Tomorrow I start my journey with a new company. This year has been very strange. My kids have taken priority over fishing. We watched several kids movies over the Thanksgiving break. Many dealt with people following their dreams. My daughter asked me what my dream was. I just sat there and for the longest time I couldn't answer. The fall back and obvious answer would be to be a full time fishing guide. That image in my head was transparent with the true dreams I now desire. The real answer is now my dreams are my children's dreams. It took me a while to realize it but now all I want to do as a father is do what I can so my children's dreams and wishes come true. I have always loved challenges and parenthood has challenged me physically and mentally in more ways than I ever could have imagined.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
My family decided to take a hike yesterday. The day was a text book definition of a fall day. I heard someone say they love the shadows in the fall. I never really understood what they meant until this day.
The view changed depending on where you stood and if a cloud moved across the sun.
The ground was covered with leaves and the ones on the branches seemed to be giving off their last bit of color before the cold of winter hits.
I can't help but think of fire when I see the leaves like this.
The leaves gave a amber tint to the forest. We all had a great time playing in the leaves.
I will miss fall.
Monday, October 27, 2014
It's really amazing how influential Disney movies are to kids. If you have never heard of the move Frozen you probably are in total isolation or you don't know anyone with kids. This movie is like heroin for any child, especially a girl under the age of 6. After just watching the movie once my laptop was no longer mine. It was now a machine with the main purpose of finding Frozen songs. I don't even dare to say the phrase "let it go" in my house out of fear my wife or daughter will burst out into song. What's crazy is how kids view the main characters of this movie. The one who has all the powers is cool and the one who's trying to save her from turning bad is kind of meh. If Disney would only make a fly fishing movie. Share the problems of development and how it affects wildlife that would be huge. Make a brook trout the main character and show how sediment is affecting the habitat. Have a hellbender be something all the animals are scared of but some how saves the day at the end. Show how a clean stream allows the insects to thrive and how it ties into the ecosystem. I think a movie like this would be more beneficial to children in the long run. A lot better then teaching them there isn't much more to life than singing songs and being a princess.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Besides my family and friends in California the one thing I really miss is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I grew up camping and fishing in the streams that were fed by glaciers in these mountains. The memories are some of my fondest. I've been trying to get back to at least visit this place for years. In the meantime I've lived vicariously through blogposts and youtube videos. Many are painful to watch. Not because of the content. Mainly because of how bad they make me miss this place. Kind of like running into your ex with her new significant other. It stings a little and all the memories and good times flashback. Some are so vivid you can almost feel as you're reliving the moments. The blog that has given me this feeling the most is PlanetTrout. The author not only is a great fly tier and fisherman but also does the Sierra's justice with his photos. It's torture to read it at times because it makes me want to jump on a plane and fly out to Bishop tomorrow. Until that time comes I'll have to keep enjoying the adventures from afar.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
"Don't Move!" I told Shea. From my vantage point I could see a large tail and half of a big fish just near the bank. Shea was almost right on top of it and the tall grass was blocking his view. I peeked around the grass to get a better look. There lying just inches off the shore was one of the biggest bass I have ever seen. My rod was already rigged and I hurried to get a cast in before the fish spooked. My first cast landed just above the fish and didn't sink. I thought for sure the fish was going to take off. It didn't seem fazed. I slowly lifted the fly and made a second cast just off to the side of the fish. At first the fish showed no interest then just as the fly settled on the bottom the fish turned and slowly swam towards the fly. I could see everything, my fly, the fish and then the take. I set the hook with authority and the fish headed for deeper water. Shea and I were in disbelief. Sure you see big fish all the time but how often do you catch them and even if you're lucky enough to hook them will they stay on? The fish started to thrash and show its true size. It verified that indeed it was the biggest bass I have ever hooked with a fly. The fish shook its head and its mouth looked like it could swallow a softball with room to spare. I didn't have a net and I slid down the bank to find a good place to land the fish. The fish came close and I made a grab for my leader. The bass made another good run and I was worried it was going to snap my rod. I regained control and brought the fish over again. This time the fish brought its head up slowly and I quickly grabbed the fishes lower lip. The mouth was too big to lip with my thumb. I basically put all of my fingers in the beast's mouth and made a fist.
