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Old 06-11-18, 07:51 AM   #1
splatek16
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Default Hooch Hitch Hiker/Bank fishing Hobo

The weekend weather was just too good to not fish. I started out in the am slanging reel fly line to warm water species - bream and bass. The bass were less cooperative than the bream and maybe because my popper bug could barely hit the water before they would absolutely crush the fly. This time I took my little 6'6" 2wt with real fly line and that was fun - what a bend in the rod those little fighters produce. But that's not what this post is about. Last night I was bored. Had done most of my Sunday Chores - worked out, ran the dog, gathered up all the baseball gear for Spencer's first day of Baseball camp, mowed, etc. The GF was visiting with her mom and sister. Going stir crazy, I decided I would take a drive to my favorite section of tailwater and search for some bank access to toss something in the water. I brought an ultralite spinning outfit and first started to throw rooster tails, but that didn't produce anything. Then I started throwing my crickehopper - it's a top water cricket(ish) thing but also dives when retrieved, but then'll pop back up to the top. I figured with all the deadfall that would be my best bet of not leaving strands of 4pound test in the river. But, that didn't produce. So, then I tried attaching a few nymphs under a thingamabobber with some lead on the bottom. Honestly, I didn't even know I had a 'bobber and lead, but then I remembered I bought some while in Utah. Anyhow, casting this thing was horrendous, but produced one tiny dip in the bobber, but with so much slack in the line... missed hook set.

Then... I hear this sound. Sounds sorta like a motorcycle, but a small small motorcycle and not one that I should hear from the river. I thought maybe someone(s) was ATV-ing or dirtbiking back in the Rec area. It got louder and there it was - a Jon boat whizzing up the river. I first spotted it downstream from behind the trees and thought, "**** this thing is going to produce wake and mess me up." It got closer and I realized it was the one, the only, PHIL HUTCH! I yelled "PHIL! PHIL! PHIIIIIIILLLLLLL!" But he was in the zone and drove right past me. Grabbed the phone and texted him and I quickly heard that motor coming back toward me, slowly. "You fishing?" He asked. "You want company?" I replied. And we were off. This would be my second time in a boat on the hooch and my first time seeing these areas of the upper tailwater.

Although, I got the skunk off the boat first with a small little fish



Phil quickly got a few in succession.

Then we saw BROWNIEZ whipping past on his river yacht at mach 2 with his pops.

Phil and I were throwing spinning gear and most of the lures had between 15 and 30 hooks ... Just kidding. The lures had regular treble hooks, 2-3 of them. This is a strategy that is new to me. These were big rods with big tackle. I think the one I was using had 20 # line and a 20# leader! 20#!!!! It felt a lot like smallmouth fishing, actually I think I said that exact thing to Phil. What IMPRESSED me was how quickly the fish were brought to the boat and unhooked. I was seriously troubled when I saw the size of some of the lures and all the hooks, but I don't think a single fish, except this small one that I wanted a picture with (my first boat landed trout from the hooch, lame, I know!), were in our possession for more than a minute. In fact, a minute would be tops. Phil is a veritable master at netting, unhooking, reviving (if even needed), and releasing the fish strong into the water back to it's hideaway! I must've said this to him ten times. Compared to the average fly angler (no hate here, just a comment!) that plays the fish on 5, 6 or even 7x tippet for half a minute, then nets, takes a bunch of photos, etc, this was really impressive. Wat more impressive than my fly landing abilities and I try to pride myself on being as efficient as possible at getting the fish back in the water.

There were other things about this strategy that blew my mind. The river was running high - 6000+CFS, I think. And I've heard that the trouts will just hunker down in these conditions and wait for it to pass; well maybe they've just become adapted to the new normal, because I can't count how many lure follows we had. With nearly crystal clear water and polarized lenses you could see the browns start there assault on the lure. Now, they didn't always hook up, but when they did it was a super good fight. I base that on the fact that the predatory versus opportunistic strike might already have them in fight mode. But the current didn't effect these trouts; even little ones like my first (pic above, that was the smallest of the night). Sometimes they weren't scurrying out quickly, but they were just casually swimming out and checking out a lure; the shadow would emerge and swim behind, next to, sometimes even in front of the lure almost as if they were trying to decide *** it was. I mentioned to Phil, "looks like the lure and the trout are two dogs playing with a tennis ball!"

