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Memory Vault: One Long Day

1 Jan

The 2nd ridiculously rewarding thing we did on our trip out West took place on the night before our last day of fishing in Idaho.  Thank god (or your deity of choice) we all agreed to head back and hit up the hotel again for a good nights sleep, showers and a good meal.  I really just wanted to snuggle with Chris again.  This was probably one of the best decisions, unknowingly, since that next day turned into a LONG ONE!!  Up at dawn, no need to eat because of the massive portions from the meal we had the night before.  The HO was packed and ready to go so we headed for coffee, gas and then the quick hump down to the stream.  We fished pretty much all day, getting off the stream with little light left in the day.  Dropped off the boat at premier and took a quick tour of the Premier Oars and Blades shop with ? Guy who’s name I forget; he had a hat completely covered in used streamer flies and he let me pet him like a dog the whole time.  We headed for a quick bite to eat at a diner/gas station (Rockies) that had one of the best burgers that I have ever eaten in my life—bar NONE!

It was Ryan’s turn to drive in the daily rotation of things, Chris had backseat which would have been the place to be, and I had Co-Pilot.  Our destination was Cody which would take us in through the South gate and out the East gate of Yellowstone park at night………this should be fun.  The nice lady at the gate entrance who’s birthday had to end in B.C. told us to go the speed limit because the park police are always out (our white Tahoe looked just like-em) and the wildlife is always crossing the road.  She said, “Someone hit a bison a few weeks back and the bison won.”  About 3 minutes after leaving the gate a fox ran across the road.  Now I’ve seen plenty of fox’s in my life but come on this thing looked like at least 30 pounder.  It’s probably about 1030  to 11pm when we started into yellowstone and Cody was a solid 1.5-2 hrs away and we had to still hit up wally-world for a license and set-up camp.  Suddenly Ryan hollered out BISON BISON!!!  Chris and I both pooped in our pants a little and looked in Ryan’s POV and nothing.  He flipped a U-turn and headed back and the SOB was standing right in the middle of the road.  As black as NIGHT with a dull reflection off it’s eyes that really didn’t help reflect any light at all.  WOW those F-in things are BIG.  We could have hit that thing going the speed limit 35 or a little more and it would have done nothing but put the engine in our laps and just pissed off the bison.  He slowly walked across the 2-lane and disappeared into the darkness, like a big drunk dude staggering home from the  bar alone.  We made our way to wally-world, then backtracked about 30 minutes to camp.  Set-up shop and went to bed at about 3-330 am only to wake up when the sun hit out tents.  From this moment on in Wyoming it was a Trout Catching Marathon!!!!

This might be my favorite warning sign of all-time.

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Continuing Down Memory Lane: Lets See U Try This!!!

28 Dec

Part 1:

One of the 2 ridiculously rewarding things we did this trip was after the 1st day float, when we hopped off the stream early to go find and set-up camp.  It was Labor Day weekend so we were pretty unsure whether or not there was a camp site anywhere in the state of Idaho.  After passing a couple camps that looked like party central Ryan made one of his many executive decisions (it’s always good to have a decision maker and he has done right in the past) to push on up the mountain and see what is available away from the river.  We ended up finding a great site as far as camping goes that was close enough to a stream that we could fish that evening before calling it a night.   Well, we were all jacked up about fishing, since this was a fishing trip, that we set up camp and immediately hit the stream.  Now by hit the stream I mean if you would have fallen you would have literally hit the stream.  Since this 1/2 mile distance from camp to stream was straight down hill and by hill I mean mountain and by straight I mean a wide path of loose rock straight down the hill to the river.  We debated for a few minutes if whether or not the walk back out was going to be worth it or not, but the only way we would ever know is to nut up and go for it.  The walk down wasn’t all that bad, I think we all lost our footing at least twice, nothing was broken except for a good sweat.  Where we ended up looked like one endless rapid, as far up as I could see and eventually as far up as I cared to walk, actually it got faster the farther up I walked.  Like we saw from above it was a beautiful section of water and awful fishy looking.  But it was way to fast to get out into any of the current breaks, but fishing the seams closer to the bank did turn out to be somewhat productive for all of us.  I would guess we landed 20-30 fish between us all in the 2-3 hrs we fished, I know Ryan got into a good pocket way down stream and Chris and I eventually found a couple good runs, but this was a stream that was primed for a good float.  Hence the wide path straight off the mountain I would assume.  I couldn’t imagine roping a raft or anything off that mountain.  The fishing must have been other-worldly at some point in time for that path to be there.

