May 28, 2022

Deep Creekin' with Spurky

It's been a few years since I've seen my old Pennsylvania fishing buddy Spurky. We had been loosely planning a reunion for a little while, and we were finally able to coordinate schedules and meet up a few weekends ago at Deep Creek Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

I had spend a few days at Deep Creek a few weeks before, as it hosted TenkaraCamp, a get together of tenkara anglers for a long weekend of fishing, clinics, and good times. It was helpful to set the stage for the trip with Spurky, as I was able to get the lay of the land (& streams), scout a good campsite, and feel positive that we'd have a good time.

It was really good to see Spurky again. (And not just because he was wearing a T! Party t-shirt). We were both a bit older and grayer, but the man still has a passion for fishing, so I was happy to play somewhat of host and guide and find some waters that fit his style of spinner and spoon fishing.


Not arriving at camp until after 4PM, it didn't leave a ton of time for fishing. So after pitching my tent, Spurky & I headed down the trail to go fish a few spots that I recalled looked promising. We didn't hike in too far, but we each found some pretty water and some really nice fish, including a solid brown I pulled from a riffle with the Tenkara USA Sato.


Friday was supposed to bring a little weather, but we lucked out and it was relatively sunny and gorgeous the whole day. We hopped in the car and drove over to Cherokee to fish on this morning. I wanted to take Spurky to a stream that I enjoy visiting, as it has a good mix of broken up pocket water for me to fish with my tenkara rod, while also being easily accessible off the trail and several deep, slow pools for him.

We spent a good part of the morning and early afternoon exploring the waterway, with us both having some luck with the resident rainbows. I found myself having a great time as they were eager to hit up top, so switching over futsu kebari as well as more familiar dry fly patterns seemed to do the trick.

Toward the end of the day we returned to Deep Creek and fished a bit more locally. Feeling the itch, I shelved the Oni Type III tenkara rod I was using earlier in the day and switched to my Orvis Superfine 3-weight fly rod just to get a few casts in. I caught a few small rainbows while Spurky ended up catching a really nice brown beside one of the bridges with spinners.

Before we turned in for the night, I did a little waterfall chasing (there are 3 somewhat close to the trailhead in camp), and I wanted to check each of them out.


Saturday, our last day to fish, was perhaps a bit bittersweet. Spurky was feeling quite a bit under the weather and not totally up for much of anything, much less fishing. So after checking in on him, he told me to go out alone. I visited another favorite stream not that far away and found the fishing to be good. Unfortunately, the weather turned around lunchtime, chasing me off the water.

Returning to camp and finding not only much nicer weather, but Spurky in better spirits, I followed him down to Deep Creek and just watched him for a little bit and snapped some photos. A bit of decompression for myself after a busy past few days.


Sunday was departure day, and the end of our weekend of fishing. We both had long drives ahead of us, so the camps were packed up and vehicles headed in separate directions before you knew it. It was certainly nice to see Spurky again. I hope despite that last day hiccup, he'll look back on the trip fondly. I mean what else can you ask for? We found good fishing, stellar conversation, and beautiful scenery. The Great Smoky Mountains certainly do not disappoint!


I also wrote a bit more about our trip from a slightly different perspective over at Tenkara Angler. That article was far less about the fishing, and more about just slowing one's pace to take in all that a fishing trip has to offer. 

Read "Taking it Slow" at Tenkara Angler

May 23, 2022

For Wild’s Sake is Back!

Hey, my favorite video series is back – For Wild’s Sake from Tight Loops!


They’ve been on a bit of a hiatus (haven’t we all, my last post here was over two months ago). However, they premiered a new episode last night, which was pretty awesome. Man, those Rio Grande cutties are absolutely gorgeous! 

If you enjoy this sort of fly fishing film making, check out their Patreon to support them on their future endeavors. 

I mean I just paid 20 bucks this past Saturday night to stream The Northman from home, and I can tell you supporting Tight Loops would be a FAR better investment of capital…

March 6, 2022

Me Time

Sometimes you just want to be alone.

I love my family, I enjoy the company of good friends, but there is nothing quite as refreshing as solitude on a headwaters trout stream.

