Showing posts with label Pisgah National Forest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pisgah National Forest. Show all posts

October 11, 2018

The Tenkara Campout: Damn, That Was Fun

This past weekend was pretty awesome.

I took last Friday off from work and headed about six and a half hours north up to the Pisgah National Forest for the Tenkara Campout, a small gathering of like-minded anglers loosely organized by Jason Sparks of the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook group.

Look, I'm not much of a camper, and thankfully, this wasn't hardcore camping. The Davidson River Campground has nicely manicured campsites, flush toilets, even showers. Plus, it's no more than a mile or two away from all the creature comforts of civilization, like a strong cell signal, Walmart, & Taco Bell (as well as the Davidson River Outfitters fly shop).

So when I got there early on Friday evening, I set up of my little MSR 1-person tent, quickly downed a bag of Mountain House turkey dinner, and then wandered over to the other campsites to find the rest of the crew.

Over in Hemlock Loop was where most of the evening festivities took place. There was beer, fly tying, storytelling, more beer, blue line mapping, off-color jokes, and even more beer. That went on fairly late into the night, until midnight or 1AM-ish. I think...

Jason, Dennis, Jeff, & Cain zeroing in on prime fishing spots... or just bullshitting...

Landis & the other Jeff two-fisting and rod gripping respectively...

Even though the Davidson River was super-close and recently stocked with all kinds of delayed harvest fish, a group of us decided we were going to head out a ways and tackle some off-the-grid wild brook trout water. Well, because a native brookie > a stocker any day.

On Saturday morning, Hugh, Jason, & I drove a while, parked the car, and then hiked in about an hour before we reached a beautiful, high-altitude brookie stream. The hike in followed a pretty steep trail, descending about 1000 feet straight down, but when there are brookies to chase, you don't really think about the difficulty of the hike back out afterward.

What ensued was just a bunch of rock hopping, short casting, fun. Hugh & I fished together, alternating runs & plunge pools as we headed back upstream, while Jason went rogue downstream for a bit. While there were areas where longer rods could be used, this was prime sub-300 class tenkara rod water. The shortest rod I had with me was the Nissin Royal Stage 320, so that's what I used, in tandem with a really nice soft-hackle kebari.

The rest was a blast. Hugh caught fish, Jason caught fish, I caught fish. It was pretty awesome. It wasn't a legendary day by fish count standards, I think at most we each caught around 8-10 brookies that were mostly 4-8 inches in length, but who grades their outing by fish count or size? Since I don't fish with fellow tenkara anglers too often, it was a joy not only getting into some colorful Appalachian jewels, but also observing others do the same.

Here are a few photos. Some are a little fuzzy as I've been experimenting using my phone in a waterproof pouch as my primary camera, but you'll get the point. This kind of water is what I live for.

Hugh working a run

Jason about to locate a brookie

Photo Credit: Hugh C.

And then the sky opened up. We fished a little bit more in the rain, but we eventually decided it was time to head back out. We had fished for a nice bit and still had at least an hour's vertical hike up to the car, and needed to conserve a little energy for that adventure.

Photo Credit: Jason S.

Back in the car, we recollected the day's fishing (and mountaineering) as we drove back to camp.

That night we met up with some other folks that had arrived earlier on Saturday (Rob & Kaylan came from Kentucky, as well as Bryan and his family) and grabbed a bite to eat at a local BBQ joint. It was great to get to know everybody a little bit better outside of a fishing setting. Bellies full, the campsite awaited for another late evening of campfires, beer, and storytelling.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to fish on Sunday or Monday. I had to leave early on Sunday morning to get back to Florida for the work-week... but I hear there was another day of epic fishing and camaraderie that took place.

While it sucked missing Sunday's events, Friday night and Saturday were well worth the 13-hour round trip.

Damn, that was fun. I really need to get back soon.

October 1, 2018

Tenkara Campout... Oh, Crap... It's Happening...

Once upon a time, it was merely an abstract notion, a date penciled into a distant future month, with no real obligation or sense of urgency, the Tenkara Campout in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina.

Then, you look up at the calendar, and well, all of a sudden it's the week of... And you find yourself ill-prepared, juggling your schedule to make the dates work, figuring out all the stuff you still don't have, but also rather excited for the proposition of possibly catching some trout again this upcoming weekend. Oh, and I guess sleeping in a tent and burning food beyond recognition over a campfire and stuff like that.

Get to finally break out the little MSR 1-person Elixr tent...

Ugh, pretty much filled this past weekend working on the Fall issue of Tenkara Angler magazine... so that didn't help the general state of preparedness either. Fortunately, the magazine's pretty much done, save a few minor odds & ends, and I hope to publish it either right before, or right after the campout.

Anyway, not certain why I'm rambling like this... I guess this is my way of not neglecting this blog amid all of the hustle & bustle, as well as telling anybody else who also might be going (and reads this blog) that I'm looking forward to seeing you come Friday & Saturday. Water like this is sure gonna look nice... and Lord knows I could certainly go for another dose of "Mountain Medicine."

September 4, 2018

Mountain Medicine

An escape to the mountains will cure what ails you.

Tree-lined trails

Rocks to hop

Cool, shady pools

Misting waterfalls

Bridges; both man-made...

and natural

The tools of a rod, line, & fly

And just enough trout

The perfect reset to close out summer.

Last weekend's trip to North Carolina was welcomed. There's just something soothing about returning to the cool of high gradient trout streams and spending some quality time with no agenda.

Solitude can be your best friend. A friend you don't get to visit that often, but once reunited, your familiar conversation picks up just where it left off.

July 10, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: 2018 Tenkara Campout

Fall in the Appalachians. Endless trout water. Camaraderie. What more could an angler ask for?

With the Tenkara Jam on hiatus for logistical reasons, this year's East Coast tenkara "event" will be a bit more informal in nature (which honestly isn't a bad thing), but undoubtedly fishy as heck.

Centered around Davidson River campground in North Carolina, this is a loosely organized gathering over a long weekend where everybody is on their own timetables and are just encouraged to grab their tenkara rods and go out and fish... and there's a lot of water in the general area in which to do so.

Per Jason Sparks: "Seriously, this is a snapshot of the public access waters for this watershed.
The campground is near where the red lines culminate on the right. It is silly awesome waters."

There's also been some early chatter that there will be some fly tying/swapping going on, as well as interest in some evening communal campfire meals (and I'm certain tons of story-telling). It's going to be one of those events where I'm certain you'll get out of it what you put in.

Photo: Davidson River Outfitters

Southern Appalachian Brook Trout  |  Photo: Pisgah Outdoors

I've got my campsite reserved... and I'm no camper, so this should be an adventure for me. Hope to see you there!

For more information on the Tenkara Campout, check out the event page on Facebook HERE.

For more information on the campground (& to make a reservation) check out their website HERE.

For more information on tenkara in the Appalachians, check out the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook group HERE.