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Last Day Magic Strikes Again!

blog-May-20-2016-1-flyfishing-for-roosterfishIt’s never nice to feel its essential to catch a fish.  But today I had to catch a fish and it had to be a roosterfish.  It’s been a rugged week for me with the menacing roosters.  I hooked and lost a brute on day one and since it’s been heartbreak after heartbreak with chasers right to the beach.

 

blog-May-20-2016-2-grant-hartman-bajaGrant and I left before dawn from Sammy’s condo in Todos Santos, Baja and drove four hours for a beach virtually unknown even to Grant.  It was a beautiful beach.  There were no footprints or four wheeler tire tracks.  It was a true untouched beach like you dream about.  The only problem however, there was no bait and there were no roosterfish.

 

blog-May-20-2016-3-jeff-currier-roosterfishingRather than walk ourselves to death searching like I’ve been doing all week we grabbed a seat in the sand and chilled out.  I drank a tall beer then fell asleep.  Before we knew it the clock struck noon and we’d not made a cast or seen a fish.

 

It was looking like we wasted gas money but then a bait ball appeared and it was getting pushed.  Although the tormentor wasn’t showing himself I dropped Grants freshly tied roosterfish fly into the flurry.  I went tight in a second with an old friend that has brightened slow days for me here in Baja for more than twenty years.

 

blog-May-20-2016-4-giant-needlefishThe long thin gar-like fish was a significant giant Mexican houndfish.  While most rooster fishermen (including Grant) frown upon such fish I was smiling ear to ear.  The intimidating looking creature ran some line then jumped like a tarpon four times before I got ahold of him to retrieve my fly.

 

Grant was frustrated that I asked him to shoot the photo.  He really hates giant needlefish but I could care less.  I threatened to cast to a couple more before suddenly some larger mullet fled towards the beach.  The cause had to be something good so no more messing around.

 

Four eye-opening roosterfish casually meandered from the deep into view.  They were too far for a cast so I patiently observed as they mulled along.  They showed little aggression slowly paralleling the beach at about 150 feet out.  I walked along with them with my fly in hand dragging 80 feet of line ready to throw in an instant.

 

Nearly ten minutes went by when finally the lead roosterfish pointed towards the beach and proceeded towards the school of mullet.  This was my chance and I launched a cast.  The cast seemed right but somehow he didn’t see my fly as I raced it back to me in sharp long strips.

 

blog-May-20-2016-5-roosterfish-eating-the-flyBy the time I posted up for my next cast there were four roosters coming single file in a line.  The lead fish had turned and started to head back out.  I had to be quick before the rest followed and I landed the fly in front of fish number two.  I crouched down and began vigorous strips.  To my surprise the lead fish doubled back raised his comb and devoured my fly.  Rooster on!

 

blog-May-20-2016-6-jeff-currier-flyfishing-bajaRoosters waste no time.  This fish was big and he bolted across the sand then through the deeper turquoise colored water and soon the blue water.  I still had plenty of backing but taking no chances I tightened my Bauer RX 6 reel drag a turn.  My 9-weight Winston Jungle rod bent to the hilt and I backed up the beach for a better view.  Finally the crackling run stopped and I began the tug of war.  First it was inch by inch.  Then foot by foot.  Soon I gained control.

 

blog-May-20-2016-7-jeff-currier-fly-fishing-roosterfishLanding a hefty roosterfish takes time – especially from the beach.  The last thing the rooster wants is to be dragged to the shallows where his problems began.  Each time I got him through the turquoise water he took off again.  Eventually my Titan taper fly line was back on the reel and we could see the rooster.  It was a giant!

 

Grant went bananas with his usual excitement.  It wouldn’t have been any fun if he didn’t.  I took a deep breath and went about my business.  It wasn’t long ago I hoisted the giant African threadfin up the beach in much more difficult conditions.  This one would be easy and it was.

 

blog-May-20-2016-8-jeff-currier-huge-roosterfishI’ve taken three big roosterfish prior to todays but I think this might be my best.  I’m not an expert enough to guess the weight of the mighty rooster but Grant put him at 50lbs. All I know is it did indeed feel like a bag of bird seed.  Only this weight was firm and muscular from head to tail.  He wrestled me strong through our blur of photos.

