I’m a terrible fisherman in my home state, but when I venture outside of Wyoming, for some reason, I tend to be much better with a rod and reel. Some of that is, of course, the result of the help I get from people who spend a lot of time fishing in the places I visit. I went to Louisiana a few years ago and fished with a guide, who helped me land about a hundred pounds of redfish and striped trout.
But even when I don’t have a guide, I tend to do OK. On my first trip to Louisiana about 10 years ago, I waded out into the water and caught little spotted bass with just about every cast. I was having a lot of fun, until something big, strong and incredibly fast grabbed my lure, and the next thing I knew, it had stripped all the line off my reel and was gone.
I spent a day fishing in Alaska when I was up there for an outdoor writers’ conference a few years ago, and I caught about 10 trout in less than an hour. I had the same luck in New York when the writers’ conference convened in Lake Placid.
And earlier this week, I found myself in Knoxville, Tennessee. Between sessions at the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference, I wanted to see if my luck would hold in Tennessee, as it did in Louisiana, Alaska and New York.
Yup, it sure did. I hedged my bets by hooking up with a local, who happens to be an outdoor writer who specializes in stories about fishing in Tennessee. To say he knew the water and the fish that live in it would be an understatement.
Within minutes of arriving at the stream, he told me to put on a Parachute Adams and pointed out where to cast it. I tossed the fly out toward the spot he had pointed out, and WHAM! The next thing I knew, I had a 10-inch brookie on the end of my line. And it kept going like that for most of the morning.
The next day, I struck out on my own and tried to put some of the lessons my new friend had taught me to the test. I wasn’t quite as successful as I’d been when I’d had a guide, but it was way better than any day I’ve fished back home.
Maybe now that I’ve had some success in other places, I can do better back in the Cowboy State. I’m anxious to get out to the hills and give it a try.