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Filtering by Category: Olive's Observations

Timing is Everything

leah kirk


                Of the over hundred responses to proposed changes to the newsletter, almost half of you asked that I make the call or just outright seize the reins of this runaway train. I’d like to thank you, but the timing was poor, as last weekend I was given a two month probation for having been reported by Daddyboy who said that he caught rifling through the garbage can. It darn near cost me going to the Blue Ridge Trout and Outdoors Festival.

                For the record, there is no company policy limiting the use and/or access to the garbage, i.e. if deposits may be made, what is the problem with occasional withdraws. For my part, I see no real difference. I do believe that food scraps should not be put in the garbage can, but is just my personal opinion as an independent, free-thinking progressive canine.

                Testimony resulting from the trumped up darn trash in the floor investigation also brought to light my active participation here in a much needed corporate coup d’état. The plan never progressed much beyond the writing of the Fly Fishing Dog Manifesto and the accumulation of a few guns and a small supply of explosives. Throughout the whole ordeal I was treated like some sort of crazed pit bulldog terrorist.

                Today Daddyboy and JD (I don’t like him either) are somewhere in the Smokies celebrating Comrade Lenin’s birthday and feeding the otters. If you are lucky enough to get a picture of one of them harassing an otter, please send it to me. FYI-I am seriously considering striking out on my own and forming a 501c3 under the title “Dog Lives Matter”. I have about had with these bipods and their petite bourgeoisie pretenses. POWER TO THE PUPS!!!

Soc’s Done It Right

leah kirk

Soc Clay’s newly released title, BASSIN AROUND KENTUCKY is the most complete bass fishing book ever written about bass fishing in Kentucky. This masterpiece of bass stories, bass lore and bass fishing tips, is the results of more than 60 years of devoted bass fishing experience by Soc. He has fished with hundreds of Kentuckians on lakes, reservoirs, stream and rivers. He’s as handy with a casting or spinning rod, as he is a fly rod.

Soc has been fortunate to fish with some of the best bass anglers who live in Kentucky and the pros who come to fish in Kentucky. Readers will discover master advice from the masters of bass anglers across Kentucky. They will be introduced to legends like Charley and Ernie Taylor of Somerset, of Billy Westmoreland, Fred Martin, Buddy Banks, Tom Applegate, Freddy Hall Barry Dean Martin, Bob Dillow, BillSauer and a hundred other too numerous to name. 

Covered too is the history of the Kentucky Reels that was invented in Paris (KY) and the development of the casting and spinning reels from the early 1800suntil today. Fly rodders will read about the history of fly fishing in America- and heck, this is a big book, so they will hear about Soc’s humble upbringing and how I learned to fish, a ton of other sound reading.

The book sells for $20.00, tax and shipping included. Autograph copies are available directly from Soc by calling him at 606-932-4126 or emailing him at

2016 Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival

leah kirk

The 2016 Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will be held at the Meadow Event Park, just a few miles outside of Richmond, Virginia, on April 9-10, 2016. It is the largest event of its kind in the country and attracts fly anglers from across the United States and the Mid-Atlantic in particular. Nowhere else can anglers learn about the quiet sport in such a beginner-friendly environment.

This unique event combines fine wine tasting, microbrewery beer, live music, and everything you ever wanted to know about fly fishing but were afraid to ask. The mission of the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival is to introduce as many people to the sport of fly fishing as possible, especially young families with children.

Festival attendees listen to lectures from various experts and practice hands-on skills at the two-day, family-friendly event. Several wineries from throughout the Old Dominion provide free wine tastings for those 21 and older. Last year’s festival enjoyed record turnout, and the event was flooded with children.

 New this year is an expanded kayak demonstration area sponsored by Wild River Outfitters of Virginia Beach.Those who have enjoyed the outdoor festival environment for years can rest easy: Although the new facility will enable all vendors to be under roof, the events center is surrounded by extensive grounds suitable for outdoor classes and wine tastings. For more info visit

Catching Up with Casting for Hope

leah kirk

Put your running shoes on and head to Morganton, North Carolina for a couple of events being held by the local Casting for Hope Team. March 26 at 8:00am is the 3td Annual Morning of Hope 5K Run and Walk. Dr. Tom Bland will officiate a sunrise morning worship honoring Holy Saturday under Shelter Three at Catawba Meadows Park.  The 5K will kick off following that service and run along the Catawba River Greenway.  It’s a beautiful course for a nice morning run or walk to support a great cause, and we hope to see you there.  You can register online here or sign up the morning of to get clocked in.

April 8-10 in Bakersville and Spruce Pine, North Carolina is the 5th Annual Casting for Hope Gold-Level Fly-Fishing Competition. If you have ever wanted to learn about fly fishing or want to improve your skills, or just like sitting by a river taking it all in while helping a good cause; here’s your chance. You can become a stream monitor for Casting for Hope. It’s an easy, but absolutely indispensable job.