 

blog-May-20-2016-8b-jeff-currier-releasing-roosterI released the amazing creature with ease.  The striking dorsal fin never sagged meaning the rooster was strong and healthy for another day.  I admired the fish one last time as I held the tail.  Wow!  The payoff for persistence struck again.  I’ll never get sick of the ultimate challenges in fly fishing!

 

blog-May-20-2016-9-jeff-currier-roosterfishingIt’s another day and another Delta flight tomorrow.  I’ve spent more time in planes this year than in my own car.  I have no complaints.  Next on the agenda is some catch up at home then Wednesday I’ll be a contestant in the annual Bass on Fly Tournament at Ririe Reservoir in Idaho.  I hope to see you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Sammy Vigneri Teaching the Roosters a Lesson

blog-May-19-2016-1-roosterfish-in bajaWith all the action we experienced yesterday on the roosterfish beach we headed right back early this morning.  Indeed, we got our butts handed to us and didn’t catch any but that’s the way roosterfishing goes sometimes.  Seeing them is half the battle and we saw more than normal.

 

blog-May-19-2016-2-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-roosterfishWhen we arrived the bait balls were moving and sure enough a hefty rooster was pushing the tiny mullet.  I sprinted to position and crouched into action.  Just like when trout fishing, it’s essential the rooster doesn’t see you.  I laid out a perfect cast and the fish started chasing but like yesterday, the fish turned at the beach and the experience was nothing more than a vicious tease.

 

Over the next two hours the opportunities kept coming but I couldn’t seal the deal.  After my fourth refusal I was ready to put my head in the sand when I heard Sammy let out a cheerful “Fish on!”.

 

blog-May-19-2016-3-flyfishing-the-beachGrant was with Sammy and I heard him as well.  No one goes more ballistic over roosterfish than Grant.  He wildly shouts instructions to Sammy every time he hooks a fish. Grant has a tremendous amount of experience at this and has probably caught more big roosterfish on fly than anyone.  It’s worth listening.

 

blog-May-19-2016-4-sam-vigneri-flyfishing-for-roosterfishRoosters fight hard.  A lot of people put them at the top.  I admire their first backing stealing run but after that I get control.  Usually you fight them nearly all the way back to the beach over ten minutes then get two or three more shorter runs then the fight is over.  Honestly it’s a perfect contest from one of the most impressive gamefish in the ocean.

blog-May-19-2016-5-flyfishing-baja-for-roosterfishSammy fought his fish like a champ.  I was disappointed not to be with him for his rooster two days ago so it was nice to be here this time.  Sammy played him down and dirty and broke the roosters spirit in less than ten minutes.  Once Sammy corralled and posed with his rooster he said, “Believe it or not Jeff, this one’s half of the one I caught two days ago”.

 

Grant gave me the nod agreeing with Sammy.  “Holy cow”, I thought, “Sammy’s first fish must have been a beast!”

 

blog-May-19-2016-6-flyfishing-for-roosterfishGrants nod was also a way of telling me to get my act in gear.  I’d had exactly nine close calls with big roosters this week and nothing to show for it.  I went to work but unfortunately it would be a long hard afternoon under the scorching Baja sun.  While Sammy went into full on relaxation mode I kept marching the beach through foot-singeing sand with high hopes.  But Sammy’s catch must have told the rest of the roosters to beware.  I never had another cast to roosterfish all day.

 

Regrettably, Sammy must leave tomorrow.  That leaves me and Grant.  We’ll be heading far north to a beach he hasn’t fished in years.  Stay tuned for what I hope is something I’m quite familiar with, last day good fortune!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Morning Species Hunt from the Rocks

blog-May-18-2016-1-flyfishing-for-grouperYou’d suspect a fast trip back to the roosterfish beach after Sammy’s catch yesterday afternoon, but to keep fishing interesting we went on a morning side trip first.  I’ve always wanted to catch a giant hawkfish.  He’s not a big fish by any means but he’s gorgeous and he lives in BajaGrant took us for the rocks to prowl with Clouser’s and try to catch one.

 

blog-May-18-2016-2-jeff-currier-cabrilla-bajaThe rocks rarely get targeted by fly fishers in Baja.  It’s either roosters off the beach or get a boat and go for the dorado and marlin.  All I can say is I’ve taken some amazing snappers, cabrilla, jacks and oddball fish exploring where others don’t.  Ten casts from the car I caught my first spotted cabrilla (Epinephelus analogus) on fly.  I’ve caught plenty of the flag cabrilla but this spotted is a new one for the species list.

