Yesterday I made a badly needed Smokies run to the park, taking my sweet time back roading my way up to a new hole that I love (Dances withTrout knows but he ain't telling). It's not that the fishing is great it's just pretty, quiet and no crowd yet close. This was a ME trip, meaning no agenda, no plan, no schedule just get out of the park at dark taking my Winston 2wt out for a walk. I love fishing the 2wt, like my Tenkara it feels alive in your hand, a touch so light you can mistake it when the line stops in a drift for a hit, it's that touchy.
Got on the pool about 2:30 or so, even deep in the shade in the woods you could still feel the heat so did not expect much. I can stand by this section and never move for hours and that's what I did, casting, changing flies working on my drift over and over, I drew the attention of some really small fish but nothing worth taking pictures.
Finally about 5:00 I made my way out, the tourists were now leaving the park, and made my way over to LR road to my next stash. Now I read Byron's and Daniel's reports every day for conditons and of course for what is happeing here in our little section of the world. Every day they tell us the obvious tips to catch trout in the Smokies and we always fail to grasp or try expand on, or reinvent the wheel.
This year I have really tried to focus on getting my drifts religious (meaning it's gotta be righteous dude!), whether in tailwaters or mountain streams, easier said than done, maybe every 10 casts if you are remotely lucky!
I of course do what they always suggest dark clothes, but most importantly keep your butt out of the water as much as possible especially on skinny water lile we have now in the mountains.
I have on my 2wt about a 5 1/2 foot leader, which connects to my tippet ring which I started using a few years back with Tenkara (see Orvis tools and accessories web page, they just started selling for my review and reasons, of course LR Outfitters has sold them for years )
Now with everything rigged I hit the water, the first three casts brought a couple of rises no hits, I than let it drift down in front of a large rock in the middle like Byron always talks about and right as it cleared and went around the rock, it went under, I went to retrieve knowing I had hung on the rock, now with a 2wt the first thing you learn about hang ups on rocks or trees that leap out is you don't bulldog it if you want to stay out of repair shops. So I moved a couple of feet downstream at waters edge to get a different angle when I felt just a slight headshake, the 2wt bent and it was on, my first thouht was if you lose this I will have to kick my own a...., second thought try to keep the 6x tippet from grinding on the rocks and the third thought was what was it and how big, that question was soon answered when it broke the water and belly rolled over, a big brown!
I slowly worked downstream, half cranks, full cranks trying hard to keep him out from under rocks and snapping the spidery 6x, finally I worked him to the bank, normally I have a ghost net under them by this point but could not work the rod and net and land it for all his movement. I am not sure whose heart was beating faster at that point mine or his, I have been wearing my lanyard lately even in the Clinch trying to keep it light and stay cool instead of sloggng my slingpack full of everything, so had no ruler, my best guess using known measurements on my 2wt was right at 15 inches of downtown julie brown my biggest park fish of the year, maybe ever!
I tried to throw a few casts after that but forget about it, no concentration left, and an overwhelming desire to moonwalk on top of the water had me pack it in and end the day at Metcalf with a fine cigar and two amber bocks.
My first call comng up the road was to thank Thunderhead for the fly and horsetrading me that 2wt a couple of years back and let him know the pics were coming his way. A grand day on the mountain and in the water, a day I will not soon forget!
Side note: On Memorial Day Thunderhead took a tumble down a riverbank and is now the proudowner of a fractured fib, six shiny screws and a plate, I blame lusting for bass for his problem. I always try to look for the positive, I am positive he now has no excuse to not tie me some more flies!
I love the shot of his tail, no hatchery concrete to mar that tail like God intended!
Maybe my favorite shot, after working him in I worked just as hard to get him back out. This is a great shot of how well these browns blend in with the rocks, I can only imgaine how many I have walked by while clomping thru the water over the years