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    The Nolichucky Creature

    The Nolichucky Creature

    My fishing buddy and I occasionally find ourselves in precarious situations, to say the least. One gloomy, overcast evening we were looking for a new spot to wade the Nolichucky River. We pulled off the road where there was a camping spot at a small sandy beach. In front of the beach was a part of the river that was like a small creek going around a good size island, you could also see the tail end of the island about thirty feet directly across from the beach. After crashing and sliding down the bank, which was more of a cliff, we decided to wade the small creek part and fish from a small rocky bar extending from the end of the island. My friend decided to fish in a pool just above where the small creek part of the river met the main part of the river. I decided to fish the main part of the river.

    As I was making my way across the bar I glanced into the dim forest of the island and seen the first peculiarity of the evening. Just into the woods, deep enough to not easily be seen, was a cabin. This was confusing for two reasons, the first, we thought for sure that we were on national forest property. The second, I was surprised anyone would build a cabin on an island because, I would think, that a big flood would wash it away. I pointed it out to my friend and because the fishing was looking good and we were in the river, we did not think much of it.

    Being in a section of the river surrounded by national forest and tall mountains, I thought that a bear could be around and did not want to get out of earshot of my friend. As the Nolichucky was roaring away, I was about four casts in when I heard him scream my name in a way that was not like he had caught a picture worthy smallmouth, something was wrong. He was looking off to the right and frantically reeling in fly line, I reeled in my fly line as well and we began hopping across rocks to meet in the middle of the bar. At first I could not see the creature, but as soon as we met in the middle I looked up and seen a creature hastily heading toward us. The creature was stocky with brown and black fur, as it was scrambling over rocks, its rectangular pupils were fixated on us as its head, with a single, long, thick, and curved horn, bobbled up and down. This goat, we concluded, was apparently keeper of the cabin. Instead of admitting we were scared, we told ourselves that we would rather leave it a mystery as to whether the goat was friendly or not. We retreated into the water.

    The main part of the river was swift and strong, so we could only stand about five feet from the bank. We turned around and were shocked to see the goat surprisingly close behind us. In a stupefying silence we stood in the water and watched as the goat, at about two rocks from the water’s edge, stopped, looked down at the water, and back up at us with disdain, we were safe, for now. Shortly after, the goat began to slowly make its way up river, pausing to look back at us every few seconds, as if it knew we had to go back on land. Never leaving the water, we waded down to where the main part of the river met the creek part. We fished here till it became dark and we caught a few small and O.K. sized smallmouth. It wasn’t long before we had to go back. Again, never stepping on dry land unless we absolutely had to we waded around the edge of the pool, across the creek part, and scrambled up the cliff to our car. We never seen the goat aga

    Mystic Musky Story

    Mystic Musky Story

    The tale begins on an enchanted Facebook group called Musky Fly Fishing, when some Michigan boys ask for some help on planning a trip to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. I messaged them and gave them plenty of information to help narrow their search to one area that had two different rivers. One river was a numbers game where it was reported that electroshocking turned up 5 musky/hour, the other river being the quest for a donkey of unfathomable proportions.

    A few weeks later the four gents and their Mystic Rods made the 8-hour trek to the Mountain State and drove through a bad snow storm to do so. They got settled into their weekend home that would be for dining, drinking, and tying meat for the following days. They told me to come for the time but unfortunately, I had work the next day and no PTO to take.

    Day one the men jumped in their drift boats and motored up stream for numbers. Unfortunately, the bitter cold front that had come through the day before resulted in ice creeping into the river from the bank and very lethargic musky that decided to not show themselves on this day. Overall, they had a great time practicing casting, figure 8’s, and rowing the drift boats while having some drinks and puffing on cigars.

    Day two, we decided to meet at the river of monsters and begin on our quest for donkeys. Since I was giving out all the information I had offered to guide and paddle the drift boat downstream, even though I had never stepped foot in such a craft, but they wouldn’t have that and insisted I fish in rotation with them. We launched our vessels and made our way downstream. The water was up and a dark emerald green, perfect color for musky on the fly. Expectations were not high as we made our way due to continual cold conditions.

    We were about an hour into our float and I had just started my shift of fishing from the back of the boat. Through prior shifts I had snagged the bottom on several occasions and thought I had done so again, but it seemed to have come loose and I was able to lift it easily with my 9wt. But a few seconds later I see a giant mouth open and headshake, “HOLY F****** S***, FISH ON” shouted from my mouth. Both guys in the boat looked at the fish and frantically got the net ready for a behemoth that rolled boat side and dove into the depths a couple rounds before finding herself in the basket of the net.

    I went silent and couldn’t fathom what just occurred, one held the net and the other rowed to shore so we could properly examine the beast in the net. There was shouting for the guys in the other boat to come see what resided in the net, expletives of joy, but I was still silent. We were almost to shore and I could see the bottom, the next thing I know I had jumped into the river and was waist deep in water and stuck in the mud. The other guys got the boats anchored and laughed at me stuck in the mud. I was shaking while awaiting to dip into the net and see what lied within.

