Saturday, December 21, 2013

Toccoa DH

I fished the DH Saturday morning for about three hours. Flow was a little heavy, but not too bad. I started out a few hundred feet below the station, and worked my way down stream about a 1/2 mile. I picked up a nice brookie right at the beginning, about 14 inches. Wading down stream, I caught another 7 or 8 rainbows. I hiked back upstream and fished just below the launch. I got into a bunch of bows, catching another 10 plus fish in the final hour. I used my 6 weight and a very large streamer on 2x mono for almost the entire day - it was working, so I didn't change. It was a perfect day for me: moderate temps, light rain, slight stain on the water, and I didn't see another person fishing until I went to the launch.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Upper Toccoa

It was cold, wet, and miserable.... a perfect day for fishing!  The flow was about double the safe wading level, so I knew my options would be limited.   I started up at the canoe launch without much luck.  I walked down the road and found a rock to stand on and roll case and high stick a deep run.  I managed a nice bow using a large stone fly.  I then hiked downriver to a spot I knew I could wade a little bit.  No luck.  Then back up river stopping here and there, and catching a few bows along the way. The weather reminded me of a typical day in Ketchikan, Alaska, which didn't bother me a bit!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Creek Company: my experience

"The Creek Company manufactures Inflatable Pontoon Boats, Float Tubes, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Fly Fishing Accessories."  A little over a year ago I purchased a relatively inexpensive one man pontoon from The Creek Company.  I used it the next day without any problems.  Because the boats are a lot less expensive than most, I didn't really expect much from The Creek Company in terms of quality or customer service.  The boat stayed in my garage for a while, and saw very little use.  A few months ago, I decided to use it to float a 10 mile stretch of river.  I had an issue with the seat during the float.  I sent an email to The Creek Company and advised of the issue.  Much to my surprise, The Creek Company addressed the issue very quickly and to my satisfaction. 
I highly recommend The Creek Company.  You get an excellent watercraft for an extremely affordable price, and wonderful customer service. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Costa Sunglasses - My experience

My mom always told me, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."  I do my best to follow that rule, but I'm breaking the rule today.  I've owned 4 pairs of Costa sunglasses.  Costa is a company with a great reputation.  Their products are not cheap. When I fork over $150-200 for a pair of shades, I have high expectations.  As you can see from the following, I've had horrible luck with my Costa Sunglasses.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Trip Report

We had a group of four for our semi-annual overnight fishing trip.  This trip originally started a number of years ago with overnight camping/hiking trips, but it has been two years since we did a camping/fishing trip.  The last few years, the trip has become more about fishing, and less about hiking and camping.   For this trip, we set our home base in Blue Ridge, at The Gubna's cabin. 
We started with a short float down the HI near Reliance, TN.  Rob caught a really nice bow on his 8 weight.  He's caught 2-3 20 plus inch fish on his 8 weight over the last year.  The rest of us have been stuck catching SNITs.
At the end of the float, we got into a whole mess of fish feeding on bwos.  I caught 25-30 bows, plus crappie and a brim.  One guy in our group caught baby browns, which was interesting.  Doc took off after the first float to check out the upper toccoa.  The three of us remaining did another float on the HI.  The 2nd float wasn't very productive, but a good time nonetheless.
We drove to Blue Ridge, at which point it turned into a strange adventure, with Streamer Rob getting his truck stuck in a ditch, and Hip Hop Will in rare form after numerous double crown and cokes.
We got up in the morning and hit the upper toccoa.  There was some debate among the group on whether to also fish snowbird, but we opted for a day at the upper toccoa.  Streamer Rob and Doc did well, catching a number of nice brookies and bows.  I think we caught 25-30 between the four of us.  We rounded it all out with pizza from Blue Jeans.
Can't wait for the next trip!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

North Georgia

 I fished the Toccoa DH for about an hour Friday evening. Caught a few fish on a variety of flies.  Action was about what I expected.  Fish were on the small side.  The water was as low as I've ever seen it.  I checked out another blue line for a few minutes as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

North Carolina Day 3

I had to go home, but one of the guys in our group managed this sweet brown on the last day of the trip:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

North Carolina Day 2

Four of us left Bryson City around 10:00 a.m. and headed up to a small creek in the woods.  We saw a lot of bear hunters, but not a single fisherman.  I got out of the car, walked to the creek and saw a 18 inch bow scatter.  I knew it was going to be a fun day! The four of us worked up and down stream.  I caught a few bows and brookies fairly quickly, but they were of standard size.  I made my way down stream scouting for big fish.  I came up on a small pocket of water under an overhanging tree, and much to my surprise, I saw two large rainbows feeding.  I got low in the water and started casting with short roll casts and bow and arrow casts.  I got the big bows to bite the fly 2 or 3 times, but couldn't get a hook-up.  I finally went with a big fly.  On the first cast, the fish bolted.  I exited the stream and went up river to fish.  After fishing for a few more hours it was about time to go.  I decided to take one last shot at those fish.  I went back to the spot and the two bows had returned. The rain started coming down hard and the other three in my group got in the car to leave.  After a few minutes I finally got the fish on - it was a heck of a fight on 6 x tippet and no net, but I finally landed the 18 inch female bow.  I tried to get a picture, but with the rain and trying to handle the large fish, I couldn't get a good picture.  Nevertheless, a hell of a day.  Between the four of us, we managed over 100 fish.  I didn't care about numbers - catching the big bow was all I needed!

Friday, November 1, 2013

North Carolina Day One

I left Friday morning and got to Cherokee at around 10:00 a.m.  We decided to try the Trophy Section at Raven's Fork. It was a disaster - couldn't cast without catching leaves.  Plus, the water was high and stained.  We tried it for a few hours and didn't get a single bite.  We left and went to a small stream right before dark.  It was a nasty location, but the water was good.  After catching a couple of small wild bows I managed to catch two 14 inch bows.  Also, I had a big bow break me off on 5 x tippet.  That little creek salvaged the day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

TFO BVK 8 Weight Review

Earlier this year I parted ways with my G. Loomis 8 weight.  I didn't realize how much I would miss having an 8 weight.  I debated the last few months between various rods, and ultimately decided to go with a TFO BVK.  I must admit, I was hesitant to pull the trigger on a non-american made rod.  At the end of the day, though, I simply couldn't justify spending $700 plus dollars on a rod that I only use a few times per year for chucking large streamers.  I used the BVK on Saturday and was very impressed. The rod is fast, but still has some touch.  I was using sink tip with articulated streamers, and didn't have any problem with accuracy or distance.   I was shocked by how light the rod felt, not only in the hand, but during casting. The weight is listed at 3.2 ounces.  I didn't know the weight until I looked it up today.  It feels as light as my Sage Z-Axis 6 weight.  Strangely enough, the 8 weight BVK felt much lighter than the 5 weight I was using during the same day.  I rate the rod as high or higher than the G. Loomis I was using before.  My only complaints thus far are as follows:
1.  The rod did not come with a case, which is absurd.  Any decent quality rod should come with a case.
2. The alignment dots are a little off.
3. The reel seat seems a little small.  I much preferred the Loomis set up with regard to the reel seat.
I am very happy with the purchase.  Now I need to put it to the test on a big brown.  I hope to have that opportunity later this week.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Toccoa Tailwater

I fished the tailwater below the dam for a few minutes Saturday evening.  The water was much warmer than normal.  Apparently, it rained so much this year that the lake does not have a cold water reserve.  The fishing was off to say the least.  I caught a blue gill, which is not a good sign. I talked with others who said they got skunked.  I hope things turn around this winter. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Good News on Hatcheries

This morning I received an email from Congressman Chuck Fleischmann as follows:

Thank you for contacting me with your concern for the federal fish hatcheries in Tennessee. I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me, and it is an honor to represent you in Congress.
As you may know, locks and dams can have a worrisome impact on fish populations. Like you, I believe it is an important to restore fish populations in areas negatively impacted by such structures. Nearly 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors buy fishing licenses, and they depend on our fish hatcheries to replace trout in Tennessee.
You may be pleased to hear that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) recently announced an agreement to continue popular trout stocking programs in the Tennessee Valley region. TVA will provide more than $900,000 per year over the next three years to support federal fish hatchery operations that provide trout for stocking. The stocking will occur in reservoirs and tailwaters of certain TVA dams in the region. In addition, these agencies also signed an agreement to form a working group with key stakeholders who benefit from the recreation-based trout stocking to identify a long-term funding source.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe was recently quoted as saying the Obama administration has no "imminent" plan to close any federal fish hatcheries but the facilities are endangered by another round of automatic budget cuts next year. Despite this concern, you can rest assured that I will continue to work my colleagues in Congress to find a long term solution for our hatcheries.
Thank you again for contact me with your input. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance. 

