Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Great Brown Autumn Sedge
3. Slate Drakes
4. Little Yellow Quills
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Crane Flies
8. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
New Daily Article Format
For the first time in a long time, we have completely run out of canned articles to
post each day. Coming up with 365 a year hasn't been a problem for us in the last
couple of years, but today it caught us off guard. We have been too busy working
on our Perfect Fly website and new product that's coming out soon.
I went back and reviewed our email pertaining to what people wanted to read about
and other similar comments made during the past few months. I think the most
outstanding request or comments were that we needed more basic how-to or
instructional type articles.
We had an email a couple of weeks ago from a young guy (I didn't realize he was
young at first) asking where he could catch bass in the Smokies. He said our
website was all trout fishing and there was nothing on bream or bass fishing. Of
course he is correct. He said his family would be staying at Cherokee on the Raven
Fork for a week in a Campground on Cove Road. He wanted to know how to catch
bass on lures and spinners.
Well, if I'm not mistaken, our website title is "Fly Fishing Great Smoky Mountains
National Park". He is correct. Of course, he was not going to be staying inside the
park but he was going to fish it. I send him a rely email and advised that he should
go downstream into town or even farther down the Raven Fork for good smallmouth
bass fishing. I also pointed out some lures that should work for him.
A week or so latter, I received an email from him thanking me. He caught some
smallmouth and some trout on the inline spinners and other small spinning lures I
suggested. Of course I also mentioned the delayed harvest section there near
where he was staying but he was interested in bass. He wasn't a fly fisherman.
I am not thinking about turning our site into a non-flyfishing website, but I am
thinking about the simple things that I often overlook. In fact most of my articles are
probably over the heads of most beginners. Many of them are on aquatic insects
and are written in such a manner than a good many anglers probably don't
understand them. After all, I am not a professional writer, and I often overlook things
that should be pointed out.
When I started thinking about all the video scripts I have written, previous articles
for this site, previous articles for our Yellowstone site, and the hundreds of articles
in our Perfect Fly site, it dawned on me that almost none of it is basic. The
articles mostly all assume the readers are seasoned fly anglers.
I certainly don't intend to stop writing about subjects that I think anglers should be
concerned with, irrespective of how complicated or technical the articles may be.
However, I am probably losing a lot of readers that simple don't understand things
like "use an up and across, slack line presentation to get your larva imitation to drift
drag free on the inside of the current seam". I doubt the kid or anyone who has only
been fly fishing for a short time would be interested in knowing that.
All of you know how I feel about fishing reports. They make good reading and are of
interest to those thinking about fishing, but should never be used for a strategy for
someone else. I do mention what we catch, where we fish, etc., every once in a
I could write about the weather in the Smokies each day but you can click on a
weather link as fast as you can click on my article and get far more information
about the weather in the Smokies than I would provide.
Now we did get many email request and comments about our "Learning Series" and
I do intend to continue that at some point. I just didn't want to over do it. I have
spent some time on new flies at our Perfect Fly site and DVDs on our Flyfishing
DVD site. I have been through some subjects on such things such as casting, fly
fishing rods, nymph fishing and other article along those lines, but not to the point
the young guy mentioned above would be interested in. Most likely, many anglers
who fly fish only a few times a year, failed to get some of my points, tips,
Now, it sounds like I am going to write a series of basic fly fishing articles and I am.
However, I have several hundred anglers that visit this site each day who probably
understand what I have written. They wouldn't return if they didn't like it. They don't
need to know the basics. I have been around the world and back with this article to
tell you I will be doing a little of all the above from now on or at least, give it a try.
I will do a short very basic article on fly fishing, mention any current event type
subjects I think are important, mention any trips we make I think may be of interest,
continue our learning series at some point, and maybe a little of what I have yet to
think of. Please, if you have any ideas as to what you want to read about, learn
about or hear my opinion about, by all means let us hear from you.
Fishing in the park:
For the last month and a half, the fishing is the park has been nothing short of
fantastic. The water levels have been high, but who could complain about that after
the drought period we went through. I don't like fishing high water because I don't
like fighting the strong current. There are always places I want to fish when the
water is high that are difficult to reach wading swift water. It can even be dangerous.
