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Fool4Smallies
08-30-2007, 01:32 PM
Hello to everyone on the board. My name is Steve Carpenter, and I am a lifelong resident of Blount County (in which Townsend is located). My parents had me backpacking in the backcountry of the Smokies when I was five years old...so long ago that actual backpacking equipment was nearly impossible to obtain from retail outlets (it was 1960!). Even though I have spent a fairly healthy percentage of my life in the Smokies, I was never a cold water fisherman. Family background and interests, you know.
Besides being reared in the backcountry of the Smokies (so to speak), I was also reared on warm water fishing in the TVA reservoirs of the valley. Eventually, I parlayed that background into a part-time guiding business on both Fort Loudoun and Tellico reservoirs, primarily for largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as some crappie. I no longer guide, but I do spend a great deal of time on Fort Loudoun chasing the smallmouth. Most people are surprised to learn that the lower one-third of that reservoir holds not only a very sizable population of smallmouth, but also that lots of trophy sized smallies can be found there as well.
About 8 years ago, I began trying to add trout and cold water fishing to my skills repertoire, but I still consider myself a neophyte. I have tried a few backcountry streams (most notably Anthony Creek), but spend most of my time on either Middle Prong or around the Metcalf Bottoms area of Little River.
In addition to fishing whenever and wherever I can for whatever might be available, I also enjoy upland game hunting (mostly small game, and preferably quail, dove, and grouse), amateur astronomy, and ham radio (yes, people still do that...lol!) My callsign is K4DXV and I usually monitor the Gatlinburg 2-meter repeater on 146.850 MHz, toned at 127.3. If you're a ham visiting the area, give a shout.
If anyone would like more information on the fantastic smallmouth fishing available in eastern Tennessee, feel free to drop me an e-mail at sdcoutdoors@aol.com.

Gerry Romer
08-30-2007, 01:41 PM
Welcome to the board! If you're not careful we might get you converted to a full-time mountain stream fly fisherman!

Gerry Romer

Troutman
08-30-2007, 01:46 PM
Cool, another smallie fanatic! Throwing flies or hardware to lake smallies? Hope you'll share some picts. along with your post. Welcome to the forum.

Fool4Smallies
08-31-2007, 10:07 AM
I actually use both "hardware" and flyfishing tackle on the lake smallies, depending on conditions and time of year. Soft plastics, especially a black or blue unweighted Senko on either a 2/0 or 3/0 hook, can be deadly at about any time of the year. Similarly, the classic pig & jig is an excellent all-around choice. However, in terms of fishing with traditional spinning or baitcasting gear, both my dad and I have taken some of our best smallmouth on a lure that is no longer manufactured -- the Heddon Toni spinner in 1/4-ounce. We've tried other spinners, but for whatever reason (we suspect the blade style) nothing even comes close to the Toni.

In terms of flyfishing tackle (and it's my favorite and most effective method, by the way), it's quite an interesting story. I was the outdoors columnist for the local paper here in Blount County for several years, and one day about 19 years ago a fellow came up to me in the parking lot of a local boat ramp, introduced himself (his name was Jerry), and offered to take me fishing to show me something unique. I was a bit jaded, even at that young age, but I accepted his invitation, and am I ever glad I did. He truly did show me something unique.

He and I became close friends and almost weekly fishing buddies until he was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away (the second of my fishing partners to die of brain cancer) a few years ago. I ended up writing an article about him and his method for the magazine of Tom Rodgers' now defunct Smallmouth, Inc., but Jerry swore me to secrecy regarding one small aspect of his method...I was NOT to include that little detail in the article...LOL!

In 1988, we were in a drought here in East TN, although not quite as severe as the one we are in now. Fishing was tough. On July 4 of that year, I learned just how effective a fly rod can be on reservoir smallmouth. I still know exactly what happened on that day, not only because it is etched in my memory like a video playback, but I also was writing things down for a potential column or article. At about 10:30 a.m., Jerry and I were fishing a stretch of bank in front of a home where two guys were working on a water line. When Jerry hooked, fought, and released the first smallie, the guys stopped for a moment and watched. That first fish weighed in at 4 lbs, 6 oz. Within five minutes, Jerry was onto another one. The fight took several minutes, and by this time the guys just sat down and were watching in astonishment as I netted a 5 lb., 2 oz. hawg for Jerry. After a few pictures, we went back to fishing and the fellows went back to working. Less than two minutes later, I was into my first trophy-sized smallmouth...ever...and the guys on the bank had stopped working again. The fight took close to ten minutes but it seemed like ten hours. When Jerry finally slipped the net under the fish, I was weak as a kitten from the adrenaline rush but more excited than I had ever been. As I lifted the fish up to admire it, I heard (and clearly remember) one of the guys on the bank say, "G**d*mmit! I'm goin' fishin!" That fish weighed in at 5 lbs. 10 oz. and is on the wall of my study right now.

Now, in all honesty, most days are not that good. In fact, as I said 1988 was a tough year, and Jerry and I had already made several trips with either no results or just a couple of small fish (2 to 3 pounds...<wink>). However, in the intervening years, with refinement and practice the fly rod has become my go-to tackle when chasing smallmouth on Fort Loudoun, and my most reliable method for large fish. In the past 20 years, I have hooked, landed and released well over 200 smallmouth between 3 and 6 lbs, plus numerous other smallies between 1 and 3 lbs. And, I occasionally pick up the odd largemouth, too. One day about eight years ago, I had one smallmouth of about 4 1/2 lbs., a largemouth of 5 lbs. + and a second largemouth that went a bit over 6 lbs. That was a very good day. Most days, I count on getting two strikes. One of them will usually go over 3 lbs.

Want the details?

Troutman
08-31-2007, 10:49 AM
"Want the details?" Sure do!!, but I'll send you an email. Most of my smallie fishing has been on small to med freestone or tailwaters. I have been wanting to learn some deep water techniques for smallies on several of the local lakes. I've been throwing an 8wt. with a 200 grain full sink line (Orvis Depth Charge)but haven't had any success so far. I probably need to throw bigger flies and to, I'm fishing from a kayak.

Flying Trout
08-31-2007, 04:01 PM
Looking forward to more good stories. I have been fishing for smallies for a limited time now. Welcome to the board and thank you ahead of time for the stories and advice on fishing in our area lakes. I've been growing up here for the past 30 years and love learning new things about this area.