But then a real eye opener happened. Phil is casting toward the Gwinnett Side and I the Forsyth side and I hear "oooohhhh! look!" I stop my retrieve to look over my shoulder and following Phil's lure is a trout that I am guestimating was 30 inches in length; and thicker than my thigh. I could see his spots (about the size of a dime) and his bright colored up orange belly from about 1.5-2 feet below the surface; even his jaw kype was visible. He got with in a fraction of an inch of the lure, before deciding.... "Nah!" I was stunned. I'd seen the vids, the pics, of these big trouts in the hooch, but seeing it for real with my own eyes... Holy Moly!

We saw BROWNIEZ one more time as we were repositioning and wouldn't you know he was hooked up. WTH!? And he asked, "What do you think?" To which I replied, "I'm buying a boat!"

But seriously, I probably won't buy a boat (another fisherman's lie), I really learned a lot about the river and the trouts that occupy it. I can't thank Phil enough for taking the time to swing around and pick up a bankside hitchhiker.
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Old 06-11-18, 10:30 AM   #2
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‘Twas good seeing you fellas!
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Old 06-11-18, 10:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatek16 View Post
. . . Phil is casting toward the Gwinnett Side and I the Forsyth side. . .
Hey now! You're mahty tight when watchin' them threads you moderate in the Small Streams section and you'll hack a post to tiny pieces to hide location. This raht here jes' about gives us yer latitude and longitude raht down to minits an' seconts on MAH secret waters!

Just kiddin', Steven. Somebody needs to give you a hard time every now and then.

This a a great write up. Good enough, in fact, that I decided to copy it and save it to my hard drive for future enjoyment as I get deeper into middle/old age.

I've seen Phil out on the reever a couple times and have always been intrigued with the lures he's chuckin' up into those sunken trees on the banks. He seems to have a pretty reliable system in place like Alex. For my own part, I haven't used a spinning rod on the tail water in several years, but only because I really love the way a fly rod feels in my hands. (I have been using spinning gear up at Lanier the past week and have really loved the experience.

Glad to hear you had a good day out on the reever in the company of some of our fellow NGTO celebrities. We might need to create a forum specifically for chasing big trout-type fishies with the heavy gear. (It's a whole lot different from Tenkara, huh?) I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to provide you with your first "boat-caught" trout on the 'Hooch. Maybe I can make it up and provide that to Spencer sometime soon.

Thanks for the great post, and thanks to Phil and Alex for getting out on the water and providing an all-star cast for this fish tale!

By the way, notice that Alex is commencin' to talk in Swampy speak now:
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Originally Posted by browniez View Post
‘Twas good seeing you fellas!
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If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.
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Old 06-11-18, 11:01 AM   #4
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Ha, this is great serendipity that you were able to get a bank side pick up.

Kind if like Uber on the water.

Glad to hear you guys got into some.
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Old 06-11-18, 11:29 AM   #5
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I hadn't really thought about the juxtaposition of a tenkara stick versus slanging a big old spinning rig... but yeah, they're nothing alike, except they slay the trouts!

And hilarious about the "revealing the hooch secrets" I should receive a lashing! HAHA

Man, after being on that boat, I have got to get Spencer out there - tossing whatever - fly rod, spinning gear, tenakara, maybe all of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Angel View Post
Hey now! You're mahty tight when watchin' them threads you moderate in the Small Streams section and you'll hack a post to tiny pieces to hide location. This raht here jes' about gives us yer latitude and longitude raht down to minits an' seconts on MAH secret waters!

