Bike Fishing The Pisgah
If you really Want to see more water, You got to Learn to Suffer for it
As many of you know, Pisgah National Forest is home to not only some fine small stream fishing, but is also a world class mountain biking destination, with many of the trails leading right to some of those wonderful small streams. If you have a mountain bike, our current situation with COVID-19 makes this a great time to turn your pedal powered two wheeler into a fishing assault vehicle. You can choose "easier" rides that focus more on fishing, and rely on gravel roads as the main route of travel, or you can "get your shroup on", and ride challenging single track trails far into the backcountry. Either way, there are plenty of options out there, and you don't need a $7000.00 bike to make it happen. Although, it does make it exponentially more fun.
What you will need is a compact fishing system that can be easily attached to your bike, a map of the area you plan on fishing, and a good idea of your physical capability. First, the fishing system. Keep it super duper simple. You won't need hundreds of flies so leave those bulky fly boxes at home. The plastic pucks your flies come in from the shop, or the little plastic boxes some fly tying hooks come in, make perfect bike fishing boxes. The rod can be whatever you have, as long as you can strap it to the bike without it moving around a lot, and, if you are planning on riding trail, a way for the rod to be somewhat protected just in case you get a little too sendy out there.
All You Need
Your also going to need a way to carry your fishing gear while riding your bike. Most mountain bikers typically wear some sort of hydration pack, whether it be a backpack, or a lumbar pack. Camelback makes a wide variety of these packs that will accomodate most fly fishing gear. For those who don't own a tiny pack rod, or a Tenkara rod, wearing a pack may be the best option. Some riders do not like wearing a pack, especially in warmer weather. Strapping your gear to your bike does simplify things, but requires a few cycling specific pieces of gear to make the "no pack" system work properly.
J.E.B.'s Pack Free Bike Fishing Set Up
Most importantly knowing where to go, and how best to get there, can increase the fun factor dramatically. While most good sized streams in Pisgah are home to trout, some are not accessible by bike. Knowing which trails are open to cyclists is of the utmost importance. Also, if the biking part is more important than the fishing part, route selection is key for getting the best sections of trail in on the way to, and from, the river. While there are several phone apps out there for trails, it is hard to beat the highly durable, and highly accurate, maps from Pisgah Map Company. These maps are made locally, by local mountain bikers, and hikers. They are incredibly useful for not only biking, but for anyone wanting to explore remote streams and trails.
Pisgah Map Company Maps Will Get You There and Back
Finally, know your ability. Just because it looks close on the map, doesn't mean that it is easy to get there. Some of the uphill climbs in Pisgah are brutal, and any gradient you lose on a downhill, you will certainly have to climb back up to get home. Many of the trails also require technical riding skills, and contain rock drops, boulder gardens, and techincal turns. If you are new to all of this, start with some easier trails that follow the stream you are going to fish. Ride in a few miles, fish, and ride back. This will also allow you to perfect your gear hauling system before you go on a longer ride.