Thursday, June 6, 2013

Solo Trip

I'm scrambling to play catch up again.. it seems that is a recurring problem, but I'm getting back in the groove! Since the last post, I have been on a solo trip up Little River, sold and created some new drawings and paintings, and begun fishing a little differently.. The other stuff will be mentioned in up coming posts, but for now the solo trip up my favorite stretch of Little River is the focus.

Little River begins above an area of the Smokies known as Elkmont, an old logging town turned campground by the park service. Any fishing past this place is only accessible by foot, so the farther you go, the better it gets! I was itching to fish so terribly that it took a solid two hours to make it in two miles to my favorite spot.. needless to say, I took a couple fishing breaks along the way. Even though it took a while, my breaks paid off. It took a bit to coax a couple fish to eat at the first stop because of the community hole they inhabit, but my stubbornness or patience one paid off. A beautiful eight or ten inch rainbow couldn't resist my march brown dry.

Once I landed and released this fish, I decided I could move on. The day was spectacular for weather. The temperatures climbed to the seventies and sunshine was plentiful. Even high up in the mountains I was regretting wearing my waders. So I took it easy on my walk to the next stretch of river to avoid cooking in my own juices. I finally decided to stop and fish a section of river that turned up an excellent Smokies brown the year before. This section was a completely different place with all the extra water, but still produced a few small rainbows. I also pulled my fly away from a VERY nice brown that rolled on it, so all in all it still turned out to be a good choice. Going as far as I felt necessary, I hopped out and finally headed to my real destination.

Fishing along, I actually ended up catching a brown just a little shy of the size I was looking for, but he was still a brown none the less. At this point I really started to catch fish, but most were just the average five to eight inch fish of the Smokies. There are definitely a few monsters hiding in the secluded stream valleys of those mountains, but the real draw is being able to catch a wild fish with so little work to reach them. Another draw of Smokies fly fishing is the incredibly beautiful coloring of the fish. There are plenty of places around the world to catch spectacularly dressed trout, but these fish hold their own in that category.The little guy below proves it 100 percent true.

 After this fish, the action began to die down for the rest of the day. The weather remained spectacular and the scenery of new, green spring leaves mixed with wildflowers beginning to show their faces helped cap the day off perfectly. I ended on a good note as well by catching another marvelous rainbow with an extra beautiful tail. All in all it was a successful day. I truly am thankful to have such a beautiful and inspiring place right in my back yard.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Break!

Even on spring break back in March I was short on time to sit down and write thanks to a trip to the beach, but by no means am I complaining! Destin, Florida was the destination and lucky for me, the entire week included some fishing. The trip was with my girlfriend who also fishes like crazy and her family, so the fishing commenced almost immediately. We started out on the fly, but with no boat and rough surf, we then switched over and started surf fishing with normal tackle. Once we made the switch, the action exploded! First came night fishing and catfish one right after another almost every night of the week. Then the finale.. close to the end of our trip m girlfriend, Hailey, hooked into her biggest fish to date! A good sized Redfish happily took the bait and made our day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm finally able to sit and write a little.. and it feels great! School went back into session with a bang which means fun and fishing went out with one, but I was able to get off work for my birthday a couple weeks back and hit "one of those days!" I only had a few hours so I hit a section of my home river where waders are not required and large fish can be caught easily from the bank. As I rigged up, two large and tasty looking stone fly patterns I created were calling my name, so I tied them on and hit the water. Things started relatively slow just spotting some nice trout out in the open, but once the sun began to shine full strength the fishing took off! Several fish became interested and ended up spitting the hook before a good set could be made, but a few more picture worthy brown and rainbow trout were more dedicated!

This little trip was also the first time I was able to fish alone in months. Although I love having somebody along most of the time, fishing alone will always be one of my favorite parts of the sport. When I first got my feet wet, I knew only a handful of other fly fishermen and really had nobody else to go with. I used my existing knowledge of the Smokies to make my way around and find new streams and ended up where I am presently. Having no worry in the world and no sound other than a rumbling stream in background is about as good as it gets. I'm looking forward to the spring hatches of Quill Gordons, March Browns, and Blue Quills that are soon to come. Expect more posts in the coming weeks as the fishing picks back up!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Vice!

This past week I finally received my new Renzetti Traveler in the mail! Up until now I used an old beater of a vice to tie and spent more time working withe vice than actually tying. Since the new addition I have been able to crank out a serious number of flies and have many more to go to prepare for spring! Thanks to the guys at Little River Outfitters for getting it in for me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Above Average Precipitation...

 My Little River is no longer so little. At normal flow this time of year, the Little is normally at just around 200 CFS or just above, but due to steady rains for almost 72 hours straight on top of already saturated ground, the stream surged to over 7,000 CFS Yesterday evening! There has not been a flood event of this magnitude in several years and high water is not the only problem now.  U.S. 441 that cuts the national park in half has suffered a land slide destroying approximately 200 feet of roadway. That road is expected to be closed for quite a while now which means a major route to excellent fishing is closed as well.

I have m fingers crossed that this wild weather will settle down in the coming weeks leading to a fishing trip or two. So far since about last Wednesday or area has gone from highs in the 40s to highs in the 70s to soaking rains to cooler temperatures moving BACK in and now snow is expected by the end of this week. I'm ready to pack up, head head south, and chase some saltwater fish.. Tying flies and painting will be high on the priority list over the next few days. Hoping and praying The water recedes quickly so I can go fishing and that the river recovers to normal!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is it Spring Yet?

