Floatin’ And Fishin’

When I lived in the Atlanta suburbs, the Chattachoochie River was less, as the crow flies, 3 miles away and lured me, many times, to try my luck fishing.  Most folks liked to just lazily float down it, sip a few beers and get sunburned, but, not being a beer drinker, I just chose floatin’ and fishin’ in my 12 foot aluminum boat and electric trolling motor.  We would launch the boat at any number of places above Roswell Road, then float for several miles down to the I-285, North, bridge, and take out there.

We lived on Mark Trail Street in the Lost Forest subdivision that had previously been owned by the creator of the “Mark Trail”’ comic strip, popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. There were about 30 houses built around the hollow, in Texas called a draw and except for the ice storms, a great place to live!

Some interesting notes about the area where we lived in Georgia, Sandy Springs, finally incorporated in 2007, was bordered on the west by the Chattahoochee River, we lived a mile up an unnamed creek and just downstream and across the river was Soap Creek.  Where the river and creek joined, a large Civil War battle was fought and 2 of my Great Grandfathers participated in this fight.  This area is also part on the 6th Georgia Congressional District, where I had the opportunity to hear speak and vote twice for Newt Gingrich.  He lost the election in 1976, but won in ’78 and went on to lead the successful Contract With America and becoming Speaker of the House of

Finally the fishin’ and one trip stands out, Benny Evans, a coworker and fellow Texan and I launched the 12 foot boat way up the river, close to the gun club and made about a 6 mile, drift down to the 285 bridge. We would drift the middle, drift around the eddies and drift along the banks, casting to the numerous falls, trees down in the water. We would drift, then electric motor back over promising spots, trying to keep our baits, Mepps #2, Spinners, in the water as much as possible.

Here’s my Mepps #2 Spinner, the survivor of several floats down the river. This bait is over 40 years old, was fished several times in the Colorado and Black Rivers in Arizona and remains poison for small mouth bass, pan fish and fresh water trout.

We avoided all the tubers and ended the day with a mixed, mess of fish with 4, 15, inch large mouth bass.  Our stringer included the large mouths; 1 small mouth bass 12” inches long, a rainbow trout 12, inches long, 4 hand size bluegills, topped off by a 15, inch channel catfish! We probably caught over 50 fish and had twice that number of strikes. We even caught several good size, pike, or chain pickerel, returned to the water because of excessive bones.  This was by far the best day I enjoyed on the river!

Tubing was a family sport, and from May until September, the river was crowded with all sizes of tubes and people and in the late spring Georgia Tech University held its annual, “Ramblin’ Raft Race”, a true civic highlight. The future engineers at the school would design the most motley collection of floating contraptions imaginable. Prizes were awarded, classes cut, beer flowed and a grand time was had by all!  However, I’m sure by now the “Friends Of Wildlife”, “The Green Movement” or “The Nature Conservancy” has put a stop to all of this fun!

Besides getting sun burned, flashed or mooned, tubing, for me, was a serious waste of fishing time.