May 10, 2012

Fly Fishing The Smokies With Owl Jones - The Meat Grinder, 28 Step, & A Really Long Blog Post

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series.  (Part 1 HERE)


Most alarm clocks either play music or buzz.  On day two of the trip, our alarm was neither.

Oh, sor-ry, you are not with our group.
Do you happen to have mat-ches or A ligh-ter?"

Yeah, our alarm was one of the friendly cult members knocking on the tent flap looking for fire.  I suppose in all their fun the night before they were ill-prepared for the morning's brainwashing breakfast.  And they really spoke funny, putting awkward pauses where they didn't belong in the syllables of words...

It was probably okay that they woke us up anyway, we had a full day of fishing in front of us.  Two stops were on the agenda - both in search of wild brook trout.  First "The Meat Grinder," second "28 Step," which are code names for not-so-secret streams, but as a guest, I'm not one to reveal their identities.

After a little ride, we arrived at the Meat Grinder and was greeted by this...

A sign to turn away?  Beats me, but regardless we headed down the trail to the stream.

No more than 5 minutes after reaching our starting point, what do you think happened?  A Guy on a Buffalo sighting?  Nope, we wouldn't dream of being so lucky.  Rather the sky opened up and it flat out started pouring!

Milliam taking cover

The rain eventually cooperated a bit allowing us to fish some dry flies, but much like the prior day we didn't have much luck.

Cookie break

After a few hours of fishing every little bit of available slack & pocket water, the score was Milliam 2, Owl 0, Me 0.  The fishing was actually so slow this giant ball of foam stopped us in our

Nice hat Owl

Upon giving up on the Meat Grinder we hiked out (in a very, very, very roundabout way) and decided to head back to the car and get some lunch and pick up some local trinkets in nearby Cherokee, NC for me to bring home to Lilly.  She scored a sweet (albeit) cheezy and politically-incorrect Indian headdress.  I could actually write an entire post, if not a whole entire other blog, about the amazingness of Cherokee, NC, but I'll leave it there...for now.

A #5 served with a side of color coordination

After the brief stop in town, we were off to the upper reaches of the Smokies to fish "28 Step," a smallish stream that Owl guaranteed to have a ton of feisty Appalachian brook trout in it.  I kind of found the spot intriguing because it was relatively open and not choked by rhododendron like the previous two streams we fished.


"The water's so low...where's the water?"....was the first thing I heard when we arrived at our starting point. Undeterred, the three of us moved ahead, with Owl and Milliam allowing me to lead the way and drop my dry fly into the tiny little pools first.  For the first 45 minutes, fishing was slow...damn in no fish...but eventually, even a blind worm finds a bird...or something like that...

I was told this is "average" sized.  It's not the first time I've been lied to.

Heck, I even managed to catch another one when Owl suggested "tenkara-ing" a fly beneath a small foot bridge...the fly didn't stand a chance.

I believe we all ended up catching a few, but Milliam was the big winner pulling this trophy wild brookie out of a hole toward the end of our outing.

NICE fish!

After that, the day was pretty much over.  Milliam & Owl insisted on driving around for about an hour to re-live some sort of fishing adventure in which they got lost and pretty much had to spend the night outside and had nothing to eat but raisins (which Owl threw out).  I think he wrote a post about it once HERE.

Retiring to camp again for the night, we settled back in by the fire again, telling stories about ridiculous fishing headwear, blog posts that never made it to "publish," and yellow roller skates, RATT bandanas & gold sequin shirts.  Diagram below.

What might have been...

Oh, and of course, we were again serenaded to sleep by our friends from the cult of Smokemont...who it was now clear had gathered to wait for the mothership's arrival via the trans-galactic vortex created by the SUPER MOON!

Up next...the Nantahala...


  1. Great report, Mike. Guarantee of fish is pretty bold by Owl. Whenever those words are uttered on our outings it is most likely a guarantee of a skunk. Looks like the Owl delivered on that promise.

    Looking forward to the continuing saga...

    1. Yeah, I don't blame my guides though, one more day's worth of posts and then I'll consider this recap done.

  2. Actually, it wasn't until day 3 that the fish actually showed up. As for the rest of this post, it's Mike's first camping trip so I can totally understand the screw up - but T-Rage....what happens around the campfire usually stays around the campfire. Like Vegas, only without the neon. :) PS - the gold sequins should have been more glittery the way I pictured it. LOL

    That video of Milliam staring at the ball of foam was hilarious. I didn't know you'd taken that. Of course you know what he was doing, right? A: Trying to anaylize the forces keeping it in place. Engineers. Whatcha gonna do. Just enjoy a ball of foam, man! ;)

    1. Sorry Owl, I thought I was keeping the campfire chat references nondescript. Figured I'd let folks draw their own conclusions... :)

      As for the ball of foam, I was drawn into it's powers myself.

    2. It's Ok. I'm going to feature that outfit in my next video anyway. :P

  3. Damn super moon, spooking all the feesh.

  4. Who cares if you guys caught fish. Sound like you had a ball.


    1. I actually didn't. I may have made it sound that way, but the company was so good, fish were secondary.

  5. Looks like some beautiful surroundings to be fishing in. Sounds like it was a great trip.

    1. They really were, much different than what I'm used to.

  6. Glad you survived Smokemount. Whew! Wasn't sure, especially with giant foam balls, bad hippie music (I'm still going to call them that) and fish the size of...a peanut? Sounds like a good time in the jungle.

    1. Don't mock our wild fish, they have an inferiority complex.

  7. Damn, I was going to fishing today but I played the video of that freaky foam ball and now I can't move my legs. Help!