The fish measured almost exactly 22inches and had some serious battle scars. I wish I took more pics of the fish but I was worried about over stressing it. It's a fish I'll never forget.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I haven't tied in awhile so I decided to tie some girdle bugs for the ignorant stocked trout next month. Recently I bought some cheap Superglue from the dollar store. I normally use Zap A Gap but I thought maybe this Superglue would work just as well. After a few flies the glue started to really glob up under the cap. It was difficult to keep the glue from getting on my fingers and anything else in the area. No matter what I tried the glue kept oozing out and I started to get irritated. I finally just tried closing the cap even though a nice bubble of glue was coming out. The cap hesitated for a second seeping glue around the edges then with a snap it closed. The glue that seeped out exploded all over and my brain instantly signaled that some had gotten in my eye. At first I just stared at the glue bottle I guess assessing the situation. I started blinking and after several seconds it was getting harder and harder to open my eye with every blink. I stood up right away, yelled to my wife that I got glue in my eye and ran over to the sink. She asked me several things but honestly I couldn't hear her over my panic splashing of cupped water into my eye. I was able to open my eye fine but I was still worried it was going to gum up again. The package said to rinse your eye for 15min so I spent the next half hour in the shower. I think the amount of glue that actually got in my eye was just a trace amount. Maybe a drop, probably nothing really to worry about but it still gave me a pretty good scare.
Friday, September 19, 2014
It's been ages since I've posted something. Family priorities and the weather have been keeping me off the water. If you've been following my blog for the last year or so you know I've been trying to find the perfect fishing pack. I tried several different fishing packs. Some were hip packs, chest packs and finally sling packs. All had their pros and cons but one stood above the rest. What's funny is the pack was suggested to me long ago by Mike from Mike's Gone Fishing. We were discussing fishing gear and I was pondering the Vedavoo. While we talked more he asked if I checked out Patagonia's Stealth Atom Pack. I looked into it more and the pack looked to be the same as the Orvis Guide Sling pack. The difference was it was about $50 less. I liked that it was the sling style and had plenty of storage and a place for a water bottle. I didn't want to give this pack a review until I tested it thoroughly. I can honestly say after almost a year that this pack is the best I've ever owned. It does pretty much everything I want. The storage is amazing. The large pocket can hold two large Cliff Bugger Barns as well as another small fly box. The smaller pocket can hold another fly box and there's inner compartments for tippet, dry shake and other things. There's also a inside waterproof pocket for your cell phone and keys. I first thought I'd never use this but it's already come in handy a few times when I had unexpected swims. There's one inside pocket that's lined with felt I'm guessing for sunglasses or a GPS. Anything that has a screen you don't want scratched. The strap that goes across your chest has a pocket that can hold a small knife or fishing license. Here's a video that goes over the pack a little more.
For me this pack is perfect. I can hold a bass box with large flies as well as small trout boxes. The pack is comfortable to wear but I do find the second strap is almost useless. It's supposed to provide extra support and keep the pack from sliding around. The pack fits fine without it and I leave the second strap unclipped 99% of the time. The water bottle section can be adjusted and perfectly holds a 32oz Gatorade or Powerade bottle. I've used this pack at the beach and in the mountains. It performed perfectly. I can't find anything wrong with it. If you're looking for a great sling pack and don't want to break the bank check the Patagonia Stealth Atom Pack out.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
When the package arrived I marveled over the layout of the bundle.
Image from BackCountry.com
The box is all black and each piece of the outfit had it's own slot. The fly box was nice and had the quality of the flies was pretty much what I expected. They were nothing spectacular but not horrible either. The presentation of bundle overall was top notch. When I pulled out the rod I couldn't wait to try it out. The finish is a graphite dull look which I loved. There were no instructions so I had to go with stuff I found online. Wetfly provides this video to get you started.
The rod extended easily enough but here's what this video doesn't talk about. There's a piece on the very bottom of the rod that unscrews. I was curious to what exactly this was for. I thought maybe it was a place to put your end cap. When I unscrewed it I noticed it was hollow inside. That was until my rod collapsed back into place and actually shot out the hole I was looking at. Basically the rod now was inverted and coming out beneath the cork. It was a pain to get back in the blank and get the rod to extend again. The rod is made to telescope and extend but what you don't realize is this is a fine process and if the blanks are misaligned even by a millimeter it will cause the rod to not collapse or extend properly. I learned my lesson with that. Keep the butt cap screwed in.
