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! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Phillip and Ed- Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel at Times

Disclaimer- No, we really didn't shoot any fish in a barrel or otherwise... and no none of us have ever shot fish.

We did, however, catch enough fish that it seemed like they were just going to jump in the net, if we held the net beside the boat. The plan was to float the river and perhaps catch a few fish. The day started out with just the right weather. Shorts were fine as the sun warmed the bones and brought the fish out to join our quest. We were still sitting at anchor, talking and rigging rods when Phillip brought the first brown to the net. I threaten to call it a day and go get the truck and trailer...sometimes catching a fish that quick puts a damper on the rest of the float. But, soon there was another fish coming to the net and then made sense just to get the float underway.
The float started out on a positive note and for a while continued to get better. We made several stops along the way where we caught fish using several different techniques. Most anglers who fish the river know that streamers have been working well. We went to some meatier patterns and the fish responded kindly.
The guys were busy all morning and were bringing all sizes of fish to the boat. Several doubles and even a triple happened a couple of times. The average size was in the 13" - 15" range but as with all good floats, the best was yet to come.
After lunch we were back on nymphs and the guys were getting good drifts. There were some longer dry spells in the catching department, but there were no complaints as fish would respond with just the right timeing. Ed was in the back of the boat and getting back in his groove after several years of not getting out to fly fish. Phillip has been getting out with some trips to NC, those trips would help him prepare for what was to come.
Fish hold in all kinds of different water. The fish that sits at the head of the run is sometimes the biggest fish of the pod. The head of the run can be the position that gives that fish the best location to get the best food. The biggest and I would assume even the best tasting bugs have to pass by, as do all the other bugs, and if the big fish wants the first chance at all the food, the head of the run isn't a bad location to hold.

So, here we came floating down the river. The guys were dropping nymphs in the a run by the bank. Phillip lifted the tip of the Orvis Recon and dropped his bug right at the top of the run. The fish must have thought his bug was going to taste real good and decided to try it out. Phillip set the hook and the fish began to fight. Phillip told us it was a big one but Ed didn't believe him OK Ed was the second person in the boat to see the fish and we were soon well into a hard fight from one of the larger rainbows of the day. Phillip did a great job keeping the fish out of the fastest part of the run. All he needed to do was to keep the fish out of that one blowdown and that one blowdown was only a few feet away. Phillip used the backbone of the Recon to steer the fish away from the one safe place and bring it to the net. It wasn't long before we were taking a photo and the measurement. 

This fish would be our longest of the day and would earn Phillip a spot in the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. Congratulations Phillip. We floated out catching more fish, first here then there and as the sun began to fall behind the tree lines. It was another good float and one that will go down in the books as a really eventful and nice day. Nice job 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.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Stephanie and Steve Fly Fish High Water

Stephanie has been on the drifter before and this time she decided to let Steve come along to see what the rivers of Middle Tennessee can produce. Both our happy anglers would catch their share of fish and fish new styles on their way from the launch ramp to the take out.
We started on top water. The brookies and some brown trout were looking up and when they looked up Stephanie and Steve's flies just happened to be floating overhead. We messed around with that for a while then pulled out the 6 weights with sinking line.Stephanie began by catching her first brookie as her first fish.  Soon we were bringing fish to the net but not at the rate we wanted. We stopped at one point and it was like someone was throwing bowling balls into the river. The river was getting crazy and like the fish we were getting hungry.
After fueling up and getting our anglers back into the casting braces we got down to business. We pulled into the upper end of "Brown Town" and began catching fish on a steady basis. We caught fish on every color we tried...Well, we only needed to try one color so I guess in reality that statement was still 100% the truth. The action kept coming on top with floating lines and down deep on heavy sinking lines.
The fishing continued to get better and better. Every stop seemed like it was productive and when a fish would rise it wouldn't be long before it was sliding into the net. These days don't come often and when they do it is pure magic. We made stops at the likely places that have been producing over the years and were finding our share of opportunities.
We waited for some other boats to pass, then the anchor came off the bottom and we floated into a productive portion of the river. The fish began to rise. A larger fish came to the top and Steve got his fly in front of that fish. The fish ate and Steve set the hook. The fish went to the bottom and put a deep bend in Steve's 5 wt. Orvis Frequent Flyer rod. The fish tried to stay on the bottom and the fight was full of give and take for quite a long time. Steve kept after the fish and soon the it was coming around to our way of thinking. The brown made one last attempt to get away and Steve brought it back, then to the edge of the net. One last pull on the 5 wt. brought it into the big Brodin net. We got the fish in the boat and removed the fly, then back into the water for some refreshment. With Stephanie witnessing the measurement, Steve made his way into the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club

We continued the day catching some really nice fish. Fish that on a normal day would be a photo op, but on this day they were just regular fish that we were catching and releasing. It is hard to explain how good this day really was to all of us.

