Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catching up--fishing pursuits

In terms of fishing ventures, I have had the opportunity to fish with Dad several times this fall with varying degrees of success. The best trip we took was to River's Way on the South Holston River in probably October. Fishing was slow but at least we caught fish. I got four nice rainbows and browns ranging anywhere from 8-15 inches. River's Way is a fishing club that Dad and Alan have joined with really nice water which is restricted access and catch and release only. You must have reservations because only 6 fishermen are allowed in the river each day. It was a very nice place and I caught as many or more fish than I saw anyone else catch on that day, so I felt pretty good about my technique.

Another day in the fall during a camping trip Bunk and I were fishing in the Smokies. We camped at Elkmont, my favorite camping area in the Smokies. Two cool things happened during that trip in addition to catching a few rainbows and brown in the creeks there. One evening on our way back into the campground from fishing in smaller steams, we decided to stop in the large swimming hole there at the entrance. We had tried to fish it earlier in the trip, but swimmers had moved in on top of us so we had to move. This time, it was a bit too cold to swim and we had this deep hole all to ourselves. I tied on a neversink caddis in yellow and then dropped off a fairly large, maybe size 12 or 14 prince nymph on a pretty long drop. I put it in the deep hole at the end of the little run there, but I was fishing from the top of the rock wall.
I hadn't been fishing but maybe 15 minutes when the largest trout I've ever had on my line hit and hit hard. Boy, did that fish fight. I knew I was in trouble though because I was fishing from the top of a 12 foot wall and I knew there was no way I could get that fish up that wall. As I fought the fish, I climbed down the wall as far as I could go, but that was only about 4 feet from the top of the water. I had no net and no chance to get that fish out from that far up. Sure enough, when I tried to lift the fish out of the water, my line broke. That 6X tippett just won't hold that much weight suspended out of the water. That was a heartbreaking fishing event. I really wanted that fish, but it was not to be, at least not on that day.
Black Bear like the one we saw near Elkmont Campground

Not far up that very same river on another evening this fall,I spotted a place that sure did look fishy to me. We had our poles still together in the back of the truck on our way back into the campground, so we pulled up and got out. I made my way down toward the fishy spot and Bunk went a little further upstream to what appeared to be another promising run. As I was getting my line ready to go into the water, I looked up to assess how best to enter the river. At that same moment a large, young black bear was deciding to go fishing in that same spot but from the other side of the river. I stood frozen in my tracks for several seconds admiring the beauty of this spectacular bear when it finally hit me--that's a bear! At that time, I decided to move quickly away from Mr. Bear! I backtracked toward Bunk and then started telling him about the bear. Needless to say, we let the bear have the fishing hole! But he was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen. Guess he thought that spot looked fishy too!

Catching up--the Bucket Brigade

The View from Schoolhouse Gap Trail

Not sure what has happened that has kept me from writing but I've missed recording several events that should have been included here. Shame on me! In terms of hiking I made a nice hike in the fall with a group of ladies from school that I certainly enjoyed. We dropped a car at the Townsend Wye (never knew it was spelled like that until I saw it on the trail sign). Then we drove another car to the trailhead of Schoolhouse Gap trail and began our hike. This is the same parking area where Kacey and I parked to do the hike with the Wildflower Pilgrimage group that year that took us to the valley that was totally covered with wildflowers. I'd sure love to find that little valley again.

From there we hiked to where Schoolhouse Gap intersects with Chestnut Top trail and made our way down again to the Wye. Along the way there were some nice views of the valleys and the clouds were laying around the shorter peaks which protruded up through them. It looked like islands rising out of a sea of white cotton candy. It was truly beautiful. Along this hike we formed a bond between the women that I hope continues to develop throughout the coming years. We call our little group the Bucket Brigade and our mission is to be sure we get to do the things that are on our bucket lists! As soon as we got home we created a Facebook group through which we can list our wishes and plan our trips.