 

blog-May-18-2016-3-grasby-fishingFrom there the terrain got more rugged but the fishing got interesting.  Sammy landed a spotted cabrilla for himself and we both caught a heap of smaller flag cabrilla, Pacific jack crevalle and I caught yet another of the rarely caught from shore, mullet snapper.  But the prettiest of all were these colorful Panama grasby we I’ve taken here before.

 

blog-May-18-2016-4-flyfishing-for-snapperAfter a couple hours of rock hopping we were empty handed on the hawkfish.  You can’t win them all.  At noon we packed it up and drove back to the rooster beach where Sammy succeeded yesterday.  The high sun was perfect for spotting and the dropping tide usually gets the mullet moving which in turn puts the roosters on the feed.

 

blog-May-18-2016-5-roosterfishWe saw a lot of roosters – I mean more than I’m used to seeing.  I got a cast within a minute of our arrival and the persnickety rooster chased my fly to the beach raising his comb and nearly spraying me with a “rooster tail” on his way back out.  It was thrilling and disheartening all in one.  I’d also get two more similar shots at roosters and Sammy had a couple as well.  But in the end the roosters won.  Roosterfish off the beach on fly is a tough, tough sport!  Hopefully manana.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Roosterfish of a Lifetime

blog-May-17-2016-1-bauer-reels-jeff-currierI had a good hunch about the place I fished yesterday.  Twice I came close to connecting to proper roosterfish but it didn’t quite happen.  Today I had Grant and Sammy drop me off on the same beach.  In my experience great catches come after a few close calls.  The pursuit builds up then happens.

 

blog-May-17-2016-2-flyfishing-for-ladyfishTurns out I was wrong about my gut feeling.  I made one cast to a roosterfish all day without success.  Today is a prime example of how unpredictable roosterfish behavior is and how tough roosters off the beach on a fly can be.  Of course I took advantage of a couple other meandering fish and caught a pufferfish and this handsome ladyfish.  Anyone who comes to Baja should enjoy some ladyfish action because for their size the jump filled fight is incredible.

 

Grant and Sammy checked on me every couple hours.  They brought me cold beer and tried to persuade me to join them.  They weren’t seeing roosters either so I stayed stubborn and remained on my beach.  But when they arrived at around 3 PM, they were glowing with excitement.

 

blog-May-17-2016-3-sam-vigneri-roosterfishingSammy caught the biggest roosterfish of Grants entire guide season!  Sammy executed a long cast and the fish tracked his mullet imitating fly immediately.  The rooster didn’t gulp the fly right up though.  He chased it all the way to the beach and ate it with his belly rubbing on the sand and inches from the leader entering the rod!

 

Congrats to Sammy and Grant for catching what most fly fisherman will only dream about their entire lives!  WOW!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Roosterfishing in Baja

blog-May-16-2016-1-flyfising-in-bajaI took the last antibiotic for my tooth yesterday.  The pills fixed the infection but the side effects were adding up.  I was feeling much like this poor deceased turtle.  But today I awoke feeling so good that Sammy, Grant and I crushed some breakfast burritos in Todos Santos then bought some beer and got an early start for the roosterfish beaches.

 

blog-May-16-2016-2-roosterfishin-in-bajaBaja is one of the great places to chase roosterfish with the fly.  There are many ways to fly fish for the exotic saltwater fish but Sammy and I do it the hard way.  We walk the beach and hope to find one close enough to cast to.  There are days we don’t get a single cast but when we do cast, it’s a rush you don’t get from your average fly fishing scenario.

 

Roosters feed on bait along the beach and it was a short drive to todays tropical paradise.  I jumped from Grants worn Ford and grabbed my already rigged Winston 9-weight and scanned the inshore fishery.  It didn’t take long to spot two mysterious fish cruising the wash line of the surf.

 

blog-May-16-2016-3-jeff-currier-roosterfishing-bajaFish don’t stay within fly casting range for long.  I ran down to the water stripping out line as I went.  I positioned myself 80 feet from the fish the direction they were traveling.  I sat low like when pursuing a wise trout and waited.  When I spotted the two they were within 30 feet of me.  In order not to spook them I gently made a side arm cast.  The second my fly landed both fish charged and I hooked up.

