Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little and baetis BWOs)
2. Little Yellow Quills
3. Needle Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
4. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fly Fishing DVD - Part 3
Continuing this series of articles from the day before yesterday and going back to the Spring of 1998, Angie
and I, along with our cameraman Joey, were off to the Smokies to do some fly fishing for trout. As mentioned,
up until that time, except for two Alaska trips, most of my fly fishing experience was for other freshwater and
saltwater species. That was not exactly "just getting started". It included achievements such as catching three
sailfish on the fly in one day. Prior to that trip, I had never fished small freestone streams for trout.
I was lucky to have a place to hang out because my only brother lived in Laurel Valley near Townsend.
Actually, our first fly fishing trip in Tennessee was fishing with him on the Clinch River from his aluminum boat.
I had another big advantage. I didn't have to purchase any fly fishing gear and equipment. I just used his.
Now, he wasn't exactly happy about me using his Sage fly rod, boxes of flies, and waders, but you have to
understand I had the upper hand. He didn't seem to mind using my far more expensive fishing equipment
during many years prior to that time. He didn't mind messing with the precisely scale-set drags on my Penn
International reels. Each one cost more than a Sage fly rod. This doesn't include free trips on my saltwater
boats. He didn't mind turning all the knobs on 60 grand of electronics that I had to readjust after he finished
playing - all the time acting like he knew what he was doing. When he handed Angie and I his fly rods, all he
could say was "these rods break easier than what you are used to using". I'm kidding of course, because I
have always been welcome to use anything he had and the same thing had always applied for him. That's
what big brothers are for - to take advantage of little brothers.
Drifting down the Clinch River in his boat was a lot of fun. I actually managed to catch a few small brown trout
that most likely had recently been stocked. All three of us caught some nice rainbows. The day after that trip,
Denny had to go back to work. I carefully tried to explain to him that Angie and I were at work. That didn't go
over all that well with him but it reality, that's exactly what we were doing. That's what I did for my living at the
time and exactly what I had been doing for the eighteen years prior to that. So, the next day Denny went to
work and Angie and I went to work - fly fishing in the park.
My cameraman at the time, Joey, came alone to capture all the trout I caught on video. There was only one
catch to it and I mean that in more ways than one. As it ended up, Joey had the easiest job of all. He didn't
have to turn the camera on but twice and in both cases during that first day of fishing, he didn't have to
shoulder it very long either time. One trout managed to get off the hook before I landed it. The other one
looked to be about six inches long. All I could think of was the poor little trout wasn't large enough to make a
good baitfish for even the smallest of the saltwater species I was use to catching.
There I was, suited out to a tee in my brother's waders, fly fishing vest hanging full of accessories, casting his
expensive Sage fly rod, losing all of his pretty trout flies, and looking like an Orvis manikin that escaped the
showroom floor. I was fishing in a beautiful mountain trout stream setting but that had absolutely no effect on
keeping me from being very upset. At that rate, the odds of making a living from producing fishing videos on
fly fishing for trout were about the same as the odds of being mauled by a polar bear and a black bear on the
Joey, who had retired from the Navy after twenty years of service, followed along close by with the camera. At
the end of the day, I discovered the reason why he tagged along so close. The big 200 pound baby was
afraid of bears. He stayed so close to me, I accused him of spooking the trout. He did shoot some footage of
the beautiful streams we fished but as it turned out, I couldn't use any of it even if I needed it. Cigar smoke
was drifting across the lens of the camera to the point it appeared I was fishing in a forest fire. I came close to
refusing to pay him. Believe it or not, he had made his mind up that the bears would stay away from the cigar
smoke. He kept one lit the entire day. Joey spooked the trout. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
As I had done my entire life, I continuously tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. Before that first four day
trip was over, I managed to improve some but looking back at it, I didn't improve near as much as I should
have. I failed to pick up on a few important things. In essence, I was spooking the trout so bad there's little
wonder they survived in the creeks I waded. I'm sure many of them were so frightened they knocked thierselfs
out hitting their heads on the boulders..
I purchased some gear and equipment for both Angie and I and we continued to make several trips from
Panama City Beach to the Smokies during the next couple of years. All together, the first few hours of video
shot during that time span was worth very little. I may have used a few beauty shots of the Smokies in later
productions from those trips during the first couple of years of fly fishing the Smokies, but I still have never
used any of the actual fishing footage that we acquired.
During that time span we did have one thing going for us that was a big help. We could step out our back
door and fly fish for bass, bream and shell crackers even though the beach was only a half block away. A
lake was within twenty feet of our back patio. It and the six other lakes very near our condo had some nice
size largemouth bass and some giant carp. The carp were stocked in the lakes to control the grass. I would
fish the lakes early in the morning just about every morning we were at home. We also had miles of back bay
water with redfish and speckled trout very nearby as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
I purchased just about all of the fly fishing videos on the market at that time and well over a hundred books
on the subject of fly fishing. I realized I had a lot to learn even though I had made my living from fishing for the
eighteen years prior to that first day of fishing the Smokies. That's in addition to the five years spent fishing
the professional bass circuit prior to that.
I found out that my only other fly fishing for trout experience - drifting egg flies down the Kvichak River in
Alaska catching twenty to twenty-five inch wild rainbows, was an entirely different thing from fishing the small
streams of the Smokies. Continued
Copyright 2012 James Marsh