Monday, April 5, 2010

Old tricks

Ever since my high school days I have fought against common sense and resisted nymph fishing. Until this past weekend. After watching my buddies land rainbows in the 8 to 10 pound range, I couldn’t take it anymore. My stubbornness was overtaken by my desire to catch a trout!

We were on Big Cedar Creek in SW Virginia. I had been there a year ago and had good luck with streamers and wets, so I just naturally figured they would work again this year. Wrong. I tried every trick I knew and got nary a strike, while watching John Bass land fish after fish from the same water. John had invited Billy Davis and I to one of his favorite waters and I was determined to live up to my undeserved reputation as a competent angler.

Bill Nuckles ready to net a big one for John

I arrived at noon on Friday and proceeded to disprove any notion that I knew what I was doing. Bill Nuckles, John’s good friend and guide, watched my pathetic efforts until he too couldn’t take it anymore. After Friday’s unproductive day (I caught one six inch goggle-eye) and Saturday’s repeat performance (another goggle-eye), Bill grabbed my arm on Saturday evening and pulled me to a run that had produced fish for the others all day long.

Bill is rightly proud that those he shares the water with catch fish, and while he may have been fine with me destroying my reputation, he wasn’t about to allow me to destroy his. With obvious disdain, Bill cut the streamer from my line and replaced it with one of his tried and true stonefly creations and a couple of split shot.

As any of my previous teachers would testify, I am a stubborn student. Fortunately Bill was an even more stubborn coach and within minutes I managed to sting a few of the trout the stream is known for. Yes, I eventually landed one and Bill left for home...his job accomplished. Before heading to the house myself, I was able to land a twin of that first one and Sunday morning saw me catch an even bigger one. One lesson does not make a graduate, but I’m well on my way to earning a degree in nymphing.

Thanks Bill for showing me the light, and thank you John Bass for a great weekend and introducing me to THE COACH!


  1. Sweet!!!! Now you can teach ME!!!

  2. Hi Alan
    Is this the same stream that was featured on Fly Rod Chronicles with Curtis Fleming? John Bass was on that show and he caught some hugh trout that day. They were fishing nymphs. I may be wrong here but just asking. Bill

  3. Splitshot?...A nymph?...Anyone can catch the big ones with the right bait. What's next? A worm or two? Well uncle Hustus would be proud of you coming over to the dark side finally.

    By the way though a big congrats on a great time catching the big ones, from your brother who went to the dark side so many years ago...