I was able to get the rod extended properly and setup. The 3 lines that come with the package are a furled leader, level line and tippet. The furled leader is basically braided mono. The level line looks just like regular mono and the tippet is your average tippet. When I first saw how you tie the leader to the tip of the rod I figured I was going to break this in a matter of seconds. Once I had everything setup though I found it was quite sturdy and felt more durable than I thought. I tried playing around with the different rod lengths and imagined myself casting in small streams. The images in my head quickly vanished as I fought with the rod to collapse different sections. The alignment has to be perfect or the rod will not collapse. In some rare instances you can actually collapse the tip down inside the other blanks and won't be able to get it out. Luckily I had the leader tied on and used that to help pull the tip out. This annoyed me pretty quickly. I found I would not be able to use this rod how I wanted to. The idea of collapsing the rod depending on the situation is not as easy as it sounds.
The rod was very stiff. It seemed to have an action faster than any of the rods I own. I took everything over to a local pond to test it out. Casting was a little awkward at first but I started to figure it out. I actually let my daughter have a few turns with it and she could actually cast better than I could. The key was to slow down and let the rod do all the work. Then came my next issue with the setup. The furled leader sinks. This caused my fly to sink as well. Not a huge deal but it was hard to detect strikes once the line and fly were submerged. I could have tied on an indicator but I was too lazy. Having only so much casting distance became very frustrating. There's really nothing you can do about it. If you can't wade in the water you're stuck only casting so far from the bank. You better hope the fish are with in 30ft of you or they are out of casting range. That is unless you add some line and have plenty of room to back cast. Make sure nothing is overhead as well. This rod is 12ft tall and finds branches easily. Especially in the hands of a 5yr old.
I was able to catch fish with the rod and not having a reel felt strange. I angled the rod and was able to land the fish but I'm not sure what I'd do with a significantly large fish. With this rod a large fish would be about 2lbs. The whole experience was fun but had me unimpressed. I felt limited in how I could fish which I didn't like at all. I like the ability to cast where I want and as far as I want. I also didn't like the issue with collapsing the rod. There were several times I thought the rod was moving a little or trying to collapse on its own. Worrying about this was just another annoyance. In the end I decided Tenkara probably isn't for me. I can see how the style can be attractive to others but for me it's a fad that doesn't really have an advantage over traditional fly gear. Actually you're at a disadvantage in my opinion. Fly fishing to me is difficult enough.
The main reason I considered Tenkara is I liked the logic of simplicity and being able to avoid the different currents while casting to a certain location. After my experience I'd say save your money and use a long stick for those scenarios.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I hit the beach today in hopes of drum, spanish mackerel, bluefish or something with fins. All I got was a sunburn and sand everywhere.
It wasn't a total loss. The day was beautiful and the kids had fun playing in the surf.
I've been kind of a lurker when it comes to Tenkara. I read articles here and there and watch videos from time to time but to tell you the truth I had a hard time buying in on it. The technique to me looked like a fancy way to cane pole fish. The rods aren't what I'd call cheap either. It seems hard to find one under $100. As I've researched more about Tenkara I started to understand and agree with the techniques. There are some advantages. With a long rod you can extend over currents and make casts easier than you can with a western style fly rod. Why don't you just get a really long western style fly rod you say? I could do that but Tenkara has another advantage there. Tenkara rods telescope allowing you to extend and retract the rod depending on the situation. That's something you just can't do with a traditional fly rod. Sierra Trading Post recently had a deal on Wetfly's Back Country Tenkara Package. You get the rod, case, line, leader even a box of flies for under $120. I couldn't find many reviews on this package but I decided to pull the trigger and try it out. I think Tenkara can be a great thing to use with the kids. The rod takes out the confusing and sometimes very frustrating line control issues beginners fight with when learning fly fishing. With Tenkara they can focus on just casting. I'll definitely post reviews of the rod and how it performs later this year.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I haven't been posting much because every time I plan to go fishing the weather has not cooperated. I don't mind fishing in the rain but storms lately have been accompanied by plenty of lightning and torrential downpours. This chart gives a picture of what the last month has been.
You're reading that right. Almost 14inches of rain in 30 days. I haven't even attempted to make a cast in that time. I'm hoping to change that this weekend. The weather forecast looks amazing.
Monday, July 28, 2014
I had been anticipating camping with my kids since they were born. I wasn't sure what age is the right age to take them on their first trip. My wife and I decided to do a test run by going one day over a weekend. I have fished Stone Mountain State Park several times but never camped there. The day we arrived at the campground I was really impressed with the quality of the campsites and bathrooms. The bathrooms were cleaner than some of the hotels I've stayed in. We made camp and started a fire. This where I started to realize what this trip was going to be all about. Instead of just enjoying everything this experience was going to be about teaching the kids what they can and can't do while camping.
