I regret to inform the loyal readers of Jay Moore, the now dearly departed and former Tennessee Editor of Flyfishmagazine.com, of his passing from the Caney Fork watershed. You may have noticed that his regular posting has been absent for some time and you may have attributed the absence to the erratic generation schedule at the Center Hill Reservoir Dam. That schedule has been affected by the repair of the dam and acerbated by the torrential rains occurring in the watershed over the last several weeks. It would take more than that to keep Jay out of his waders under normal circumstances.
I am sad to report that Jay left us at 8:00 AM sharp on Sunday, September 6. Jay was always very punctual, leaving behind Tammy his loving wife, two sets of waders and shoes, several fly rods and reels, and too numerous and lovingly tied flies to list here. The service commemorating his sad absence was private. The trout of the Caney Fork though invited were absent from the ceremony but in favor of his demise.
Even though we all knew the end was near, Jay had the courage to enter the river a week earlier on what we all knew would be his last trip. I had the privilege to accompany Jay on that bittersweet occasion. We fished the river near the settlement of Lancaster about a mile downstream from the dam. We reminisced over our many trips on our way to the river and chose a spot that would be easy to approach to make it more comfortable for Jay.
When we arrived about 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 6 there were two fisherman in the water who were preparing to leave and shared that they had been there for at least a couple of hours and the fish had been uncooperative. That news did not bother me as I was with Jay and Jay caught fish especially when no one else was catching fish. Even the power bait boys typically marveled at his ability.
At 6: OO PM we had not only failed to net a fish but had not even had a strike. Now Jay knows how to fish. He doesn’t go fishing as much as he goes catching. I’ve been with him when he loses count of his captures when the total is in the forties and we have been there only two hours. This afternoon was different. Jay kept changing flies; Wooly buggers, emergers, and nymphs. He would use each for a few minutes then change. He would try all of one color then repeat the order changing color. As always Jay was focused on the moment and not distracted by anything else, but after two hours the mink I saw working the shore threatened to turn into a skunk. I had never fished with Jay when he didn’t catch fish. I have, however, fished with Jay when I didn’t catch fish.
Then it happened, fish on. Jay’s rotation had just included a #18 gold Zebra midge. And a 10” brown was in his net. Jay said it was a 12” brown, but under the circumstances I agreed with him and tried not to sound patronizing. Nine more were to follow in close succession. Jay continued the rotation and landed rainbows, browns and brooks with the largest being a 15” rainbow. I personally think it was closer to 13”, but I withheld comment for the reason already stated. I on the other hand retrieved only five and finished with what Jay determined was a 19” brown which he actually had to net for me. I let him assist so that he could share the thrill of a large catch that I actually believe was at least 22”, but I accepted his measurement for the reason already stated.
So we bid Jay a fond farewell. He has been as excellent a friend as he has been a fisherman. I have been the recipient of not only several JayMoore flies (patent pending), but of many hours of enjoyment that could not have been duplicated in anyone else’s company. I shall miss him.
Jay, however, has gone to a better place, Columbia, South Carolina. At least that is what his boss told him. He accepted a transfer to the ProBuild facility in Columbia as operations manager. They needed someone with special talents and Jay has them in spades. I regret he is gone, but Tammy is looking forward to being there and Jay will do great in his new position. I particularly feel for the catfish, carp, and gar, how fun, who will soon feel the sting of a JayMoore fly (patent pending).
In his absence, I will try to keep you updated on the Caney as well as an occasion article on the Harpeth River. I will also try to get to the Buffalo River before winter.
Phil Duke, cub reporter
Editor's note: Jay Moore is not (as far as we know) Dead. He simply moved to S.C. If moving to S.C. evokes an Obiufisuary then we can't help but wonder what our recent move to the Garden State should evoke. Great work Phil - We look forward to hearing more from you about our favorite TN trout waters.