A recent trip to North Georgia allowed for a lot of "me time." 

It's multiple hours of driving each way. One's mind can wander through an encyclopedia of topics as the monotony of those highway miles melt away the daylight. Racing your GPS's predicted arrival time can be a fun, but fleeting distraction.

You know the weather isn't supposed to be great. The fishing that "turned on" with the warmer Spring temperatures earlier in the week is forecasted to retreat, in favor of overcast skies, intermittent rain, and piscatorial lethargy.

But that's okay. Soon enough it's only you, and the omnipresent whisper of flowing water as a companion. Stepping beneath the canopy, it's soothing... relaxing... the perfect elixir to all that ails.

You fall into an almost trance-like state while meandering up the steep mountain flow, softly dropping casts into pockets of soft water, one after another after another.

Suddenly, you are jostled out of inebriation by a taut line and bending rod. A visitor bringing a jolt of adrenaline pays a welcomed, albeit brief visit. Arriving dressed for the occasion, you pause to admire their stunning attire. However shortly after your handshake greeting, they quickly, but silently depart.

People fish for a lot of different reasons. For food, compensation, entertainment, or even notoriety.

Growing up an only child of divorced parents, I was able to regularly explore the benefits of detachment, affording me the ability to stretch my imagination and independence on demand, without oversight. 

As I grow older, it's become apparent that I fish to immerse myself in that comfortably nostalgic feeling of being alone. No emails, no deadlines, no responsibilities. Only a seven hour drive for seven inch fish. 

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

February 21, 2022

Small Stream Reflections

Alan Petrucci (or as some may have known him, Brk Trt or Uppahdam) is one of the most widely-respected anglers and bloggers I've ever been fortunate enough to know. Universally loved within our angling community, shocked and saddened are poor descriptors of my feelings when I learned that Alan had recently passed away.

Alan was a small stream master, ever in pursuit of blue lines and "wild jewels" (brook trout). It was not uncommon that he'd punctuate his blog posts with a photo of a delicious meal, a bit of his writing trademark. We unfortunately never got to meet in person, but exchanged many emails and communications over at least the last decade, even swapping some flies and stories by way of physical mail. I considered Alan a friend, and a role model in fishing, fly tying, and writing.

I suspect if you're one of the people that read this blog, you have also read Alan's almost daily installments of "Small Stream Reflections" as well. If not, you owe it to yourself to do so. There are few writers in this digital format that are as proficient at summarizing the multitude of emotions and intimate experiences an angler encounters both on the water and in life. You could tell his genuine love for the outdoors was only surpassed by that for his family.

I've always struggled saying the right things when somebody passes away. The omnipresent "condolences," or "thoughts and prayers" never seem sufficient. So I'll end this post simply; Alan, you will be sorely missed. Tight lines and Godspeed my friend.

February 19, 2022

Tenkara Path River Driftwood Fly Display

It's nice to be able to find time to blog again. I've been mostly consumed by work since the holidays... NFL Playoffs and the like kept me busy at all hours of the day. And when I wasn't working, I was dedicating a little time to the Tenkara Angler website, so good old T! went a little neglected.

Well, it doesn't mean fishing hasn't been on the mind. I'm super stir crazy right now and really need a day or two in the woods in the worst way. I might even head up to North Georgia next weekend to get a little trout fishing in... we'll see. 

But today I wanted to pop out a quick post to highlight something I received in the mail this past Friday. Its a lovely little river driftwood fly display from my friend Dennis who writes over at the Tenkara Path blog, as well as has a shop on Etsy.

There's nothing particularly fancy about it, and that's kind of the point. It's beautiful in its simplicity and will provide a source of inspiration at my tying bench. I thought it might be nice to display flies that were received in fly swaps or similar. For example, the second fly from the left was tied by Eiji Yamakawa, a friend who lives in Japan.

In any event, if you're interested in this sort of thing, check out the Tenkara Path shop on Etsy. Dennis is quite the wood worker and in addition to these displays, also sells tenkara line spools, thread bobbins, and lines. Even if you're not into tenkara, Etsy is always a fun place to show around "fly fishing" gear and accessories.