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Thread: “Bait” Fishing for Browns

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    137

    Default “Bait” Fishing for Browns

    I met a fisherman as I was getting my gear ready yesterday. His wife was a pleasant lady, but I can’t say the same for him. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was trying to be funny. He was visiting in the area and noticing my gear asked if I was fishing. I replied that I was and he asked if I “used dry flies or bait fished”. I replied, “neither. I mostly use nymphs.” Then he said, “so you bait fish.” I’m thinking this guy is either clueless or an “a-hole”, but I tried to be nice. After a few more snarky comments at which I’m done with the conversation, he boasts, “I have a dry fly that’ll make any brown trout rise from the bottom in the middle of the day.” I ask, “so how many 20 inchers have you caught in the Park with your dry fly?” Then he began rambling on without answering the question and I pretty much tuned him out as I told him to have a good day and I made my way to the stream.

    Using my nymphs, I started out with a 10” brown on my first cast on a greenie weenie and the day never let up. Around 2, I moved to a different location and worked some deeper runs with a #8, grampus fly and greenie weenie dropper. At about 4 pm, I set the hook on what seemed to be a good one. It was too deep to see in the shaded pool and after a brief head shake it bolted up 2 sets of rapids. At one time, I thought I was hung on a boulder but I could still feel Contact. A friend with me made a quick attempt with the net, which resulted in the trout bolting downstream. I followed it back down and got below it again. My buddy caught back up and I had him to stay put as the fish made another run upstream into the rapids. It never jumped, but showed its power with how it stripped my line out as it swam against the strong current. When it turned and bolted downstream again, I noticed it pause just upstream from a boulder and I got my first real look at it. As impressive as it’s length was the size of its body. By now my buddy was attempting to net it and said “it’s too big for the net!” I told him to focus on the head and on his next attempt he got it. We measured the female at 22” and a 13” girth. Not my longest, but definitely the heaviest I’ve caught in the Park. I ended the day reviving her until she swam outta my hands. as I drove home, I smiled as I recalled my earlier discussion with the dry fly “purist”. Who needs a fly that’ll get a brown trout to rise when you can drift a nymph down to where they’re feeding?

    I caught her using a 4wt, 8 1/2 Ft rod, and a 9ft leader tapered down to 5x, because of the water clarity. Otherwise, I prefer 4x. My size 8 grampus fly was weighted with the #14 bead head greenie weenie dropped off.

    Ive had a fortunate run the last 3 years with several large browns. At least 3 have been caught on the greenie weenie, and the others on the grampus or the guinea fly.

    Jim Parks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Seymour, TN
    Posts
    1,477

    Default



    You would not believe how many Browns like this Grampus catches in the GSMNP every year!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    140

    Default

    Thats a fine fish from any stream, let alone the Park. I have had a lot of strange and irritating conversations along the roads in the Park, as Im sure all of us who have fished there have had. We dont realize what specialized world fly fishermen live in util you' ve been through a few of those discussions. If you try to educate folks about why we fish this way it seems to rarely end up accomplishing that goal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Great fish! I can only imagine how put off he would have been had you been toting a euro nymphing rod with a frenchie tied on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    13

    Default

    Congratulations, Jim. Beautiful fish.

    Ginseng Man
    Hugh Hartsell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Halifax, VA
    Posts
    798

    Default

    What a fish! Great report!!
    <(((>< In tribute to Ben, Duck Hunter extraordinaire, and man's best friend.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Franklin, TN
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Dang! Incredible fish! I've only caught one like that and it was in a tailwater...nothing in the same hemisphere as that in the Park. Do you fish those nymphs under an indicator? If not, what tips would you suggest for someone that has only used an indicator or dry/dropper combo? I would also like to try my hand at tying the grampus and guinea flies if you don't mind sharing the recipes or can point me in the right direction for recipes. Thanks.

    Joel

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Townsend, TN
    Posts
    76

    Default

    That's a great story and a great fish.
    Joe

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    58

    Default

    Great fish. Beautiful markings. I bet that knucklehead with his dry fly didn't likely have one too big for his net that day. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Joel, thanks for the questions. I started out high-stick nymphing 41 years ago then about 20-25 yrs ago, I used the yarn indicator for a while, but I noticed that I was spooking trout, especially larger ones, with it in the Park. I realize it's different on tailwaters. What I wound up doing was go back to high sticking, but I now use the roll-on indicators that come in adhesive squares. When high-sticking, I keep them out of the water and just use them to help me see my leader to detect strikes. Sometimes the glare is on the water which makes it hard to see my leader without the indicator. They come in squares and are made by Umpqua, but are hard to find in most fly shops. I tend to buy them up when I do find them. I'll tear one square in 1/2 to keep the size down to a minimum. I'll usually put it about 4 ft above the fly. If I'm fishing deeper water, I can slide it up, but it's not as movable as the cork kind. I may try the tiny cork size in the near future, but they wouldn't work if I needed the indicator to float as my nymphs would be too heavy. If you're interested in learning the technique, I recommend taking a trip with Gary Troutman. He told me of a client he taught this to recently that had struggled to catch trout in the Park and picked it up and caught several trout using the technique. Also if I need to fish way out into flat, shallow water, I do let the small indicator in the water, but keep my fly ahead of it to reduce the potential to spook a trout. Though the adhesive indicator sinks, you can still see it enough to see it twitch if you get a bite.

    If you'll notice, I had Gary post the photo of the trout on LRO for me. For whatever reason, I can't get photos to post anymore, hence why I don't put many photos on LRO. I'll see if I can get him to post photos of the guinea fly (an old mountain pattern) and the Grampus. I've promised to give both patterns to the Fly Fishing Museum when I get back over to Bryson City hopefully this year. The Guinea fly is EXCELLENT in the Spring (April & May). It's what I caught the brown on in May that I posted the photo of on the bulletin board. Every spring, I catch at least one over 20" on it. Believe it or Not, but I caught a 21 incher in Spring of last year and some guys saw me land it and wouldn't take one of the Guinea Flies because they didn't like the looks of it. They literally turned their nose up at it. I invented the Grampus fly in the mid 80's. My first use of it was just above the Sinks. I broke off on a big brown because I was using a cheap, stiff fly rod, which was all I could afford as a student. I've since caught large trout in the Smokies, in Montana, and a 23 incher on the Clinch several years ago. I kept the fly "close to my vest" for years, but figured it was time to share it.

    The BIGGEST rules to catching large brown trout...

    1. Fish where they are
    2. Learn to spot them (take time to look) polarized glasses help
    3. Use stealth in your approach AND in your clothes. No bright clothes or hats. I see that WAY too often
    4. Then fly selection
    5. When you hook one, have a good reel with a good trustworthy drag and take the fight to it

    Jim Parks

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