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  • Writer's pictureSeth King

Long time comin'

A few years ago, I stumbled upon some fly fishing films that would forever impact my ambition for the hunt. They were a series of videos about a group of friends that set out to redefine the idea of fly fishing. When we mention fly fishing, many people associate it with wealth, backcountry landscapes, travel destinations, and trout. It is something a lot of people aspire to do if they have any desire to fish. The problem is, many people in the southeast do not consider it an option. I was in this camp as well. The only experience I had fly fishing was in the mountains of north Georgia on a farm fed stream fishing monster trout that saw action daily. Although it was pretty amazing, it was simply a past time experience that could rarely be replicated anywhere else.

Growing up in southwest Georgia and then attending college in Birmingham, Alabama, bass fishing was king. The day I arrived in Northern Alabama, I knew I was surrounded by various fishing opportunities but I had no where to start. After all, unless I had access to a special hole or two, I didn't own a boat to fish the larger water around me. Yes, you're right, I am too lazy to kayak the bigger water! This all changed after watching the first episode of that series mentioned above.

You mean to tell me, you can catch large mouth, small mouth, and redeye on a fly?! Where? How? When? So began my 16 month study of tributary systems and bass eating patterns. In the last 16 months, I began to increase my knowledge, my gear, and my access vehicles. My buddy, Jon, is very familiar with the water around our area. He loved the series that started my obsession as well. After his extensive research, he found the water we needed to fish and we immediately made plans to embark on the float I have had on my bucket list since 2020. After loading up my boat, making a cup of coffee, and plugging in our coordinates, we were off to what would be a phenomenal day on the water.

We left the house at 4:30am and were on the water at 6:15am. As I was becoming comfortable with rowing, Jon was throwing streamers right down the right side bank and before the half hour mark, a white fish and small mouth were on the board!

I won't tell you every detail of the day. We had great conversations, doubled up on two gars, and laughed at ridiculous stories and jokes. I rowed most of the first 4 or 5 miles and then we switched off. Within a matter of minutes, I had accomplished my goal from over two years ago- bass on a fly. The first large mouth hit the streamer on top of the water before it even sunk! Watching that fish dart from under a fallen tree and smash that fly was thrilling to say the least. The mall mouth hit the streamer that I was stripping in the crevice of two rock structures at the bottom. It all happened in such slow motion, we were essentially narrating the hit. To this day, it is one of my all time favorite catches.

A local told Jon that 100 feet before every shoal fish will be found. Every time we began to navigate upcoming white water, we were pushing fish all over the place. This insight was pivotal but also reminded us of the importance of research and making calls. However, we were not the best at remembering this vital detail. We'd be mesmerized by the amount of fishing we were seeing but failing to remember that we should have anchored down 50 feet behind us and casted into it! After the third failure of our execution, Jon made a statement I will never forget...

"Thinking about it is not the same as preparing for it."

This sank a little deeper than just fishing for me. I would be embarrassed to tell you how relevant this statement is for areas of my life outside of fishing. I think about a lot of things. I am naturally a dreamer. Vision casting is a hobby to me. One thing I have struggled throughout my life is actually disciplining myself to carry out and execute. There is no telling how many fish we could've caught if we would have simply anchored down and casted out. Sometimes we get a bit too busy in the flow of things that we don't slow down, stop, and take advantage of what lies ahead...

All in all, we caught beautiful fish, had great conversations, and experienced a day for the books. I am thankful for people like Jon in my life. He has been a friend, an encourager, and a good dose of accountability. He's also a dang good fly fisherman! Even when he forgets who the captain is on the boat...

As we go,


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