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We had originally planned on Monday to fish for shoal bass and stripers in a different flow about an hour from the cabin, but with the rain we had overnight my buddy we were going to float the river with suggested that it may not be the best idea with the water rising and stained.  I was a little bummed because I was looking forward to fishing somewhere different and it seems like every time I try to make plans to fish for shoal bass the weather has other ideas.  At the same time I wasn’t too bummed because the creek was fishing better than ever and it wasn’t that bad of a backup plan.

We made it out to the stream a bit later than on Sunday and picked up where we left off.  I was having a pretty slow morning that quickly turned around when I caught back-to-back rainbows on dries.  Unfortunately on my next cast the tip of my rod decided to break off and go for a ride with the fly line.  I’m not sure how it happened, but it was on one of my favorite rods, a discontinued TiCr 7wt that I won in the CCA STAR raffle.  I’m not sure that TFO still has replacement tips for that rod, we’ll see what happens when I send it off.  I went back up to the cabin, grabbed a couple beers and the backup 6wt.

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By the time I got back down to the creek Blake had made it to the spot where I had just taken two rainbows on dries.  Wouldn’t ya know that he soon caught one of the same fish I had caught.  We could tell by a black spot(looked like mole) that was on the left side of his head.  The merits of catch and release played out in a matter of 30-45 minutes.  We moved upstream to another spot that has been productive to us and after getting a crazy aerial fight from a tail hooked fish with my dropper Blake connected with a nice brown – dubbed “Cooter Brown” as that is what I was drinking at the time.  Dad had brought up a bunch of Jekyll beer from Alpharetta, pretty good stuff from my suburban homeland.

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After that brown we headed up to the cabin for a Memorial Day feast as prepared by my parents – bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp kabobs, wings, and potato salad – we ate well the entire weekend.  We then drove over to a nearby waterfall for a short hike with the kiddos.  This was probably the highlight of the trip for Blake’s little toddler – he could have stayed for hours just throwing rocks in the water.

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After the hike we had time for an evening fish.  Hoping to imitate the success of Sunday we headed back to the same spot and began nymphing our dry-dropper rig through the runs.  Just like the day before I hooked with a fish on one of the first few drifts.  It was a little football rainbow, short and fat with a nice kyped jaw.  It took a tiny rainbow warrior nymph.

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Blake got in on the action with a kyped jaw rainbow of his own. As he was fighting his fish I hooked up with my own solid rainbow.  We didn’t realize it at the time but it ended up being the rainbow that Blake had caught the night before.  Jim pointed this out to us as I was sharing pics with the group who regularly fishes the creek.  Another big fish and another catch and release success story.

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Every Memorial Day weekend we try to make our way to North Georgia to see my parents and stay with them at their cabin outside of Blue Ridge.  This has proven to be a really great time to fish the creek that their cabin sits on.  Often times our friends Blake and Erica make the trip with us.  This year’s trip would be a little different than in years past.  The BIG difference this year was that we now had small children(and their stuff) to haul with us.  Throw in a wedding to attend in Auburn on Saturday and this was no routine trip.  Luckily for us Auburn is on the way to the cabin, so we just had to shift the trip back a day.

The wedding was for Amanda’s cousin Luke and his now-wife Madeline who are students at Auburn.  The wedding was held at a little white church and was followed by a beautiful reception at a local park – all of it very nice.  We ducked out of the reception a tad early and hit the road.  Blake was able to borrow his dad’s GMC Savana which ended up being the perfect vehicle for the six of us(thanks Mr. Bubbie!).  We made it to the cabin late Saturday night.

Blake and I got up early on Sunday and headed out to the creek.  Armed with a dry-dropper rig I got into fish fairly quickly.

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Three nice rainbows in a row at the first spot had me pretty excited for what the rest of the day held.  We have about a mile of creek that we are able to fish out of our back door and we typically cover half a mile in a day.  We fish that half a mile pretty hard, hitting all the likely lies.  We continued on from our first spot wading upstream and fishing those likely lies along the way.  Most of those lies were holding fish, some more others.  The rainbows continued to be the stars of the show.

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I didn’t keep count of the number of fish I caught but the action was pretty consistent in the morning.  It was a little strange that they were all rainbows, usually we see a few browns in that stretch below the cabin.  We headed back in for lunch then spent the rest of the afternoon with our families in Blue Ridge at the Arts in the Park festival.  The festival is usually pretty good for booth shopping and people watching.  It sure has grown since we first started going, there were a lot more vendors this year.  We got back to the cabin in time to fish the evening bite on the creek.  We headed to a different spot and upon walking up you could see fish holding in the water.  I got into the action within a few drifts.

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We finally saw our first brown on the day and it was a good one.  There is something about a brown trout that just makes it feel a little more special than a rainbow – especially after a day full of rainbows. We were then joined by my dad and the three of us continued to nymph the runs that were holding fish. Pretty soon I was hooked into a monster.  I got a solid fight from a solid fish, but  I was prepared for it.  I was throwing a 7wt, my tippet was 2x fluoro in anticipation that we run into some big fish.  I’ve been outgunned in the past and I wanted to limit the lost fish heartbreak as much as possible.  This rainbow nearly measured the length of the net I was using which we later found out to be 27″.

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Shortly after releasing my fish Blake hooked into a monster of his own that looked every bit as big as mine and probably even a little heavier.  He was using a 5wt so the fight was a little more delicate, but he handled it well and had the fish close enough to touch, unfortunately he had me for a net man and I couldn’t get into position to get the fish’s head in the net so I opted to go tail first, which proved to be a big mistake.  The trout spooked and broke him off – I felt horrible.  This trout was one of the biggest fish we’ve seen hooked on the creek, definitely the biggest Blake has hooked and I screwed it up.  There is no way to make up for that except to keep fishing.  Keep fishing we did and soon Blake got a bit of redemption by hooking into another solid fish.

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I don’t remember if we measured this fish but it had to be just as big as the one I had previously caught.  I was really relieved that Blake landed a monster of his own after my net snafu.  The incredible fishing wasn’t over though because I soon hooked into another good fish.  This fish was so massive that the fight was actually somewhat sluggish.  Don’t get me wrong it was still a chore to bring this fish in, but there weren’t any blistering runs, the fish just tried to use his weight and position in the current to out-power me and fortunately for me it didn’t work.

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This brown was longer than the 27″ net and is without a doubt the biggest trout I’ve ever caught.  I know it is cliche, but the pictures don’t do the fish justice.  This fish was thick, as tall as it was wide; it was massive.  They often say fish that big have shoulders, well this one truly did.  You couldn’t slap the smile off my face if you wanted to.  After a bit of non-action at the spot we ended the night with some twilight dry fly fishing back below the cabin.  Catching trout on dries at the end of a day of fishing like we just experienced was the perfect ending to an incredible day.  As was the case with last year it would be extremely hard to top our first day’s fishing at the cabin, but we really didn’t expect to.

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