Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I saw it in the sky, I thought it was the 4th of July

Doc asked me to fish last week, and we had planned to go on July 3rd, but he wasn't keen or passionate about fishing with all of the rain we've had lately, so we cancelled.  With the rain, it occurred to me that Dukes Creek might be an option.  I checked with the Dukes receptionist on July 3rd to see if there were any openings for the 4th of July. Much to my surprise, there was an opening for the afternoon.  We went to the parade in Blue Ridge on the morning of the 4th, packed up a big pastrami sandwich and I hit the road to Helen, Georgia, with my six weight and a box of big streamers in the back.  I arrived just prior to 1:30 and jumped on the shuttle. I went to the lowest section and hiked down to the creek. I was hoping for high muddy water, but the water didn't seem that high and was relatively clear.  I dropped my sunglasses on the trail, which resulted in about 45 minutes of delay, but I found them and rigged up a big streamer on 4x tippet. 
After about 20 minutes of working my way upstream I cast to a shallow run of fast water by a big downed tree in the creek.  I saw the fish come out from under the tree and slam my streamer. I was then in for the best fight I've ever had on a fly rod with a trout. Despite a six weight and fairly heavy tippet, it was a challenge.  He ran downstream a good 20 yards, and kept trying to wrap my line around rocks and branches.  I must admit, this was probably the first trout I've ever had where I had to use my drag.  To make matters worse, I didn't have a net.  I finally landed the fish after about 5-10 minutes.  Thankfully, I had decided to bring my net glove or I would have never been able to handle the fish.  I didn't measure, but I'm guessing it was around 24-25 inches.  Who knows how heavy.
After I finished fighting the above pictured pig, I was sweating profusely and frankly, a little worn out. I felt like I had accomplished my goal, and I could have gone home and been happy. I started hiking upstream, casting and exploring, but not really fishing that seriously.  Around 5:00 I made it to section 2 and ran into two other anglers. I found a nice deep run and drifted my fly through the deepest part: fish on!  This fish was not a great fighter compared to the first, though he was probably 18 inches or better.
I drove back to Blue Ridge, ate some delicious BBQ, and then took the family to watch the fireworks.  This was a 4th of July I'll never forget!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Bowa on the Toccoa

 I got a chance to fish for a few minutes on the Toccoa near the DH on Monday.  After catching a small bow, and with the water high, I decided to roll cast a big bugger for a few minutes to a deep hole. Third cast - and it was on.  Big fish, and rather unexpected.  Measured out at 18 inches. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Pleasant Surprise

On Saturday we decided to take the kids on a family picnic.  I had never been to Cooper's Creek, but had heard it was a pretty area.  We packed up the kids and a lunch and headed to the campground.  I had read about Cooper's Creek as being a heavily stocked stream with a ton of fishing pressure. Never have I read or heard of any quality fishing coming out of the creek. When we got to the creek I was surprised that it was devoid of people. Other than a camper at Mulky Creek, there seemed to be nobody at Cooper's. We ate lunch at a picnic table and I took the kids on a hike upstream.  After about 30 minutes of hiking we started back. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a fish rise.  I looked at the area for a few minutes and couldn't believe it when I saw a large rainbow treading water on the far bank.  I ran to the car and rigged up my six weight.  I didn't have time so I just threw a large caddis on the end of my line to see if I could move the fish. I couldn't, and the wife and kids weren't in the mood to watch me fish. I watched the water for a little while and was starting to wonder whether I was looking at a fish or just a rock.  Right before we left I took a rock from the bank and threw it over towards the fish. Sure enough, the fish scattered up stream. The fish was 20 plus inches. 
The next morning I woke up and drove over to the same spot.  I got out of my truck and went to the area where I saw the fish from the day before.  Strangely enough, there were two large fish now in the same spot.  I decided to go big - I tied on a huge stone fly pattern from Montana and waited for my opportunity.  I saw the two fish move towards the middle of the creek.  One was over 16 inches hanging out with the big one nearby.  I didn't put on waders or boots - I figured I'd spook the fish if I touched the water.  I didn't have room to backcast and I knew I'd only get one shot.  I put some line out and performed a back hand roll cast with the fly landing about 10 feet upstream of the two fish.  The water was crystal clear.  As the big bug drifted right in front of the two fish I saw one move forward.  I lifted my rod tip and there it was - fish on!  I was standing on a bank with a four foot drop to the creek.  I got the fish on my reel, but soon realized I hadn't hooked the big one - but it was still a large fish.  I managed to walk upstream, around a streamside tree, and down to a spot where I could get to the water. Although it wasn't the exact fish I wanted, it was a pleasant surprise to catch such a quality fish under the circumstances.  I watched the area for about an hour hoping the big one would come back, but I had spooked him, and so I left knowing I would need to make another trip in the near future.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Blue Ridge Trip - Day 2

