JOHN WITH A FRIEND, FELLOW MUSICIAN, AND
THE TOOL OF HIS "OTHER" TRADE.
COLLABORATING WITH OTHERS OF LIKE MIND
For professional musicians the summer is the time to gather in beautiful and sometimes exotic places to practice their art with others that they don't normally work with. This is the festival season , and the time for music under the stars in the mountains or by the sea. It is a chance to make new friends and forge new professional collaborations and also , to teach. It was an invitation to the latter that found me in the mountains of western North Carolina last month as a guest lecturer and performer. One of the nice things about my work as a bassoonist in the Cleveland Orchestra is the chance I get to travel to these often wonderful places and meet great people. Together to play music and sometimes .... to fish.
A BEAUTIFUL CABIN IN UNBELIEVABLE SURROUNDINGS
The camp , located in the mountains of the Pisgah National Forest , east and north of Asheville and just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, turned out to be ideally located for quick jaunts to awesome rivers. Anyone who has been in that part of the world knows just how astonishingly beautiful it is. The grand mountains and misty woodlands are threaded with many tremendous streams of differing characters , offering a wide variety of fly angling opportunities.
THE MIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS
AWESOME FISH FILLED WATERS
Great trout streams big and small blend with fabulous smallmouth water keeping it exciting no matter what you are after. The North Toe River just down the road (and I do mean down as the camp was on top of the mountain) was our playground for the few days and our diversion from our work as musicians. A couple of my bassoonist friends that met me there are accomplished fly anglers. This was Alan and Jill. Alan, the former principal bassoonist of the L.A. Philharmonic and Jill a former colleague in the Memphis symphony came prepared to hit the stream. As it turned out ,the conditions went from great to blown out on the Toe
in a hurry due to a strong weather front and torrents of rain, but the time we did have on the river was memorable.
A FRIEND HOOKED UP
AND THE BEAUTY ON THE END OF HER LINE.
The Toe holds good numbers of Brookies and Rainbows and not just the small kind. We were successful with both streamers and nymphs. Swinging small wooly buggers produced good bows for Jill and Alan and drifting stonefly nymphs did damage to the Brookies for me which one evening came to hand one right after the other and in generous size and fight! As fun as the brookies were , it was a rainbow that gave me the greatest charge since the steelhead season ended. It was getting later and i was expected back at the camp. Putting through that proverbial "last drift" (which usually isn't) , I tightened up on a tug that was clearly not like the others. Some time, and many acrobatic leaps later, I netted the 22" beauty that made my day , and gave me bragging rights that I obviously have not yet let go of.
JOHN WITH HIS "BRAGGING RIGHTS"
After the "blow" , we turned our attention to the smaller feeder streams , some of which had escaped the localized thunderstorms and remained clear. Here we stalked our fish and threw hoppers and other terrestrials and attracter patterns to trick spooky small stream fish.
A BEAUTIFUL BOW SLAMS THE
EVER FAMOUS STIMULATOR
As the time came to a close and it was time to move on the next stop on the road all I could think was that it had been too short and we had just scratched the surface of this wonderful region.
AND NO BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE GOOD
TIMES WITH FRIENDS THAN A QUALITY STOGIE
Until next time, tight lines!
Fly Fishing Specialist