The first was to teach them that fire is something dangerous and not something you play with. This was actually harder than I thought. The kids were constantly getting too close to the fire ring. Especially when they were chasing each other around the campsite.
I was sure someone was going to be impaled with a skewer but we managed to roast marshmallows and cook hot dogs without any incidents. My wife got these giant marshmallows that were almost too big for smores. They were a meal in themselves.
The next day we decided to go for a hike. My wife and I didn't sleep that well due to our air mattress not inflating. She did buy some small 1/4 inch foam pads for the kids and we tried those as a substitute. It didn't work and we spent the night tossing and turning. She ended up sleeping in the car. Even with the bad nights sleep we rallied and went for a hike.
Stone mtn is a impressive sight. The wall looks almost vertical but from a distance you can see the mtn is actually a rock dome. Many rock climbers from the surrounding area come here to test their skills.
My daughter wanted to climb this so bad and it took me constantly berating her to keep her from attempting an ascent. The plan was to hit a natural water slide after the hike. My wife twisted her ankle pretty bad on the hike back to the car. She could still walk but it was obvious she was in pain. I made a walking stick for her and of course the kids bugged me to make them one of their own.
This seemed like a good idea until the walking sticks became guns and later swords. The walking sticks ended up back in the forest before the hike was over.
The water slide was part of a small waterfall. The upper falls have a pretty spectacular view.
My daughter begged me to go down the water slide with her but it looked pretty bumpy. I heard from other hikers that people usually bring something plastic to sit on to protect their rear. We ended up just playing at the base of the falls and the kids had plenty of fun.
When we were about to leave my daughter was yelling about an orange lizard.
I have been looking for one of these newts for years. The last place I'd expect to find one is by a popular swimming hole. The color of these creatures is amazing. You'd think the vibrant color would make them vulnerable to predators. The color actually indicates the newt is toxic. Various times on the trail we came across some mushrooms that had the same color.
I wonder if this is a coincidence or if the salamanders feed on these mushrooms. I think even with our mishaps the camping trip was a success. On the drive back home my kids asked if we can go camping again and stay longer next time.
Monday, June 30, 2014
My buddy Troy asked me to fish with him last weekend. There's some people who just have a special knack for catching fish. Some call it mojo, sixth sense, a gift or the Troy Factor. Doesn't matter what you call it Troy has it. Fishing with him is a privilege and I try to jump on every opportunity I get. Storms were threatening in the forecast but we still hit the marshes early.
The marshes off North Carolina's coast have a beauty all of their own. It can really only be appreciated up close and personal by paddling slowly. At first glance the marsh looks like a prairie with several creeks flowing through it. It doesn't take long for you to realize the still view you see above the water is the opposite of what's happening underneath. You'll constantly see bait and shrimp busting the surface fleeing from a predator. Wakes from creatures moving under the surface disturb eddies and grass lines. Every now an then you hear a splash or see an eruption of bait fish as a red drum attacks. There's so much prey in these marshes it's amazing that a fish ever hits a fly. What's great about this place is everything looks fishy. Around every bend is another pool, oyster bed or small cove that has bustling movement.
Stealth is the name of the game and long casts are usually needed. Especially if the water is calm. In the summer the water is murky and it's hard to see even a foot into the water. The water isn't dirty it's visibility is clouded by plankton. We saw several fish moving through the shallows but none seemed eager to chase a fly. While blind casting near a bank I had my first real hit. The fish didn't seem very large at first. Then as it got closer to the boat it bolted. My reel screamed and I had to slow the rotations with my palm.
One thing you can count on with reds is a battle. They never just surrender and come in. The runs are fast and furious and you need to be on your toes. This fish circled the boat a few times before we could finally land it.
If I had a list of top 10 fish to catch with flies red drum might just top the list. I don't think anyone who catches a red drum ever forgets it.
The next day we hit the Neuse River in search of striped bass.
Rumor had it that the fish were hitting top water lures and we were all armed with stealth bombers. There was one hit with in the first 10min then no other action. We moved to the bridges to see if the fish were holding near structure.
Cruising towards the bridge the views were spectacular. Once we got there we looked for birds working and signs of fish activity. It didn't take long until we saw birds hovering over fish busting bait. I've seen birds bust bait before but never this close.
The birds and bait seemed to move all around the area. Sometimes the bait was pushed right against the boat and shad almost jumped up on the deck. The birds would get in a feeding frenzy and seemed to disregard our presence. There were so many that it started to interfere with casting.
