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By woolly bugger
#701671

GSMNP / BRFFF Roundup

Good times!

so glad I got to go,

Fishing was great, but the catching was so so.

I worked a couple of pools way too long, and perhaps should have explored more especially on the second day. Those slick rocks made wading tough, and my knee didn't like it at all.

Ken's Dutch oven cooking was most delicious, as was both dinners.

I hit Palmer along the Pretty Hollow Trail and had to work really hard to bring some rainbows and brookies to hand, and taking pictures proved a problem too, with uncooperative fish. I was just past the horse camp when I realized that I had forgotten my old man stick. Almost went back for it, but decided to give it a go without, fortunately Palmer isn't nearly as slick as the other streams. The best brookie was about 9 inches. Then I fished up about 350 yards up Pretty Hollow Creek where the catching improved dramatically.

Thanks, Ken for putting this together! It was great to get away.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701686

April 27 2021
Gas Over and back on one tank... @ $2.45

sunny 56 - 84

since I invested in a TN annual license and they aren't generating on the SoHO, I went back again for more punishment.
I left a littler later than usual and planned to stay til dusk. I listened to the rest of the Letters from War, Washington Post Podcast on the way over. What I found interesting is a firsthand account of the battle for Kwajalein, where I lived for 3 years...

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Despite arriving at 10 there were plenty of spots to park along the river. I hit the area that I had planned to fish the other day, and chose the lower run hoping to fish the upper reach in the late afternoon.

It was pleasant in the fifties, not a cloud in the sky with the promise of a hot afternoon. Fist cast with the nymph rig (splitback with a RS2 dropper) brought a small brown to hand. I proceeded to work the water and bring brown after brown to hand. The I saw a fish rise on the far side across multiple conflicting currents. Then another rise. hmmm this might get interesting...

I scanned the water to see if I could determine what they were feeding on. I tied on a #18 olive comparadun with a trailing shuck and targeted the risers. The liked the fly!

I switched back and forth from dry fly to nymphs several times with different flies.

Several bigger fish were hooked and brought to the net and a few broke off or became unbuttoned.

Things slowed down after lunch and I was done by 4:30


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27931
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701739


PFF has resumed with numero 41! In the 22 years since this thing started we've only missed holding two of the bi-annual events, both last year due to covid

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I arrived Thursday afternoon and set up camp -- a number had already arrived and pitched their tents but there was plenty of space for more. I popped the top on some barley pops and decompressed for the rest of the evening catching up with the gang and making plans for the next day.

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Dinner was served and campfire was lit. Nobody fell in the fire.

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It was fairly cold that night with temps in the 30s.

next morning there was a beautiful sunrise but it took a while for the sun to warm us up while we drank camp coffee.


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Then groups of us descended upon the crossroad restaurant.

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Troutfanatic and I headed out to the soho to search for sulfurs and rising trouts.

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Finding gas was sketchy, I was able to fill up in Winston and I thought it might be best to top off the tank at The Store.

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Back at camp as the sun was setting, we had a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs.

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and we burned a lot of wood as this night promised to be colder.

the next morning sunny skies greeted us again.

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I made a beer swap with Eric Troutman (26 Acres) and popped the top on the Reptar Juice IPA before heading back to the SoHo for more sulfur action

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When I returned the crew was cooking the evening meal.

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Then more beer and campfire action.

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It wasn't cold Saturday night, maybe as low as 50.

Sunday morning was spent drinking coffee and packing up camp.

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Tim, Joe, and Jason floated the Holston for smallies and had a productive day.

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Jfey had a productive day on the Beaverdam with two good fish, despite reports of the river not fishing too well.

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Fred euroed the SoHo with his usual results.

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After packing up and saying goodbyes, I headed to the Beaverdam.
After cruising through Damascus to spy hippie chicks at Trail Days, I headed back to the river, but my Tire Pressure Light came on, OH crap! No cell service along the river. I pulled off and checked the tires, left front was a smidge low. I didn't want to park and come back to a flat, so I headed back to the crossroads to look for air. The other restaurant was open and I ran into Allen and sat down for breakfast with him before topping off that tire and then I headed back down to fish for a while.
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And that about wraps things up for PFF v41!

Somewhere between 30 and 35 peeps showed up and it was grand!
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701789

Word got out that there was going to be a low flow event during some work up at the damn dam. Dougfish sent a text saying he was headed out. I left a short time later after finishing some chores.