Just kiddin', Steven. Somebody needs to give you a hard time every now and then.

This a a great write up. Good enough, in fact, that I decided to copy it and save it to my hard drive for future enjoyment as I get deeper into middle/old age.

I've seen Phil out on the reever a couple times and have always been intrigued with the lures he's chuckin' up into those sunken trees on the banks. He seems to have a pretty reliable system in place like Alex. For my own part, I haven't used a spinning rod on the tail water in several years, but only because I really love the way a fly rod feels in my hands. (I have been using spinning gear up at Lanier the past week and have really loved the experience.

Glad to hear you had a good day out on the reever in the company of some of our fellow NGTO celebrities. We might need to create a forum specifically for chasing big trout-type fishies with the heavy gear. (It's a whole lot different from Tenkara, huh?) I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to provide you with your first "boat-caught" trout on the 'Hooch. Maybe I can make it up and provide that to Spencer sometime soon.

Thanks for the great post, and thanks to Phil and Alex for getting out on the water and providing an all-star cast for this fish tale!

By the way, notice that Alex is commencin' to talk in Swampy speak now:
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Old 06-11-18, 12:11 PM   #6
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That was great!
It really is a nice change of pace isn’t it? When I was out with Alex and broke my 8 wt and started throwing around jerkbaits with one of his spare rods it was quite enjoyable. Well, after I remembered that you don’t have to false cast a spinning rod that is!
I also remembered how effortlessly I yanked in a ~15” brown on his setup.
As soon as I get a new kayak one of my first order of business will be slinging soft plastics at some bass. It’s been to long since I thoroughly fished a spinning set up.
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Old 06-11-18, 12:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by erikclymore View Post
. . . you don’t have to false cast a spinning rod that is! . . .
It took me a full two days on Lanier coves to get my spinning cast back. I kept launching lures straight up into the sky only to have eighty feet of line pulled off the reel and the lure plopping down in the water about eight feet off the stern of the boat!
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If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.
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Old 06-11-18, 12:40 PM   #8
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Splatek - A friend I fished with yesterday has a B60 with a 20hp Tohatsu 4 stroke, trailer, and trolling motor. He is looking for around 2200 I believe. PM me if you're interested and I can put you guys in touch.
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Old 06-11-18, 02:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatek16 View Post
The weekend weather was just too good to not fish. I started out in the am slanging reel fly line to warm water species - bream and bass. The bass were less cooperative than the bream and maybe because my popper bug could barely hit the water before they would absolutely crush the fly. This time I took my little 6'6" 2wt with real fly line and that was fun - what a bend in the rod those little fighters produce. But that's not what this post is about. Last night I was bored. Had done most of my Sunday Chores - worked out, ran the dog, gathered up all the baseball gear for Spencer's first day of Baseball camp, mowed, etc. The GF was visiting with her mom and sister. Going stir crazy, I decided I would take a drive to my favorite section of tailwater and search for some bank access to toss something in the water. I brought an ultralite spinning outfit and first started to throw rooster tails, but that didn't produce anything. Then I started throwing my crickehopper - it's a top water cricket(ish) thing but also dives when retrieved, but then'll pop back up to the top. I figured with all the deadfall that would be my best bet of not leaving strands of 4pound test in the river. But, that didn't produce. So, then I tried attaching a few nymphs under a thingamabobber with some lead on the bottom. Honestly, I didn't even know I had a 'bobber and lead, but then I remembered I bought some while in Utah. Anyhow, casting this thing was horrendous, but produced one tiny dip in the bobber, but with so much slack in the line... missed hook set.

Then... I hear this sound. Sounds sorta like a motorcycle, but a small small motorcycle and not one that I should hear from the river. I thought maybe someone(s) was ATV-ing or dirtbiking back in the Rec area. It got louder and there it was - a Jon boat whizzing up the river. I first spotted it downstream from behind the trees and thought, "**** this thing is going to produce wake and mess me up." It got closer and I realized it was the one, the only, PHIL HUTCH! I yelled "PHIL! PHIL! PHIIIIIIILLLLLLL!" But he was in the zone and drove right past me. Grabbed the phone and texted him and I quickly heard that motor coming back toward me, slowly. "You fishing?" He asked. "You want company?" I replied. And we were off. This would be my second time in a boat on the hooch and my first time seeing these areas of the upper tailwater.