 

blog-May-16-2016-4-jeff-currier-mullet-snapperIt was a strong but short battle.  A classic characteristic of all snappers.  But this guy wasn’t the usual broad bodied snapper.  He was elongated and ended up being my first ever mullet snapper (Lutjanus aratus).  Mullet snapper are common in deep water but he’s rare catch off the beach and a new one for my fly rod species list.

 

blog-May-16-2016-5-manta-raysThe rest of our day was a search for roostersGrant and Sammy went cruising to find them.  They drove dirt roads and peeked off the beach when they could.  I liked the first spot and explored it all day by myself.  The first fish I found were these beautiful baby rays.  They were close to the beach and like yesterday with the whale shark I jumped in and swam with them.  They completely surrounded me and I ticked off a few more underwater shots.

 

As for roosterfishing, I had my chances.  Two good chances in fact.  I spotted a school of ten working a bait ball about 75 feet off the beach.  In my early days I’d have tried to force a cast but with the wind blowing in and a hefty fly I knew there was a slim chance I could reach them.  I patiently waited for them to get closer and they did.  I landed my fly perfect and a rooster of 25lbs or slightly more perked up and followed.  He got excited and raised his comb (dorsal fin) which is usually a sure sign he’s about to eat.  But I never felt him then off he went to the blue.  Bummer!

 

blog-May-16-2016-6-roosterfishThree hours later I had another great opportunity.  This time I wasn’t sure I had a roosterfish but could see something fishy moving deep.  I cast and another 20lb plus rooster appeared and this time devoured my fly.  I strip set and hooked him but just as fast he came undone.  Brutal!

 

Those would be my two shots at roosterfish today.  I was lucky because Grant and Sammy covered a ton of ground but never made a single cast.

 

That will be it for tonight.  I’m absolutely exhausted.  Until manana. . . .

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Biggest Fish of My Life!

blog-May-15-2016-1-roosterfishing-in-bajaIt was a strange start today in South Baja.  We awoke to distant flashes of lightening and far away rumbles of thunder.  The cloudy skies around us let loose and fed the desert with scattered rain showers.  Rain in South Baja in May is about as common as seeing a whale shark off the beach while roosterfishing.  Neither ever happens.

 

blog-May-15-2016-2-rain-on-the-desertThe smell of fresh rain on the desert is like no other.  Trust me, a guy nicknamed “Monsoon” would know.  Its fresh like a rain back home but then there’s this sweetness about it because so many drought tolerant plants flower in an instant.  It’s very special.

 

blog-May-15-2016-3-fly-fishing-in-bajaWhat rain isn’t good for is spotting roosterfish.  Therefore, Grant Hartman took Sammy Vigneri and I to an off the beat place to blind cast for snappers and cabrilla.  The sea at the scenic beach was calm and the water looked gray from the reflection of the clouds.  The baitfish glittered for miles and mullet splashed playfully rather than with fear.

 

blog-May-15-2016-4-roosterfishHappy baitfish is never a good thing and despite hard efforts blind casting only a few peanut roosterfish played with us.  Worse off for me the antibiotic I’m taking for my tooth problems last week are creating lousy feeling effects on me.  It’s not fun and I resorted to several naps in the sand – not the ideal way to succeed in fly fishing the salt.

 

blog-May-15-2016-5-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-roosterfishAt 1 PM the sun returned to Baja and our visibility went from zero to being able to scan the shallows for a mile.  I could really see the mullet schools now but they continued to enjoy life.  To my far left I noticed a massive shape.  At first it was only a shape but it appeared to be moving at a steady speed.

 

My next thought was that it was a bait ball being herded by jacks.  It was shaped like a tear drop and stretched out about 20 feet long.  But as I reached for my Winston about to make a dash into casting range my mind changed.  This was ONE massive fish.  A fish I’ve dreamt of seeing since I was child.  This was a ******* whale shark!

 

blog-May-15-2016-6-east-cape-bajaMy heart beat like when I made my first cast to a big rooster.  This thing made an arapaima look like a minnow.  I was nearly speechless as Sammy and Grant grouped beside me to see him.  Grant has seen them before but Sammy hasn’t and he doubted it was a whale shark.  Then the tail broke the surface.

 

I realized my long awaited sighting of a whale shark wasn’t good enough from my point of view.  The plankton eating leviathan was nothing more than a moving blob.  He was more than a 100 yards out and too deep to see the true characteristics.  The only way to enjoy this creature was to swim to him.

