One Man's Trashy Boat

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When we set out to begin planning filming One Man's Trash, the most daunting task was figuring out our boat situation.  Generally most of the parks in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge have boats to rent, however they aren't necessarily the best suited for spending all day fishing and filming out of.  Most of the jon boat rentals are simple aluminum, with no carpet, which gets extremely hot.  They are also 12' boats, which are not very stable for filming or fishing. Also, at about $100/day, and needing 2, it seemed reasonable and most cost effective to start surfing craigslist for boats we could use for the trip and sell once it was over.

We secured a decent rig early in our planning, already equipped with a 9.9hp (highest allowed in the refuge), carpet, new paint, dry storage and at 15' it was just enough.  But the second boat proved a little more challenging to find.  So, I finally settled on a real piece of junk with a decent hull and trailer, and was determined to make it a worth while swamp rig.  

Once upon a time, it was a 16' 1985 Lowe Bass Catcher, but somehow it had been reduced to a poorly camouflage painted train wreck with a Styrofoam bobber as a transom plug.  But it cost less than what we expected in beer and gas expenses for trip.  With only about a month left before we depart, I began hacking away.  Decks and old carpet were torn out.  The live-well was also removed to give us more room.  The boat was completely stripped of adhesive with solvents and angle grinders.  Roaches were exterminated (seriously it was unreal how many roaches were living in this boat).  

After about 1 week of nightly 4 or 5 hour "after-the-day-job" shifts, it was time to put it all back together.  I recruited the crew for a weekend beer, boat flipping  and paint session.  Who knew home depot sold paint specifically for jon boats online?  It got 3 coats of marine Duralux in Duckboat Drab.  Most all the other little switches, electronics and motor parts were ordered online as well (Thank the Lord for Amazon Prime).  The motor came together better than expected after finding a decent schematic and fogging the carb.  After new carpet, and a messy wheel bearing service, she was ready to rock.  

Taking the leap of faith to rebuild this boat was a great idea.  It took two weeks and although I'm handy, it seemed out of my comfort zone.  But having a boat, if even a cheap one, opens up opportunities to fish and explore new water.  I'm guilty of being a perfectionist, so buying a piece of junk and trying to turn it around in a short time frame was scary.  But it really didn't take much money to get it looking like a respectable watercraft and the process was pretty satisfying.  When the trip was done, I sold her for more than twice what I had paid.  

Lippa4Life Review

Lippa

So, since June of 2016, I've managed to contain my excitement about releasing our film, "One Man's Trash".  We also decided to keep it a secret and build some curiosity around what type of fish we were targeting.  Being that we didn't want to give any hints, we have kept more than just the species a secret.  We also haven't told anyone about some of the great gear we used and other stories that accompanied this excursion. So the first that comes to mind, and an absolute essential for targeting Bowfin, or any toothy creature for that fact, is the Rising Fly Fishing Tools Lippa4Life.  I've been visiting and fishing for Bowfin in the swamp several times a year for the past 9 years.  There are two things that are a fact about Bowfin, they are slimy, slick,  and loaded with several rows of very sharp, fine teeth.  In the past I've used the standard "boga grip", which are a fine tool which has become an industry standard among all fishermen.  However, the Lippa4Life has 2 clear advantages.

First and most importantly being; If you intend to release fish without harm, the wide rounded pincers of the Lippa4Life do not puncture through the jaw of the fish you are gripping (even when thrashing violently as the Bowfin love to do).  That means, no blood, no mess and most importantly you release the fish back just how you found him for the next sport angler (or alligator) to catch.  That's the whole idea behind the Lippa4Life and it works perfectly!

Second, the Lippa4Life is lighter and has less moving parts.  I don't like leaving things laying around on the boat deck or fumbling for tools when trying to release a fish.  I kept the Lippa in my pocket and attached to a belt loop thanks to the optional coil leash.  The only thing I did add was a small, lightweight, stainless Night Ize S-Biner to make attaching easier.

Rising makes a lot of great tools and this was just one of several we used on this trip and many other trips we take.  Swing by the site and check out their tying tools, nets and some sweet apparel.  Click here: http://www.risingfish.net/

And, if you didn't catch the premier of our film at the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3t) stop in Atlanta, there are two more local screenings before it goes life on the inter-webs!

Well worn and well worth having!
Well worn and well worth having!

One Man's Trash Screening Events

We had our first showing at the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3t) in Buckhead and a lot of great feedback.  There are two more chances to catch the film this month, with the possibility of a third. Friday April 7th @ Alpharetta Outfitters, Event starts at 6:30pm, film at 7:00pm and then a look at some behind the scenes footage, extras and some tips and tactics for fishing in the Okefenokee.  Hydration provided by Sweetwater Brewing!

Saturday April 8th, F3t @ Young Harris College Rolins Campus Center, Doors open at 5:30pm, Dinner served at 6:30pm with films starting at 7pm.  Come support the Young Harris TU 5Rivers Club, Project Healing Waters and the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition.

Stay Tuned For info on the third.  Hope to see you there!

 

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!