We were the only ones at the mirror plant....

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birds doing bird things...

The field was grown up and there was no clear path through the high grass. I made my way to the upper reach of the riffely water and jumped in. I tossed a rubber legs for a bit but then I saw some risers along with sulfurs popping off.

Tied on a #16 comparadun and targted a riser. boom!

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I then proceeded to put some fish down. The flow was a measly 42cfs at the dam with about the same coming in from a feeder creek. Low and clear made it tough.

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Dougfish was below me and I waded down towards him to stash my beer in the river. He came up and took a break for lunch and offered up space in his little cooler. We heard a couple of pileated woodpeckers along with many other unidentified birds.

We drank a beer and watched the hatch with fish rising steadily as the sulfurs continued to pop off. It looked like easy pickings, and I said to dougfish, "we should be fishing now, instead of drinking beer." As soon as we got up the fish stopped rising and the bugs were sparce.

I put a couple of fish down but saw another one that took the fly willingly.

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Then it was time for another beer.

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Shortly after popping the tops, we noticed the fish rising again.

I managed to pick off one after our second beer break.

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I was hoping to stay late as it looked like there could be an epic evening rise.

We sat down again and drank our last beer and once again watch fish rise. I picked one out and told dougfish to get after it as soon as his beer was finished.
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He made a valiant attempt, but the fish was not interested. He had to leave and left the water to me.

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As soon as he was up the trail into the field, I caught the fish he left behind.

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I caught another one shortly after that and I thought things might start to improve. But the water started to come up and that ended the day.


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five hours, five fish, three beers.

best part of the day was sitting on the bank talking to dougfish and drinking beer like old times...
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701835

Rhody called / texted and we were discussing the brood x opportunities that might be happening on the Yadkin River. I had been thinking about the SoHo and that’s what we ended up deciding to do. I was thinking that the little yellow bugs would be popping off in the afternoon like I had seen the week before. We planned to meet on the river between 9 and 10. I was out the door at a quarter to 7 with some cold leftover pizza and some hot coffee in hand. Tuned into the latest TailerTrashPodcast for the drive over. I made one stop for gat @ $2.89, which is a buck higher than this time last year. I called Jamie and we planned to meet at the fly shop… but they ended up not being open. I the past I recalled that they were open on Sunday mornings… We headed on down the road to an old favorite location and geared up while catching up, it’s been a while…

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Make hay while the sun shines…

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DSFK

There were a few bugs on the water and a few fish rising sporadically. I waded out and targated a riser and the knot on the “new” leader snapped. This 6x Orvis leader had been in the car for 2, 3, maybe four years, my bad for trusting it. I clipped off about a foot and tied on some fresh 6.5x tippet.

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Meanwhile Rhody stepped into his spot and proceeded to whack some nice browns, one after another.
I moved up into some broken water and caught some browns and rainbows.

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It was approaching beer thirty as the day was getting hot.

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More fish were caught and then we broke for a shore lunch. We solved a few of the world's problems and then got back out on the water, waiting for the bugs to start coming off in earnest. But that didn’t happen, and we decided a move upriver was in order.

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This is a
PHILOSOPHICAL IDEOLOGIES OF MORALISTIC INDIGNATION
DOUBLE INDIA PALE ALE
ABV 8.5%, IBU 48
COLOR; A GLIMPSE INTO THE UNKNOWN
from Burial Beer Company...

it's a big beer :cool

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We were hoping that the afternoon pulse would kick off a hatch but that came and went, and nothing really got started on the surface. When we moved, I had loaded Rhody’s rod in the Honda, when we got to the new spot, I grabbed the wrong rod and as we were walking in, I kept thinking that the rod looked short. Only when I went to cast did I realize that I had the 6.5’ one ounce rod. Well damn, I’ll give it a shot, better than walking back out and switching rods I thought and fighting the browns in fast water with a 2 wt was a challenge.

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We waited and waited and then Rhody moved on and I stayed and waited. Sat on the bank for quite a while and still nothing much happened until the sun started to go down. A sparce hatch started along with some egg laying sulfurs. It was enough to get fish to rise. However, they were mostly punes and picky at that. I got a couple of dozen to smack the fly but few came to hand.