 My "fishing partner" scoping out a frequent spot
spoiled by high water.

Well, it has been a while since my first post.. too long really, but Christmas break, work, and family gatherings kept me busy for the month I was unable to write. On the up side to that, I was able to spend what little free time I had taking some fishing trips on my home water, Little River. The most eventful of them all would have to be a float trip down a section of the Little, followed by a couple of simple wade trips and a few hours tying flies. Not enough fishing or tying in my opinion, but at least there were some opportunities.

Now to the point of the title and another reason for no fishing... WEAHER. The rest of the country seems to be having some odd weather occurrences, but here in East Tennessee it has been an odd season so far. This area is known for indecisive weather patterns and it is often said "if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes." This belief has held true over the past couple of weeks, AKA my Christmas break. If I had even wanted to or had the time to fish all I wanted it would have been impossible to get out due to blown out tailwaters and the freestone streams of the Smokies in the back yard and erratic temperatures. We went from all out winter with temps down to the twenties at night to 73 degrees this past Saturday and we are now predicted to be back into the frigid temps by the end of the week. One interesting happening for myself and others in the area that somewhat made up for things was actually catching a Smoky Mountain trout on a dry fly in the middle of January! This is almost unheard of! I have already been tying quill gordon patterns for spring, so this warm streak and a fish on a dry really has me excited for what is to come. Friends who hit the stream on one of the days leading up to this warm front actually did have some luck and described the higher temps as "Gods gift to a weary fisherman."

One other interesting part of my fishing time on break was the sighting of a river otter for the first time on the Middle Prong of Little River (there are three prongs, east, middle and west). It was one of the coldest days I have fished in a while, but sitting at home just wasn't doing it for me so I headed for the hills. I picked a more secluded section of the stream away from the road to fish some larger sections of the river for a possible large fish and began working my way up. As I fished and appreciated some solitude I noticed a deep splash sound just up stream, but couldn't quite make out its source. As I watched some more and listened for it again, a wet furry head surfaced, then submerged. A few seconds later and several yards down stream towards me, the otter resurfaced to scope things out and give me the look over. We made eye contact, studied one another for a few short seconds, and he was on his way. The best part about this was that it all occurred in less than a minute and with only the sound of the river in the background. Personal moments like that don't just occur everyday and I consider myself blessed every time I am able to experience them, though it may sound a bit cliche. The worst part about it was that I was unable to capture my company in a photo. It would be a good bet to expect a painting of this little experience in the near future as well. More posts will be up soon and more regularly as well. With one week of break left, a couple days off work, and dropping temperatures, some serious fly tying is bound to happen along with some new art.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Where to begin.. first thing I guess I need to start with an introduction. I'm Jayson Alexander: avid fly fisherman, outdoor enthusiast, and up and coming artist. I hold the Great Smoky Mountains dear to my heart and they are a huge reason for the starting of this blog. Since I was about 11 I have been spending time in the Smokies almost completely due to my joining of the cub scouts; that was the only way I could consistently get a ride to the mountains I loved so much so I decided I need stay with it. Through scouts I was able to then make a monthly trip to the Smokies and do some beginner backpacking trips and learn the art of backcountry camping and meet others of my breed who cannot live without some serious time in the woods. Once I changed troops I was also introduced to one of the most addicting aspects of outdoor life... fly fishing.

I first found myself with a fly rod in my hands at summer camp after finding out one of the adult members of my new troop was an Orvis endorsed guide who didn't mind to show a newbie such as myself how to sling a popper for bluegill. From that point on fly fishing was on my mind. I always had a love for fishing and went often with my dad in his bass boat for bass and crappie, but with hardwear. Once I was older, talked to my guide"mentor" a little more, and got some income heading my way, things took off (keep in mind there was a large gap in time where I was only able to day dream and watch youtube videos about fly fishing). I was finally able to buy my own rod about a year and a half ago and have been fishing roughly once a week since the day it arrived on my doorstep.

All the time this fishing addiction has been going on, a love and growing talent for art of any kind was sprouting in me as well. My favorite class in elementary school was art and it stayed my favorite up until high school when more specialized art classes became available to sharpen my skills. That is when my art career really took off. I went from being a confused little freshman in high school with no direction, to graduating knowing I had a career in art headed my way. Lately I have been fixated on the idea of being an art teacher and hopefully helping younger generations with the same addiction to art as myself or just being a professional artist for a living. I am now avidly pursuing these dreams and am currently a full time art student in college. And just for the record, my main subject focus area is fly fishing. I draw and paint anything and everything fly fishing related with a few other outdoor "things" tossed in. I am also currently trying to get into the art market and begin selling my work in the form of prints, originals, and hopefully commission work as well, which is another reason for this blog. I dream of getting my name out and getting a small business, even just as a small fun job, going to sell my work. So if there is any interest out there, leave a comment or shoot an email. I am also going to build an ETSY store for my work once prints are more abundant.

So, that is me in a nut shell up to the current time. I may have only been fly fishing for a little over a ear, but I can blow most people's minds with all that I have learned and currently know. I long to learn even more in the art of fly fishing and  in, well.. art, and will continue to do so till the day I die. I hope this blog, my reflections on fishing, my art work, and any other random post I add on here will make you think, appreciate wild places, and make some sort of a difference or impression on you as well. Photos of some recently completed drawings and my latest adventure will be available over the next few days.