The 3 A.M. Brainstorm…

16 02 2011


It’s 3 am again and I’m awake. I’ve just banged out a few EHC for an order and I’m sitting here trying to unwind. But I can’t get a few things out of my mind tonight. Maybe if I just come out with it here, I’ll be able to sleep a little before the sun comes up. We’ll see…


I’ve been thinking about people  and businesses tonight. About how different we all are in alot of ways and how my view of things isn’t necessarily anyone else’s view. About how I’d do things, if I could…and about the way things are done by others. I’m trying more and more these days not to be that “glass half empty” kinda guy that I’ve been for the last 20 years, but every time my faith in mankind is somehow renewed, something happens that makes me shake my head with confusion or disbelief.

Recently, it’s things like this:

I talked with 5 fly shops about doing give-away’s for you guys. Only one had the decency to email back and politely decline ( Unicoi Outfitters ~ Helen, GA). Another acknowledged that they’d not replied, but that was all – and then they “never replied some more.” The other three didn’t reply at all. All five of these shops I have visited and bought things from. Apparently, none of them could understand the concept. (Which makes the Hook and Hackle guys who brought you the rod give-away look even more like the geniuses they are…)

Another company keeps making promises, and then keeps delaying and making more promises.

Wendy’s can’t get my order right. Not one Wendy’s. Anywhere. In a month.

There’s apparently a fly tying event to benefit Project Healing Waters going on in Asheville. I tried to email them about donating a rod or two, helping them tie up some flies, or anything else I could do. It’s not that they turned me down or said they didn’t need my help….it’s that they never even bothered to reply at all. ( I guess they have what they need, but still – a simple “no thank you” would have been nice.) So, not only do I not get to help in any way with this very worthwhile project that’s right in my backyard, I don’t really feel much like promoting it either. ( Although I suppose in a way I just did! LOL )


And this spring, when I need more pine straw for the flower beds, I’ll no doubt have to load the stuff myself because no matter how I ask, the guys at Lowe’s never seem to want to help me load it. I used to work for Lowe’s and I don’t really mind loading it myself, but when I see them standing around talking on company time it makes me wonder how good my Lowe’s stock might be doing if they hired people who would actually work? How much better would your local fly shop be if they were all like Hook & Hackle or Unicoi Outfitters (who misunderstood the give-away concept but at least had the courtesy to reply)?




It also makes me wonder how it is that I can’t get a job, but these slackers ( the Lowe’s guys and other retail workers who have apparently never heard of the phrase “if you have time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” ) are still employed?

How do you run a business and not reply to emails? How do you hope to be around in 2, 3 or 10 years in this economy by hiring people who give you so little in return for the wages you pay them? How do you think you can create business growth and a future in any field by making promises you have no intention of keeping?  The answer? I have no idea….


But I am going to try to get some sleep now.


Is it too much to ask that we slow down just a little bit and think about how we’re treating each other?



Don’t answer that…



The Creek that Shall Not be Named…

25 01 2011

…is named Noontootla. It’s Cherokee for…well, who knows? But I do know this…it will flat out kick you in the teeth if you’re not on your toes. I just read a post on NGTO about two fellows that decided to go up to the area where the ‘Toot is located and fish. The second guy says something like “ wish I hadn’t broken my rod, but things happen for a reason.” Yeah, and that happened because you were stomping around up there around Noontootla in the middle of winter, when every wild trout with half a brain is hunkered down and almost comatose. Go back in April, when at least you risk catching something while putting life and limb in danger. Geesh.

Noontootla is the state’s only wild trout stream with a length limit on it.  16 inches or less, and it has to go back. Now, before you all pile in your cars and grab your maps, I’ll tell you the dirty little secret that the fishing regulations don’t spell out for you….just because there is a 16 inch size limit on the creek, that doesn’t mean the creek is full of 16 inch fish. Or 14 inch fish for that matter. Oh sure, they’re in there. Last spring…or was it the year before…anyway, I was up on the ‘Toot with Coelacanth, from BRTB and we were having a pretty nice morning. Weather wise, at least. I think we’d caught one or two each. Well, we came to a nice deep pool and Coel motioned for me to take a turn. I cast a little caddis up into the run and plop! A nice little 4 inch rainbow took it and began to flop around on the surface. Suddenly, he dove deep and hard toward the bottom, then shot back up toward the sky – clearing the water at first, then hitting back down and slicing off again all willy-nilly across the surface. You see, that little guy was about to be lunch for a monster of a rainbow that was using the bottom of that pool as his lunch counter. The trout was easily 15 inches on a conservative estimate and Coel and I both stood there and laughed, gasped for air, and laughed some more. Of course, we then eased back away from the pool and threw all manner of streamers into it without even the slightest threat of an attack from Jaws. So we moved upstream and kept fishing. I think we both felt very fortunate to have even seen the big fish and had I not hooked an easy meal for him, we probably would have missed him altogether.


Lil' Joe, standing in what can only be described as an anomaly on this creek.

On another trip there some years ago, I was carrying a fly rod that my buddy Lil’ Joe made for me shortly after 9-11. The rod was marked “Freedom” and was one of my favorite rods ever, right from the first time I fished it. It had a birdseye maple insert and a matte green blank. It looked alot like a high-dollar St. Croix but with the loving touches of personally wrapped guides. I slipped on a slanted rock as big as a dining room table and fell, and promptly broke the rod in half. Speaking of which, last year I did almost the same thing in the GSMNP and broke “Freedom II.” Sorry Joe. I didn’t have the heart to tell you at the time.

When I was younger, I talked my young bride into going with me to Noontootla one Sunday morning. I got out of the truck, leaving her to the heater and a good book, and immediately stepped over a large log. When my foot hit the sand, it slid no more than five or six inches and put what we call a “crik” in my shoulders and neck that would end up keeping me out of work for two days. Of course I fished all that day, and paid for it dearly on the way home. The pain was almost unbearable and my poor mountain-novice wife had to drive all the way down that long forest service road, and then all the way home in the dead of night because I couldn’t do anything but lay my head against the window and writhe in pain.

A much younger Owl with a brown trout from the Toot.

So, yeah. Noontootla has a length limit and that’s a rare thing in Georgia trout fishing. But it will also kick you in the head and laugh at you when you cry. It’s not a place for fly rods you love, delicate souls, or poseur anglers. It’s the cold, hard reality of Southern Appalachian trout fishing, times ten.

But then….maybe it wouldn’t be so special, even with the chance to catch a true wild trophy trout…if it was easy.

Tenkara Fishing on Smith’s Creek…

21 01 2011

Yesterday I finally got my boots wet again this year. The fishery is a small creek, stocked with trout almost year-round. It’s currently in a “delayed harvest” season, wherein all trout must be released and only artificial lures may be used. This makes for a creek full of fish – but they also feed these guys once a week…or at least they used to 5 or 6 years ago. I ended up catching only 6 or 7, but I was fiddling with the new rod and new camera more than I was fishing I guess. I also had plenty of frustrating interactions with trees, as I tried to get a handle on fishing with a fixed 11-12 ft. line.

Anyway, enjoy the video and don’t laugh too much at me in my …uhmmmm….shrunken waders. I’m sure my wife washed them and dried them on “high” this fall. I’m sure of it. Absolutely sure.

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