Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sweet Georgia Brown

Chad Daughty's 20-pound-14 ounce brown trout, which he
caught from the Chattahoochee River, broke the Georgia state record
by 2 1/2 pounds. Photo courtesy of the Georgia Department
of Natural Resources.
"You have trout in Georgia?" people sometimes ask. In other places, when folks think of Georgia, many think of peanut farms, downtown Atlanta, Okefenokee Swamp and maybe a peach orchard. Few picture the mountainous country that I live at the edge of, and somehow trout just don't fit the stereotypes.

Yep. We have trout: brown trout, rainbows and brook trout. Only the brookies are native, but many Southern Appalachian streams support natural reproduction of rainbows and/or browns.

Along with the mountain streams, a couple of tailwaters stay cold enough to support good trout populations, and that's where the trout tend to grow big. Chad Daughty, a 27-year-old angler from Winder, Georgia, was the most recent person to prove that in grand fashion. While fishing from a kayak in the Lake Lanier tailwater (Chattahoochee River), Daughty had a whopper trout attack his spinner. Forty-five minutes later Daughty landed what would soon be confirmed as the new state record brown trout.

The record brown weighed 20 pound, 14 pounces and eclipsed the former record by 2 1/2 pounds.

Yep. We have trout in Georgia.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pond Appreciation

Eli (5) paddling big brother Nathaniel (16) on the upper pond.
Pond outings get discussed fairly frequently on this blog, so it seems maybe I should tell a bit more about the ponds we most often fish. I speak of going to "the ponds" almost as if they are ours, but only because the property owners are gracious enough to let us treat them that way. They allow us free access to the ponds and the canoes on them at any time, and Nathaniel often keeps his johnboat by one of the ponds. I'm very grateful for that privilege.

The property, which is only about 4 miles from my house, has three ponds on it, all fairly small. Two are man-made. One is a natural beaver pond. Each has a unique personality.

We spend the most time on the upper pond, which has good access to from the bank or from a boat. It has three houses on it and a small beach area, where my family also swims during the summer. It has plentiful bluegills with a good mix of sizes and big numbers of mostly small bass with a few big fish in the mix.

The middle pond is the smallest and just downhill from the upper pond. No boat lives there and it's a bit of a walk with a canoe, so we mostly fish it from the bank. It gets more grass (and this year dollar pads) than the others and has some flooded timber on the far side. We often scoot down to it for a while if the upper pond bite is slow and we usually can wrangle in at least a couple of bass.

The beaver pond is our favorite because it is natural and has a wilder feel, despite being on the same property and really not being that far from the other ponds. It's shallow and full of stumps and produces good fishing for bass and bream. However, it has been very low for several months now -- almost too low to get around and fish -- so we're concerned the dynamic could have changed and that it could be reverting to a swamp. Hopefully. Mr. & Mrs. Beaver will want more water again soon and will do some engineering work.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Unplanned Swim

I still don't know how it happened. I've spent hundreds of hours in canoes, and the only two other times I ever flipped were in rivers: one caused by a strainer, the other by a high rock in a rapid. Yesterday I was on the pond and had just gotten in. I'd walked through the center of the boat to the back seat and sat down with no issues. The canoe wasn't partly grounded, and I wasn't standing or leaning for anything. Somehow my weight just shifted and everything went all at once. Next thing I knew it, I was standing next to an upside-down canoe, shoulder deep, and soaked from head down, still wearing my hat and glasses.

The good news is that I had taken out my phone and the little button gizmo for my keys (admittedly because I was bringing my 9-year-old out with me). Also, it's July, so neither the pond nor the air was cold, and Asher hadn't even gotten in yet, so two of us didn't get soaked. I'm also thankful that the only cameras I had with me were my waterproof point-and-shoot and a couple of GoPros, in their cases. (Too bad the GoPro wasn't mounted on the side of the canoe and running.)

The bad news is that I snapped two rods (including one I was particularly fond of) right in the center. I had to fish them out of the lake, so my best guess is that I stepped on them when I first found solid footing.

I did get back on the horse, so to speak. I found another rod I could use, and we still made one lap around the pond. We only caught one fish, but one is better than none. For Asher, I'm guessing it will be one of his most memorable pond outings, even with only one fish having been caught!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Learn From Jason Christie -- Tonight

Think you could learn a thing or two about topwater fishing in an hour with Jason Christie? You can do just that this evening (Tuesday, July 22), as Jason is presenting "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Topwater Fishing" on ProWebLive.

And where does it take place? Well. That's up to you. It could be in your den or living room or maybe at a friend's house. You just sign up for access, and the virtual seminar room is wherever want to bring your computer and have internet access. And if you want to gather the bass club to, that's perfectly fine. Put it on the big screen and watch it together.

Of course the ProWebLive seminars are more than just talks that you listen to -- or at least they can be. There are opportunities to send in questions and chat with others in the room, and many of the speakers include photos and videos and links for more information in their presentations. I don't know what Jason has in store, but I'm confident that it will be good stuff.

Making a good thing even better, tonight's program is discounted to $19.99, instead of the normal price of $49.99. The standard price is a good deal when you consider the time and cost of travel to go anywhere to hear someone like Jason Christie give a targeted presentation. At tonight's price, it's a steal.

To learn more or to sign up, go to proweblive.com. You can sign up anytime. Doors open at 7:00 eastern. Seminar begins at 8:00. I plan to be there, and hope to see you there as well.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ICAST Friday

The ICAST show is always substantially slower on Friday than on the first two days, with a lot of buyers, media and folks in the booths having finished their business and started toward home. It's a good day to look at stuff in less crowded booths. It's sometimes a bad day to visit people because the person who deals with media often has gone home.

Today is my day to walk the floor and really look around. I've been part of the FLW live coverage team, focusing on rods and line, so I've sort of had to keep tunnel vision in order to get my part done. Today I take off the blinders and can take in everything, so maybe I'll get a few more photos or notes posted as I roam.

If you haven't checked out the FLW coverage, by the way, be sure to do so. The web crew has worked steadily to keep the page really fresh with photos, videos and loads of information about all the new products and cool stuff happening at the show.

Time to head that way for the final day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rods & Line at ICAST

I spent a couple of hours this evening at the ICAST New Product Showcase reception, checking out new rods and fishing lines for coverage I am doing for FLW, along with at least glancing at other new stuff in the Showcase, just to see what's cool and new. I'll be posting a lot of reports about line and rods on the ICAST page on flwoutdoors.com and posting note about other cool stuff here. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Revo Beast

We often say around my house that you never know what a day will bring. Seems that also applies on the water in Mexico. Who knew I'd get to fish El Salto with the Beast?

It seems possible -- even likely -- that I could spot the Beast again this week at ICAST, as Abu Garcia is launching it's new Revo Beast reel at the show. I actually fished a quite a bit with a Revo Beast in Mexico, and I can tell you right now that if you like the sound of a smooth-operating, heavy-duty bass reel that was designed specifically to handle big baits, you're going to like the Beast. It was ideal for El Salto, where big worms, big swimbaits and big crankbaits typically are the major players. I used one a lot for deep crankbaits because I liked the oversized handle and grips for getting the bait down and manhandling it.

Speaking of ICAST, I made it to Orlando. Everything begins tomorrow!