Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth

Photo of the Month: Ol' Gator Mouth
Showing posts with label Fishing Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fishing Guide. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

What A Fish!

One of the toughest parts of guiding is probably similar to raising a kid, but I can only speak from experience on one of those.  I'm talking about watching someone else doing something and you just wish you could step in and help them do everything correctly.  If you're a parent, maybe you can let me know if that's about how it goes or not.  As I guide, I definitely know the feeling.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of guiding Shane for a day in the Smokies.  Having lived in Tennessee for a few years, but never making it over to fish the Smokies, it was high time he learned a little about the Park streams and how to catch the beautiful wild trout there.  With a cool start to the morning, I decided that fishing on Little River would be a good way to start the day and we stopped in a likely area.  After chatting a bit while rigging up and getting on our wading gear, we finally approached the stream.

Looking just downstream, I noticed a spot that I've long suspected had a nice fish.  After getting confirmation from Shane that he was willing to start his day with a challenge, I explained the approach, the cast, and the drift.  He nodded and started to work into position.  After a few drifts in which I felt we weren't getting deep enough, I added another split shot and he resumed casting.  A few casts later the indicator dove convincingly.  When he set the hook, a beautiful brown trout came all the way out of the water in a leap for its life.

Immediately I got nervous.  Fish like that don't come around every day, and certainly not in the Smokies.  Thankfully, I hadn't told Shane that his bottom fly was on with 6x tippet so he wasn't nearly as nervous as I was.  In fact, he was probably one of the calmest anglers I've seen with a nice fish on the other end of the line.  

While I was nervous and really concerned about losing that fish, Shane did everything he needed to perfectly, working downstream with the fish until he was able to lift its head so I could slide the net under it.  I had spent all that time worried, and in the end I didn't need to.  Shane did a great job fighting such a nice brown trout and clearly didn't need any help at all.  There are few people who can say their first Smoky Mountain trout was such a pretty fish.  Congrats to Shane on a job well done and a beautiful Smoky Mountain brown trout!




If you are interested in a guided fly fishing trip in the Great Smoky Mountains, please contact me via email at TroutZoneAnglers@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Where Are the Fish?

A few weeks ago, I was contacted about doing a half day guide trip in the Smokies.  Roger had been to the Smokies on vacation other times and fly fished some, but had never caught any trout while he was at it.  He had fished in some other places including the White River in Arkansas and had done very well, but the Smokies were a completely different story and he hoped to learn how to approach fishing in the Park.

We had decided to meet at Little River Outfitters so Roger could pick up a fishing license before hitting the stream since he had just arrived the previous evening.  After meeting up and taking care of the fishing license, I asked him what he wanted out of the trip.  His reply was music to a guide's ears. "Catching fish would be nice, of course, but what I really want is to learn where the fish are and how to approach the water when fishing in the Smokies."

"We can do that for sure, and we'll catch some fish while we're at it," I promised.  As a guide, I really enjoy clients who are wanting to learn.  In fact, in my opinion, that should be the main goal of any guided trip.  Catching fish are clearly part of the equation, but if you don't somehow become a better angler then why bother?

We headed for a stream with lots of willing fish that I like to hit when the water is on the higher side.  There is a nice mix of pocket water and pools that keeps the fishing interesting.  After rigging up, we headed down to a good starter pool.  The backcast isn't too cluttered here and there are normally several fish feeding in its depths.  Since the goal was to learn, we started out with nymphs under an indicator.  Before we started fishing, I pointed out the best spots in the pool for trout and explained why the fish liked each one.  Roger immediately got the idea and pointed to another spot and asked "What about there?"  I nodded and grinned.  He learned very quickly!

After several drifts and a quick tip on mending, he was fishing the pool like a pro.  At the end of one drift the fly started to swing to the surface when a hungry fish hit it hard.  It quickly went airborne not just once but twice.  Soon he was grinning with his first Smokies trout on the fly!



