Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bill and Charles Get Time in the Casting Braces

We slipped off the gravel bar under clear skies with high hopes. Charles and Bill were in the casting braces and The rods were rigged and the guys began tossing flies at all the likely places. The fish seemed to be lurking behind every break in the current. 
Bill has a blog where he writes about his trips to the river and lake around northern Alabama. He is no stranger to the drifter and has fished in the braces on several occasions. Bill dialed himself in quickly, bringing fish to the net on a regular basis. He hooked and lost his share as well, but kept focused. The best was yet to come for Bill.
This was Charles' first time on the drifter, but it sure didn't take him long to get a read on our process and then begin bringing fish to the net. Between Bill and Charles, and the fish, the guy on the oars was busy with net duty as well. The nymphs were doing their job with much regularity...
It seems the browns are getting an early start with their Fall colors. Maybe they are getting ready to begin going through the motions of spawning, I'm not sure. Whatever the case the dark brown on the back, the butter color of the belly and the red spots make for some nice photos.  Even the smaller fish are getting good color. 
Charles was getting good drifts through some productive water and it seemed we had everything tuned just right. The right length of tippet, just the right depth where the fly would gently tick the bottom every so often. Charles was getting clean drifts through the right lines. I just knew he was going to bring a nice fish to the net in an area that has been fishing well throughout the hot weather months. But the fish weren't there on this day. 

We kept floating through the long pool until we were almost to the end. The bottom began an incline and as I began to think about the upcoming run, Charles set the hook on another fish. This fish was not just another fish and the tip of the rod as well as the midsection told us so. Charles had set the hook on a healthy brown that was more interested in the green vegetation on the bottom of the river than the white and green of the Hyde drift boat. Charles countered every move and as the fish finally slowed, Charles gently brought the fish to the waiting net. We were all smiles on the F/V Southeastern Fly.
It was getting late in the day and the shade was moving over the river. The shade and cooler air was a welcomed relief. Bill was still dialed-in and still focused. The river bottom began to fall into the deepest and darkest part of the pool. Bill had a good drift running down the bubble line and he set the hook just as the fly bottomed out on the longer tippet. The fish began rummaging through its bag of tricks. The brown made several runs as Bill battled back with his 5 weight. Finally, after some good jousting, the fish began coming to the net. At the last minute the fish turned for that last run, but Bill was ready. We snapped a photo and settled the fish back in the net to prepare for the release.  The net was titled and the brown gave a hard tail kick, then it was gone. A short time later we were back on the gravel bar, this time at the ramp where we would load the drifter and have memories of tossing flies in all the likely places.
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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tim and Ryan With Nice Rainbows

With a lot of recreational traffic on the water we would wait to get on the water on this day. So, we pushed the drifter off the trailer in the midst of a hot afternoon. The guys would catch some fish early and then we would get a dry spell as the fish waited until after the recreation folks passed over their heads. Then it became more quiet and the hits began.
Tim is a believer in the nymph and after a short time on the terrestrials we went back to an old friend, the nymph. Tim learned nymph fishing early this year on his first float this year. Where there is confidence, there is opportunity. A confident angler at the very least is more focused. Tim was focused and that focus soon paid dividends.
Because Tim has fished on the drifter before he dialed himself in real quick. He put the first fish couple fish in the boat and was already comfortable with me telling him how and when to mend. We had the bugs set deep and were bouncing them off the bottom. Cast and wait a bit, then as the fly bounces along the bottom and stops, pick up the rod and if there is not a fish on cast again....right away. This routine soon turns into sort of a game of; cast and wait a bit, then as the fly bounces along the bottom and stops, pick up the rod. But every once in a while there will be a fish on the line and that is a game changer. Basically we were putting the fly in the face of the fish and trying to force a decision. 
Tim was dropping the fly on the bottom and recasting, then one time, one cast, wait for it, a big rainbow was forced to make a decision and that rainbow chose correctly. The fish ate and the fight was on. Tim was soon well into his biggest fish on the fly.  Tim was doing a nice job of getting the fish to the net and his face showed maximum concentration during the fight. The rainbow took us for a Nantucket sleigh ride around the river and we eventually ended-up beaching the drifter to get the fish to the net. It took a while but soon we had gone from the bounce to the release with some good memories made in between.
We had our slow time then it started picking up more. Ryan and Tim were both picking-off fish. So by this time in our float we had come off a few fish, a slow period, and a bigger rainbow. Ryan was getting those good drifts as we entered a particularly productive stretch. The fishing had just began to pick up when Ryan's hook-set produced another nice rainbow on the fly. Ryan had the fish from the beginning but no one told the fish. That rainbow was trying to get to the rocks, to the grass and in general just get away from the net. But, Ryan was ahead of every trick that rainbow had and soon he had the rod tip up and was sliding that fish into the net. This would be his largest rainbow of the trip and as the oar blades pushed us toward the takeout the guys would get some more action. Eventually dusk would turn to dark and we would race that darkness to the gravel bar where we loaded the boat on the trailer. There would be no more recreational traffic, to speak of, and the guys would go home with tales of fish, dry spells and big-time comebacks...    
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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Caney Fork and Elk River Report

