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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tie 1 On

What a beautiful brown trout that took a sulfur on the South Holston river this past week--1 of a few that I actually had the skill to catch--I need to fish more dries. Sulfurs & pheasant tails are the flies we will be tying during this month's tying session which will take place Tues Aug. 2. at 6:00 PM.

We will change locations this month to Nacoochee Methodist Church on Hwy. 17 about a mile or so past the Indian Mound on the left. Enter on Rabun Rd. and park behind the church.

Beginners & experienced fly tyers are both invited to join us. Hope to see you there.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shark Fishing with a Dropper Rig

 One of our fearless leaders proves why he's fearless...not necessarily for the squeamish...

Shark Fishing with a Dropper Rig – Don’t Do It!!!


David Dockery

During a recent trip to St. Simons Island, I took the opportunity to get in a little inshore fishing.  Since it had been a number of years since I had fished the Georgia Coast and not knowing the tidal creeks and rivers around Brunswick very well, I decided that shark fishing would provide my best chance for success.  Twenty years ago when I was in graduate school at UGA, Jim Music, who used to work at the Coastal Resources Division of DNR in Brunswick, took me and a few friends fishing for sharks in Jekyll Creek, behind Jekyll Island.  We were very successful that day, so, here all these years later, I felt like I could pull off the same kind of success on sharks.

I rigged dead bonito with 2 hooks, because I didn’t want to risk losing half a baitfish to a short striker.  Time being of the essence, my 2-hook rigs were hardly in accordance with IGFA standards and I wasn’t too concerned about the possibility of landing a new world record.

After we anchored, it was only about 10 minutes until we had our first fish on.  As my fishing partner, Chris, brought what appeared to be a 30 pound sandbar shark to the boat, I grabbed the wire leader and began working on removing the “stinger” hook from the shark’s mouth with a pair of pliers.  Things seemed to be going well until the pliers slipped off the hook and the fish yanked the other dangling hook (which I had been largely ignoring) through my left hand.  The fun for me ended at this point.

Thank goodness he was only 30 pounds!  I quickly pulled the fish back to the boat and started using the wire cutters to cut loose everything in sight.  My only thoughts were, “It’s going to be a long grueling trip back to the launch ramp.”  Chris let me drive the boat to keep me occupied, while he navigated with the GPS and monitored my state of consciousness.  It took about an hour to get to the launch ramp, and load the boat on the trailer.  It took another half hour to find and get to the closest hospital.

In the Emergency Room, I tried to be as nonchalant as possible, while walking around with a 12/0 hook sticking out of my hand.  Not wanting to freak out the other patients in the ER, the receptionist quickly scuttled me back to the triage area.

The triage nurse didn’t immediately notice my problem, as she started working on getting my vital signs.  When she asked me what my problem was, I gestured towards my hand.  I think her comforting words to me were “Oh God” or something to that effect when she saw my issue.  She told me they take hooks out of people about once a week, but she had never seen a hook that big in anyone.  She then ask me if she could take this picture:

The Physician’s Assistant who treated me was from Kenya and spoke English with a heavy accent.  He did provide me with an opportunity to ask “Unasema Kiswahili?” which is not something I’ve used very much since learning the language skills necessary to be an African professional big game hunter at White County High School in 1982.  He told me that he expected it would take quite a while to SAW!!! through the hook sticking out of my hand.

After his initial assessment, a nurse brought in a syringe the size of a turkey baster full of Novocain and laid it gently on the stainless steel tray in front of me.  (Oh Boy!)

The PA came back in a few minutes and began using the syringe with reckless abandon.  The impalement by the hook was nothing compared to being worked over by that syringe.  My hand literally blew up like a balloon with all the Novocain under my skin.  As my Kenyan friend left the room, I sat there with cold sweat beaded up on my balding forehead, waiting for his return.

When he came back a few minutes later, he carried in his hands something akin to a battery powered Dremel tool with a diamond saw blade attachment.  He worked about 5 minutes carefully cutting through the hook above the barb.  He then rounded the rough edges and backed the hook out of my hand.  Finally, I was free!

The nurse then produced another huge syringe full of Betadine (thankfully without a needle this time).  My PA squirted the equivalent of several shot glasses full of the reddish brown liquid through the back of my hand until it ran out my palm.  He blotted everything off, gave me a most lovely Tetanus shot, and prescriptions of antibiotics and pain killers.  He told me not to bandage the hand, unless I risked getting it dirty, because he wanted it to “weep”. 

Despite my description of the events in the ER, the staff at the Brunswick Campus of the Southeast Georgia Health System all did an excellent job.  My poor attempts at making light of the situation were all anxiety and shock induced.  Thanks to their efforts, I was able to pick up where I left off without missing a thing.  I spent the next 3 days masking my hand and walking around with a pocket full of surgical gauze.

Despite a swollen hand, I felt good enough the evening of the next day to try it again.  We didn’t catch any fish, but I did learn that SeaTow charges $300/hr. to come and get you when your boat breaks down.  That’s another story for another day. 

In the meantime, if you would like for me to take you shark fishing on the Georgia coast, please give me a call! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Living the Island Life! Eleuthera Style!

