The past month I have taken a lot of time to explore the state of North Carolina. I have spent lots of time here but mostly at Wrightsville Beach. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been tying many trout flies, and I decided I wanted to put them to use. For the past month or two, I have looked at the weather in the mountains every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday hoping for the ideal fishing weather on my days off. Finally, the days and weather lined up, and I packed my car with food, camping supplies, fly rods, and my handmade flies. I drove out of Wrightsville Beach at 3:00 am and began my journey. I planned to take one stop, but this didn’t work as expected. I was supposed to arrive in Cherokee at 10:00 am, but unfortunately, after three stops, I arrived at 11:30 am. I drove to a small fly shop and purchased my Cherokee tribal fishing license, which is required for the waters on the reservation. I had never been to the mountains of North Carolina before, but a coworker of mine at the tackle shop in Wilmington gave me some advice on where to go.
I decided to stay in the mountains only for Wednesday and Thursday and drive back Thursday night. My first day of fishing was honestly a sharp learning curve. I hadn’t fished for trout in about ten months and had to take some time to get in the groove of things. After an hour of messing around, honing in my casts, and trying different flies, I caught my first fish. Catching a fish anytime is always rewarding, but this was an incredible feeling. I was in a new place alone and caught a fish on a fly I tied with my own two hands. This made the 7 hours of driving that morning well worth it and energized me. After a few hours of fishing, I caught three more trout and called it a day. I drove for about 30 minutes and found a gorgeous campsite where I spent the night. I quickly fell asleep and woke up early to fish a stream until noon, when I wanted to drive back home. On my second day of fishing, I was making great casts and feeling much more connected to nature. I caught five fish before noon, all on my own flies, and hiked back to the car energized and happy. I drove back to Wrightsville that night and already have plans to explore a different set of mountains this week! Before this year, I never had done much traveling or exploring on my own. This year has been an amazing time for me to grow and become very independent.