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Fishermansfly
10-09-2007, 11:38 AM
We started our day off taking a good buddy of mine up to the Watauga. We had yet to wet our lines in that particular water shed but we though to ourselves "Third times a charm!" There definately is a lot of access but none that is wadeable. At least none that we found! Everything is entirely too deep or is slack water! Slack water and myself don't get along. We fished Sycamore Shoals State Park and it was an interesting fishery. Let me be the first to say that hooking actual moss was a nice change of pace. Absolutely beautiful water and a really really nice park. Great access to some good water via some really nice park trails! Jeff and I put in above the shoals and we worked on casting/mending/fish finding abilities. Jeff's experience lied within the GSM and never really making a cast over 25ft. Adding a bunch of harsh factors to the beginner fly fisher made things tough. We managed a very nice 9'' brookie and started our descent down stream to attempt some bigger runs with better fish. Jeff hooked into a decent rainbow fighting it to the net. The fish came to net, Jeff grabbed the fish, I grabbed the camera, the fish decided Jeff's hand was to warm, the fish jumped off, and I didn't get a picture. Oh well! We continued downstream till around 1:30 when we decided it was time to eat. Off we went to Webb's Market.

Here's a pic of Sycamore Shoals State Park, downstream of the shoals!
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n209/fishermansfly/DSC01592.jpg

I'll add advice. Don't try to eat at a market after it's closed! In other words don't starve yourself in the morning to fill up on chicken at a market that un convieniently closed at 2:00. Another "Oh well!" I was seriously disapointed, having to eat hot dogs and chips at the local market. I think I burped hot dog for the rest of the day and night! Yuck!

On with it you say! We decended to the water after parking at the TVA River Access Road. We made it down to the island below the private land staying in the water or on the island. I decided to give Jeff the opportunity to work on his skills on his own. Giving Jeff the essentials and leaving it to him to put it together. I believe I gave 2 cast's to a really good looking pool when I hooked into a really nice fish. A personal best on the SoHo. I'm guessing she went over 18'' somewhere between 18" to 20"! I brought her to net and shouted at Jeff while I held the fish out of water momentarily! From a distance I got the nice friendly one finger wave! Turning the cheek I shouted for dad to get to me and snap a picture! I have the pictures taken on my camera but not the pictures he took so I hope these will do!
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n209/fishermansfly/DSC01594.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n209/fishermansfly/DSC01595.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n209/fishermansfly/DSC01597.jpg

So wrapping the day up with that made it a good day. When we made it back to the car we "story" told! This was only after Jeff had told me he hooked into a monster. Which was funny because he said "It's one of those things that only God and I saw, but we both know it happened!" So as I was un-rigging Jeff's rod I noticed the nymph hook I had put on his line earlier in the day was opened up like a monster had eaten his fly! I told Jeff I might not have seen it but that evidence says I had to believe him! Jeff smiled! Jeff caught two, I caught a pig, and dad finally got to fish the Watauga! So everyone went home with a smile on there face making for a quicker ride home! Can't beat that!

Everytime I've been to the Watauga I see one type of craft ruling out another. I'm consistantly seeing 3 man pontoon boats over the ol drift boat. Does anyone know the reasoning? Can you fish this craft on most waters. There cheaper, and not a little bit cheaper, a whole lot cheaper. If you can fish this type of craft on most waters, then does anyone out there know a good manufactuer of this craft? I've googled it, and have only came up with one or two options! What's up with that. I've found 1, 3 man pontoon boat brand new for $2100.00. Thats around $6000.00 of a new Clacka or Hyde. What's the benifits to it and the draw backs. How durable are they? Where can you fish this craft? Any help here is appreciated!

If your heading up to the either fishery, I will say the fish have turned off of the usual sulphur helping. So be prepared to do some nymphing and bring some blue wing olives! I will tell you that the big momma posted above was caught on a sulphur nymph! Dad hung into a few on a size 24 black fly! Hope that helps! The fish were sipping the water all day hope that gives some clue! It was a nice change in fishing tactics! I learned a thing or two that day. I hope Jeff did to!
~Brett

ChemEAngler
10-09-2007, 12:32 PM
FF,
I have been looking into getting a pontoon for the following reasons:
1) the are very lightweight and easy to transport
2) you can get either 1,2,or 3 person models
3) they are inexpensive compared to driftboats
4) they can be used in lower water conditions when compared to drift boats
5) if you buy one with a standing platform you have all the mobility of a driftboat in a smaller package

Last time I was on the Watauga the wading water was very limited. The fishing was superb where we did find wadeable water, but about every third cast we had to wait and let a boat drift by. There are lots of deep runs along the bluffs on the Watauga that I would love to slap a streamer along just to see what happens.

I am looking at a North Fork Outdoors pontoon boat. They are pretty much the industry standard, but water skeeter and fish cat are both very good. Be sure to look into getting one with a standing platform, otherwise you will be very limited in your casting motion. The NFO versions are all class IV and V rated, so you can use them anywhere, and I would feel much safer going over some of the shoals on the Hiwassee in one of those than a drift boat.

Travis

milligan trout degree
10-09-2007, 01:10 PM
wadable access on the watuaga is pretty limited below sycamore shoals as far as i know. which is probably the reason you guys are seeing so many boats down that way. I usually fish above the park and I've never seen a boat go by when the water was down. Above the park there is a lot of wadable access. Even right below the dam.

