I went up to the South Holston River yeaterday evening hoping to get into a BWO’s hatch. An when I got up there it was nothing but sulfurs and midges. Mostly midges but with tons of sulfur around the fish were rising to both!
A day that we could do no wrong. It is not very often that you have a day where everything comes together perfectly. The type of day that the fish cooperate and every fly that you pick seems to be the ticket. When those days happen you need to take advantage and really enjoy them. The only thing that makes it better is being able to enjoy it with friends.
It has been a few weeks since I last floated the Clinch. The rain and high water and possibly need for increased electricity had TVA running almost constantly. The flows are back to being conducive to floating and Doug and myself had the day off, so it seemed like a good idea to float. Coincidentally I had a new associate, John, start at the store and we invited him along as well.
We got on the water around 9:00am after having to weave the drift boat in between two bait fisherman’s cars. I don’t have anything against bait fisherman, but wish they would practice proper boat ramp etiquette. Anyways as soon as we got pushed off we started catching fish on dry dropper rigs. We stuck fish consistently all the way to first set of riffles. So consistently that Doug had landed 20 fish by the time we got to the first set of riffles and reluctantly handed the rod over to me so I could get off the oars. John had also landed a good amount, but was still getting some of the cob webs knocked off.
Doug and I continued to switch off about every dozen fish, which on this day didn’t take too long. Since John was the newbie he got the front of the boat pass. All newbies get this the first time, and if they fair well, they’ll get to row from them on.
Around noon we stopped for lunch and Doug got out to do a little wade fishing. I should say wet wading and for those of you that have fished the Clinch that is a cold proposition. While I was eating my sandwich I think I must have seen him land at least 8 fish!
Just as soon as we had pushed off John hooked up with a huge fish. All I saw was a gigantic brown tail flash as John set the hook. I thought this was the brown of a lifetime, but as it streaked by the boat I saw it’s big scales. It was a very nice carp. Although John had my 8’4″ 3wt Helios! in his hands with 6X tippet. I honestly thought there was no way we would land it, but I did my best to keep close to it with the boat as John played it perfectly. After a good fight we brought the bruiser to the net. Nothing better than a carp on a Midge with 6X tippet and a 3wt!
Just past Cold Water we got a text from Doug’s girlfriend saying that severe thunderstorms were heading our way. Honestly at this point we had caught more fish than should be allowed and we reeled in our rods and headed for the take out. We had been lucky enough all day and did not want to tempt our luck any longer. This had been one incredible day that will be remembered for a while.
Tips from the Trip: The rig of choice was dry dropper with and Adams size 14 dry fly and midge dropper. I don’t know if the dropper really mattered as the fish really wanted to eat that day. We used a red midge or the new Hickey’s Auto Emerger in Sulphur/PMD, both flies were size 16 to 18. Long leaders of 12ft and 6X fluorocarbon was a must.
Actually it was two confused guys on the water! We, my brother in law (Adam) and I ascended back up to the South Holston in search of putting him on a decent fish. See, Adam and I started fly fishing together about 6 years ago. I, was the fortunate one of the two who stuck with the sport and made it my obsession. Adam has, however, managed to keep his casting skills up somewhat casting to an occasional striper or bluegill every now and again.
Adam’s first catch of the day, average for the day! Oh, well there will plenty more where that came from!