Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

March 6, 2022

Me Time

Sometimes you just want to be alone.

I love my family, I enjoy the company of good friends, but there is nothing quite as refreshing as solitude on a headwaters trout stream.

A recent trip to North Georgia allowed for a lot of "me time." 

It's multiple hours of driving each way. One's mind can wander through an encyclopedia of topics as the monotony of those highway miles melt away the daylight. Racing your GPS's predicted arrival time can be a fun, but fleeting distraction.

You know the weather isn't supposed to be great. The fishing that "turned on" with the warmer Spring temperatures earlier in the week is forecasted to retreat, in favor of overcast skies, intermittent rain, and piscatorial lethargy.

But that's okay. Soon enough it's only you, and the omnipresent whisper of flowing water as a companion. Stepping beneath the canopy, it's soothing... relaxing... the perfect elixir to all that ails.

You fall into an almost trance-like state while meandering up the steep mountain flow, softly dropping casts into pockets of soft water, one after another after another.

Suddenly, you are jostled out of inebriation by a taut line and bending rod. A visitor bringing a jolt of adrenaline pays a welcomed, albeit brief visit. Arriving dressed for the occasion, you pause to admire their stunning attire. However shortly after your handshake greeting, they quickly, but silently depart.

People fish for a lot of different reasons. For food, compensation, entertainment, or even notoriety.

Growing up an only child of divorced parents, I was able to regularly explore the benefits of detachment, affording me the ability to stretch my imagination and independence on demand, without oversight. 

As I grow older, it's become apparent that I fish to immerse myself in that comfortably nostalgic feeling of being alone. No emails, no deadlines, no responsibilities. Only a seven hour drive for seven inch fish. 

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

March 13, 2021

Expedition: Bigfoot!

Only The Best In Roadside Attractions...

In the last post about fishing up in North Georgia I noted that while fishing was quite therapeutic on Saturday, I didn't return to the stream on Sunday.

But why T!, why?

Well, I'm a sucker for a roadside attractions, (see Exhibit A), and I'm also mildly obsessed with Bigfoot... Sasquatch... or whatever you'd like to call the big furry fellow.

A short 20 minute drive from where I was fishing on Saturday happens to be Expedition: Bigfoot! a roadside museum and research center dedicated to all things Sasquatch.

Oh man, I was in absolute heaven. The museum consists of 3 large rooms, each with interactive exhibits and several short videos to watch, as well as a lot of interesting artifacts and replica items. There's also a small gift shop strategically placed at the exit. (Yes, they got me for a t-shirt and a button).

I would guess it would probably take a person with casual interest or curiosity an hour and a half to take in all the sights. I probably could have spent the whole day in there, but I didn't want to loiter.

I particularly enjoyed some of the exhibits centered around "close to home" sightings; especially those in Florida and Georgia.

There were a ton of footprint casts to gawk at too. Most of them were from North America, but there was a Yeti cast from the Himalayas.

Finally, headphone banks featuring both the tale of the "Attack in Ape Canyon" as well as the 1970s "Sierra Sounds" (with complete backstory) were must listens. If you've never heard the latter vocalizations, you can find them online if you know where to look.

Look, I get it, this isn't for everyone. But if you're like me... and happen to be in North Georgia, (like I said, the nearby fishing is pretty good), you gotta check this place out. And at only $8, it was a bargain!

Address & Map:

Expedition: Bigfoot
1934 Hwy. 515
Cherry Log, GA 30522

March 10, 2021

Window of Opportunity

A brief window of opportunity opened last weekend that prompted me to get out and trout fish again. I was the first time I'd be fishing for trout since 2020's Labor Day weekend, so excitement was abound. The plan was to head up to north Georgia on Friday night, then get pretty much a full day of fishing in on Saturday.

Being that the local delayed harvest water had just been stocked the day prior, the "crowds" decided to descend on those well-known waterways. On the other hand, I had the smaller, yet also well-know wild trout water to myself, with not another angler to be seen. Off to a good start.

Upon arrival, the tailgate ceremony of "gearing up" began. In doing this, I noticed something unfortunate... I need to drop some of that quarantine weight! I've probably put on twenty pounds over the past year, largely due to inactivity and overeating. This made getting wadered up a chore. It wasn't so much pulling them up, rather straining to bend over to tie my boots. Just didn't expect that spare tire around my waist to get in the way as much as it did. Yikes.

However, once in the water, my blood pressure settled down quickly and I began savoring that "good to be home" feeling. Fishing was generally slow at the start, allowing me to unwind, enjoy the surroundings, and almost get lost in a meditative state. For the first hour and a half I don't think I even moved a fish, but that changed once the sun got a little higher in the sky. 

