Now that spring is in full swing, the fishing is really picking up. We have been busy fishing the creeks and rivers of WNC and E. Tenn. There are lots of bugs and the fish are on the lookout.
With recent rains and stockings, I hit a local fishery to do some exploring for an upcoming guide trip. I haven’t fished this stretch in a couple of years, so I decided it was time to pay it a visit. To my surprise the water was running a little low and very clear, so spotting fish was easy, however they were somewhat spooky. This is when it is important to use smaller flurocarbon tippets and use the surrounding foliage as cover.
Armed with a light tandem nymph rig I was able to pick off quite a few fish. I approached one particular hole that I know from past experiences can hold a decent fish. Just as I approach the tail-out, I spot what appears to be a large fish working a feeding lane. I watch him for a minute and figure out my best approach. Once I sneak into position I made a cast, to far to the right. The next few cast were ignored, so I inch up a few more steps and make another cast to the middle of the hole. As my flies sink to his depth I notice they are near his feeding lane. All of a sudden i see him move over and take one of my flies, I set the hook and he gives a violent head shake and heads for an undercut. At this point I see its a good brown and is hell bent on taking be under a rock. I was fishing a 4wt, so it was tough to keep his head out of the rocks. After decent battle, I was able to coax him to shallow water where i could admire him, take some photos, and release him unharmed.
One thing I can emphasize enough when fishing big fish is “constant pressure”. What I mean is keep you rod bent with good tension, but don’t horse the fish, let them fight the rod tip and wear themselves out. Your rod will absorb the shock and protect your tippet. Keep you drag set to where the fish can take line if he wants it, but tight enough where he doesn’t spool the reel. Use good tippet and check your knots after each fish. Also inspect your tippet periodically to ensure there are no damaged areas.
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