05/10/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Short Horned Sedges
3.    American March Browns
4.    Cinnamon Sedges (Caddisflies) (Abrams Creek)
5.    Green Sedges (Caddisflies)
6.    Little Sister Caddisflies (Abrams Creek)
7.    Pale Evening Duns
8.    Little Yellow Stoneflies -Yellow Sallies
9.    Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams Creek)
10.  Giant Stoneflies
11.  Light Cahills
12.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
13.  Midges

Troutfest:
Come See Us At Troutfest in Townsend,  Tennessee on May 15 and 16
We will have two adjoining booths - Fly Fishing DVD and Perfect Fly

Fishing Conditions in the Smokies:
The conditions of the streams in the Smokies couldn't be better. Everything is
excellent right now. The stream levels are good. The water temperature is great.
The hatches are progressing as normal. The catching is easy.

Gulf of Oil Report - The Real Damage
Who I Am:
I'm not a weekend angler. I feel fortunate that I have been able to earn my living from fishing,
boating and other outdoor related activities, enjoying everything I have done, for the past 30 years.
Before that, I fished the national BASS fishing tournament circuit but at the same time, I still ran
my construction company. From 1967 until 1980, I was a very young general
commercial/industrial contractor. The company I owned and its many employees built 27
schools, 2 college campuses, hospitals, office building, manufacturing plants, churches, etc.,
prior to 1980.
In 1980, I quit the construction business and started the first ever syndicated TV series on
saltwater fishing on a Mobile/Pensacola TV station.
I was declared crazy by every one that
thought they knew me.
The TV coverage area grew over the next two years to thirty stations, or
about half the nation and continued for the following five years. In 1985, I started producing
instructional videos on fishing, boating and outdoor related activities and until this date, I still do.
Since 1980, thirty years ago , everything I have done has been directly related to fishing, boating
and the outdoors.

The Problem:
The news media, government and BP act as if the oil spill that is dumping over
200,000 thousands of gallons of oil a day into the offshore waters of the Gulf of
Mexico poses a
potential problem to sea life. They speak of if and when it reaches
the wetlands, when it reaches the beach, etc. They act as if it isn't a problem yet but
may be.
Well folks, from day one the oil has reached and
destroyed a huge amount of sea life and is spreading and
destroying more sea life each day. It is now covering  
thousands of square miles.

My Position:
I'm not a environmental freak. I respect the environment as much as anyone but I
also believe in reality. Right now, the oil rigs are necessary. I hope other
alternatives come about one day, but for now, there isn't a choice. As with many
other things in life,
the oil rigs have given and the oil rigs have taken.. The
3500 oil rigs in the Gulf have increased the fish population by a huge amount. They
have concentrated the fish to where anglers have enjoyed huge catches. As I
warned in my Fishing the Gulf of Mexico video, produced 25 years ago, they can
also take it all away in a flash.

I mention this, because in the next few days I may sound like I am an environmental
freak or someone that has ideas about what should and should not be done that
goes far beyond using common sense. Please don't put me in that category.

What the Oil is destroying:
As I said yesterday, most people are completely unaware of what the vast offshore
waters of the Gulf of Mexico consist of. One reason is they haven't taken the
opportunity to go offshore and see. Gulf Coast Big Game anglers call these
offshore waters "blue water" because in the Gulf, the color of the offshore water
changes from an emerald green to a deep dark blue.

Most of the time during the big game fishing season "blue water" is anywhere from
thirty to sixty miles offshore. It covers the great majority of the Gulf, which happens
to be the roughly the size of the Southeastern United States. Usually, the blue water
line runs close to the continental shelf. There are exceptions, of course. The
offshore wind direction and mighty Mississippi River as well as other smaller rivers
that enter the Gulf, have an effect on it. I have seen blue water almost reach the
Panhandle beaches in some places late in the Summer and early Fall but that is
rare.

The bottom of the northern Gulf ranges from zero to about 300 feet or so deep out
to the shelf which is anywhere from thirty to a hundred miles offshore depending on
where you depart an inlet and your heading. At that point it changes (usually fairly
fast) to extremely deep water ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 and deeper. From Destin,
Florida, the shelf is sightly less than thirty miles. From Tampa, Florida, its about
ninety plus miles.