Chuck Fleischmann
Member of Congress

Friday, October 11, 2013


I haven't been able to hit the water much lately, but next month is looking good.  I have plans to fish a number of rivers, including the: Davidson and Nanny in North Carolina, upper and lower Toccoa in Georgia, Little Red River in Arkansas, and the Hiwassee DH in Tennessee. With the mild summer in the region, I'm hoping November will be on fire!  Reports to come....
The Gubna!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lost Hogs in Aska

Got to fish for a few minutes this morning outside of Blue Ridge while spending a great weekend with the wife in a cabin a few minutes from the upper toccoa.  Blue Ridge has become an amazing town.  Friday night we had outstanding pizza at Blue Jeans.  Saturday, we spent the day in Blue Ridge enjoying good wine and the best beer I've ever had on tap.  High gravity beers on tap, including a quad ale, are rare in Chattanooga.  We concluded a nice day with dinner at a splendid restaurant on the Toccoa River.  Sunday, we hiked to a nice waterfall. The wife gave me an hour on a small stream which resulted in a couple of gigantic bows.  The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

SoHo on the Fly

I left Chattanooga at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, and arrived at a cabin on the SoHo at around 12:30 a.m.  My neighbor, Double L, had arrived a few minutes earlier.  We woke up Thursday morning and met our guide around 10:00 a.m.  We put in near the Weir on the SoHo, and started fishing around 11:00 a.m.  Double L hooked up with a nice bow right at the beginning: turned out to be a very nice fish on 6x tippet.  Things got slow for a little while, but we started picking up bows and browns on a double nymph rig for the next few hours.  After lunch, the sulphurs started coming off, and I switched to a 4 weight G. Loomis.  The scene was spectacular; browns and bows rising all around us.  Up until that point, Double L was killing me in terms of catching fish, but once the dry fly hatch started, I picked up my game. I started ripping out 60-70 foot casts and sticking browns on the dry fly.  Tons of fun.  I was up to about a dozen fish, and fully satisfied.  The hatch stopped about an hour later, and we went back to nymphin.  Double L started sticking a few fish after the hatch stopped, and hooked into a beast that he fought for at least five minutes. The fish eventually ran down stream and we couldn't do anything about it.  We ended the day with about 30 in the boat, and at least 10 that we lost, not to mention missed strikes.  It was an outstanding day, with an outstanding Guide.  I didn't catch anything really big, but I caught a number of 13-14 inch fish, with the vast majority being wild brown trout on a dry fly.  I can't wait to fish the SoHo again!

Monday, April 29, 2013

HI not Dry

EZ and I hit the HI for about an hour on Sunday morning.  The rain was heavy, but we decided a little rain shouldn't stop us.  We got to the river about 9:30.  At cornchuckers corner, there was a school of fish busting the surface.  It was a scene I haven't witnessed in quite some time.  It looked like a fish hatchery tank at feeding time.  We drove a little further up river and pulled over to wade the runs between the boat ramp and corn corner.  The fish were breaking the surface as far as the eye could see.  I started with a bugger, but got nothing.  EZ hooked up with a nice bow on a PT nymph, so I switched up.  I caught a small brown, and a few minutes later, a nice fat 12 inch brown.  I caught a couple more small browns, but wanted to try my luck with a dry fly.  EZ caught a few more bows, and joined me in the quest to match the hatch.  I literally had fish jumping within 3 yards of me, and saw a sporadic hatch of bwos, a few caddis, a couple of cahills, a stonefly, and what appeared to be hendricksons, but could not get any action with a dry.  I tried about a dozen different dry flies and couldn't get a single hit - not even a rejection.  EZ managed to catch a nice bow on a BWO, but it broke him off before he could get it to hand.  A little over an hour after we started fishing, the water came up.  The rain was so heavy it was very difficult to wade.  I couldn't see the bottom, and even though it was only one generator, we decided to get out of the river. We both needed to be home by 1:00 p.m., so the timing worked out well.  It was a good short trip; though frustrating because we couldn't seem to get dialed in with the hatch despite thousands of fish feeding like crazy.  Interestingly, the surface activity completely died once the water came up.  I need to fish the HI a few more times before summer arives.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Doc and Gubna: Inglorious Bastards

