Atlanta

PHW Follow Up & Thanks

Since we've put a bow on the second annual PHWFF gear drive, I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all those who were instrumental in making the second annual gear drive go off without a hitch. While the final numbers aren't in yet, thanks to the many generous individuals and fly shops alike we were able to haul in some pretty sweet gear. Some of which has already been placed in the hands of service vets. This year, like last, we were able to outfit two deserving veterans at the social dinner and I have to say it's a pretty awesome feeling helping to outfit these guys from head to toe for an enjoyable day on the water.

I have to admit it's humbling to hear these guys speak about their experiences and the positive affect fly fishing has had on their lives. I think most of us take everyday life for granted and I know I'm as guilty as the next. These guys and girls sacrifice so much for the rest of us and being able to interact and discuss fishing with them, puts things in perspective and makes you realize how blessed we all are. I don't mean to brag on the Winged Reel and Pig Farm Ink crew, but Regional PHW representative Curt Boatman, has said many times "people approach me all the time with lots of talk and little, to no action. Winged Reel and Pig Farm Ink came to me with little talk and lots of action". I'm proud as hell to be a part of giving back to such a great cause, but I share the above message in hopes that more folks will reach out to worthy causes within the fly fishing community and give back.

Often times it has nothing to do with giving donations, but more about donating your time to a sport that has touched all of us at some point and time in a meaningful way. Fly fishing is often associated with elitism and while there is some of that I think it's deeper than that. The fly fishing community is like a small fraternity and elitism is often mistaken for our ability to quickly weed out the bullshit. I'm not sure if there's a more willing group in the fishing community, than fly fisherman to stand up for the places and causes we believe in. So take a day on the weekend and go help with a stream restoration project or visit the Project Healing Water's or Casting for Recovery site and ask how you can help. You can't put a price on the satisfaction you'll get from giving back!

Again I want to say thanks to all of those who donated and give a special thanks to Tin Lizzy's Cantina for hosting the social dinner. The service was superb and their willingness to donate 20% of each guests bill back to PHW is truly awesome! We're beyond grateful for PHW allowing us to make the gear drive an annual event and we look forward to raising the bar again next year!

 

Snow Days

I watched the weather carefully over the last week.  Promises of snow here in the Atlanta area are rare.  Growing up in Massachusetts I’m no stranger to snow.  As a child, snow had a way of bringing excitement, and drew me to the outdoors.  Some days it was sledding down snowy roads with friends, others we would just venture off into the snowy woods, crossing frozen creeks and charting new paths through areas we hadn’t explored.  When snow blankets the ground it’s like a new world.  Everything seems quiet, bright, and new, washed in white. Now that I’m grown, and partially conditioned by the local fear of snow covered roads, my default is usually to hide inside with the rest of the masses.  I’ve been taught to always think; “what’s the worst that can happen”, and plan from there to be safe.  But all too often enough, I don’t plan for “what’s the best that can happen”.  Because you just don’t know the limits of how good of a day it could be.

I rounded up a crew the evening before the snow started to fall, and planned a trip only knowing one thing; it was going to be a beautiful day in the snow covered mountains.  In my excitement I didn’t even check the highs for Saturday until I woke up an hour before I was to leave.  I then stepped outside to warm up the truck and was surprised to find there wasn’t much snow this far south of the mountains, mostly solid ice.  I ignored the temperatures (high of 24F) and my own nervousness of navigating icy roads, packed my rods and camera gear and headed north towards Blue Ridge and Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF).

To my surprise, everybody showed.   Even though what would normally be an hour and a half drive turned into a three hour white knuckled slip and slide, we all arrived unharmed.  Of course the day was filled with the standards woes of the season (frozen guides, hands, toes, etc.), but we enjoyed what makes winter one of my favorite seasons to fish.  No crowds, clear water, and the flow is beginning to return to some sense of normalcy after the summer drought.  Just as we were winding down the day, I was reminded that risk sometimes results in reward.  I set the hook on what felt like a log, and as he worked his way out of a frigid deep hole, I saw gold in a world of white.

An awesome day with friends surrounded by beauty and abundance.  NCF is an excellent fishery year round.  Book a winter trip, grab some hand warmers and pray for snow, you won't regret it.

Photos from Matt Bornhorst and Kyle Vaughan.

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Gear Drive Thanks

We wrapped up our 1st annual Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Gear Drive.  We wanted to take a moment to thank all who helped make this happen: Thanks to the local shops that helped by putting up posters, spreading the word, accepting donations and giving kindly themselves.

Unicoi Outfitters , Tuckaseegee Fly Shop , Alpharetta Outfitters , The Fish Hawk , Blue Ridge Fly Fishing , Southern Highroads Outfitters , Cohutta Fishing Company , OGRE Outdoors , & Fern Valley On The Soque

We hope and look forward to your participation next year!

Thankful for the folks at Pig Farm, particularly Greg Morgan and the local dirty south crew who helped organize and spread the word about the event.  It would not have been as successful without this partnership.

Thanks to the folks at various media outlets in the industry that helped spread the word and who also gave kindly to the cause; Cameron at Fiberglass Manifesto, J.J. at Alaska Guidelist, the folks at Moldy Chum, the folks at MidCurrent and the local Georgia TU chapters.

Thanks to those individuals who donated.  I had the pleasure of speaking to a few and it’s so great to connect with folks who are interested in helping this cause through the sport we all admire.

Thanks to the folks at 5 Seasons Brewery- North for hosting our after party.

Thanks to Project Healing Waters for giving us the opportunity to work with their excellent group of folks and for doing what they do.

And most of all, thanks to our Veterans and Military personnel who have sacrificed for our freedoms.