Saturday, November 23, 2013

Newest Member of the 20+ Club

Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition 

Terry had been on the drifter before and was brand new to fly fishing on that trip. He caught the fly fishing bug and made the drive to Cumberland Transit for waders, boots and all the accessories. With the wallet a bit lighter he was ready for the river. 

On a three day trip with 9 other guys Terry was the newbie. The first two days were somewhat unproductive for him. While others were talking of fish caught and fish that got away, Terry didn't have the "fish caught" part for his story yet. As the evenings wore on the chatter from the others...well it could have been hard to listen to, but Terry seemed fine.

See there are a couple prices we pay when we start fly fishing. One price is the monetary start-up cost of this pastime and the other is the steep learning curve of casting, presentation and finally, hopefully, the payoff of catching the fish. So the days wore on and the third day as the group made plans to fish and then head back home, Terry wanted and truth be told, needed to bring at the very least one fish to the net.

So the mission was to help Terry catch at least that one fish on the last day. We dumped the drifter off the trailer and rigged the rods with new tippet and fly. The boat would headed straight to a spot that had been producing. With Terry in the front casting brace and the boat positioned just right he dropped the fly in the feeding lane and instantly a fish was on...then off. We took that as a good sign and went right back to concentrating on the fundamentals of presentation. 

Then the fish stopped. Did he have just one more chance or was that it? We pulled the anchor and rowed the drifter upstream to a likely spot. We tried the main current and what should have been a feeding lane, but the fish were having nothing to do with anything we had to offer. In reality none of the other boats were catching and a bunch of people had long faces. We made a move.

The current turned off the middle of the river and was running right against the bank. Terry was hanging in there and asking for direction. The rocks against the bank should have at least held a SNIT or a hatchery brat. He asked I nodded and grunted to drop the fly against the rocks and in the current. 

The cast was good and no mend was needed. The fly was literally in the water less than a few seconds when the indicator took a dive. I must admit I thought the fly was hung in the rocks. Terry was setting the hook and it seemed like a trip to retrieve a fly from the rocks was our next move. But the snag began moving and  we took that as a good sign. The movement was that slow freight train type of a run. It took a bit but the fish gained speed and began to shake the tip of the rod. A fish that takes a bit to get up to speed is a good sign and a fish that can bounce the rod tip is a better sign.

The fish made a trip around the front of the boat as I pulled on the oar and shouted instructions gave subtle instructions. Terry did a great job staying in front of the fish and we were ready for pretty much every move. Terry got the fish's head up and slid it into the net. Right then Terry became the newest member of our 20+ Club. Finally, his perseverance paid off and Terry had the "fish caught" for his story. 


  1. David
    I have Southeastern Fly in my blog roll and keep up with every trip you make. This trip is especially rewarding for this guy. I am glad he landed what I think might be his trout of a lifetime.
    I just want to let you know that I am planning a trip with you in the spring and middle summer. I will bringing my son-in-law first and then in June or early July I will bring my son. Both work all the time and never have much time to fly fish. All three of us fly fish and hopefully you want have to spend your time teaching us basic casting skills. All three of us have fished the Caney before, but it was wading only, so the drift boat would be a treat. April and June are the months we are looking at. Which months are best starting in April running through July? Thanks Bill

    P.S. I set up a trip with you some years ago but it didn't work out for me and son to go, now that I am retired I have a more flexible schedule. Thank Bill Trussell--- I think I have mentioned I have a fly fishing blog, if you would like to take a look this is the link

  2. Hi Bill, I check your blog out as well and I remember when you called a few years back. I was sitting below Center Hill Dam trying to help a couple guys catch a big brown that eating. Whenever you are ready to go just let me know and we will set something up. Also, don't rule out the Elk it has been fishing good this year.