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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Your Favorite Fish?

What’s your favorite fish species to pursue with your fly rod? Feel free to simply name one or to tell a fish tale, too.

I’ll help get this started. For me, it’s a hefty summer river Smallie  on a topwater bug. A close second and local favorite is Smallie’s kissin’ cousin, Shoalie.

There’s something special about tossing a leggy stealth bomber up, under the overhanging tree limbs and letting it drift slowly along the bank at dusk. In those skinny, lazy, clear summer flows, most fish will only come up to play as the sun sets. Watching a two-pound plus river bass materialize from the depths, nose up close enough to kiss my bug, and then drift along with it for five feet downstream gives me the equivalent of buck fever. 

Hopefully the bug finally disappears though a hole in the surface where Big Girl inhaled a quart of water with supper.  The hook is set, the fly line dives and then shoots back up to the surface as the  missile launches into the air. Again and again. I pray that each leaping headshake doesn’t propel my bug back at me and break my heart.

If the hook holds and the fish tires, I pull that radius closer as she circles me. Finally, I clamp my thumb on her lower lip and pull her close for a thanks and a quick pic or two. She then slides back slowly into the shadows. And I am left with another special memory for my book of life.

Put me waist-deep in a summer river, with a stout 6-weight in my hand and some topwater bugs in my sling pack, and I’m a happy camper.

How bout y’all?  Pick your own winner and tell your tale.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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