Crazy Stories From The Trout Stream
When a man trout fishes two or three times a week each summer, some jaw-dropping stories are inevitable.
I love to trout fish, and I go a lot. My fishing buddy Jerry Taylor and I hit the trout waters at least two or three times a week from when I limit out on turkeys to when bow season begins.
Some jaw-dropping, frightful and “I can not believe that just happened” incidents have occurred over the years while wading the trout waters of Georgia. This article contains some the most memorable of those adventures.
Jerry and I walked into our chosen location for the day well before dawn. It’s usually a mile or two, and we try to hit the water right at first light. Then we split, with one going downstream and the other upstream.
This particular day, I fished downstream. It was near sunrise, and I had caught and released several trout and a Bartram bass or two. It was a beautiful morning but a bit humid, and there was fog laying on the river. All of a sudden, I heard a loud snarling sound close to me. Now, I wear glasses, and out of the corner of my eye (where my glasses do not cover) this huge black form appears out of the fog, charging my way. Fight or flight took over. I chose flight, but the flight was about 3 feet before I fell flat on my back in the river.
At this point, I realized it was the biggest black dog I had ever seen in my 67 years of life. The canine looked like his daddy had hooked up with a sow bear and he was the result. The freaky thing was that his eyes were as coal black as he was, and his face was expressionless. That will unnerve ya a little bit.
Two things raced immediately through my mind.
1. His owner certainly wouldn’t bring a vicious dog to a heavily fished area.
2. Maybe a big old blonde dude, that resembled me, kicked him when he was a puppy, and he held a grudge.
Well when I was able to get back up after my tumble, the thunderous splash scared the poor dog back to the bank.
Just then, his owner showed up out of the laurel.
“Oh he didn’t scare you, did he?”
I replied, “Nope, just practicing my backstroke.”
We both laughed, and the dog just stood there with that evil, black-eyed, deadpan look on his face.
“Glad you took this well, a lot of folks get scared and angry.”
This told me it wasn’t their first trip to the river or surprise encounter with unsuspecting anglers. Come to find out, the only thing that dog would ever attack viciously is a bowl of dog food or a biscuit.
The dog, his owner and I have become friends, as they are about the only ones I see regularly on this river. The dog still charges through the water to see me, but only to get petted. And I listen for high-pitched, girl-like screams from other fishermen to let me know they are headed my way.
Things That Sting
There is nothing much worse than “catching a pain,” as we say in the South. Y’all know… when you have gone and ate something that your digestive tract is not happy with. The kind of pain that gives you about 10 seconds to drop your drawers and squat. Add to that being in chest waders and in the middle of a river, you better have insane speed to get to where you need to be.
Such was the case one day in June. I won’t mention the establishment that induced the problem.
All of a sudden, the ol’ insides started gurgling, and the train was coming! I high stepped it out of the river and into a laurel thicket. It was hot and my glasses were fogged over with sweat.
Whew! Made it! I dropped down after lowering my waders and clothes, and cut loose. Of all of the places in all of Rabun County to squat, this might have been the worst. I picked a spot right over a yellowjacket nest, and they were not happy.
Now, y’all probably have your own ideas on what the correct course of action should have been. I couldn’t run with everything below my knees. I couldn’t pull stuff up, or that would have trapped the yellowjackets inside. I couldn’t slap them, or I might be talking with a much higher voice now! What I did was hop, like the world’s largest swamp rabbit, down toward the river.
Well, I hopped a little ways, lost my balance and crawled the rest until they gave up on the attacks. But there is always one yellowjacket that waits until you’re confident the danger is over, and then gives you one last zap. At least I got some revenge on him and sent him to the big picnic in the sky. Hardly equal to the 19 stings, though.
Oddly, the stomach problems went away. Anybody who knows me knows what I did next… I kept fishing!
I had just released a beautifully colored 12-inch brown trout and was about to cast again into one of my favorite stretches of this particular river. It was about 60 yards of a deep, fast run that began at a small waterfall and ended in a deep, deep hole. Just then, three older gentlemen dropped out of the woods and into the river. We waved, and they began fishing the bottom of the run at the deepest part of the hole.
One man was at the very bottom of the run and casting from some slow water into the run. He was kicking up a lot of silt, which discolored the water to the point of no clarity at all. It flowed down and tainted the water where the other two gents where fishing.
It was then when I realized these guys had not fished this stretch before, the reason being that on our side of the hole there was a big ledge, and it dropped straight down. I was about to yell to the man to be careful, but it was too late. He took one more step and was down with the trout. His buddy stuck his pole out for him to grab and pulled him out.
Once I saw that he was OK, I couldn’t resist. I walked down to the three, who were now gathered on the side of the river.
“Excuse me fellas, I mean no disrespect or to be rude, but I fish this river a lot and always wanted to know how deep that hole is. Could you tell me?”
I thought he and his two buddies were going to pee themselves laughing.
The man finally said, “Heck no, I never hit bottom, but I can tell you the deeper I got, the colder it was.”
I was working my way down river and had caught around 20 trout. I had the trifecta—some browns, brook trout and rainbows. There was one on my stringer… hooked so deeply that I knew it would die if I released it.
Rounding a little bend, I noticed another angler about 60 yards below me. I politely stopped and fished where I was standing.
