Forget “Bold”. Fortune favors the cold! At least it did yesterday morning when this intrepid tenkara angler made his first cast on a 25 degree morning. I guess “Ice on the Lillian” is our version of “Ice in the guides” and we had plenty of that. Funny thing though, when you’re catching fish like this…you don’t feel cold! I love winter fishing but if you decide to take advantage of the quiet and good fishing it provides, keep safety in mind. Layer up, fish with a friend, have some warm drink handy and quit before hypothermia drains away your coordination (and good judgement!).
Fish were indeed the order of the day when I got out with these two friends, colleagues and fellow trout slayers. We spent a beautiful fall day on the stream and the action was steady all day. We had a chance to break out some dry flies and catch a good number of fish off the surface as a bonus. Brooks, Browns Rainbows and to finish the day, a two eagle flyover….what a great day!
We had a cold front sweep through WNC last night which conventional wisdom would say might slow fishing down. So much for conventional wisdom! I had an awesome morning on the water with this wonderful couple. The bright blue sky did nothing to slow them down as evidenced by the photos above. These were just two of the many Brookies and Rainbows that fell victim to their angling prowess. Neither was a tenkara angler when we started the day…but I’m thinking they might be now!
Usually when I guide a half day, it’s in the morning. But that inconvenient reality called work made that impossible for the smiling angler above. So we did what any true anglers would do under those circumstances, we fished the afternoon! As so often happens with fishing, our “Plan B” turned out better than we could have ever hoped for a “Plan A.” The day had warmed, the weather was beautiful and if other folks had been on the stream during the morning, they left more than a few untouched for us. The bottom line is that (as long as it’s safe) there is no bad time to go fishing!
I am happy to report that the orthopedist has cleared me to resume all of my normal (and abnormal) activities. I’m sorry to be so long in coming back but as it turned out, in addition to my collar bone I had also broken my second rib on the left side and sprained my left AC (shoulder) joint. Regardless, I’m better now and booking trips. Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes.
I used my friend and neighbor as a “test client” last week and he landed this really cool “mixed double” on one cast. I often fish a two-fly rig and occasionally a client will hook two trout at the same time. Landing them both is rare since the back fish tends to pull the hook out of the front fish but it does occasionally happen. I’ve never had someone land a trout and a Smallie on one cast though. It’s fun to be back on the water!
Maybe I should stick to fishing… My mountain bike and I had a disagreement with the Pisgah National Forest and I am happy to report that the forest is intact. Unfortunately, however, the same cannot be said for my collar bone. As a result, I am suspending guiding operations until fully recovered. I’m hoping to be back to fishing around October 1st. As for a return to mountain biking… that will likely depend on the outcome of some serious spousal negotiations. I hope you are all having a great summer. I’ll keep you posted!
Summer has officially started and at Unreel Fly Fishing that means it’s time to lace up those boots and head for the high country. I’ve switched over to back-country, hike-in style fishing for the summer. This is a great way to escape the summer crowds and the summer heat but it’s a style of fishing best suited to intermediate anglers who are ready and willing to put some miles under foot. It’s the only way to catch our beautiful native Brook trout (my favorite fish!)
The water is clear and cool, the forest lush and green and the fish are small and beautiful.
If you’re up for some adventure, as this wonderful couple were, give me a call!
In the “Before Times”, pre-pandemic that is, I took the fine gentleman in this picture and his two sons out tenkara fishing. It was a fun (and fish) filled day I recounted in my March 10, 2019 post “Singing in the Rain.” Fast forward to yesterday when he was kind enough to fish with me again and this time brought his wonderful wife. I now understand where the boys got their fishing gene…from their mother! She caught this gorgeous Brown trout on her first time fishing with tenkara. It was just one of a number of fish that she brought to the net. This is a family full of fun and excellent anglers, but if they ever have a fishing competition…my money’s on Mom!
Here’s a great picture of a delightful and excellent young angler I had the pleasure of fishing with this week. He’s rightly proud of this beautiful Brook trout he caught on tenkara. But maybe the proudest person in the photo is his grandfather, who saw his grandson’s patience, focus and determination all pay off with such a beautiful fish. Tenkara fishing contains lessons of value for all of us. Technique matters more than technology. Simplicity has a virtue all its own. But after years of guiding, the most important thing I’ve learned is that the people who love fishing the most, love the people they fish with.
When the calendar page turns to June, my thoughts turn to the high streams of western North Carolina and the challenge of fishing for our elusive native Appalachian Brook trout. These beautiful little char (they’re not technically trout!) are found only in clean, cool water. A day of fishing for them typically involves several miles of hiking, a lot of scrambling up steep streams and some real angling challenge. Stealth, accuracy, patience and focus are all required to bring one to hand. That’s why it’s so much fun! Couple that with a day in our beautiful mountains and forests and you have the very best of fishing our area has to offer.