 

Swimming to the whale shark was no easy task.  A winter of fly fishing shows, airplanes, bad eating habits and not swimming in ages provided me a better chance of drowning than reaching the shark.  And the pace in which the large shadow moved was much faster than it appeared.  My only chance was to run far down the beach then swim out and hope to intercept him.

 

blog-May-15-2016-7-whale-sharkSammy thought my idea was terrible but I demanded he join.  This was a 20-foot-long fish and although a plankton eater, the thought of getting in the water with him myself was intimidating.  Off we went on a mad sprint up the beach.

 

I kept an eye on the shark as we ran.  Once far enough ahead I jumped in the ocean and swam out.  In the excitement I neglected to remove my shirt, Costa sunglasses or my hat.  To make my swim more difficult I was setting my waterproof camera to underwater mode as I kicked.

 

Once stopped where I thought the shark would arrive I realized I could no longer see him.  I kicked my legs like egg beaters treading water trying to raise myself up to see. About then I saw the gargantuan fish.  His mouth was wide open and I was horrified to see he was headed directly for me!

 

blog-May-15-2016-8-whale-sharkEvery “what if” in the book crossed my mind – especially what if I got accidentally sucked in his mouth!  I kicked furiously to get out of his lane which put me on the ocean side of him – exactly the opposite of where I wanted to be.  I was terrified almost to the point of hyperventilating but there was no turning back.  “Enjoy it you dummy.”, I whispered to myself.

 

blog-May-15-2016-9-flyfishing-with-whale-sharksAnd enjoy it I did.  Fear changed to utter awe and the whale shark swam two feet from me like I wasn’t there.  First went his massive head.  Then I saw the gills.  Each shark gill was two feet long.  Then I saw those white-dot markings I’ve seen in photos all my life.  His body kept going and going on by.  The length of the fish seemed to go on forever!  Remarkably I snapped these lucky underwater photos.

 

The experience passed so quick it seemed unreal.  Sammy made it close enough to see the whale shark as well.  The excitement between us was unreal.  I said, “Let’s do it again.  I want to touch him!”  blog-May-15-2016-10-whale-shark-jeff-currier

 

Once more Sammy thought my idea was ridiculous.  But when will this chance come again?  I swam back to the beach like and Olympian and started running down the beach again.  My out of shape body could care less.  Next thing I knew I plunged once more and swam out.

 

blog-May-15-2016-11-jeff-currier-whalesharkAs I arrived so did the whale shark.  Though uneasy, this time I made sure we collided.  The shark went right under me and I reached down and touched him.  I wanted to grab on and for a second I did.  But he was too fast and far too strong.  His skin was much different than I expected – rubberier I’d say.  I ran my hand along as he passed then his powerful tail hit me in the belly.  It was freaky but mission accomplished!

 

blog-May-15-2016-12-sunset-in-bajaI don’t remember much about the rest of our afternoon.  Not only was I on cloud nine but the energy exerted from all the adrenaline rush left me weak.  Grant teased me for being scared of the docile whale shark but let me tell anyone that thinks the same – if you’ve never been in the water with a fish that size – it’s scary as heck!

 

You never know what might happen on any given day.  Especially when you’re fishing the ocean.  I didn’t even need to catch a fish to make for today to go down as one of my most memorable since I ran into the dugong in Sudan in 2014.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Back to Baja

blog-May-14-2016-flyfishing-in-bajaI’m covering some ground lately.  I flew home from Atlanta yesterday just in time for a nice evening in the yard with Granny.  Things are greening up beautifully around Victor, ID.

 

Today I caught the crack o dawn flight from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City then on to Los Cabos San Lucas.  I am presently relaxing with my pal Sammy Vigneri at his condo in Cerritos Baja.  We’ll be fishing with none other than other longtime buddy, Grant Hartman for the next six days.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The End to a Great Week in Georgia

blog-May-12-2016-1-private-bass-lakes-of-georgiaIt’s not often that a guy from Idaho gets a chance at monster largemouth bass at a private bass lake.  But when you have the right connections and friends such as Andy Bowen, owner of Cohutta Fishing Co., you can manage to get lucky.  Today is my last day in Georgia so Michael, Andy and I decided to take it easy and poke around in Andy’s boat on an old quarry that’s been turned into a bass lake.

