11/10/09
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
7.   Helligramite
8.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
9.   Midges

Hurricane and Now Tropical Storm Ida:
If you are planning on coming to the Smokies later this week or weekend to fish, I
would suggest you wait until later today or early tomorrow to make that decision for
certain. It is impossible to tell what will happen with the amount of rain coming from
tropical storm Ida. The meteorologists knew this one would phase down from the cat
3 it was at one time yesterday because of the cooler water temperatures near the
northern Gulf Coast than those of the southern and middle sections of the Gulf.
Although this is later in the year, it still made me think of my experience with
Hurricane Opel in October of 1995.

At the time I was living on the West End of Panama City Beach a few miles from Sea
Side.  Opel was supposed to be a category one up until the roads out of town were
closed but it hit as a category three. I rode it out in a new two story home a block off
the beach. It blew all the roofing shingles off and damaged the house considerably.
Water came in at several places and ruined the carpet and Sheetrock walls. I
thought the 125 mph wind would never stop blowing. It was much worse than I
thought it would be. For about four hours, I was convinced the house would
collapse.

I had four boats in my yard at the time. One was a 16 foot ganoe, or flat back
canoe, that I used to get into small lakes in the Sand Hills area north of Panama
City. I put it on the front porch. When the hurricane was over, unbelievably, it was
exactly where I put it. It was stolen a week later by a hurricane work crew. My little
outboard was in the garage thank goodness.

I had a new 18 foot Ranger Jet Boat on a trailer in the driveway along with one of
my Porsche automobiles. I had three older Porsche cars, 2 in the garage with my
Harley, and the one in the driveway. The car got scratched several places from
flying stuff. I will tell you about the Jet Boat below.

I also had new a 25 foot Ranger Center Console with twin 225 Mercs on it parked
beside the driveway. I was afraid to leave it at the marina. It got only a small amount
of minor damage to the tower. I removed the radar and about $60 grand of
navigation equipment furnished for me by Raytheon, one of my sponsors.

I also had an 20 foot Ranger special marine police/coast guard demo boat behind
the 25 Ranger with a 225 Merc on it. It had special lights and other accessories the
Coast Guard and Marine Police use that were damaged some. I had it to run test
demonstrations for  Marine Police, Coastal City Police Departments and Coast
Guard employees at a National Safety Conference being held in Panama City
Beach. It took some minor damage also. Both the big boats, the Coast Guard demo
and a 25 foot Ranger (which had an 8.5 foot beam or as large as you can legally
trailer), stayed on the trailers and moved less than ten feet. They just turned slightly
sideways. My 18 foot Jet Boat, last in the line of boats, was still on the trailer but
ended up over 2 blocks from my front yard. It scarred me when I first saw the boat
after the storm. It and the trailer were standing almost straight up. It had a inboard
engine and of course, no outdrive. Incredible, it didn't have a single bit of damage.
It just wanted to get off of Panama City Beach. I also had an older 27 foot Sports
Craft, twin I/O boat that I had rebuilt at the marina outside on a storage stand. It
didn't receive any damage.

I will never go through a hurricane again. I put all my TV cameras, cases of master
tapes and editing equipment in a very large upstairs bathroom and wrapped
everything with plastic sheeting or it would have been damaged by water. It blew the
skylight off the end of that room. I usually had to pack all of my equipment up and
leave town. It would take a week to reassemble all of it after each hurricane threat.

All in all, I was very lucky. I lived on the Gulf and Atlantic Coast for about twenty-five
years and that was the worst damage I got out of weather. I had packed everything
and ran from hurricanes at least ten times prior to that. I had already run from one
that year and decided I would stay for the "supposed to have been" cat one. I know
this has nothing to do with trout fishing in the Smokies, or well, maybe in a way it will
have something to do with it today and tomorrow. We will have to wait and see how
much rain the streams get. It want take much to blow them out. The water table is
full right now and I'm glad it is although it won't help if we get a lot of rain.

Our New Shad Fly:
I introduced a new "Perfect Fly" Shad Fly a short time ago and sells have been
great and steady ever since. Anglers are reporting it works for fish we never though
about when we came up with the new pattern. I wanted it mainly as a trout fly to
imitate the threadfin shad common in lakes that get into the tailwates but it is being
used for many other species. Saltwater strippers, inland landlocked strippers,
hybrids, white bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass and several other species
have been reportedly caught on the fly.

The fly is fairly realistic and can be used just under the surface, or weighted down
and fished deep. Threadfin shad are native to the East but have been transplanted
in many other areas. They can get up to six or seven inches long but are usually an
inch or two long. They die quickly in cold water and often get through the turbines
of dams where gamefish gorge themselves on them.

Basics of Fly Fishing:
Fly lines - Part 2
As mentioned yesterday, when you cast a fly, you are actually casting the fly line,
not the fly. Different size fly lines will deliver a specific range of fly sizes and types.
You wouldn't want to try to cast a large trout streamer on a three weight fly line. You
wouldn't want a ten weight fly line to deliver a midge.

Fly lines have a core and a coating. The core is what provides the strength of the
line. Since fly lines have tapered leaders and tippets on them, they are always
stronger than the systems weakest point. You don't select fly lines by strength like
you would a spinning or casting line. You select them by weight. The coating is what
provides most of the weight. Fly line coatings have different densities that allow
them to float or sink.

AFTMA, the old American Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Association - now the ASA
or American Sportfishing Association, established a standard for fly line weights.
The weight of the fly line is determined by the weight as measured in grains of the
first thirty feet of the fly line. This first thirty feet does not include the tapered part of
the line. We will get to that shortly but it simply means that it is measured where the
line reaches is level line point where there isn't any tapered part of the line that is
larger or smaller than the main line. There are also tolerances that allow for
deviations. For example, the first thirty feet of a 5 weight fly line should weigh 140
grains. The tolerance range is 134 to 146.

There is an established scale that ranges from 1 to 14. A 1 weight fly line is the
lightest and a 14 weight the heaviest. There are exceptions for some special types
of fly lines that don't fit into the scale.

Well, we still haven't gotten into fly line tapers, which is one of the most important
things about a fly line. It can also be the most confusing part about fly lines to a
beginner. Once you spend a few minutes thinking about it, it turns out to be very
simple. Different tapers are used for different purposes and types of fishing and we
will get into that tomorrow.  

Remember, fly lines come is sizes ranging from a 1 to a 14 line weight. The larger
the number, the heavier the fly line.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh