That’s uphill, upstream and away from the “things of man.” You know summer has truly begun in Asheville when the kids get out of school, the fireflies start blinking and the out of state license plates outnumber the in-state. That’s my signal to head for Brook Trout country. We did just that on Saturday and it was wonderful. Check out the pictures above and below and you’ll see why I love my job!
For the past decade, on the first Saturday in June, I have had the great privilege of being the Tournament Director for the Mossy Creek Invitational, a fundraiser and fishing tournament for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. PHWFF is a non-profit dedicated to using fly fishing and fly fishing related activities as therapeutic tools to aid in the recovery of our wounded warriors and disabled veterans. Our goal at the Mossy Creek Invitational is to generate funds for the organization and fun for the participants. This, our tenth anniversary was maybe the best ever. We were blessed with great weather, great fishing and wonderful participants, sponsors and volunteers. When the day was done we had raised $241,000 for PHWFF. I’m still buzzing with the emotion of the day. You can share in that buzz by checking out www.projecthealingwaters.org and becoming a part of the incredible, lifesaving work they do. No matter how much you give, it’s a small thing compared to what these brave men and women have given for us.
Yesterday we headed up into wild Brook Trout water for the first time this spring. Flows were a little high but the Mountain Laurel was blooming, the butterflies were everywhere and the fish were happy to take any well presented fly. I was with a skilled tenkara veteran and we actually fished with the same fly all day. It fooled this beauty while we were laying flat on our stomachs on a truck sized boulder and casting down 10′ into a pool. We were really gettin’ our tenkara on. My muscles are a little sore this morning from all the hiking, climbing and four point scrambling but it sure was nice to get back in the wild.
Many thanks to all of the wonderful people who have come fishing with Unreel Fly Fishing this spring! You guys and gals are awesome and I hugely appreciate your business, your support and your friendship. I’ve been so busy netting fish for all you tenkara aces that I hardly had a chance to pick up a rod. Well today I did and I got one! I know, it’s probably not as big as some of yours, but I wanted to show you a picture anyway. Very shortly we’ll be shifting gears and hiking up to catch native Brook Trout…you only need one hand for those little guys but we sure love ’em anyway.
In angling terms, catching an amazing fish like this on tenkara is truly, “The best of times.” Tenkara is not really intended to catch fish this size but with good technique (and a little good fortune), it can be done. The truth is though, that for every picture like this, there is probably a story about the fish that got away and in doing so taught us the lesson that made landing the next one possible. It usually takes a few tries to get your first, really big fish to the net. Successful fish fighting on tenkara requires good tactics, touch, anticipation and agility. These things come only through practice. The great thing is that the only way to practice is to go tenkara fishing. So get out there and go for it!
Last April I wrote about a father and two sons who were kind enough to join me for some tenkara fishing. We fished two days in a row and had an absolute blast. There was another brother who couldn’t be there and I said I hoped he’d make it the next time….well, he did and what a morning it was. These guys didn’t just get the “Appalachian Slam” of Brookie, Brown, Rainbow. They did it with some major gusto. Check out these fish. They were unbelievable! There were a lot more in between that on a normal day would have been more than photo-worthy. The guys are all coming back to Asheville for a family wedding in October…I’m getting my net ready!
It’s always fun to do things with friends but it’s particularly fun to try out new things with friends. It was my great pleasure to help that happen today when these two amigas decided to give tenkara a whirl. As you can see, it turns out they’re both natural born tenkara anglers. We caught fine fish all morning but this one was the best of them. An epic battle ended just the way we like, with smiles and a photo op. If you’ve been thinking about trying tenkara…do it…and bring a friend!