By Gary Carney
Brayden Madison may still be a young fisherman, but he has amassed a rather large collection of trophy fish from both Freshwater and Saltwater and has numerous awards from the State of Florida regarding trophy catches. He was born a Tennessean but relocated to Florida. Fishing runs deep in his veins, and he has a deep understanding of fishing along with a desire to target multiple species. This year, he chose to target Rainbow trout on his vacation and what better place to do it than where his fishing adventures began in his home State of Tennessee. The first action for planning out this adventure was to utilize the best tool available to the Fisherman of today…The Internet. The Internet has a wealth of information and resources when it comes to targeting a species of fish. To name a few: Aerial views of the waterways, topo and depth charts, fish information, including habitat and forage info, and local catches recorded identifying size and location to get a good sampling of what is being caught and where.
Step one had already been chosen and confirmed – Target Species “Rainbow Trout”. After spending a few hours studying the Rainbow trout and its habits, Brayden moved on to the local postings regarding catches and locations. After viewing the satellite views and marking off some prime spots that were likely to hold some larger trout that had avoided being caught for some time after stocking, he was ready for his trip. Upon arriving in Pigeon Forge, he shopped for a few local varieties of lures that he didn’t already have.
Thanks to the preplanning, the first day out to the Little Pigeon River proved to be successful. After picking up some smaller stock size trout on a flyrod, he decided to try his luck on some of the other spinner lures he had bought locally. He followed the river to a deeper hole that had some eddies just on the edge. It was tough to get to, but this sweetened the deal, because if it was hard to get to for him that means it was for anyone else too. These are the areas that receive less fishing pressure and hold the larger fish. As soon as he was in position to make a cast, he viewed what looked to be two large rainbow trout swimming side by side just off the edge of the eddy. Cast after cast, lure after lure, he would pull the lures right by them, sometimes bumping them in the face trying to promote even the smallest of strikes. Although he had caught several nice trout this day, these large trout were what he had set out to catch. Being persistent he tried several lures and nothing, so he sat on a rock and just observed them for about an hour watching their every move. They would lay back in the slack water swimming slowly and then would get to the end of the pool of water and then dart up into the rushing eddy as thought they were feeding on something and then return to the slack of the deeper pool. He had one Rooster Tail with a light green skirt that he had not tried, so he tied it on and climbed up and down the rocks until he reached the upstream end of the pool. He could still see the trout swimming and just as they entered the swift current, he threw just beyond them and pulled the rooster tail pass them, immediately the smaller of the two engulfed the rooster tail and the fight was on. Once the fish was landed it was quickly weighed at return to the water. His first six plus pound Rainbow. But he knew he wasn’t through until he landed the big one still swimming. Several more casts yielded nothing. But he stuck with it and the fish repeated his tracks once again, and after about 30 minutes he was in the current again and this time Brayden tried a different technique, instead of throwing past him and then retrieving. He cast to a spot where the fish had passed over time and time again, and kept his line tight with his lure resting on the bottom. As the fish moved toward the lure and was about a foot away, he popped the rod tip and sent the lure from the bottom into action provoking a strike… “Fish On!” Brayden yelled, you could feel the excitement in the air as he landed a nine plus pound Rainbow trout. It was his personal best and one that will be logged in his book of catches. The fish was photographed and quickly released to fight another day.
After talking to a lot of the locals, a Rainbow trout that size was few and far between in this area. I encourage old and young alike to do a little preplanning, come prepared, and be patient and you may very well end your day with your personal best. The Smokies offer some great outdoor experiences in both fishing and nature observing, so get out and make some memories today, that’s what it’s all about!
Brayden said he left those fish for you, So now it’s your turn…get out there!