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Thread: Your most treasured park fishing memory

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    279

    Default What a bunch...

    ...of GREAt memories!!! With refernce to the mention of the "dance of the dry fly" and Uncle Mark Cathey, I recall a visit to the park about 4 years ago and fishing along Little River road. My wife and I were having little if any success and a fellow pulled into the same area we had been fishing, turned out he was a local. The fellow was missing one hand but could have outfished anyone that had 2 hands anyday of the week. I mentioned to him a fish in a run next to us that I had only succeeded in outting down and he told me to watch this. He stepped intom the stream and began to dance a fly on top of the water, a requill that he had tied. It took him about 2 or three attempts, but before I knew it, he had that nice little Brown in hand. I recall thinking to myself how similar this was to what I had read of Uncle Mark and how blessed I was to have met this fellow and seen such "magic" firsthand.

    Mike

    PS: My first trout was on fly at Treemont in Feb almost 11 years ago. It was in the teens or perhaps by then the 20's and a beautiful little "Bow" took a Tellico Nymph as it swung around on the end of it's drift. The Bow was about seven and a half inches, but I couldn't have been happier. By the wa I was wearing a pari of neoprene waders that leaked, soaking the pants I was wearing with freezing water...yet all in all it was well worth it to suffer the cold for the joy of the experience!
    "Fly-fishing has many attributes, but none more pleasing than it's ability to liberate the young boy that still hides within me and to let that boy live again without embarrassment or regret, sorrow or anguish." Harry Middleton

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SE Tennessee
    Posts
    644

    Default

    I have read about the "dancing fly" before- anyone know of a video showing this technique? Could someone make a short video?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    906

    Default

    A lot of people are remembering firsts in this post....along with the "trophy" waters that are a thing of the past in the Park there used to be a closed season that ran from Sept 15 to April 15....once I got into college with a car I made a point of being in the Park for that opening day of April 15 or as soon thereafter as I could get there....mid April weather was never the same....one year I cut Friday classes, drove to Auburn from Gainesville, Fl to pick up my fishing buddy and drove all night to arrive at Elkmont on the morning of April 15...no waders...just jeans and combat boots...hit the water at daylight and soon experience my first encounter with ice in my eyelets...can remember climbing out of the river near Goshen and building a fire to thaw out....by noon we were in t-shirts and catching fish....but I will never forget wondering why I was having trouble casting and looking to see my eyelets and reel were clogged with ice.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

    Default

    Rog 1--Been there--many times. Throughout my teenage years I made an annual opening day pilgrimage to Poke Patch, and somehow it always seemed to be bitterly cold. I had never even seen a pair of waders then (late 1950s) and we always waded wet. I also was a stranger to a sleeping bag. We carried an army blanket and wrapped up in it while wearing everything we had which wasn't wet. I'm afraid that today, by comparison, I'm a pure pantywaist.
    Jim Casada

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Great topic Jim, and one I've mulled over for the past couple of days. I don't think any of my fondest memories involve an elusive monster of a fish, or even my first time fishing in the park, but more about the time I've spent up there with good friends and family.

    One that comes to mind is skipping work to fish the gordon hatch with Grouseman a couple of miles above Elkmont. We took turns crawling out onto a rock about 15 feet above some rising fish. The way the sun was hitting the water, you couldn't see the fish rising from the rock, it was basically a blind cast. One of us would stand up on the trail and tell the other when a fish was rising to the fly. We must have caught or missed a dozen fish. Quite exciting for both people. Best part was, we met up with Ian Rutter further down the trail with a client. He said, "did you see all those rising fish by the big rock?" we nodded yes. Then he said "I couldn't get them to hit nothing!"....we just smiled at each other, knowing that he could easily outfish us on our best day.

