Seems like my life has been nothing but sick kids lately. In the last month one has been to the doctor 5 times and 4 times for my other twin boy. That means my fishing day had to be passed up so I had been getting a little stressed out and knew I needed a Smokies fix to set my head on straight. So having to be at work at 4 and work till a little past midniught on Friday I knew it would take alot of effort to get out, but as always The Smokies proved worth it! So I dropped the kids off at daycare a little before 9 and raced to the Tremont trailhead. My plan was to fish till 1 then head out (leaving just enough time to shower and make it to work). I rigged up and left the trailhead right at 10. Since I have done this trip several times now, I really booked it and made it to the first real crossing of Sam's in about 25 minutes. I knew the creek would be low, and it sure was.
I took a short break and then crossed and headed up the trail accross the river. After a few minutes I was walking briskly only to hear something really awkward that made me stop in my tracks. Ooh Sh*t! That's not a loud cicada it a RATTLESNAKE rattling! And in the worst place possible on a boulder sitting four feet off the ground where the trail goes between 2 boulders. Here's a shot. It not that great because A) 3X zoom out of my Pentax Optio only goes so far and B) I'm not getting close to a rattling rattlesnake especially when by myself!
I stayed back about 15 yards and pondered a way around him. Normally I would have no problem taking the up slope route above the boulder, but seeing it was a boulder field full of rocks and crags, I was now concerned about his snakey friends being there and didn't like that option. So I just thought I would wait him out. No such luck 15 minutes later still rattling. So he's all coiled up and about 3.5 feet to my guess. I remembered what my 65 year old good ole boy kayaking buddy told me about a time he was catching rattlesnakes (he showed me the belt he made). It was they can't strike when laid out flat (That's when he grabbed his, but this point didn't help me much as mine was coiled up and ready to go) and will USUALLY only strike if you are in the distance of their length. So I'm thinking if I run next to the opposite boulder I should be 5 feet away so I hope I really have a foot and a half to spare! I did my best Forrest Gump and ran like the dickens!
I took this shot when safely past him from the other side. You hike between the 2 boulders and he was on that ledge on the left to the right of the tree.
I then headed up for some good fishing and tried to forget about snakes (till the hike back anyway) after resting to let my adrenaline rush subside
I was soon rewarded with this beautiful Brookie
The water was low and the Brookies would give you one maybe two chances (kind of like fishing for Rainbows). You could only catch 1 or 2 out of a pool and some decent pools refused to offer and Brookies up.
Another beauty. Yellow Neversink was my choice of the day (and the last month for that matter)
I soon began to rain, but I was glad not too hard to stop fishing, although it was a bit darker
While the fishing was not spectacular, it wasn't slow like many have been reporting in the low elevations, and I had a great hour and 45 minutes fishing.
Another nice one.
I have been really happy with the size of the fish this year. Not catching much under 5 inches which is a big change from last year. Hopefully with some rain they will be in even better shape next year.
1 O'clock was soon here and I looked for the trail to hike out. As I was hiking out I got more and more nervous as I came back to where I saw the snake. While I see a half dozen or so poisonous snakes a year this is the first time in over a decade I have been rattled at, and I was a little freaked out. When I came to the boulders I saw he was gone, but I was paranoid he would be close so I looked at least 6 times before I finally ran back through that spot. As I passed I laughed at myself for getting scared, and tried to soak up all the Smokies goodness on the way out.
St. John was even there to bless me!
While the rattlesnake encounter did keep me pretty much wired all that day, I will have to say that it wasn't a bad experience, but one I will happily wait another decade or so to have again.
And date was 7-9 not 6-9 I'm only a month behind