Someone asked me the other day how long it had been since I fished? I thought about it for several minutes and could not recall the last time. Then I realized two things:
1. I can't remember much of anything at times.
2. I haven't been fishing enough. 
Neither is good, but lucky for me one has a remedy. A few days later David called and asked if I wanted to fish. The obvious answer? Yes.  Then a few days later, in between other trips, I had another day and took it too. Now, I think I and am back in the groove and may have a good balance again.
The Caney Fork: Fishing has been fast and furious as well as a little slow at times. We have been getting them on terrestrials and nymphs on low water. It is well known you can't make a fish come to the top and eat. So, if terrestrials aren't bringing them up it may be time to take the snacks to them.
The water has been just clear enough to see fish and if everything goes just right angler's have been seeing them open their mouths to eat. That brings added excitement to the boat. Sight fishing with nymphs isn't a bad way to fish. It's been productive.
In August of 2005 the Army Corps. decided they would flow an extra 1000+ CFS through the sluice gate when running a generator. This practice begins when the DO levels run low, which usually happens in late Summer. During periods of generation the water comes through the sluice gate, hits the flip bucket and is launched skyward. The water then lands in the dam pool and the fish somehow get more oxygen. Hopefully they don't forget how to eat our flies during all the commotion. The bottom line is the USACoE's figured out how to keep the correct oxygen level, in the upper part of the river, and the fish as well as the angler's are happier. 

While it has been tough to get looks on terrestrials during high water the nymphs still work. Make sure you have enough weight to get the fly in front of the fish and... again remember to make sure you have enough weight to get the fly in front of the fish. This way of fishing is slower than fishing falling or low water, but the results can be nice. Another way to catch fish on high water is to throw streamers. It has been "hit or miss" but when the fish are on "hit" it's nice.
The Elk River- This river is fishing pretty good on nymphs right now. The upper part of the trout water is fishing about average for this time of year, the middle is fishing well and the lower part of the trout water is up and down. More often than not the trips finish strong, but sometimes they have been lackluster.  We have been fishing the best spots, hard, from top to bottom.
The terrestrials have their moments on the Elk, but the body count comes from the nymphs. size also comes from the nymph. Remember, size of fish is relevant to the river you are fishing and of course to the angler controlling the all important drift. 

It doesn't matter which river you are fishing, drink plenty of fluids, wear the appropriate clothing and have a good time. Oh and don't forget the last time you were on the water. 
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.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cory & Eddie in the Drifter

Most guys find a way to buy what they want and then when it comes time for birthdays and holidays it's tough for family and friends to get something the guy wants. So, what do you get a grown man for a birthday present? Time in the front casting brace of a drift boat is not a bad place to start.
The fish on this day were fat and happy. The skies were partly cloudy and the weather was a little more than warm. But unlike the trip down the river a couple days before this day, terrestrial bite was off. Thankfully the fish were eating nymphs and midges and the guys began catching fish early, then often. 
Eddie and Cory were out to celebrate Dad's birthday. The guys were already good casters and had a good mend. Every cast wasn't perfect but there were certainly a lot of good casts and good mends. We did work on a couple things along the way and hopefully those things will be useful on their next trip out West. And so it began, the fish started small and progressively grew in size as we floated along.
The banter between the guys started early and naturally I couldn't resist entering the fray. It wasn't long before Eddie would shut us down, for a short time, with just one cast and a good drift.
The fly of the day turned from terrestrials to nymphs and midges. Casts began to get longer and then into a productive length. We started searching out seams where moving water met still.
The water was snaking from bank to bank and Eddie hit dropped a fly right on the outside edge of the seam and next to still water. The fly started a good float and it didn't have to go far before the indicator bobbed and Eddie set the hook. The fight was on as the brown began to dive deep and Eddie got the fish on the reel. The Orvis combo did what we expected and the fight was a tug of war for several minutes. Although Eddie was gaining line some-time passed before we saw leader. The big brown began to tire and then it came quietly to the net.  

