05/12/10
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
















LIght Cahills - Nymphs:
Like most mayfly nymphs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Light Cahill
nymphs are clingers. They live down between and under the rocks on the bottom of
the fast water runs and riffles. These nymphs require lots of oxygen and are not
found in the slower moving water.

Although it is possible to catch trout anytime on imitations of these nymphs, it is not
a good strategy to do so until it gets to within a couple of weeks of the time these
mayflies start hatching. The nymphs will move out from under the rocks and begin to
prepare for their trip to the surface to hatch. They hatch in the surface skim but not
in the fast water. They move or migrate to the closest adjacent slower or moderate
flowing water to hatch. This may be a few feet, or only inches, depending on their
location. They expose themselves to the trout at this time. The time period for this is
anywhere from the middle of April, until the last week of June. Imitations of the
nymphs will work from about two weeks before the first Light Cahills hatch until it has
ended. This will vary with the weather and the elevation of the stream.

When you anticipate a hatch is about to begin, or if you have determined it has
already started, you may want to try imitating the nymphs migrating from their
normal fast water habitat to slower, more moderately flowing water close by. If
the hatch has begun, you would want to do this in the mornings and early
afternoon up until the time the nymphs begin to emerge. Fish your imitation
heavily weighted, right on the bottom at the edges or seams of the fast moving
riffles and runs. Your basic approach should be focused on bringing the nymph
out of the fast water into the areas where the water is moving slower. This could
be pockets along the outside edge of a run. The current seams created by
pockets or slicks behind bounders is another place you would want to
concentrate on.

I usually place split shot about six to eight inches above the nymph. You want to
keep adding weight until you can get the nymph down quickly and keep in on the
bottom.

Short up-stream or up and across presentation work best for this. You can also
use the typical "high-stick" method of nymphing but I feel like short cast work
better. Strike indicators can be used but they hurt the presentation by keeping the
fly off of the bottom. Use a relatively short leader of about seven and a half feet. If
you make short cast, not over twenty feet long, and keep a relatively tight line you
can either feel the takes or see the end of your fly line stop or move unnaturally in
the drift.


















"Perfect Fly" Light Cahill Nymph


Gulf Story Three:
In the early 90's, fishing out of Biloxi Mississippi, I decided to run my 25 foot Center
Console Ranger offshore. The seas were relatively flat and that allowed me to run
the boat powered by twin 225 Mercs wide open at speeds over 50 knots. I wouldn't
run those speeds using radar, so we waited until daylight to depart the marina. I
went around the Chandelier Islands and out in the Gulf towards South Pass.  Once I
reached blue water, Rick, my fishing partner and mate, noticed some type of
commotion occurring ahead and slightly left of our course. I slowed down and
approached what I thought was a normal school of fish. I guessed they would be
blackfin tuna but I guessed wrong. It turned out to be a school of small yellowfin tuna
(5 to 10 pounds each) surrounded by hammerhead shark. I'm not sure how many
sharks there were because once they could cut an individual tuna out of the school,
they would dive or go out of sight chasing it. There were probably over a hundred
tuna. My guess is there was a dozen or so sharks that average about 200 pounds
each. We spotted eight at once time. The water looked like a giant hot tub with the
jets turned on high.

Rick set up our 30# standup tackle with two flat lines and two outrigger lines.  We
started trolling small Softhead lures. With the shark surrounding the tuna, it soon
became very obvious none of the tuna were going to come out of the school to take
our lures. I trolled closer and closer to the school. Our setup wasn't working.

I stopped trolling and Rick set up an 20# open-faced spinning outfit so we could
cast to the school. My boat didn't bother the shark at all. They acted as if we were
not there. The tuna sure were not worried about our presence. They were balled up
going around and around in a tight circle about the size of a small house. When a
shark would swim into the circle, dozens of tuna would go airborne. It was an
awesome sight to see.

I climbed up in the tower and cast a still half frozen balleyhoo to the tuna. They
wouldn't touch it. I had controls on the tower and could maneuver the boat up close
enough to hit the center of the school with a cast, but it didn't work. In fact, to make
a long story short, we couldn't get anything to work. The tuna were too focused on
the sharks and who could blame them.

Finally, we just stopped fishing and Rick came up in the little tower with me and
stated taking pictures. I got the video camera and started tapping the action from
the deck. It was something else to see, especially from the tower where you could
look down into the school of fish. I don't know if catching the small tuna would have
been half as interesting as watching the shark dinning on the tuna. The water
turned pink with tuna blood.

Next, we tried to get one of the sharks to eat our balleyhoo. We would hit them on
the backs and they still wouldn't take the bait and who could blame them. A live
yellowfin is a much larger and better meal than a balleyhoo. We just didn't exist as
far as the tuna or the hammerhead sharks were concerned.

We were in about 3000 feet of perfectly clear, blue water not very far from South
Pass. We were directly between the oil rig that is now on the bottom of the Gulf, and
the Chandelier Islands where oil is already present.
The area we were fishing is
now completely covered with oil according to the latest Coast Guard oil
coverage chart.  

Tuna must surface for air. With respect to the current situation, all I know for
certain is that if any small yellowfin tuna are in that area of the Gulf of
Mexico anytime soon, they will be floating dead, covered with oil.