Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Polls Are About To Close

Judging from the "What Information Would You Like To See From Southeastern Fly?" poll results, on the right side of this blog, most of the people want More Fishing Techniques. I've been watching the poll and as I have written the last few articles I've been incorporating more fishing techniques into each article. Also, I will keep in contact with guides from around the US and keep those Additional Fishing Reports coming.

Thank you to those who have responded and for those who are mulling it over...well go ahead and cast your vote.

Again thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Doctors Notes and Sailboats

The day started off cool and windy. The forecast called for windy and warm, with a front coming through after lunch. There would be no place to hide from the wind today.

The Front Rolls In

After stopping for the morning coffee Anthony brought out his doctors note that said he was not allowed to row, however fishing would be therapeutic. I continued to sip my coffee… We launched at the dam with Anthony at the oars.

The warming trend was right on schedule as the day heated up pretty quick. Because it is February the custom in my boat is to throw streamers as long as the shoulder allows. Dan boated 4 fish in the first hour as we continued with Anthony at the oars. I was trying some new bucktails which were producing a flash, a tug and fish, but nothing to write home about.

Anthony At Rest On The Oars

PM Rain / Snow / Wind
PM Rain / Snow / Wind
51° F

There were bugs on the water early in the day, which is a good thing to see in February. We are not just talking midges here either. With the wind blowing the fish were hit or miss and everyone we talked to seemed to be struggling just a little. There were a lot of boats on the river today and for the most part all were courteous.

Date Time (Central) Generators

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Center Hill Dam Water Release Schedule

A slow swim was the retrieve for the day as the fish seemed to be hunkered down and waiting for the front to blow through. Swimming the Fly- (definition) Feeling the fly in the tip of the rod as you strip or swing the fly.

From observation only: It doesn’t matter which type of strip you prefer, whether the jerk strip, a slow wrist strip or a full on strip with the sweep of your arm, always try and keep some contact in with the fly in the tip of the rod. Predatory fish do not like to see prey-fish fall. We’ve been choosing flies, for the most part, that flutter and rise when stopped. Several times throughout February and really since the beginning of this streamer season the fish have taken advantage of a fly that has stopped the forward progression and began to flutter to surface.

Dan Holds A Nice Brown

I ran through the color chart pretty quick with white winning the day. Yellow worked for the most part on brookies and an all natural Matuka rounded out the day and one of the many slams. Bucktails and Marabou are really a great way to fish.

Just for kicks and for shoulder relief, I drowned a nymph/ midge combo. Within 20 feet of the first drift a rainbow took the Dan-O-Magic that was hanging just below a BHPT. This tells me the fish are still keyed into bugs. The 5 wt went back into the rod holder and in favor of the 8 wt I had been throwing all day.

A Future Predator

Perspective-(definition) one's "point of view”. Everyone wants that “big fish” and everyone wants to be a “trophy hunter”. I have to admit it is a lot of fun to catch those bigger fish. The fight with the bigger fish is a challenge and the accomplishment makes for a great day. If you’ve been watching On The Rise you see the crew traveling all over the country chasing trout. For the most part, except for their upcoming Arkansas episode, Frank is catching normal size fish. He is not hooking up on fish much bigger than the 15-16” and sometimes is happy with an 11” trout. Over the past couple of months I have noticed a trend, both in my boat and from conversation within the fly fishing and even the bait community. After catching bigger fish it seems difficult to appreciate a 14-16” trout. It is funny to me how later in the year, after the weather warms and traffic on the river gets back to 40 and 50 watercraft and just as many waders, we will be saying those 16” fish make our day. I guess it is all relevant to the time of year and sometimes how hard the wind is blowing…

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday’s Streamer Tactics on the Caney Fork

It was cold Sunday morning as we pushed off from the ramp. The moon was just coming off full and the skies were as blue as the typical February day would allow. There was not a threat of rain; however the weather guessers had called for clouds. The clouds weren’t there when we left the ramp, so we thought our plans of throwing streamers may need to be changed. But, it is important to stick with a plan, if you have a plan, and today the plan was to throw buck tail and marabou.

The Moon Phase

It was cold Sunday morning as we pushed off from the ramp. The moon was just coming off full and the skies were as blue as the typical February day would allow. There was not a threat of rain; however the weather guessers had called for clouds. The clouds weren’t there when we left the ramp, so we thought our plans of throwing streamers may need to be changed. But, it is important to stick with a plan, if you have a plan, and today the plan was to throw bucktail and marabou.

