Fly Fishing Sugar Creek with Thomas Bouldin


I love Sugar Creek…that is a no-brainer; so, getting a chance to fish it is also a no-brainer. Each year I get lots of questions and even some requests to fish certain creeks. I also get request for info, etc….and frankly, do my best to try and help those in search of info. It was a month or two back that I received a very polite inquiry from Thomas Bouldin; Thomas wanted to try and find a time to get together and see if we could fish Sugar Creek together. As things go…I have been very busy, in fact, these past couple of months have been my busiest. My father passed in March and we have been on a three month journey to move my mom from her home of 50 years into a small condo…we finally succeeded this past week and my fly fishing window opened up. Thus, I made plans for Frank and I to meet Thomas in Crawfordsville and head out on a 4-5 hour journey.

Let me throw out one caveat…I’m not really a social fisherman. I like to fish with my two sons and my friend Frank (and usually that means we go our separate ways once upon the water). However, I am a fan of helping younger fly-guys. So, Thomas and I jumped onto Sugar Creek and headed west in search of smallmouth bass.

The first thing I noticed about Thomas was that he was not just young, but very polite. He told me he was born in California and had just finished his degree in law enforcement and was in the process of starting his life. We leap-frogged each other from spot to spot as I tried to give Thomas a heads up on a few upcoming portions of the creek that were or had been good to me. Truth is that Thomas was a very good caster and it was evident that his skill level was higher than most.

Unfortunately the creek wasn’t cooperating completely with us….or should I say the smallies weren’t cooperating. We caught a fish from time to time…but nothing of any size. It was however, a gorgeous day and if you can be upon Sugar Creek at any point and not enjoy the environs….something is really wrong with you.

As we eased into the last bend prior to our take out at Deers Mill and Clements, I made a long cast back into the shade with my shiner pattern and was in full speed retrieve when I felt a thump. A good hook set and up from the water came the fish of the day; it was a chunky 18 inch smallmouth. A true classic from Sugar Creek. Thomas quickly floated on in and took a few photos (which for me is a real treat as I almost always land and catch fish on my own).

Our day had come to an end and pleasant was the only word that could come to mind. Thomas was a real gentleman and someone I would indeed like to fish with again. It is great to see the next generation and know that we are going to be handing off the pursuit of fly fishing to a qualified handful that can carry on the rich tradition.

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