Austin and his dad Craig came into Nashville from Nebraska and climbed aboard the drifter for a day on the water. We would see a lot of different things on this day. Craig had the best seat in the boat, possibly have the most fun and certainly be on the receiving end of a most relaxing day...but we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The float started in a slight drizzle, just enough moisture to bring out the wading jackets for a short time. Early in the float the nymphs had no choice but to stay wet as Austin kept them ticking off the bottom and in the front of the fish on every drift. The fish responded well, off and on. There were periods of action and periods of working on casting, drifts, then finally hooksets. Austin was put through a day in the life in the casting braces as his guide and his dad encouraged him along...
The river miles and hands on the clock continued to move as we tried hopper-droppers, straight terrestrials, and nymphs. Nymphs brought the numbers and the size on this day, so we really just migrated toward the flies that brought us results. Craig had the best seat in the drifter and observed all the actions of an angler and his gillie. Although Craig is no stranger to the fly rod, when offered an opportunity to fish he would say time and time again "if I decide to fish, I will let you know". So with dad watching, Austin dialed in all the right techniques until Craig and I would witness the lessons of the day all came together.
The nymph landed with a nice plop. It is important to drop a small amount of "reach" when making the final cast. When executed correctly the indicator will follow the path of the fly and land in the middle of the the rise-ring. The rise-ring actually masks the indicators contact with the surface and the fish is none the wiser. Austin wound up a cast with a little "reach" and the plan began to come together. A small correction in the mend would send the fly right down the current seam. The seam was so slight it was almost unnoticeable. The fly was perfectly trained (OK I made that up), anyway the fly drifted a short distance. The bottom of the river is full of small potholes in this section and the fly must have been drifting just above the highest portions of the bottom of the river...
The indicator had already turned over and then, Austin caught sight of the bump. He set the hook and as most healthy rainbows will do, this fish began reaching in its own bag of tricks and began to put our angler through his toughest test of the day. The fish made a lap or two around the boat while Austin stayed ahead of each trick. The fight was entertaining, dad seemed to enjoy each run and each of the angler's response, Austin was busy wearing down his sparring partner and the net was waiting. The fog was lifting as Austin brought the fish to the net.
The last fish of the day was a feisty rainbow and the fight was a good one. Just as important we were able to see Austin make the most of the lessons learned throughout the day. The plan just sort of came together and at just the right time. It's a long way from Nashville but these two made it an enjoyable day on the drifter by taking two very different approaches. I think we all learned a little on this float. Next time, hopefully, Craig will decide to fish. But if he doesn't fish we all know he will occupy the best seat in the drifter.
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.