Rudy Hayden, Charlotte Manager



Rudy and a nice Brown (photo courtesy of Caleb)

I had the distinct pleasure to go fishing on the Davidson River near Brevard, NC with Caleb Boyle. Caleb was recently selected to join the ranks of the youth world fly-fishing team. He traveled to Penacova, Portugal this past August to compete in the championships.

I met Caleb a few years ago while working at Great Outdoor Provision Co. as he often came in to purchase select fly-tying materials and share his fishing experience and knowledge. Not only is Caleb a skilled fisherman but an award winning fly-tyer. His flies and writing have been featured in several issues of Fly Tier and once were showcased for sale at the GOPC in Charlotte, NC.

Finally, I had the opportunity to go fishing with Caleb. We chose to hit the Davidson river, one of Caleb’s favorite catch and release streams located about 2.5 hours from Charlotte, NC. We geared up for a chilly November day and talked of different fishing tactics and feeding properties on this particular river.

Caleb graciously handed me a flybox packed full of hand tied special nymph (subsurface) midges. My eyes widened and I picked some colorful options in the size 20 to 24 range for the classic “slack” water section just beyond the parking at the fish hatchery.

Being out of practice and my feet slow to warm I experimented with different strike indicator options and midges until I had my first hook-up. Game was on for some healthy size trout feeding in this particular stretch of river. I was using a special “competition” indicator rig that Caleb showed me and tied two tiny simple little midges on 7x flourocarbon tippet. Skunk was soon gone and I was getting into the rythm. Indeed, it was going to be a good day on the water!

School was in session as Caleb and Carl had several more hookups and landings. I attentively listened and watched for any tips and tricks I could put to immediate use . Several more hookups and a few breakoffs from larger fish and my heartrate was beginning to rise. Game on!

I cruised upstream to explore some other holes but not near the success I had in the slower moving water. The water was low and fast; the wind blistering it’s way down river to make casting and obtaining a drag-free drift far more difficult. I cruised to the car for some refreshments before heading back to the slack water where all those pigs were penned up. I came back and found Carl and Caleb still slaying the fish. They weren’t having to force feed these fish.

I cleaned up my leader and tied on two different flies in anticipation for some heavy hitters. Before I knew it, my line was tight. The bright red colors flashed and I knew I was going to need n’ hold on. I called Caleb over for some backup and hopefully a potential net. This gorgeous rainbow jumped but it was more like the breaching of a whale. This was by far the largest trout I had ever hooked into. I was ecstatic and proceeded to do my best at playing this tough, frightful fish.

Caleb saw the jump and shouted “Carl, you’ve gotta come and see this fish”. Before I knew it the fish headed for cover and broke me off. I could have screamed like I normally do when I loose big fish. Instead, I looked at Caleb and we both grinned. I tied on another midge and when back after him. Hint: use slightly larger tippet (6x) next time when going for large trout.

To no avail I was very content to pack up the gear and head home. Caleb ended the day on a great note pulling in a great size bow. A perfect way to end the day. It was a spectacular day of winter fishin’ and got me excited to tie some up and go back after ’em.