A quick picture later and the beautiful fish was on its way back for the next angler.  We began slowly working our way upstream and fishing the best pockets and pools.  The next method that I showed him was one he had tried before but got frustrated because of the tangles it produced.  It was the dry/dropper.  I told him not to worry about tangles, that was my job to fix.  Glad that he didn't have to fix them, he relaxed and started fishing.

The pool he was in was shallower in the middle with two distinct currents on either side.  I pointed to the foam line along the seam of the farther current and mentioned that fish like to sit in water like that and leisurely feed on whatever comes along.  He placed the next cast with the precision of someone who has been doing this for a while and after drifting a couple of feet, a nice rainbow came up and sipped the dry fly.  He had already missed a couple of rises, but this time was ready.  Gaining quick control of the situation, he soon landed the rainbow and we snapped another quick picture.  This fish was memorable because of the deliberate take off the surface as well as its spirited efforts to throw the hook.



We kept working upstream and picked up another couple of fish on the dropper, but then noticed another angler about to get started and decided to find a new stretch of water.  The next section was mostly pocket water, and so we switched back to nymphs after a little while.  The fish were mostly staying deep in the bright sunshine and heavier than normal currents.  Eventually I decided it was time to show him one last thing, nymphing without the indicator.


Again he picked it up like a pro and was soon drifting the weighed nymph through likely pockets and runs.  Our time was quickly running out and before we knew it the time had come to head back down to the shop.  We had caught some fish, and more importantly he had learned the answer to the question of "Where are the fish?"  Back at the shop, he wanted to pick up a few flies and some split shot and indicators so he could nymph fish effectively.

I enjoyed teaching Roger and wish him the best as he enjoys a few more days of vacation. Hopefully he will enjoy catching some more Smoky Mountain trout while he is there!

If I can help you learn about fly fishing in the Smokies, please head over to Trout Zone Anglers and check out the guided trip options or contact me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tailwater Time

As our last heavy rain is now something of a distant memory, I can officially say that it is tailwater time.  Here in Tennessee, something like that could change at any moment so don't hold your breath.  Thankfully, area tailwaters are finally offering some wade opportunities for fishermen.  In fact, we are in something of a dry spell with some areas approaching a 5 inch rainfall deficit for the year.

After months of heavy water, that first exploratory trip is always an adventure, and we're never entirely sure what we will discover.  Spots that used to be at least knee deep are now closer to ankle deep, while other holes have been cleaned out and deepened.  Trips like this should always be done with friends.  That way, if the fishing is bad, at least the company is good and you can trade fishing stories.

Accordingly, plans were made with David Perry of Southeastern Fly for another Caney Fork float.  If you are looking for a good guide for a drift boat trip, look no further.  David knows the river and he knows fish.  His stream side lunch is always fantastic as well.

We planned on launching before the generators shut off to allow us some time to fish on higher water.  Our hopes for some shad coming through the dam were quickly dashed, but that didn't mean the fish weren't biting.  Donnie was fishing with us and had graciously given me the front casting brace.  That didn't stop him from starting out with the hot hand though.  He soon had a fish boated and before long we left the dam pool and started drifting.


Relaxation was not in the cards on this day as the wind blew steadily upriver, often gusting enough that making progress downstream required more than a little muscle behind the oars.  Despite the wind and cold conditions, a few fish were caught.  Donnie kept the hot hand by boating some nice rainbows and one pretty brown.


David Perry had to maintain his status as big fish magnet by boating the best rainbow of the day that was pushing 16 inches, but otherwise we caught average stockers.


I amused myself by catching a few fish, rowing through some nice windy stretches, and playing with the camera.  Here is one of my efforts to catch a fish in the middle of a jump.


The downside of this trip for me was that we never saw any big browns.  Of course that doesn't mean they aren't in there so I'm not too worried, but I do miss the good old days of having a river full of nice browns.  I'm excited for this year and am expecting great fishing opportunities.  If I can help you with a wade trip on the Caney, please contact me!