The guy was making some beautiful roll casts into the run he was fishing but wasn’t catching anything. He was working his way up toward my location and was only about 30 yards from me when I hooked and landed a nice 16-inch brown trout. Putting it on the stinger, I noticed he was 20 yards away glaring at me.
Smiling, I said, “This one will be delicious off the grill tonight.”
His response, still glaring, was, “I don’t really care what you do with the fish.” It was said in a really rude and arrogant way.
I guess being that he looked like a walking Orvis catalog, he figured he was better than everybody else, and that I shouldn’t be keeping “his” fish out of “his” river. Yeah, I am content to my quick-dry pants, no waders, wading boots, light brown shirt and camo ball cap. He had chest waders, an Orvis hat and a vest with so many appliances hanging off it that he looked like a Christmas tree, and he was holding a beautiful bamboo rod.
Everyone else that I have ever met on this river has been really nice and cordial. Good folks, but this was a little hard to take.
Wanting to avoid any other unpleasantries, I started to leave. There was plenty of river to fish.
He was still glaring when he became “vertically challenged,” and became horizontal in the river. Adding to his demise, it was in a little over ankle-deep water, and he tried to break his fall with his fly rod hand. I do not know what it was worth new, but I bet that rod wasn’t worth as much broken off just above the grip.
My Christianity got the best of me, and I stopped to make sure he was only egotistically, and not physically, hurt. He was OK, and when he looked at me again, I just said, “OOOPS,” and kept walking.
Karma will get ya sometimes. LOL
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
My buddy and I were a little bit late starting out on one of our long-haul walks back to our favorite stretch of river. It was already breaking day, and we didn’t need flashlights for a change.
About a mile in, I thought I heard a large tire going flat, but it wasn’t. My friend had a bad case of gas. BAD! At this point, with my yellowjacket encounters, y’all are probably wondering where the heck we eat. Anyway, there is a place where we separate. I head down the mountain to begin fishing downstream, and he continues on about a quarter mile and fishes upstream.
Now my fishing partner is kind of scared of snakes, at least the venomous types. He is very careful where he puts his feet down, and his eyes are glued to the ground, especially this particular time of year when the ferns and other plants have grown tall enough so that it is difficult to see the ground.
Eyes peeled and looking for Mr. No Shoulders, he cut loose several times with some gas that he described as a fog horn/train whistle cross. After his latest release, he heard laughing, and when he looked up, there was a couple sitting in camp chairs 15 yards away from him. All he could come out with was, “Beautiful morning isn’t it!”
They were laughing so hard, he told me that they couldn’t get a word out, and they just nodded their heads. The embarrassment was lessened, I guess, by the fact that neither folks would ever see each other again, and haven’t as of today.
Multiple Use Areas
Many of the rivers and creeks I fish are also noted hiking and camping areas. A lot of folks who just enjoy the outdoors and Georgia’s beautiful mountains frequent them.
One morning way back in the mountains, as I was entering the water above a deep hole, something silver flew through the air and into the hole, followed by two dogs of undetermined breeds, followed by three young ladies, one natural blonde, one not natural and a brunette. Yep, the only thing they had less of than clothing was inhibitions! Now, even though it ruined fishing that area for the time being, not all of that was bad.
They were from a well-known university that likes the color orange and were having a girls weekend out to get away from the rigors of college tests. Alcohol might have been involved. I do not know. It was only 10 a.m., but I was young once and time was just a number. LOL
I threw the silver Frisbee for the dogs a few times, warned them about being naked might not be such a good thing with all the hooks and broken lines that are in the river. Body parts could get snagged. Relaying all this to my buddy, who fished upstream, his remark was, “Dang! I knew I went the wrong way.”
Another time, I was working my way down the river and noticed three young men fishing below me. One boy was fishing with a red-and-white bobber the size of a tennis ball. The other two were casting lures better designed for muskies or northern pike. Even a big, 6-lb. brown would have swum away in fear. They were obviously camping and decided they’d try to catch some trout for dinner.
I waded down to them and asked the boy closest to me if he’d like some help. “Yes-sir, I haven’t caught anything.”
The young man was the one casting the tennis ball bobber, and then I noticed the hook. It was huge. The kind you would put a whole chicken heart on to catch flatheads. I had several packs of No. 8 long shanks, and I gave him a pack for himself and his friends, some split-shot and some of the maggots I was fishing with that day.
Telling him to cast in the shallow run so the bait was down by the fish when the run got deep, I watched his cast. It hit perfectly, and I kid you not the young man hooked and landed a 16-inch brookie. The smile on his face was wider than the river. He thanked me so much, as did his buddies, and I was off.
Before going, I found out they were from a small college in west Georgia and were celebrating one boy’s birthday. He had wanted to go camping. I asked where they were camped, and I passed it on the way out. They had a plastic trash bag hanging in a tree and a spotless campsite. If you tried to find a little piece of garbage, you couldn’t have done it. We need more folks like this in Georgia!
Hope y’all enjoyed this article. I fish a lot, so there might be a part two someday.
I hope everyone has a safe and adventurous fishing season. Remember, it is not really how many fish you catch. It is how much you enjoyed the trip and experience.
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