Rog 1--I knew a good many old fellows who lived in and around Bryson City who fished exactly like your description of your grandfather's approach. With the simplest of equipment--a cane pole, a length of line equal to or slightly longer than the pole, a few wet flies or nymphs (or maybe grasshoppers, crickets, or stick bait), and a few split shot, they were trout-catching machines. One of them of my acquaintance, George Monteith, walked to wherever he fished and could consistently outfish most everyone.
I have mentioned his name here before but I'm not sure I shared one anecdote about his legendary walking abilities. He lived on lower Forney Creek in pre-Park days (keep in mind that the lower elevation areas of what became Fontana's North Shore weren't in the original Park) at the time Franklin Roosevelt came to Newfound Gap for dedication of the GSMNP. Interested to hear what FDR would have to say, George hiked up Forney to the main ridge line of the Appalachians and then took shank's mare on out to Newfound Gap. He listened to the speech, ate a lunch he had carried with him, and walked back home. That would likely have been a one-day trip of somewhere between 40 and 50 miles. So a jaunt to Noland or Hazel or Deep creek would have been child's play for him.I may have related this anecdote before, but if so it was enough of a feat of walking to bear retelling.
Incidentally, I love your grandfather's "We will be home when you see us."