Friday morning, I had the truck loaded up and headed out bright and early to pick up my buddy, Sloan, on the way to the river to do a little trout fishing. It had been almost a year since the last time I had been up there. I had been trying to get up there all year, but with everything I have had going on, this was the first chance that I have had to get there. Fishing is usually better in May and June than it is in July, but we had to just take what we could get.
We decided to fish the “upper part,” as we call it, because the weatherman was calling for some heavy thunderstorms. We didn’t want to go in from the top of the mountain and get caught in bad weather. Usually, I wouldn’t pay any attention to him because it seems that he is hardly ever right anyway, but we heeded his warning. When we arrived at the parking area, there were more cars there than I like to see. With them being there that early, we figured that they were most likely campers. As we hit the trail, the sun was penetrating the Hemlock trees and mountain laurel giving us just enough light that we didn’t need to use a flashlight. Though Sloan had done his share of trout fishing, this was his first time on this part of the river and the first time that we had gotten a chance to fish together. My dad would have normally not missed a chance to be there with me because he knows every rock and ripple on the three mike stretch of river that we normally fish, but with his recent back surgery and hip replacement he wasn’t feeling up to the challenge. On the way down the trail, I pointed out to Sloan some of the places and things in the river that my granddad and dad had named over the past fifty years and the memories that I’ve had of these places since I was a kid.
After about an hour walk, we reached the handsaw hole where we had planned to start and the cool mountain water was very refreshing when we eased off into it. I was explaining to Sloan that my grandfather, dad, and uncle had been after a fish that was always in this deep hole for years and all of them had had it on the line one time or another. Until, one morning, my granddad got another chance at him and made it count. I don’t recall how long they said it was, but I do remember it was a shade over 8lbs. As I was telling him this story, he missed a fish and shortly after that I caught a small brown about nine inches long. The rest of the day went about the same way; all of the good water where you thought there would be a good fish laying, we would catch a small fish or a horny-head. It was a little confusing because those smaller fish were not supposed to be in those kinds of places; and if the bigger fish we were after were there, those little fish would definitely not be there.
Slow as it was, we still caught our share of fish even though we didn’t catch “Ol’ Handsaw’s” great grandson. Sloan got an education about this part of the river as we have mapped it out. We talked about how fun it was going to be to take our boys up there and teach them about the river the same way it was taught to us, and hopefully they will have as much fun learning about it as I have over the years.