Here’s a little video smashup from this weekend in North Georgia. We took a day trip to Black Rock Mountain State Park, and although the fishing was barely umm…bareable, it was a nice day to be at 3000 ft. in elevation! Temps in the flat lands were 88 and 80% humidity, but up on the mountain they were in the low 70’s! Of course, back down at the lake it got a little warmer, but still nothing like back at home. So a short video of our trip to the mountains this weekend: enjoy.
Yesterday I was peeking in on Twitter off and on and I ran across this tweet by Zazzy Pop Angler, Gabe Langley:
Naturally, I was hoping there would be more to this story, and it turns out there was – I got this email from Gabriel late last night. Now, let me warn you – this is going to read like we sent him $1000 bucks or something, but I promise you we didn’t. Seriously, I’ve very happy that folks think so much of the poppers and I get a little embarrassed when people write stuff like this, but what am I going to do? Not tell you? It’s emails like this that literally MAKE MY WEEK.
Gabriel lives in Texas and likes fly fishing and hiking and according to his Twitter profile he “has a job, but let’s not go there.” Maybe someday when Zazzy Pop gets big and moves it’s business to Texas we can hire you! Gabriel is very passionate about his fishing as I think you’ll be able to tell – but then, who isn’t?! I’m really glad you guys in Texas are having success with the Zazzys and thanks for sending the proof. LOL
So here’s Gabriel’s take on waiting for his order and fishing with his first Zazzy Pop:
After what seamed like an eternity I received a brown envelope in the mail (OK so it was only a few days) After opening I found inside the most awesome poppers I’ve ever seen in my life! I gave Owl at Zazzy Pop freedom of choice on the eight I ordered from him and trust me when I say he did great. I was only saddened by the fact that they arrived on my Monday and I would not be able to get them in the water for several days. I literally pulled them out of there fly box (yes they have there own because they deserve it) and just admired the fine craftsmanship every night when I got home and debated just putting them on the wall or from the visor of my car but something that zazzy has gotta catch a fish.
Finally I got a day off so I woke up early (well early for my day off ) made some coffee, loaded up my fly pack and Camelbak, and headed up to the lake. After a 2 mile hike to an old fishing pier on the back side of the lake I tied the shiny new blue pencil popper to my tippet ( hind sight should’ve changed the 6x tippet to 3-4x) and made my first cast. Even casting with a bothersome wind coming from a 5-6wt 7ft glass rod they casted great shot it out about 40 ft and started to chug it back. POP-POP-POP pause, POP-POP- pause, then it seamed if the water under the fly vanished as a green and black head exploded out of the water engulfing the popper. I easily strip set the hook as the thought hit my head Gabe what tippet is on that line (6x) wow that fish is bigger than the 3lb test and its headed for cover. I grasped the line firmly and lightly applied pressure to the rod butt, it still ran against me. I knew if it hit the branches and weed bed of it’s home I’d lose it so I leaned into the rod just as it hit cover and pop, limp yellow fly line fell back on the water. I was crushed I had caught a possible lake record Fly bass and…… that punk took my new popper. Then it hit me, wow these are sweet, third cast and a couple pops and the big boys come out to play. So I cut the tippet off went to a 3x and tied another popper on I started to cast towards the same spot when I saw something surface, it was my zazzy pop that punk broke my line stole my popper and then spit it out. I decided to catch my popper back so I began to cast out to it and strip back in, not fishing just trying to retrieve my fly I’d hit the loose pencil popper and it would wiggle and shake in the water then go to rest. After the third or fourth attempt the wildest thing happened, it popped, wiggled, then went to rest ,then the water boiled and it was gone, ARE YOU SERIOUS TWO BASS JUST STOLE MY POPPER!!!!!!
Accepting my defeat I pulled in my line and decided to move to another location. As I was hiking around the lake the wind picked up even more as my iPhone alerted me of severe thunderstorm warning with hail and chance of tornadoes so I decided (translation: wife called said Gabe get off the lake now there is a big storm coming in) to haul it back up the trail to the car load up and head for cover. I got to the car as the sky opened up and rain, wind, thunder, and lightning bashed down as I crossed the dam the light chop turned to white caps. I drove home blessed by the day I was given and thinking, some where in this lake is a trophy bass that stole my popper but his brother popper will avenge him!
Later on that day the storm cleared and it turned into a nice sunny,windy, day so I went down to the river and tossed my #8 into holes and washes and pulled out several fun bass.
