Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Don!

A great birthday report from Don Davis:

I was officially 62 yesterday. I took the day off, and expected to take
Brenda to the mountains for a little bit of fishing, followed by a
really nice lunch in Helen. Before I could leave work Wednesday, she
called to tell me she was sick as a dog with flu-type symptoms. Great!

She convinced me I should go fish and enjoy myself. I left early and
went up to the WMA above Helen. I noticed the campgrounds just before
the check station were closed, and decided to start there. I parked in
the last turn-off, walked down to the third set of steps and went down
to the stream.

When rigging up at the car, I tied on something like a Stimulator with a
white post and was determined to try a dry all morning. The weather was
overcast, but dry, so I left the jacket in the car. Within 3 casts I was
releasing a fresh little rainbow. And on a dry! I felt like a real fly

The fish came slowly but regularly as I waded upstream. As I moved out
of sight of the last campground, I found myself at the beginning of the
gorge. Actually, I guess that's the bottom. Anyway, a really neat rock
wall on the road side of the stream, and a beautiful waterfall entering
the river in mid-curve. After fishing my way up and around that curve,
the weather started to change to a very light rain, and I started
thinking about lunch. I had to sit on a rock and have a smoke while
enjoying the view across the stream. I could have been many places
besides Georgia, but the majesty and beauty of hard rock, soft moss and
splashing water was just magical. In Atlanta, people probably pay $100
an hour to get that sense of peace and contentment. A mighty fine way to
spend a birthday.

I clipped off the dry and tied on an egg fly (lt. brown) for one last
pass thru the deep hole in that curve. As I was pulling it back upstream
after a reasonably decent drift, I pulled it out of the mouth of a brown
whose spots were visible 25 feet away and over a foot deep. And in the
gloom! There was the occasional splat of larger raindrops, but still no
real rain.

I started fishing my way back down to the campground, using the egg fly
and several more "buggy" nymphs, but no more fish. I stood in the water
beside the shore, packed away the fly, then rolled and put away the
leader. [Leader - a furled leader Slowstreamer sold me nearly a year
ago! First time I used it. I like it very much.]

As I walked toward the steps, I realized my shirt was a bit damp, but it
was not uncomfortable. I started up the steps and heard the rain first,
then felt it. Within 3 steps I was soaked to the skin, and I couldn't
see the top of the steps! It's been a long time since I tried to put my
gear away in a driving rain, and I forgot how awkward it is to insert a
rod section into its proper pocket without letting the trunk flood!

I pulled up to the check station to have a coke and snack, and found two
guys already there. They were from Hall County, frequently there during
the week, and appalled at the trash left behind by others. They were
also very well-informed on Georgia's water issues, too. I enjoyed
talking to them.

It's amazing how much I enjoyed a day that I thought was going to be a
total loss.

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