My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Trip reports, findings, events, and general experiences with tenkara fishing. Tell other tenkara enthusiasts about your tenkara experience

My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Postby bjanzen » Mon May 10, 2010 7:00 pm

Ladies and Gentleman…… I made it out again for a fishing trip with my Ayu on my local water, the Hiwassee. This river runs within 7 miles of my house but the “headwaters” of the tailwater are a 45 minute drive away. We had been up last weekend and knew the annual stocking of browns had happened but I didn’t have any pictures because of the pouring rain ;) ;) So this Saturday being the first of May.. We decided we had to start the month out with a bang.

I went with my friends that I will call Paul and Michael ( to protect the innocent from malicious insults) and we began at an area called Patty Bridge about 10 miles downstream. It has trout early in the season from stockings and is a nice spot to get away for some quiet fishing. We took my 14’ Clackacraft for a little mobility. Wading can be touch and go depending on the water flows and there are some deep holes that we wanted to explore. Also, I think Paul was wanting to be rowed around while sitting comfortably in the front seat of the drift boat.

I arrived a little after the others (not because I slept in like Michael is known to do, but because I had to take the kids to my parents house first ). I waded into the water donning my new TenkaraUSA cap….. Definitely a good luck charm! I noticed there are a few fish rising so I tied on a CDC&Elk and started probing……. Got one good strike but missed it. The rainbow came clear out of the water and came down on my fly! Don’t know how it missed the hook but it did. A few minutes later I had my leader and flies just fall off my lilian and float down river….. Dang. Never had that happen before.

Decided it was time for a break so I crawled into the boat with my buddies for a late breakfast and as I was putting up my hand-tied leader, I dropped it into the river as well….. Now I am down two rigs and still no fish. Luckily I haven’t gotten too simplistic in my setup and I actually brought three leaders this time…..

After a while, we all decided it wasn’t happening here and decided to move farther up river. We took the boat out and drove about 10 miles to the “headwaters” of this tailwater. When we got there, I realized we only had about two hours before the water came on. We were going to have to hurry. I scanned the river for the best spot that wasn’t already taken. Several were already on the water and I saw a spot I liked. I started wading down and across if that is a term ;) I saw an area that was between two other anglers with plenty of room to get across. I had seen some rises and noticed some caddis coming off.

I started fishing this nice little run with a CDC and Elk with a Partridge and Orange soft hackle as a dropper. I had fished this area the previous weekend and knew there was a fresh batch of little brown stockers and they were more than willing to hit a orange soft hackle. I just wanted to get them on top if possible. Welllllll….. First cast….. BANG I had a fish on. I cast again to the same area and BANG, another fish. This was exciting. By now I have the attention of the Western fisherman below and above me and I am grinning in the anticipation of another fish. I landed fish after fish and held my 13’ Ayu as high and proudly as possible. It was great. I had 7 fish in no time (most on the dry!) and slowly waded into the middle of the run and up the other side toward my buddy. I could tell he was really catching them up there as well. I hated to leave this spot and was enjoying my dry fly action while the others around me kept stripping their wooly buggers. After a little while, the other guys left. I guess my buddy and I were embarrassing them…… We were the only guys catching fish and loving every minute of it. When I took up Tenkara, I was looking forward to catching 5:1 as many fish as Western counterparts….. Now it was happening. But you know what they say about pride that goeth before a ………

I slowly made my way up to my buddy (I will call Michael) to see how he was doing. He was fishing his favorite pool and doing quite well. Now when it comes to catching fish, he can do it. And today was no exception. He was stripping a soft hackle just as fast as his arm could go…… and just whacking fish left and right. I stood there for a while just in awe. He said he wasn’t even counting fish! He would cast and start stripping the line. He would get 3+ strikes on just about every cast and wouldn’t even pause to let the fish get hooked. He said he would take one off if they could catch him! And they were catching him! He must have had close to 100 fish in the time it took me to catch 12! It was depressing. I stood next to him and fished the same pool with the same flies and tried everything possible to catch fish. Just couldn’t get a strike. He continued to get strike after strike after strike.

I had finally seen enough and the water was about to come on…. So I slowly waded up river and found a nice little slot and got into some nice rainbows. I caught one that was around 12” and it really fought hard. It was nice to put a deep bend in my Ayu finally.

It was a nice day and we had lots of fun but I was outfished by 10:1 by a Western rod and ended up with a nickname of “handicap” for my equipment choices. Maybe Daniel should put that as a warning on the rod <GRIN> My buddy actually said he was going to get a big handicap patch for the back of my wading jacket! I think his words were, “ I get there eventually but it takes me a while” How embarrassing is that!

Anyways….. here are a couple pictures as well…….




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Re: My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Postby rsetina » Mon May 10, 2010 7:36 pm

Great story! Loved every minute I was reading it. Sure sounds like you had a wonderful time with your buddies on what looks like a very nice stretch of water. Thanks for sharing.

My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Postby bjanzen » Tue May 11, 2010 5:16 am

Glad you liked it Rick..... Took me several sessions to compose. Family was all gone last night and I finally got it finished. I like it to be entertaining. Doesn't always flow the first time.....

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Re: My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Postby solocanoe » Tue May 11, 2010 10:00 am

What a great read, Barry! very nice!

personally, I think if your buddy does get you the handicap should get another one that says "I'm slow, but I'm worth waiting on!" :)

Aw heck, I enjoy doing things a bit differently anyway - you should see all the crazy looks and questions I get from folks when they find out:
I flyfish (harder already than what most are used to)
out of a canoe (can't believe I don't tump over)
and do it solo. ((boat control and fishing control - all by me)

I know of a guy like your friend - don't worry, I bet we all do. Some guys just "speak fish"! ;)
The good news, you went and had a blast - and we all got to read about and share it with ya!
Lucky to get out. Whenever I can. Never enough. Romans 8:31
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Re: My trip to the Hiwassee.....

Postby CreationBear » Tue May 11, 2010 11:20 am

Great report, and good to see you were using your wading staff: you look like a tall fellow, but the Hi is notorious for having slots that will float a person's hat. :lol:

At any rate, I've been starting to find out just how small a GSMNP stream I can fish with my Ayu--getting the fly on the water has been absolutely no problem; there's almost always a "slot" to fish any given lie, though remembering where it is when landing a fish remains a challenge. :)
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