I went fly fishing with that new friend of mine, Sylvia, on Sunday. I got up really early and drove 1-1/2 hours to north Georgia just past Helen. It was a beautiful drive and I was mindful of the ice that was still on the road from the previous flurry we got on Christmas day in the mountains. We were to meet at the Unicoi lodge. Apparently, you need to check in there and get a parking pass unless you drop the cash for an annual pass – which, I think my friend had but she thought it was a good place to meet just to use their clean restrooms. I would later appreciate that clean restroom.
I rolled up about 30 minutes early and went in and got my pass and was directed to the second floor to the restrooms. This lodge was attached to a hotel and was nestled in a curve of the road and the base of some mountains with a large lake surrounding it. It was gorgeous and despite everything going on in the world, there were folks there. This is the stark difference these days when you get out of the city. Masks are about 50/50. The young lady I got my parking pass from had no mask. When I took the elevator to the second floor to the restroom people were around but kind of scarce – to my relief- but there were people there, staying at the hotel, eating in the dining room, checking in, checking out – masks, no masks, etc. The whole scene kind of blew my mind. I went out to the car, started it to turn the heat on again, and locked my door.
Sylvia pulled up and she got out and put her mask on – much to my relief and came over and said she would just run in to register and use the restroom and I could follow her to the fishing spot. Once she was out we drove down the road a bit, turned onto gravel and into a gravel lot where several folks were already fitted up in their fishing gear and walking to the river. I was thankful I’d just bought new boots that I could walk in with my waders on. I have an old pair of Cabela’s neoprene and I’m sure there were many whispered comments about that. Fly fishing folks can be stuck-up brats when it comes to gear. I didn’t care. I had two layers of long underwear on under them and I was toasty warm and dry standing in the stream while it was 27 degrees outside.
After getting out Sylvia rigged up my line for me – I’d never rigged a line particularly like that. It consisted of a double fly with a float indicator and weights. I still have a lot to learn. In the past, I’ve mostly fished with dry flies and ones that would sink a lot but never with weights nor an indicator (which, is basically a fancy word for bobber). We went down to the bridge and went into the water there. It was beautiful and there was ice on the banks where we fished. These folks are really hearty about fishing in the winter. I guess it’s the best time to trout fish there. We fished a few spots and then broke for lunch. As we were walking back to the cars to get food and drinks we ran into her son who showed up with a new gf in tow (that she met for the first time that day – there was much talk about that after they left) and they walked with us to the cars. Her son also fly fishes but he and his gf were nearby that day cleaning up a creek as volunteers. I learned that fly fishing folk will do that in order to get access to a few primo fishing spots. There’s a lot of fishing spots that only allow access if you have a guide with you. These are what you call “trophy fishing spots” and contain trout that have been fed and pampered just for sport fishing. All trout fishing in these areas are catch and release only. Fly fishing in general is really respectful to the fish and the sport and conservation. No one takes these things home to put in the frying pan. In fact, I doubt you’d be able to get out of there with one without a fight.
Once we got to the car three other guys who had been fishing walked up. Might I add that I was the only one wearing a mask at this point. While Sylvia was near her son – who she’s been around she was distancing from the gf. I was distancing from everyone and if anyone got too close I’d pull on my mask.
Sylvia, her son, and gf were near her car and I was sitting on the back of mine about 10 feet away. The guys who had just walked up to their trucks were just across from us. They were talking about all the fish they’d caught in this one big hole upriver. (This is a spot that you have to get there really early in the morning to fish. You can see the trout from the bridge above.) Once one of the guys opened his mouth to speak I was reminded why I get the willies in the country. And, of course, he lit a cigarette as he was bragging about all the fish he caught directing the whole conversation to Sylvia and her son. Whatever. Another guy that was in their group whipped out his phone and started showing them all the large trout he had caught, naming rivers, guides they’d fished with, etc. This is another thing I hate about the sport is all the fucking bragging. Although, I did tell Sylvia to show him a photo of her large catch – which, she did. He kind of backed off after that. Like a woman can’t catch just as big as a trout. Shut the f*ck up, dude. And, this whole time of showing photos no one had a mask on. I just sat on the back of my SUV looking at my phone, putting out vibes to those guys like don’t come near me or I’ll cut your throat. This is why I never fish alone.
They finally left and we headed back to the river. We fished a couple of holes and caught a couple of browns and then I was done. I was wanting to get back and have a happy hour with Charlie. Sylvia walked me back to the car and then went back and fished for a couple of additional hours – she’s really into it.
I had a great time (despite the d*ckwads) but I need to get some gear. My reel is kind of hosed and I used Sylvia’s rig a lot (which, was really nice). I need some of those tiny flies and I need to learn how to tie those bitches up right. Sylvia was a great teacher and I appreciated her rigging me up all day but I don’t want her to have to do that every time we go fish so I’m going to teach myself some things and either fix my reel or get a new one in the meantime. She’s going to NC this coming week but I don’t know if I’ll go or not. Juries out. I want to because school starts up on the 8th of January and I really don’t know what kind of time I’m going to have to fish but it will work out. I know, – no real-world problems here.