It can also be tiring. When it is high, it often is up close to the thick streamside
bushes and trees that you cannot penetrate very easily to fish from the bank.
Unless it is too high, the "catching" is usually much easier. The rough, fast pocket
water gives the trout less time to look at your fly and at the same time offers them
the security of depth. Rough water distorts their window of vision and allows you to
get closer to the them without being detected. Most of their predators are overhead
predators and when the water is low and extremely clear, they tend to stay hidden.
Approaching them is more difficult. I don't mind that challenge and in fact, rather
enjoy it. When it is low enough to affect the well being of the trout, I certainly don't
like that, so don't misunderstand my point.
If you haven't been able to catch plenty of trout 95% of the time you fished during
the last month and a half, you have be doing something wrong for certain. The
water temperatures haven't been low enough to slow the fishing. The lowest we
have measured was 46 degrees and that is not far below excellent. I fished a month
in Colorado one year and the water was never over 50 degrees. In fact it averaged
about 45 degrees. We caught several hundred trout. Ninety percent of the
problems with fishing cold water is in the angler's head, especially if he or she is
cold while they are fishing.
Basics of Fly Fishing:
Fly lines - Part 1
If you are just starting out, one of the most important things to get embedded in
your mind first, it the difference is casting a lure or bait with a casting or spinning
rod, and casting a fly with a fly rod. When you cast a fly, you are casting the fly
line, not the fly. The fly just goes along for the ride. It's the weight of the fly line
that you're casting.
Several years ago, Angie and I went into Florida Keys Outfitter's store in
Islamorada, Florida, to purchase a fly line and backing for a new reel. We had
stopped in Johnny Morris's Outdoor World there and purchased a new 12 weight fly
reel. I always enjoy seeing Hemingway's boat. I do all the business I can with them
because they sell my DVDs on saltwater fishing and marine electronics in all their
stores and have done so for many years. I have known them for years and will
always support them. However, I waited to buy the fly line, leader and flies I needed
to tarpon fish locally in the keys, to help support those guys.
We were on our way down to my close friend Frank Johnson's house in Marathon to
stay and fish with him for a week in his brand new Hell's Bay flats boat that was
supposed to be the hottest thing in fly fishing. Frank has always been another big
supported of mine. He owns the World's largest big game fishing lure company,
Sandy Moret, the owner of Florida Keys Outfitters and a well known angler, opened
up a fly box, pulled out the coil of line in it and said "Let me show you this fly line". In
a matter of a few seconds, he somehow shook it completely loose and threw the tag
end of the fly line completely across the entire store on the carpet. I had never seen
anything like that at that point in time. He actually cast it with his arm. He stripped it
in as if a tarpon was after it, and proceeded to show me the taper. I bought the line
strictly on his recommendation. He could have just put it on the counter, but he took
5 minutes explaining why it was the best line for what I was going to do.
I went to our car, got the new fly reel out of the box, and his assistant spooled
backing and the fly line I purchased on my reel. That has to be done just right on a
12 weight fly reel. For you new guys, that is a huge size fly reel made for big game
species and tarpon fishing. The backing has to go on very tight.
My entire point for you is that you can actually cast a fly line with your arm. I
can't throw it as far as Sandy did, but I can throw it a good ways. Try that with a
spinning or bait casting line.
The weight of the fly line is just about everything in fly casting. You don't start
out buying a fly rod to do such and such. You start out by deciding what kind and
size of flies you want to cast, and then you buy a fly line to cast them with. When
you have done that, you start looking at fly rods to cast the fly line you choose.
Many anglers, and even less than knowledgeable fly shop salesmen, do just the
opposite. They select a fly rod, then the line and then the flies.
Tomorrow, I will get into how the fly line weights are determined, and how they are
designated. We will also start getting into tapers. The first fly line I owned was a
level line. It had no taper. It was far more difficult to cast than a tapered fly line.
Remember, it is the fly line that you are casting, not the fly.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh