Goombay Smashing: Kissing Salty Dogs & Crabs

I’m not certain what I enjoy the most, preparing for a fishing trip or the trip itself. That’s exactly the question I asked myself yet again just recently when the chance presented itself to fish salt-water with my co-pirate…Davy Jones. Okay, so that’s not his real name but in order to protect the innocent, let’s call him that at least for now. Besides, that’s the nickname I’ve given him and he’s a shrimp boat captain of sorts but he’s not a “gump.” Under his young but crusty exterior, just like the famous Gump, he’s got a heart of gold and we’ve found that often we know what the other is thinking before a word has been spoken. He’s sailed the Caribbean, North and South Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Mediterranean, passed through the Panama Canal and most importantly he’s survived a cup of my java. In order to understand just what that means, you could take my coffee brew and coat the exterior of the space shuttle without ever fearing that it would burn off during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. It will put hair on less than a real man’s chest assuming it doesn’t kill him first. Many have attempted my Java challenge but few have done so and remained standing the entire day. Let that be a warning to all ye that dare take the Java challenge.

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OUT OF HIBERNATION: “GADDING ABOUT” WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE

You probably thought we were in hibernation here at the undercovertroutbum.com. I suppose you could call it that. But I assure you that we’ve been keeping our eagle-eyes on the rivers and streams from above. Above, you ask? Yes-from several thousand feet above-to be exact. I know, you are thinking-WHAT? Let me explain.

Sometimes you have to go into deep cover to keep everything in line and sometimes out of nowhere, or so it seems; the moon, sun, stars, windsock, and hatches all align and you find something you’ve been searching for-for years. And often, just as it did for me, it[that something] truly comes out of the woodwork or perhaps more from a combination of good deeds, good friends, and hard work. So as real life would have it, for the last few months, I wasn’t able to check in with the rest of you UTBs in the way I thought was proper. I should have pinned you all a short note, I just felt anything less than an article of reasonable length wasn’t going well beyond the call of duty. However, maybe a field report of any length would have been better than nothing. With that being said, we’re toying with the idea of just doing short updates when in deep-cover. You know, like the kind of deep-cover a tangle of laurels provides that choke a stream-side trail off so badly that you think you’ve been caught in a snare and will most likely end up as bear food before you free yourself? Or-perhaps-another UTB on staff? That’s another one to ponder.

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THE ABC’s of CREATING TROUT BUMS

by Greg Grime

A great way of ensuring that your children will respect your choice of becoming a trout bum is to begin their indoctrination early.  Even as newborns, nothing is wrong with letting them see and touch your premium pelts and feathers as they marvel at your fly-tying station. And when they see the finished products, as you feverishly crank them out of your vise, carefully arrange them in your fly box, followed by them playing with and cleaning up the myriad of scraps-they will be hooked-for life.

No child is able to resist the allure of a smorgasbord of fly-tying materials. Right in front of their eyes, they watch as something already interesting in itself -thread-feathers-fur- of varying colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes, meld into nothing short of a masterpiece by the same hands that feed and hug them when times are good and bad.  What you craft is nothing short of a van Gogh to them and they look at you like you didn't just hang the blue-moon but you built it and hired the Man on the Moon to keep watch.

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THE DONLEY CABIN: A TROUT BUM SAFEHOUSE

by Greg Grime

There are oodles of methods to choose from when making the attempt to dodge a “honey do” list or any to do list for that matter but what better way to do so than hiding out in a cabin, built by a man, simply referred to as “Hughes” as local legend has it, in an attempt to avoid conscription into the Confederate Army? Furthermore, his alleged success in avoiding military service during the Civil War should be a testament to just how off the beaten path we are talking about.1 After making the trek myself on foot, up a gated, four-wheel drive, U.S. Forest Service jeep trail that also serves as the only wide and well trodden path to the cabin, I quickly arrived at the conclusion that no one of sound mind would choose this location with convenience to town in mind. With the path’s increasing grade, switchbacks, and water crossings beginning at the North River foot-bridge, followed by crossings at Big Cove and Donley branches, I wholly understand why someone would choose the location for a hideaway. With three water crossings, a moderate trail grade, and an almost guaranteed chance at meeting up with a local copperhead or rattlesnake during the warmer months, it is understandable why the cabin was constructed where it stands today and has so for well over a century in the historic Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest (CNF).

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