Trout Fishing the Hooch, new PB!

Thread starter #1

Coenen

Senior Member
I started fishing some kayak tournaments this year, and with a few rivers on the slate, I started asking around about some moving water to get my feet wet, but hopefully not the rest of me. Thankfully, the answer was close at hand. Not far from the house was the Chattahoochee Tailwater, and a few friends informed me there were a couple of places I'd be able to put in and manage the paddle upstream for a good way. For the past couple of weekends now I've had the yak out there; floating around, trying to figure out boat positioning, spinning circles, using the odd snippet of choice language, and even catching a few trout.

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Last weekend, I was working a fast stretch of water and made a cast with a rapala that floated high when it needed to get down. It sailed over a branch, twisted a couple times, and was hopelessly snagged. That's a $10 cast. Not having a backup in the box, and having the meaty part of the day behind me, I tucked tail and headed back to the ramp.

This Saturday morning was a new day, I got the yak in the water early, and worked my way North. I love to throw Raps, but there are two problems I find with them. First they're pricey, and second, there's not a good replacement for them. Nothing in the box works quite the same. I spent the first couple hours of Saturday morning re-learning this lesson. I got a fish or two, and a few misses, but no real production. I worked my way up to the same piece of water where I wrapped(literally and figuratively) up last weekend. There was last week's lure; hanging on a branch that doesn't look so high as it did. I made a decision to go for it. After what was probably some funny looking standing, sitting, paddle swinging, tree grabbing, and generally trying to not to fall over, the branch broke and I got a refund on my $10 cast.

I've also got a bad luck piece of water, in the same place, for several trips, I've had a seemingly random line break during casting. Sure enough, I pulled into the seam I wanted, started to cast, and POP! My lure went sailing. Well, what else was there to tie on, except my recently re-acquired Rap? I got her tied tight and took a few shots. Everything seemed in order. I even got what must've been a good omen...

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Shortly after, I took a break at a shoal, and decided to do a little wading on the upstream side. I got out what is usually my docking rope, tied off to the nose of the 'yak, and clipped the other end to my belt. I'm not much of a deep water trout guy, but I've got the fast stuff figured out pretty well. Within a couple of casts I had a pretty little brown trout in hand, and things were looking up. I sent my lure cross current, and let it swing a little down, and BOOM! A fish piled into it. A nice fish. A fish that was pulling drag. A BIG FISH! I could see him rolling in the current, then pulling down and holding, getting ready to make his next move. My first thought was that I had run into one of the Hooch's famous big browns, but when I managed to get him a little closer, it was(for me at least) a monster rainbow. Now I'm freaking out. I wrestled him around the kayak which was still drifting behind me, twisted my way to the net, got it unclipped, and got ready to make my play. The hook held fast, and I brought him to hand. He filled the net.

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I got him with my fish grip so I could keep him in the water, and started trying to get to everything I'd need to keep this from being just a fish story. I got him on the measuring board, and he went just about 19".

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I also got some brief video.


We were both fairly spent after the fight, and he took a long time to revive. I held him there for several minutes pointed upstream waiting for him to kick. I'm not normally a religious man, but I thanked the Lord, and asked him to help this big fish come back. It'd be a shame for him to die then and there. Slow but surely, he came back around, and swam fairly straight right back to his hole.

Thanks for reading! Tight lines.
 
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Browning Slayer

Official GON Forum Meme Poster
Great story Paul and nice fish!!! I haven't been on the river much in a while but there is one thing tried and true. There's not a better lure than a Rapala on that river. For numbers and size. Now if you're going after one of them big ol brown's, you're going to need a bigger bait! There's a reason I own a couple hundred Rapala's in every size and color.
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Nice fish! That wild brown in the second pic is a sure-nuf solid nice fish, too.
 

Cletus T.

Senior Member
Excellent catch Paul and even better story and back-story you provided. You can’t beat a rapala on the river!!!!

Such a beautiful trout and that video of it was spectacular!
 

Rabun

Senior Member
Dang what a fish! Congratulations on a true trophy...that thing was a monster! I'm thinking a replica mount is in your future. I retrieved a big jointed rapala off a floater the other week. Way to go!
 

Browniez

Senior Member
Heck. Yes.

That is the nicest rainbow I have seen pulled out of the Hooch in a very long time. That fish has been in the river a good while too. Not recent broodstock.
 
Thread starter #11

Coenen

Senior Member
You know when you hear a story about a guy who catches a big fish, and has no idea what he caught? I think I'm that guy right now. Thanks for the kind words. I just knew I had a big fish, especially for public water.

If I'd heard the backstory from any but a few I'd have called it baloney, except I wouldn't have said baloney.

I hadn't even thought of getting a replica done, I may have to look into it.

Cletus, I'd been kicking around getting a Go Pro, and I think this fish sold me on it. It was an epic fight. He gave me all he had.
 

Teh Wicked

Senior Member
Patiently waiting for the day I can breach that magical 20" mark on those public waters.
 
That is a heckuva stud rainbow from the tailwaters! Love seeing these occasional big bows show up. Saw this on IG first but glad I found a post here. The DNR has put some quality bows in over the past year and it nice to see some returns coming back like this! I have seen and caught several 16" bows this year but nothing of this caliber! Well done!
 
Thread starter #16

Coenen

Senior Member
Great story Paul, and a truly great fish, good on you for being patient and reviving it.
That was the coolest part of the whole deal. When he rolled like that in the video, I was really worried that I'd messed around too much, and had killed him.

I got him pointed upstream and held him loosely under the pecs and around the tail for what seemed like several minutes. It was a loooooong time. He sat there neat as you please. I could see his eyes moving like he was just sort of looking around, taking it all in. I kept thinking he'd kick when he was ready, and he just kept sitting there. I finally lowered him down a little more towards the river bottom, and he kicked a couple of times, and just sort of moseyed off back to his spot hopping one current line at a time. It was a real experience. Again, wish I'd had a GoPro for it. It's not the sort of thing that words do justice.
 
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That was the coolest part of the whole deal. When he rolled like that in the video, I was really worried that I'd messed around too much, and had killed him.

I got him pointed upstream and held him loosely under the pecs and around the tail for what seemed like several minutes. It was a loooooong time. He sat there neat as you please. I could see his eyes moving like he was just sort of looking around, taking it all in. I kept thinking he'd kick when he was ready, and he just kept sitting there. I finally lowered him down a little more towards the river bottom, and he kicked a couple of times, and just sort of moseyed off back to his spot hopping one current line at a time. It was a real experience. Again, wish I'd had a GoPro for it. It's not the sort of thing that words do justice.
You should get one, a gopro i mean. A pain to keep charged and on the ready but worth it in this kind of moment. Congrats on a beastly bow!
 
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