Townsend, Tennessee
October 7, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  The sun is shining bright and the air is clear.  It’s fairly warm too though I didn’t notice the readout in my truck.  The mountains are vivid and displaying visual details you usually don’t see this time of the morning.  The trees are turning, especially the yellow and orange species.  In another week or two it will be a Fall to remember.  The forest is lush.  It rained again last night.  We got .40 inches of rain in our gauge here. 

Little River is up some from yesterday morning but it is not stained.  The precipitation was one of those soaking rains.  The ground was saturated before last night, it has hardly dried out all year deep in the forest. 

Fishing is very good.  The trout are turning on in the Park.  Like I said yesterday, Brian Courtney caught seven trout standing on one spot.  I was impressed with that bit of news.  Then I got an e-mail from Jay Easter.  He camped here this weekend with his family.  He is a good fisherman so don’t be too amazed at his story he e-mailed to me.  But be amazed just the same.  Saturday was his best day ever in the Park. You’ll see what I mean.

            Since you have not heard a good report in a while I thought
I'd share one with you. I fished for about 6 hours on Saturday the 3rd.
It was one of the best days I have ever had in the park. My  first cast
brought a 23" brown to the net. The rest of the day I continued to catch
fish. I probably landed 40 fish. I caught 8 in a row out of the same
pool right below Elkmont. I quit on a fish, a pretty little brown. So, I
started with a fish, and ended with a fish. That was a first for me!!
Got to be big and deep!

I'm not, by any means, boasting, but I have not been able to fish the
park in a while, and it was one of the most enjoyable days I have ever
had! I just had to share it!"

Jay talked to Jack Gregory on Saturday.  Jack is one of the best at stalking big browns like the one Jay caught on his first cast.  Stalking browns like that takes a lot of patience and skill.  But, Jay told Jack he didn’t even see that brown trout he hooked and landed on his first cast.  Jay just threw in a nymph and the trout happened to be there.  That makes Jay’s story even better.  Maybe there is hope for me.  I would like to have a day like that one.

So, taking Jay’s advice try fishing with big nymphs down deep near the bottom.  Maybe you will have a day like he did.

Sometimes but not often we have that “big day” on the river, lake or ocean.  We’ve all had them.  They are usually far and few between.

Paula and I had one of those days in 2002.  We were fishing in a tarpon tournament sponsored by Sportif USA, the company that makes clothing for travelers and anglers.  The tournament lasted 4 days but each participant could only fish two days.  One group of Sportif USA dealers fished the first half of the tournament the another group flew or drove in to fish the last half.  We drew names for partners and guides.

On our second day Paula and I drew each other as partners and our guide was Doug Cole who we had fished with several times.  We were fairly new to fly fishing for tarpon and most of those in the tournament were too.  Doug, Paula and I left the marina way before daylight.  We were on the flat first so Doug got to pick his spot.  Any other guides and anglers had to set up behind Doug.  The sun came up and we started seeing tarpon immediately.  And, they were coming right at us.  Instead of the usual 5 to 10 fish you see in groups, these strings of fish numbered 10 to 30, and they just kept coming. 

According to the rules of the tournament you got points for jumping a tarpon.  The definition of “Jumping” was, hooking a tarpon and having it take you into backing.  The most points were awarded to the angler who landed a fish.  Landing meant having the tarpon next to the boat, under control with the leader in your rod.

We jumped several tarpon that day, we each landed one and I fought one for 45 minutes that everyone estimated to be 140 pounds.  He threw the fly after all of that work.  There were probably fifteen boats there so fishing was not nearly as easy as it would have been without a tournament going on.

The “Big Day” was not the number of fish we landed or jumped.  It was big because the visibility was perfect and we could see the tarpon coming from far away.  Second and most importantly it was agreed by all 30 anglers and 15 guides on that flat, we had shots at 600 tarpon.  We saw 600 tarpon within casting distance that day.  I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life.  If we had been out there alone, and knew then what we know now, it would have been the most amazing day of fishing anyone could have.

It’s those “big days” or thinking about having one that keeps us coming back. You never know when it’s going to happen.  Each fishing trip might be the time when you have that “big day”.  It is all about anticipation.   When we don’t have them, we are not disappointed.  When we do, it is something you never forget and hope to have again.  But when?  I’m going fishing tomorrow.  Maybe it will be then.

Have a great one yourself and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
October 7, 2009

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