The only thing worse than the walk in was of course the walk out.  I bet it took me 45 min to an hour to walk out.  Chris having the build and stamina of a small mountain goat beat foot to the top rather quickly and I think he tried to start a rock slide down to Ryan and I who paced ourselves together just incase one of us decided to give up and let nature have its way with us back down at the bottom of the hill.  I don’t think either of us would have put out a helping hand if Chris would have rolled by us.  Regardless of it’s torturous walk we made it back to camp in one piece and we brought plenty of picture perfect trout to hand once again.  Would I do it again??  I would think not but who knows, you know how that fishing sickness can get you to do things you body or mind would not normally attempt.

Purification

20 Mar
How can something so dirty, smelly, foul, rancid, putrid, ripe, so downright awful make you feel so much better?  1 word TROUT….ok 2 words WILD TROUT…….maybe 3  BIG FEROCIOUS WILD TROUT!!!!! (ok that was 4 words).  Another successful fishing trip is in the books.  Wasn’t a huge numbered 2 days as compared to previous trips, although I won’t complain about a 50 + fish 2-day trip.  This was one of those trips where on occasion I found myself saying this is F-ing awesome. 

Day one found me on the stream around noon-ish looking at great flows, higher than the norm but a pleasant sight to see since this stream has epic nymphing/streaming potential.  After a closer inspection it did have a little greyish hue to it, which is not uncommon for this stream after a good rain.  The CFS had been on the downslope for 5 days now so why it was still cloudy is beyond me and it was not something I had planned on dealing with.  Usually that color means this stream is shut down.  Now one assumes the color is because the all of the ground in Wv feels like a saturated sponge causing a lot of runoff still coming into the stream.  The day started off a little slow, I think because of my desire to nymph.  Once I tossed aside the nymph rod hit my stride on slinging streamers it was GAME ON!!!!!  Every fish I caught day one had a big fat full belly.  I had one brown came out of the water after a fly that was so fat he just belly-flopped on the surface instead of that smooth swing and a miss roll back into the water (if I caught around 50 in 2 days I bet I had twice as many swings and misses).

As you can see from the rocks on the wall this isn't the first spewage to be dumped into the stream. Maybe it's their version of hatchery feedings.

I really have no idea what happened to this picture.

Another WMD victim.

The next stage of my trip I found myself contemplating where to sleep.  My choices were to either make the 40 minute hop over the mountain and stay in a nice hotel with breakfast.  Stay 10 minutes down the road in a shit hole that I have personally vomited in and know of at least one other that has done the same.  Or, since I brought my sleeping bag, camp out in the back of my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  I chose the latter.  Why?  Well….I’m cheap and it’s not that I’m strapped for cash it’s just the principle of the fact that I know I can sleep perfectly fine in the car.  It’s cool outside, I’m dog tired and probably could have slept under a bridge (which I don’t recommend).  My wife was in Canada and with her upcoming trip to Italy we had planned practicing how or if Skype would work so I needed to stay close to a WiFi source (thanks Wal-Mart for making your password so easy to figure out).  So despite my parents and wifes approval I spent the night sprawled out in the back of the Prius with my sleeping bag and blow-up pad in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Slept like a baby after getting off the boob that had just been burped.     

Is that a Tarpon Fly in your mouth? I think so.

