Mentioning those two words in the same sentence undoubtedly says something about a person , and I'm pretty sure my wife wouldn't approve of whatever it is that it says. Oh well , I've always said if the shoe fits......
After too damn long with no chance to get my boots wet I finally got the opportunity to hit the water on Tuesday. I really should have stayed home and taken down the Christmas tree , maybe even gotten crazy and take down the Christmas lights before Easter this year. I was seriously contemplating the idea , but my wonderful wife convinced me that I really should get away on my last day off and enjoy myself. Not only did she get me that new pair of waders I so desperately needed for Christmas , she then proceeded to insist that I go use them , someone must be living right.
With only one day to play I decided to hit my nearest trout stream ,the Niangua , which still requires a three hour plus oneway roadtrip. Nothing out of the ordinary for me , six hours of driving for the reward of six or seven hours on the water seems a fair trade. Joe and I got a little bit of a late start , getting on the road about 5:30 , residual effects of the Tryptophan from copious amounts of turkey caused me to hit the snooze button a few more times than planned. After an uneventful drive which included musical appearances by Metallica , the Dead and a Zack Mathews podcast with the guy who developed Clear Cure Goo , we pulled into the public river access just a little past eight-thirty.
With rods already rigged I quickly grabbed my gear and we headed down to the water. The river was still up a little and slightly stained from the previous weeks rain event , I couldn't have asked for better water conditions.
There were a couple of other cars in the lot, which wasn't a surprise considering it was the week between Christmas and New Years. Lots of water to choose from and Joe and I had no problem finding a section of river to ourselves.
I wasn't sure what the fish wanted to eat today but I had my mind set on throwing sculpin patterns so that's just what I did. I used a two fly setup with a size 12 red fox squirrel nymph trailed by a size 6 olive colored mink sculpin pattern. It worked just well enough to keep me from changing all day long. We fished a few different areas with mixed results , some spots yielding a fish or two and others giving up nothing. Numbers were pretty average for this white ribbon river but the size of the fish was definitely smaller than in previous trips.
The fish were all cookie cutter bows that wouldn't have had any problems fitting in a twelve inch frying pan if one so desired( which I would guess happens more often than not judging from the metal stringers dangling from most the other fishermen I saw). On this river you always look forward to those holdover fish that have managed to escape the bucket brigade since the last stocking , on this trip I just couldn't find one. By no means am I complaining as I was thrilled just to be out on the river on such a beautiful winter day. Catching fish ,of any size, was just an added bonus. Joe and I enjoyed ourselves and didn't take the fishing too seriously , kicking back and just enjoying being out on the river several times throughout the morning and afternoon.
Just before noon we decided to head downriver and try a different spot to finish out the day. It was a toss up between Barclay and NRO but I figured on less company at NRO so that's where we ended up.
My intuition was right for once and we had the whole place to ourselves. The constant growling noise coming from my stomach told me it was time for a quick lunch so I set up the cookstove and warmed up some homemade chili.
Spicy chili washed down with a cold PBR and a slice of pumpin pie for dessert (thus the title of the post) , now that's what I call a streamside lunch! It was all I could do to get myself out of the camp chair after eating. Sitting there along the river with the sun hitting me in the face and my best friend laying by my side , it was a temptation to just close my eyes and take a little nap.
Very tempting, but time was short and it'd been too long since I'd had the opportunity to actually fish so I sucked it up and got back to the task at hand. Normally this section of river is pretty good to me but today she was a little finicky. We fished several of my favorite holes and only managed a handful of fish between them , they were all small bows just like earlier in the day.
The slightly cool morning had transformed into a gorgeous afternoon with temperatures pushing fifty degrees which more than made up for the less than stellar fishing. We watched several floaters making their way downstream throughout the afternoon and after talking to a couple of them it seemed that my fishing success was pretty average for this day.
A few of them told of bigger fish than I had managed but it seemed that small bows were the rule of the day.
A quick glance at the time revealed that it was approaching 3:30 , a good stopping point (I know...is there ever really a good stopping point when you're fishing??) to allow time for packing up and still be able to make it home at a decent hour. Tomorrow I'd be back at work dealing with the same old shit I was complaining about before I left for Christmas but for now I felt blessed to be where I was , doing something that I truly love and spending time with the best of friends. Here's to that next trip , whenever or wherever it may be......