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Warmwater Fly Fishing Bass, Bream, Perch, etc...

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Old 05-30-2015, 06:10 AM
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Default A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

About a month ago, I got this crazy idea that I should set aside all my conventional fishing gear and become functional with fly rods for trout, bass, and carp. In my mind, the only way to actually become a decent fly guy is through baptism by fire.

I never pass up an opportunity to chat with the buggy whip folks when I pass them on the river. And when asked if I fly fish, I am always forced to hang my head in shame as I mumble something about dabbling in fly fishing with my annual trip to the upper Taylor in Colorado.

I was finally able to get in the water yesterday for a wade. I am well-familiar with this section of the Holston, catching a number of citation smallmouth. There are also carp that are big enough to take you for a Shamu ride.

It wasn't a pure fishing trip. More of a scouting/gear testing thing. I wanted to look hard at food sources from a fly perspective. I also wanted to knock the rust off of my pathetic fling.....technically called casting. And I thought it prudent to test my back-up reel. Yes I would fish, but secondary to learning a bit.

The weather report called for a 30% chance of showers with the possibility of thunder showers late night. I love fishing weather changes, but do not do thunder storms after being forced to run for my life (in a crouch) to get off of a big iron bridge in St Augustine back in my young pup days. My hair was standing straight up (yep, I used have hair) and the strikes were so close that the blinding light and deafening noise came simultaneously.

I was hoping for a wet wade yesterday, until I stepped in to the water and noted that it was still way too cold. Back to the truck to jump in to my waders and off I went. Well almost. The rain came in. I decided to camp the bank briefly, just to verify it wasn't a thunder storm.

Click the image to open in full size.

It cleared quickly, so off I went. Hello, old friend !

Click the image to open in full size.

I love many types of fishing but there is nothing more intimate than wading. You are right in the middle of it! I have had bass jump over me in the water. It really is almost magical.

Saw lots of post spawn fish both cruising and looking for tasty tidbits. I noted one area where I saw fish repeatedly rolling at a seam.

Lets just say my casting was ugly. Really ugly. I flailed. I grunted. No one makes wind knots like I do. And thanks to my late shoot/release I was laying the fly in about as gently as dropping a small car in to the river. It wasn't pretty. I had little chance of making the cover of Field and Stream.

Headed up river to see if my favorite resting spot was still there. You really cant miss it. It has a rod holder.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Many have tried to remove the industrial sized wrench from the log and none have succeeded.

I love this spot on the river. One of the best places to really get a feel for it. Fish jumping. Huge carp lazily swimming by. It's way better than watching TV.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I looked down and spied a bruiser of a carp. Like a 30 pounder. No that's not exaggerating. I've spent a lot of time chasing the bigguns. The carp stopped and was feeding right under my feet, slurping like there was no tomorrow. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what had him sucking on the bank with reckless abandon..........until I looked down at my boot.

Click the image to open in full size.

Leeches and nematodes. The area had to be crawling with them in order for a fish of this size to be expending the energy to feed on them. I see a new leech pattern in my future !

I got back on the water and flailed some more. I stripped fast. I stripped slow. I wiggled the presentation. I tried everything. Couldn't buy a bite. Clearly, I have a tremendous amount of additional homework to do.

I started heading back to the truck when I looked over my shoulder and noted a bad storm moving in. Let's just stay it put a spring in my step. And then I heard the thunder. It was pretty far off but I needed to get out quickly and safely. I was still about a 1/4 mile from the entry/exit point.

And then it got ugly. How ugly? Rain blowing sideways. Lightning strikes right on top of me. I was on a section of the river where the bank was basically a 20 foot bluff of ankle-breaking rip -rap and potential mud slides. I shimmied up the bank only to find a chain link fence. With the lightning banging approximately every 15 seconds, I didn't want to be anywhere near the chain link fence.

I didn't want back in the water either. My only real choice was to bust bushes through brambles and trees, then slide back in to the water at my crossing point. And I feel it important to mention that toting a 9 foot fly rod while traversing the SIDE of a bluff stinks !