Although, I got the skunk off the boat first with a small little fish



Phil quickly got a few in succession.

Then we saw BROWNIEZ whipping past on his river yacht at mach 2 with his pops.

Phil and I were throwing spinning gear and most of the lures had between 15 and 30 hooks ... Just kidding. The lures had regular treble hooks, 2-3 of them. This is a strategy that is new to me. These were big rods with big tackle. I think the one I was using had 20 # line and a 20# leader! 20#!!!! It felt a lot like smallmouth fishing, actually I think I said that exact thing to Phil. What IMPRESSED me was how quickly the fish were brought to the boat and unhooked. I was seriously troubled when I saw the size of some of the lures and all the hooks, but I don't think a single fish, except this small one that I wanted a picture with (my first boat landed trout from the hooch, lame, I know!), were in our possession for more than a minute. In fact, a minute would be tops. Phil is a veritable master at netting, unhooking, reviving (if even needed), and releasing the fish strong into the water back to it's hideaway! I must've said this to him ten times. Compared to the average fly angler (no hate here, just a comment!) that plays the fish on 5, 6 or even 7x tippet for half a minute, then nets, takes a bunch of photos, etc, this was really impressive. Wat more impressive than my fly landing abilities and I try to pride myself on being as efficient as possible at getting the fish back in the water.

There were other things about this strategy that blew my mind. The river was running high - 6000+CFS, I think. And I've heard that the trouts will just hunker down in these conditions and wait for it to pass; well maybe they've just become adapted to the new normal, because I can't count how many lure follows we had. With nearly crystal clear water and polarized lenses you could see the browns start there assault on the lure. Now, they didn't always hook up, but when they did it was a super good fight. I base that on the fact that the predatory versus opportunistic strike might already have them in fight mode. But the current didn't effect these trouts; even little ones like my first (pic above, that was the smallest of the night). Sometimes they weren't scurrying out quickly, but they were just casually swimming out and checking out a lure; the shadow would emerge and swim behind, next to, sometimes even in front of the lure almost as if they were trying to decide *** it was. I mentioned to Phil, "looks like the lure and the trout are two dogs playing with a tennis ball!"

But then a real eye opener happened. Phil is casting toward the Gwinnett Side and I the Forsyth side and I hear "oooohhhh! look!" I stop my retrieve to look over my shoulder and following Phil's lure is a trout that I am guestimating was 30 inches in length; and thicker than my thigh. I could see his spots (about the size of a dime) and his bright colored up orange belly from about 1.5-2 feet below the surface; even his jaw kype was visible. He got with in a fraction of an inch of the lure, before deciding.... "Nah!" I was stunned. I'd seen the vids, the pics, of these big trouts in the hooch, but seeing it for real with my own eyes... Holy Moly!

We saw BROWNIEZ one more time as we were repositioning and wouldn't you know he was hooked up. WTH!? And he asked, "What do you think?" To which I replied, "I'm buying a boat!"

But seriously, I probably won't buy a boat (another fisherman's lie), I really learned a lot about the river and the trouts that occupy it. I can't thank Phil enough for taking the time to swing around and pick up a bankside hitchhiker.
I was totally in the zone. I had just rebuilt and retuned the carb on the motor and reset the motor height to see if I could add some speed to the Slam-o-Trutta. Well it worked as I was making great time getting up to Hwy. 20 but couple hundred yards upstream I turned around and picked up Steve. It was an absolute blast to get him on his first brown from a boat! He did pretty well and got three. I ended up with ten by days end.
That big brown... THAT was the second one in three days that I have had to do that- boat side refusals are such a heartbreaker! But it inspires me to keep grinding and NEVER stop. In the gin clear water over a structured bottom he came up from at least 30ft out. I yelled at Steve to look and we watched as he kept coming and kept coming and kept coming. He finally turned off no more than three feet from the boat. We could count spots and clearly see the kype jaw and orange flank. Just an absolute stunner of a fish. I feel I am getting closer but patience must persist...
All told, I bet Steve and myself had close to a hundred follows. Just to give you an example, here are some of the fish from yesterday so you all can see how fat and healthy they look!!!





