For the better part of three hours standing in the middle of the gin-clear Noontootla Creek in Blue Ridge, Georgia, I was laser focused on a 2-inch piece of green yarn. I’d glance up occasionally for a new cast, looking for foam or those treasure troves of cold dark water. My affable guide, David Hulsey, was patient, then pushy when that green indicator dipped ever so slightly. Six times over that morning, I won the battle with strong and willful trout, learning when to let the fish run and when to strip and reel like hell. David leads trips along the 2 miles of private water, over 1,200 acres owned by Noontootla Creek Farms. Other members of his team teach and guide upland wing-shooting and sporting clays.
This is not your mama’s Blue Ridge, the cute little town where you have lunch on rainy North Georgia Mountain days.
Head up, unplug and make plan paddle, raft, hike, golf, fish, shoot, bike or really go deep and join a class at Oyster Bamboo Rods to craft your own fly rod. Waitlisted through next spring, the six-day workshops attract kings of industry and beginning sportsmen alike who are put through the paces of planing, shaping and finishing a bamboo rod true using age-old techniques. Bill and Shannen Oyster have grown the business from their basement to the beautiful new brick building at the end of Main Street in downtown Blue Ridge. Bill oozes authenticity, originality and raw artistic talent. Shannen shares soulful stories of their students who all experience a shift—grown men hugging their finished rod, eyes welling.
Blue Ridge can do that.
This spirit of entrepreneurism, community and fierce custodial love for the land is pure Blue Ridge.