What seemingly began as a regular fishing day turned into a wild adventure rather quickly. The main reason for going fishing was to find a few entry and exit spots for hawgdaddy’s canoe. We are hoping to take a float trip pretty soon, that is if the river doesn’t dry up. Maybe we will talk Matt into going fishing the day before. That should be enough for a good rain or two. The next week or two after our trip, I would warn you to stay away from the river due to the ensuing destruction almost certain to follow us.
Hawgdaddy was supposed to meet me at my place somewhere around 8 am. Needless to say, we started out around 9:30. In that hour and a half the temperature rose about 400 degrees as my skin almost melted off my body when I stepped out of the house. I wasn’t too worried since his Suzuki was equipped with A.C. max. Surely it must have been broken since he insisted on driving with the windows down. If not, he must just be that hardcore!
Neither one of us printed the directions we had talked about the night before. “Let’s just follow the river”, Hawgdaddy sounded like a regular Man vs. Wild. You wouldn’t believe how much land along the Flint River is owned by land developers. After about 30 minutes we found a small road which turned and followed along the river. It was a single lane road, the river was on one side and very old farm type houses on the right. Every time we thought the road would end, another curve would take us down another stretch. A mile or so down the road we found an old church which looked to still hold services probably every Sunday. We parked to the side and walked down to the water’s edge. There was a young boy fishing who seemed to be startled as we walked in his direction. The movie ‘Deliverance’ flashed ever so vividly through my mind as I was a little disturbed about being near the boy who I just knew played the banjo in the movie. We left pretty quickly as the water was extremely murky due to either the nearby logging facility or yet another subdivision being built in order to destroy more public access to the river.
There was one more spot which came to mind, actually Hawgdaddy’s mind. He remembered seeing a clearing behind a cemetery several miles in the other direction. He turned into a human GPS and proceeded to drive with the utmost of confidence. After coming to a dead end, he drove right through an open cattle gate following a trail that both of us knew saw little to no traffic. “It’s just right back here…I think”, his confidence began to fade. We were led to a small gorge (more like a big ditch I guess) with the only way across being that of a homemade wooden bridge. The county didn’t even have their hand in this. This was definitely farmer Brown’s brainstorming at full throttle. While I was waiting for the famed phrase “Hold my beer and watch this…,” all I got was a look of pure lunacy as he gently revved the Vitara. My only hope for survival was grasping the “Oh SH!T” handle with all my might. I also recall saying a prayer or two. As we sped across at full throttle we began to bounce as the bridge seemed to warp underneath us. After sliding to a stop on the other side, sweat beading down Hawgdaddy’s forehead, the bridge was still vibrating. I don’t really know if it was the fear of the Suzuki or that of an unprofessional construction issue. Regardless, I was relieved! The adventure came to an end as the hill grew steeper and the road narrower. Hawgdaddy wheeled us around in the direction we came from. Luckily with the eyes of a Hawk, I saw another way to cross without the P.O.S. bridge. It would require dropping into 4×4 mode and taking her easy…but I was all for that! We hauled but out of that area and didn’t turn back. All we needed was a shady place to fish.
Just when we thought the day would end up slightly normal, the rednecks began pouring into the river with beer, music, and folding chairs. By the time we got back to the vehicles, we were surrounded by Alabama’s best… The first thing I noticed was a woman in a skimpy bikini sporting a tattoo from head to toe. She actually looked like some kind of reptile. If it had been wheeler I might have thought I was standing within 15 yards of an alligator. While laying on her back she immediately lit a cigarette, how she kept from dumping the ashes on herself I will never know. Once I gained my train of though I immediately noticed my fly box had somehow floated out of my pants (there is no hidden meaning here for those of you who are sick minded.) This box contained all of my bream and bass flies including those I tied. When you spend that kind of time tying flies, it really hurts to lose them. I searched for a while only to come up empty handed and irritated. As I made my way toward the Suzuki I heard gravel slinging and music blaring. In the midst of a cloudy trail appeared a car full of guys who rode by screaming and pointing at us. I didn’t quite know what to do other than give a slight wave and get the heck out of here before we were forced to partake in the festivities.
Below is a photo journal of our fishing trip. My sincerest apology for not taking more pictures of the off-road experience as it was equally exciting.