Tennessee: Smoky Mountains Fishing and Knoxville Wedding 06/12-15/2014

The past few weeks came and went in a flash.  The Combination of constant travel, lack of sleep, and high levels of fun barely allowed time for breathing.  Trips to Florida, Tennessee, Connecticut, the World Cup, lots of fly fishing, studying for my GRE next month, and trying to get enough rest to make it through the following day seem to really take their toll.  Not that my life appears to slow down now, I simply have a slow day at work.  So, blogging resumes.

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Florida Trip: Days 4-6, June 7-9, 2014

With two great days of fishing, exploring, and excitement behind us, we woke on the final day of our trip.  George and I originally planned to head out before the sun rose so we could get the first bites of the morning.  However, with the sunrise not taking place until 6:30 AM or so, Corey and Wes decided to join us as well.  With the company of the entire group we headed north to fish some areas with 1 to 3 feet of water.  While the other locations proved shallow as well, this area contained very low levels, and relatively clear water.  You could easily spot little minnows and other aquatic creates of interest while sitting on the yaks. With such great water and the entire morning ahead, we thought that we were in for a treat.  However, two things created problems.  The islands we needed to reach for fishing looked much closer than they were.  Also, with so much open water and no breeze, the sun zapped our energy quite fast.

Little Snook on the shrimp line.  One of the only fish of the day. 

However, once we reached the islands, we found the bites few and far between.  I hooked into another cat fish and a small snook. I found great joy in the snook because, again this was my first time catching this species.  I hooked another snook (or so I thought) on the super spook junior. Sadly, this fish wrangled free. We seemed to be on the water forever and most of our time we spent paddling. By the time noon came around we decided to head back to our put in location and call it a day on the water.  With only a minimum amount of bites and even fewer fish the decision was unanimous.

After about an hour of straight paddling we reached to put in location.  Now, in the mid day heat and relentless sun we needed to break down the gear and load up the vehicles.  Certainly, high levels of irritability entered our minds and the loading process could not go quick enough.  We literally, poured sweat from every surface area of our bodies.

Once loaded up with the AC on full blast we decided to stop for some food and a rest at a local dive bar. The BBQ and Burgers were on special. For $6.99 you received either sandwich and a bud.  What a deal! We all enjoyed to break from the sun, the AC, and a solid meal (Other than Wes, he wasn’t hungry) we headed back to the condo to shower, nap, and prepare for the USA versus Nigeria friendly.

We watched the match at a dive bar called, Grumpy’s.  This quite possibly is the only dive bar in Naples. Although, they sold a large selection of nice craft beers. The atmosphere lacked passion for the beautiful game.  The crowd showed way more interest in the final race of the Triple Crown.  After a couple rounds and a USA victory, we went back to the condo to pack up, have some rum cream (a creation George invented; simply add rum to the top of your ice cream. I wouldn’t recommend it). The day could have been better, but we had a could of great ones before hand.  We also explored some new waters which I found pretty cool, even if we spent most of our time paddling.

Once again, exhausted from the morning on the water, sleep soon overtook us.

The following morning we headed out.  After a thorough cleaning of the condo and vehicles we headed to the Fort Myers’ Air Port to drop Wes off.  He needed to get back early  in order to receive plenty of rest.  After dropping him off, we headed over the the Bass Pro Shops located a short distance from the air port. The reason for stopping dealt with our desire to fish some mountain trout streams upon our return to Virginia.  However, and we should have known, the Bass Pro in Fort Myers carried nothing smaller than a 5 weight rod.  We needed something along the lines of a 2 or 3 weight in order to make the proper casts on the small tree covered streams.  We ate at a burger joint whose name escapes me.  The burgers tasted great.  Lots of bad for you toppings created additional flavors on the burgers.  Every once in a while you have to treat yourself.

We started the drive from Fort Myers around noon or so.  We made great time and pulled into my place in Fredericksburg some time around 2 AM.  I desire not to say we sped, however, if we were in a race with the traffic, we certainly won.  George fits the mold for what some might call a speed demon.

The following morning we woke, quite groggy, and headed above the fall line on the Rappahannock. He all had our 5 weight rods and since we found no smaller rods decided to stay and fish for smallies in Fredericksburg rather than drive a couple hours to the mountain streams with only two 3 weight rods for 3 fly fishermen.  After a decent little walk on the river path, maintained by the Friends of the Rappahannock, that leads to an old quarry underneath the I-95 Bridge we entered the water.  Snakes, we saw quite a few.  Some copper heads, some black snakes, and some brown snakes.  The brown snakes and copper heads look very similar.  My brother told me that an easy way to tell the difference while they are in the water.  He said, they both can swim, but the copper head will not fully submerge itself in the water because of the venom in their mouth.  Therefore, if the snake puts its head underwater then there is a strong chance it is not poisonous.

The fishing proved slow.  I found a nice run where the water looked about 10 feet deep and it flowed with a nice bit of speed compared to the rest of  the river.  I thought with the amount of food running through the current here, something must sit on the edge waiting for a tasty little meal.  I cast a BH Goldilox  and within a few strips saw a nice smally take the fly.  When I attempted to set the hook the line came loose.  I reeled in a little and notice that the fly came off.  At first I thought this could have been a snakehead with teeth which could bit through my 4x leader.  However, upon examination, I realized the fault for the loss of fly rested on my shoulders, or I should say, on my hands.  I tied an improved cinch not incorrect and therefore as soon as the tension increase with the fish bite it slipped. I felt quite ashamed.  Sometimes this happens.  One must simply learn from their mistakes.  I know that for a good while, I will pay much more attention to how I tie a knot.  There is little more irritating to know you did everything right, except the easy part.  George caught a little smally and we called it a day.

Corey headed back to Charlottesville and George and I grabbed a bite to eat before he made his way to New Jersey.  All in all, we experienced a great trip.  We went to new places, eat great food, bonded, kayaked cool waters, caught lots of fishies, and quarreled minimally.