It’s Spring! Summer will follow. Time to go fishing!

O'Neill Williams' grandson Travis with 6-pound catch

O’Neill’s grandson Travis with six-pound catch.

Yee Ha! what a surprise coming from your old fishing buddy.  But here’s a bit of a surprise – I’m talking no bass, no bream, no stripers, no boats, no lures. What?

I’m talking trout fishing. Yes, trout, but with special reasons.  Trout fishing in the mountain streams of Georgia is perfect for your family … wife and children, no matter what their skill level and experience may be.

Let’s talk about it. What makes this trip special? The trout are there, you can see them, are caught easily, taste great, and more than anything else, your family will be together from start to finish. I guarantee you will not see any cabin cruisers, houseboats, those water motorcycles or any bass boats.  You’ll catch non-native rainbows and browns and an occasional Georgia native brook trout. You and the kids get to wade in the stream, make simple short little casts, see the float disappear and harvest the results of all you did that day. You’ll recall that I promote heavily that, to a child, the most beautiful sight in a fishing day is the hole in the water where the float used to be. Finally, in this regard, you can catch and release.

Start out as a team project and you can make it memorable for years to come. First, catch grasshoppers or crickets and maybe even dig for worms. If you can locate a wasp nest, spray the adults and use the larvae. As a 10-year old, I knew where all the nests were. If you can’t manage that, purchase some “Fisher’s Choice” canned baits. It’ll be perfect for this trip. Secondly, gather from your own mancave or garage, or a neighbor’s boat, a few newly wound light tackle reels, maybe six-pound test line, small red and white floats, small light wire Tru-Turn hooks, and you’ll be set.  Don’t forget the licenses, stamps and such. It’s part of the process.

DNR employee loads trout into tank for stocking.

DNR employee Kyle Trenda loads trout for stocking,

Now where are the trout? There are dozens of state parks on the streams, commercial guide services and the like. Visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website and you’ll have plenty of excellent fertile destinations and literally dozens of miles of productive trout waters. You might ask, how is it that the mountain streams in Georgia are so full of trout?   They are stocked every week by the DNR. Catch and keep what you want, and the stream will be full again in a few days.

Take lots of photos. I’ll just bet that everyone will be smiling.  They always are in fishing photos.

Summer bonanza

At least once in your life, you must take this trip.

So many fishermen stick to the basics: the place, the time, the method, the target and all that’s good because, if your inventive, you’ll get more productive and successful. OK!

But this summer, late June through September, give yourself a bonus. Travel, with a family member, preferable a youngster and another adult, fish more than a few hours and catch the most exciting fish accessible to the average angler. What is that and where?  Tarpon on the Georgia Coast, St Simons Island with super guide, Mark Noble. Look him up.

First the fish and a brief summation. He averages 100 pounds, jumps 10-plus times, will bite surface lures and flies, deep cut bait, live bait, feeds all day and, if you get him to the boat for photos, there’s nothing to do but let him go. You can’t eat him, he too big to keep and mount so you gotta let him go free. The tarpon is God’s perfect sport fish and during the hot summertime, off the Georgia coast, is the most dependable place and time to make it happen.

I’ve been with Mark in the summer at least a dozen times and each time, we’ve hooked and jumped at least a dozen per day and boated/photo’d five. What you must figure in is that each time you have hooked a tarpon, it’ll take at least 30 minutes to an hour before the fight ends. Your day will be full.

Now the guide, Mark Noble.   He’s been a sportfishing guide all his life, he is part owner of the marina, is accommodating and friendly and knows how to catch native species. Plus, if he’s booked, he has a stable of experienced guides that can make it happen for you.

Just Google: “Mark Noble fishing.” You’ll be glad you did.