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Old 12-29-2007, 09:45 PM
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Default Fished Tremont today

I got back from fishing Tremont a couple of hours ago. The wife and kids left yesterday for South Carolina to visit my Out-laws for a few days. I was ordered to stay here and watch the dogs. (No, please don't throw me into the briar patch!) So, I was able to get out in the mountains for a number of hours today, and I am able to sit around, drink beer, watch football, and type this message out tonight- I'll be pulling for both Penn State and the Giants as I can't bring myself to root for anything from Texas or Massachusetts.
Anyway, I pulled over on the paved road just a little ways up the Middle Prong, tied on a Wooly bugger and got to work. I am not a good fisherman below the surface, but face-to-face I'll tell you that I am just a dry-fly purist. Truth is, I do prefer fishing on the surface and because of that, I have never put in the time to become a successful nympher, and because I'm not very good at it I don't do it very much. I got a vicious cycle thing going on.
I knew driving out of Maryville that the water was high and should probably just go deer hunting, but I wanted to see the water as high as it was, and Santa put some LRO flies and books in my stocking, and I had an itching to get on the water. So I reluctantly tied on the woolly bugger and lobbed it into the current where the sun was hitting the water. There were a lot of likely holding spots for fish, but I was severely limited in the ones I could effectively cast to, as it was worth a man's life to wade past knee depth. Having become thoroughly dissastified with the woolly bugger after five minutes, I crimped some split shot to the line and tied on a streamer that looks like a small rainbow. I dragged that behemoth through two holes and convinced myself that I would never catch a fish that way since the first six casts produced nothing.
I decided that catching fish was like picking up women; confidence carries a lot of weight. And I figured I would be a lot more comfortable, and therefore more confident and more likely to catch a fish, with a dry fly. Disregarding the fact that I haven't even attempted to pick up a woman in over eight years, and my reasoning may be as inept as my ability to cast that weighted streamer, I pulled in my line and tied on a small parachute adams. After all, I was fishing to enjoy myself, and if I wasn't going to catch any fish, I would rather not catch fish using a dry fly. Plus, fishing the surface only would give me a great out as to why I didn't catch any fish. "Did I catch anything? Well, its late December and the water is high, and I'm fishing with dries. I'm really just up here to be in the mountains." A more honest man would simply say "No. I got skunked." So I fished the better part of the afternoon, moving up and down the road, looking for places where the sun was on the water, and had a great day. I used a dry fly all afternoon, and was very satisfied with my decision. I even went through the ritual of changing flies every now and then, though I knew the tan caddis I tied on, as well as the BWO, and the small gray midge was just as unlikely to catch a fish as the parachute adams. But unlike fishing below the surface, I could look at a great cast with a proper drift in a diffucult spot, and say, "There, that deserves a fish." I didn't need to remind myself that sometimes you just get skunked, and if all you did was catch fish all the time, they would call it catching, not fishing. I just fished and loved every minute of it.
I hadn't seen the Little River like this. The water was high enough that in a lot of places, grass that had grown along the bank this summer, was in a foot or two of water off the bank. The sky was a magnificent blue, and the kayakers were just considerent enough to not try to strike up a conversation with me as they waited for their buddies upstream. We simply nodded to each other as I stood on the bank waiting for them to pass, and when they did I went back to pretending that they hadn't even been there.
So the fishing was great, even though the catching was lousy. And I guess I'll go deer hunting in the morning, but I expect to be eating venison tomorrow about as much as I expected to eat trout tonight.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:44 PM
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Awesome report! Despite the lousy catching, this is one of the best reports/stories I've seen...thanks for sharing, I feel like I just experienced a great day on the water by reading that... Some of my favorite days on the water have involved only a couple and sometimes no fish caught. When things are slow, it is time to just enjoy your surroundings and it doesn't get any better than a stream in the Smokies...
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:04 PM
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Brian,

I spent the afternoon going from one furniture store to another in West Knox and I would have given anything to have been doing some totally fruitless casting in the Smokies. Thanks for sharing - as long as they don't spray, skunks can be nice critters.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:19 PM
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Brian Griffing Brian Griffing is offline
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Charlie,
I wouldn't say it was "fruitless", but I know what you mean. Thanks for reading my ramblings. Some would say I resigned to casting dries to empty water because I had lost faith. Others might say that was what I needed to have it restored. I'm not sure, maybe a little of both. Either way, your post reminded me of one of my favorite movie lines: Cool Hand Luke looks up at Dragline after successfully bluffing a hand of poker with the guys on the chain gang, smiles, and says, "Sometimes nothin' is a pretty cool hand."
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:15 AM
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Brian, Great Report! I'm stuck in Buffalo until after the 1st and would love to trade a fishless day on the stream for a day in a cold dreary place. I had a similar day to you a few weeks ago on the Tellico. After spending a few hours dragging a nymph with no luck, I finally convinced myself to change to an EHC and practice casting and mending into what would normally be fishy places. It seemed like a better way to spend my time. Its great to hear the streams are up. Keep up the reports...

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Old 12-30-2007, 02:48 AM
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I know what you mean about dries...I had a similar trip last winter - in fact, I think it was over New Year's...I was so tired of chunking nymphs/split shot with no results, I finally put on a dry, if for no other reason than to remind myself that I was actually fly fishing, not lobbing a bait out there like a catfisherman. Sure enough, I had my one and only strike on the dry (and of course the fish spit the hook).

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised back over Thanksgiving that I was able to catch a few on dries...you can catch lightning in a jar on a few days, when the weather cooperates.
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