Photos By: Matt Bornhorst
Seems as though the best road trips are always the ones that involve the least planning. They usually begin with the phrase “If I forgot it, I’ll buy it”, and typically these are the trips in which you never leave anything important at home. Road trips are always a thing of beauty. They are timely escapes from the madness that consumes us in our daily lives. For fly fisherman though, it’s more than that. It’s a chance to take our skills on the road; to figure out a new piece of water. The catch is you only have a limited amount of time in which to make this happen and the cruelest part is that time seems to lap you on the road.
Since the conception of Winged Reel took place, several fishy road trips have taken place and none of which have included more than one of us on the same trip. Family, work, and, other commitments have a funny way of making you question your priorities and the circle inevitably always brings you to question how you reached the current point in your life. The answer to that question is way too deep for a fly fishing blog and I won’t even begin to go there.
Coincidentally I received a text from Justin early last week, curiously asking if I’d be interested in taking a last minute trip to fish the catch and release, fly fishing only section of the Raven Fork in North Carolina. The Raven Fork is located in the town of Cherokee just a short three hour drive from Atlanta, where WR makes base camp. Its proximity always has us questioning why we don’t make it up more often. He mentioned getting Matty involved too and being our first real chance to get the WR team together on an out-of-towner I simply couldn’t pass the opportunity up.
We hit the road early Saturday and as the sun finally started to make its way above the horizon I realized why fall in the southeast has such an appeal for the leaf lookers. The leaves now at their peak had the mountains glowing an awesome combination of bright yellow and fire red. We fished it hard Saturday with not much to show for our efforts besides a few smaller fish and a few that came unbuttoned before they made it to the net. Easy access coupled with trophy sized fish always results in heavy pressure and we knew we’d have to up our games if we were to turn the tides Sunday. The next morning got off to a late start thanks in part to a late evening in the casino. That’s another wonderful thing about Cherokee. If the fishing sucks you can always hit the Harrah’s, get bombed and lose all of your money. A rough day on the water never seems as bad after waking up the next morning with a migraine and an empty bank roll. Once we finally made it to the water we found a section void of other anglers and almost instantly were into fish. It seemed the adjustments we made were paying off or maybe it was just our lucky day in a gambling town that had just as soon throw you snake eyes as hand you money or trophy sized trout. We ended up putting four or five nice sized fish in the net which was a far cry from the previous day.
I think unfairly fishy road trips are often deemed a failure if the fishing is not what we expected. More and more I see road trips as opportunities to get out spend time with good friends and take in awesome scenery that you may have not otherwise had a chance to see.
On the way home we discussed the success of the first official WR road trip and even threw around ideas for the next one. Throwing around ideas about future road trips is the easy part, actually making them happen is a different story. I think it’s safe to say that you’ll definitely see more Winged Reel behind the wheel.