Absolutely Creek

28 12 2010

There is a little mountain creek near what is now my home in northern Georgia. At one time, I fished it and it alone for about two years running. The water there is gin-clear and swift almost all year and the little trout that live there are sometimes forced from their usual, natural role as predator (of insect, chub and worm) into the role of prey.

You see, this little creek – once it gains water from a half-dozen small feeder creeks, becomes what it quite possibly the best wild trout stream in the whole state. The only reason I hesitate to say that it is absolutely the best wild trout stream in the state is that I have no doubt that there are a few – visited and yet to be visited by me – that are better.

But this little creek runs close to a well-worn forest service road and it’s easy access surely qualifies it as the best trout stream in Georgia that can be easily reached by car. Over the last two decades a handful of books, magazine articles and internet ramblings haven’t changed that(thankfully), and I actually worry less about the little creek these days with fly fishing apparently taking a back-seat to golf, soccer and other amusements. It’s just as well for this little jagged crease of water that slices through the rhododendron-covered slopes of the Southern Blue Ridge. It’s better that it’s fished less; that it’s banks reclaim some of the well-worn trails from the last two decades’ movie-inspiredhard use. Now perhaps, it can return to it’s Glory Days when fishermen spoke of it only one-on-one and even then, with a whispered reverence for it’s secrets.

You see, this tiny, precious flow that has weathered so many rowdy boots, 4 X 4’s, clueless ignorant fish killers and deadly ( and sometimes treble-hook equipped and very illegal) spinning lures holds something that many knowledgable anglers – not to mention wildlife “experts” – say cannot

'Lil Joe fishing a nice pool on Absolutely Creek

be…..giant, wild, stream-born trout that can rob you of your catch and steal your heart.

They aren’t commonplace, these monster fish that live in water barely covering their backs…but they are there, and they will take a well-presented fly at times.

I remember once, standing on a rock in 3 inches of water trying to see the movement of a new fly pattern I’d devised. I stood at the edge of a small, short run of no more than 5 feet in length and no deeper than my knees and I dropped a squirrel-hair streamer at my own feet. I just wanted to watch the action of the hair and see if this crude thing I’d created would “swim right” in the water.

I twitched it, and it came to life…lurching forward like a frightened creek chub, and then pulsing in the water as I wiggled the rod tip – the thing no further than a foot from my own two feet. Another twitch and a pull to test it’s tracking, when up from below the fly a dark form lurched up and forward, engulfing the #6 streamer hook in it’s gaping white mouth! A brown of gigantic proportions for such a small creek – and right at my feet!

I screamed! And so did my little Orvis Clearwater click-n-pawl reel! My rod doubled over, the fish running downstream after hooking itself on the fly….toward the log jam….I’ve got to stop him…but is that 5X or 7X I’ve got on…..no time to decide….it’s stop him or he will tangle me in the logs….or I break him off….the branches…or…I’ve got to stop him…

As I tried to gently palm the reel’s spool, no doubt still in a mild form of shock and panic I must have layed a hand on it with too much resolve. The reel stopped screaming. The brown was gone. My friend, who had been changing into dry clothes from our morning of wet-wading yelled from the tent: ” Very funny. That really sounded like you had a fish on….” He came out and saw my face, no doubt I was white as a ghost! “You really had one? I heard the reel go nuts!? How big was it? I thought you tied the line to a tree and ran!? Was it a trout?! What did he take!?!? I can’t believe you lost him!”

Yes, it’s a special little creek….and I think I will fish there more often this year. No, I know that I will.

Absolutely, I will.

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2 responses

28 12 2010
Howard (cofisher)

Okay I lied in one of my earlier comments. I didn’t sleep well because you are back on line and here I am checking out the Owl at 4:30 in the morning. Great read! Now I can go back to sleep.

28 12 2010
Owl Jones

Haha. Oh man Howard – I didn’t mean to transfer my hyper-mania to you, sir! I’m still up. Tying some eggs for tomorrow’s trip. If the bugs aren’t active, we can almost always count on a few fish on pink or red egg patterns. I wonder if I’m going to be the first person to try an egg fly while tenkara fishing? 😉

I hope I can make it through the day without falling asleep – need to get back on “normal people” time so I can be up early tomorrow for the drive up to NC trout country.

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