The last fish which took me into double digits was the icing on the cake though. Made a long cast upstream of a tree in the water and got NAILED!!! I immediately knew it was a good fish and had to keep the line under the tree branches and hope the fish came out downstream. It did and was pulling drag so I knew it was a good slumpbuster. Finally got her in the boat and was amazed at the colors and patterns. I have not ever seen a brown that was colored up like this with bluish white halos everywhere and sooooooo many spots!!! Could not have been more grateful for this fish!


And YES!!! Steve flexed on some browns today!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by browniez View Post
‘Twas good seeing you fellas!
Thank ya sir! Great to meet your pops! Always cool to fish with the folks that help you discover a passion like this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Angel View Post
Hey now! You're mahty tight when watchin' them threads you moderate in the Small Streams section and you'll hack a post to tiny pieces to hide location. This raht here jes' about gives us yer latitude and longitude raht down to minits an' seconts on MAH secret waters!

Just kiddin', Steven. Somebody needs to give you a hard time every now and then.

This a a great write up. Good enough, in fact, that I decided to copy it and save it to my hard drive for future enjoyment as I get deeper into middle/old age.

I've seen Phil out on the reever a couple times and have always been intrigued with the lures he's chuckin' up into those sunken trees on the banks. He seems to have a pretty reliable system in place like Alex. For my own part, I haven't used a spinning rod on the tail water in several years, but only because I really love the way a fly rod feels in my hands. (I have been using spinning gear up at Lanier the past week and have really loved the experience.

Glad to hear you had a good day out on the reever in the company of some of our fellow NGTO celebrities. We might need to create a forum specifically for chasing big trout-type fishies with the heavy gear. (It's a whole lot different from Tenkara, huh?) I'm just disappointed that I wasn't able to provide you with your first "boat-caught" trout on the 'Hooch. Maybe I can make it up and provide that to Spencer sometime soon.

Thanks for the great post, and thanks to Phil and Alex for getting out on the water and providing an all-star cast for this fish tale!

By the way, notice that Alex is commencin' to talk in Swampy speak now:
Swampy you are always welcome to join me on the river. I have enjoyed our conversations both on and off the river. Alex opened my eyes to how to fish for big boys not long after he caught the pig that he got on video. I cannot thank him enough for that. Always have to pay it forward. Collectively both Alex and I are excited to see Spencer get out on a boat and show us how to be a kid again with fishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gau16 View Post
Ha, this is great serendipity that you were able to get a bank side pick up.

Kind if like Uber on the water.

Glad to hear you guys got into some.
LOL, totally Glen!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by splatek16 View Post
I hadn't really thought about the juxtaposition of a tenkara stick versus slanging a big old spinning rig... but yeah, they're nothing alike, except they slay the trouts!

And hilarious about the "revealing the hooch secrets" I should receive a lashing! HAHA

Man, after being on that boat, I have got to get Spencer out there - tossing whatever - fly rod, spinning gear, tenakara, maybe all of it.
This parlays into my outlook on fishing. I admit I am a trophy hunter, but my outlook is one of the Optimizer- I will optimize what ever means or methods, within the law, to catch the biggest fish I can. It could be fly tackle, it could be spinning tackle, etc. It also keeps me grounded in the fact that at the end of the day it still is JUST fishing.
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Old 06-11-18, 03:07 PM   #10
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Great write up and solid fish guys
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