and the worsening water conditions...after thinking for sure we would be bailing water from the boat while keeping our heads down during the worst of storms... We made it to the ramp and the sun sun came out. Yep, it would be a nice sunny ride home.

Brooke and Greg fished through worsening conditions all day. It took good presentations and an open mind, but they were up to the challenge. Last time Brooke was the recipient of fish that chose her fly correctly. But, this float was Greg's turn to get some revenge on a river that owed him.
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 8, 2016

Emails and Footballs

Our email has been down for some parts of the last week. So if you have sent an email and have not received a response I apologize. If you would resend the email we will respond as soon as it is received. Again I apologize for any inconvenience. Thanks David.


And we can't have post without a good fish pic. Here's Greg with one of the football rainbows that been caught from the braces of the F/V Southeastern Fly recently. More to come on that later. For now I am headed West for a several hour drive just to see if there are any nice trout in that direction!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tim and Kevin Get Into Some Brown Trout

Tim has been on the drifter more than once and when the plans were made for this trip we would have one more angler aboard the ole' F/V Southeastern Fly. The last trip was mostly about rainbows but this trip would be different. This trip would be about the browns and the new guy. Kevin, the new guy, would take his place in the front brace and after a very short tutorial he would get into the groove almost immediately.
Tim was first up and began bringing fish to the net. Kevin found his presentation and began to do the same. It seemed as though Kevin could almost call his fish and swapped between catching rainbows and browns. Fortunately Kevin settled into a brown trout groove or at least the browns settled into his presentation and we began our trip down the river. 

Tim was in the rear brace and we slipped the drifter into some good water. Tim laid a nice cast to the bank and the fly settled at the end of the line. A short drift in slow water was next. Then Tim detected a strike and set the hook. The rod got a quick bend and the fish took off. Tim was doing everything right and this was to be another good fish for him. The fish didn't come to the top and kept digging. We had been here before and Tim remembered what to do... It wasn't long before he was gaining line and then the rod just had no pressure. The big fish had somehow slipped the fly and we were left with sad faces. 

Tim handled the situation pretty well, better than I might handle it. Fortunately Kevin and I were there to make him feel better about losing the fish...a big fish... a fish that might have made the 20+ Club... it was a really nice fish that was lost....you know one of those fish. Tim was a good sport about all the jokes made at his expense. In Tim's defense though he didn't do anything wrong. The hookset was good, he stayed ahead of the fish and kept good and steady pressure. Sometimes they just come unbuttoned.
Kevin made the most of standing in the front brace. When nothing was happening it was Kevin who would hook up with a nice fish.Tim and the guy on the oars really kind of got tired of watching Kevin catch all the fish were glad when Kevin brown a nice brown to the net. He was dialing himself in right nicely. Then Kevin went from learning to fly fish to "fishing mode" What is "fishing mode?" Fishing mode is when an angler begins searching out the better water. When an angler begins to lay the fly in the proper zone and gets the proper presentation. Kevin was there and that's when the nicer fish began coming.
With the current generation schedule the river will rise a little and fall quickly. The riverbed really doesn't fill up completely and the fish seem to be in the main current seams longer. Searching for moving water has been critical to success as the water level gets lower. Tim and Kevin were hunting the fish in slow moving water and most of the catching was coming along the edge of the seams.
Tim and I were watching Kevin really come to life. I have seen this before and saw it on Tim's very first trip in the drifter. It's fun to watch but it doesn't always happen. On this day Kevin would be in the zone. Kevin brought his second nice brown to the net and after the congratulations and hero shots, Tim and I changed our tune slightly. That tune went from encouragement to heckle Kevin just a little. There are many ways to slow the heckle and Kevin was about to discover one.
We had been floating behind another boat most of the day. For the last leg they stopped to fish one of the better pools. So we bounced to get some distance. We had clear river and Kevin was hitting some good spots when the other boat caught us again late in the float. Just as they got within good sight,Kevin set the hook one more time. Yep, Kevin was soon leading another brown to the waiting net. The other anglers who were floating along in the other boat were able to witness the entire episode. Kevin, the new guy, was able to slow the heckle with that fish... if only for a moment. This trip was definitely all about the browns and the new guy.
If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river e-mail or call/text 615-796-5143 to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our Homepage and to see the latest fishing report click here.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fishing with Donnie in the Front Brace

Sometimes it is difficult to get time on the water but shouldn't be impossible. I Talked to Donnie's wife the other day and she said Donnie had not been on the water this year. That needed a remedy so we jumped into action. She got a day on the calendar. When the day came to float the river he was excited...and so was I. Donnie would not share the front brace with anyone and therefore have the entire river to himself from the time we backed the drifter off the gravel bar. The float began.
It wasn't long, at all, before the fish began to respond. On this day we were hoping for a fair number of fish. Those hopes came true quickly and the numbers increased with seemingly every cast. For a while it was crazy and fish were coming to the net on consecutive casts more than once.
It's always fun to fish with Donnie and the context of discussion can be everything from sheer entertainment to downright serious. The discussion at one point turned toward the weather. The weather was crazy! First we were somewhat cool but more comfortable than anything. That would change to a wind-blowing mess just a few minutes later. But, we fished on.
The wind pushed out the somewhat comfortable weather and traded it for light rain and what felt like a few degrees from snow. The front moved quickly through the area. There were a lot of times throughout the next few hours would have us wondering if it was March vs. May. As everyone pretty much knows a cold front can put down fish. However, on this day the fish just kept eating nymphs. The top water bite wasn't on at all. So Donnie just kept bringing fish to the net with the mighty-nymphs. Neither of us were disappointed.
The water level was low and that will cause the fish to gather in tighter pods. Sometimes angler's can stay in a hole and run the numbers up that way. But we had a long float and had to fish whatever the river offered. Most of the pools, blow-downs and leading edges of riffles would produce fish. With a random fish coming off seemingly no structure or feature at all.
Finally the river miles began to wind down and this day could be counted as a success by many measurements. As we approached the take out and with other anglers in the immediate area, Donnie made it happen one more time.  A cast to structure, a quick mend, followed by a short drift and then the hookset. It is always just a little bit better when an angler can catch a fish with an audience. Also, it is always appreciated when an angler can get on the water after a long absence. 
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, May 24, 2016

