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. 

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