After getting micky-D’s breakfast I hit up a stretch of water that I have nicknamed Raul’s Miracle Mile (much more than a mile).  Last November Ryan managed something like 200 fish in 2 days of fishing this section with quite a few being over 16 inches and a few pushing the 22-24 inch limit.  So Ryan when that train full of bad karma finally smashes into you we will be sure to have this section of stream dedicated to your glory’s.  Thankfully the water had cleared about 50% and dropped about 6 inches so it was NYMPHING TIME!!!  After 3 days on the South Holston and Watauga rivers then my first day on this trip throwing streamers was getting old.  Plus my arm and wrist were starting to feel the effects.  Within 15 minutes I managed to pick up several fish.  When the bite cooled off I switched over to the meat rod and swung a WMD through a few zones .  I picked up a nice kyped up male that was sitting about 10 feet downstream directly to my left (rookie mistake not letting my flies completely swing out).  The next 7 hours basically played out like this.  Nymphing for a while until the bite stopped, switch rods and bounce a streamer, then move upstream and repeat.  The last hole of the day turned out to be the best.  After switching to the streamer rod, which I think at this point had a white/red muddy buddy on it, I had a massive rainbow come from the bottom and completely circle my fly.  One of those hold your beath mind blanking WFT misses.   He, which turned out to be a she, did this about 3 more times, each time a little less aggressive.  So I switched flys….olive muddy buddy….WMD….Black Muddy Buddy…..Orange/Yellow Tarpon fly, Yellow Muddy buddy, some angel hair pike fly.  Just before I decided to pack in up for the day I ended up tying on a 3-year-old fly that I got from where I have no idea.  I would describe it and show you all a picture but I think i’ll keep it to myself for a while.  Basically it was a black streamer with a REALLY heavy body.  1 cast and a slow strip is all it took and WHAM (an old school batman WHam SHazZam).  Great acrobatic fight with a short bulldog session and in the net she went.  Now I’m alone and it’s a bitch to photograph fish by yourself, especially a big fish.  The mark I made on the net later taped out at 24-26 inches but without a good picture I guess I have to go with a lower number like 22 since I have no evidence.  Regardless of its size a great fish.

Why would you walk down this road? A. To buy something illegal. B. To brush up on your arson skills. C. To get to the car quicker in order to fish longer. D. All the above.

 

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Tennessee Pusher

18 Mar

The camping gear is finally dry and the yota is sparkling, that means our Tennessee weekend is over.  3 days of slinging big chunks of meat on 8 weights would typically scare away the average fly fisherman, but with the thought of turning a 30 inch fish burnt into our minds it didn’t matter how much work we would have to put in.  I met up with Chris and Ryan friday around 2-ish for a late afternoon float on the upper So-Ho.  Ryan doesn’t need an introduction, no one likes him and he always catches a big fish bla bla bla.  But Chris has just returned to the States after serving our country, doing what I’m really not sure but i have a few ideas, and he’s glad to be back.

The following day we picked up a few players from the Drake Forum including the man who has touched the ass of every bass on the Holston River, Randy “Super Awesome” Ratliff.  With all 4 boats locked and loaded we launched all 4 crafts (1 hyde, 1 lavro, 1 x-13, and 1 clackacraft) from the campground and began to covered every nook and cranny of the next 14 miles of river all the way into Bluff City.

Sunday the decision was made to do some exploring since it was the weekend and it was absolutely beautiful outside which meant every guide and average joe would be out on the water. We were down to 2 boats and the 4 of us that were left could row and throw so we headed for an untamed section of the Watauga river for an 8 mile float.   The fishing was great all 3 days, plenty of fishing on nymphs and good but low numbers on streamers.  Just about everyone caught fish on nymphs, streamers and dry flies.   No one landed that “Big” fish although the group did turn some big heads which you could tell by the spontaneous outbreaks in loud profane language that could be heard up and down the stream. Including in our boat. I got to add a few more people to the phone list of fishing buddies and I can’t wait to get back down to the So-Ho for some low water action.

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UPDATE:  Today is March 17….got a call from Ryan.  Him and Chris floated the upper section of the Watauga again today and boated at 25 inch brown.  Be sure to check out AppFlyGuides for a report and pics soon to come!!!!!

Picture Decoded

4 Jan
After weeks full of attempts at decoding pictures success is………………well successful.

Photo By: Louis Cahill (the captain planet fan in the world!!!)

Photo By Louis Cahill

 This is why Kent dosen’t have any friends on the stream.

Somewhere…..over the Rainbow

30 Nov

Just another day in the Hills chasing rainbows.

Brown Town

28 Nov

A not so recent trip to a place desired by many and known to few.  Raul put on a show catching fish after fish after fish after fish…much like a donkey show only Mitch and I felt like we had been fucked somehow.  The only way to stop him is to hurt him or break all his equipment.  Which we have done in the past with little success.  Someone has a rufie coming to them in the future.  Best part of the trip had to be when I went searching for Ryan.  I knew the general area where he would be but I couldn’t access the stream but I could walk along side it.  After I spotted him I thought it would be fun to smash him in the head with a rock.  Ryan had something in store for me though.  As I looked over the ledge with a giant rock held high ready to pummel him he turned and flashed a monster brown at me, with a look on his face like a kid showing off his new bike to his poor friends at Christmas.  The fish is pictured below but the pic doesn’t do it justice.  If I would have just hit him with the rock I could have stolen all his glory.