Joined: 31 Oct 2005
|Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:24 pm Post subject: French Broad Brouhaha wrap up w/ pics!
|This is my wrap up of a great trip that 10 of us from the Americanriverfishing.com sites took on the French Broad. Most folks were from the GA site, some from SC and NC as well.
Here is the Friday fishing crew getting ready to run shuttles upstream and down.
From left to right in the picture below- Flinteye, Waterdog, Sumtershoaliefan, Basserdrew, Hooked Up, Timbo and Shoalieseeker.
On day 1 I fished with Shoaliseeker, Sumtershoaliefan and Hooked Up. We put in below a real beautiful dam (if there is such a thing).
We were even able to catch some fish before leaving sight of the dam.
Shoalieseeker taking the rapids in his Prowler Big Game. "Look, no hands!"
decent smallie that posed in my hand for a pic.
We didn't slay em on day 1, but we still caught some fish. Our theory is the weird weather system threw em off. We actually saw rain on this day, something those fish haven't seen in months. Maybe that is why they were a little skiddish. Anyway, the fellowship and scenery was as good as it could get on the river.
It began to rain pretty hard at one point and we had to take shelter near the banks for a few minutes. After that it sprinkled a little bit and Hooked Up started throwing his topwater popper in hopes of calling up a lunker. Well, lunker may be a stretch, but it was the big fish of the weekend and his first ever smallie! This fish hit the scales at 2-6.
action shots of the 2-6
Even though numbers weren't amazing, we did all catch one species that we had never caught before - walleye or sauger. We arent sure which we caught, but we all were able to land one a piece so that was kind of cool. We think it is a sauger but I hope it is a walleye.
Based on everything I have heard they are supposed to be the best freshwater eating fish there is, so I kept mine and ate it! We weren't prepared to fry any fish so I simply cut off the head, gutted it, scaled it and threw it on the grill. I think everyone around the fire that night had a taste of it except SS and we all agreed that it is a terrific tasting fish. I think Timbo especially liked it with how he kept commenting about how we need to catch some more the next day so we can eat them. Aldo came in that evening to join in the fun as well. By the way those are Timbo and Flinteye's brats and they were mighty tasty as well!
Day 2 I fished with Aldo, Timbo and Flinteye. We again put in below a dam. Well, actually just above it and this is the shot I took while we portaged around it.
This smallie may not be as big as Hooked Up's, but it is also a first smallie for a GRFer. So far that is two first smallies for GRFers on this trip.
Some big fat redbreast as well! This thing was no joke a monster. I could lip it like a bass with no problem. I think Aldo has a pic of me doing that.
Timbo in a nice scenery shot
This river doesn't have spider lilies but it does have these nice orange flowers
Here is Flinteye with another nice smallie
Timbo action shot. I was kind of far away but you get the idea. Timbo caught plenty of smallies like this one on this day, but his first of the day was also the first smallie of his life! Wow, so now we are up to 3 GRFers who caught their first ever smallie!
This picture here is interesting because if you look at the picture above you will clearly see Timbo's yak right beside him while fighting the fish. Well, did I mention the wind was blowing 20-30 miles an hour that day? If you weren't careful it would blow it right off the rock you had it propped on. Timbo made the right choice by landing the fish first and then figure out how to get the yak back later. It was funny to watch his yak float away while he was catching a fish and couldnt do anything about it. Thankfully Aldo was right there to rescue the yak.
Flinteye action shots as the fish turns him all around! Dont remember what it weighed, but I think it was close to 2lbs.
Remember the yak floating away story a couple paragraphs up? Well, Timbo returned the favor for Aldo as Aldo lost his yak to the wind this time. It was easy to lose your yak on this day. I almost did several times. I did however lose 2 rods in the river and somehow found them as well! Flinteye also lost one rod and reel and we were able to recover it too!
Aldo action shots! This is in the middle of the day, but Aldo caught a smallie on his first cast this day! It was his first ever smallie to boot! So, that makes four GRFers caught their first smallie on this trip!
This was probably my big fish of the trip, but Flinteye had borrowed my scale earlier so I never weighed its fat little arse. It smashed a topwater plug and put up an awesome fight. The fish were really on on day 2 and we all took full advantage of their aggressiveness.
Video of the fish. Sorry about the end, I thought I had cut the camera off.
Video of the release.
Flinteye action shot of nice smallie caught on topwater! I hate the second one came out blurry but sometimes when frantically snapping pictures while turned backwards going down rapids standing in a yak, it is hard to hold the camera still!
Another fun smallie of MANY on day 2
Aldo shooting the rapids like a pro!
Timbo doing the same rapid! Sorry the second pic is a little blurry Timbo. I suck at holding the camera still I guess.
I have no idea what was going on here?
Finally, some beautiful scenery of Aldo paddling the home stretch.
The weekend was a ton of fun and those that were there know about all the storylines it held. It would take forever to try and explain them all on this board, but I guess that is why next time you will have to make it to the get-together!
My favorite part and what the whole thing is really about is the fellowship around the campfire. We cut up until the wee hours of the morning each night.
Again, thanks to all those that came on a trip that started out simply because I wanted to see what smallie potential this river had. We learned a lot about it and we caught a ton of smallies when it was all said and done. The size wasn't there, but who knows why that was - maybe the time of year, maybe the low water and weather conditions? Either way, we had a blast and a big thanks should go to WaterDog who helped me get this all together. A big no-thanks to USA raft who seriously lead us astray as to the magnitude of rapids on one stretch. I am sure the ones who floated/survived that stretch will share more in detail about that. The campground was beautiful and worked perfectly for our needs. Sure they suck at logic, but that is another long story. The good news is that the person that is over all those campgrounds has called me and apologized for the several mishaps on their part thanks to WaterDog making a few calls.
Overall I think we were all very pleased with the entire trip and around the fire the last night we were already talking about where we should have the next campout get-together! So, where to guys?
'07 big fish
'06 big fish