Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ben and Mike on the River

It's not April or early May, nope it's July. The night before this float we were sitting at the airport watching a spectacular fireworks display while wearing long sleeves. On the way to the river the morning of this trip the heater was running in the truck and the weather-guesser on the radio said the temperature was 57 degrees. Stepping into cold a tailwater to push the boat off the gravel bar was going to be interesting.
Ben had called and set up a trip to fish with his dad Mike. Ben had fly fished before but Mike had never fished with the long rod. Mike is obviously enjoys the outdoors and is an avid grappler. He learned our way of catching trout while we discussed grappling for huge catfish. Before the day was over Mike would know both ways of fishing.
Mike learned to cast as quick as anyone I have ever taught. With his experience Ben was casting and fishing from the rear brace and doing a fine job early in the float. Mike stuck his first fish off a blow-down with a small gravel bar that formed a nice pocket. The fight was quick and we had the skunk off early. Ben was working the far bank and a short time later brought his first fish to the net. Over the morning hours the guys brought a good number of fish to the boat while we worked on casting, mending and how the water pushes the food into certain currents, which is why the fish lay in certain parts of the river. Both guys managed to get their slam early.
Sight Fishing With Nymphs- The water in Middle TN is clear right now. Spotting fish that are eating on top or taking emergers just below the surface film is relatively easy. While Mike was fishing the deep troughs Ben and I were sight-fishing to feeding fish with nymphs. The fish were aggressive when more than one would see a nymph hit the water and this was usually an easy catch. I can't say how many times a fish would eat and the indicator would never move. What would happen is this, the fish would see the fly come into the water, race over below the fly and eat the fly in an upward motion. The indicator would float along without even a twitch. But, I would be yelling calmly encouraging set,set,set, Ben would get a good hookset and the fly would lodge in the upper lip of the fish.  Then it was just a matter of Ben getting the fish in the net.
We stopped for lunch and recounted the events of the morning. The guys ate and then slowed down even more with good discussion around the table. I grabbed a rod and caught a few fish including some very healthy brookies. Ben was quick to get a photo of a couple brook trout that were heavy in color for this time of the year. After a bit of time we packed up the drifter after lunch and slipped back into the current.
The afternoon found us really concentrating on the hi-value areas of the river. We were fishing drop-offs, and ledges pretty hard. Ben hit the end of a good ledge, threw in a mend and set the hook on a nice rainbow. He played the fish perfectly. Just like most better rainbows this fish tried all the tricks a rainbow knows. Ben went toe-to-toe with the fish and after working the fish boatside he got the head up, then slipped the fish into the net.

As we fished our way to the takeout we negotiated a fair amount of holiday traffic. Everyone was cordial including a dog that was swimming along with its owner who was in a canoe. Speaking of canoes I have noticed several nice wooden canoes on the rivers this year. This trip was no exception. We spoke to the gentleman who was paddling a really nice longer wooden canoe, who said he and his father hand-built 16 years earlier.  We all agreed fine craftsmanship is something that should be admired and put to use when possible.
We were close to the ramp and decided to end the float after Mike and Ben each caught "one more fish". Ben struck a fish early which left  Mike trying to get his "one more fish". He was floating his fly among feeding fish but none wanted to eat. Ben caught another one, so we switched flies on Mike's rod. We used the same pattern, same size and he fished it using the same technique. After a short drift the indicator took a dive and Mike set the hook on a brown trout and the last fish of the day. The boat came to a stop at the take-out and the ramp where there were a few people enjoying the afternoon. But I have to say ramp was a lot slower than I expected. Unlike the ramp being slower than expected the fishing on this day a even better than expected. The guys caught a good number of fish and some nice fish were brought to the net while they worked on their angling skills. Even though the air temperature heated up, stepping into cold a tailwater to get the boat on the trailer was interesting.

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.

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