Townsend, Tennessee
November 21, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is a beautiful sunny day in Townsend.  People are showing up for the holiday week.  I saw campers and cars arriving all day yesterday.  It is a nice change.  I was down at the river taking the temperature and the level is dropping ever so slowly.  We are expecting more rain this weekend, tonight and tomorrow.  But today will stay sunny with a high around 60 degrees.

I saw quite a few anglers downstairs this morning.  That is also a welcome change.  Fishing should be fine.  The water levels are good and the temperature isn’t too cold.  It’s chilly though.  The spawned out brown trout are hungry.  Hopefully, those who have not, will spawn.

I would use nymphs with quite a bit of weight to get the fly down in the swift current.  You might catch them on dries too.  Try a Parachute Adams or Elk Hair Caddis. 

Walter Babb is teaching a small class of advanced fly tyers.  I noticed Cassie Sulzby is in the class.  She is an excellent fly tyer.  But, I bet she wants to spend time with a master fly tyer like Walter.  Anyone can learn something from Walter.  I did this morning by just talking with him for a few minutes.

I’ve known Walter for about 18 years, maybe more.  When I moved to Townsend and we started the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited everyone told me about Walter Babb.  His fly fishing skills were admired by many.  What I like most about Walter is his sense of humor.  We have fished here and in the Northeast together and spent a lot of time in the truck driving to Pennsylvania or New York.  I laugh the whole time.

Walter is an expert trout fisherman.  He always catches two to three times as many trout as I do when we are together.  This Summer Walter, Brian Courtney and I pulled the boat over to the lake to fish for bass and bluegill.  What amazed me was Walter’s casting skills at long distances.  I had never seen him do that.  We have always fished small streams and rivers together.  He can lay a streamer right next to the bank or stump every time, fifty feet away and he does it with one of his cane rods that he made himself.  He is something to watch.

Walter has been teaching our fly tying classes for close to 14 years.  Brian Courtney also teaches with Walter.  They do a great job.  After Walter retired he and I attended Joan Wulff’s Fly Fishing Instructors School in New York.  We went together.  It was an intense 2 ½ day school.  Joan insists that her students do everything right.  There was no slack in that school.  It was serious business.  A person can be the best caster in the world but teaching someone else to do it takes a completely new set of skills.  We did learn them there.

On the last day of the school we were all assigned to teach something different.  Joan brought in some beginners and we had to teach them how to do a specific cast and Joan was right there watching us.  Our assignments were given out on Saturday night.  We drew them out of a hat. I can’t remember what they were but Walter got the hardest one.  I think I got the easiest one.  We both did fine but I was glad I didn’t draw Walter’s assignment.  I would have been up all night practicing what I was going to say and do.  Walter took the whole thing in stride but admitted, he got the hardest assignment.

Walter started making cane fly rods a few years ago.  That is what he does, pretty much full time.  His waiting list of excited customers sometimes is several months long.  People cast from his many hand made rod collection, pick out what they want and he puts them on the waiting list.  If they want a special taper or any combinations of components he will take care of them.  I have one of Walter’s rods and I love it.  Mine is a Payne taper.

One thing I love about this business is the people I meet and work with.  Walter Babb is certainly one of those fine people.  He is one of my best friends.

I messed up our fly tying demonstration schedule on the website.  I had Jack Gregory listed as a tyer for today.  It is not going to happen.  It’s all my fault.  I’m sorry.  Next Saturday Drew Delashmit will be tying on Saturday.  Jack will be tying the following Saturday.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
November 21, 2009


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