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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Position On Our Responsibility

Okay, I'm not sure why I feel led to make this post other than to impress upon our readers the commitment we have to the precious resources we all love and use to one degree or another and the heartfelt passion we have for not only passing along our tradition to the next generation, but to helping ensure that generation has access to quality resources.  I realize that this may only be read by one or two of our friends but I'm stating it regardless.

In the past week, I have posted a couple of things on Facebook regarding issues that we hold near and dear to our core, the most recent being a link to a blog post by the President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (which Unicoi belongs to).  It concerned the proposal by the White House to  invest $450 million in the Land and Water Conservation Fund for fiscal year 2013.  From the comments I received, you would have thought I was advocating a ban on moms, baseball and apple pie as we all goose step off into the future.  Not because they were opposed to the LWCF.  There wasn't even an indication any of them even know what it is.  Their ire was directed at me and the president of AFFTA for being so blind as to not see the dangers of giving President Obama credit for trying to do something positive.  We live in the most amazing country that has ever been conceived.  Somehow we continue to be the strongest nation in the world while very little over 50% of the voting public ever supports one party or the other.  I've always thought it grand that almost half the country will disagree with one candidate, or party, or the other and yet, we put our shoulders to the grindstone after every election and keep working hard to move forward.  Interesting, isn't it.  Regardless of who you vote for and who's policies you support, half the people in our country disagree with you!  So please, no more attempts to use our Facebook page for political commentary.  Just remember, one of every two people who read your vitriol (liberal or conservative) are going to disagree with you.  And beyond that, they probably don't care what your personal opinions are and you have almost a zero chance of convincing them otherwise.  Whew!  Feels good to get that off my chest.

A little history here only because it was the issue du jour.  The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress back in 1964.  It's sole purpose was to use mitigation money collected from offshore oil and gas drilling for projects which would benefit the American public:  specifically to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities.  These were not taxpayer dollars.  The Fund had broad bipartisan support in Congress (yeah, imagine that!).  For almost 50 years now, the funds have been being collected and deposited into the U. S. Treasury to the tune of $900 million each year.  Guess what!  Every year, with the exception of 2 of the 50, Congress has raided the LWCF cookie jar and spent it on their own pet programs.  Now, Congress passed the LWCF legislation, even wrote it up to declare that it was to only be used for the specific purposes mentioned above, but habitually took the money and used it elsewhere.  They stole our LWCF money and continue to do so!

So here's where I am.  As long as I'm one of the owners of Unicoi Outfitters, I will continue to focus of being a good steward and a good conservationist and will share whatever information available that I feel is important and noteworthy in this area.  The LWCF issue happens to be one of them.  I may be taking a stance but I may also simply be passing along information of interest to other anglers and conservationists.  Verbally slamming me and those I work with can be done on a private level if you feel absolutely bound to tell me how unpatriotic I am for giving the President (any president) a platform.  I'll be more than happy to discuss with you how blessed I feel I am to be an American, the dedication I have in my business as well as my personal life to helping create a better life for servicemen both on active duty (that's part of how I earn my living and I'm proud of it) and those who have sacrificed their bodies and their lives in our defense.  You can reach me through the shop phone or email.

Until then, I plan to concentrate on positive things like teaching kids and adults about the outdoors I have loved and respected for as long as I can remember being aware of them.  I hope I can instill some of the same awe in you.  Thanks for allowing me to vent.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tying the "Original" Pheasant Tail

This is pretty cool.  Frank Sawyer, the English gentleman who was the originator of the famous Pheasant Tail Nymph is shown tying one in this old "film".  You can make up your own voice over and appropriate accompanying music if you need it.  Enjoy!