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

Monday, March 25, 2013

The PB&J

Several years ago, I was faced with a "shad" dilemma.  A recent post on the Little River Outfitter message board reminded me of the great fun of fishing shad patterns during shad kills.  I developed this pattern to not only imitate the size and color of the naturals but also to get down deep where the large fish often are.  For those of you interested in fishing on top during shad kills, I recommend taking a guide trip with me or with my buddy David Perry.  A favorite technique is fishing flies on the surface during this time. I can promise that there is nothing more exciting than a huge trout sipping a dying shad off the surface as delicately as it would a mayfly during a hatch.

This pattern has been one of my favorites for big shad-eating stripers.  In fact, I have caught more big stripers on this pattern than anything else.  This fly can be modified to use plastic eyes so it has neutral buoyancy if you don't want it sinking too far.  I call it the Puglisi, Bunny, and Jelly, PB&J for short.  The little bit of red near the throat gives it a wounded appearance.  I'm a firm believer in giving fish that extra trigger to induce strikes.

Hook:  Gamakatsu SL11-3H or similar hook (also use Mustad 34007)
Thread: White 3/0
Eyes: Medium Lead Eyes tied in on the BOTTOM of the hook shank (original) (or lead-free substitute)
Body (top): White Zonker strip (I personally like the magnum strips for extra bulk and movement)
Body (bottom): White Puglisi fibers
Throat: Fiery Blood Red Jorgensen SLF dubbing with a bit more Puglisi Fibers tied in in front of the red dubbing

Note that the eyes are tied in on the bottom instead of in the usual Clouser method.  I find that for this pattern, it rides better and gets better hookups when the eyes are tied on the bottom of the hook shank.  However, it is more likely to snag on the bottom this way.

This fly is one of my bread and butter streamers.  When all else fails, I toss some PB&J and the fish will usually eat!!!

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