As usual, poor planning and indecision plagued Doc and Gubna last weekend.  Thursday night brought a huge rain storm, and Friday morning didn't look too good.  We knew our options would be limited, but we decided around noon on Friday to hit the road.  A few hours later, we were driving towards the Smoky Mountains - 20 Mile Creek.  After stopping at a few gas stations, multiple liquor stores, and a small grocery store stocked with baby back ribs, we conquered the Tail of the Dragon and pulled into 20 Mile Creek ready to fish and car camp.  The Ranger met us as we pulled onto the gravel road.  It turns out, it's about a 3 mile hike to get to the campsites.  We figured what the heck, let's throw as much as we can in the backpacks and start hiking.  As I started to pack up, the Ranger advised we needed to register online for the campsite. Well, no phone service, and the land line at the Ranger's station being dead, we were screwed, and we were losing daylight.  We drove down to Fontana Dam and found a campground below the Dam.  The scene was strange.  Basically, a small area of grass, with a restroom, a coke machine, and a gigantic wall of concrete above the outflow from Fontana Lake.  As we pulled in to the alleged campground, there was a dude laying on the grass, shirtless, with a tarp wrapped around his legs. With some hesitation, we paid the $20, and set up camp.  We fished for a few minutes below the dam, but the water was high, and we saw little evidence of fish.  We built a fire and threw the rack of ribs on the fire, along with some corn.  Four hours later, the ribs were almost tender, and we devoured about 1/2 the rack before accepting the fact that the ribs must have come from a horse - pretty rough.  Good beer and bad stories made for a good night.

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day.  Two dudes were a 100 feet away wrapped up in tarps.  Strange, but mildly entertaining.  After getting packed up, we hit the road for the Nantahala DH.  Doc rigged up a bugger and immediately caught a little brookie. We moved downstream and saw some fish rising.  We spent a good 40 minutes trying to match the hatch.  Doc hooked a 15 inch bow, but he came undone.  We were both itching to go elsewhere.
We packed up and spent the next 2-3 hours trying to find an access point to a tailwater in NC that is considered "non-trout water."  We were just about to give up and head to Blue Ridge, GA, when we found the elusive access road.  I had been skunked this whole trip, and was eager to check out the river.  I immediately noticed beautiful little wild bows feeeding on something.  I rigged up a sulphur and caught a nice 12 inch wild bow.  The hatch was pretty good, but we were struggling to figure out what exactly was hatching.  I lost my first sulpher and after trying 5-6 other flies, I tried a sulphur paradun, and proceeded to catch about 10-12 bows.  Doc was using his 8 weight, but still managed to catch a handful of bows.  I have no doubt if he would have rigged his Tenkara, he would have caught 20 plus fish.  The 2 hours we fished on the river, which I will not name, other than to call it "SoHoRemix", was epic.  What had been an awful trip as far as fishing blossomed into a day I will never forget.
After getting home on Saturday night, Doc and I figured out that the hatch we were witnessing on the SoHoRemix was a Hendrickson hatch, mixed with some midges and sulphurs.  I can't wait to spend more time on that river. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

G. Loomis Native Run GLX 8 weight

About a year ago I purchased a G. Loomis NativeRun GLX 8 weight.  The Rod is 9'6", 4 piece.  I use a Lamson Waterworks Litespeed Reel, that seems to balance things out pretty good.  My first trip with the rod left me disappointed.  I purchased fly line that is about 3/4 of the length of a regular line, and then it has loop to loop attachment heads that either float or sink.  Without giving it any thought, I rigged up a big streamer trying to catch Coho salmon in Alaska the first time I ever used the rod.  I felt like I had never been fishing before.  I was throwing line about 20-30 feet, and struggling to get the fly any further than 40-50 feet.  I kept thinking it was the wind, but with the rod I was using, the wind shouldn't have been an issue.  The next day I realized my mistake: I had forgotten to select my shooting head attachment.  It was the equivalent of trying to cast 4 weight line with my 8 weight. Upon realizing my mistake, I soon began to enjoy this rod.  After a few trips, I was able to chuck huge articulated streamers into the wind 60-70 feet without any difficulty.  This rod is a real beast. I have used a Redington 8 weight, a Winston Boron 8 weight, and a Helios 8 weight, and none compare in terms of chucking big bugs into the wind with distance and accuracy.  The Loomis doesn't seem as sensitive as the other rods at close distance, and for whatever reason, I can't seem to roll cast it all that well, but if you have room, and need to get some distance with accuracy, this rod is as good as any I've used.  My only complaint about the rod is that it will really wear you out after a day of fishing.  However, I think that's true of any large rod that is used to constantly pound the banks with huge flies on sink tip line. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013


 Arrived at the Toot friday afternoon.  Set up camp, rigged up, and went looking for a good spot to fish:
I woke up in the morning, and fished for a few minutes.  I wasn't having luck, so I packed up and drove to Blue Ridge.  I decided to fish near the dam.  First cast, and a 12 inch brookie.  I ended up fishing about an hour and caught a dozen brookies; one was about 15 inches.  DNR obviously stocked this area recently, but it was fun.  I didn't have my camera, so no brookie pics.  The camping trip was enjoyable.  I'm hoping to camp the next two weekends as well with Doc and EZ.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Toccoa DH

