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FFG Angler
04-18-2007, 09:42 PM
I went out with Hugh Hartsell today to learn his nymphing techniques. This was the "Advanced Nymph Fishing Class" that he talks about on his website. I learned a lot. I decided to book with Hugh after the many positive comments that I have seen about him on this message board.

I have always caught fish and usually outfish my buddies, but I knew that I was missing fish. It is pretty hard to miss a take using Hugh's methods with a double nymph and no strike indicator. Whether you hook up or not depends on recognizing the hit and reacting in time, but you can certainly see most takes.

We fished Abrams Creek until early afternoon and then a little bit on the Middle Prong. Hugh counted 22 fish that I hooked. 3 or 4 I long distance released (within 10 feet of the net...those count don't they?) All were rainbows and the nicest was a nice fat 14 inch rainbow. I caught a couple on the Middle Prong later in the day.

Almost all of the takes were very very subtle...only one or two were big visible hits. About half were caught on Hugh's Smoky Mountain Blackbird Soft Hackle, the others were caught on his Abrams Creek Searcher. I used the same two flies all day. I don't mean the same two kinds of flies...believe it or not I mean the same two flies for about 7 hours. That is a first for me.

Sorry I don't have any pictures...I didn't take one all day, but Hugh did. He said he would put them on his website. This was my best day in the Smokys to date.

Hugh Hartsell
04-19-2007, 05:24 AM
Don, it was a pleasure being on the water with you yesterday. This was the second day in a row of great classes of teaching nymphing techniques and I want to thank you and Jim Kidd from the day before. Whether you realized it or not , you both were great ambassadors for flyfishing because you were catching all those fish right in eyes view of numbers of people on the Abrams Falls Trail. There were probably 2 dozen individuals who stopped and talked while they watched you catching one fish after another. They wanted to know about your techniques and the type of fish that you were catching. They appreciated the fact that you were catching and releasing back to the stream. They all commented about the beauty of using a flyrod.
It is really satisfying to the heart of a guide to see an individual start from scratch, and within a few hours, to be catching one fish after another in a beautiful, professional way. You and Jim, both made my days work feel complete. Thank you again for making it a wonderful day to be on the stream. Good fishing to you when you are on the water again.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tenn.

mtnman2888
04-19-2007, 05:27 AM
Glad to see you had a good time and learned a few tricks while you were at it. Hugh is a great guy and a very good fisherman. I took that class last fall and it has definitely helped me out on the streams of western nc. The numbers of fish i have caught have increased substantially and i'm about to finally make a return trip to the smokies in a few hours to try the techniques out there.

Craig