11/29/08

Fishing Cold Water in the Great Smoky Mountains - Part Five

Many places in the streams of Great Smoky Mountain National Park cannot be
fished using the short line or "high stickin" technique. Some are not easy to get
close to wading or from the bank and require a longer cast. Some are too wide to
reach with the Czeck method or "high stickin" method of nymph fishing. In those
situations you must make a longer cast and get your fly down deep and quickly, yet
be able to detect a strike.

One of the best ways to do that is to cast up and across and start mending your
line as soon as the fly hits the water. Use a larger strike indicator placed above the
fly a few feet depending on the depth your fly needs to get down to reach the
bottom.  You want to throw a large loop or coil of fly line upstream from your fly. You
must do this without it affecting the fly sinking. You pick up the fly line with tip of the
fly rod and then throw a loop or coil of line upstream of the fly. You form the loop or
coil of line by making a quick curve of the rod tip in an upstream direction. It usually
takes two or sometimes even three mends to get your all of your fly line above the
fly. You want the trout to see the fly well before the indicator gets to over the fish.

This take a fairly long cast that lands the fly well above where your think the fish
may be holding. You want the fly down at the right depth getting to the fish before
the strike indicator comes into view. This is fairly easy to do from a drift boat but not
so easy when you are wading or from the bank. The fly needs to be weighted  
heavily using split shoot placed a few inches above the fly.

This takes a fairly stiff rod. A fast to medium fast action, five or six weight rod works
well for this. You may need to make several cast to cover all the possible places a
trout could be holding in the deep water before changing your position.

This method works best when you are fishing a long run or deep riffle that is to wide
to reach using the short line method. It also works well in higher water that is not
safe to wade. Remember you are facing an additional safety factor anytime you are
wading cold water. If you slip and fall in you could be in a situation that is seriously
dangerous.

Most all of you have are probably familiar but I have found that often, people who
have heard of and even used the word "hypothermia" really don't know much about
how it affects your body and how dangerous it really is.

Hypothermia can kill you just as well as drowning can take your life. I learned in
annual National Coast Guard and Marine Police safety meetings that I attended for
a few years (representing a boat manufacturer) that many people who are reported
to have drowned, actually did so or actually died from hypothermia. You don't want
to fall into water that is very cold. To make it simple, very high body temperatures
are dangerous and so are very low body temperatures. After going through a
period of uncontrollable shakes most of us have experienced, one goes into a state
of mind where they actually feel warm even though they are freezing to death. The
results of that stage of hypothermia is usually exactly that - death. Keep your
wading belt tight around your waist and don't fall in cold water.


Copyright 2008 James Marsh