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Thread: Bad Fall--Fly fishing from the bank

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Bad Fall--Fly fishing from the bank

    Fell 2 Thursdays ago getting out of Little River in Townsend. "Busted" my knee open and needed 9 stitches. Didn't know I was bleeding until I took off my waders. Luckily blood flow was minor.

    Problem is I'm 64 and on Plavix so bleeding is not a good idea. I was using a wading pole and felt sole boots but was in very shallow water at river edge. Dr said balance worrsens as we age.

    I just got Ian Rudder book fishing in Smokies and he recommended staying out of the water as much as possible. Can I catch fish using stealth from bank and can anyone suggest any technique?

    Be careful!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Hey Lynn

    Seems like bank fishing ought to be a decent option, just have to work on your roll cast and maybe a bow n arrow style cast. I would try those two techniques with a shorter rod and at the same time might just work on trying to "high stick" from the edges, thought high sticking would likely be easier with a longer rod or even (I have not used one, but by nature of their design) a Tenkara rod.

    Even when I can wade, I try to avoid it as much as possible, just to keep from spooking the fish as much. Sorry for your injury, and pray that ya heal up fast.

    "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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013


    Sorry for your injury.

    But at least your timing was good. By next spring, you'll be good to go!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Mid Tennessee


    You should be fine fishing from the bank. Wading is generally not desireable in those mountain streams anyway. All that rock crunching and pushing a wake alerts the trout. Sure, you will not be able to cover all the water, but that's probably true anyway. Practice your sidearm cast so you can stay below tree limbs. Shallow water can be dangerous. A fall in six inches of water can hurt you. A fall in two feet of water gets you wet. Take a partner with you for extra security. If you look at a lot of the posts, you'll see most of these folks are fishing from the bank. Good luck.
    "Here fishy fishy."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default pick your spots

    I have similar mobility issues Lynn. Back surgery, balance problems and turning 60 has led me to selecting spots that I can get to without crawling over boulders and trees. I try to pick my spots where I can stay out of the water but places I know hold fish.
    I'm fishing more tail waters these days also. I often think of the last scene in the movie "A River Runs Through It" Norman Maclean is an old man, he says he can't get to those spots he fished but he is still out there. I want to be that way. Some day I may only have the ramp at Miller Island and the rock wall of the bone crusher to fish but long as it brings me joy, I'll take it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007


    I have taken a couple of rough falls that scraped me up over the years. Then last year I did something to my knee scrambling down the bank on Middle Prong. I think it was some sort of hyper-extension, and it didn't feel good. Once I got in the water, wading on the uneven rocks, I realized right away my day fishing was over.

    I have gotten older and realize I can't do the same things wading as when I was younger. I'm sure I miss some decent fish because of it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Springboro, OH


    Tenkara.. My personal reasons below. I noticed you read one of Ian's books. See Ian and Charity's website and look for articles tagged tenkara. In April of this year they wrote,
    Over the weekend we found that a tenkara rod at least doubled the fishable water as it allowed us to get excellent drifts in productive runs and pockets across wide, swift rapids.
    I can't think of better praise. As you noted, Ian coaches staying dry; and he doubled his fishable water.

    This Spring I started taking a tenkara fly rod while backpacking in colder weather to avoid hiking in the weight of my boots and waders. It has worked great from the bank. I wear sticky rubber sandals and Seal Socks in case I need to take a wet step or two, but I don't have the faith in sticky rubber that I do in felt and carbide so I didn't wade.

    I use an 11.5' long tenkara rod, but if you want additional reach you could get a 13.5' rod and to have 27' of reach excluding tippet. These things roll cast wonderfully. A standard back to front cast was intuitive to me; all fundamental techniques are the same but no hauling. What I particularly enjoy is that a dead drift is much easier to accomplish compared to mending fly line. Think of being able to high stick with substantially more reach, and if anything rides on the water other than your tippet, it's only furled leader. I am horrible at mending; so this seems to be increasing the number of hits I have been getting.

    Many early adopters and tenkara fanatics have sworn off what they call, "Western Fly Fishing" which in their context usually implies inferiority. I can't help but believe many of these people are/were schills; they constantly blogged about and littered message boards with praises for the one company that introduced tenkara rods in the US. Once other brands were on the market, these schills started "reviewing" other brands, criticizing trivial matters like uneven winding checks to justify the $100+ difference in price of their sponsor's product. Thankfully several mainstream brands, including Temple Fork now make a tenkara rod. Perhaps a fine fly shop in the Townsend area which already carries Temple Fork could consider adding these to their inventory?

    If I had to permanently choose one type of setup, a 5# rod, reel, and line would unquestionably be my choice over a tenkara setup. Thankfully I don't have to make that choice. The tenkara is a new weapon in my collection of, way more than I need, fly rods.

    - Matt -
    Last edited by mattblick; 10-31-2013 at 11:50 AM. Reason: additions

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Crossville, TN


    I fish from the banks quite a bit during cold weather. Take a streamer rod and some heavy streamers and toss them around structure. That way getting a clean drag free drift is not important. Even better, you always have a shot at some really nice fish!
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011



    I have had many very close calls while out rock hopping and thankfully none ended with an injury.

    I am offering to fish with you on the Hiwassee in my drift boat any Tuesday or Sunday until you are up and running again. Feel free to shoot me an email my friend.


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