AS the sun set, I moved on up to another run on the way out. There more fish were rising, and I saw a 20” brown come completely out of the water chasing a yellow bug. Damn. Now I’ve been fishing the same fly for the past 6 hours, and when I cast to a large riser the fish took the fly but it snapped off the 6.5x tippet. Damnit. It was about 8:40 now and it was getting difficult to see the fly on the water. But the fish didn’t have a problem and when I got the fly in the lane the fish would rise. I caught a few more and then it was really getting too dark to see.

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I got home just before midnight.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701846


May 25, 2021

Gas $2.99

Partly cloudy.. 66 – 74 degrees

I was headed off to fish, didn’t know where I was headed, just traveling down the road. I made a couple of decisions that led me off to a familiar stream. I had not been there in a while and the two weight was rigged with a stimulator.

I was the only one there, but as I hiked in, I realized that the park crew was doing some campground maintenance.

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I wasn’t sure how far up I was going to go, I hoped to perhaps reach at least the beginning of the gorge. I underestimated the humidity and despite the cooler temps I was working up a sweat on the hike in. Everything was a lot greener now that all the trees and shrubs had leafed out completely and the perennial plats provided a verdant carpet covering the forest floor. The main creek flowed strong but the feeder branches had become trickles.

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I started fishing at a favorite pool and caught a reluctant brookie on the tenth cast. I just knew there had to be a fish there, I was about to move on but I was glad I made those extra casts.

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I caught a few more fish, some escaped from my grasp, other threw the hook and one darted under a rock and through a slot to a pool below breaking the tippet on the way. One fly down.  There were only a few options as I traveled with out fly boxes, only carrying a puck which contained one stimulator and several humpies and a royal wulff or two. I tied on the stimi and took a break.

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Then it was back to work up the creek taking pictures along the way. The fish were mostly in the tails of the pools and they would drift back to follow the fly and try and snatch it just before it went over the edge and drop over into the next pool. Sometimes they nailed it, other times they missed or refused the fly.

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I was moving slowly, taking my time as I methodically dissected the stream. I was startled as a group of hikers up on the trail above shouted greetings. I waved back.

I caught mostly brookies, but an occasional rainbow took the fly.

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Some thing caught my eye, it was an out of place shape and I bent to pick it up. I assumed that some fisherman searching for the elusive 12” brookie had lost his ruler.

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I had been fishing for a couple of hours when I missed a strike and flicked the fly and leader up into a tree and then proceeded to make a tangled mess out of the whole thing. I was retying tippet and for some reason noticed that my pocketknife was missing. Oh crap. Keys were in the pocket and that was a relief, but how did I lose the knife. I’ve lost knives in the past but this one a Case XX Camper had belonged to my brother, and I’ve carried it almost every day since his passing in October of 2009. I was quite upset about this. I didn’t know what to do. I was up the creek a good ways from where I started. I thought about all the places they I had knelt down to release a fish. It must have somehow fallen out at one of those spots. Should I quit fishing and search for the knife? I went back down a way before realizing that I needed to come up from the bottom to retrace my path. So I came to terms with losing it and went back to fishing, thinking about posted a reward if found. Damn it, I couldn’t get it off my mind.

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The fishing was pretty darn good, and some nice fish were caught, but I needed to get back down before the light faded further now that the sun was below the ridge. I passed a couple of women on a day hike as they were hiking up the trail, they stepped off to the side with their dog and we exchanged greetings and they commented on what a lovely day it was.
On the hike back down, I spied a red eft, one of my favorite forest creatures to see. Four toes on the front and five on the back these brightly colored creatures always a welcome sight. Having emerged from the stream they live for many years gradually losing their bright colors and turning to more of a greenish hue as they age and return to the water as a mature adult.

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Reaching the spot where I entered the creek I began searching for the lost knife. I studied the creek bed and even stopped to fish a few of the pools. I worked my way up to the spot where a had stopped my first downstream exploration. I turned back, keeping an eye on the rocks below my feet as I retraced my steps. I had envisioned in my mind the object that I was looking for and how dark the sides of the knife are, but I was looking for the shape of it. Then, close to where I had started to fish, I saw the back of the knife shining brightly in the fading light of the day. I was elated. Lost and found. I couldn’t have been happier.

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I smiled the whole way down the trail.

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There was one hammock camper set up and I waved hello. I thought that I should probably spend the night there soon too. Reaching the car, I packed up and reached for a beer but all I found were some high gravity items that gave me pause and I hit the road instead.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701856

Rhody called, supposed to be a three-day two-night deal. I ended up arriving way late for day one.

