This prose was written with names altered in order to protect the innocent. Although, it behooves me to think of anyone in this motley group or anyone that would associate with this group as innocent. Any similarities are on purpose or purely coincidental and not planned or the fault of the writer.
A couple of years ago an impromptu meeting, of challenged minds, finds us engaged in conversation at the public pull-off beside the Nantahala River near Bryson City NC. This whimsical group (Harry, Keith, Mike and yours truly) getting out of the vehicles, putting on our chest waders and lacing up our boots started considering our fly fishing options.
After a brief discussion, about where to begin fishing, I speak up and tell everyone an abbreviated story about a “Honey Hole” that was shown to me a coupled years ago. On a previous outing this location was revealed by a young guide from Cherokee. As it turned out this guide, all of 16, was a member of the US National Fly Fishing Team and quite astute in Euro Nymphing. A month later he could be found in Europe representing the US in the World Fly Fishing Youth Tournament. With no objections we get back into our vehicles and proceed to our first destination for the day.
Arriving, at the predetermined location, we jump out of our vehicles and start putting together our rods, seating the reels, stringing them up, and tying on our favorite flies in anticipation of a day on the water. Chattering about this and that, like some excited guinea birds, we see a truck pull over and park with two NC DNR Game Wardens getting out. After making small talk they finally get around to asking us for our fishing license. Checking mine, Keith’s and Mike’s documents everything was found to be in order however, after sorting through several licenses Harry finds his NC license and gives it to the warden. Upon inspecting the license he ask Harry for his trout license. It seems he needed some additional paperwork. As we had not yet fished there had been no foul committed. So the warden recommended that Harry drive down the valley, to where he could get a signal on his phone, and purchase the needed trout license. Away went Harry and the game wardens leaving Keith, Mike and me on the hill watching Harry drive around the bend and out of sight. Two minutes later the three of us are standing in the water presenting our flies.
Mike and Keith began fishing directly below our vehicles and I make my way to the “Honey Hole”. It doesn’t take long and Mike and Keith are both hooked up to a couple nice trout. As for me, the “Honey Hole” starts producing not letting me down. By this time, our prodigal son Harry returns, just in time, to net my football shaped / size Rainbow. Not long after that Harry starts bringing trout to hand. A few more fish and we all agree it time for lunch.
During lunch Mike asked me if I had caught enough trout in the “Honey Hole” and asked me if I thought about trying another spot. Moving down stream I managed to catch a fish here and another one from there. Time flying by, as it always does while on the water, I work my way back up the stream to where we parked the vehicles. Seeing Harry, beside them, I ask him where’s Mike and Keith. Laughingly he tell me they are fishing the “Honey Hole”. Standing on the bridge I look over the edge just as Mike is releasing a nice rainbow with Keith standing only a few feet away. Looking up Mike looks like a Cheshire Cat, that has just swallowed a yellow Canary, smiling ear to ear. Apparently, after I started down stream, Mike immediately made his move into the “Honey Hole” catching one trout after another with Keith enjoying the action. Dr. Seuss said it best, “One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish, Black fish, Blue fish, Old fish, New fish.” Yelling back to Harry I tell him not to let any kids cross the bridge because there were a couple of old trolls underneath it on the hunt.
Some days are just like that with fantastic fellowship and fish on the take willing to be brought to hand. This was certainly one of those memorable days that will forever be etched in memory. Later that evening over a hot dinner, with smiles on all of our faces, it was decided that Mike was the king “Trolling for Trout in the Honey Hole” under the bridge.
In fondest memory of our beloved friend Dr. Mike Stone.
Joe Bibbo <“££><
(The Obstinate Fly Fisherman)