Goods things about fishing...
Friday I got it all, and maybe best of all, the "friends" part in spades. I've known Rex Gudgel for several years and we share the love/addiction of the fly and casting the fly rod, but we'd never gotten to fish together. Then there's Jason Stacy - Jason and I have spent innumerable hours on the water together. He was the guy I could always call, even late the night before, and he was ready to fish. But he moved to Birmingham last year and we hadn't fished since.
Jimmy Harris of Unicoi Outfitters has invited both Jason and I to come up and fish some of the water they guide on, but we'd never quite gotten it together. This time we did; all except Jimmy who was enroute to Argentina on "business" (oh yeah, right - the tough life - didn't take any rods with you, did ya, Jimmy?). But Rex volunteered to carry us out to Frog Hollow, a private section on the Chestatee River.
This is a river in name only. By my standards it's really just a medium sized stream, wadeable almost everywhere and less than a cast across. And there is probably prettier trout water somewhere, but I'm just not sure where right off hand.
Rex got us in the water and suggested flies and presentation. He was hung up on the guide thing and wasn't going to fish, but we twisted his arm and he strung a rod too. `Turns out we needed the guide thing, as we're used to big stripers and 15 lb tippet - we busted off the first 4 or 5 fish. But Rex got us squared away and we managed to land a few.
Just as catching is important, size ain't immaterial either. Well these fish are big and plenty healthy. I suppose they are fed supplementally, but they're at home in the water and plenty picky - no junk flies or big stuff - today they wanted small realistic midge larva in #18-22's.
I can only give you the highlights - some writers might do it justice, but not me. But anglers will know what I mean. The pre-dawn ride with the cd blasting, catching up, telling lies & getting pumped.....parking in the pasture with the stream sparkling and babling through the trees, adrenaline making it a chore to string the rod......the first tightening of the line on a drift and the power of a big tail as it surges upstream.......Jason's agony after the giant busts him off as it rips downstream....my equal agony as a bigger one ;) busts me....finally landing a good one & getting the photo (pressure's off now, but we want more - gluttons!).....side-splittimg laughter as Rex fights a big fish after his reel handle drops off.....wolfing down a fat sandwich at the general store after the morning's fishing - still pumped but settled down and really enjoyting it now.......the long ride home, pleasantly exhausted....remembering with a friend.....
If you haven't fished with Unicoi, I suggest that you should. Visit their website for info.