Floated the watauga hoping to find some cicada action, there were brazillian of bugs in the trees but none on the water to speak of.

Sulfurs popped, fish were caught, beer was consumed.

Next day was really slow in the morning, but picked up in the afternoon when the bugs started poppin off. 


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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701868


Partly cloudy Temp 85* Gas $2.69

The local is fishable once again -- damn dam problems.

With the reduced flow I thought I'd check out the river and see if the Sulfurs were coming off.
Was pleased to see that the field was mowed for the walk across it to the river. I was wet wading. Would hate to hike in waders in this heat.

I stashed my beer in the river which is flowing at the ideal temperature of 46 degrees. Then I saw a fish rise and there were some bugs in the air. Wading is a bit dodgy at the higher flows and it took a while to find the fish and get them to rise as the day progressed the hatch became more prolific and more rising fish were targeted and caught, although a good number of them either missed the fly or jumped clear over it in an enthusiastic attempt to snatch it.

Unfortunately, I had to leave just as things were rally getting exciting. Back at the lot I ran into a guy from Chapel Hill who was rigging up a bamboo rod and hoping to see a spinner fall at duck. I'm planning to go back some evening.

photo dump:

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701880
rinses and repeat.... with the local finally fishable again you are going to see a ton of similar days on the water.

June 8 2021

partly cloudy 84* - 64* Gas $2.76

Since I had to reluctantly leave early the other night, I promised myself to go back and fish into the evening and stay until o'dark thirty hoping for a spinner fall. I arrived at the lot around 3:30 and made the trek across the field in the heat of the afternoon. I was wet wading again. There were bugs and risers when I got to the water, so I cast the comparadun which was still on the rod from the day before.  The fish were being a little picky and I missed a few, before I decided that I needed to lengthen the tippet. From about 4:00 to 6:00 they took the comparadun, but as the hatch picked up they refused it and I had to switch to a puff daddy. The sulfur soft hackle did the trick as well.


As the evening wore on the cool mist formed on the river and at first it was refreshing but as the sun was down behind the ridge it chilled my and my feet were becoming numb. It's one thing to be wet wading in 84 degree sunshine, another thing when the sun goes down and I was tempted to end the day, but the fish were rising, and it was getting stupid simple catching. Then I heard thunder and used that as my exit cue. I didn't stick around for the spinner fall. I hope to go again soon, and I'll be wearing waders next time.

photo dump:

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701889
Sunny to overcast to stormy 84 – 74 degrees

Gan $289

I was watching Tom Rosenbauer’s episode on euro nymphing with George Daniels and learned that either Tom is short, or George is rather tall, and that euro nymphing might be something that I’d like to try, especially on some particular stretches of water. So, with a $50 LL Bean credit and a 15% discount I bought a Double L euro nymph outfit, being sold on the “newly redesigned, lighter and stronger” marketing hype.

I tied up some pheasant tail frenchies and headed out to the local to give it a try. Reel came rigged with euro line and a SA 2x leader and a tippet ring.

Decided to give the boat ramp run a shot and I tied on some 6x fluoro with a point fly and a dropper tied on with a triple surgeon’s knot. It wasn’t too long before I felt a solid tug and had a nice brown on.

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I thought I had it all figured out, but that was the only trout caught in the whole damn dam run that I worked for about an hour. One horny head took the fly but that was it.

On to the main attraction.

There was a truck parked, oh crap, I hope they’re not in my spot! I rigged up. Oh btw I can fit the 10’6” euro rod in the CR-V without breaking it down! I saw two guys walking out across the field and headed off in their direction. We had the usual conversation about bugs and fish and catching and then it got weird. After stating that they had been fishing this river for 33 years and I told them that I was a newcomer only have fished it for 28 years. So they started name dropping and hit upon Hiner, they inquired about his status at VT, they were somewhat dismayed when I told them that he was retired. Rob (or Ron) and Benny are getting close to retirement too. We parted and I continued across the field in my pant waders carrying two rods.

When I got to my spot, I unloaded the beer and water from my vest and placed it in the river to keep it cold. The walk in was brutally hot so I refreshed with a cold one, while I was drinking I saw a fish or two rise.  I whipped out the TG for a photo and got this…

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iPhone to the rescue…

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I went after the rising fish leaving the euro rod behind and proceeded to catch a few on the surface with a sulfur soft hackle.

