May Journal 2015


Always a Day Behind      29 May 2015

With everything we have going on this weekend, getting the boat out was not an option. So when I got an opportunity I zipped over to the river to wet a line. My intentions were to try wet fly fishing, I just watched a video on this and thought, I got this.

I parked and began making the walk to my spot. As I was walking up through here, I notice a good number of large mouth. I tried my wet fly but they paid it no attention. I continued walking and notice a much larger fish. I began looking intently into the water and began seeing more, then a school. The stripers had made it up to the river.

In a futile attempt I tossed my wet flies out toward them. They didn’t even bat an eye. There was a school that I could see at least 6 10-20 lb stripers and here I am with a 5 wt fly rod, wanting to catch one but realizing that if one hit, I was just going to lose my line at best.

I ventured on toward the trout with my mind on the stripers. I fished about an hour and got about 5 hits. My reflexes were a bit slow today as I was thinking about the big fish, got a hit, and then realized I should set the hook. Mercy this was not going as I had hoped.

Saturday rolls in and I go to my appointment. I get back and take the daughter to do a little golf practice. As we get home, the time is about when I left yesterday, so I headed back, armed with the proper equipment. I go to my new found honey hole and see a large number of carp. As a matter of fact, someone must have thrown in a gold fish, because I saw the biggest looking gold fish type carp I had ever seen. Golden color with a huge feather like tail, it would not have fit in most aquariums.

Anyway, I walked the bank for an hour and never saw a largemouth or a striper. This would have been a good day for the 5 wt and Friday for the spin rods. It appeared to me that I am typically a day behind. Note to self; bring multiple fishing rods the next time you come.

So if you are on the river and you see someone looking like they are prepared for any fish, well, it might be me. I had thought the stripers might get up that far, but I am not sure if they went back down or further up. If we don’t get some rain soon, my guess is they will head on up the river, the lakes could get pretty warm if the rain continues to delay. Hope everyones fishing was better this weekend than mine, but let me tell you, seeing all them big fish sure did pump me up. Have a great week and God bless.






23 May 2015

Boone was Booming

Sorry for the delay on posting, however, I do battle with options at times. Should I write up a fishing trip, or go fishing again. Well, the delay is due to my choices. You’re probably thinking, hey, I’ve read your journal and it doesn’t appear as if it takes you that long. All I can say is, imagine how bad it would be if I put zero thought into it.

Anyway, I headed out to Boone on Saturday. I would suggest that if you venture over there, go early morning because it was pretty packed. I happen to arrive about the time of a few other anglers as well as a few leaving. It wasn’t bad but there is not a whole lot of room at the ramp for maneuvering. An angler had tweeted me some photos on the twitter and said that green pumpkin finesse worm was the way to go. My objective was to catch a striper, but I had stored this information just in case bait catching was tough.

After about an hour of searching for bait, I finally had plenty. The bait I have been catching is huge gizzard, but this time I caught a few that were just big not huge. I started down the lake and just pulled up at mile marker 15, I put out one flat line and began to throw a green pumpkin bitsy tube. Second cast, bam, fish on. The line had gotten tight, hook set, and a short fight commenced. This was the nicest fish of the day, second cast, things are looking good. I continued fishing this area up the bank and landed about 5-6 in the boat, quite a few more that didn’t have a good hook-set, and quite a few just flat misses.

I decide to head to the Dam, hoping for some hybrid action. I fish down the bank at the dam and did not get a bite. I tossed the tube and had a down line and flat line out, but nothing hit, so back toward Pickens I went.

I had been wanting to fish this area, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet, here’s my chance.

I go past the bridge and fish the bank a bit with a down line and flat line. I get a couple more hits on the tube, but my reflexes are slowing in the hot sun. After trolling around a spell, I head back to the bridge. Trolling motor going and I’m just kicking back and start marking fish. My shad begin to get a bit shaky, especially the down line. As I go under the bridge on the other side, my shad gets wild, rod tip being tugged, then a big tug and nothing. I check the bait and it’s gone. This may have been my striper and I just happen to be out of bait.

Loading the boat was a breeze as few folks were at the ramp. It was a good hot day on Boone, the bass, at least this past week, were hitting great, I probably should’ve focused on them instead of the big fish. Anyway, it was a good time and the boat will be parked till at least next weekend. Hope everyone had a great weekend, God bless.




22 May 2015

Best Trout I’ve Seen in a While

Well it has been a week or so since I have last sat down and done a bit of typing. I did get to take my son to Watauga last week, however, I didn’t get to pen it. Couple of excuses… I mean reasons, my son didn’t land one and it was graduation week. Graduation week was wide open, attending the ceremony, a party, held a party, and yes, my hot wings were a hit. It has been hurry up around here, but this week, I shall make up for it.

Anyhow, you will understand the title later on in the story, but my son and I went to the river. His graduation present was a pair of waders, boots, and some gear to start. He has really taken a liken to my GLoomis 5 wt, so this is what he will use for as long as he likes. He wanted to take up fly fishing and I was thrilled to participate.

Last week I showed him a honey hole on Watauga, he went back with a friend and caught 3, nice. Friday was a trip to South Holston to show him a few spots to fish. We started at the Dam and after a bit of time we didn’t have any luck. Knowing that he would be needing to be home in a bit, I said let’s head downstream. This is a little spot of mine, when it’s not fished by others, that I have done fairly well in the past.

He was using a pheasant tail, but I told him, if you see yellow bugs, use a yellow bug. Sulfur is the proper word however, he has just started and we talked about sulfurs, but yellow/tan/orangish, better describes in crunch time. Low and behold we start to fish and the sulfurs arrive. I switched my fly, suggested to him while yelling to do the same. Shortly after starting I caught the one in the net above.

