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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Carrying Your Gear: A New Perspective

For many years in this sport, a vest was the only way to carry your gear. There were very few fly fisherman that even considered any alternative. Things are different now of course but I had not realized how different until this poll closed. Nearly 50% of you are apparently using a chest or lumbar pack of some type. That doesn't mean that people aren't using vests, just not as much.

Personally I still have a vest and where it some of the time. If I can get away with a lanyard I prefer to go light. There are times though when you are on a new stream or perhaps a challenging spring creek or tailwater where you don't want to be caught unprepared. In those circumstances a vest is still very beneficial. My vest is organized carefully and I always know where everything is when I carry it.

The beginning of this summer brought about some big changes in how I carried gear. Up until that point I had always used a vest. Then I got a lanyard and everything changed. Now I usually like to wear a fishing shirt with the large pockets so I have a place to stow a couple fly boxes. The vest holds pretty much everything else I need. I can always throw an extra pack of leaders and a couple strike indicators in a pocket and I'm good to go.

The benefits far outweigh any negatives for me. When I carry the vest, I'm prone to carrying too much. This seems to be a common problem for most fly fisherman since we always like to be prepared. When you have a lanyard, there just is not anywhere to put more gear so you are forced to cut back. A heavy vest can pull on your shoulders all day leading to tightness in your neck and consequently tension headaches. Once you get used to a lanyard, you almost forget that it is there.

I haven't tried any chestpacks. Honestly I was planning on getting one before I found an excellent deal on the lanyard. I am guessing that the benefits of a small chest or lumbar pack are very similar to that of the lanyard. If anything it might be better because you can carry slightly more stuff without overloading.

The final word for the recommendation: If you haven't tried something other than a vest yet, try a chest or lumbar pack or a lanyard...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...


  1. If I may add...

    ...if you are to get a chest/lumbar pack, make sure it's one that does both. I prefer to keep it around my waist, but sometimes it's just not practical. Also, my pack is always overloaded...I probably stuff more into it than I could into a vest. And with it in lumbar mode, I still feel like I'm fishing light even if it is least until I open it.


  2. Ed, thanks for adding that detail. I have quite a few friends that have gone with a pack that they hang over their shoulder/neck and can also be converted to a fanny pack and they really like it a lot. I haven't tried any of these options yet but have been thinking that a small lumbar pack with a water bottle holder would be the perfect compliment to my lanyard...

  3. ijsouth9:01 PM

    I wear a vest, and you described me to a 'T' - I carry way too much. On this last "trip" (really, the evacuation from Gustav), I only fished a few hours a day, and I ended up using one fly - a Mr Rapidan. I certainly didn't need to carry umpteen dozen boxes of flies, etc, but I did - I just have the feeling that I need to carry any possible fly imaginable, in case they're picky, etc. If I'm able to come up for Thanksgiving, I'm going to do some exploring that will require a lot of hiking...rather than lugging my hippers and all my stuff, I'll try to pare things down and will stick with my hiking boots....I'll just avoid getting wet.



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