Writings from the DRAKE.

4 Feb

An excert from the 2011 Fall Drake Magazine’s Fall Issue by Bruce Smithhammer.

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I’ve tied on something that would make a 3-weight double over, and I’ve fallen into the rhythm of swinging and stepping, flinging snap-t’s across two thousand cfs of river, the fly approaching the far bank before settling in deep for the swing. Let it fall too much to one end of the spectrum or the other and the critical balance is destroyed. A finger remains lightly on the line to sense anything out of the ordinary, like putting an ear to the train tracks.

There is no hard strike. No blistering run. No line flying off the reel as so often happens in stories, and only occasionally in reality. Instead, the fly just stops dead for a good, long, delicious moment of stalemate, which leads to a couple head-strong males with more hormones than brains, duking it out on either end of a line.

His colors are in stark contrast to the steel-gray and dull brown landscape. A numbing chill crawls up my arm as he slides out of my hand and disappears. It works its way up through my circulatory system, from digits to core, like some sort of frost vine creeping up my scrawny trellis. I know I’ve been at this too long today, and that I should leave now for somewhere warm, as it will take time and effort before my temperature returns to normal. The cold hurts but also feels good. This is training for a winter just around the corner. I’ll be thinking about this last brown of the year through the short, dark days; an ember at the core of an ebbing campfire that refuses to die. It is still fall, but not for much longer.

2 Responses to “Writings from the DRAKE.”

  1. Eric Clausen February 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

    Hey guys! I just watched your video of the Cranberry river in my home state of West Virginia. I enjoyed it and it brought back some very fond memories, as I now live in Knoxville, TN and am forced to fish the tailwaters of East TN and the GSMNP, :). I used to fish that river about 50-75 days a year.
    I just wanted to say thanks for posting the video and let you know there is an easier way to get to where you guys were. I recognized some of the water you were fishing. If you to the Cranberry Glades area and walk in from the “upper gate” it is much easier and will put at the top end of the C&R in about 4 miles. We usually do it on bikes and pull a bike cart.
    A few of my fellow fly fishing addicts are headed up there April 28th. You are more than welcome to join us for a weekend of fishing, beer drinking and cigar smoking.



    • CharlieMurphy February 18, 2012 at 5:14 PM #

      Thanks for the kind comments. That was from a long time ago it seems like. Ryan and I have talked about make the trek back down into the cranberry for some time now. Not sure exactly when we will make it back but someday soon. You are in a GREAT area now for tailwater fishing, there is nothing like Eastern TN tail-waters like the So-Ho and Watauga rivers. We wanted the walk in and walk out to feel more like a backpacking trip so we chose to take the fisherman’s trail in and the brook trout stream (?name) trail out. Shoot me an email over at whipfinish304@aol.com when the time gets closer and go check out the SCOF magazines tye one on-athon next week in Asheville TN.

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