    Once the net was secured and everyone was ready, without a thought, I put both of my arms underneath the beast and laid her across my lap to support the absolute giant she was. Pictures were snapped and back in the net she went to have the hook removed and measurements taken. This occurred one more time for additional photos but instead of the net she was placed in the water and held until she was ready to go, the entire time she kept her eye on me as though we were permanently connected. She slowly swam off, waving good-bye, back into the depths until she could spawn.

    High fives, hugs, hand-shakes, victory drinks and cigars soon followed. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, other than getting snowed, rained and sleeted on, all while my jacket was useless because I had become drenched in my overzealous leap from the boat and putting my arms in the water. We enjoyed stories, jokes, scenery, and drinks as we made our way to take out. I felt like an a**hat for being the guy to give them all the info, but catch a true trophy musky.

    Day 3 was another day on the quest for monsters. But today I wanted to test the equipment the fellas had brought with them, being the Mystic Reaper in 10wt and 12wt Musky Editions. Whenever I was up to fish I would try one of the weight rods and spend the time with either a smaller fly or a larger fly to try and determine the feel. P.S. the rods are great with sinking lines and pretty much any fly you want to toss.

    As the day went along we made it to a bend in the river where a wastewater treatment plant dumps its treated water and the temps were up, I had a good feeling about the spot. One of the guys was stripping in their fly when you see a log begin to move towards it, the pace quickens and into the figure 8 they go. After several passes the fish disappeared into the depths and the next boat experienced the same fate.

    Another hour or so passes and we are working a bank and Bob had gone through most flies in his box and didn’t know what to toss and I told him to throw a cotton candy double deceiver, to which he replied, “I’ve never heard of anyone catching a musky on a cotton candy double deceiver.” Fast forward to literally 2 casts later and he thinks he is pinned to another log…. Wrong. Up jumps an upper-30’s ski with a head-shake, the fly comes loose and passes by his head. He looks at me and then we both laughed, “told you.” The rest of the was much like the second, it rained, sleeted, and snowed intermittently until we made it to the take out.

    The fishing was fair, other than the new PB for me, but the experience was awesome. We all had a great time, made new friend(s), and made new memories. After this trip, I got in contact with Mystic and ordered myself a Reaper 10wt Musky rod, as well as a 5wt Inception. The Inception was become my workhorse rod for everything but musky. The Reaper is a staple in my musky quiver. I keep in touch with those Michigan boys and am hopefully can make a trip up that way either this coming winter or spring to do some fishing and possibly visit the Mystic Outdoors and play with all the goodies that lie within.

    fly fishing musky mystic reaper

    First Fish I Caught On A Fly

    First Fish I Caught On A Fly

    I am 18 years old and I have been fishing since I can remember. I remember the first fish I ever caught on a fly. We were on vacation and I saw so many people fly fishing so I decided hey why not try it. So for about 30 minutes I sat there casting a tangled mess, but as time went on I started getting better and better. It got to a point where the grown men around me moved out of sight because I was doing better than they were. I said to myself okay its time to catch something. Keep in mind I am in a large pond so all there really was to catch was bass. Anyways I was working my way down the bank and all of a sudden, I saw a boil. I casted just past it and started stripping. That is when I realized my leader knot was seriously frayed. Right when I realized that I got a strike. I thought to myself that I have to keep pressure but not to much because the knot would come undone. As the fight went on, I took line then it took line. It did this for about 10 minutes. I knew it wasn’t a big fish but since it was my first fish I wanted to make sure I landed it. At one point in the fight it started to swim towards a large branch in the water. I pulled it away and I could see the knot unravel. I thought that that was it and the line was going to break. Fortunately, it didn’t break. I finally was able to bring it in. After landing it I looked at it and thought how could a fish that wasn’t even that big give me one of the biggest fights of my life. After that fish I have been in love with fly fishing. I even go out to my pool and practice just for fun. To me it is the most relaxing and exhilarating thing in the world and I don’t know what I would do without it.

    Author: Sergei Bevan

    Fishing with the Family

    Fishing with the Family

    When my older son, Caleb, was 5 I took him fishing on the first morning of kids only trout fishing where anything goes and you can keep fish. As we fished unsuccessfully and saw tons of kids with fish, my son tearfully said, “Dad, why can’t we catch any?” That day looking in my son’s sad eyes I decided I would learn how to catch fish and catch them well.

    I had grown up fishing though not always all that successfully. My dad, grandpa, uncle, and other family had been pretty successful trout fishermen. I did all right as a kid, but for some reason I was always bored with using bait. Maybe it’s ADHD, but I can’t stand putting a line in the water and waiting forever until something happens. Of course that’s
    more fun in moving water where you have to keep casting, but I still wasn’t patient with it. I always wanted to fly fish and knew that my great grandpa had done it, but he died when I was too young to learn from him. Fly fishing was in my blood, but I didn’t know how to do it. I started reading online, got books, and began with each birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day, and etc. to amass the gear needed to catch fish with a fly rod. It was several years ago on a guided trip my wife gave me for a birthday where I really learned to catch fish on the fly (after I watched my wife land an 18 inch brown trout)!

