Last week I realized a dream and it was better than I could have imagined.
I went back to my roots in the mountains of Western North Carolina following in the footsteps of my father who was an accomplished fly fisherman.
I joined my good friend Don Yelton (WFR Relief director/AMEN founder) for two outings to hone my very limited skills with a fly rod. I was delighted to catch a native speckled trout on a dry fly, my first ever, and enjoy some of the most beautiful of God’s artistry.
We had contracted the services of a guide who was to take us on a float trip down the Watagua River in East Tenn but that plan was scrapped due to rising water because of power generation at the dam above. Instead we met our guide, a very nice guy named Lou, and traveled far back into the mountains to a secluded stream off the beaten path and only accessible by clients of the outfitters.
I am a novice fly fisherman, that day I believe was only my fourth time to fish with a fly rod. With Lou’s tips and education about the insects the trout were feeding on that morning I started casting the fly and hoping. I didn’t catch many trout, only three for the half day trip, but it was the half day of a life time!
I caught a very rare native brook trout, much like the one in the picture. It was so rare the guide would not have believed it without seeing it with his own eyes. In that stream, in that part of the country, a large native brook is exceptional. The colors were amazing! After admiring the beauty as much as we dared, Lou carefully lowered him into the chilly water and he returned to grow and fight again another day.
The last fish of the day was a gorgeous rainbow, a text book catch. It was the sort of catch a TV fishing host would want broadcast unedited. I cast a minnow impersonating fly in the swift current of a small water fall and let the torrent sweep it along until it settled in the slow water. On my 5th or 6th cast into the same spot, suddenly the line stopped and when I set the hook the fish jumped about five feet out of the water and the fight was on.
Between me and this fat rainbow was very swift water and a 2 lb test leader. After many runs and more acrobatic jumps, Lou came with his net and finally I guided him into the net. This is the experience that causes men and women to spend hundreds of dollars and stumble on slick rocks in frigid water. Those two to five minutes will never be forgotten.
The day was completed by making a new friend and the fellowship of an old friend and taking in the beauty of creation that reflects the glory of Jesus Christ. “…by Him, and for Him, and it continues to be by His mighty power“.
enjoying the Life,