Another weekend and another trip spent chasing my new favorite quarry as of late. My buddy Kevin had been itching to get out on one of our favorite rivers for a little gravel bar camping action so this past weekend we made the plans to make it happen. Kevin headed down Friday morning for some early fishing and I met up with him later that evening at our gravel bar of choice on the first leg of the float. I missed out on the days fishing but arrived just in time for evening beverages.
We spent the first night dodging raindrops and drinking beer while sitting around the driftwood fire.
Gear was readied and packed for the two days and 18 miles of river that we had ahead of us as we talked about the usual topic when we're together...fishing.
Saturday we woke at the crack of dawn and after a hot cup of coffee took down our tents and stored the nights provisions for the days float. It was a beautiful morning to be on the river , whipporwills were still chanting their morning chorus as we started our way downstream through the light fog.
The great thing about being on the water early , besides getting ahead of all the pleasure floaters that are out in full force this time of year , is the chance to watch all of the wildlife that makes the river it's home. In the first couple of miles I saw several deer getting their morning drink , a raccoon still searching for his crawfish breakfast and a bald eagle soaring high overhead watching us all. The fish are just icing on the cake when it comes to a trip like this.
It didn't take too long before we started catching a few of the fish that we were after.
The fishing seemed to go in spurts all day , with certain areas producing non-stop action while other sections were noticeably slower. Most of the fish I caught were in the 10-12 inch range but there were a few nicer ones mixed in as well.
We stopped for a nice gravel bar lunch around midday and then pushed on downstream to try and stick a few more fish before finding a nice spot to pitch our tents for the night.
The fishing got a little tougher under the afternoon sun and we started to see a few more floaters headed downriver. By the time we spotted the gravel bar that we would call home for the night we were both ready to sit back and relax for the evening after a long day of floating.
After getting tents set up and a fire started we threw some dinner on the grill and sat back with a cold beverage while it cooked.
Nothing tastes better than a meal cooked over some coals on a gravel bar...nothing!
Sunday morning we were up early again and packing up the gear for another day of floating and fishing.
Less people and more smallmouth was what we were looking forward to on this lower section of river for the day and we got our wish on both counts. The numbers were great again on Sunday , I still didn't catch any of the pigs that I know call this river home but I got to play around with enough smaller fish to make it a fantastic day.
I lost a couple of fish and saw a few others that I would have loved to have caught but it just wasn't to be. The old saying about "the big ones always get away" seemed to ring very true for me this weekend. I've been playing this game long enough that it doesn't even faze me anymore , win some...lose some.
We finished up the day in good time and were pulling in to the takeout around 3:30. Just enough time to get our gear and boats loaded up and start the several hours of driving that we both had to make to get back home. While the weekend didn't produce any trophy size fish , the company and the solitude of being on the river for two days and nights made up for that. I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be and I'm already looking forward to my next opportunity to do it all over again.