Stephanie and Steve were a pleasure to spend a couple days with on the river. After we were done, plans were made for follow up trips. Next time I hope to see Morgan come back. Morgan if you come back, you bring that cast and I will bring us some more chocolate! Steve and Stephanie thank you again for spending some quality time 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, April 3, 2017

Video to Compliment the Last Fishing Report

After the trip with M.E. and Ethan I received a text with some footage from our float. Ethan did a fantastic job with his video the production. There were a lot of laughs and this video shows just a few. Hope you enjoy his work and thanks again Ethan!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

M.E. Gets Herself Into the 20+ Club

The calendar can be your friend and enemy. Lately it is tough to get dates on the calendar, but after a fly tying event at Cumberland Transit, M.E., Ethan and I, finally got our calendars in sync. Time is something of which we all seem to be in short supply. We wanted to get a day on the river before they charged off into the Wild, Wild West for their walk from Mexico to Canada. You can follow along with their hike at this link.
Every great adventure starts, well, in the back of an SUV? Once everything was transferred from the SUV to the F/V Southeastern Fly, including our anglers and the guy in the rower's seat, we were ready. Ethan would score fish early and included in that score was a nice walleye. It wasn't real big, but nice. Although we've heard some big walleye in the river, they have been like hear about'em but you never see'em.
We started down the river and immediately went into a dry-spell. Some were fish busting but nothing super-intense. A few stops along the way for wildlife viewing and some killer sandwiches seemed to be the highlights of our early adventure. Then we came into a stretch of river that produces nice fish. M.E. was struggling a little in the catching department. Tossing heavy sinking lines in fast moving water isn't easy but M.E. put the fly in the right place and began to move the fly off the shelf. With a "hopping retrieve" and some good mojo the fly never made it off the shelf. The brown struck the little fly and began to head-shake. M.E. did a nice job playing the brown and just like she did last year, she brought the brown to the net. And that fish was known as just a warm-up.
The sun began to move toward a set and we found ourselves still on the water. I called for last cast and Ethan took me at my word. M.E. however had other ideas.  Still throwing the sinking line and now on a Clouser, M.E. kept at it. The fish hit and immediately the Echo II bent almost double. Neither Ethan or myself thought the fish was big, but M.E. was quiet. Ethan even asked "are you just messing with us?" Then the rod began to bounce, big head-shakes answered that question. No one was messing with anyone because it isn't easy bounce the Echo II.  For those of you  who have fished the rod you can attest to that statement. This fish is the exact reason the Echo is on the boat during streamer season. M.E. was still trying to stay ahead of the fish, that was now trying to get her into the weeds. M.E. did a nice job pulling on the fish and letting it have some line when needed. Our first glimpse of the fish soon came and then she was able to get the fish to the net. Arms extended way over the drifter and the fish slid into the net. A Quick measurement confirmed the fish was indeed long enough for the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club and then a few photos before the fish was released to be caught one more time. Nice work M.E and Ethan. #honorablemention
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, March 9, 2017

Elk River Report

Quick report here from the Elk. The fish are in pods so if an angler catches one fish they will probably have a shot at one or two others. The river finally seems to be experiencing some better flows during the week. Hopefully all the work on the dam is behind us. Check the schedule before driving to the river and always be aware of the water levels when wading. Believe me when I say this river rises rapidly.

The weekend flows are 80 CFS. On the 80 CFS flow, it seems the changing barometric pressure, well high pressure, affects the fish more than on a higher flow.  Now there is no scientific data that I could find to support or dispute this, but experience tells me more often than not, on low flows with high pressure, the fish tend to be more tight-lipped. That is simply an observation over time from lot of trips down the river on varying conditions.

Nymphs are producing fish. It takes the right pattern with the right presentation right now. So just any ole junk won't produce. Occasionally a fish will be looking up, but if you aren't seeing many fish eating midges just under the surface film there sure isn't much action on a bug "up-top".

Are you following Southeastern Fly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? There is even more content in those locations. If you aren't following us there, it is easy to find us on all those social media locations. 

The calendar is filling up with more days on the water. The weather has been crazy but ti seems we are making a turn toward Spring. If you want to get on the river just call, text or email for the open dates! Until then thanks for stopping by and we will 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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Caney Fork Fishing Report

The Caney Fork- Generation and the water levels on the Caney have been either way up or way down. The Army Corps is releasing 2 generators worth of Center Hill's water most days during the week. Sinking lines are the flavor of choice and white has been the color. Boat control and line speed have been the ticket to producing some good fish. There are not huge numbers but there is some quality fish coming to the net.
It's been a while but the other day a train came rolling through the Crossover and we were in the right place at the right time.  The train had passenger cars with some people aboard who seemed to be enjoying their time passing through the backwoods, off the beaten path. We enjoyed seeing the train pass along the bluff and then slow to turn the corner in the river, presumably so there would be no drinks spilled.
The brook trout have made an appearance on the Caney again. They are out there and showing up in force. When angler's have found one they have found two, three and sometimes many more than that. These fish are small but entertaining. Most of the fish are in pretty good shape with decent color and as can be seen in the photo below, some will be nice when they grow into their tails. 
Low water nymphing and midge fishing have both been productive in most sections of the river.  Sometimes angler's will go through a drought without action, however fish can be caught in most sections. On windy days it can be real tough to get a natural presentation, so seek out the calmest water with the best flow to get the desired results.
The water in the lake has cleared up and the visibility in the river is nice right now. The only thing that has negatively affected the clear water is heavy rain. Muddy water from the creeks can stain the river on the edges. Browns have been lining up for ambush possibilities. Don't miss an opportunity to fish the seam of clear and stained water.

There is a report from the Caney that hopefully gives anglers some information that can be useful. The float trip calendar is filling and the trips on the river, so far, this year have been good. Even with this crazy winter or should we say non-winter this has been a good year to be out there.  

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, February 19, 2017

Nashville Fly Fishing

We returned from Louisiana and the red fish only to find the trout around the Middle Tennessee area having been waiting. The trips to river since the return have been good. The trout have decided they like our streamers and bugs. The trout have the anglers and the guide both very happy.
The flows from Center Hill have been high during the week days. One and two generators throughout the day have been feeding the river with plenty of flow. These have been streamer days with some unorthodox methods that have been bringing fish to the net. These trips are not easy, but can be rewarding.
When angler's get themselves in the front brace the old "bang the banks" type of fishing is the go-to. But, throughout the winter I've been working on some techniques that everyone is not using. Those techniques have been helping angler's get their "hero shots' and shots for this report. Frankly the right speed of retrieve is pretty much, well, everything.
If throwing a streamer all day on the Caney isn't your cup of tea then the lower flows of the weekend days may be for you. These trips have been fun with a little bit of streamers and a little bit of nymphing. The trips have been productive and angler's have been experiencing some good catch rates. The browns are as colorful as I can remember and the pink/red stripe on the rainbows is vivid.

The Elk River has been flowing 80 CFS on the weekends. That flow is favorable to fishing for both wading and floating anglers. Streamers have been bringing a few fish to the net but the nymph still is producing the most fish and most times the nicest fish.
We are hoping the institution of the 20" limit will help with growing some bigger browns on the Elk. The signage is not in the parking lot under Highway 50 it can be found in the upper parking lot. This will hopefully be a step in the right direction.
Another nice Middle Tennessee Brown Trout
Vivid Lines and Good Color

Late Evening Floats on the River
Overall the trips to the river have been good. Angler's who have been in the casting braces have been pretty happy and that makes the guy on the oars pretty happy as well. It's been good to talk with anglers and be able to help some with their adventures on the rivers around Middle Tennessee. If you have questions and just need some direction or want to book a trip and get a date on the calendar, as always feel free to email, text or call. 
More Good Color

Eye Don't Know, I Don't Know

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, February 9, 2017

Louisiana Red Fishing in February

I think the photo above and Mark's smile say it all, at least it explains how good the fishing portion was on this trip. If you have been following Southeastern Fly on Facebook and/or Instagram you already know we spent the best part of the last several days in Louisiana. The food, the accommodations and the fishing were all very good. The adventure, well it was outstanding.
The night we arrived a phone call came from our host guide Cleve and he said we were going to make the trip to the Chandeleur Islands. The boat ride (race) would be about an hour on open water in a 20'ish foot skiff. Once there, we would hope the fishing would be good. Everyone who knows me understands that if there is a chance for adventure, let's just say I'm all for it. 

