President's Letter - June

UCCTU’s spring trip earlier this month was a huge success thanks to Ken Mock’s organizing skills. Everyone caught fish and had a great time. I want to share an experience I had on the trip because it captures the essence of good sportsmanship. That Sunday morning I was fishing an unfamiliar stretch of water looking for pockets of deeper water suitable for nymphing instead of the flat, shallow riffle water that was more common in this area of the river. I had searched and fished for more than three hours with nymphs without a bite and was considering switching to dry flies in anticipation of the mid-morning sulphur hatch when a fisherman approached me from the trail in the woods. My first concern was that he would encroach on the water I was fishing, but I could not have been more wrong. We struck up a conversation and I mentioned my poor luck with nymphs. He made some suggestions, including small nymphs with purple in them. Then he said to try a puff daddy when the hatch starts. I mentioned that I had heard about this pattern but had never seen one. He offered to give me two from the flies he had tied the night before, cautioning me to load it up with Frog’s Fanny (a desiccant) from time to time to keep it floating well. Trout seem to like it best just after application. Then he proceeded to describe where the trout held and fed in the water in front of me during various stages of the hatch. Obviously, he knew this water very well. As he left for a shoal below me, he offered to rotate positions if the fishing slowed. He couldn’t have been more helpful. Although the hatch had not yet started, I decided to prospect with dry flies and tied on a traditional sulphur imitation with the puff daddy as the point fly. On the first cast a nice brown trout nailed the puff daddy. It was the beginning of an incredible morning of dry fly fishing until the water came up at 1:00. The trout took the puff daddy almost ten to one over the traditional sulphur nymph! Needless to say, the friendly fisherman made my morning by taking just a few minutes to share some flies and advice. Another incident happened just after my return to Atlanta. I had left a new fly box with flies in it at a fly shop Saturday night. When I called the fly shop Monday to inquire about it, Ben Walters, the owner, offered to send the fly box back along with a couple of new flies in it! After thanking him I gave him a fishing report and mentioned the success with the puff daddy. He said he would send three puff daddies with the fly box! This is the kind of service that deserves return business, so I don’t mind plugging Eastern Fly Outfitters, 423-538-3007. Experiences like this certainly enhanced my experience on the trip to the South Holston and made the fishing even more memorable. I look forward to returning to a river that has so many trout looking to the surface for dry flies. So Ken the Trip Planner…what are you doing next week??