Friday, June 17, 2011

World's Greatest 5 inch fish:

Last night I established this blog and the ease with which I did so was quite astounding so I thought tonight while I burn away the evening with a Ramon Allones Specially Selected and a small glass of Laphroaig 10yr single malt I would try to increase the difficulty on myself by posting this entry from the Blogger App on my Android.  * Edit to Add: this went about as poorly as I had expected, won't be doing that again.*

The topic I will write about first tonight has changed quite dramatically since this morning when I had bounced a few ideas around in my head about writing a short piece on the power of intercessory prayer and on the communion of the Saints.  As it happens though Brian my good friend,brother in law, and most frequent and trusted fishing guide/comrade sent me a few of the pictures of the trip we just took to the Great Smoky Mountains to give my new fly rod her first real taste of action. These pictures are very important because they are the only material evidence I have, other than a smelly creel pocket, documenting my first catch on an honest to goodness big boy fly-fishing setup.

The fish I caught was no monster steelhead, no 20 inch brown, not even the legendary mountain brook, it was a 6 inch(max) rainbow just big enough to stretch across the palm of my quaking hand but you couldn't have told me that when I hooked and landed him. I don't know who was more shocked when I hooked the fish the trout or me and when I landed him I don't know who was more shocked and more excited Brian or me, but after a mad dash to get back to common ground to get a few pictures before releasing the little guy we were both pretty breathless. My first real fly rod trout, heretofore referred to as the world's greatest 5 inch fish, was an amazing experience to catch and as I mentioned before a real surprise.

The trip we made to catch that fish hadn't gone nearly to plan as a few setbacks and delays had set our camping/fishing trip departure way behind schedule. The plan was to get there around noon and fish until time to come back cook some grub with our ladyfolk and then catch the evening feeding in the streams once again. The outlook was bleak, the half day of fishing we had planned for was shrunk to a couple of hours at best. When we set out for the stream all of our expectations were down, due to the volume of fishermen and hooligans in the water near elkmont for memorial day weekend. We found a spot about a 1/4-1/2 mile beyond the trail head that looked promising and while Brian helped his son,my nephew, Matthew get setup I started working a picturesque hole. My primary intent was to A. not catch a tree or plant life and b. Practice putting the fly down cleanly and in a spot where I wanted it. I instantly felt at home with the relatively short distances I would need to cast and really liked where I was putting the fly(a yellow 'never sink' sally/caddis from LRO.) I worked my way across the hole without a bite and with one unsubstantial early fall(I fall A LOT)  and got to the edge of the pool which featured a small quick moving seam generated by a little overhang of rocks above I was attempting to cast into the swifter portion of the seam and let my fly coast through naturally and on the second good pass the rainbow grabbed hold and I was on cloud 9. I even made a clean switch from line to reel, I kept the rod tip up and the pressure on long enough to see the little guy in safely. I yelled across the 50 or so yards separating Brian with Matthew and I and we set about connecting for some photographic celebration. That's right first hole, first fish, and to beat it all a few minutes later, still pumped from my own success Brian pulled a nice little brown out of the hole he had been working with Matthew on Matthew's spinner bait. I told him we'd have to work hard to top that success. Two holes two fish, it was the start of a very good trip...*More on the rest of that trip to come soon*

As a very gracious older lady(and one slick fly fisherman herself) had said in conversation on a fishing trail near Abrams creek "In the smokies, you have to be content being wet all day without even a bite sometimes, and love it enough to come back and try again the next day." Truer words have never been spoken, Brian and I have had plenty of days exactly like that and being so new to fly fishing I was expecting about a years worth of days like that before I even got a subtle whiff of success. These fish are hard to catch, and that's a lot of the appeal. The guys down at Little River Outfitters, our favorite fly shop in the smokies, say that "if you can catch trout here, you can catch them anywhere" and while I don't know if that's the gospel truth I'll say it isn't far from it. Before the trip out with the fly rod I had caught loads of trout on spinners and "wait-bait", a few of the quite good size and even one of those difficult smokies stream trout but none compared to the palm sized super fish I hauled in near elkmont.

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