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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday To You

     Growing up, my parents always made sure I understood that a man must always keep his word, and that he should never make a promise that he did not intend to keep. My parents' words bounced around in my head as I laid in the warm bed Sunday morning, wondering how mad my friend would be if I backed out on him on his birthday float trip. Then as I lay there in bed, another phrase popped into my head that my Father would always say: "You never know, unless you go". This was his way of telling all the people who asked him if he honestly thought that he was going to catch fish in extreme weather conditions.

    Knowing that the high for the day was only supposed to be around 38 degrees, I slowly climbed out of bed and began to get ready, knowing that I had made a promise that I intended to keep. As we drove to the river, I began to ask myself if I was mentally prepared to freeze my butt off and not catch any fish.

   We arrived at the river and prepared to set sail on what could be the most miserable day that I had faced this year. We launched the boats and managed to get enough of the frozen anchor rope out to hold the boats in place until we returned from our shuttle. After putting on every piece of clothing that I had brought with me, we departed down the river. In the first mile of the trip, I quickly changed my opinion about how the day was going to be, as we began to pull fish after fish into the boat. Not only were we catching fish, but we were catching quality fish, with the average being around 17 inches. As luck would have it, Ryan Williams managed to put the first fish in the boat on this particular trip, which was only fair, since it was his Birthday.
Ryan With A Quality Rainbow
      The boys in the boat behind us were not going to be outdone by a bunch of young guns, and immediately responded with a stud of a brown trout. We all stopped fishing and turned around to watch Mike wrestle with what he called: "The biggest brown he had been hooked into since his trip to Montana last year". The fish ran in and out of trees and tried his best to lose Mike, but Mike's expertise eventually brought the brute into the boat.
Mike's Big Brown
      As we continued to float down the river, we experienced what I will remember as one of my best days on the Toccoa River. Some days you put up numbers some days you put up size, but on this day we did both! I'm sure that Ryan couldn't have thought of a better way to spend his birthday, now I just have to talk him into rowing me down the river on my birthday. Happy Birthday Bud!

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