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, April 25, 2014

It Isn't Always About A Trout

by Landon Williams

Well the last couple of weeks have been interesting weather wise to say the least. We have seen everything from cold blustery days and gulley washing downpours all the way to downright warm and sunny this week! It seems that my local warmwater haunt has finally reawakened after a long cold winter and the "migrants" are finally starting to show up en mass. I've caught plenty of white bass and small stripers this week and finally their bigger cousins have started showing up over the last couple of days. I was broken off twice tonight by fish I never did see after a big tug of war trying to get them out of a logjam. River fishing for these guys is completely different and it is one of the most addicting things I've ever experienced. The big white bass and local spotted bass made the evening trip worth while. I'm still gonna be hurting until I land a big striper with shoulders.

I can't claim to be a striper fishing expert but here are few things I've learned over the last couple of years while trying to figure them out myself and by fishing with others. 

1. Fish the structure. Stripers can be caught anywhere from the middle of a fast shoal to slow deep bends with fallen timber for cover. Stripers are roamers and when they are hungry, constantly on the move.  Finding them is the hardest part of the game!

2. Keep a wide variety of flies in your arsenal. Well prepared river striper fisherman carry everything from deep diving baitfish patterns to floating popper or creasefly style bugs. I've still yet to catch a striper on the surface but there's a reason the local guys fish topwater jerkbaits in the middle of the shoals! Larger Clouser style flies are hard to beat though. 

3. Be patient. Don't expect to go and wear em out your first night out there. Pay your dues and, if possible, fish with more experienced folks if they are willing to take you under their wing.

The cool thing about striped bass is that they are readily accessible during their migratory spring runs, even for boat-less anglers. Many of our North Georgia reservoirs have them with spawning runs up the rivers and creeks feeding the lakes. Don't limit yourself to just spring time fishing either as many fish will stay up river all the way through the summer, perhaps due to the cooler more oxygenated water our rivers offer. 

I may still be heart broken from tonight but I'm hoping I'll finally win one of those tugs of war soon!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

How To Eat Healthy While Fishing

By Capt. Thaddeus Ragan in Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine

Let’s face it, healthy eating hasn’t always been one of the focal points of fishing, but healthy eating is gaining popularity among anglers. It’s helping people catch more fish while feeling better on the water. It might also earn you some bonus points with the significant other back home.

But even if you have learned how to eat healthy at home, eating healthy while fishing—especially on the road—can be a challenge.

Many anglers start the day off with a giant, glazed honey bun. To be clear, giant, glazed honey buns are delicious and full of energy. There are stories of adventurers hiking the entire 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail fueled by the portable treat.

But as a fisherman you aren’t hiking the Appalachian Trail. You are doing a lot of standing in one spot, even if that spot is moving, for most of the day. You’re also focusing intently on water conditions, line feel and the positioning of your boat. It’s a situation that requires a great deal of mental energy over a long period of time, which is a bad moment for a sugar-crash.

It’s also a situation that benefits from you being as healthy as possible on the water cast after cast; and there are a lot of cheap, alternative food options that help your energy last much longer than a honey bun:

The best way to keep the unhealthy calories out of your diet when you travel is to prepare your food before you leave the house. This helps you stay away from restaurants—especially fast food restaurants—as much as possible. Not only will you eat less unhealthy food, you will save money.

Make variety of low fat Sandwiches like turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread, and don’t forget the lettuce and tomatoes (you may have to store the wet ingredients in separate ziplock bags to keep the bread from getting wet).

If you don’t want to deal with making the sandwiches, low sugar trail mix or nuts are a great portable option as well,

Bring lots of fruit and raw vegetables. Most fruit and vegetables are easy to eat in-between casts if you don’t want to put the rod down. I try to bring plenty of pears, apples, oranges, bananas, celery, baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli on long trips. Yes, I know Bananas are supposed to bring bad luck while fishing, but I’ve proved that to be bull time and time again. Now, I actually bring them for good luck.

Sardines are also great. They stay fresh, and all you have to do is crack open the can and eat them with crackers. As a bonus, after you eat them your hands smell like fish…so you may catch more fish! I’ve even been known to dip my baits in the left over sardine juice as a fish attractant.

Speaking of smelly foods, boiled eggs are a good choice. I’ll boil a few and pre-peel them so I don’t have to deal with that later.

For breakfast—when waking up in whatever random hotel I’m staying in—if there is no microwave I’ll heat up water in the coffee maker to make instant oatmeal or grits. Make sure you stay away from the oatmeal with a lot of sugar and go for the reduced sugar variety.

Once you start the day off with so much sugar you will crave it all day long.

Also, you want to drink plenty of water and liquids throughout the day. Remember the more sugary your drinks are the less of the water your body will absorb from them! The last thing you want to be is dehydrated, tired, and getting cramps from dehydration, which can lead to more serious issues like heat stroke.


Capt. Thadeus RaganCapt. Thadeus RaganGuest Blogger  Capt. Thadeus Ragan is model and fishing guide who has worked with Bass Pro Shops, Mercedes-Benz and Under Armour. Ragan is a life-long angler and owner of GladesBassin.com, a guide service dedicated to Lake Okeechobee and the Florida Everglades. He also catches many of the lunkers you see featured in the Bass Pro Shops annual catalogues.