The Gubna!
We woke up Saturday morning and drove to Curtis Switch on the Toccoa Tailwater to meet Doc, who was driving over from Chattanooga.  We then went to the dam and started our float.  The weather was shaping up nicely.  The flow was a little lower than I remember, but not too bad.  I caught a nice brookie about a mile downstream from the Dam.  A pleasant surprise.  The Rod was fishing a huge articulated.  He fished as we floated, and had two huge rainbows chase his fly, only to turn at the last minute. A mile or two into the float we stopped at a nice run.  I rigged up a huge rubber legged stonefly that I picked up in Montana and found a nice run below the riffles. After a few casts I saw a fish rise. I thought it was probably a small brown sipping a midge, but I chucked the fly above the rise and within a few seconds I got tug.  I could tell it was a good fish immediately. I put the line on the reel and yelled at The Rod to get the boat downstream to help me land the fish.  I ended up being able to land it without a net.  The fish was 18-20 inches, and probably the best bow I've landed in the last year.  Absolutely beautiful!
The Rod landed a nice bow about an hour later (see image on left).  Doc missed a number of fish - probably close to 10 total.  Strangely enough we only managed 3 fish between the three of us. However, one good fish is all I wanted, and thus, it was an outstanding trip. The weather was great, and we all had a good time. 
That night Brown Trout Zilen made an appearance and we shut down the town.  Stories will be told about this trip for years to come....

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blue Ridge Trip - Day 1

The Rod met me in Blue Ridge on Friday morning. We had his 3 man toon, but with only two of us, we figured why not pick up another solo toon and float down the upper toccoa. I made a gross miscalculation in distance and drove over five miles above the DH section of the upper toccoa. We put in around 12:30 and after four hours we finally reached the DH. There was little sign of trout during our float, and we realized rather quickly that we were burning daylight. When we finaly reached the DH we discovered there was some sort of fly fishing competition taking place. As a result, every good run was occupied on the DH. It didn't really matter because it was getting cold and dark. I fished for a few minutes and picked up a small bow. We packed up the toons. Although we did very little fishing, it was actually quite a bit of fun rowing the toons during the 7 mile float and along the way, telling each other lies. We went downtown for a good ribeye. A good day on the water, regardless of the fishing, capped off by some whisky, beer, and a good steak - doesn't get much better!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

North Carolina DH Trip -

After suffering from the crowds on the Tuck three of us drove up the mountains to another DH stream that generally is not crowded.  The fishing was sick.  I put in and immediately caught about 20 fish. I then spotted a 16 inch brookie in shallow water.  After 30 minutes I got him to hand. I moved up stream and sited 4 pigs in a slow deep pool.  I spent the next hour fishing low profile from the bank with a 15 foot leader. I ended up with 5 fish between 16 and 20 inches.  I didn't have a net, so getting pictures was tough.  I managed a couple of photographs as evidence of the epic fishing:
Big Fish on a Small Fly