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Thread: Your most treasured park fishing memory

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    western NC
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    93

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    Thanks Mr. Casada for sharing your memories.

    Many fond memories of fishing the Park myself. My oldest fond memory was when I was about 12 years old, which was about 30 years ago. My family and I was camped at Smokemont, which we did for a week at a time, a couple times each summer. I had brought my new "fly pole" with me, and being a 12 year old first-generation fly angler, I was learning through the school of hard-knocks. However, on this particular camping trip, I ventured up Bradley Creek a distance and made a very sloppy, splashy cast into a beautiful plunge pool. The dry fly drifted 2-3 feet and a 8-9 inch rainbow rose and sipped in the fly. I brought that fish back to the campsite with a smile so big my face could hardly contain it.

    Next best memory was 2 summers ago, fishing at the top of the road at Tremont with my two best friends, Mike Ridlon and Brannon Pittman. We three shared the stream that day and while most would think 3 anglers fishing together would be a crowd (and under other circumstances, would be correct), but when you put 3 men together that have a common bond in Christ together, and share the same mind-sets about fishing, it was a true pleasure. We hole-hopped, each taking a turn at the next run, and the ones watching was the cheering section. We had an awesome time fishing that day and caught plenty of fish. But, the fishing was not really what made the trip so special. It was the fellowship and the setting. Sharing the stream with those guys was fantastic.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Halifax, VA
    Posts
    776

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    Thanks everyone for sharing. Mine would have to be going up Greenbrier with Troutman several years ago. It was the first time I'd ever caught a Speck, or a wild Trout for that matter. I'll always remember the day and the experience and fellowship in a beautiful place. It whet my appetite too for more of the colorful little fish and since then I've chased them up several Smokies head waters as well as quite a few in my home state of VA, creating more memories each time.
    <(((>< In tribute to Ben, Duck Hunter extraordinaire, and man's best friend.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    David--Did you realize that the skittering fly technique you employed to catch that fine brown was the favorite, indeed pretty much only, approach utilized by an iconic Smokies fisherman, Mark Cathey? He called it the "dance of the dry fly" and was fishing this way long before Yankee upstarts began to advocate fishing the dry fly as a living insect. Interestingly, Uncle Mark never used but one pattern, a Grey Hackle Yellow. There's an entire chapter devoted to him in Jim Gasque's Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies.
    Jim Casada

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Crossville, TN
    Posts
    2,397

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
    David--Did you realize that the skittering fly technique you employed to catch that fine brown was the favorite, indeed pretty much only, approach utilized by an iconic Smokies fisherman, Mark Cathey? He called it the "dance of the dry fly" and was fishing this way long before Yankee upstarts began to advocate fishing the dry fly as a living insect. Interestingly, Uncle Mark never used but one pattern, a Grey Hackle Yellow. There's an entire chapter devoted to him in Jim Gasque's Hunting and Fishing in the Great Smokies.
    Jim Casada
    Jim, thanks for the deeper insight into this technique. I more or less stumbled onto it on a hatch on Abrams where mayflies were dancing above the surface of the water. I finally tricked a 14 inch rainbow from the spring creek section by dancing the fly up and down like the naturals. At the time I figured it must not be very good form for a fly fisherman but the success in catching the nice rainbow was worth it. I now know a few very experienced Smokies anglers still routinely use this technique. Your background history now has me interested in using this technique a bit more as I've pretty much cast it aside the last several years...thanks again!
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    58

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    Darrin, I also caught my first trout on a fly rod at the age of 12 in Bradley Fork! For a good many years Daddy and I would go up to Cherokee during weekends in the summer. We would go to Bryson City and stock up on Thunderheads. I miss everything about those days, especially Daddy, but I have the memories. That has been a lot longer than 30 years for me!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

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    5xtippett--I'm curious on two counts, since you mention it has been a long time since that first trout.

    First, where did you buy the Thunderheads and do you know who tied them. Chances are excellent that they were tied by Fred Hall, whom some credit with "inventing" the pattern. If so, and if you have any left, they are collector's items.

    Second, were you fishing Bradley Fork in the days when it was a designated Park trophy water? You had to release anything under 16 inches. I have fond memories of my boyhood fishing buddy (son of famed Park Ranger Bill Rolen) catching a 16-inch "keeper" just above the campground. he also caught one of the two biggest specks I've ever seen in the Smokies in the pool in Luftee where Mingus Creek empties out. It was 12 1/2 inches and was a thing of pure beauty.

    Jim Casada

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    58

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    Jim, I was fishing it when it was a trophy water. I am 56 now, so it was 44 years ago (check my math!) I will check and see if I can find any of those Thunderheads and if I can I will take a picture. They may have fallen apart my now. I fished it a few years ago just for old times sake and caught mostly browns. I remembered catching mostly rainbows in the old days, but it may just be my memory.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    58

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    Jim, I found two of the old ones. They are ratty as they can be and I don't know who tied them, but they are at least 40 years old.






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    http://i384.photobucket.com/albums/o...erheads001.jpg[/IMG]


  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
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    5xtippett--First of all, your memory about species is certainly correct. I don't recall ever having caught a single brown in Bradley Fork or Luftee in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, and I fished them a lot. It was all 'bows.
    The flies, insofar as I can tell, certainly look like Fred Hall ties (or, to be more accurate, Allene Hall). Allene did far more tying than Fred and was a better hand by most accounts. He was the "front" man and PR guy.
    The pattern for which he is most famous is the Adams Variant. My father and Claude Gossett, both of whom knew Fred well and bought his flies on a regular basis, had long suspected Allene was the actual "inventor" of the Adams Variant. A good many years after Fred's death I visited Allene and asked her: "Who really developed the Adams Variant--you or Fred." She just smiled her sweet smile, paused a minute, and responded: "Some things are better left unsaid." To me she answered without having answered.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    906

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    Jim and 5x...I too can remember fishing the "trophy" water in the Park when I began...on the Tn. side it was the WPLP....never got one of those 16" bows but can remember many 40-50-60 fish days...as I remember the streams were designated Sportsmen Streams...

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