 

blog-May-12-2016-2-sweet-water-beerThe only problem with a bass lake made from a quarry is that finding largemouth is a problem.  There’s no lily pads and no weed beds to be found.  The lake drops off like the Grand Canyon and you must dredge to find them.  I’ve fished this type of water in Arizona and its tough.  Luckily, Andy knew the deal and he packed the cooler with one of Georgia’s finest, Sweet Water 420 beers.

 

 

blog-May-12-2016-3-flyfishing-georgiaA long story short we worked hard for just a few small bass.  The slow fishing didn’t matter however because my mouth feels better, my speech last night went terrific and we had a great time.  A storm came through around 1 PM and left us with heavy rain.  We packed it in early and munched some barbeque from one of Andy’s favorites in Cartersville.

 

blog-May-12-2016-4-jeff-currier-fish-artTonight my gig at Cohutta Fishing Co. went excellent.  There wasn’t a ton of folks but most there were young and excited.  I ended the night with some striped bass sharpie art on Cliff Fly Boxes.

 

It’s been a lot of fun down here in Georgia.  I give a special thanks to Michael Williams for organizing this tour and thanks to the Cohutta boys Andy Bowen, Garner Reid and Conner Jones for all the terrific fishing they provided along with three new species for the list!

 

I’ll fly home bright and early tomorrow but my visit home will be less than 12 hours.  Saturday morning it’s off to Mexico.  Get ready for some good times with Sammy Vigneri and Grant Hartman on the beaches of Baja!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Redeye Bass and the Mooneye Surprise

blog-May-11-2016-1-ben-byng-bass-popperI slept through the night for the first time in a week.  That’s because my toothache wasn’t throbbing inside my head.  That made for a great start to my day in Cartersville, Georgia.  Before I knew it I was hopping in the truck with the boys of Cohutta Fishing Co., Garner Reid and Conner Jones.

 

blog-May-11-2016-2-redeye-bassWe were on the way to the Etowah River again but this time rather than look for a monstrous striped bass, we had a unique quest – find me my first ever redeye bass (Micopterus coosae).  This unique smallish bass looks like a baby smallmouth bass at first but the redeye bass rarely exceeds 12”.  There are some slight visual differences as well such as the lower margins of the tail are edged in white and the males often have some turquoise color in their throat and cheek.  I tied on a Ben Byng popper.

 

blog-May-11-2016-3-fishing-the-etowah-riverIt was yet another stunning morning in Georgia.  The sun rose bright and the temperature rose steadily.  It was extra special because my jaw wasn’t ringing in pain.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a root canal yesterday so there’s some discomfort but nothing like I dealt with for a week.

 

blog-May-11-2016-4-cohutta-fishing-coWe were on a lower Etowah River section today and we motored upstream for thirty minutes.  There was a tremendous variety of hatches going off and as we organized ourselves at the base of a long riffle I couldn’t help but notice some rises.  “What do you suppose those rising fish are”, I asked.

 

“Could be goldeye.  Maybe shad?  Actually, I’m not sure what the heck they are.  We don’t see them often”, Conner replied.

 

blog-May-11-2016-5-flyfishing-for-mooneyeBy now I was cutting off my Ben Byng popper and then Conner graciously handed me a parachute Adams.  On my first drift I hooked up and a small silver fish shot into the air.  It wasn’t exactly followed by a monster fight however it was scrappy considering the fishes size.  Within seconds I landed my first ever mooneye (Hiodon Tergisus) on the fly.  An unexpected species for my list!

 

The three of us took turns knocking back several mooneye before tying the popper back on.  Then we proceeded to drift down in casting reach of the banks.  We targeted the calmer sections anywhere we could see submerged trees and brush.  Soon I was admiring my first ever redeye bass.

 

We caught a bunch of redeye, spotted bass and the occasional bluegill.  We hoped to set up on some smallmouth buffalo but we never got the chance.  We even saw what Conner thought was a banded queen snake.  The colorful reptile leapt off the bank and swam along with us but we never got close enough for a good look.

 

blog-May-11-2016-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-lecturerWe pulled off the river at around 1:30 PM.  The reason for the early departure was for the real reason I came to Georgia.  That is to work.  Michael and I headed for Atlanta and tonight I delivered “Trout Bumming the World” to the Atlanta Fly Fishing Club.  You’d suspect it was hard to talk 24 hours after a root canal.  It was.  But once I told everyone why the drool was going down my chin most of them understood.

