08/04/2016 Craig Joyner

shutterstock_117753511For trout fishermen, the top trip would be a day at Blackhawk Fly Fishing on the Soque River near Clarksville, GA.  Only an hour’s driving time from the Atlanta area, the Soque is a private, very pristine mountain stream with easy access and is loaded with 20-inch rainbows and 26-inch browns.  I advise fishing in the early morning, have a scrumptious lunch of fresh garden vegetables prepared by owner, Abby Jackson, and return to the bubbling waters for more action.  A typical day will result in your catch being 20 bows in the 18 to 22 inch range with an occasional brown at 24 to 26.

  1. Want a biggun to stretch your string? Employ Captain Mark Noble in St Simons and follow along one of the shrimp boats as they harvest shrimp from the fertile waters off Jekyll Island.   Using heavy tackle and baited with live baits, you will hook a shark in the territory of 30 to 100 pounds on every cast.  Every pass behind the trawling nets will yield all fishermen a hookup.  Yes, every cast.   These rascals are heavy duty fighters and will truly give you an exciting day.  Did I say Tarpon?  Should have.  Mark Noble is the number one Tarpon Guide on the Georgia Coast and the summer months are the most reliable for the silver sided giants.  Jump 6 to 10 per day, hook, catch and photo 150 pound goliaths.  After an hour’s fight, I know you’ll be tired but still smiling.
  2. How about fresh water stripers? Telephone Mack Farr at Lake Lanier and enjoy an ongoing lesson in angling.  What’s your ticket–spooning, trolling, live bait, top-water?  The seasons dictate the tactic and Captain Mack Farr is a master in generating many big hook-ups.   Mack has guided on Lanier for over 30 years, so his experience is easily conveyed and understood.  This is a terrific charter to bring along a youngster.
  3. Want to fill a cooler full of tasty Crappie filets? Telephone Al Bassett at Lake Oconee.  Big Al’s been providing tubs of Crappie for client’s live wells for decades.  No matter what the season, Al has the Crappie school’s locations all figured out and will place you in the vicinity on short notice.  Light tackle, light line, jigs and live bait, old ‘paper mouth’ is in big trouble when Al has a charter.  Bring a big cooler and fill it.  With a limit of 35 per person, a big wiggly pile of crappie is gathered in short order.
  4. For my final pick, there is no guide involved nor is one needed. But here’s how you can make family memories that will last a lifetime.  For many anglers, fond childhood fantasies involve a family fishing trip resulting in a stringer of bream. So, don’t delay – take them fishing today!  Where to go?  Visit a nearby public fishing area provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.  The DNR currently operates and manages ten PFAs across the state in an effort to provide the best possible fishing and access for family-friendly outings. Bluegill and Redear Sunfish, both part of the bream family, are stocked on nearly every PFA pond or lake. Bring along a few cans of Fisher’s Choice crickets, meal worms and shrimp.
  5. We really shouldn’t leave out the big lake fly guys. Henry Cowen is the guy for Lakes Lanier, Allatoona and even Hartwell.  Spotted Bass, Stripers, Hybrids, you name it, Henry is always in touch with the surface feeding critters and how to catch them on the fly.  What’s the key? Henry fishes every day, every single day, and truly stays in touch.  If you want to venture into the world of big lake fly fishing, Henry’s your guide; 8 pound hybrids, 25 pound stripers and 5 pound spots all on the fly.  Give Henry a call, but be alert, the Brooklyn accent will startle you, but relax and enjoy a great day with a great guide.

So, there you are.  Why not try them all?  Kind of a bucket list for you and your family.

Blackhawk Fly Fishing, Abby Jackson –

Captain Mark Noble-

Captain Mack Farr-

Al Bassett –

Henry Cowen –

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