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, October 6, 2011

Are You Sharp Enough?

Man, this weather has got me frisky as a newborn colt.  I can't wait to get off work and hit the river for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  Yesterday I grabbed Kathy's kayak and headed to the Chattahoochee for some topwater shoal bass fishing.  What a great crisp afternoon it was, just cool enough to warrant waders at dark.  I paddled upstream for about a quarter mile and beached the kayak below a beautiful set of shoals.  I was determined to fish on top with my old standby, a white Stealth Bomber, and nothing else.  Twenty minutes later I had long distance released 4 nice shoalies and was trying to figure out why.  I recalled that this same fly had resulted in a couple of similar disengagements Sunday afternoon when the old Edison incandescent went off in my little pea brain and suggested I check my hook for sharpness.  Sure enough, the only Stealth Bomber I had with me was dull as a hammer and I had nothing to sharpen it with.  To add insult to injury, the first fish I lost was probably the largest shoal bass I have tied into this year.  I had thrown my fly right into a turbulent frothy mix of currents coming over a ledge.  The fly floated maybe two feet when this guy exploded on it from beneath the whitewater.  Chalking it up to bad luck, I kept fishing and proceded to lose three more nice fish in the next twenty yards.  The bite was definitely on but I was ignorantly unprepared.  Checked the hook on my thumbnail and it slid right off.  A big no-no!  When I'm trout fishing, I always have some kind of sharpener on me but not last night going for bass.  And it cost me big time.  Make yourself a note and tape it to your fly rod; "Check Hooks for Sharpness, Dummy!"

I did manage to land at least as many as I lost before dark-thirty set in and I floated back downstream to my truck.  Largest one was probably 12 inches; nothing like the first brute that threw my fly back in my face.  I'm already planning a rematch.

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