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.

The next weekend after my fantastic fishing adventure to Florida, I spent near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.  My parents’ rented a nice log cabin between Gaitlinburg and Knoxville.  Kasey came with me as well.  Having spent the previous long weekend with the guys, I looked forward to spending a little time with the lady friend.

We left bright and early on Thursday morning.  On the way down we stopped near the Virginia/Tennessee boarder in a little town near Bristol, Tennessee.  We ate at a little BBQ stand, which offered up some great food at a reasonable price.  We ordered a BBQ sandwich, a deep fried pork chop sandwich, fried banana peppers, and fried pickles with a large Mountain Dew.  I know, this meal certainly missed the healthy mark.  Oh well, I thoroughly the meal.  I also received I speeding ticket for traveling 79 in a 70.  Needless to say, it was a speed trap.  For this reason alone, I will no longer view Washington County in South West Virginia the same.  We passed Damascus, Troutville, Bristol, and other cool areas which I plan on visiting for the excellent outdoor experience these locations have. Some other time, perhaps.

After arriving, we decided to eat with the parents, and watch the first game of the World Cup.  Brazil hosted Croatia.  With surprise Croatia proved to be the better side.  However, with a few questionable calls, a lousy showing from the Croatia Keeper, and the support of the Brazillian crowd, Brazil won the match.  Afterwards, Kasey and I left the beautiful country cabin in search of…shoes for her to wear to the wedding.

We looked, but alas, found none that suited her.  We did drive through Pigeon Forge during the night, which lights up like a miniature Las Vegas. I thought it quite an interesting town at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.  We also found some outlets, which, I knew would find their way into our following day.

Back to the place we went.  We were tired.  Kasey decided she wanted to hop into the hot tube before bed.  Having spent the previous week with the guys, I couldn’t resist.  She looked amazing… Sorry, lost my train of thought.

The next morning my father and I woke early to head to Gaitlinburg in search of a fly shop that could inform us of the down low on a nice place to catch some wild trout.  We stumbled upon the Smoky Mountain Angler. I purchased a day pass and he showed us a few nice locations on a map.  My dad dropped me off on a prong of the Little Pigeon up in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We snapped a few photos and told me where to wait for someone to come pick me up in the afternoon.  Then he left me with the river.  Sometimes, I believe I belong in them. However, I would find it difficult to live on one without proper shelter and modern amenities.  However, I digress.

Yes, the river and I met with great excitement.  I thought my fishing would consist of attempting to catch the local brook trout population.  However, on this day, I found only beautiful wild rainbows at the end of my line.  Evidently one needs to hike to the upper reaches of the rivers in order to catch the brookies here.  Again, some other time perhaps.  These fishies are slightly different in their behavior from the brook trout.  Where brookies sit on the edge of the fast moving water, the rainbows sit right in the middle of it.  This knowledge would have helped greatly. However, I only learned of it afterwards while reading a book, The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Guide to the Smoky Mountains.  Yet I still managed to catch a few.  The first rainbow I landed laid low in a large pool and hit my fly at least ten times before I hooked him.  I thought this strange since I usually fish for brookies and if you miss them in the first couple tries, they generally don’t hit the fly again.

First Wild Rainbow on a prong of the Little Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.  I think I used a Yellow Stimulator.  

The water in this river ran much faster, stronger, and wider than the mountain streams I fished so far this year in Virginia.  Therefore, I found it a little intimidating to start.  However, with a little recollection of what Harry Murray taught me, I realized that if I can fish the small streams well, I can fish the large ones the same way and catch fish.  The rocks on this river were quite large as well, and quite slippery.  I nearly managed to hurt myself a few times.  Luckily I escaped serious injury the few times I fell.

After seeing a lot of brown flies, I switched over to the March Brown and they slammed it! This bow took largest of the day honors.

I found great excitement in the rainbows.  Since I expected to lay into a few natives, I also, found a little disappointment in the catch. The rainbows were brought over at the turn of the 20th century by loggers in the area.  The exact date, and by whom is not known.  Since the native found their way to this area far earlier, with the melting of the ice cap at then end of the last ice age, I would have enjoyed pulling in at least one.  However, this ancestor of the Arctic Char escaped me.

I waited on a rock by the side of the road at the predetermined pick up location.  I waited here for a few hours.  I thought, well, maybe whoever is picking me up is just stuck in traffic in Pigeon Forge, or shopping with the very real possibility of losing track of time.  I waited patiently. I finally saw Kasey’s car.  She lacked the same calm, patient, tranquility that I possessed.  Maybe I should have injured myself on a rock.  Since I showed no signs of harm, she became extra anger with her inability to locate me.  We simply thought the pick up location to be two different locations.  In the long run, hopefully, no harm done.

We went to grab lunch and do a little outlet shopping after this.  However, Kasey brought me no footwear and I thought it wrong to walk around in my waders, tracking mud and water through everyone’s shops.  So I purchased a nice pair of Merrell  Barefoot shoes in black for $20.  I wanted to try a pair for some time.  However, I refrained due to the high sticker price.  Outlets are quite nice sometimes.

After we finished shopping without Kasey finding a nice pair of shoes for the wedding, we headed back to cabin and ate dinner with the my parents. Then we headed to Knoxville for a meet and greet with the wedding party.  The wedding was the reason for making this trip to begin with.

It took a little longer to get to Knoxville that we thought.  However, once we arrive and I saw some old familiar faces the long drive and tired eyes vanished.  We had a few drinks and chatted with a number of old friends.  Before we knew it the clock stuck mid night and we turned back for the cabin.

The wedding provided many laughs and lots of alcohol. Therfore, Sunday morning treated me with harsh brain pains and shakes limbs.  All in all it was worth it.


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