Fly Fishing The Smokies With Owl Jones - Bradley Fork

Being a negligent blogger has its perks.  The main one is a little extra free time on your hands, which I took advantage of by hopping on a plane and heading South...to go chase trout with Owl Jones & his friend Milliam.

However with those perks, waking up at 3:30 AM to make sure you catch an early flight sucks...fortunately, the flight was pretty uneventful and I found myself in Atlanta pretty quickly.

Plane on the ground, and bag claimed from the carousel, I was picked up at the airport by Milliam...a mystery man I didn't know much about other than random references here and there in some Owl Jones' posts.  We met Owl at a carpool lot on the way to the Smokies, where we'd eventually make camp at Smokemont, what was once upon a time was a logging operation, and evidently now haunted...

Smoke 'em if you've got em

After a bit of a drive (cruising past Goats On The Roof and a quick stop at Chick-fil-A) we finally arrived at camp.  Thanks to the extremely lax out-of-season camping policies & Milliam's mad MacGyver skills, we got set up in no time...I mean the dude was tying all kinds of crazy knots in rope to tie on more rope to hang tarps on it...a quite impressive feat for a camping invalid such as myself to witness.  I unrolled a mean sleeping bag though, so I did my part.  

Where do I plug in the TV?

By the time we were settled in it was a little after 5 PM, luckily, the Bradley Fork was no further than a stone's throw from the campground.  

Foot bridge...really...

On the water, the scenery was beautiful (oh yeah baby), but the fishing was less than spectacular.  At least it just wasn't me and my lack of fishing skills preventing fish from being caught.  I think we fished for almost 4 hours and between the three of us managed one fish (Owl).  I was fortunate to feel a few swipes at my nymph, but no hook ups, so not even a fight on the end of the line.  I didn't mind much though, it was a lot of fun being on some new water simply taking in the surroundings.

Milliam
Yours truly not dapping
Owl

While Owl & Milliam used standard fly fishing gear, I used my 11' Iwana tenkara rod.  With this, I feel I must come clean and be honest, I wish that damn tenkara rod was about 2 or 3 feet shorter as I found myself caught up in the low hanging canopy and streamside shrubs quite a bit, even while casting sidearm to avoid them and all that good stuff.  

I dig tenkara and everything, but that may not have been the proper tool for the first day's fishing.  Maybe it would have been better on day two when I was a little more accustomed to my surroundings.  I'm no Ian Rutter.  (The comment section is below to bash this statement of possible tenkara shortcoming all you fellow tenkaraists; so have at it...)

Now dark, we headed back to the camp.  On the way back Milliam held off 3 separate bear attacks with nothing more than a plastic spork as Owl and I cowered in the bushes.  Okay...so maybe that didn't happen...it was really only actually one ambush by a disoriented, and rabid Liger.

An actual liger

Back at camp we sat down to a feast of deer meat, Texas toast, mashed potatoes, potato chips, Mountain Dew, and of course, chocolate covered donuts.  (Note to self:  don't put Owl in charge of bringing paper plates).  Bellies full we settled down by the fire, talked & joked until about 1:30 AM (Owl doing most of the talking), and enjoying the wonderfully creepy church music coming from the 40 person-strong cult religious group congregating at the campsite across the way.  Diagram below.


After being awake for 22 straight hours, it was time for some sleep.  With a lot of time spent travelling by both by air and truck, the fishing opportunity was relatively short on this day.  Tomorrow would bring another early start and more fishing...and possibly even some fish...well, ummm...

Comments

  1. This is awesome. Already!

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    1. Thanks Jay, my goal is not to disappoint.

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  2. Everything one would want on a fly fishing camping trip. So far, so good, Mike. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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  3. Ligers, Tigers and Bears Oh my! Looks like a beautiful stream and location. Standing by for the rest of the story!

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    Replies
    1. If only the liger we ran into looked like the picture above...

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  4. I'm afraid that I forgot to tell you about trying to fish in the jungle with the Tenkara...oops! = ) My favorite part in all of this has to be the drawing! Still laughing...The Squatch and the hippie choir. I didn't get that added bonus on my trip! Ha.

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  5. T! Oh...btw...Nice blog header. Where did you get the idea??? Lol.

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  6. Sounds like you had a great time

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  7. RD, they were anything but hippies. I have to tell you guys that Mike tells a story like no one else. While I may have been the most verbal around the campfire, he's hitting it out of the park with the report. ( Well, I didn't actually SEE the Squatch, but everything else is right on the money....) I can't wait until I get to read about his girlfriend at the Wendy's. LOL

    Oh, btw - thanks for making sure you put up a photo of me in my coolest fly fishing clothes. LOL :)

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    1. The camo must have been in the laundry. = )

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  8. Nice fire at your campsite. Is that a bacon pizza?

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    1. I wish. The taste in food left much to be desired.

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  9. So far I am liking your trip report. Your drawing and the liger cracked me up!! I can't wait for the rest.

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  10. Michael
    Glad to see you guys made it to camp and got the trip off to a good start. Is there a fly shop near by, that might suggest the pattern that would produce trout to hand?

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    1. Well I think his "guides" were trying every fly in their boxes. The problem was probably more related to a very unstable weather pattern and cold rain. At least, that's the excuse I'm using. :) Besides, Mike's fly boxes probably don't have a single fly that isn't available in 1000 fly shops. That dude carries some ammo.

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  11. Squathes and the hippie choir...a successful trip to say the least.

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  12. Wow, a Liger. Now there's two things to look for on my property. A Liger and Sasquatch. Fun post.

    Mark

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    1. Just chain up the trashcans and you'll be OK.

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  13. WoW....I would have love to been there to listen to the music....I bet it was amazing! Cannot wait for the rest of the report....more squatch sightings in the next?

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    1. Amazing would be one way to describe it.

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  14. Quality report. Please tell me that Liger pic really says peta on it please o pretty please! (:

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  15. T!, if you need a 2' shorter rod, I have just the thing. Works great. You might have liked the 3' shorter one but they're all gone now. Got a couple of the 4' shorter ones left. Can't call 'em tenkara rods, though. Upsets people.

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    1. What doesn't upset people these days...?

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