Friday, April 2, 2010

Floating the Toccoa

For the past several weeks the Gubna has been sending me pictures he found surfing the internet of monster trout being caught on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge GA. It was the day before Good Friday and he said Rob had a new pontoon catamaran and they were looking for a third person to float down the Hiwassee. This was a tempting offer, but I had already planned to fish the Conasauga River in the Cohutta Wilderness. I was pretty sure that Quill Gordons were hatching and that the wild rainbows would be taking dry flies. Another email came in a few minutes later; the Hiwassee would not be floatable so they were going to drive to the Toccoa. I was sold. Less than 24 hours later I was in the back seat of an incredible boat made for the sole purpose of pampering a fly fisherman. We had just put the boat in the water below the Blue Ridge dam, approximately 45 seconds later the Gubna was reeling in a 10 inch rainbow. I thought we were going to be in for a great day of fishing, which we were, just not in the way I anticipated.
We floated a couple of good runs without a fish. Finally we approached a very deep hole where 2 other boats had anchored up and were fishing very hard. The Gubna had been telling us about this spot. He said the last time he and Easy E floated the Toccoa that some pigs were rising here, but they would not take anything in their fly box.....maddening. Then it was our turn.......we dropped the anchor and Rob start throwing the baby chicken he had tied to the end of his 8WT over to 2 very large fish rising near the bank. I spotted 4 bows holding a few yards upstream of the fish Rob was casting to. I had a black sparkle bugger tied on and tried that several dice. I tied on a soft hackle peasant dice. The Gubna gave me a white Rainbow dice. I then went to an egg pattern which I got tangled in a ridiculous wind knot on the 2nd cast. I was out of commission so the Gubna, who had been in the rowing seat, rigged up and on his 2nd cast one of the fish Rob had been casting to slammed his fly. That monster broke him off as soon as he set the hook. He re-tied but could get them to take again until he tied on the brown bugger. It wasn't the fish on the bank that took the bugger was one we couldn't see in the main current. Needless to say we were all pretty excited. After putting some serious pressure on the mammoth fish it came to the surface and we could finally see a big grey silhouette rising from the bottom of the river. This mofo was the biggest trout I've ever seen on the end of a fly line and I instantaneously became nervous......I was afraid we weren't going to be able to land him. All we had in the boat was a regular sized net. Somehow I managed to hang over the boat, while not dropping my non-waterproof camera and cell phone in the water ( both were in the breast pocket of my shirt that wasn't buttoned), and net the fish. He didn't stay in the net for long soon as I stood up he arched his back and kicked out of the net, hit the side of the pontoon, and went back into the water. I thought I was going to hurl until I heard "He's still on !!!"....."Get him. Net that bastard !!!". I jumped down and got him back in the net, but this time I was ready for his 2nd attempt to escape captivity. We had him and the Gubna lifted him out of the net and Rob had his cell phone ready for a picture. Then came escape attempt number 3, which was successful. We were pretty bummed because we didn't think we got the picture. Then Rob said he got a video. The rest of the trip consisted of some pretty slow fishing and some serious inept boat paddling from yours truly. It was one of the worst fishing days I have ever had, but it was one of the best trips I've been on because a buddy had caught a fish of a lifetime. It was a great fish and I was lucky enough to have been there to witness it. Thanks Rob for letting me tag along. If there is a next time I will try not to run your boat into the bank.

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