Fishermansfly
10-09-2007, 01:32 PM
The only three man pontoon craft I can find is Creek Company!? I tried finding NFO and can't! Can you send me the link? Please!!! Or a phone number if they aren't online! Please Please Please....I think this is the route I'll take! Or any other three man outfits out there send me the link...Any help is appreciated. Does anyone know about the Creek Company three man model?

~Brett

Troutman
10-09-2007, 03:42 PM
Here ya go Brett, www.northforkoutdoors.com ,
www.outcastboats.com , www.starinflatables.com
I'll sure miss being able to camp and fish the trophy section at riverridge campground on the watauga. I joined the 20-20 club there.

Tellico Angler
10-09-2007, 06:43 PM
Hey guys! Just a reply on your thoughts about drift boats vs pontoons.
First of all, let me say that I do guide out of a Clack, so I am a little partial. But here are some facts about money and safety that I think you guys may need to consider before buying.
1) Someone had mentioned that the pontoon was safer on the Hiwassee. First of all, the pontoon will bounce off the rocks that you see above the water. But if you see the rock, you shouldn't be hitting it anyway. The rocks that you do not see are the ones to worry about. This is where the drifter will slide over them instead of hanging on them like a pontoon. A definite advantage!
2) As far as price goes, you can get a good used drifter for about the same price as a good new pontoon, when you consider having to buy the trailer separately with a pontoon.
3) You really have no storage on a pontoon except for totes that you strap to it. This is very important when you are talking about 2-3 people on a boat with their gear.
4) When you consider low water conditions, you are going to have to drag either boat at times. Trust me, you do not want to drag a pontoon very long due to the pontoons not sliding over rocks. Let alone the wear and tear on them. Also, they are heavier than what you might think. I have no idea of an exact pontoons weight, but my Clack weighs around 300 pounds empty the best I can remember.
In closing, let me say that I guide with friends that use pontoons and these are some of their common complaints. I don't care which you buy, but it just seemed like there were some misconceptions about the two that I thought I might be able to help with. Whichever you decide on, ENJOY! That is all that really matters!

David Knapp
10-09-2007, 07:07 PM
Nice report and fish...that is an awesome rainbow!!!

ChemEAngler
10-09-2007, 07:25 PM
Hey guys! Just a reply on your thoughts about drift boats vs pontoons.
First of all, let me say that I do guide out of a Clack, so I am a little partial. But here are some facts about money and safety that I think you guys may need to consider before buying.
1) Someone had mentioned that the pontoon was safer on the Hiwassee. First of all, the pontoon will bounce off the rocks that you see above the water. But if you see the rock, you shouldn't be hitting it anyway. The rocks that you do not see are the ones to worry about. This is where the drifter will slide over them instead of hanging on them like a pontoon. A definite advantage!
2) As far as price goes, you can get a good used drifter for about the same price as a good new pontoon, when you consider having to buy the trailer separately with a pontoon.
3) You really have no storage on a pontoon except for totes that you strap to it. This is very important when you are talking about 2-3 people on a boat with their gear.
4) When you consider low water conditions, you are going to have to drag either boat at times. Trust me, you do not want to drag a pontoon very long due to the pontoons not sliding over rocks. Let alone the wear and tear on them. Also, they are heavier than what you might think. I have no idea of an exact pontoons weight, but my Clack weighs around 300 pounds empty the best I can remember.
In closing, let me say that I guide with friends that use pontoons and these are some of their common complaints. I don't care which you buy, but it just seemed like there were some misconceptions about the two that I thought I might be able to help with. Whichever you decide on, ENJOY! That is all that really matters!

Tellico Angler,
Thanks for also adding the argument for the drift boat. I have never fished out of a hard bottom drift boat, so I was also a little partial. I believe that each has it's own strengths and weaknesses. You said it best that whatever someone chooses to buy should allow that person to enjoy their trip on the water to the fullest. For one person that may be a driftboat and the other may be a pontoon. Just to muddy the waters, there is also the raft style drift boat that somewhat combines the benefits of both. I don't know the manufacturers of those, but they should probably be looked into as well.

Travis

Fishermansfly
10-09-2007, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the insight! The only draw back I can see to a toon is the simple fact there isn't any moving around....All of the toons I've looked at I keep coming back to one! That's the Creek Companies 3 man model! It looks like it has the best/largest casting decks and a little more comfortable oarsman position! I'm concerned at the cost....It's 2200 and is a bit off the mark from the rest...around 1300 off the mark....$1300.00 cheaper makes me wonder. I agree with the fact that a clacka/hyde/drift boat would be the more durable of choices! I too wonder about how they would hold up under the constant pressure of skids and skuffs! I have no experience behind the oars and wonder how either would row! I'd love to find a newer clacka for around that price range! It seems like that isn't going to happen any time soon! I had one that I could have bought for $3500, but it was over 12 years old! They hold there value well and there's little to no bargaining! I'd love to have one of the new clacka's with the gulf stream bottom and the other new technologies stored within that boat!

Toys!!!! That's what keeps us working and loving our jobs...Ok the last part might have been a lie! I'll get one soon enought, I keep telling myself that!

~Brett