Fly Fish Nashville

Figured it was time to give a quick report on the tailwaters in Middle Tennessee or at least a couple of them anyway. If you are reading this and on the fence about booking a trip...angler's are having very good days in the casting braces of the F/V Southeastern Fly. 
The Caney Fork River- The water clarity is finally improving on this tailwater. The Army Corps. is releasing a limited amount of water from Center Hill Dam and that is making for some sloooooow presentations. Clear and low water means anglers better bring their stealthy!
Getting a fly to the better fish can be a real challenge. It seems there have been a lot of smaller browns stocked in the upper reaches of the river. This isn't all bad as it gets angler's warmed up and gets them ready to hunt down the better fish that are coming later in the floats.
Dry-droppers are working. A larger Parachute Adams with a midge dropper will keep anglers busy and there is always that chance for a good top water strike. If you can get on the river with falling water and get a chance to use soft hackles your catch rate is sure to go up. Nymphs are fishing good as well, but like I said in the opening paragraph for the Caney, be ready to endure some sloooooow presentations. 
The Elk River- Just the other day I fished the Elk with Howard. He purchased a drifter and rowed me the entire way down the river. So for the first time I can remember I was able to fish all day. Thanks Howard! 
Small to medium sized midges are bringing fish to the net. Nymphs are still the best way to increase the catch rate. Experiment with different sizes and don't be afraid to go with sizes that you may have never tried before. As the weather warms the fish begin to look up dries will eventually pick up fish. But don't go to the river expecting an all dry fly day.
Speaking of warming weather we are getting closer to terrestrial season. Hopper-dropper rigs are just around the corner. We are beginning to book trips into June. So it may be a good time to get a date on the calendar. There we go, reports from both tailwaters and hope the information helps. More trip reports are just about ready to post. Thanks for stopping by the fishing report.
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 16, 2016

Mary and Dave on a Empty River

Mary and Laura were on the drifter a few weeks ago and really had a nice Mom's Day Off with good numbers of nice fish. So when Mary's text hit the phone and said she was bringing Dave back, I knew it was going to be another fun day on the water. We started the float early to get head of the other watercraft and they were into rainbows in just a few casts.
The fish were not rising but they were hungry. After a few casts and some quick mends it all came back to Mary. Dave was a quick study and soon he was setting the fly in the upper lip too. The upper lip of the trout seems to be a good indicator of the right timing and a clean hook-set. There is just enough density there to hold the hook as long as the pressure is applied at just the correct amount.  
Presentation is important. Setting the hook doesn't mean diddly-squat (that's a southern fly fishing term) if the presentation isn't just right. Having been through a day of forced mending fishing in the drifter and Mary figured out exactly what it would take for not only fish, but nice fish too. We were fishing some structure when she dropped the fly in the feeding lane.  The indicator hit the water and slipped into the shade. The fly was on the inside seam against the slower moving water. It began the drift. A quick mend to the right and the line began to speed up. The indicator was bouncing with the riffles, the same speed as the bubbles. It was an excellent mend which lead to just the presentation. The indicator dove just below the surface. It took a second but the rod tip came up and Mary was into a nice rainbow. The fight was between Mary, the fish, and a fair amount of logs. Mary brought the rainbow to the waiting net. We had our first good fish of the day.
Presentation is important... and soon Dave would be in a very similar fight. This fish would come from under a log as well, but the log was laying more in the open. We were hitting structure in open water when Dave launched a good cast and the fly plopped right at the head of the root ball. When a nymph with some weight hits the water and begins to fall, it will a little speed. When the fly reaches the end of the tippet the indicator will turn and dip. This time the indicator did just that. The fly began a drift. Dave wasn't just walking around in the back of the boat, no he was there to fish. His mend was just right. The fly began to creep down the log. The indicator dove, but I thought the fly had stopped on a branch. Well, the guy in the rower's seat can't always be right. Just as I was ready to back up and try to retrieve the fly, Dave was into the fight. The fish came out from the log and tried all the normal rainbow tricks. Dave was there at every turn and then turned the bow into the net. Score another one for the folks in the casting braces.
Mary and Dave basically took turns boating nice rainbows. Nice casting, good presentations and quick fights were bringing fish to the net. I don't know how many fish they caught and can't remember all the good bows they brought to the net, but I can remember this was a good trip...a good trip almost void of other traffic.
The early start paid off and the other watercraft were behind us. Dave and Mary had been the first anglers through the best holes, runs and riffles. They made the most of it too with good presentations and ended the day just as they had started with good rainbows.
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.