You follow a world-class fly-fisherman to the river and measure the fish he catches and record those numbers; it’s that easy!  While the event is well-covered for Saturday, they can use about 15 more hands on deck for Friday afternoon and 15 more hands on Sunday as well.  All volunteers receive an official 2016 t-shirt and meals during their volunteer shifts.  Want to sign up?  Contact John Zimmerman at

Remembering the Mountain Lily

leah kirk

                According to Daddyboy, growing up he spent a lot of time with his father catching sauger along Rankin Bottoms and other locales on the French Broad River. The biggest of the headwater flows that form the Tennessee River, the big Frenchie drains significant portions of North and South Carolina before tumbling into Tennessee near Del Rio in Cocke County.

                Daddyboy likes to tell about taking a ride on the Mountain Lily, a 90-foot-long, two-deck excursion built in 1981. Owned by a group called the French Broad Steamboat Company, the plan was to ferrying passengers and freight from Asheville to Horse Shoe to Brevard. Quite a lovely riverboat, it was gleaming white with green trim and sporting two staterooms each with a capacity of 100. She was 55 feet long and 18 feet wide, and had a draft of more than three feet.  While it looked like an old fashion, side wheel river steamboat, the Mountain Lily was powered by two 12-horsepower motors.

                The owners of the Mountain Lily claimed that it was "the highest boat line in the world," as it operated at an altitude of 2,200 feet. Unfortunately, the French Broad River is notorious for its shallow shoals and abundance of underwater hazards that are perilous navigational impairments during periods of low water. After a couple of years of service, like its eastern North Carolina counterpart, the CSS Neuse, the Mountain Lily met its fate by running aground not far from where it was constructed.

In quick order salvagers descended on the hapless Mountain Lily.  Her lumber was used to construct Riverside Baptist Church in Horse Shoe where the boat’s bell was installed. The two engines that powered the river boat wind up at a local sawmills to power huge circular-tooth saw blades. Today all remains of the Mountain Lily is one of the most interesting stories about the modern history of the Big Frenchie.

Long gone are memories of when Dandridge, Tennessee was an important riverboat port, or the days when paddleboats routinely made it all the way up the Nolichucky River to Erwin, Tennessee. Heck, few people even remember when the city officials of Erwin executed an elephant off of the bridge there over the Chucky, an act Daddyboy claims he was not associated with. Southern river lore is interesting to occasionally recount.

Intern Applications Sought

leah kirk

The CEO has informed me that I am to make a public announcement of the fact that Southern Trout Magazine has an opening for an intern position. Qualifications are as follows; (1) individual must be house broken, (2) minimum age is one year (newly wined puppies please do not apply), (3) must be clean of bad habits such as chewing shoes, sucking eggs, and barking at the drop of a pin. Must be willing to live in semi-toxic, cigar smoke polluted environment.

                The internship is open to all breeds expect pit bull dogs, St. Bernards and hounds. Females are preferred, but neutered males will be considered. Pedigree documentation is not required (i.e. if you say you are a border collie, but you look and act like a cocker spaniel, we do not really care). While the internship does not include monetary compensation, the candidate selected will be given room and board at STM’s Condorhurst Compound.

Close Call on the Clinch

leah kirk

While it is really unusual that members of my breed ever actually drown, there remains persistent rumors of a few labs retrieving downed webfeet not making it back to the boat. Drowning may not be a purely human things, although one might assume as much if you read the newspaper or watch televised news broadcast. It does appear that bipods fishing tailwater rivers seem to be more prone to getting themselves drown than say those of your species that do not frequent these waters.

                Last week while floating the Clinch River below Norris Dam, Cecil Branson of Dublin, Virginia fell overboard into the 48 degree flow.  Seventy years Branscom and his nephew Scott Branscom, of Knoxville, were motoring upstream on the Clinch to Norris Dam. At around 2 p.m. when the foot of the outboard hit a rock, causing the older man to take an unplanned swim.

Fortunately his nephew was able to pull his uncle back into the boat. Safe in the boat, the older Branscom was soaked through the several layers of clothing he was wearing. His alert nephew realized the man was freezing from the water and endanger of hyperthermia. The younger knew that the ride back to the boat launch may be too long for Cecil's health, so he called 911 and Anderson County emergency officials met them at Miller's Island Access Area. By that time, Cecil was already suffering from hypothermia and was taken to UT Medical Center where he is being treated and should recover.

                Tailwater trout fishing is a wonderful thing, but it has many inherent dangers. Mr. Branscom is a lucky man, and not a tragic statistic.