The fish were on and off later in the day. We floated into the Unknown Shoal and began searching for the drop-off. Cory was the first to get the fly in the zone and he found the drop-off with an excellent shot. When Cory found the drop-off the fish found his fly. Cory has an awesome hookset and didn't give the nice rainbow a break. The fish struggled for a while but Cory stayed ahead of it. Then the head came out of the water and Cory slid the fish into the net. The guys would take turns in the hole and pull four more out of the one hole. It was a good way to top off an already good day. We slid into the ramp a short time later. Eddie we hope you enjoyed your time in the front casting brace.
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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trey and Matt on Terrestrials

Two old friends catching up on life while floating Middle Tennessee tailwaters. Well really they are young friends compared to me, but, for this report we are going to refer to them as old friends. Trey came up from Florida to visit Matt who is living in Tennessee.  These guys are no strangers to the outdoors and the activities the outdoors present. So we shoved off and they began casting and mending.
It wasn't long before we brought fish to the net and among fish eating on top we....wait did he just say fish eating on top? Yep that just happened. The guys were bringing fish to the net and soon we had them on small terrestrials and they were producing just good enough for us to stick with'em. We went in-search of fish that had a greater potential to come to the terrestrial and found some here and there.
Missed Opportunity- Let's face it, fish work together. They are masters at making us look away and then while are looking at some wildlife or another rising fish we get the hit. So we were floating with the current hitting some banks and feeding fish. We were doing well and had several fish on the bugs. One of our anglers (we aren't going to call any names here) tossed his fly under an overhanging limb where we saw a fish eat earlier. When the fly hit the water another fish, about 20 yards downstream, hit a natural on top and made a loud splash. Our angler took a quick look at the downstream action and that's when the fish we were after originally made its move.  It was over before it started and our fish spit the hook even before the hookset. Major groans and deep conversation quickly followed...that one hurt us all, but there would be others. 

Working those banks without cover- OK we talk about blowdowns, rocks and other types of cover a lot. But, what about gravel banks and mud banks as well as other banks with no obvious cover. Fish, especially browns it seems, will hold and eat on these types of banks. We don't miss an opportunity to hit those banks and we certainly don't miss an opportunity to fish those with overhanging objects. 
The guys kept fishing those terrestrials until the bite turned off and we found fish eating nymphs and small midges. We ended the day late but found fish most of the way on the float. With a good amount of fish, some wildlife and good company we made it to the takeout late, but feeling pretty good about our day. Trey and Matt were already good anglers and all they had to do was make small adjustments to the slower water presentations of Middle Tennessee tailwaters.  Two old friends catching up on life...
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.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Brooke & Greg on Hot Fishing

This day was warm from the beginning. Greg and his daughter Brooke were ready for a day on the drifter tossing nymphs at feeding fish. The sun was up and after their rods were rigged we went straight to the best banks and adjusted the indicator rigs as the fish were already feeding deep trying to beat the heat.
Greg and Brooke had floated the river before and had taken a casting class, so they weren't starting fresh. It wasn't long before Brooke was setting the hook on her first fish. Greg was really dialing himself in on the first stretch and getting his fly in the good feeding lanes. He was quickly getting out front of the numbers game. As usual there is normally one angler who really gets dialed-in and although Greg would get that early jump, Brooke really came back with some nice fish.
We would slice our way through traffic most of the day and try to get the best spots when possible. There were several very nice types of structure we would fish when we could get them, but two types of water would produce our best fish. The sides of deep holes and the ends of pools were the most productive. Fly placement, good drifts and the right depth would help us along the way.
We would celebrate most of the fish on this day. There were many improvements in casting which as the the day moved along would pay dividends. Greg had been laying out line well from the beginning. After lunch Brooke would get her timing together and make big strides in her casting and line placement. The fish would respond and some nice fish were brought to the net, then were "made famous".
Brooke had the front casting brace the entire day and was beginning to pick her own water from the best seat in the house. Greg was kind-of batting clean up but still getting good numbers of fish. We floated into the last stretch with a numbers goal in mind just to see if it could be done. Greg brought the first fish to the net and then it was Brooke's turn...
 ...Brooke laid out some line and hit a good seam. The fly settled and floated a relatively short distance. Now things were going good we had already seen several different species of wildlife, some nice fauna and different types of water. Brooke was looking at something else when the indicator simply disappeared. All the work we had been doing with her hookset paid off when she noticed the indicator was missing in action. Brooke lifted the rod tip and the fight was on. She fought the fish with all the moves she learned throughout the day, she stayed in front of the fish and brought another nice fish to the net. That fish also brought them one fish closer to their goal.
A short time later Greg would bring a fish to the net and reach the goal, then another to move past the goal. It isn't all about the size or number of fish but sometimes having a goal can get an angler focused more than normal. The day was warm from the beginning and in the end the fishing was hot for these two anglers. 
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.