I made it to the Toccoa DH for a couple of hours late Friday afternoon, after work.  The fish were in abundance, but a little soft on the take.  I managed a few using buggers, and missed at least a dozen soft strikes.  The fish were hitting the bugger on a good drift, either high-sticking or getting the fly deep on the swing.  I hope to make it back over there later this month.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The perils of success

After catching the big bow on my 8 weight a few months ago, the idea of presenting dry flies and technical midge fishing proved unappealing. However, last week I learned that there are consequences tied to failing to adapt. I managed to fish three rivers last week, and the results were embarrassing.
First, I got a yard pass to sneak out to the Hi on a Saturday. Perfect conditions and the end of the DH  meant more people on the river than Ive seen in quite some time. I parked at big bend and hiked down the John  muir trail to the stairsteps. The water was a little high and stained, and for whatever reason, i didnt have the stones to wade out to the run i wanted to fish. I got a snit immeditely, but despite 70 foot casts, i couldnt get my line out to a spot where fish were stacked up. I hiked further downstream and ran out of daylight. A disappointing outing on a river that always produces for me.  The highlight of the trip was stopping at reliance fly shop on the way home and watching some of polk county's finest party on the porch while a native son played acoustic guitar singing outlaw country songs with shocking precision. I heard the phrase "you-uns", which always brings a smile to my face.
A few days later I stopped by the elk river for a few hours on a Tuesday. I started chucking an articulated without success. I made my way down river exercising the patience of a fat man at a free buffett. I even hiked down a farm trail to the best part of the river, and proceeded to finish my day walking down the highway back to my car with the horrible stank of skunk trailing my path.
Three days later I arranged a float down the toccoa with Rod and Lloyd. Absolutely perfect conditions and a huge hatch. I decided to catch fish on this trip, so I dropped a size 20 zebra off a Ted stone fly and got five strikes in just a couple minutes before breaking off the dropper. Then, for whatever reason, I ignored the fact that the midge was the ticket and tied on a prince. I caught a couple, but I somehow overlooked the black stonefly hatch, which was nearly blinding. I rigged the 8 weight with an absurd articulated right about the time the water came up. I shucked that 8 weight for he next two hours without a single hit. For he entire float we managed three fish between the three of us. The highlight of the trip was the companionship and a trip to a horrible Mexican restaurant - a tradition the I horoughky enjoyed.
In sum, I need to get back to basics. The next trip will be a trip of redemption!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

English Handmade Fly Rods at a Reasonable Price

I came across a company out of England owned by Mick Bell that makes fly rods and sells them directly to the public.  The next time I'm in the market for a new rod, I'll likely buy one from Mr. Bell.  The following is from his website:

Our rods are not designed around big advertising budgets and marketing hype. We produce extremely well designed rods from the best carbon fibre and components available. Our carbon fibre cloth is only available in limited quantities from Japan and as a result we are unable to manufacture more than 500 rods per annum. We sell direct because the wholesaler and retailer profit margins are greedy. This means that we can sell fly rods that are equal, if not better than any other high end mass producer but without the excessive price tags. Our rods have become the first choice for serious fly casters and I believe that actions speak louder than words. Enough said I think.

 Click here to check out Bloke Fly Rods

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hiwassee Brown

The Rod caught this beautiful brown on the Hiwassee yesterday on a float trip.  I know The Rod has been chucking streamers for a few years now trying to get a trophy, and it looks like his diligence was rewarded.  This might be the best brown I've seen caught on the Hiwassee River in a number of years. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Musky on the fly

The following is a video a guy posted of an awesome Musky he caught on the fly:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scout Trip

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary by staying at a B&B in the North Georgia Mountains.  Obviously, I couldn't run off and go fish all day, but I did manage to take a quick drive over to the Toccoa DH for a few minutes of fishing.  I also got my line wet for a couple of minutes on Mountain Town Creek.  I hit the Toccoa for less than an hour on Friday. The weather was beautiful, but cold.  I only saw one other person fly fishing while I was there.  I didn't want to mess around with standard stockers, so I tied an articulated on my 8 weight and started throwing meat.  I got a good laugh because as soon as I started chuckin, the fish started duckin!  I saw fish after fish scatter as my fly was soaring overhead.  I didn't see anything big. I managed to trick a few stockers, but nothing big.  The next day I took the short 15 minute drive to Mountaintown Creek to check out the stream.  There was nobody there.  The water level was good, but I think the bait chuckers have cleaned that stream out (at least where I was fishing).  I managed to hook up with one fish, but that was it.  I tend to think public access fishing on Mountaintown is a lost cause absent some reasonable manner of getting above Hill Lake.