 

Tin Lizzy's PHW Event

Hard to believe it's already time to start cutting off donations for the 2nd annual Winged Reel / Pig Farm Ink gear drive benefiting Project Healing Waters. It seems like there's never enough time for the the enjoyable things in life and this is definitely a cause we're very fond of and wish we could devote even more time to. With that being said we're giddy like school girls waiting to see how this years drive will turn out on the donation front. Like we mentioned in a previous post, last year's effort will be hard to top but early signs point toward a good haul again this year. More importantly this year we've been able to spread the word even farther across the land, with several Orvis stores coming on board, as well as reaching locations in Texas and Massachusetts. Aside from the donations, getting the message of Project Healing Waters out there is extremely important in order for them to reach those service veterans who may not have otherwise known an organization like Project Healing Waters existed. For that fact alone we're extremely excited about this years event! When planning for this year's social event, in which all gear will be turned over to Project Healing Water's, the stars aligned for the Atlanta metro area to finally host the Fly Fishing Show at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth Georgia. Saturday of the show proved to be the perfect day to host the social event with all of the like minded folks already in the area for the show. In searching for a location, Tin Lizzy's in Duluth (in close proximity to the Fly Fishing Show) stepped up and not only welcomed us with open arms but also pledged to donate 20% of each guests bill back to Project Healing Water's! This will provide the opportunity to socialize with members of the fly fishing community while simultaneously giving back to those who have made great sacrifices in the service of our nation. The event will commence at 6pm EST on February 4 and as previously mentioned the location is in close proximity to the Infinite Energy Center.

We will be at the show as well as the social event and look forward to seeing some old faces as well as meeting some new ones. For more information about how you can help this great organization click here or drop us a line info@wingedreel.com. Thanks again to everyone who has shown support for this event!

 

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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2nd Annual PHWFF Gear Drive

Last holiday season we were humbled and excited to be given the opportunity to help host a gear drive benefiting Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. In all honesty last years event was thrown together with minimal formal planning, sparked by a last minute idea and we were blown away by the generosity of the fly fishing community; which is why were even more excited to announce the PHWFF Gear Drive will officially become an annual event! And as hard as it will be to top last years event, our long term goal is to not only collect gear, but to also raise awareness for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and to ask everyone who enjoys the the sport of fly fishing to give, if not in the gift of gear, then to help promote the efforts of PHWFF so that others can give to those who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom. Before I dive into details about this years event, I would like to take a moment again to thank all of the Companies, Shops and Individuals that stepped up and made last years event an overwhelming success. Because of your efforts we were able to raise $50,000 in gear that was placed in the hands of veteran's across the United States. That's pretty amazing stuff!

Much like last year we will be partnering with Pig Farm Ink and enlisting the help of fly shops to serve as drop of points for your gently used fly fishing gear (This post will de updated with participating shops), as well as accepting donations by mail. The gear drive will end on January 15, 2017,  and like last year, PHWFF will be hosting a social event on February 4th 2017 after the completion of The Fly Fishing Show in Atlanta, in which all of the gear collected will be handed over to Project Healing Waters.  The event will be held at Tin Lizzy's Cantina, located just steps from the Fly Fishing Show venue. Tin Lizzy's has committed 20% of each person's check that is there for the event to be donated back to Project Healing Waters.

The following fly shops are participating drop of locations: (and please check back as we will continue to update this list as more shops come on board.)

Georgia:
Alpharetta Outfitters – 79 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009 – (678) 762-0027
Unicoi Outfitters – 7280 S Main St, Helen, GA 30545 –  (706) 878-3083
Southern Highroads Outfitters – 253 Georgia Hwy 515 East, Blairsville, GA 30512 – (706) 781-1414
Blue Ridge Fly Fishing – 490 E Main St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 – (706) 258-4080
The Fish Hawk – 3095 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305 – (404) 237-3473
Orvis Atlanta (Buckhead) Store - 3275 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30305 - (404) 841-0093
Cohutta Fishing Company – 39 S Public Square, Cartersville, GA 30120 – (770) 606-1100

North Carolina:
Tuckaseegee Fly Shop – 3 Depot St, Bryson City, NC 28713 – (828) 488-3333
Rivers Edge Outfitters - 61 Big Cove Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719 - (828) 497-9300
OGRE Outdoors – 5750 Asheville Hwy, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 – (828) 877-8622
Hunter Banks Asheville - 29 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801 - (828) 252-3005
Hunter Banks Waynesville -  48 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786 - (828) 251-9721
Davidson River Outfitters - 49 Pisgah Hwy #6, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 -(828) 877-4181

Texas:
Orvis Plano Store - 2412 Preston Road, Preston Towne Crossing, Suite 200, Plano, TX 75093 - (972) 596-7529

Massachusetts:
Overwatch Outpost - 97 Main Street, Charlemont, MA 01339 - (413) 339-8800

 

If instead, you would like to mail your donations you can send them to: Pig Farm Ink, 1275 Castleberry Dr., Buford, GA 30518 or Alpharetta Outfitters, 79 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009

If mailing your donations, please be sure to mark your package PHWFF Gear Drive and include a copy of the In-Kind donation form you can print by clicking here.

If you're interested in finding out more about the event please contact info@wingedreel.com. We will be using social media to spread the word and encourage all of you to share posts regarding this event on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you're not familiar with Project Healing Waters then I encourage you to visit their site and check out this amazing organization!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

The Winged Reel Crew

Ode To The Brook Trout

Sweet Release
Sweet Release

We've had the opportunity to catch some pretty amazing Brook Trout lately and I think it's high time we southerners give the often small Brookie some love. Brown's and Rainbow's reign supreme in our neck of the woods but I'm not sure if there's a more impressive looking trout, than a Brook Trout. From the myriad array of spots, to the crisp white tipped fins, the Brookie is something to behold.

Small and Mighty
Small and Mighty
Boss Brookie
Boss Brookie