Blue Ridge Journal Day 3

Day 3


Woke up to another beautiful day. Dana wasted no time, of course, finding a sweet spot on the river where she spent the morning enticing the trout and landing more than a few. One of these was really, really big. Not as big as mine, of course (tee hee) but big nonetheless. We called the TVA last night to find out when the dam would be released. Of course the pre-recorded message was preceded by the disclaimer that “schedules are subject to change without notice. I ignored the disclaimer. The dam was scheduled to release at 10 am. Perfect. We hoped for an exhilarating trip down the river with a delicious barbecue feast afterward. We showed up early to ensure we didn’t miss the release. We were probably a 30 minute paddle down the river when we realized the disclaimer had come into effect. The previous day’s adventure was about to be repeated. We had 3 options: We could try to paddle back up river, against the current. We could repeat the drudgery of dragging our canoes through the remainder of the trip or we could try option 3. Josiah found a spot that seemed to have road access. We thought we might be able to make our way back to the truck, drive back down, load the canoes and still make it back in time for barbecue. We went for it. After walking about 100 yards we dead ended. We turned back around to break the news to everyone. After minimal discussion we decided to make the paddle downriver. Since we prepared ourselves for the misery ahead it wasn’t nearly so disheartening. We actually made it back to the cabin in about 2 hours, showered, changed clothes and still made it to the restaurant by 2pm for a mouthwatering spread of slow-smoked baby-backs, pulled-pork, chicken and beef. We were so famished that we actually followed up our Romanesque binge with a hot-fudge sundae. Sleep came quickly.

Blue Ridge Journal Day 2

Day 2


Started my day out reading a couple of chapters in Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Still blown away by how God is using this book to remind me of who I am. By mid afternoon we found ourselves in our canoes at the TVA Blue Ridge Dam. Pre-lease, the river is pretty “dry sledding” but we’ve found that at these times the fishing can be spectacular. Today proved to be the exception. None of us were having much success at getting more than a nibble from the myriad trout that could be clearly seen from the canoe, some of which were really big, until…We tied off near a shallow pool where the trout seemed to be gathering for a some sort of a convention. Still nothing seemed to reap any results with these fish. I had tried everything in my box except… Here’s where some explanation is necessary: Aeons ago a fellow fisherman told me his secret to landing the the big boys…a Rapala jig. So, of course, I went right out and bought one, put it in my box and tried it unsuccessfully for the past 15 years. Eventually I lost it. A couple of years ago, a new friend, Roy, said the same. Honestly, if you know Roy, he’s bound to say just about anything so I took it, along with my personal experience, with a grain of salt. The next day he gave me his Rapala Jig, which was much smaller than mine, and by the way was brand new, in the box. Again, I tried this thing repeatedly, only to be ignored. Today, all of that changed. As a desperate, last ditch attempt I tied on the lure. I cast it and the moment it struck the water my rod was nearly jerked out of my hands. For what seemed like an hour but must’ve been only minutes I battled a beast of a trout. True to Hollywood form he leapt out of the water and tried to shake the lure from his mouth. He swam beneath and around the canoe. While Jo and I watched in breathless amazement Dana screamed like a banshee. Eventually I brought him next to the boat and began to stroke his belly to calm him down. He was huge…HUGE! Our best guess is 22- 26″, maybe 3 ½ – 4 pounds and easily 4 or 5 inches from his belly to his back. Mammoth fish. I was using 4 lb test and we had no net so as I reached for this gorgeous fish…you guessed it, he became the one that got away. Sick to my stomach that he was gone, with my lure stuck in his mouth but I sat and contemplated what had just happened. It was an amazing battle and he won but it was worth it just to have been on the other end of that line. After bemoaning my loss, I dug around in my box and found a little Panther martin jig. I tied it on and tossed it in. On the third cast…it happened again! Another trout, almost as big as the last, nailed that jig. I brought it to the side of the boat and again, due to no net, lost it. Yeah, I’ll be buying a net tomorrow.At this point we’re not sure how far we are from the cabin but nightfall is quickly approaching as a thick mist begins to settle on the Toccoa. Both canoes are struggling to get through the many shallow sections of the river. At one point Keith, Michelle and Luke capsize their boat right at the bank which brought on laughter, cursing and some pretty hilarious river calisthenics. We eventually made it back to the cabin where Scooby greeted us by jumping into the river and almost drowning trying to get back out. Jo leapt from the canoe and rescued his sorry St. Labrador butt. Keith decides to try out one of his Rapalas at the cabin and reeled in a monster-brown. Must’ve been at least 24 inches and 4 lbs. It was such an amazing fish that he decided to release it. Fortunately Jo got pictures of this one. What a monster! After the boys and I drove all over Blue Ridge for an hour and a half looking for a net and new lures we came back to the cabin, some of Michelle’s delicious homemade bruschetta and a hot tub. Now that’s adventure!