First, a light hatch started popping off sending tiny bugs into the air. This was followed by a bit of activity in a nearby pool. Then after a short drift through some promising riffles, I had my first trout of the year on the line. It wasn't particularly large, as most of the fish in these headwaters aren't, but it certainly was nice to get reacquainted with the local rainbows. Removing the release box from my pack, a quick photo was in order.

The day proceeded as such, bringing a handful of fish to hand. Sometimes they came in mutliples; two or three over fifteen or twenty minutes. However, sometimes quite a bit of time would pass before they paid any attention to my flies again.

This 8-inch rainbow was probably the largest of the day, which isn't saying too much.

And this tiny little parr, who could barely wrap its mouth around the fly, was the prettiest.

This trip was a "tenkara" outing, using the Oni Type III in the morning, then switching over to the DRAGONtail Mutant after a quick Fig Newtons lunch. By the way, figs are totally underrated, even when not in Newton form. Like many people, my wife hates the thought of them, but I love them. Give me a dried Turkish fig any day and I'll be a happy man.

Back to the rods, I'll be doing a write up on the Mutant over at Tenkara Angler in the not too distant future. While both rods served their purpose, the Mutant definitely had a bit more mojo on its side on this day.

Before I knew it, the sky began to fade to dusk and it was time to climb the bank and exit the stream. Waders off, rods stowed, an emotion of warmth radiated through my body as I pulled onto the dirt road that led out of the park. Or maybe it was just the heat being cranked up in my SUV... 

Either way, it was a successful first trout-ing of the year. Hopefully setting the stage for many more to come.

Oh, and as for Sunday, I didn't go fishing. But I'll touch on that a little more in an upcoming post...

February 25, 2021

The Splat Rat and Other Miscellany

Weekend Plans in Limbo

I was hoping to head up to North Georgia this upcoming weekend, but the weather doesn't look all that favorable. A seven hour drive for uncertain fishing conditions might be a bit too big of a leap of faith to take, but I still have a few days, so we'll see how that works out.

I'm particularly excited to get fishing again because I have a new tenkara rod to play around with, the relatively new Dragontail Mutant. Brent Auger was kind enough to send over a tester so I could do an evaluation and review over on Tenkara Angler, and since it arrived last Friday, it's been screaming for a proper workout.

The Splat Rat

Over in Facebookland, Jason Sparks recently shared an article about shrew-eating trout. The article was not new, actually dating back to 2013, but it got me thinking about a pattern I'd really like to start tying up. Not necessarily for trout, but for local bass. It's called the "Splat Rat" and it seems like a ridiculously easy fly to tie. Plus it utilizes a somewhat "unique" ingredient, foam pipe insulation. 

I was first introduced to the pattern by Kai Cornelius (a fellow tenkara angler), who used to fish it liberally when he lived out in Utah. But for whatever the reason I never acted on the impulse to actually tie one before. Think that'll change, especially if I do get washed out this weekend and have time to make a run over to the hardware store for essential supplies.

Here's a quick video on how to assemble one from noted tyer, Rob Snowhite.

Beer Me!

Finally, I received the latest TROUT magazine the other day and in paging through all of the interesting entries, there was an eye-catching (and perhaps thirst-quenching) conservation initiative highlighted on page 63.

Heirloom Rustic Ales in Tulsa, Oklahoma recently partnered with local Trout Unlimited Chapter 420 to create Longear Lager, a very "fishy" beer that contributes $1 from each four pack sold back to that TU chapter's conservation efforts. A very worthwhile cause... plus, the cans just look damn cool. Seems like a win-win to me!

August 31, 2020

August Update - Finally With Fishing Too!!!

I posted some of this over the weekend on Facebook. So if we're friends there, you've already seen it. I won't be offended if you leave now. That being said...

I didn't do a follow up post from our mini family getaway to north Georgia the other week. By 2020 standards, it was amazing. For the most part we just continued to social distance, simply in a new location. The biggest change, besides the potential for an evening bear visit to our trash can, was much cooler temperatures. 80s during the day, 50s at night. Glorious. As was the view off the back porch.

We weren't in a cabin, but we were definitely staying a bit off the beaten path. And by that I mean we were an hour's drive from the closest Target. (Sorry Dollar General, you're no substitution in K.C.'s eyes). I got to sneak out for two days and fly fish for rainbow trout in the mountains. Heavenly. 

