After the decision to purchase a home in the great state of GA was recently made, I decided to put more effort into fishing areas of this fish rich state. I then started reading books on the rivers and lakes of GA. The next thought I had was to talk to some people that have more experience with the waterways. The first person that came to mind was "River Pirate" Randy Vining.
Randy is on the Ocean Kayak Pro Staff, he has lived in Middle Georgia all of his life. He is one of the most passionate fisherman I have ever spoken with. It was a great opportunity to speak with him and ask the questions that he gladly answered.
The questions started with how he got into kayak fishing.
Me: Randy, knowing that you fished a tournament trail in the southeast from a boat, why did you make the change from a bass boat to a kayak?
Randy: I wanted to get back to the fishing that I did with my grandfather. I couldn't get the Triton back into the spots I wanted to fish. Fishing from a bass boat became a job with all the upkeep and having to be there every weekend with no exceptions. I needed a way to get back on the rivers, I saw what some guys from California were doing on the SOT kayaks in the ocean and I knew that I could do that in the rivers here.
Me: You carry the name "River Pirate," why do you fish the rivers where you do, is it proximity or passion?
Randy: Certainly Passion, my grandfather took me to the rivers, "If there was a mud hole that had fish, we fished it." The change in the river keeps you constantly learning, its always changing. River fish eat like fish are supposed to, they cant just hang out, they see food come by and they have to make a decision to eat it very quickly otherwise it get away. The river also has a peacefulness that you can't find anywhere else.
Me: What does GA have to offer that other states do not?
Randy: There are 8 species of Black Bass, Georgia has a fish able population of 7 of them. We have the only fish able population of Shoal Bass, no other state has that. They require free flowing water that can be found on the Flint River. Small mouth Bass are stocked, the other species can be found in most all of the other lakes and rivers throughout the state.
Me: What would you say is the one most important piece of advice to give someone just starting out fishing from a kayak?
Randy: PADDLE EVERYTHING, paddle every kayak you can, I have 17 kayaks and I have paddled more kayaks that anyone I know. This is key to finding the right fit.
Me: What does it mean for you to be a member of the Flint River Keepers? How can others get involved?
Randy: I have a different take on the idea of sharing information about the rivers than you will find most people have. I want people to have a knowledge of the rivers, that is why I stated guiding. I wanted to give back, I wanted more people to see and enjoy the river, promote catch and release fishing, and to have more overall voices to help the river from being dammed. Anyone can become a member and pay a membership fee, the River Keepers in a non profit organization so the fund are key to keeping the organization going.
I want to say thanks to Randy for having this conversation with me. He is full of information and is willing to share it, you can find contact information for him and his guide service on his website georgiariverpirate.com or you can follow his personal blog @ georgiariverpirate.blogspot.com
I look forward to fishing with Randy soon and catching some of the fine GA Shoal Bass.