The plan was to be on the water (water being the Chattahoochie River in this case) right at daybreak. But I was with Steve Brown of Cartersville infamy, which meant that pretty much anything could happen except arriving to the destination on time. Frankly I was surprised we made it all. Mr. Brown has a penchant for sleeping in with the electric blanket on high and backing out on a fishing trip while you're waiting for him in the wind and sleet at the Cherohala Market in Tellico Plains to spend a winter day on the Bald River. Not that I'm bitter.
Anyway, we did make it to the Hootch eventually. Specifically, the Jones Bridge area. Amazingly, the parking lot was empty. We figured that maybe the chilly weather had something to do with. Maybe most anglers (the smart ones) were waiting until the temps warmed up to a more comfortable level. Either that or the fishing here is crap and the parking lot is always empty. Fortunately, it was the former. We didn't have a spectacular day by any means, but did manage a few nice fish. Probably caught a dozen or so between us, maybe more, all on woolly buggers and nymphs. Mostly stocked rainbows with a brown or two mixed in. In fact, my first fish of the day was a beautiful 14 inch brown. He nailed an olive woolly bugger. I happened to be fishing my bamboo 4 wt for the first time, so she was christened with this fish. Not a bad way for a fly rod to start a career. Steve gave me this rod and it's a sweet one. First bamboo I've owned and I can see what all the fuss is about. This rod is a pleasure to fish. So yeah, I forgave him for that Bald River trip. And the Dukes Creek fiasco. And ....well, never mind. You just can't stay mad at a guy who goes around handing out bamboo fly rods.
And on another note, on the way home from Mr. Brown and the Hootch, I decided to swing by Barnsley Gardens to see if I could stick a few late season bass. Too late for that I guess. The ponds there were deader than a hammer. Caught a few dink bass and a couple of bluegill. Looks like the Barnsley bassin' is done until spring. Bummer.