View Full Version : 12 inches of snake = a new fly rod.

06-17-2010, 11:12 AM
Well, there's not much I enjoy more than sharing a funny story, so I thought I'd share with everyone my day fishing Tremont two days ago. A nice little shower just rolled through, and the thunder was still rumbling to the east as I slipped down a short bank into the creek. I was just upstream from a "wall run" that looked promising and downstream from about 1/4 mile of nice, shaded pocket water. It was shallow, but I figured the shade and swiftness there would provide a few rainbows and keep me cool in the heat.

As I strung up the rod on the far side of the creek, I kept checking over my shoulder. The night before on the way back to my campsite in Cades Cover( another story altogether - my first time camping there in summer) from Townsend at around 9:30pm, a black bear crossed the road in front of me and stopped for a good two minutes for me to get a good long look at him. I tried desperately to get a photograph, but was so nervous that I forgot to take the lens cap off the camera! I've seen quite a few black bears over the years in the park, and here in GA. This very healthy black bear would have topped the scales conservatively at around 375-400 pounds. He may have been the largest bear I have seen in the wild....I finally figured out that the lens cap was on the camera just as he shuffled up the 6 ft embankment and into the total darkness of the forest. Go figure.

Anyway, so there I was looking over my shoulder when out of the woods came ...nothing. Thankfully. So, I headed down and fished the wall run pool...got a strike from one little guy, but didn't set the hook so as not to spook whatever else might be in there. I was too lazy however to clip off my fresh #16 yellow humpy( thank you LRO) so I decided to go on upstream. After missing a few fish because of a slow hookset ( little fishing this last year or turning 40 in January, I don't know which but I'm blaming it on one or the other) I finally got a nice strike in a 6 foot long run that was probably the deepest run in the 50 yard stretch I'd fished so far. It was a rainbow and a good one. He jumped twice, and measured out at about an honest 9 inches and football shaped - nice and plump from a healthy diet of something other than #16 yellow humpy's. So, after releasing him, I decided it was time to apply floatant again to the fly, and put my six foot eight inch fly rod under my arm like I normally do, but for whatever reason I angled it so that the tip of the rod was pointing downward. I was facing downstream and in a little back eddy pool, so there was no current pulling on it, and I suppose I just left it there because of that. I break alot of rods( over a dozen in my flyfishing career), so over the last 10 years or so I've become extremely conscience of where I put a rod tip when hiking, driving, resting, casting, or doing something like applying floatant or grabbing a quick drink from my vest.

I grabbed my bottle of Dave's Bug Float( the best floatant in the world, btw) and rubbed a little drop into my fly. I remembered later feeling a slight movement in the rod tip, but the fact that it was down in perfectly calm water didn't register at the time, so I put up the bottle of Dave's, zipped the pocket shut and blew on my fly to make sure it was free of any gunk, and I suppose just out of habit. Pulling the tippet with my left hand and raising the rod with my right hand, as I tired to pull the leader-flyline connection through the last loop on the fly rod, I felt a familiar feeling - the leader-flyline connection was hanging up on a guide. I was already scanning the next set of pockets for likely holding lies, and not looking at my rod....until I tried to lift it up and shake it to free the stuck flyline-leader connection from the guide.....and it was heavy. Still unaware that anything was really odd...perhaps a floating bit of grass or a stick had wedged itself against the rod....I looked down at the rod tip that was six feet eight inches from me and that's when it hit me.

Oh, there's a snake on my rod.


At that moment, all manner of water, debris, flyline, flyrod and snake became one zinging-flinging-slashing-wiggling mass of motion and panicked confusion. Never it it's poor little life did that snake ever imagine what a theme park was like, and never could he have dreamed in his little snaky head what riding the super-rocket-extreme-rad-coaster would be like - but that day he got to find out as I involuntarily jiggled him every which way until he was finally flug about 3 or 4 feet into the faster water of the creek, where he swam off with much vigor to the opposite bank and found a crevice in a rock that was to his liking.

It wasn't a large snake, and it wasn't venomous that I could tell. It's hard to tell when it's going 100 mph in all directions, but I think it was some sort gray and black-banded water snake. I'm sure it was as happy to be off that ride, as I was for it to be off my fly rod.

Sadly, when I looked down at my rod, the weight of the snake and the force of my detailed and intricate "removal process" had broken about 6 inches off the tip of the two piece two weight rod. The tippet had also parted during the removal process and the end that was broken was probably floating it's way to Townsend by the time the ruckus was over. I was just glad it wasn't a rattlesnake, or I may have broken my own legs trying to walk on water to get away from it.

Now, I'm not normally afraid of snakes, even the nasty ones. I do have (and have always had) a near-phobia about bees. Anything that flies, stings or buzzes - or any 2 of those 3 things. But, I can say that I have never had the pleasure of having a snake crawl up my fly rod and say hello. Hopefully, that being the oddest way I have ever broken a fly-rod( second to my setting the hook in-between rhodo branches and breaking a 3 wt. on the hookset), it will never happen again. If by some horrible curse it does, I hope I have the sense to just drop the rod where it is; hope it is in calm water, and go sit on the bank until the snake gets tired of using it.

On the bright side( for some) it means I'll be stopping by LRO this weekend and sizing up some new fly rods probably. If not this weekend, soon.

So, if you're fishing at Tremont, just upstream from a wall pool, just below some nice pocket water in the shade and you see a small snake with crossed eyes and a diagonal swimming motion, tell him I said "thanks for the new rod."

Oh PS - I did get some pictures of the bears of Cades Cove.