    Another would be hiking to the top of Bote Mountain with my wife when she was 2 weeks from having our baby. We passed many hikers who were awestruck that she was out pulling this climb in her condition. I was very proud of her.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

    Default

    Grannyknot--Those are sure enough memories to cherish, and the mention of the impending baby takes me back to something I hadn't thought of in years. I've never done any guiding in the Smokies, although I did work with a couple of outfitters out West for several years, but I used to give away a guided trip into the backcountry to TU or FFF groups for their annual auctions on a fairly regular basis. One trip was purchased by a young couple and we agreed via phone and mail (pre-e-mail days for me) to go up above Mouse Knob Falls on Big Snowbird and camp for three nights. While the trip is not a particularly arduous one--three or four miles of easy hiking--I didn't know the missus was pronouncedly pregnant. She handled it like a trooper but I was a nervous wreck the whole time.
    Jim Casada

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Lenoir City, TN
    Posts
    982

    Default

    Great topic, Jim. My love of the Smokies came mostly from my parents and five siblings getting to escape the farm each summer for a week of camping in Chimneys Campground and, later on, at Cosby.This camping tradition continued into the 60s. It was on my last Cosby family camping trip that I met my wife to be, a really cute, redheaded Nashvillian camping with her family just across the road. It was obvious from the family's head scratching that their tent, which was coincidentally the same model as ours, was either new or borrowed. At the urging of my brother-in-law, I agreed we would offer to assist. In exchange for putting up her tent, my bride has been putting up with me for over forty years now. Turning back the clock to talk fishing... Many times as a kid perched on boulders in the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River I was mesmerized by the small trout holding in the rapid flow below. I’m thinking, “Man! How would you ever catch one of those? I mean the ‘floater’ ain't going to stay in place long enough for anything to bite!” It was not until nearly fifty years later that I first caught a trout on a fly. After a seven year hiatus in Nashville, my wife and I returned to East Tennessee in 2007. Just last year I caught my first speck… on Cosby Creek.
    “Joe” Fred Turner
    Southern Appalachian Stream Maps
    sasMaps.com
    Formerly SmokyStreams.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    124

    Default Best Memories

    I remember my first and biggest fish, and good times with family and friends, but maybe the most memorable time was in my early 20s. I had hiked up Noland Creek to the bridge where there are a couple of islands on the upstream side. I walked down to the left bank and as I was tying on a fly I noticed a flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see a fawn gingerly wading across the stream to me. I stood absolutly still as it came over and stood right next to me. I took out my borrowed camera and snapped as many pictures as I could. The fawn eventually figured I wasn't its momma and waded back accross to the little island. I don't remember how many or if I caught fish that day, but that fawn was as close to a spirtual experience that I had had at the time. Unfortunately, I was too nervous to remember that you had to wind the camera.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    992

    Default

    lexfly--Your memory resurrected not one but three of my own from the sometimes difficult to access vaults of my memory. All involve wildlife.
    Perhaps 40 years ago, while fishing the lower Nantahala right at daylight, I noticed a slight disturbance near the opposite bank. For the next 10 minutes I stood transfixed as a mother mink ferried her three kits, one at a time, across the stream.

    Somewhere in the same time period, well up Deep Creek above the Burgardner Bend, I managed to do one of the things I am particularly skilled in accomplishing--hang my fly up in some brush on a backcast. I walked back to the offending tree, which was on a small, grassy island, and as I detached it from the limb I happened to look down at the sun-dappled patch at my feet. There, still and unblinking, was a deer faw still wearing its spots.
    The final experience, again on upper Deep Creek, involved a doe and two fawns which entered the stream within 10 yards of me and somehow never paid me much attention as they slaked their thirst. In that case I have slides, several of them, which I was able to take without the deer spooking.
    As I suggested when I launched this thread, for me the fishing, while mighty important, is nonetheless only part of the whole experience.
    Jim Casada

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,513

    Default

    Once when I was in the Army, I was sent out with my team, during a training event, as an advance team to breach the wire ahead of our armored vehicles moving in. We got there really early and took turns with guard duty...about daylight I was nudged awake to find about 5 or 6 deer all standing around us eating grass...we woke the others up one by one and we all sat up and watched them. They finally moved when we stood up as it was time for us to get ready to breach the wire.

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