Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Desperate Times

We just got a report in from Jay Shelton, who was out fishing a few days back with Scott Wagner of Savannah Fly Fishing Charters in Savannah, Georgia.

I ended 2009 in an extreme fishing deficit and with a serious case of saltwater withdrawals.  Since I was planning to visit friends in the Savannah area for New Years, I just had to give myself a late Christmas present.  I contacted Captain Scott Wagner, who was enthusiastic about mid-day low tides, so we made a plan.  The bad news is that Mother Nature didn’t think much of our plan; the good news is that Scott had a back-up plan.  The weather forecast for Day 1 was cold with winds 6-8 knots out of the east – we got north winds up to 25 knots and heavy cloud cover.  That’s a “double-whammy” if you’re hoping to stalk red fish in skinny water, but Scott was undaunted.  He found some protected nooks around Hilton Head Island that were void of human life yet full of frisky reds.  The wind and clouds made spotting fish tough for me, but the view must have been far better from the polling platform because Scott gave me enough advanced warning to allow for adequate presentation without spooking fish.  Scott even allowed me to use my own hand-tied flies as long as I promised not to stick one in his head on my back cast.   
Day 2 conditions were less than ideal, but compared to the previous day they were sweet relief (only 3 layers of clothing instead of 5).  We were promised better weather, but when I met Scott at the boat ramp he was frowning.  The prediction of light south winds was again wrong, but Captain Wagner was able to make the best of moderate east winds and deliver as promised.  We found big schools of reds feeding on finger mullet, and small groups of reds tailing and waking. We even found a beast of a seatrout that gave quite a battle. 

All these fish were in extremely skinny water (sometimes less than 6 inches), but they were happy.  Most importantly, they ate my fly with great enthusiasm, putting an impressive bend in my 8-weight rod.  Any who have tried appreciate that the Georgia coast isn’t the easiest place to sight cast for fish on the fly.  Scott taught me a lot about the keys to success, and even showed me some places to try with my kayak.  I grew up fishing in south Louisiana, so this ain’t my first rodeo.  If you have any interest in saltwater fly fishing I encourage you to give Scott a call:

Captain Scott Wagner

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