We weren't sure what to do when a buddy hooked one of the birds,
Luckily the bird just had the leader wrapped around its wing. When it came close the leader loosened enough for the bird to free itself and it flew away unharmed. The fish chasing the shad turned out to be small stripers also called schoolies. Most were barely 12 inches. I'm guessing these fish were barely 2yrs old. Even with their size they were very fun to catch. We could almost predict our hook ups with what showed on the fish finder. The screen would literally turn black. The schoolies were fun but we wanted to explore up another river.
A family of osprey greeted us at the mouth of the river. It was neat how the scenery changed from a wide river with intercoastal type features to something almost swampy.
As we moved upstream more gnarled trees showed themselves and many had spanish moss hanging from the branches.
After people watching and checking out the scenery we headed back and had our fill of some more schoolies. It was a great day and I hope to some day return and explore this area more.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
When the water gets really warm and all the beds are empty I start dredging. The fish all seem to stay deep and won't investigate a fly on top. That's when I use something heavy with a lot of legs. I drag it across the bottom feeling every rock and stump. The strikes vary from slight resistance to a super hard yank. The really vicious strikes almost pull the rod out of your hands. I find the fish aren't as plentiful but the ones you manage to hook are a nice size.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Someone asked this question on a forum I frequently visit and it got me thinking. Many people go over various fishing techniques but not how to net a fish. Which is really probably one of the most important things to learn. It can be the difference between telling a fish story or having the fish available for further admiration and photographs.
Some say you should put the net in the water while fighting a fish then scoop it in as it gets close. I've had many problems with this method. I either have to drop the net because I'm so preoccupied in the fight. Then I spend too much time grabbing around in the water for the net blindly because my focus is on the fish. The resistance of the water itself is always more than you think. The current can make you lift the net slower than you like, sometimes that one split second can give the fish a chance to flip a fin and dodge the net.
When I net a fish I try to do it in one motion. I bring the rod hand back and stick my other hand out with the net. I think this picture from the blog AZ Wanderings illustrates it best.
Netting a fish this way is very effective because it's done in one motion and after awhile it becomes a habit. Lifting the rod high gets rid of slack line and keeps the fish's head out of the water. This gives the angler an advantage. Of course this scenario is only good for fish small enough to net. I'm curious about other anglers philosophies when it comes to netting. So..... How do you net?
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Surf fishing is tough. There's so much going on it's hard to figure out exactly the proper way to fish. The current is going different directions the foam creates shadows and the current stirs up dirt. Many times you have no idea where to cast. I'm always hoping to see some sign that a fish is in a certain area. I tried finding beach features that stood out. Places where the sand created a crater or some kind of underwater dune. I figured fish might try to pin or trap bait in these places. I worked an area for awhile and used various retrieves. I felt a tug during on one of my retrieves and pulled in my first fish ever caught in the NC surf.
It was a little bluefish and it gave me the confidence to continue working the surf. I started to trust my hunches about where fish might be. Then I noticed some shadows that weren't moving with the flow of the waves. As I got closer I could tell it was a school of something. I was guessing bluefish. My first cast yielded nothing. The next cast landed right on top of the school. I waited a couple seconds then gave the fly some quick strips. There was some tension then the rod started to bob but the resistance was strange. It felt more like the fly was dragging in the sand than a fish fighting. As the current went out I saw a splash and tail slap. There was a huge disturbance and the other fish in the school bolted. The rod started to really bend and at first I wasn't gaining any line on the fish. Then I saw the tail come out of the water again and noticed the spot that marks a red drum. At about the same time the fish decided it was gonna fight. I figured no big deal I'm using a 9wt. I severely under estimated the fish. Every time I thought I had the drum under control it would make another run. It took awhile but I eventually realized I needed to get the fish into shallow water. I started to work my way back up the beach. The drum gave in after what seemed like 10min.
The fight red drum dish up is almost unreal. They have so much power in a small package. I've caught bigger reds but I can't remember any of them fighting like this fish. I used to think you could get away with a 5wt in the surf. This fish would have snapped that like a twig. My 9wt was perfect and even with that the fish torqued it good.
