South Georgia – fishing heaven!
January 13, 2010
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Southern Hospitality at its finest.
I speak of the south shore of the bulldog state. Famous for football and peaches, the state of Georgia has some of the most pristine waters available to fish – anywhere. And I find it hard to believe how under-utilized fishing in Georgia actually is.
We pull up to our hotel under the shroud of darkness after a brutal 16 hour flight (I find it amazing a certain airline seems to work under the motto, “we’re not happy till you’re not happy”) and tucked in for the night not having seen any landscape of the area. Early morning came fast and we headed to the boat ramp in the dark… led only by GPS.
Captain Scott Owens, an accomplished Redfish tournament angler and professional full time guide based out of St. Simons Island ( www.flyfishgeorgia.com )met us at the launch ramp with his Hells Bay Professional flats boat at the ready… we hit the water at first light and headed to a mud flat a short 15 minute boat ride away. The muddy water of the flat didn’t seem to concern Scott as he layed out the game plan. I pulled out my 9-weight Flying Carrot Stix and got ready on the casting platform. We were immediately poling up to a school of what Scott estimated as approximately 80 redfish. 1 false cast and a perfectly placed imitation shrimp fly dead in the center of the school. The fly wasn’t wet yet when a good red crashed it. Fish ON! The first cast of the day at our first location on the first school of tailing reds resulted in a 13 lb red… my personal best on the fly.
We landed 4 more reds in the next couple of hours and decided to switch gears and head to a back creek on a nearby Island once the bite was off. A quick switch of boats landed us in Capt. Owens’s 25′ Shearwater center console. “We’ll either be in them thick, or they’re gone” Scott told me on the run out to Cumberland Island… We power poled down and rigged our popping corks and live shrimp for speckled sea trout. First cast – nothing (not good) second cast, nothing (really not good) third cast 20 incher – GREAT! They were in the area and they were there thick! Over the next 4 hrs, we didn’t move a single foot and 3 of us landed over 200 trout. We literally caught almost every cast! Top water, live shrimp, Gulp Shrimp, Clouser Minnow Fly, Top water Fly – I didn’t try to noodle them, but I bet they would have hit.
We wrapped up the day with a unique South Georgia experience… Cumberland Island is famous for a population of wild horses… and almost on cue as we were wrapping up the segment for the show, a pair of horses came to the bank eating grass… what a remarkable sight, what a way to close out the perfect South Georgia day.
3 new fish species in a single day… I was fortunate enough to fish with Bert Deener of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. He got wind of Reel Road Trip coming town and offered to introduce us to one of the more unique environments Georgia has to offer. We were fishing the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge for a species of fish I have never even heard of. They are called fliers… similar to a bluegill or sunfish, these fish thrive in the unique water conditions of the Okefenokee. We broke out the bream-busters (rods without reels) and tied on our flies (fitting to catch fliers) and had a day of it. We caught 200 fliers between the 2 of us and added a couple of new species to my Carrotstix multispecies arsenal.
The 2nd new species was a bowfin. What a fight! Like a black torpedo in the water. This one is a small one!
The 3rd new species is what looks remarkably like a rock bass. They call this little scrapper a warmouth. Again, a fighter thru and thru… I was fishing with a medium action 21 Carrot Gold Carrot Stix and 2 lb test Vicious Panfish High Viz Yellow for the dark waters of the Okefenokee.
What a day, what a place to fish, Gators everywhere, fish everywhere and the feeling that you just never know what new species you just might catch – fish or reptile. Watch your fingers when you reach down to pull fish from the Okefenokee into the boat…
Gordon Rogers, Georgia’s Flint River Keeper told me in an earlier interview that “the waters of Georgia are some of the most pristine waters in the world”… I’m here to tell you I wholeheartedly agree… Be it salt or freshwater, if your looking for a unique fishing experience for the hardcore angler or a family adventure, Georgia has something for everyone!