I have a photo of myself in my office of me casting in the pool below Abram's Falls back when I had hair and a few less pounds. The picture captured one of those crystal fall mornings when everything came together and produced clear evidence that I actually looked like I knew what I was doing.
I caught my first SM trout after a picnic on Porter's Creek when I was 13 and had no idea what I was doing other than I knew that I wanted to do what I had been watching my Grandfather do for many years. This was my mother's dad who lived in Sevierville and was the source of my first experiences in this magical place. He never went anywhere without his fishing gear and would fish anywhere at the drop of a hat.
My own father started me fishing as soon as I could hold a pole and walk to the local pond and I spent many a day fishing with him....but it was something about those mountain streams that gut hooked me from the start. I fished with my grandfather until he was 82 years old and learned more from just following him and watching than all the talking we would do.
One year for Christmas I had a copy of my photo at Abrams made for my uncle with a plaque naming it "A Grandfather's Legacy". I later asked my Uncle Bud how old he had been when he started fishing with my grandfather and he said he couldn't remember but he knew he was yound enough that he had to be pulled up and over ther rocks while they were fishing.
I was later blessed to have a son of my own who I have introduced to the intoxication and lure of the wiley trout of our mountains. Our first solo "mens" trip together was when he was 5 years old. As with my uncle and his father a lot of my time was spent pulling my son Porter up and over those same rocks. It was on this trip that I realized that that my son was really my Grandfather's Legacy.
My son is now 16 and has finally gotten to where he can outfish me on occasion which brings with it a little pride along with the humble pie. I can only hope that this torch will again be passed along to a 5th generation of Smoky trout fisherman within our family.