As I released the fish and watched it swim away I started to adjust my line and get ready for my next cast. I noticed a dark shadow coming my direction. It looked like a seal. I used to see them all the time in San Diego. Then the shadow moved in front of me and a fin broke the surface. It was a shark and it was swimming no more than 20ft from me. By the time I knew it was a shark it had spotted me thrashed the water and took off. The whole thing happened so fast it really humbled me. It reminded me how vulnerable we really are once we're in the ocean. I think that shark was investigating the area because of the drum struggling as I brought it it. If that shark wanted to get me I wouldn't have had a chance.
You'd think an experience like that would keep me out of the water but it didn't. I was having too good of a day. I continued to work the surf and after several hours of not even a bump I hooked my first flounder.
It was truly an awesome day. All of the fish were caught on a clouser that I tied. Even though it was scary it was cool seeing the shark. Before I left the surf late afternoon I saw a sea turtle. I have never seen once since I've lived in NC. It was so close to shore I could have ran out in the surf and probably swam with it.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
I've learned the last few years that dragon flies think your fly rod is one long dragonfly. I've had them land close to me countless times. Usually moving the rod scares them off. Today this one was determined to hang on for awhile.
This is an Arrowhead Spiketail and at nearly 4inches long they look like they can pluck a blue gill right from the water. There's something about dragonflies that I find fascinating.
Monday, May 26, 2014
My philosophy towards trout fishing is starting to change. Gone are the notions that trout are fragile almost timid creatures that shy away at the nearest vibration from the bank. These thoughts have been replaced by predators with the capacity to overcome prey with fierce speed and ferocious annihilation. There's two types of trout. Those that stay in the main water column and eat what they can. The others hide in the darkness and out of reach places. They eat what they want when they want. Usually they've been caught once or twice and their years of wisdom have made them leery about anything out of the ordinary. It's these fish that I've started to target and my enjoyment of fly fishing has increased tenfold. The small size 20flies and 7x tippet no longer exist in my fly box. 3x is the standard and as an added bonus you rarely lose flies. Big fish indeed want big flies and it usually takes something larger than 3inches to entice them. Even when you do the most you can expect is a follow. I have finally learned the difference between a curious follow and a chase. Then there is the ambush which is an unexpected flash that usually ends as quickly as it starts. Since I've started fishing this way I have seen more big trout this year than in all 10yrs of fly fishing combined. The method works and the fish aren't any easier to catch. The technique allows you to get a glimpse of the fish but doesn't guarantee anything. The game becomes about a well placed cast, proper retrieve and fast reflexes. The fish wins 99% of the time and the challenge just makes it more fun. For me just the sight of a 20inch fish trailing my fly is exciting enough. The visual part is what I love and I'm addicted to seeing more.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
I got out this morning to one of my favorite stretches of water.
All the rain recently had the river running higher than normal. I still thought the fishing would be great. None of the the usual flies seemed to work and I didn't see as many fish as I expected. In one fast riffle I managed my first fish. It was a chub and I think it was showing spawning colors. I've never seen one with red fins like this.
The water was pretty chilly and turtles were lining logs and rocks to sun themselves. It always seems like I see one or two of these guys.
I've observed water snakes hunting before and after doing so I'm glad they are harmless to humans. They are ferocious predators and seem to get any fish they go after. With the flow of the river I found it hard to figure out just what the fish wanted. I decided to try a fly that sank but didn't go all they way to the bottom. This proved to be the best tactic for me. In an eddy under a tree I got a nice surprise.
I don't catch catfish very often and it's always a treat when I get one on the line. This fish fought really hard and took awhile for me to get it to the surface. It was really the highlight of the trip for me. I spent the rest of the day enjoying the sites.
I only saw this in one section of the trail. I believe it's wild azalea. I wanted to try some but I'm a little paranoid about eating plants that I'm not sure of. I've heard some interesting stories about how people ate one thing they thought was something else and spent the rest of the day in the bathroom.
There was one pool just off the trail that looked amazing. There wasn't any easy way to get to it and the best looking access was this sketchy bank that basically was a muddy cliff. I found a spot that looked decent and I held onto a tree while I tried to work down the bank slowly. I went to put my foot down figuring that it was solid only to find I sank in about 2ft of mud. At the same time I lost grip of the tree and started to fall backwards. I kept waiting to feel the water and when I did I was surprised at the velocity I gained. I basically did a backflop into the water and it wasn't just a spash it was like KER-PLUUUGE! It wasn't that deep but I basically laid down in the water and soaked everything but my head. I let out a shudder kind of like when you get hit with a cold shower because you forgot to turn the dial. I was surprised no one heard or saw me. I was embarrassed and luckily only my ego was damaged.