06-17-2010, 03:22 PM
Great story Owl. I just got a call today from Bill at LRO cause my TFO rod tip came in that I lost on the west prong a couple weeks ago. The rhodo ate mine and I will take that over a snake gettin it any day ;)

06-17-2010, 03:31 PM
Very entertaining story. :biggrin: I think we may have the mak'uns of a
good writer on this blog.;)
Thanks for sharing.

06-17-2010, 03:53 PM
Thank you for the comments guys.

I'm an internet writer. I use too many ()'s and ....'s and LOL's. :) LOL ( See there!) haha

Crockett, if I ever have that happen again in my lifetime it will be TOO SOON!

06-17-2010, 04:07 PM
At least it wasn't a wolf spider the size of the top of a coke can sitting in the middle of your chair that resulted in screaming like a frightened little girl as you ran through a campground at about 11:30 at night waking people up in every direction.

But, alas, that is a totally different story and one which others tell much better (and with much more energy) than I ever could.:smile: Gotta love friends who remind us of these things every chance they can get.


06-17-2010, 04:21 PM
Oh Boy, that was funny.

I know where you were fishing, I tied on to a couple of nice bows only to have them flip flop off when they were close enough to hand.

06-17-2010, 05:01 PM
Jeff S. that sounds like something that would be funny later! Much, much later! :) LOL

streamnsteel - the few i missed before that one were about the same size. Since I usually catch rainbow trout in the park that are the size of a large minnow, they were looking pretty big to me and I was very glad to see them on such a hot day!

Unfortunately, that little snake had other plans for me.

Even though it would embarass me a bit, I wish someone had been there filming it. I'm sure it was a spectacle...forgot to mention it but the "screaming spider" story made me remember - I was also yelling " snake!snake!snake!" although there wasn't a soul around to hear it. :) LOL

06-17-2010, 05:54 PM
Owl..... thanks for a great story and a good laugh, my darn stomach muscles are hurting now!

06-18-2010, 12:06 AM

Thanks for the laughs tonight. That was a great 'story'. :biggrin:

06-18-2010, 10:56 AM
I read the post before noticing who wrote it, what a hoot! One of my close encounters happened a few years ago at Metcalf Bottoms. Funny thing was, I was looking for snakes each time I took a step, having seen a few at the point where I was fishing in the past. I was so focused on where i was about to step that I was caught off guard when I noticed some movement on the ground to the left of my left foot. Upon looking down there was a 3 to 4 foot long water snake rubbing my left boot. Thankfully it as precoccupied with a nice "Bow" it was holding sideways in it's mouth. I just stood very still as the snake with fish in mouth crawled off.

06-18-2010, 11:03 AM
Man, I would have experienced a heart attack from that situation. I probably would have just thrown my rod down and ran...

06-18-2010, 11:33 AM
So would I!

06-18-2010, 12:10 PM
I was wading the Harpeth with a buddy a few years ago. I knew he had an issue with spiders, shooting 3d archery he always made someone break trail because of the spider webs. Well on this trip we were fishing a great looking hole when he said we had to move. I kept fishing and about 3min later he came splashing out of the stream like a bear was chashing him. With a confused look on my face I asked what was up. "The spider started coming after me!" I looked and about 15yards away was a huge spider in its wed over the middle of the stream. I guess it was one of those spiders that can jump 50' (: needless to say the fishing was over for the day. This guy is huge bench press @ #400. And has a unreal fear of spiders. But it worked to our favor shootin tournments, all you had to do was take a stick (a real long one or he would kill you) and tickle his neck and he would be out for three targets.

06-18-2010, 12:11 PM
Thanks for the story and a good laugh.:smile: I now have another "good reason" to buy a new rod-->SNAKE ATTACK!;) I noticed more blackbears last year than ever in the park, especially Cades Cove. I have become more aware of my surrondings on all of my hikes and fishing excusions while in the park. Thanks for the reminders on bears and snakes!

06-18-2010, 12:19 PM
I'd probably be in the market for new waders too.

I really don't like snakes and always seem to attract them

06-18-2010, 02:25 PM
hi pmike. :)

Yes, I wish I had just dropped the rod and jumped back a few feet instead of swishing it around with a 1/2 pound of snake on the end of it.

Also: I haven't bought a new rod in about 5 years. I cannot fathom the price scale on them.

I was once an avid ( pardon the obvious pun) St. Croix guy...but now I may have to be a walmart guy. :(

06-18-2010, 03:16 PM
A few years back in the Park, my wife, who seldom throws bugs at trout but can be talked into going fly fishing with me on occasion in the Park, had a 'close encounter' with a snake: I was upstream and heard her scream and holler; I got out of the water and made my way down to her location as fast as I could: found her standing on the bank, obviously upset about something; looked around to see if a bear had 'set her off' but no bear
'what's wrong?' I asked -'I caught a snake!' was her reply in a very shaken tone of voice -'where's your rod?' - 'out there in the river somewhere' she said - what?' -'well, I felt a hit on the dropper, set the hook and as I brought it in saw what I know was a snake on the line, so, I dropped my rod and ran for dry land'; 'where abouts did you drop your rod?'; 'over that way somewhere in the middle of the river' was the reply.
So, I waded out aways, picked her rod up off the bottom (thank goodness for gin-clear water), while keeping a wary eye out for a snake; recovered everything BUT no snake on the end of the line - did she or didn't she? we'll never know for sure - but good for a chuckle now and then, because I might well have done the same as she did.

06-21-2010, 03:08 AM
I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a conspiracy - these snakes against us fisherfolk! :)