I 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.
The 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.
Andy 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.
I 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.
We 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.
This 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.
We 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!
I 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!