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.