    Recently on a trip to Colorado, I had the pleasure of some very successful family fishing. One night my ten year old son, Caleb, my wife, and I went for a walk one evening on the Uncompahgre River in Ridgway State Park where we were camping. As we got back toward our campsite, I noticed a large trout rising, and the the three of us watched excitedly as it sipped in one bug after another. After I told my wife how I would catch it if I had my rod with me, she said with a wry smile, “Go get your rod and come back for it!”

    We rushed back to camp where Caleb and I rigged up to go back to try to catch that big fish where Caleb acted as my camera man. I quickly tied on a #16 Adams and began casting near where I could see the large fish continue sipping bugs. Rather quickly my fly was slammed by that trout. It fought like crazy, and my son kept giving me directions excitedly as I worked to land this feisty 18 inch plus trout (it was a Snake River Cutthroat). I had a too small net which was awkward (my nicer net wouldn’t fit in my airplane carry-on suitcase). As I tried to net the fish without knocking the hook out of the fish’s mouth, I very stupidly grabbed the line with my hand and that brute loudly snapped the line in a fraction of second! I was shaking vigorously as I tied on my next fly to cast to the other fish wildly gulping bugs down behind me. I did land a few 12-14 inch rainbows, but none had me shaking like that big fish. The Great Horned Owl that landed in the tree across the stream was an added excitement before we headed back to camp. Whew! My son and I had a blast walking back to camp discussing the events of the evening and looking through the pictures he took.

    The next evening with my wife and both sons watching, I was able to land a 16+ inch Snake River Cutthroat, and that was a memory that will stick with me almost as much as seeing her land her 14+ inch rainbow. Both of my sons are happy that I’ve learned to fish, and we have so much fun as a family fishing for all sorts of fish…mostly with a fly rod. The kids’ only trout fishing mornings are now anticipated all year by both of my boys since they catch so many fish as we make family fishing memories.

    Author: Rich Cox

    Fly Fishing Reminds Me of Proust's Madeleine

    Fly Fishing Reminds Me of Proust's Madeleine

    Marcel Proust wrote about memory in his novel In Search of Lost Time. He explained how eating a Madeleine at 30 can create a flood of lucid memories about events when you were 5. According to Proust, time, in these moments, is obviated. Fly fishing reminds me of Proust’s Madeleine. I think it’s what draws us to the water; a timelessness associated with each riffle, each drift, each cast, and each fish.

    My grandfather died on my birthday near the end of my first year of law school. He

    had been a surgeon in Texas. He was endowed with a quick wit, a dry sense of humor, a wry smile, poor fashion sense, and the hope I would grow up to be a doctor.

    He loved fishing. We fished together in Rockport, Texas on Estes Flats, bait cast and jigging spoons and plastic worms in the shallows for redfish and speckled trout. He could talk about fishing for hours. His white eyebrows would lift and his hair would turn into an excited mess when he talked about fishing for coho salmon in Kenai, Alaska during a mid-1990s trip.

    After law school, my wife – then pregnant – our daughter, our cats, and our dog all moved to Alaska. I would learn to fly fish in Juneau, Alaska. Despite living in Rockport, Texas, living within driving distance of the Sierras, living close to the Florida Keys and Florida tarpon, and even living in the fly fishing mecca of Missoula, Montana, I would finally learn to fly fish with Mendenhall Glacier behind me.

    This was not Norman Maclean’s religious brand of fly fishing.

    This was fly fishing with streamers, and by streamers, I mean meat: big, fat rabbit strips, lead weighted, tungsten coned streamers named the “dolly lama” or “mother of all leeches.” As fly fishing goes, the fishing technique was rather simple: cast as far as possible, mend a few times, let the streamer sink and swing in the current, once your line becomes tight, let the fly dangle at the end, then strip and jig the streamer back in.

    The apostles would have been horrified.

    My first-year fly fishing, I fished a low-tide estuary on the Friday evening of Labor Day weekend. I could barely cast the dolly lama more than 30 feet. I did my best, and let out another 20 feet of line when it fell into the current. The streamer drifted and swung out wide. I stripped once, and felt the line go tight. I set the hook as hard as I could. The coho jumped and darted. I looked down at my reel and saw only backing, with the reel spinning wildly and uncontrollably. Once the fish stopped, I reeled quickly and tightened my drag. The fish, feeling the resistance, ran again. It jumped; tail walking a bit this time in the clear saltwater. Its next runs were dogged, stubborn runs, with head shakes before and after each run. It took me several minutes to bring the fish in.

    When I finally tailed the fish, I thought about my grandfather: his poor fashion, redfish, Estes Flats, and Madeleines.

    Author: Christopher Orman