This past Wednesday I chose to take the afternoon of and meet a buddy on the Clinch. I left work around noon, and it took a little longer than I expected to get to the river. However, I was surprised to see only one person wade fishing below the weir dam... This is usually a bring your own rock kind of place, so this was very strange. We figured that we had about 3 hours fish, so we geared up and hit the water. Before long we were wading out to our first spot, and Buzz hooked up before I even had my fly tied on. He yelled at me that I needed to get my fly in the water and stop tinkering around with my gear. It was all in good humor, but he was right. I quickly waded out and made my first cast with the fly rod in about 6 months, and was very pleased to feel the tug of a trout on the other end. I even took my stringer with me on this trip with the intention of keeping some fish for my kids, but that usually is the death blow on my trips. When I bring a stringer along, no fish are caught. The first fish was too small, so it was quickly released. Unfortunately, about this time I really was starting to regret not having my camera to document what seemed like it would be a fast paced day. This pace continued on for a while with rising fish all around, and we would pick up a fish every few minutes. When I arrived at the river I discovered that I was completely out of 6X fluorocarbon tippet, so I had to move on up to 7X (I couldn't buy a strike on 5X). This turned out to be a double edged sword as the smaller size enticed more strikes, but it also allowed three fish to break me off. Eventually I got things dialed in and managed to land a 15" rainbow on a very long downstream drift, and it was exciting to feel a good solid tug on the end of the line. What was most enjoyable about the trip was that Buzz and I were fishing relatively close to each other and were able to carry on a conversation and make jokes about various things throughout the trip. That is something I have missed over the past few years as either I fishing by myself on tailwaters or when fishing the park streams we are usually too far apart to communicate with each other.
I am now in the process of restocking my fly box with flies that I discovered I was out of, and replenishing some of those that were broken off while using my 7X tippet.
Of another positive note was the fact that this trip marked the first time I got to wear my new Patagonia Rock Grip wading boots out on the river. I picked these up over the winter on clearance at about 60% off, and was skeptical about their performance. I have lots of Patagonia gear and know it is top notch, but these were rubber soled boots and I didn't know how they would stand up to the rock snot in the Clinch. The night before I chose to only screw in 6 of the supplied studs into each sole, and I spaced them in such a way that I thought would best distribute my weight. My concern over previous studded soles is that they often left me feeling as if I was ice skating since there were so many studs that the rubber or felt never actually contacted the rock. These boots were quite possibly the most sure footed boots I have ever worn, or at least they were in the bottom type that we were fishing on below the weir dam. The next big test would be to try these boots out on either the South Holston or Watauga river with their perfectly smooth and round rocks the size of bowling balls. That requires a totally different walking technique, and would be a good test for these boots. Maybe I should take a drive up that way to give it a test, and while there maybe wet my fly line for a few hours.
Thanks for allowing me to ramble on, and until next time...
Tight Lines and God Bless