If you relate this to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it would paint a
picture in your mind like this. The mountain peaks are 6000 feet high and over.
Newfound Pass is over 5,000 feet but that's above sea level. The elevation of my
house is 1480 feet. In other words, the pass is only approximately 3500 feet above
Pigeon Forge. The Gulf drops off the continental shelf much more, about the same
rate of decent and ever steeper in places. If the Smokies were all under water, the
water from its mountain top peaks would not be as deep as the Gulf of Mexico, only  
forty miles offshore from Pensacola Florida.

These offshore blue waters are
not a vast, open range of nothing as they
appear to be on a electronic or paper chart. There's life there and lots of it. Most all
of the World's sea life is born in offshore water, not in shallow inland estuaries. Most
all the food in the World is offshore. Yes, squid, believe it or not, is the most plentiful
food in the World. There is far more squid than corn or rice. This is not to say the
inshore waters will not be affected by the oil or that they are not very important.
They will also be greatly affected. I will get into that but for now, I want those that are
unaware to know what the oil spill is affecting and has from day one of the spill.

I guess I can paint you the picture I see in my mind best by telling some stories
about the many, many days I have spent in the offshore blue waters of the Gulf of
Mexico as well as many other areas of the Western Hemisphere. These stories, like
all my writings, are done fast and quick with little writing ability but plenty of
information.

Story One: A night offshore years ago
I don't remember the year for certain, but approximately 1980 i had my first of many
opportunities to fish a big game tournament in the Gulf of Mexico. We stayed
offshore the night of the two day tournament in the blue water. When you are in
5000 feet of water, you don't anchor on the bottom. You use a sea anchor. This is
in essence a parachute suspended in the water. If you don't, your boat may drift for
many miles overnight. We were sea anchored offshore.
Since it was a new adventure for me, I couldn't sleep inside the cabin. I went outside
on the deck. The seas were flat calm. They were actually slick. I remember lying
down on the cover board of the boat's transom looking into the water. I thought I
was seeing fish but really couldn't see very well, so I turned the deck lights on. They
were very strong lights that lite the entire deck and sea around the stern of the
boat. We were drifting in a huge bed of sargasum weed. When I lay down on the
cover board and looked down into the weeds, I begin to see little fish. Most of them
were from about a half inch long to three inches long. I wanted to see a marlin or
sailfish, but I didn't or at least I don't think I did. I could only determine what were
baby dolphin (the fish, not the mammal) I could also see baby flying fish.

A little flying fish would be hidden in the grass and suddenly a little baby dolphin
would appear and get to within a few inches of the flying fish. All of a sudden the
little flying fish would go airborne for about a yard. It would escape the dolphin. I saw
this go on and on for hours as I lay on the cover board looking down into the weeds.

I saw many, many creatures I couldn't identify -mostly little fish. It appeared to me to
be exactly the same I normally observed as a fisherman but in a small scale - big
fish trying to eat little fish and other creatures I was unsure of. It was fascinating.

The sargassum weeds were full of life. I'm sure there were little loggerhead turtles,
crabs, sargassum shrimp, green sea turtles along with baby wahoo, baby tuna,
baby, baby sailfish, baby white and blue marlin, and baby many other things nearby.

I'm not sure exactly where that was. I just remember we were fishing off South Pass
Louisiana, in about 5000 feet of water. We had left Destin Florida, at midnight the
night before and fished down the steps to South Pass. Some of the boats were
anchored up in the Mississippi River at South Pass but we were offshore of there
sea anchored.
We were probably very near where the Deepwater Horizon is
lying on the bottom of the sea this day in time.

This link shows pictures of what I saw and of what the oil is destroying right
now.

Tomorrow, I will continue with the Great Smoky Mountain writing as I normally do, but
writing about the oil spill is the only way I have to lessen the mental impact of what
this entire mess means to me. We will hear plenty about the beaches, money, cost
of gas, etc.. Again, i want to write about what is right now a much bigger problem in
my mind. The oil is already in a huge area I am also concerned with - the blue
waters of the Gulf.
If someone poured thousands of gallons of oil in the
headwaters of Great Smoky Mountain National Park streams, a much, much
smaller area than the Gulf, all of you would readily understand why I am
upset about the Gulf.