The Chandeleur Islands have long been on my bucket list. Every since my grandfather and uncle went out there on a mother ship and reported how enjoyable it was to be there, I have wanted to go. They fished for several days, while eating good food and taking-in the small strip of sand which is only slightly wider than an interstate in some places.. The stories of fishing for sharks, redfish and trout as well as the rest of their adventure have haunted me since. So Cleve was getting it right and we had not even left the dock.
When our two skiffs, two guides and four anglers left the dock we motored out past the no wake zone and got on plane, then we spotted a coyote that for some reason decided it needed to cross the canal. The wildlife was out and on the move. After a couple quick photos we were back on plane for an all out run to that small strip of sand. After a break at the halfway mark we were underway again. The dolphins and ducks, so many ducks were on the move too. Then the small strip of sand came into view and a short time later we had arrived. 
We began with some instruction of do's, dont's, including the finer points of a successful day. It wasn't long before we were in the front brace with a redfish on the end of the fly rod. There were a lot of firsts on this trip and everyone got their first bull red.
The rest of our day was spent chasing big reds with fly rods, eating huge sandwiches and messing about in boats. It was long day of fishing and catching. Then we were making the trip back across open water and into the marsh, then finally back at the dock. Before long we were in the car and on the ferry for our last leg of the day. We wrapped up the day with a buffet at the lodge, while sharing our views of this most enjoyable day.
Early to rise and a nice breakfast at the lodge. Lunch was ready and we were off to enjoy day two. The weather on this day two was even better than the first day as a front was approaching. The fish would have their own plan but we would make the most of it. We pulled onto the ferry and our adventure continued. Finally to the dock where the skiffs waited. Once again we were motoring slowly out of the no wake zone.
On this day we would explore the marsh for reds. We stopped at the first pond and it wasn't log before Cleve was spotting fish. A fish moved and after two casts we were bringing our first red to the boat. Then it was a long hunt for more fish. We would go for a lengthy dry-spell with several blown shots and nothing to show. The sun was falling and the shadows were getting long. There was one last place, the last stop on the tour and the hope of at least one last fish...
We raced along the canals, through larger ponds and into openings. The skiff stayed on plane for quite a while. Then we pulled up to a bank that looked just like every other bank. Cleve had an idea that the fish might be here on this higher tide.  So with Cleve on the poling platform and an occupied casting brace we went to work.  A few strips in this position and a red bumped the fly. On the next strip the fish ate. A quick strip-set and the fight was on. The fish made several runs and then came to the boat. We would pulled three fish out of this small hole that was no bigger than the skiff from which we fished. And this hole looked just like any number of other holes along the marsh. This spot was special and we fished it until the light was just too low for effective fishing. 

 The most photographed intersection in red fishing
The mosquitoes were absolutely the worst I have ever seen. Worse than the backwaters of the Mississippi River, worse than the backwaters of Apalachicola Bay, worse than, well you get the picture. In this marsh they would cover every surface and could eat their way through four layers of clothing if provoked. The low light and high mosquito count finished our day. We reeled up the line and soon we were on plane again for that long ride back to the dock.
We raced through the canals and finally the skiff decelerated into the no wake zone. Our sister skiff and its occupants waited at the dock. The boats were trailered and we all said our goodbyes. Soon we were on the road back to the lodge. The distance was 45 miles and included an hour of driving as well as a ferry ride. We arrived for the final dinner on this trip. We would be the last group to dinner, but when we walked in there were some freshly shucked oysters waiting. Then the five courses began coming to the table. We ended the evening with a review of each angler's day. Then it was time to get back to the rooms and prepare for the ride home.
The ride back to Tennessee provided plenty of time to plan the next adventure. It looks like there will be another trip back to the redfish grounds. This trip was an excellent way to see what might work for a larger party with more anglers, more skiffs and of course more food. Stay tuned as future trip details are worked out.
Until those details are worked-out, the tailwater schedules are looking better here in Tennessee. So it is time to get back in the rower's seat and back to the oars. If you are on the "will call" list and haven't been contacted, please shoot me a text, email or phone call. The fish are eating good on local tailwaters and there are some open dates. So, for now it is time to tie some flies and get ready for some upcoming trips to the river. If you want to get out please contact me and let's get a date on the calendar. And finally 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.