Miss Cynthia, as my 13 year-old daughter called her during Orvis Fly Fishing 101 in Dedham, MA, had a growing Guiding business and together we were looking for ways to expand our collective value to the fly fishing community up here in New England so I was able to convince her to join me for a few days down there. And, with effusive thanks and gratitude to the Greystone Inn on Lake Toxaway and Headwaters Outfitters in Rosman, I was able to arrange for her to experience southern hospitality and elegance at their finest – it’s ok, New Englanders, it’s true. I grew up there and they have the hospitality thing down – and enjoy the Lake Toxaway waterfront and the dining experience of the Greystone as well as explore public Delayed Harvest waters as well as the solitude and bounty of some Private Waters over the first few days of November.
Can’t wait to see how it goes!!!
(Hint: I already know. Most would think of it as a monster home run.)
the beta trip
Me and my largest
By design, Headwaters Outfitters’ Manager, Jessica, and Guides, Hannah and Chris, joined Cynthia and me at the Mansion Bar at the Greystone where the owners treated us to and joined us in a celebratory dinner steering the “first impression” well into the night. Thank you Headwaters and thank you Greystone!!!
Pictured to the left, you will see my Pride (my daughter). To the right, you will see my Hubris and my only catch on the same trip (though I am amazed that such a "beast" could be taken on a nymph). I'll take the one on the left and the most amazing smile a Dad could ask for...
Me and my Hubris
I was not around for breakfast the next morning because as mentioned previously, my folks are semi-retired nearby so I had my own Mom make sure that I was well-fed to start my day (she hasn’t actually made breakfast for me since about 1985 but she does provide a healthy spread). However, knowing the Greystone’s breakfasts and knowing that they think November is winter, Cynthia could only have been treated to some of North Carolina’s finest morning fare.
After a quick rendezvous with Hannah and Chris at the Headwaters shop, we all drove over to the Little River in the DuPont State forest for her first glimpse of a North Carolina river.
Periodically through the trip, Cynthia shared her impressions with me beginning with the warmth and professionalism that she felt from her phone calls with Hannah to the waterfalls that she kept discovering along her meandering drive into Lake Toxaway. She had never been to that part of the world and I know that many New Englanders consider Mt. Washington and the Presidentials to be the most dramatic mountains in the east – and they might well be – but they are not the biggest. Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains claim that distinction much to the surprise and sometimes dismay of many a New Englandah. Cynthia was amazed at the scale and richness of the landscapes and before she even stepped into her first river, confided that this place may have some life to it and the warmth and sunshine just might be worth the time it took to get there. The Little River just below the parking lot for Triple Falls was her first taste.
Not much doin’…
However, we quickly wandered up the trail – wandered…I make it sound almost accidental that we “discovered” anything when in reality Chris and Hannah knew exactly where to go and approximately what to expect. I, personally, must confess that I did not expect this. In this 4 minutes and 25 seconds, it’s easy to see how many fish Cynthia landed and released but see if you can count the strikes that she missed! No shame to Cynthia but many NC strikes are as sudden but subtle as a trout simply “breathing” in and out. It doesn’t take much but if you can get it, it can be explosive!
how many fish?
fearless fly fishing
Fearless’ November trip to the Blue Ridge actually started before it even got started, if you follow. I had been fishing with Headwaters a few times over the years and landed my largest trout with them (and smallest) and took that same 13 year-old daughter out with Hannah last summer where she caught her first rainbow. Knowing how closely Hannah’s dedication, expertise and sensibilities would align with Cynthia’s, I thought that she would be the ideal match for this trip and but she surprised me by connecting with Cynthia multiple times well in advance of the trip to the point where their initial meeting on “opening night” at the Greystone resembled a reunion between old friends as opposed to a first-time handshake.