Andalusia native’s book details fishing on Blue Ridge Parkway

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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Andalusia native Sam Johnson said he is living the Principle of Unintended Consequences, in a good way.

The principle states that actions, events and decisions sometimes lead to outcomes that were never expected or intended.

An avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman, Johnson published his first book, “Fly Fishing the Blue Ridge Parkway – NC Section,” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Folks were bored, needed an escape, and it filled that need for lots of folks,” Johnson said. “Consequently, it took off like a rocket and was into its second, third and fourth printing before anyone could blink.”

To help market the book, as well as other unique products like bamboo fly rods, fishing flies, cigars, high end apparel, etc., Sam launched Wild Bearings, LLC with his best friend Chris Sloan.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Johnson and Sloan are now into their second television series of Wild Bearings Outdoors. Recently, they had the opportunity to shoot at the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate in North Carolina at some of the most secret and scenic places on the estate. Past episodes are curated on Wild Bearings Outdoors YouTube Channel and the Waypoint TV Channel.

And his second book, “Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia Section,” has just been released.

Johnson will sign copies of both books beginning at 2 p.m. this Friday, June 7, at Blue Bird Coffee Company. He plans to donate profits from local book sales to the Covington Veterans Foundation in memory of his father, Roland Johnson, who went ashore at Normandy 80 years ago this week on D-Day.

Johnson said the BRP is very different in North Carolina and Virginia.

“The NC section is infinitely more rugged, because the mountains are more steep and higher,” he said. “It’s 252 miles long in North Carolina. There are 27 tunnels on the BRP, and 26 of them are in North Carolina.

“The Virginia section has more fishable trout water than North Carolina,” he said. “There’s more limestone and more bugs. The more bugs, the more fish you’re going to have.”

He documented the whole 469 miles of the Parkway, he said, because he wants fishermen to understand there are areas where you have to repel in to fish, and there are areas he calls “assisted living water” where one can step out of a vehicle and into a creek.

After graduating from high school, Johnson attended the University of Southern Mississippi on a 4-year football scholarship where his tight end position coach was Mack Brown. Following graduation, he moved to Atlanta, and for the past 30 years has lived in the historic mountain town of Dahlonega, Georgia, with his wife, Betty, a fiber artist, and their pack of Siberian Huskies. He serves as chairman of the board of an RV manufacturer passed in Indiana, and is a partner in the transaction advisory firm of Nautilus Strategy Group.