I woke up the other morning at 2:00 a.m. and checked with the Weather Channel girl, who showed me the radar, that said the rains were basically coming up I-65 and fading to the West. So there was rain headed for Southern Middle TN, but no one could be sure it would hit the Elk. I had a trip with Diane and Sue on the Elk River for the day.
5:00 a.m. I was up and on my way to the Elk for a day of guiding. Hopefully we would also be catching lots of those nice rainbows and brown trout that the Elk has been offering as of late
6:30 a.m. a stop for that second cup of coffee and the rains begin.
6:45 a.m. pull into the parking lot at the Elk River and it is raining buckets! I pull the drifter under the bridge and take a look at the river, which is now stained and running somewhat high.
6:50 a.m. pull out of the parking lot to go find a cell signal. Stop on the hill and call Diane. We decided to go to the Caney Fork. As I am talking to Diane, Rob and Garrett come by with their new Hyde drifter, headed to the river and they stop to see what's up. After a short discussion they fall in behind me as we make our way up the highway to the Caney Fork.
9:30 a.m. (ish) Sue, Diane and I are on the water, waiting out a discolored Caney Fork generation and pulse. But, we are on the water. Rob and Garrett are stopped in a back eddy, we are stopped in some slack water as Sue practices her casting and mending. I get a text from Dan and Mark who are just below us waiting for the brown water release to stop so they can fish too.
11:15 a.m. the water stops after the generation and we back out into the water as it begins to fall. We fish hard throughout the morning and everyone reports slow conditions. Fishing has slowed to a crawl. But we press on to lunch.
1:00 p.m. Lunch of salad, grilled chicken, cole slaw and and macaroni salad. Also, we down some rolls, talk with a couple of other friends who confirm slow conditions from one end of the river to the other. After the discussion I pull out the apple pie and then we are off again.
Catch "That" Fish
The water is now low as we are approaching the home stretch. Then, we spot a fish that is rising close to the bank. I tell Sue and Diane "We are going to catch that fish". For the next 20 minutes Sue took the rod and reel that her father gave her and quietly fished different flies for what appeared to be a nice brown trout. We tried a couple different patterns. I was determined to get "that" fish, on a dry, with Sue fishing.
Sue did everything right several different times. The right cast, the right mend (I know some of you understand what I mean when I say the right mend), and the right drift. A few times the fish rose to the fly, but then refused, a couple times the fish hit and then spit the fly out. Fortunately Sue did not stick the fish when it struck.
After another switch to another dry, Sue threw the best cast yet, she did a slight upstream mend and the fly was floating in the current without drag. The fly drifted around the stick-up that the other flies had passed so many times in the previous minutes. The fish rose, Diane was the first to see the fish coming to the fly and as it took the presentation of the #18 (no I am not going to tell the pattern, that would be too easy) Diane and I both yelled. Sue was busy setting the hook and soon she was into a fight with the brown. When the brown came to the net the fly was in the upper lip. That fly was just where we like to see it. After the hero shot Sue released "that" fish.
We hung around a little longer for Diane to throw her hopper into the mix, but the moment was over and we continued on down river looking for the next fish.
7:00 p.m. we slid into a muddy take-out at Happy Hollow and loaded the drifter onto the trailer.
The day was slow, compared to other trips this year. As the season moves into fall, the fishing on nymphs will slow even more, dries and hoppers will be the thought of next Summer, and the streamer boxes will start showing up on the rowers bench and on the ends of full sinking lines. The fish will be fewer with those streamers, but they will also, hopefully, be even bigger.
Diane and Sue, I had a great time guiding you both. The next time maybe the Elk will present a better opportunity to fish than it did this time. But, I can say "it will be hard to top fishing for and catching 'that' fish".
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