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The Center Hill Dam Water Release

David K. and Anthony were on the boat with me and I decided to test out their arm strength over a long day of eight weights and hopefully bigger fish. There were several things I wanted to try and these two can cast well enough and know how to fish well enough to try some different things.

We dug into the bag of tricks early and began throwing some tandem rigs. We tried a couple different colors and some rigs with the same colors. That seemed to work well early on, but as the float continued we decided to concentrate more on color and technique than on the number of flies tied to the tippet.

There are a lot of things that seem to matter when fishing streamers. We have heard them before: the right cast, a quick strip, a slow strip, look for rocks, and don’t look for rocks. It can get confusing, but the rewards can be great if you stick with the plan.

Swimming the Fly- (definition) Feeling the fly in the tip of the rod as you strip or swing the fly.

Over the past several floats I have been concentrating on how to fish different patterns. Brent and Mark learned last week. Anthony and David K. produced fish this week. A Matuka should be fished completely different than a Clouser. This is not to say either fly is better, just different. My newest term….well new to me anyway is “Swimming the fly”.

Anyway back to our day. We caught several good fish on several different patterns. Yes I did get my turn in the casting brace and yes the brown was a nice fish. Part of the excitement about streamer fishing is the flashes, the follows and the visible takes on the fly.

The River Will Hold A Surprise Or Two

The brown above came up from the bottom and hit the fly in a position within the water column that I couldn’t see. When the fish hit the fly, I gave a little more insurance with a strip set on the rod and then the fish went to the bottom to eat its prey. After several tugs and headshakes the fish began the process of trying to break loose by going under a log in the river and shaking its head against the bottom some more. Anthony dropped the anchor to stop our descent downstream while the fish and I continued our game of give and take. Finally, the fish stopped moving for a long enough period of time that we thought it may have been wedged under the log for good. The only thing left to do was stick the rod straight down in the water and give a few tugs, which I hoped would break the fish free and we could play another round of tug. I must have looked funny leaned over the side of the boat with the rod stuck down, in the water, almost to the grip. Finally the fish came out from the log, made a short run and then started coming to the boat. This fish would make runs that took a little time to get up to speed, similar to a locomotive pulling from a stop. A couple short runs later from the fish......with me switching the rod position to apply side pressure, the fish came to the net.

We spent quite a while reviving the fish in the net, then outside the net. When the fish made the decision to leave it only took a couple of kicks from the big tail to get up to speed and back to the bottom it went. A friend of mine had given me a fine Cuban cigar and the only thing left to do was to light the cigar and enjoy the moment.

David K With Yet Another One Of His Browns

David K. is an accomplished nymph and midge fisherman. He tied up his nymph and midge rod and we soon got into some dead drifting action under the indicator. With David K. on the dead drift and Anthony still throwing the streamers we cruised through some nice water. David K. hooked some fish on his rig, but soon was back on the 8 weight lobbing those three inch morsels to the trout in the Caney Fork.

Anthony Gets His Shot With A Nice Brown Trout

I have to say that Anthony has become one of the better streamer fishermen I have seen in a while. He’s not Kelly Galloup, but he boats more fish of size in a trip than most folks boat in two trips. This is why he will be working diligently on his rowing techniques for awhile.

Anthony Gets His Shot With Another Nice Brown Trout

If you want to catch some healthy fish it is a good time to be out on the water. Be careful when wading, because there are some boats on the river who don’t always understand how a wake affects a wading fisherman.

For those who are considering booking a trip, the past several trips have been good and people are seemingly satisfied with their choice to fish over watch TV. We can fish some nymph rigs and sometimes that is a good thing to slow the pace of life down. If you want to fish streamers and throw some marabou the next two months have historically been great days to be on the river.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Information Would You Like To See From Southeastern Fly?

In an effort to give the folks who read this blog the information they might be looking for, I have created a poll over to the right side of the page. Please take a moment to review the poll and vote for your preference. Also, if there is additional info you would like to see on the blog, but is not on the poll, just drop me an email at .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Day Fly Fishing The Caney Fork River....With Brent & Mark

After a real good Friday on the river I was back on the water again today. This time Mark S. and Brent F. from Chattanooga, TN came aboard to throw those streamers at the trout on the Caney Fork. The generation was good for this type of fishing and the temperature was as good as it gets for a February day. It started off cloudy and then cleared at lunch time. Then a change back to cloudy for a while....then just dark.


