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What's Been and What's to Come

    If today were the last day of the year instead of the first of March, it would have been a pretty good year for a few GRF members. If you check out the Braggin' Board, you will see the biggest shoal bass you've probably ever laid eyes on, and GRFer Fishing Addict had perhaps the finest day of river bass fishing any of us have ever even heard about. In addition to these fine catches, there have already been at least a dozen largemouth, shoal, and spotted bass caught by GRFers that have weighed in at over three pounds. Did I mention that it was only March 1st?

    Being typically late to the party, I have yet to catch a fish from a river this year, and seeing as how we are in the midst of another wet and chilly spell, it may be a week or two before I officially ring in my "New Year". I always enjoy the anticipation of the new fishing "season" almost as much as I enjoy actually fishing. So how do I envision the next few months? Well, my first goal is to catch some big bass. I am fortunate enough to live an hour or less from some really good bass rivers, and I'd like to get at least three bass over four pounds. A couple enterprising GRFers have instigated a contest of sorts in which we keep up with that type of thing. It involves digital scales, cameras, and catch and release and you can keep up with the contest here if you like.

    It'd be great to finish in the top five if possible, but I have no illusions about my fishing abilities or the amount of time I'll be able to spend on the water the next six months or so. The fact of the matter is that there are a bunch of GRFers who are better fishermen than I am and who also get out a good bit more. I still relish the competition however. As an Economics teacher, I realize that competition will always lead to an improved product, and if taking part in this competition helps me become a better fisherman, then it's all been worth it. My prediction is that the winner will have a three bass total of around sixteen pounds. If I can get to thirteen pounds, I will have had a darn good year.

    But for me it's never been all about species and size. What gets me fired up is seeing new water, and I hope to get on at least five new stretches of water this year. A quick perusal of this website will reveal that my river experiences don't get too far south of the fall line. I'd like to make at least two trips to new stretches of water in southern Georgia, and if these can coincide with a good bass bite, then so much the better. Closer to home, I'd like to get into the crappie and white bass sometime in the next couple months. When I first started seriously researching rivers for GRF (about eight years ago), I pursued white bass all over the state and had both some fantastic and miserable days. 

    I also want to get into some more smallmouth bass. Now, to really experience some decent smallmouth fishing, I'm going to head north past the Georgia line, but there's not much that can compare to a river smallmouth. A striper is one fish that definitely can compare, and it's been a couple years since I've tangled with one. I doubt I'll have many striper trips this year, but the initial run of a big striper takes me about as close to outright fear as I can get while holding a fishing pole. 

    As the father of three small children, I feel it's important that my kids grow up with an appreciation for the outdoors in general, and rivers in particular. My two oldest are four and two, which is probably a tad young to seriously fish in a river. This means we'll take a few kayak and canoe trips where I'll have to force myself to leave the fishing rods at home. If I take fishing rods, I tend to ignore the kids and attend to the fish. There's not much worse than than being stuck in a boat with a four year old girl who is feeling bored and spurned. I figure I'll also need to forsake the rivers on a couple nice sunny days and take a kid to the pond, where poles and hooks and fishing are more easily managed.

    What's ahead for GRF, you ask? Well, pretty much more of the same. More and more GRFers are getting together for fishing trips than ever, and the ranks have swelled to over 300 members at last count. No matter where you live in Georgia, there is probably a knowledgeable GRFer near you that is looking for a partner from time to time. Two years ago, I couldn't honestly say that.  


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