I think my age is beginning to show. Next time I'm at LRO I'm gonna look for an anglers checklist... one that I can mount on the dash - right next to the ignition switch. And, Byron, if you don't have one, you might wanna look into them.
I've posted elsewhere on this board about being somewhat anal about my gear... cleaning my waders and boots, drying and organizing my flies/boxes, rebuilding leaders and so on after every trip to the waters of East TN. And my son has got me using a 14 gal. tote for storing and hauling my gear to and from the car.
So this past Sunday morning, I'm up at about 4:45 getting my stuff together for a trip to the Hiwassee, hoping to meet up with Hans and whoever else is headed there. Pick up my son, make the mandatory stop at Hardee's, and head down 411. We pull into the Big Bend parking area at about 6:45 and find Hans' truck and David's Camry but no David and no Hans. We decide to gear up and wade out hoping to find them since there's nobody else around. I pull out my tote and before I even get my waders on I realize I don't have my rod.
On my way out the door, in my haste, I grabbed an old Wal-Mart special 9' SA rod and threw it in the back of the Rodeo thinking that I already had my TFO in the car! I thought that since I was planning on spending the day on the water, I might want to try some Czech nymphing and that old SA rod would be a good one to try that with. It casts like an old straw broom handle! But for high-sticking, hey... why not? Fortunately I had (in my trusty tote) my BBS II loaded with a RIO 5 wt. pocket water and a BlueSky ultralight furled leader - told you I was anal. After about a half hour on the water I was able to figure out how to cast that monster. It's definitely not a finesse rod, but I figured the only thing between me and the fish was a few feet of line and a whole bunch of trial and error. (This is the lemons from lemonade part.) All was not lost and my son and I had a fairly good day on the HI. A couple pics...
Rainbow in a Ghost
Hiwassee bow on a blue quill dry
Brett's brown on a blue quill wet dropped under a parachute adams
Brett's first brown of the day.
All in all not a bad day. We did eventually meet up with Hans and PA and met Trevor. So, okay, I made some lemonade and in a strange way I kinda like that old SA.
Along comes Wednesday and I've gotten off work a few hours early and I decide to run up to the park (yeah, eat your hearts out... I live close enough to do that). Call up Brett to see if he wants to go and he's all for it. No particular place in mind... just someplace on the East Prong. Head up toward the sinks and spy a pretty little run about 3, maybe 3 1/2 miles from the Y, pull off, scope it out and decide to give it a shot. Pull out my tote and begin to gear up - yeah, I made sure to grab BOTH my TFO and my St. Croix. Pulled out the waders, debating whether or not to go wet wading since the water had warmed up quite a bit and I've been anxious to go wet wading again. In fact, before leaving the house I stopped to dig out my Chota wading socks (thank you again, Daniel)... just in case. I get my waders started and realize I forgot my boots.
Now do you see why I want that angler's checklist? Right by the ignition switch??
Can't let a little thing like boots keep an anxious wet-wader from his fish... Right??
No way I was going back home for them. Right. I live in Maryville (eat your hearts out??) but at 6:15, with only about 2 hours of sunlight left I just couldn't see giving up one of those hours to driving. What's that old saying... necessity is the mother of invention...
I put on my knee-length wading socks, grabbed my Chota wading boots and crammed my feet back into my Crocs! I wouldn't recommend Crocs for most mountain streams or tailwaters for that matter, but for shallow runs of small rock and gravel bottoms they're not too bad . First wet wade of the season! Yay!!
Oh, yeah... that other old saying about the proof being in the pudding?
4/25/07 East Prong Brown - 10 1/2"
4/25/07 Colorful little guy
So, Byron, next time you're at the tackle and gear shows, keep your eye out for a dash-mounted angler's checklist. I bet you could sell a few. I know I'd buy at least 2.