Tuesday, October 28, 2014

South Holston Blues


The TVA did us a favor, sons of bitches, and released Holston Lake waters from first light to the witching hour each day. Had they not, we might have fished the tailrace all weekend. Instead, the gates were thrown open and, as happens too often, the brass floated high on their Clackas and Hydes while we fly fishing foot soldiers scrambled for shore.


So while the well-heeled slept in, awaiting their ten-o’clock launches, building their reserves so they might survive the long day sitting on their asses, high and dry, while staring at the fat Day-glo indicators drifting alongside their watercraft, we drove miles downstream under the cover of darkness and squeezed in a handful of hours searching for risers before the front edge of the too early flood tumbled upon us.


But the drifters didn't see the sun leak over the horizon; slanted rays arriving in luminous waves, breaching the east’s distant dam and washing silently into our hardscrabble riverbed through riffles of muted Fall colors. They didn’t feel the thick fog dampen their cheeks with moist, sloppy dog kisses or hear the quiet whispers of welcome from gentle runs hidden somewhere in the mists; didn’t rub sleep from their eyes with fleece-sheathed sleeves or shake the lingering effects of last night’s Kentucky with cool, deep breaths of this morning's Tennessee. They missed it all while they waited for their boats.


So thank you, TVA, for the impetus to be out there at that magical time. Thank you for putting us on the river before daybreak so we could appreciate those few golden hours that you left us. Thank you for the beauty, enhanced by the brevity. Thank you for the crumbs. They were delicious.

Sons of bitches.

10 comments:

Kevin Frank said...

Awesome pics. Wish I was out there. I missed a great fishing weekend. Seems like no matter where people went they caught fish.

Adam Wilson said...

Great pictures! Wish my blog had some recent fishing pictures, but SOON it must happen :)
Thanks for sharing.

Kirk Werner said...

The 'well-heeled' sitting on their asses. Love it, despite that I've never seen anyone in a drift boat wearing heels.

Austin Orr said...

You tell'em, Mike.

Mel Moore said...

Mike, I have been pretty much a foot solider all my life. Can't say I have regretted a moment of it. Sure enjoyed reading your moments in time. Every picture tells a story, does it not?

Mike Sepelak said...

While the catching was thin, Kevin, the company and the surroundings were grand.

And yes, it must happen soon, Adam. You live too close not to. And I need to find my way to the Clinch sometime...

You're not looking closely enough, Kirk. :-)

Done did, Austin!

I waffle on boats, Mel. One day I want one and the next I recall the old line, "The best two days of a boat owner's life..."

Thanks, guys, for the notes!

Ken G said...

I wallowed through my brain and the decades of painting, art shows, gallery visits, thousands of words read on art and art criticism, millenia of art history poured over and I'm sorry Mike, best I could think of on the spur of the moment was "Nice shot."

Now, nice shots.

There were times at art shows where I'd sit and stare at some work. Tilt head left, tilt head right. Eventually nod my head, yes, this works.

At that point I have no clue at what level.

Like these photos.

Mike Sepelak said...

Actually, that's as good a compliment as I can imagine, Ken. If it gets you in the gut, does it matter why? Thanks, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pics Mike...JP

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks, JP. It was a enchanting morning.