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Brent and Mark can really lay the line out and it only took them a little bit of time to get used to the rods and line I had set up for today's fishing. We fished the Caney with streamers again because it had been working well over the past few trips. The river did not disappoint.

Brent started the day off with a nice brown only a short way from the ramp. Then he hooked and landed what he said was the largest trout he had ever caught. It was an aggressive brown that was parked next to some rocks on the bank. Brent did a great job on the rod and got the brown on the reel so we could listen to the drag as the fish sped down stream shaking its head. We got the fish in the boat and took the necessary hero shot. Then we made darn sure the fish was strong enough to swim away. With a couple kicks of the tail it was off back to the rocks where it all started.

Brent's Brown...Keep That Rod Tip Down Toward The Water

No one really knows what they are going to find in the water or on the bank for that matter. And, every once in a while a fine little nugget will show up. Today was not one of those days, but we did find "a once nice" rod and reel combo in the river. There is no telling how long it has been there, but from all appearances, and with the vegetation it had gathered, the combo had been there a while.

If This Is Yours Let Me Know....Yes It Still Works

Brent tagged another fish or two before Mark got into a rhythm of cast and strip. But when Mark came on, he came on big. Mark learned the value of keeping that rod tip toward the water and stripping a short while later and hooked into a nice rainbow that was holding near a downed stump. The fight was fun to watch as the fish rocketed toward the boat while Mark stripped line as fast as he could make his hand move. After a few moments the rainbow was in the net and then secured its chance for the photo-op. We told that rainbow to go tell all its friends it got it's picture taken and then released the fish back into the river. OK we didn't really say that.

Mark's Rainbow...That Is Just A Bloody Lip

I have decided to add an addition to the shore lunch. Not because my clients demand it, not because they are good luck, but, only because dangit I really like Golden Oreos! It doesn't take much to please me that's for sure.

33" of Golden Oreos! It's The Little Things In Life...
(47" on the Caney Conversion Chart)

Mark and Brent were a pleasure to have aboard today. They listened when they needed to listen and they could place their flies where the flies needed to be placed. The guys boated a healthy number of healthy fish today and hopefully learned a technique that will help them with their fishing in the future.

Streamers are exiting because the fish are usually aggressive and you can watch them strike the fly if you have it at the correct depth. My plans are to continue to throw the big stuff as long as possible, but nymph and midge water levels are just around the corner.

For the next month or so the generation should give us the best of both worlds. If you want to throw streamers early and drift the bugs late we can hook you up on both techniques.

The Drifter At Lunch

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Five Dollars and a Guides’ Day Off

We had a death in the family last weekend and frankly I need some time away. Mark and Dan were going to drift the Caney Fork on Friday and invited me along. So I caught up on most of my work, some of my tying, then a few of my duties around the house and made my decision to go with them.

The day started out just right when I put on my newest fishing shirt and found $5.00 in the pocket. The money was freshly washed and crisp just like money gets when it has been washed and dried. I went off to meet a friend of mine for breakfast at Cracker Barrel like I do on most Fridays. Then I took my daughter to school and met Mark and Dan at the usual spot. So far the morning was going as planned.

Not A Cloud Around

It was a cloudless day with high pressure that seemed to be parked right over the river. At 60 degrees the only time it was even slightly uncomfortable was when the wind would gust.

One of the Browns

We dropped the boat and were soon off to fly fish the Caney Fork River with streamers. Our plan was to choose any color streamer as long as it was white, but before the day was over we had run the gamut of the color chart, settling on an off-white color for the majority of the float. I needed to check out some new patterns & colors for an upcoming trip. I went through the color chart more than once and found out I could use a few more colors and shades of colors…..OK that’s an excuse for more flies.

A Rainbow & My Wilson on Home Improvement Impression

The fish seemed to key in on different colors throughout the day and in different parts of the river. Browns vary in color and seem to adapt their color to their environment. This helps them blend-in and keep them camouflaged when needed. The colors on some of the fish we caught were stunning and Dan did an outstanding job as usual behind the lens.

Brown Trout

Well that’s about it for me this morning. My day will be spent washing the dogs and tying flies for tomorrow as well as an upcoming Arkansas trip to the Little Red. It is probably going to be crowed, but get out there, find a place in the conga line, and catch a fish or two.

Mark thanks for giving me the opportunity to come along and have a nice day behind the rod. And Dan thanks for snapping photos, coaching and rowing.