I somehow made it to my crossing point without a broken femur, nor a broken rod tip. I still had bugs and spiders crawling all over me and I didn't care. I wanted to be out of this storm.

And Houston, we have a problem. I traveled too far and now have a soft silt bottom to cross. Soft enough to get buried to the calf. I had visions of them finding my dead carcass because I got stuck. The coroner would show up and shake his head with sadness. His apprentice would point out that I had a really nice set of waders and boots.

So I sat there, hunkered down. Lightning cracking. Thought I better send a vid to the wife to let her know where to look for my body and most importantly, to take my fly rod home. No fly rod deserves to rot away on the bank. When I did the vid, I had to remember to put some bass in my voice, because sending a vid to your wife of you squealing like a little girl is not very manly.

The lightning would not let up. I had to find away out. I knew that I was close to the road. So I scrambled back up the bank and traced the chain link fence back down to the river to its termination point at the bluff edge. It wasn't particularly safe, but neither was getting piled up in the river from a mud slide. I shimmied around it while holding on for dear life.

I finally dragged myself up out of the bushes. I made eye contact with a woman passing by and she looked horrified. Not sure what her problem was. Muddy men with contorted expressions dragging weeds and vines scramble up and out of the river all the time.

At last! My beloved truck. I broke the rod down, tossed a towel on the front seat and jumped in, waders and all. Frankly I didn't care.

So, to summarize:

I caught no fish.

My casting and stripping are pathetic at best.

I lost my bazillion dollar pair of corrective sunglasses, scrambling for my life.

I may or may not have poked some holes in my waders.

I came way too close to riding the lightning.....literally.

AND, I can't wipe this stupid grin off of my face. Heading back today !

Last edited by zoomie; 05-30-2015 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 05-30-2015, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

Great report...I love your "humour"
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

+1 for what JP said!
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

Fantastic report, thanks for posting it!

B.E.F.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

great report......I got caught in the middle of a golf course once in a nasty thunder boomer. Very scary......I found a church that had a large awning that gave me some shelter till the storm blew thru. I finished the round but putting was terrible. Ever seen golf ball rooster tails?
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Old 05-30-2015, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

At least it was a day to remember!

Like that rod holder, someone was smart when they re-purposed that tool!
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Old 05-30-2015, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

Hi,

What a great thread! Your blow by blow along with pictures is what we are in need of here; wonderful recounting of the day you gave.

The casting will come but you will need to get hold of a good book to help work out all the bugs. Google 'Trouble Shooting The Cast' that may be helpful and they are cheap instruction.

The wrench that many have tried to remove reminds me of Excalibur, let's hope it remains for another year.

Ard
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Old 05-30-2015, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

Anyone that spends this kind of money to go out and catch aquarium sized fish is clearly passionate about the art of fly fishing. We all want to catch, but if fishing was just about catching, there are certainly easier ways to go about it. Fly fishing is really about the adventure. The fish, bugs, and critters you see. The wild flowers. And celebrating the fact that we're having fun and getting some exercise while all those other poor saps are at home riding the couch. Failing to mention them in a fishing report leaves us all wondering about the important stuff!

I am happy to report that I returned to scene of the river crime to attempt to locate my beloved prescription (fish) x-ray sunglasses. And it only took me 2 minutes to find them.

Yay me !

Unfortunately I am really sore today so I will wait until after church tomorrow to fish again. That's church of God first, then River Church !

Thanks for the kind words. I am heading over to google "sissy flailing" to see if I cant clean up some of these casting felonies.
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

That is a different application for a spud wrench.
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Old 05-30-2015, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: A Fun (and Harrowing) Day On The Water

First off glad you made it! Second I was laughing with you not at you. Yeah getting caught out there is never fun.

A few times out on boats fishing there was so much of a charge in the air the line floats, uh oh..... Think we should go? Naw just a few more.....
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