If you have been following Southeastern Fly on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you probably already know about Greg and his entry into the Southeastern Fly 20+ Club. But there is more to the story than just a photo of a nice brown trout. The day started out pretty good and Greg was quickly on the board with a few decent brown trout.
We were watching the more productive areas as we approached and watched for the different signs of life. Those signs dictated our decisions on where, when and what to toss in those areas. Greg was dialed in with a precise cast and solid hookset. We float quietly along the river and watched the activity. The fish and wildlife activity directed Greg's cast, both when and where for most of this day.
Fish to Rising Fish- A rise, obviously, is a give away to a fish's position in the river. But can you determine which way a fish is moving? Not always, at least unless you are watching for longer periods of time. If a fish rises in a feeding lane there is a good chance that fish, or another, will be in that same general area on the next rise. But, if the fish is in a pool and cruising, it could pop-up just about anywhere.
We floated into the pool of still water and saw a rise in a feeding lane. The cast would have to be long and on target. Greg loaded the rod and with one false cast he dropped the bug in the lane. The fly settled and a short time later Greg set the hook. Knotted at the end of the tippet was the fly and attached to that fly was a nice rainbow. The fish was big enough to shake the rod and make several moves. Rainbows can be crafty and this one was no different. Remember, Greg was already tuned-up with several fish and he brought this rainbow to the net in good time. Score another one for the good guys...
A lot of things went right for us on this day but no everything was perfect. We were floating along and mostly minding our own business when a fish ate right in front of the boat. There was not a chance for a wind-up and Greg had no choice but to just drop the fly off the tip of the rod and just a few feet off the boat. The only problem? Greg had about twenty feet of line out and laying on the deck. But, when I said "hit that one" Greg wasn't left with a choice and made the awkward cast, it was a good shot too. All the line came off the deck and shot through the guides. The tip of the rod was down and pointed right at the fish that was eating at the same pace. What happened to all that line that was on the deck and that shot through the guides? Yep every bit of it went right into the feeding lane. It was the perfect "unintentional" pile cast. But, then the fly settled, the fish ate. The only thing Greg could do was to just try and set the hook, with a whole lot of slack. He managed to raise the rod tip just high enough to get the fly to stick. This fish was the largest rainbow I had seen in the river, possibly ever. The size of the fish was a blessing because when the line came tight it took off. That move helped to tighten the line and also helped Greg get to the reel quicker.
With all that going on I must mention the tree. The tree had been sitting just off the bank during low water, right up until about a month ago. I had noted several times that it was gone and frankly had been looking in the corners lower in the river, thinking it may have floated into the next corner and maybe it was lodged deep in the river.
As we backed out from a big rock, the big rainbow made a few trips around the boat. Greg had the fish under control at times. The fish put the Recon 6 wt through "a live test" like no other. That's when I faintly heard Greg mention the tree. Those words didn't really register at first. I mean hey there was a lot going on. The fish made a blistering run and peeled off line. Then the rod lost all tension. The bad thing was Greg lost the largest rainbow of the year. The good thing? We know where the tree is now.
Snakes Are Bad...Usually. We were 43 minutes into a 45 minute dry spell. We floating just off the bank when we saw a small snake crossing the river. Greg, like pretty much everyone else, knows I am not fond of snakes. I could only assume that's why he was casting at the snake. I explained that if he hooked the snake, he would have to take it off the hook and no he couldn't use the net to bring it intt the boat! He said he was just "trying to get the fly next to the bank". As the snake worked its way to the bank and slithered up into the gravel, Greg, who must have been watching, set the hook! It was a good hookset and the fish made a huge run. This fish was on the reel before I knew it and Greg had the line locked down. The fish began pulling the boat and for good measure it would run into the line to get a little slack. Between the two of us we were able to keep the fish at a good distance as Greg kept himself in the fight. It was a good thing he was experienced because I had to watch out for the snake (and the snake's parents).
We finally got the brown into the big Brodin net and then prepped for some photos. After checking several more times for the snake we released the brown back into the water from which it came. We had a good discussion about the fish, the snake and the fight in general. We also wondered, was that fish watching the snake? And when the bug hit the water then settled, did that fish choose the bug over the snake? We may never know, but when asked I would bet yes would be our answer.
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.