Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Virginia Creeper Trail

Way up in the Southeast corner of Virginia lies a gem for anyone interested in hiking, biking or fishing. It's called the Virginia Creeper trail and it runs from the top of Whitetop to the quaint town of Damascus. The trail is 17miles from Whitetop to Damascus and it's downhill the whole way. I have been wanting to do this ride with my family for years and last week we finally did it. 
The trail is dirt but very flat and almost as smooth as a paved road for the most of it. It is fairly steep in the beginning but it turns into a slow dropping grade after about 3 miles.
The views are amazing and change from farmland to forest. There are several places to stop to picnic, use the restroom or even buy lunch.
The highlight for me was Whitetop Laurel Creek. It runs next to the trail the whole way. You cross the creek several times over wooden bridges.
It was hard passing up so many good fishing holes along the way. The water looked amazing and every turn lent itself to more beautiful pools and riffles.
My kids had a blast on the ride and we stopped several times to enjoy the views and play in the water. The trail becomes part of the Appalachian Trail and it's common to see several AT hikers. We went during the week to avoid the big crowds. It was rumored that this trail is crazy in the summer and on weekends. After experiencing the ride I can see why. Everyone needs to try it at least once. 
Damascus is a neat little town and there is trout water in every direction. You can't go a half mile without crossing a trout stream. I spent a few days fishing the area. I had hooked and lost more fish than I ever had before. I chalk it up to rust and lack of knowing the area. I was able to bring a few to hand.
With all the changes going on with technology and society it's nice to know some things stay the same. Wherever I fish I seem to have success using the same techniques. It's nice to just not think about what line you have or rod you're using. Just tie on a wooly bugger and let it fly.

Tennesee is less than 3miles from Damascus. We checked out a place called Backbone Rock. 
It's a pretty cool site to see and you can hike to the top.
You can see the stream flowing near the road at the bottom. It was one of the prettiest streams I have seen in awhile. I didn't fish it but I wish I had.
Backbone falls is a short hike nearby and it's definitely worth seeing if you're in the area.
It was great having hikes the kids could enjoy and the views are worth the effort.
If you're looking for a family vacation and want some place for fishing, hiking, and biking. I can't think of a better place than Damascus, VA. It has a little something for everyone. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Life Stuff

It's been forever in a day since my last post. So long that I actually had a fellow blogger reach out and make sure I still had the ability to type words and think up full sentences. I turned 40 this year and I'd love to say I am wiser but if I've learned anything it's that I have a lot to learn. This year more than others has taught me to appreciate friends, cherish family, and make my health a priority.

My fly tying skills have gone to crap. I tied my first fly in months last night with a tying group. My clouser was pretty embarrassing. I think it might have been worse than the very first clouser I ever tied. I struggled with remembering how to tie patterns and relearning techniques. While talking to others in the group I was reminded of why I go to these things. It's the fellowship and the constant reminder that in all of life's craziness fishing has brought us together. Some of the news was sad and some funny but all of it was enriching and it really kickstarted my fly fishing engine. Which is most likely the reason I'm writing this today.

Why such a long hiatus from my last post?

I really don't have a good answer. I'd like to say it was the kids, family obligations or work that kept me away but that would just be an excuse. Truth be told I've been getting into mountain biking, playing video games and I guess the kids are taking up more free time. Fishing has taken a lower number on my list of priorities. There has been a lot of thought over the direction of this blog. I've thought about starting a vblog on youtube about fly fishing my local waters. I've also tried to refocus what this blog means to me and why I have it. In the end, I decided to stop thinking about things and get out and fish. My big plan for this year is to get my daughter out on the water. I plan to share the experiences with all of you.

I did make it out to wet a line last weekend. I was skunked but I was able to explore new water and make a friend. I've tried for a long time to get recognition for my fly fishing prowess. It wasn't until recently that I realized I care more about what my friends and family think of me. If at the end of the day I've made more friends than fish I caught I'll be happy.

Tight lines my friends.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas Round 2

My goodies arrived from the Windknots and Tangled Lines giveaway. It was a nice distraction from me staring out the window at frozen snow. 
If you haven't checked out the blog Windknots and Tangled Lines you've been missing out. The blog owner Howard is a great guy and one of the best in the fly fishing blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Best Video Ever

So happy I can finally share this. It's a collaboration I did with Jumping Rock Media about the Eno River. I'm really proud of how this turned out. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Watch Your Step

This is how the small creek I fished looked over the weekend. It was very dangerous. The dry leaves covered the water running just underneath. In some places it hid where there was wet rock. A couple times I stepped on what I thought was solid ground only to have all the leaves move at once. I took some nasty falls and I was lucky to not get hurt. The leaves are beautiful but the experience reminded me they can also be a hazard. Watch your step out there.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Adoration For Browns

For some reason, browns are special to me. I've always had a deep respect for them. They seem to be great at adapting and efficient at hunting. Arguably they are the smartest fish when they're combined with rainbows and brook trout. There is a feeling of accomplishment every time I catch a decent sized brown. Catching one over 15inches isn't a common occurrence for me. What I find interesting is the bigger browns I usually catch are on flies I have no real confidence in. Take this last fishing trip for instance. I've never been a huge fan of copper johns. I have friends that swear by them but they never worked well for me. I'm sure it's partly because of my confidence in fishing them. On this day I was running low on the usual softhackles I love and decided to try a rubber legged copper john. I didn't catch a ton of fish on it but did manage this largest fish of the day which happened to be a brown.
Do the larger browns hit these flies because they are less common and they haven't learned to avoid them yet? Or is it just luck? I have no idea but it keeps me reaching for those flies in the far corner of my box that get overlooked.