Monday, November 10, 2014

Sometimes It's Not Really about the Fishing , Right?....Weekend TR

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It seems as though I've been struggling to keep my head above water the past couple of weeks since the wife and I returned from our Florida vacation. I'm still trying to understand how I could leave town for only eight days and yet have a months worth of projects and to-do's pile up on my list while I was away! I've been making some headway though , thus the reward I decided I suredly deserved when this past weekend rolled around on the calendar. A check of the weather forecast on Thursday was the last bit of encouragement I needed to make up my mind. A quick text to the wife with the, by now, often heard plan..."Joe and I are gonna head South in the morning for a couple days of R&R on one of our favorite rivers" , and I could already feel the pressure of the work week starting to slip away.
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Friday morning we got up at the crack of....well OK , we slept in and didn't pull out of the drive until almost 7:00 am. After all , I wasn't expecting to set the world on fire with the fishing anyway , just looking forward to spending a couple of days with my buddy and forgetting about those lists for at least a short time.
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The particular river that we ended up on wouldn't make anyones top ten list of Ozark waters , as a matter of fact for the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day I'd about as soon poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick as I would spend a day on this river. Once the kids are all back in school and the leaves start to drop off the surrounding trees the river makes a transformation into an entirely different entity altogether.
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This time of year the river gets a much deserved break from the legions of people hell-bent on drinking beer , being loud and obnoxious and from my experience just basically trashing the river and it's surrounding landscape. These people , who as you can guess I don't have much use for , are replaced by deer standing mid-stream around each corner and eagles sitting majestically on the trees overhanging the water. This is the time of year when someone like myself can actually enjoy a little bit of what the summertime visitors all miss out on , solitude and relaxation.
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With our late start to the morning we didn't arrive at the campground until around 10:00. Just enough time to get camp setup before grabbing some lunch out of the cooler and twisting the top off of that first beer of the weekend.
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The weather really couldn't have been any nicer for this time of year...sunshine , a light breeze and temps in the 60's were enough to make me pretty complacent just sitting in my chair enjoying the scenery after finishing up lunch.
Eventually the itch to wet a line got the better of me and Joe and I headed off upstream of camp to see what kind of trouble we could get ourselves into.
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While the fishing is hardly ever anything you'd write home about , the fact that I can start hiking the riverbank this time of year and fully expect to not see another person the entire time puts this place close to the top of my list of places I'd rather be. This beautiful afternoon was no exception to that rule , we made our way upriver as the afternoon progressed , catching a pretty good number of stocker rainbows in the process.
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Occasionally these waters surprise you and give up a nice holdover bow or maybe even a stud of a brown trout that somehow managed to elude the 5-gallon bucket brigade that arrives in force at the mere mention of the latest trout stocking. Unfortunately , this wasn't one of those times and we just had to be content with the latest arrivals from the local fish hatchery. Honestly I didn't mind one bit , I just kept thinking back to that list and how I couldn't care less how many items got scratched through or added to it today.
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Once the sun started to dip below the surrounding hills the temperature began to drop and I decided to head back to camp so I could get a fire going and give Joe a chance to dry off before dark.
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With that taken care of I still had what is always my favorite time of the day to be on the water in front of me , that last hour of light before darkness sets in. I left Joe stretched out on his bed in the tent and headed back out with the seven weight and a handful of streamers.
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This river isn't much for streamer water but every once in awhile you can stick a decent brown if you get lucky and put your fly in front of the right fish...this just didn't end up being that night. Even though it was a fishless outing it was still my favorite fishing of the day. Just being on the water as the light fades , hitting every likely spot with "that one fly" , in search of that predatory fish that just can't resist the thought of a mouthful of meat...that's as good as it gets for me and I've grown to love both the good and the bad.
By the time I got back to camp my stomach was telling me that I needed to throw together something for dinner to finish off the day. I sat around the fire and finished off a cigar I'd started earlier in the day while the pork chops cooked on the grill , not a bad way to finish off the day.
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Saturday we did wake up at the crack of dawn , nights this time of year are long when you're camping and I rolled out of the sleeping bag around 6:00 feeling fully rested.
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Clouds had rolled in overnight and it didn't feel like the temperature was going to climb as high as the previous day, but it was still nice for November. Keeping in line with the moral of the story , we lounged around camp and cooked up a little breakfast before even contemplating putting the waders back on.
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After all , those fish weren't going anywhere. Today was pretty much the same story as the day before as far as the fishing was concerned , the only difference being downstream instead of upstream. We caught more rainbows and even managed one small brown on a black sculpin pattern before deciding to head back and take camp down.
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It was late afternoon by the time we got the truck loaded back up for the trip home and hit the road North. The fishing might not have been anything to write home about , but the weekend outing with my best friend was just what the doctor ordered to cure the post-vacation blues.
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  1. i just love seeing joe. he makes me smile every time. such a good fishing buddy.

    1. Thanks Theresa...he's a good old boy for sure , I consider myself very lucky to have a friend like him.

  2. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I think that river looks great. I envy your style Jeff. By the way, you can cook for me any time.

    1. Thanks Howard , and you're right , the river is a nice looking piece of water. Unfortunately it's managed for the party crowd that visits for three months of the year and the fishing therefore suffers.
      If you ever make it down to the Ozarks area I've got a campfire and a good meal to share with you anytime Howard...just say the word.

  3. looks like it was a great get-a-way place to spend some time to relax.

    1. That it was my friend. Sometimes you just have to choose the peace and solitude over the crowds of a more well known and better fishery. I surely enjoy the quiet time with Mother Nature as much as the fish catching anyway.

  4. You earned it. Nice fish, great trip. Hey, Joe, howya doin'?

    1. Thanks Jim...I'll be sure and give Joe a good ear rubbing for ya!

  5. Great post. I'm glad you were able to get the pressure reducer weekend. And Joe was happy too.

    1. Thanks Alan...those weekends on the river with Joe seem to be the cure-all for me. Doesn't matter what the problem is , a few hours standing shin deep in running water with him at my side and all is right with the world.

  6. I hear you on the need to get away, I haven't been fishing since August, which since you know me is killer. I am going to need to sneak in a small trip here soon, if nothing else a few hours local. Between school and medical crap it just has me bogged down. Perhaps this winter or spring we can meet up and fish again. Tight lines sir and glad you were able to get away for a bit.

    1. Just give me a shout don't have to twist my arm too hard to get me out on the water. Not much local fishing happening right now I'd guess but I'm always willing to do a day trip somewhere if that's all the time you have.

  7. It's always about the experience. AND it looks like a grand one was had by all. I need to get up that way 1 day and experience it myself. Nice job!

    1. Couldn't agree more...After a long Summer of crowded accesses it was nice to get away and not have to deal with any people at all , total solitude and relaxation!

  8. My kind of location. One with nobody else around.

    1. Amen to that! I'll gladly sacrifice fish for a little peace and quiet...