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Thread: July Fishing In The Smokies - Goin Deep

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    186

    Default July Fishing In The Smokies - Goin Deep

    2020 has been a slow/tough year for me. Reconstructive foot surgery in January has resulted in a S-L-O-W recovery and limited my walking and fishing. I've also spent time teaching my last protege, my 9 yr old great-newphew, how to fly fish the Smokies. He's a sponge for knowledge and he'll be better than me when he's 18!

    I've always enjoyed fishing in July because it usually has a lot of heavy showers. So, I took a "staycation" last week and having had a cortisone injection to help my foot pain, I took advantage of the reduction in pain and the afternoon showers. I learned a valuable lesson on 7/3/15, when during a downpour, I cast under an overhanging tree in less than 2 feet of water. It was as if someone had thrown a 5 lb rock into the water with the splash, followed by the downstream sprint as I chased a large brown. Landing the 25 incher, the lightbulb went on in my mind.

    Since then, I have watched the weather patterns a lot in the summertime mountains. Last week was like a rain forest in the Smokies with multiple afternoon "monsoons". One such monsoon, I was fishing with a young man who I took under my wing 4 yrs ago. Now 18 yrs old, he's learned a lot. We came upon a deep pool as the rain poured, making it difficult for the trout to see our approach. I knew the trout hold deep, which required a long cast of approx 40 feet, beyond the current abilities of my friend. I turned and said, "Lay down your rod and get ready". Making a long cast with 2 HEAVY nymphs, they quickly sank toward the bottom. A sudden strike from the depths and I set the hook, reeled in the slack and handed my rod to my friend. He played the trout masterfully as it made run after run up and down the pool. I positioned myself, net in hand, at the tail out to prevent escape. Watching him fight and release the 21 inch brown gave me more joy than if I'd caught it myself.

    A return trip the next day a few miles downstream and an even HEAVIER monsoon hit around noon! I've never fished in heavier rain and in 43 yrs, I've fished in a LOT of storms!! Approaching a pool that I'd seen large trout in before but never landed anything over 16", I approached with stealth as the water became dingy and the rain beat down on the surface, shielding my approach. My first cast produced a nice 16" brown, which I quickly landed, but not what I was hoping for. My next cast far upstream on the edge of the increasing current allowed my heavy nymphs to sink to the bottom where I expected larger trout to lay. A sudden stretch of my line and I set the hook. Whatever I hooked, bolted with amazing speed toward the head of the pool. I'd not seen speed like that since a bonefishing trip in Mexico! Just as suddenly, it made a U-Turn forcing me to strip slack line in by hand. As it passed by me blasting downstream in the rising water, I didn't feel good about the outcome. Thoughts of my losing a certain 30" brown with 4x tippet last month came to mind as I went running downstream. BTW, my foot surgery is a result of a break in my foot many years ago while fishing above Elkmont campground. I think I had my drag set too loose, so using my hand, I tightened back on the drag manually, knowing I was on the brink of it getting too far away. Doing so seemed to take the fight out of the large trout as it stopped its run. Catching up to it, my friend had made his way ahead of me downstream was there with a net. Thank you Lord for "tag-team" fishing! Measuring the brown, I noticed how broad its body was with a 13" girth and 19" length. A husky male with a small kype! As the water continued to rise, we had to exit the creek and quit fishing for the day. But "What a Day" or 2 in the Smokies!


    Lessons engrained from the week,
    1. Cortisone injections help, but still gotta push thru the pain
    2. Fish the downpours.
    3. Fish DEEP and ON the bottom
    4. Tighten the drag up!
    5. If time permits, in dingy water use 3X tippet.


    I have trouble loading photos on this message board, but if you wish to see photos and video, you can see them at my Instagram page #TailsOfTheSmokies

    Jim Parks
    Tails of the Smokies

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    29

    Default

    This is a great story, Jim. It is quite rare to have a Master of his art to take the time and share with the many upcoming young fly fishermen. I saw the pictures of the brutes and they were like fish that you might think were only to be caught out West or in Alaska, or possibly in Tail waters. How many do we meet in life that can do this catching and releasing of extremely large fish on a regular basis. I hope everyone is as anxious as I am about your new book which we hope to see real soon. Keep up the good work and I'll be ready for Book #2 when it arrives.

    Ginseng Man
    Hugh Hartsell

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    186

    Default

    Thanks Hugh.

    I’m hoping the book “Tails of the Smokies” will be out by August.

    Jim Parks
    Grampus

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Halifax, VA
    Posts
    805

    Default

    Outstanding! Thank you for sharing.
    <(((>< In tribute to Ben, Duck Hunter extraordinaire, and man's best friend.

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