Professor Brown’s College Of Troutology

IMG_1986This weekend I took a few lessons at Professor Brown’s College of Troutology in Asheville, North Carolina.  Lessons included crash courses in casting, dry fly technology, unhooking snags from trees, wading, and the crucial differences in hardiness and water temperature sensitivity among the native brook trout, the brown trout, and the rainbow trout.

It was like being transported back to the in-car portion of your driver’s ed class, when the instructor unnervingly watched your every move and provided a running commentary on your failures — except this time the running commentary was about casting with an appropriate flick of the wrist and trying to get the fly a little bit more to the right, rather than smoothly applying the brakes or turning the corners more sharply.  But the lessons worked!  I caught one of the elusive and beautiful “brookies” — his photo appears below, just before we released him into the stream — and the day on the water was a success.

Thanks to Mr. Brown and the lovely Donna, for showing the Wrestling Fan and me a wonderful time down in Asheville, and thanks especially for the patient fishing tutorial.  Fishing is a reel challenge, and a lot of fun besides.

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Pigeon River Days

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We spent the morning today fly fishing on The Big East Fork of the Pigeon River, Dark Prong section, in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. It’s stunningly beautiful, and remote — you need to hike for about a half hour down into a gorge to find just the right spot where the water is a fish’s dream. Not surprisingly, we didn’t see anyone else on the river.

Our morning reminded me if the classic Hemingway short story Big Two-Hearted River, where the narrator painstakingly prepares for a day of fishing. It was a bright day, but we were mostly under shade. The water was so cold you could feel the temperature through your waders as you worked your way upstream, in search of the elusive brook trout. I caught an eight-incher, admired its beauty, then released it, and the world of work seemed very far away.