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, April 28, 2020

Nice Bycatch

UO Manager @jake_a_darling with a real nice bycatch on his recent river bass float. We will take that any day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Best Fly You May Have Never Used

Jeff “Dredger” Durniak

Unicoi Outfitters

Want a great pattern that’s easy to tie, easy to fish, and deadly on river predators from trout to bass?  Then sit back and enjoy the tale of “Secret Weapon #1.”

Back in my former career, our division hosted the annual meeting of southeastern wildlife agency trout biologists at Unicoi State Park.  When Trout Committee business concluded, our guests had a special treat waiting on them: guided trout fishing on local waters with some of my friends, the best volunteer fishing guides from GA Trout Unlimited.

I had paired up Missouri DNR’s Mike Kruse with The Ole Rabunite, better known as Rabun TU founder Doug Adams, for an afternoon on the Dukes Creek trophy stream. It had rained the night before and stained the stream, so they quickly departed.

When they returned to the lodge for the evening meal, Kruse sported a big smile while Adams had bug eyes nearly popping out of their sockets. The Ole Rabunite explained that Mike had laid out the big rainbows on his own, home-made fly pattern, the Mike’s Mohair Leech. He said the recipe was on his agency’s website.  Link:  https://www.missouritrout.com/mikesmohairleech.htm

We looked it up and then cooked it up ourselves. Lo and behold, it worked magically!  It was a slinky woolly bugger.  We held the secret weapon close for a while (actually a long while), and perfected its use on both stream trout and river bass; olive and small (#10) for clear water, big (#6 or 8), and black for dingy water, and huge and black  (#4) for river bass. It worked dead-drifted, stripped, and even as a dropper behind Craig Riendeau’s Hairy Fodder crawdad fly. It took credit for countless Dukes Creek trophies, hefty trout from the Southeast’s Delayed Harvest streams, upper Hooch shoalies pushing 20 inches, countless NC smallies, my first big Yellowstone Park brown, and an unexpected monster brown from the Smokies that nosed close to 22 inches.

When we were asked how we were catching our biguns, we few Rabunites in-the-know dutifully replied, “I don’t believe I said.” But, after a while, the guilt set in and we finally started fessing up. I shared the love on North Georgia Trout Online’s forum around 2007, via a post called “Secret Weapon #1.”  Soon leeches of various sizes, shades, and beadheads started showing up in fly boxes and trouting reports across north GA.

If you haven’t tried one yet, you should. And then pass it on to that rookie angler beside you. He or she will catch more fish, think you’re a Pro, and soon join your conservation army.  

If it wasn’t for the benevolence of Mike Kruse and Doug Adams, I might have missed out on this secret weapon. Instead, our trio has enjoyed it and we now pass it on to you. Give it a try, pass one to a buddy, and have some fun while you adopt and conserve your favorite “home” waters.  Good luck. Don’t forget that good buddy, armed with a net and a camera!