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The weather was unsettled and for the next several hours I could hear the booming thunder on the other side of the ridge. I was humid and the air was filled with tension, the fog formed on the river and I expected rain at any moment.

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Then it was time to give the euro rig a try on a run that has frustrated me in the past. Cast and drift, again and again. I wouldn’t really call it casting, its just flipping and manipulating the angle or pull of the line as the flies drift over their targets. I don’t think I felt the fish take, I may have sensed a pause in the leader, something different than the bumps from hitting the bottom. In any case I had a fish on.

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Several more fish were hovered out of this run.

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In another spot I found the rainbros…

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Then it was time for a break.

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I was hoping for a sulfur hatch that had been coming off the last several times I’ve been out, but that wasn’t really happening now, so I stuck with the euro rod working different runs and pools and catching more fish.

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I slipped on a rock and took a dip in the river, sat down in two feet of swift current. My left side got wet up to my shoulder and water seeped into the waist of the waders. When I got my footing back the water ran down my pants putting a chill on the jewels and on down to the toes.

It was time for another break. This is from the dogfish boombox variety pack.

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I wanted to see if there would be a spinner fall or an evening hatch. I waited and waited, and nothing changed, in fact it was quieter with only an occasional fish taking an emerger. I was about done at 8 o’clock when I decided to go after a fish that had risen twice in the last 10 minutes.

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That was the last fish of the day. I stayed until 8:20… technically not past sunset but late enough for me to call it a day.

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I don’t know anything about euro rods, so I can’t say much about the Double L other than it gets the job done. I think it’s all about tip sensitivity (that’s what she said) and while I didn’t always detect strikes some of that may be learning curve. It played the fish well and protected the 6x tippet. Do I like euro nymphing? Not really, but it does catch fish and may be more enjoyable than bobber fishing.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#701899

Cloudy 84 – 74

Gas $2.64

Weather wasn’t looking to good with a good chance of some strong storms later in the day, so I went a bit earlier than before. Since I was planning on staying a while I packed in some food and beverages. There was a truck in the lot when I arrived. Thought it might have been railroad workers.

Hiked across the mown field, they still haven’t bailed it, it’s gone to waste now. But the time I got to the water I was sweating and after stashing the beer, I popped the top on one.

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I saw a few fish rise and got the skunk off with a pune on the emerger.

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Then I switched over to euro. I waded out holding the rod in one hand and the beer in the other. I glanced upstream and noticed a guy on the gravel at the head of the run. I don’t know if I low holed him, or if he had just high holed me. I think he was giving me a evil eye. My bad if I was guilty of the encroachment. I put the empty can away and was getting ready to fish when I noticed I had gotten the leader wrapped around a zipper on my vest. I struggled with that and by the time I got it free the flies had become wickedly tangled. I worked on this for five or ten minutes, before cutting the whole damn birds nest off and started building the tippet / dropper rig from scratch. What a pain. Finally, with the flies back in place, I began to fish. I had watched a few euro nymphing tutorials on the tube of you and put some of those lessons into play. My “casting” or lobbing is now more directed and controlled which helped cover the water from near too far. I did manage to catch a few fish. This one was a particularly nice trout for this stream.

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I couldn’t choose between these shots for posted both…

After catching a handful of trouts I took a break before switching back to dry fly action as fish were starting to rise everywhere.

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The weather was unsettled, and I head thunder to the south and east, it threatened to rain several times, but I never had to break out the rain jacket.

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But the fish were feeding, and the catching was easy.

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I sat down for a while watching the birds feeding on the sulfurs and had a snack.

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Then it was back to catching. I got a text from slimeyhooker that he was on the way.

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I had caught fish all up and down this reach and it was, pornographic, over the top, lights out, fishing for an hour between three and four. I called the slimyhooker to get his eta, hoping he would arrive shortly before the hatch subsided.
But thing had slowed way down by the time he got to the stream. I gave him a sulfur soft hackle that had worked so well for me and he tied it on with 7x. Casting his newly built 7’6’ glass rod he finally got a rise and then broke off as he tried to hook set the fish into the field. Way too much pepper.

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I watched him for a while and then went back to euro and catch a few more fish before the end of the day. We were hoping for some late action and there were a sizable number of sulfurs floating on the surface, but the fish were pretty much ignoring them.



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We left at dusk.

I was good to see the slimeyhooker out and about, it’s been over a year, but things are slowly returning to normal.

The bottom dropped out on the way home. It was good to have some rain, but the drive was miserable.
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