June 26, 2021 #1,000 CREEKS!
Bobby Kilby, outdoor writer Jack Horan and his friend Howard and I met at Warrensville and headed over to Greer Branch, a tributary of South Fork Little Horse Creek in Ashe County. We parked at an old Primitive Baptist Church (established in 1840) near a relatively open stretch of creek. I caught trout number one on about the fifth roll cast with my 5-foot 2-weight rod. The small wild brown trout hit my #14 bead-head hare's ear nymph, but according to Bobby, the originator of the thousand creek challenge, it's not official until the second trout is caught. After a few pictures with that first trout, I resumed fishing, and it only took about five more casts to connect with my second wild brown trout to make Greer Branch new creek #1,000!
I'm the short guy in the middle, also the young guy at 59 between the two 80-year-olds. Jack is an avid paddler, and you can see from his shirt that in 2019 he celebrated paddling 3,000 miles in canoes. He will be writing about my 1,000 creeks. Bobby was the first to catch trout on a fly in 1,000 NC creeks (see "Grand Achievement", by Jack Horan in the May, 2008 Wildlife In North Carolina magazine). He set the standard (two trout), and he only used dry flies! I have probably caught two-thirds of my trout on nymphs or streamers, but my unique twist is that I only used flies that I tied. Bobby recently surpassed 1,300 NC trout streams, and he has caught trout in well over 2,000 streams around the country, but he has accomplished something else that to me is even more impressive. He has a streak going where he has caught a trout on a dry fly (I think he might have gotten desperate and used a nymph once) in every month of the year for nearly 30 years! And he lives in Pawley's Island, SC! A five hour drive from trout water! Including the sometimes bitter cold winter months! He has been known to get up early, drive to Caldwell County or Watauga County, catch a wild brook trout or two in a roadside stream, drive straight back home, and go to work at Bi-Lo (now Food Lion) the next morning - that's ten hours of driving for a couple of small trout - just to keep his streak alive! That's a streak that will never be broken! Now that I have accomplished my goal of 1000 creeks, Bobby and I will continue to search out new creeks as long as we are able. In the meantime, who will be the next to take on the Bobby Kilby Challenge?