 

There will be one more morning of fishing down here in Georgia then my last talk of the winter 2016 speaking season.  This year was insane!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Spotted Bass, Striped Bass and a Root Canal

blog-May-10-2016-1-cohutta-fishingI woke up on the banks of the Etowah River in Cartersville, Georgia this morning at Cohutta Fishing Co. owners house, Andy Bowen.  Andy has an incredible spread and we launched his Hog Island boat before sunrise off his private boat ramp.  Along was friend Michael Williams who put this whole speaking/fishing tour together for me.  It was time for another morning of fly fishing for striped bass.

 

blog-May-10-2016-2-flyfishing-the-etowah-riverThe tooth issue continued to pain me.  I didn’t need an alarm to wake up.  When the Advil and pain killer I took before bed last night wore off excruciating aching woke me up.  I took four Advil but it took at least an hour for any relief at all.  Despite the misery I grabbed my gear and took my place in the boat.  Off we went for a ten-minute boat ride upstream to a dam.  The old dam was a beautiful place glistening in the sunrise.

 

blog-May-10-2016-3-etowah-river-with-cohuttaAndy took the oars and Michael and I tossed the big sticks.  Like yesterday, every cast brought distress to my jaw but there was nothing I could do.  I sucked it up and cast relentlessly.  I had virtually the same rig as yesterday – my 9-weight Winston and a new fly.  All we needed was a school of stripers.  But it was slower than yesterday.  There were no stripers to be found.

 

blog-May-10-2016-4-spotted-bassI knocked off my first official spotted bass however.  He took the big striper fly and I dragged the new species to the boat.  He was so small I was concerned that if there was a striper around he’d get eaten.  I snapped a couple pics and examined the smaller size mouth than a largemouth has and felt the rough little teeth on the back of his tongue.

 

blog-May-10-2016-4b-jeff-currier-striper-fishingWe had to finish things up by 10:15 because finally I had a dentist appointment at noon.  At 10 Andy suggested hitting the dam area again so we did.  This time I hit the opposite side of what I hit at sunrise.  There was a risky fly-threatening log jam that I ripped a cast into.  I started stripping at high speed in order not to get snagged and that’s all it took, a striper smashed my fly and I hooked up.

 

blog-May-10-2016-5-flyfishing-striped-bassThis stripers saltwater genes kicked into full force.  It was all I could do to clear my line off the deck without tangling.  It all happened so fast I nearly stepped on the sinking line then almost wrapped it around the butt of my Winston.  Once cleared I got to hear my new Bauer sing off some line.  It was a great battle that ended in Andy’s net.

 

blog-May-10-2016-6-jeff-currier-striped-bass-fishing-gaWe popped some photos then reeled in to make a fast track to the dentist.  I purposely held off any Advil since 6 AM and man did my mouth, jaw, ear and head start to throb.  By the time we got to my noon appointment I was in agony.  It was in my head that I needed a root canal.

 

Once I took the chair a gal took some x-rays.  Like at home on Friday with my dentist the x-rays didn’t show a problem.  The dentist came in and tapped on my teeth and sure enough the one that went off Saturday went off again.  He said it might need a root canal but he’d like to keep an eye on it a few days.  “A few days does not work for me!”, I exclaimed.

 

I went on to enlighten that the molar killed me for a week and that I’m down here in Georgia to give two presentations and fish.  I fly home on Friday and fly to Mexico on Saturday.  “There’s no time to keep an eye on it.”, I explained.

 

The dentist thought for a minute and took another glance in my mouth.  Then he said, “Ok.  We’ll do a root canal.”

 

He sent the gal back to me to describe the procedure and try one last time to discourage me by showing me the “root canal price tag”.  But this was one of those times when money doesn’t matter!

 

blog-May-10-2016-7-flyfishing-adventuresI spent four hours and exactly twenty minutes in the chair and my root canal is done.  The operation had complications.  There were four roots in my molar and the x-ray didn’t show this leaving us with an uncomfortable surprise.  Quite Frankly it was a four-hour hell-nightmare.  Although I’m pretty numb tonight, I think my jaw, ear and head feel better.  I’ll know more when I hit the Etowah River again early tomorrow morning in search of my first ever, redeye bass (Micropterus coosae).  Stay tuned!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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