Gabriel, that’s some fish tale! Sounds like you were right there on the front-side of a big front moving in and that’s a great time to fish topwater poppers – just make sure you can make yourself stop before the front actually gets to ya!
No photos of the one that got away unfortunately, but these two pics are plenty cool! Thanks Gabriel and we wish you continued good luck with the Zazzy Poppers – and if you keep losing them to hungry bass, we’ll hook you up with more! 🙂
Thursday was a glorious day. So glorious in fact, that I slept in to 9 am. HOLY COW!
I’ll spare you the details – some days I just can’t get going. I finally made it to the base camp – Smokemont Campground inside the GSMNP around 4pm. My smallmouth trip was off to a dubious start. Since it was so late in the day, I decided to just stick close to camp and fish Bradley Fork for trout. I was itchin’ to throw some poppers at smallies, but the trout stream was right there and I heard in the fly shop in town that it was “on.”
Well, it might have been “on” but for me – in the campground proper – it was full of kids who were “on” throwing rocks into the creek, splashing around and generally scaring the trout out of their minds. Of course, the trout get used to this during the summer I’m sure, but since we’re really just getting into the busy tourist season, I doubt they were really accustomed to the racket just yet.
Still, I fished upstream from my campsite and caught a couple of very small rainbows – but I was really hoping for a nice brown trout. Soon, I came to a nice heavy run of whitewater with a basketball sized “hole” in the middle of it. Calm water, in a sea of rolling foam. Just the place for a nice brown trout to make it’s way to very protected buffet line.
I dried my Stimulator in my shirt, re-applied floatant, which I noticed I was almost out of …again…and got into position just downstream and to one side of the calm spot. I high sticked the fly through the run, careful not to let it drag. I thought about the tenkara rod I used to own and how I was doing the same thing with this rod with a reel as I could with a fancy cane pole. ( The tenkara people love it when you say “tenkara” and “cane pole” together. 🙂 )
The fly drifted through the spot. Nothing –
I flipped it upstream again, into the hole, and high-sticked it through – the line never touching the water……nothing.
” There’s one in there. I know there is….”
I rested the little hole for a minute and dried off the fly again, although it really didn’t need it. Another cast. Surely this perfect spot hold a fish.
Spurt! A small explosion of water. He was on and it felt like a decent fish! He went downstream and bulldogged his way around a boulder, but I was able to hold the rod high because the stream was rather open there. Around the rock, over to the calm water and back up past me. This brown trout was feisty! A few more seconds, a flop or two and a long headshake and I had him under control.
So why the trout story on ZazzyPop ?
Because it was the only decent fish I got all weekend! LOL
The smallie rivers were high and my go-to river was muddy. Almost no fishing, much less catching on Friday – and that was enough to make me pack it in and head for home. So the only thing I can show you is a brown trout, caught on a #12 parachute Adams dry fly. It’s no smallie, but it’ll just have to do I guess! 🙂
Any time outdoors is time well spent. Whether that’s flying across a lake in a 20 ft. bass boat, or sitting on the bank tossing crickets with your kids.
Yesterday I was able to get out of the “Popper Mine” for a couple of hours around lunch time and I decided that my best bet for a little action on the fly rod was a local lake about 30 minutes from home. It’s a city watershed lake that was also somewhat managed for fishing. They kept it closed to all fishing for about two years once the dam was in place and the lake came to full pool. This gave the fish a head start on growing their populations and also gave them a chance to grow unmolested by anglers.
Throwing a #8 Traditional pattern Zazzy Pop in yellow and red, I hooked up with three of these nice sized bluegill. I missed a huge “pumpkinseed” and a nice bass when the bass leaped into the air and threw the hook! The only down side to this lake is the lack of bank access. A little boy near me constantly yelled over ” Hey! Hey look at this!” or “We’re fishing.”
Kids are cute, but not when I’m fishing. His dad let him (literally) yell at me for a good thirty minutes before I finally rounded a bend in the shore and went out of sight. You really need a kayak or other watercraft to get around the lake and I’m sure that once away from the boat ramp area, the fishing would be even better. Before I can buy a kayak though, we’ve gotta sell more poppers. 🙂
Here’s Mr. Bluegill next to my 9 ft. 4 wt. fly rod. This is the largest bluegill I’ve ever caught and I realized that I’d forgotten about them for the most part after years of chasing trout and bass. Of course, when you luck up and catch one this size – it’s hard to forget!