Yep, I showed him, he asked what I was using, SULFUR THE YELLOW ONE (this is me yelling). I give him a few minutes then wade up to him. He says these fish are coming up everywhere but not biting. I give him my “lucky fly”, yep, the one I had just caught one on and he began to fish. I handed him the fly drying stuff I forgot the name of and said if you need something holler, but I’ll leave you to it.

As I walked off, he hollers, I got one and it’s a nice one. That is the picture above, phone just didn’t show too well, however, this is the best trout I’ve seen in a while. It was about 12″ but my son caught it on a dry fly and he is excited. He wanted to bring it home and cook it on the grill and so he did. I did do the cleaning for him so he could get ready for his date.

He called me as I was out on Boone today, (we’ll talk about that in a day or two), and said dad, this fish taste as good as restaurant fish.  I was tickled and according to last years TWRA river analysis, it is a good idea to keep the 8-12″ trout out of the South Holston. The river appears to be getting so populated with smaller fish that the bigger fish are not going to be able to get much bigger, over populated.

Anyhow, it has been a great week, and today was pretty good on Boone. Good luck, Happy Memorial Day, remember the sacrifice others have made, and God bless.




09 May 2015 

Saturday was a Little Crappie


If you read this prior to me getting the pics up, sorry, it’s been a busy week. I have a son graduated this weekend, and just a bunch of other stuff no one wants to read about (or write about). Anyway, I had been at the computer most of the day Saturday and I just couldn’t take sitting in the house anymore. I didn’t have time to take out the boat and didn’t feel like searching for a spot on the river, so Boone Lake bank, here I come.

I grabbed my ultralight hand crafted fishing rod that was 6” shorter than when it was originally built. This is one of my first attempts at rod making and I can’t remember exactly how, but I broke a bit of the tip off. I grabbed a back of crappie flies and headed to the bank. I really didn’t expect to do too well, but hey, anytime you are fishing, it’s time well spent. I got to the bank as a couple other anglers were walking down to fish around two other anglers already there. Plenty of room was available and I knew I didn’t have but about 45 minutes to an hour to spend fishing.

I went down the bank until I had given everyone plenty of room, then I thought I heard someone say, let’s get ready to angle. I don’t think that is how you properly state that, but my thinking is that if fishermen fish, then anglers angle, it just makes sense. Anyway, I tossed out my fly and on the first couple of cast, had one follow it in to the bank. I got a bit excited, although I contained it very well, and soon enough I got me a crappie. So I fished for the next 30-45 minutes in the same spot, throwing out a fly and reeling it in pretty slow. This produced 5 crappie and one smallie, 2 of the crappie were keepers, one was really close, maybe would’ve been but close.

This little spot was just a few feet of water and I caught them on green, or white, or white and pink, or light green flies. In other words, I had 4 flies and caught something on all of them. They were hungry and I missed quite a few of them rascals. It was a short lived trip, but one that was a lot of fun.

Also, I had heard the tragic news of a man ejected from his boat and had passed away. I haven’t heard with certainty what exactly they think happened, but no matter, this is truly tragic. If you get on a boat, especially on Boone Lake, be careful out there. This is the second boating fatality in East TN in about a week period and folks, someone depends on you for something. Please use caution.

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Striper Fishing was Crappie  02 May 2015

I guess it depends on how you pronounce crappie, as to whether you will get the humor in the title, anyway, let’s talk about Saturday. As you can tell from the pics, my daughter is in tripod mode with the cast on her leg, but she wanted to hit the lake. First stop, fishing license for her, this will be the last year of the youth license, I wish I would have gotten her a lifetime when she was young.

We launch at Pickens Bridge and try to find some bait. We just start stopping at the coves we come to as I tend to do a little better in shallow water for shad. As we hit a few coves, we end up catching with the cast net, a largemouth, a white bass, a bunch of crappie, and finally some shad. We through back everything but the shad and began to go after the stripers.

Let me say we had plenty of big fish in the fish finder, but nothing was biting. We saw a few other anglers trolling for the big ones and one boat hooked one, not sure if it was landed as we were too far away, but we were in the right area. As we trolled around and talked, she mentioned all the crappie that we caught in the cast net, so we went after them.

I found three small crappie flies (eBay hand tied crappie jigs) and some twist tail grubs (I’m guessing at the name, don’t laugh) and went to shallows. Let me say we had a ball. It had been a long long time since I had specifically went after any crappie but they were biting. She would inform me that she got a hit, I suggested that she may want to try to set the hook. She took the advice and did well. She caught a largemouth, bluegills, crappie, and just a whole lot of fish. I lost two flies, switched to the twister tail grubb things, and caught a few myself. We brought home two keepers and said let the filleting begin. Now if you haven’t crappie fished in a while, then you can imagine I haven’t filleted one in a very long time. To be honest, I haven’t cleaned that many fish at least I haven’t cleaned them well.

I begin and demonstrate how not to do a good job. She grabs my $3 fillet knife that did get a little salt water action last year and went to work. We realized at this time that some times less expensive is not the best option. I think we had some butter knives as sharp as this thing. Anyway, she filleted half of the first one and half of the second. We didn’t have enough for the family so we put in the fridge for cooking in the next day or two.

This reminded me what fishing is about. It’s never really been about catching fish, but a reminder of the good time you can have with family. I get reminded everytime my son or daughter are able to go. I got some video for this but you can’t hear her too well, she’s a bit shy, but we’ll try to get it up and running in a week or so. I hope everyone has a great week and God bless.