Recently, David and I took a trip to Eleuthera, Bahamas. We had been invited to visit John and Shirley Pool at their new home on the island. David and I could not wait to go vacation on Eleuthera with its endless miles of beaches and bonefish flats. Within a half hour of getting off the plane, John had us casting to bonefish. And, from then on we were fishing to bones on a picturesque flat daily.
For a couple of days, we fished with a guide, Bonefish Gersh. You would not believe how well he could see these fish. Its crazy! Gersh helped us up our game and learn how catch these elusive fish. And, boy can John can spot these gray ghosts too!I could not tell you how many bonefish we had seen during our trip.
John and Shirley are renting their "Bonefish Cottage" now to folks throughout the year. You can visit www.vrbo.com #351775 if you are interested in taking an adventure of a lifetime like we did. On one side of the cottage is the Atlantic Ocean and the other is the Caribbean.
Eleuthera has so much character and a laid back lifestyle. So, if you get tired of putting a serious bend in your 8wt rod, you can enjoy the beach and do some snorkeling. You can snorkel and swim at Rainbow Beach which is less than 5 minutes from the cottage. The food is also incredible. Jerk chicken, conch burgers, conch salad and fresh fish are available daily from the local people. Fresh pineapple and mangoes that melt in your mouth. And, don't get me started on the rum drinks! We had our first exposure to Rum Bubbas at the fish fry on Friday at Governor's Harbor. A must do if you go there! If your interested in hearing more about our trip and Eleuthera, give us a call and we would be glad to speak with you. I might also share with you Shirley's secret Bahamian Mac and Cheese recipe. No, somethings are better kept a secret!
Livin the Island Life!
Becky Hulsey

Monday, July 11, 2011

From the Flint Riverkeeper

ETA:  Here is a link to a form letter for writing your representatives created by Trout Unlimited addressing this same topic - time is of the essence!

Act Now to Stop the Most Serious Threat to Clean Water in Decades!
Seldom will we send you a more important call to action.
The US Clean Water Act established and has protected your rights to abundant, clean, drinkable, swimmable, fishable water since the early 1970s. Riverkeepers were at the forefront of the effort to establish this important protection, and, nationwide, have used this tool to restore and protect clean water for decades.  In Georgia, the Chattahoochee in Metro Atlanta, the mighty Altamaha from its headwaters in Metro to the coast, the elegant Ogeechee, the hardworking Savannah, the delicate Satilla, and, recently, your precious, stunning Flint, have benefitted from Clean Water Act enforcement actions, lawsuits, and/or federal oversight of state permitting.

Now, a truly radical group in the US House of Representatives, hiding behind a “pro business” and “jobs” agenda that will in fact lead to less productive businesses and fewer jobs, are moving forcefully to neuter federal power to enforce the Act, instead leaving it to Georgia officials to protect our water.
Please call your call U.S. representative today and urge him to OPPOSE H.R. 2018.Tell him that this bill will harm the Flint River and all Georgia waterways because if passed, it would: 
• prevent the U.S. EPA from stepping in if Georgia fails to adequately protect our waters from pollution;
• abolish EPA's authority to block permits that may negatively affect drinking water, fisheries, wildlife, recreation, and downstream communities; and
• undermine the Clean Water Act's central goal to restore the Chattahoochee and other Georgia waterways to "fishable, swimmable" standards.
To find your representative, go to www.congress.org and enter your zip code.Then, under the “president and congress” column, click on your representative's name.  Tell him that you are opposed to HR 2018, and in favor of abundant, clean water.
HR 2018 - "Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011" - was passed out of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee two weeks ago without any public hearing or environmental subcommittee review. This is undoubtedly the boldest attempt to date to dismantle the federal-state cooperation that lies at the heart of the Clean Water Act and has safeguarded our water ways for nearly four decades. When passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act gave EPA the authority to control pollution and improve water quality across the country, helping to protect our waterways for drinking, swimming, and fishing. HR 2018 takes EPA out of the picture, shifting regulatory power back to the states, back to the days when Georgia and other states could dump untreated sewage and toxic chemicals unceremoniously into our rivers and lakes.
YOU MUST CALL, TODAY, AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. You will most likely talk to a staffer, or even a recording. Some of you may have a personal relationship with your congressman. Either way, simply say you are from your Congressman’s district (referencing his name, and yours, and the town or city you live in or near), and state that you are firmly opposed to HR 2018, and in favor of continued, strong federal oversight of the Clean Water Act. ACT NOW. ACT STRONGLY. IT IS YOUR WATER, YOUR RIVER. IT IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU TO MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK.

Thank you.
For the Flint, and clean, abundant water all over Georgia,
The Flint Riverkeeper's (FRk's) sole purpose is to serve as a steward for this valued waterway and to ensure the future life and health of the river and its tributaries remains certain during these uncertain times. FRK is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation with the goal of protecting the Flint River in its most natural state for future generations to enjoy. Flint Riverkeeper ® is a fully licensed member of the Waterkeeper ® Alliance. Visit us at www.flintriverkeeper.org.
Copyright© 2009 Flint Riverkeeper. All rights reserved
Flint Riverkeeper | P.O. Box 468, Albany Ga. 31702 | (229) 435-2241

Friday, July 8, 2011

How Your Next Reel Will Be Made!

This video is beyond cool!

Bill Oyster is throwing up right now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

And Now for Something a Little Different

It's always good to hear from friends who send us reports from exotic (or not-so-exotic) places. This video report from Jay Shelton of UGA:

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the land of my birth (Louisiana) to do some kayak fly fishing (and overeating). I was delighted to find plenty of red drum exactly where I left them one year ago. Sight casting in water less than a foot deep can be challenging. Many things can go wrong during the process of stalking, spotting, positioning, casting, hook set, fighting, and hopefully landing a fish. It isn’t easy to describe the overall experience in words. So this year I tried a tiny waterproof, wearable, wide-angle video camera for the first time and was pretty happy with the results:

Snapshots grabbed from the video aren’t bad either:

One fish was kind enough to take me on a “Louisiana Sleigh Ride”, dragging me near enough to my brother for him to snap a photo before release.

Overall it was a great trip and for anyone who has struggled to “capture the moment” while fishing alone, you might consider a wearable video camera with a chest mount harness.