Oh Happy Day!

I am so happy to announce that I am now booking trips again for dates starting 19 April 2021. It has been a long slog getting here and I hope you have all been able to safely navigate yourselves and your loved ones through the pandemic. I am fully vaccinated now and as of 21 April, everyone in my family will be two weeks beyond their last shot as well. So many of you have been in contact and waited with patience and understanding for this day. I can’t tell you how much your support has meant. I will be developing some COVID safe protocols that comport with CDC guidance but in a fully, or even partially vaccinated situation, those will be much simpler and less onerous than they would have been a year ago! Late April and May are a great time to get on the water here in WNC. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and who knows….maybe it’s a trout!

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Corona Virus…a Trout Conspiracy???

corona image

Well, you probably knew it was coming.  In the interest of safety for all concerned, Unreel Fly Fishing is suspending operations effective immediately and until further notice.  There’s just no way to properly guide and maintain “Social Distancing.”  If you are scheduled for a trip with me in March or April,  I will be contacting you individually to let you know and discuss rescheduling or cancellation.  I’ve got a hunch we’ll be looking toward the summer/fall.  In the meantime, get out on the stream and safely enjoy some solitude.  You don’t have to “socially distance” from the fish!

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Two Halves are Better than a Whole


At least when it comes to tenkara fishing.  That’s why we’re going to shake off the cold weather blues with a little “Winter Special.”  From now until the first day of spring you can get two half-days of fishing for the price of a full day.  If you’re by yourself,  that’s $300 for two half-days (which would normally cost $400.)  You can fish two days in a row or schedule dates a month apart if that better suits you, as long as they both fall before March 21st, 2020.   In the winter, a half-day is way less bone chilling and I get to help you catch fish the whole time, instead of taking an hour to do lunch.  It’s also easier to visit two different streams and see more water.  So bundle up and let’s get out there!

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Fall Fun

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Sorry for the lag in posts lately but I’ve been on the water a ton and fishing always comes first!  Just to catch up here’s a little slideshow of some of the great folks I’ve been fishing with this past week and some of the awesome fish they’ve caught.  I’ve finally got a day off, it’s pouring down rain outside it’s a perfect day to catch up and tie some flies.  Thank you to everyone for choosing Unreel Fly Fishing and making this such a fun and busy fall.


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Better Than Fiction??


We anglers are often accused of exercising a certain amount of “creative license” when telling fish tales. No such license will be needed to tell the story of this beautiful Rainbow Trout that came to us on Friday. The angler was award winning NC author and poet Valerie Nieman, (who also happens to be a bonafide tenkara fishing machine).  We had a great morning sneaking around low, quiet water and were rewarded with not just this monster but many of his smaller trout friends. Heavy rain has descended on us now and blown the streams out. I’m tying flies and enjoying my autographed copy of Val’s spellbinding (and scary) new novel, To the Bones. Check it out at valnieman.com!

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Friday Night Lights


There’s not much you can say about a sunset like we had last Friday evening.  It pretty much speaks for itself.  The fringes of a passing tropical storm provided the palette that painted this gorgeous picture.   Even better, it was the precursor to a couple of days of much needed rain.  The end of a beautiful day?  That’s not the way I see it.  More like the promise of a beautiful tomorrow.

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Fishing “Tenkara”… “From the Skies”!

One of the great joys of tenkara fishing is that nature can provide some wonderful surprises from time to time.  An unexpected visit from this huge Bald Eagle was our surprise on Tuesday.  We weren’t about to to remind him that the water was under Catch and Release regulation.  Low water  has made things harder for us human anglers but easier for these beautiful birds who in their own way, also fish “tenkara” which means “from the skies.”



We  did get our chances though and had a great morning with our feathered friend.fish

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Walk Softly and Carry a Tenkara rod


Wow could we use some rain.  Conditions are low, slow and super spooky.  That didn’t stop this quick-learning tenkara newcomer from landing some beautiful fish today on a sunny and cool October morning.  Patience was the order of the day, along with small flies and light tippets.   It was a wonderful way to spend the morning and we got to see a couple of Great Blue Herons through the morning mist as well.  They like the low water!

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Natural Born Fisherman


One of my favorite things about guiding is that I get to meet so many wonderful people.  Amidst all those people, every now and then, I run across someone who is just born to fish.  Their personality, natural inclinations and physical skills somehow draw them to it and make them good at it.  I had the pleasure of spending the day with just such a fisherman (and his great mom) last Wednesday.    He hiked miles, climbed rocks for hours, took his catches and his misses with equal joy and caught some beautiful Brook Trout in the process.  Along with the fishing he took time to admire a fallen butterfly, catch a daddy long-legs and try to grab a salamander for a closer look.   It was a day of fishing as it should be.  Normally I spend a lot of the day giving instruction.   On Wednesday I spent the day being reminded of why I fish and why I love it so much.



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Taking the Pulse

fish science

A while back I was volunteering on a Brook Trout restoration project over in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Yesterday I got the chance to once again join their outstanding Fisheries crew to do a survey on those same streams to see how they were doing.  It turns out, they are doing well.  Two years ago we took great pains to remove introduced Rainbow Trout from what should be “Brookies Only” water and I’m happy to report that the “natives”  were all we found during a detailed stream survey.   Unwinding the effects of human meddling with nature can be difficult but, in the case of Brook Trout, essential.   We don’t dislike Rainbow Trout,  we just don’t want them crowding out our Brookies!

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