Guided Trips


Things have changed a lot since the last report. Unseasonably warm weather has kicked off the first hatches of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains while an extremely wet February means all of the tailwaters are blown out across middle and east Tennessee.

If you want to fish in the Smokies, nymphs and streamers will be your best bet unless you encounter a hatch. In that case, Blue Quills and Quill Gordons should be in your arsenal as well as Blue-winged Olives.

For now, just forget about the tailwaters in the short term. continued rain means it will be at least another month before the tailwaters are fishable again. With luck, we can start thinking about some streamer float trips on the Caney Fork in mid to late March, although that may be optimistic. In the meantime, head for the mountains and enjoy chasing the wild trout there.

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Photo of the Month: Breaking Cabin Fever

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Book Review: "So Many Fish, So Little Time"

Despite the fact that this review is much later than I intended, I still want to share about this book. As much as I have really enjoyed this book, I believe it has one weakness in particular. Books of the top whatever (insert a number here) fishing places are very difficult to perfect. In fact, I don't know if it is possible to make one perfect. It is simply the nature of the beast. Thankfully, Mark D. Williams has done the best job I have seen with a tough topic, probably the best possible for that matter. I would like to see someone try to do better, I don't think they can. Other than the inherent difficulty in writing on the subject of the 1001 best fishing places around the world, this book is the type to set dreams in motion. A paragraph from the Introduction sums it up much better than I could:
I was determined to write a book of fishing dreams. A book of dreams, a wish list of all the best places in the world to fish. This is a sit-on-the-pot kind of book, the type of book that sometimes inspires you to get off your duff and make plans, the type of book that is fun to pick up, knowing full well you can't afford to visit New Zealand until little Bobby finishes college in ten years, but you still read it and wish.

A sit-on-the-pot kind of book is a good way to describe this book. You can spend just a few moments with it and start yet another fishing daydream rolling. As I read, I often encountered sections that provided an opportunity for remembrance. Remembering all the great fishing places I've been fortunate enough to go to throughout the years. Places in Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, to mention a few and of course my own home state of Tennessee.

It was in the section on Tennessee that I realized better some of the difficulties of writing such a book. The author describes a river I frequent in the cooler seasons, the Hiwassee. The difficulty I specifically am referring to is apparent when the author says that it is "one of the top twenty trout streams in the country." Obviously the author hasn't fished the Hiwassee for several years. Back in its heyday the statement would have been accurate, but not now. Don't get me still fishes very well but nothing like the good old days. The author also says "humongous trout and plenty of them." Once again, there are still large trout but nothing like years ago. This is the big difficulty of writing a book like this. You can't possibly fish 1001 places in the last couple of years and great fisheries fluctuate. Places that were great 5 or 10 years ago may only be average fisheries now.

Of course, this isn't the authors fault fully, he is writing based largely on his experience. When you check out this book, keep this in mind. Enjoy the book, especially enjoy the stories, and dream. If you do this, especially if you dream, the author will have accomplished his goal. He wrote this book to inspire fishing trips and dreams of fishing trips.

As I said, the stories are great. The author is definitely a gifted story teller even though many stories have to be kept very concise for space concerns. From a new fishing buddy that pulls out a gun to randomly shoot towards the pronghorn antelope to an epic day on the Yellowstone, the stories will keep you reading looking for more. One of my favorite stories I could relate to very well. The author hooked a large fish on the Taylor only to lose it. My first day on this stream full of hogs was slow until I hooked a large rainbow in the 7-8 pound range. I started hollering for my buddies to bring a camera and drew a crowd of spectators with the commotion. After several tense moments I gently eased the trout towards my net only to have to tiny zebra midge pop out as the large 'bow slipped back to its midstream lair. Yeah, I understand the frustration that the Taylor generates at first. However, once you understand it the fishing can be a blast.

That is the way this book is. You read a little and immediately start reminiscing or daydreaming. I honestly couldn't put it down for awhile after I received this book and will continue to read and re-read any time I want to dream about great fishing places.

Oh yeah, he also mentioned my favorite (for now) stream ever. And no, I'm not going to tell you what stream that is, not even the state it is in so don't ask. If you pick up this book and start trying all the trout (okay, so that IS a hint) streams, maybe you'll discover it for yourself. If you do, please keep it under your hat. I want to find it as free of crowds as I left it...

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