While I did that, the ladies chilled at the house and avoided creepy crawlies. They were none too fond of the spiders found in the various nooks and crannies of the house. Can't say I blame them, but no spider would stop K.C. from binging Netflix: Indian Matchmaking. (BTW - is it "bingeing" or "binging," I've seen both used...)

A week or so removed from that and now safely(?) back in Florida, Lilly doesn't seem to be all that thrilled to be returning to school (albeit virtually) on Monday. It's her first week of high school as an incoming 9th grader, so she and K.C. have been spending a lot of time setting up our dining room to be her classroom/dedicated workstation. Work in progress...

We were told that my office would also be working remotely through the end of the year, so I picked up one of those headsets for conference calls. I guess so I can still be heard when I speak quietly, but really so I don't have to subject my family to constantly overhearing them anymore. And with the NFL football season here I'm going to have A LOT more of them. Can't interrupt Lilly's learning with me growling at vendors for not delivering the Patrick Mahomes jerseys on time. Priorities. 

If you didn't notice, I've also taken to wearing headbands. At first it was a joke because my friends at work were making fun of my long(er) hair, especially on the days I don't feel like combing it... which is pretty much everyday. I wore a headband on Friday to get a rise out of them on one of those aforementioned conference calls, but (like everything else in 2020) it was canceled. In addition to making my head resemble a mushroom. I think the forehead compression helps my brain retain whatever intelligence it has left after the last 8 months of the year.

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well out there, wearing masks, washing hands, and all that good stuff. If you have kids, I hope the new school year or day care situation isn't too scary for you. And if you're a teacher going into the scholastic petri dish each day - I cannot respect and thank you enough for what you're doing. I honestly can't imagine, especially (but not limited to) folks considered "high risk." ❤️

I'm confident we'll figure this thing out eventually. Positive thoughts go a long way!

October 14, 2019

Not A Fishing Report

I don't often write for therapeutic reasons, but I hope this post serves a little bit of that purpose. So bear with me on this one... this is less fishing report, more of a first world problem pity party. Yes, there are pictures of the outdoors and fish, so even if you (wisely) choose not to read this post, you can at least scroll through those so your click to visit this site was not in vain...

See, I haven't been having a good run lately on either a mental or physical health front. I've been putting in some long hours of work, both at the office and once again logging in when I get home. I go to bed late and get up early. Really not taking very good care of myself, can't tell you the last time I went for an evening walk around the neighborhood or weekend bike ride. I've put back on most of the weight I lost last year thanks to compensatory stress eating and low amounts of willpower. I'm generally exhausted and run-down, and a little more irritable than normal. If my Mom were to read this (she won't, I don't think anybody in my family reads this blog anymore) she'd tell me I'm "burning the candle at both ends."

Holistically, my home life is stable. My wife is extremely supportive and Lilly seems to be having a fairly good 8th grade school year and is looking forward to sneaking in one last evening of trick or treating in a few weeks. She's a good kid and I love how unique she is. She's more than comfortable zigging when others zag. So that's a positive. I shouldn't ignore the positives. I have a very good life; things could certainly be way worse. Unfortunately, I just don't feel right. This funk I'm in is probably the most wrong I've felt in a long time.

With that said, I really needed to make a weekend run to the sanctuary of the woods. It seems to be the only place I feel I can get my head straight, even if it is only for a few hours. Perhaps its because cell phone coverage can't reach me there. I love a lot about technology, but sometimes miss the days when we weren't accessible 24-7 and expected to respond to such intrusions. I'm an only child, so finding happiness and fulfillment from being alone doesn't come hard.

So I left right from work on Friday evening, drove for a few hours and got to where I needed to in time to get a little shut eye. I should have taken the opportunity to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning for a change, but rather woke up early and found some water and trout, and just tried to clear my mind for a little while...

The alone time and cooler temperatures were enough to coax a crooked smile, and perhaps bring back some of the missing balance I was seeking. At least temporarily.

As I type this post early on a Sunday evening, I know all those feelings I ran away from on Friday are just going to rapidly intensify in a few short hours. The stress and anxiety I escaped will be back; heck, I actually feel it starting to ball up inside me a touch now.

I wish I had a cute little concluding paragraph for this post that made the claim that fly fishing cured all my ills, and say I'm all good now, but I don't. I'm not seeking your sympathy or positive reinforcement, everybody has issues, and most (if not all) are bigger and more messed up than mine. It's called life, it throws punches, and I just need to suck it up for the time being. Things are bound to get better in time, they always do. But for now I'm definitely down in the dumps and I haven't started digging out quite yet. I just needed to write this all down to maybe help me find the shovel.