Quest columnist Stewart Gordon

leah kirk

There is an article in the most recent issue of The Drake magazine that made me smile knowing that someone else actually feels the same way I do about a certain fly fishing subject. If most anglers had a choice of the front or the back of the boat most, if not all, would chose the front. The obvious reason for this is that the guy in the front gets first shot at the best water. The guy in the back gets the leftovers.

I go against the grain on this in that I prefer the back of the boat. We all know the scene: the guide is ready to shove off and you say to your buddy: "You take the front." To which he says: "No, man. You take the front." And the volley goes back and forth till the guide says: "One of you take the front till lunch then we'll switch." The most important reason I like the back is just out of courtesy for whoever I'm fishing with. It's usually safe to say that I've had more time on the water than they have so let them have the sweet seat.

The other reason why I like the stern is somewhat selfish. If I want to take a break and just ride down the river a bit, the back seat is the place to do that. If I want to crack open a beer and watch geese make babies on the opposite bank, the back seat is prime real estate. If I want to put down my rod and silently laugh at my friend getting critiqued on his slow hook setting abilities by the guide, you got it, the back seat is a comfy place to do that.

Even after the lunch break, I still don't like to give up the stern. After all, it's not about me. It's about seeing my Pal get dibs on the best water...while I pick up a leftover here and there with a grin on my face and a cold one in my hand.

Stewart Gordon owns The Green Drake Fly Fishing Outfitters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Go to to sign up and receive his outstanding newsletter.

Shenandoah: NPS’s “Ethnic Cleansing” Success Story

leah kirk

If you looking for a good read, and perhaps insight into why Daddyboy often puts the National Park Service in the same category as copperheads and scorpions, pick up a copy of Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal bySue Eisenfeld (Univ. of Nebraska Press, $19.95, 216 pages).

“Few things vanish from public memory more quickly than government atrocities,” says Eisenfeld. “When I was growing up on a mountainside across from the Shenandoah National Park in the 1960s, no one spoke of the injustices committed against the mountaineers brutally expelled from their homes in the 1930s to create that park. Instead, all that mattered in Front Royal, Virginia, my nearby hometown and the northern entrance of the park, was that the tourists the park attracted were good for local business.”

Now, almost 80 years after the park was opened, more attention is finally being paid to the redneck ethnic cleansing committed by both the state and federal government. “Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal,” by Sue Eisenfeld, a Johns Hopkins University writing instructor, beautifully captures the mountain people and the official vendetta that made them refugees from their own land.

The Shenandoah National Park was erected on a pyramid of lies. The original advocates claimed that the parkland was practically uninhabited — ignoring the 15,000 people residing within the originally proposed park boundaries. They claimed the land was undeveloped, near-virgin turf — despite its long history of timber harvesting, mining and beef cattle production. They also claimed the land was worth only a trifle of its actual value and thus would be cheap to acquire.

Hmmmmm, Daddyboy heard much the same from people that the NPS cleansed from what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or as the old saying goes, “Hi, I’m with the government to come help you….”

2016 Rapidan Chapter Annual Fishing Show

leah kirk

Called the “The Biggest Little Fishing Show” Rapidan TU chapter’s fundraiser will be held Saturday, February 20, 2016.  The effort helps fund the chapter’s conservation projects, annual Youth Conservation and Fishing Camp, Trout in the Classroom, Heritage Day (Kid’s Day fishing), Chapter operations, and stream restoration and cleanup.  The Fishing Show will be held at the Fauquier County Fair Grounds. The show has a great lineup of speakers and presentations. 

•10:00  Tony Dranzo – Swinging Wet Flies for Fall Great Lakes Steelhead
•10:45  Michael Cherwek – The Vanishing Wild Atlantic Salmon Since WWII and Sputnik
•11:30  Colby Trow – Fly Fishing the Shenandoah Valley
•12:30  Beau Beasley – Must Have Patterns for Virginia Bass and Trout
•1:15  Dusty Wissmath – Fly Fishing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
•2:00  Walt Cary – Materials and Tools for Poppers – Where to Purchase and How to Use Them

    A maximum of 300 raffle tickets will be sold for an all expenses paid trip for two to Yellowstone National Park. Each ticket is only $25. In addition to the Yellowstone Trip tickets, the raffle has a number of premium prizes that include:
•1.  Brookie Custom Cane Rod – 6’6″, 4 wt., 2-piece  (Chris Bogart)
•2.  Sage Approach Outfit – 489-4, Nautilus Reel FWX3/4, Rio Gold  (Urban Angler)
•3.  LL Bean Gortex Wader Jacket & Box of Flies  (LL Bean)
•4.  Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod – 9″, 5wt, 4 pc (Mossy Creek Fly Fishing)
•5.  Box of 100 Custom Trout Flies  (Andy Holmaas)