"The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be." --John Gierach
Monday, April 28, 2014
4/25 - 4/26 Summer Ale , Sandals and Smallmouth
If those three words mentioned in the same sentence don't bring a big smile to your face then you must not have endured the same long winter I just did.
With the previous holiday weekend being a washout for me as far as fishing goes , I was itching to get back out and see if my smallmouth friends had developed a better appetite with the recent warm weather. My buddy Sean must have been on the same wavelength because it didn't take long for an answer when asked if he was up for another trip.
I took off Friday morning early and headed South again to meet up with him and Raz for a couple days of hucking streamers and drinking beer. We met up at the campground we were gonna stay at Friday night and set up the tents before loading the boat and hitting the water.
The weather was practically summer-like this time around , sunny skies and temperatures pushing 80 degrees called for a day of wet wading in sandals and cold beverages at regular intervals.
It didn't take us long to find some willing players and we soon had the first fish of the day in the boat.
It was obvious to us right away that the fishing had turned the corner since we had been on the river two weeks prior , some of the smaller fish that we hadn't seen much of yet this year were actively chasing flies bigger than they were and the bigger guys were eating with a vengeance.
It didn't take us long to figure out a pattern and before the day was even half over we were all smiles , well on our way to what both of us decided was our best smallie trip ever. That's not saying much considering both of our lack of smallmouth fishing experiences , but needless to say it was one hell of a day of fishing.
While the fish might not have been huge , we caught good numbers of 15-17 inch fish that had some shoulders on them. Let's just say that the old 7-weight had a pretty good bend in it for a good part of the day.
The sun was already setting over the surrounding hillsides as we pulled the boat up on the gravel at our campsite.
By the time we made the drive back upstream to pick up the trailer and got the boat loaded it was dark-thirty , no worries though. We had a big fire going which put off enough light for digging adult beverages out of the cooler and cooking up a quick dinner , which was just about the only activity we had on our mind for the rest of the night.
Saturday I woke up to the sound of thunder and raindrops hitting the rainfly on the tent , of course the rain wasn't predicted until the following day but who listens to weathermen anyway.
We hung around camp for an hour or so , drinking coffee and eating a nutritious breakfast with our good friend Little Debbie. After a quick check of the radar we decided that we'd seen the worst of it and the skies should be clearing out so we headed back up to our put-in for the day. We had some time constraints to deal with today so we opted to cut the previous days float in half and fish the lower section of river.
We'd both already decided that the weekend was a total success regardless of how todays fishing went , it's so seldom that everything holds out and you can repeat those kinds of days. Today it seemed like the fishing gods might be looking down on us though , less than a half hour into the float the sun was breaking out from behind the wall of clouds and the first smallie had decided to show up for breakfast.
For the remainder of the morning we picked up right where we had left off the day before , the fish seemed to have altered their hideouts just a little with the mornings overcast and rain but it didn't take long to figure them out again.
It seemed as though the fish were in varying degrees of activity on this late Spring weekend. We saw lots of beds but I would say that 90% of them were empty. The occasional bed had a fish still hanging around but they had no interest in eating and we opted to leave those fish alone and focus on locating the post-spawn fish which were more actively feeding. That decision was made much easier by the willing number of fish holding in post-spawn locations and readily munching anything that crossed their path. The previous trips issue of fish not wanting to commit was definitely not a problem this weekend , they left no question as to their intentions this time.
Fly selection was a no-brainer for us , large double decievers and murdich minnow type patterns in baitfish colors garnered the approval of enough fish that a change never seemed necessary.
We finished out the day Saturday with pretty much the same level of success as we had on Friday , good quality smallies anxious to play waiting around every corner.
It was around 2:30 when we pulled the boat back up onto the same gravel bar as the night before. Sunburned , a little tired and smiles on all of our faces like the cat that just ate the canary!
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Outstanding trip! Those smallies are absolutely gorgeous. Get's me thinking I need to start planning a trip down there. Either I missed it, or you didn't mention what river you were on. I'll assume it's somewhere in Missouri. Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thanks Justin....It's about that time , the warm water fishing is definitely taking off. You didn't miss anything , I just don't post names of spots as a general rule (especially when it comes to smallies). You're right though , it's in Missouri!Delete
I never noticed that before. haha. Oh well, I totally understand. Gotta keep those beauties a secret. Respect :)Delete
Lots of good looking fish in there. That first Largemouth was quite the fish to start the trip... kinda sets everything up to only go downhill from there... but it looks like you pulled out a pretty solid finish. Nice report!ReplyDelete
Thanks Jay...It was pretty good from start to finish on this trip. Sometimes even a couple of blind squirrels get lucky and find a nut!Delete
Sam Adams, and bronze backs....you are at the top buddy.ReplyDelete
It seems as if your four legged friend approved.
For me those are both signs that seasons are finally changing , and not a minute too soon my friend.Delete
Raz has it pretty rough , sleeping in the bottom of the boat and kissing fish!!
Your killing me brother. I am stuck inside studying while you are slaying killer fish. Looks like an awesome trip. Those are some beautiful bass for sure.ReplyDelete
Thanks man...it's time for sure. I vowed to hit the smallies more this year and so far it's been working out for me.Delete
We still need to get together and hit the water one of these weekends.
You hit it right. Great looking fish. And post title of the year.ReplyDelete
Appreciate it Jim...I thought the post title was kinda catchy myself , it's also a pretty accurate description of my weekend!Delete
Great report and pictures! Those are some really nice smallies! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Dave...It was a good couple of days for sure. The fish are just finishing up with the spawn and some of the bigger guys are on the feed right now , I just happened to be lucky enough to hit it right.Delete
Not sure what MO river you hit but some are on the beds or still prepping them. We've had to practically drop flies on them. DD's are sorta working and deep Clousers but it's been slow. I went out tossing DD's for an hour this morning to no avail. Another cold snap throwing the fish off. What white bait pattern is that, an EP bait fish? Sparkle minnow?ReplyDelete
We found a few fish on beds as well but didn't bother them by fishing over them. They weren't interested in eating anyway and there were plenty of post-spawn fish that were aggressively eating anything you put in front of them. Every one of my fish this past weekend came on a Double Deciever. Are you fishing them on a sinking line? If not you need to.Delete
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ah, murdich minnow.ReplyDelete
Yeah, full sink. I'm not covering as much ground as you guys. Wading. I didn't see a thing today. Found some bass on their beds last weekend but tough going. The more I go out, the better my chances but still trying to move into new locations on that same stream as you guys floated. That's why I'm dumb founded as to why you guys landed all those and I've been cussing.ReplyDelete
I'd say the biggest difference is that we're covering 8 miles of water and you're only fishing accesses where you can wade. Some stretches don't seem to have many fish and then you'll come upon a hole with good numbers. We're not fishing summer type locations either , these fish still aren't relating to shallow summer time structure like they will be in another few weeks.Delete
Well, let me begin with saying that I love Smallmouth Bass fishing. Secondly, they are one terrific fish on a fly rod, All that being said, I don't get much opportunity to fish them here in Colorado. These Smallmouth that you have pictured here are some awesome looking fish. The river is in beautiful condition it seems, too. Thanks for a great post!ReplyDelete
Thanks Mel...we are blessed here in the Ozarks with some really beautiful warm-water streams and some equally beautiful smallies that inhabit them. I'm not sure why it took me so long to take advantage of it but I'm making up for lost time now every chance I get!Delete
i love razz and how intense he gets! what a great pup! good looking fish - and a good time for you all. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks! I'm looking forward to many more trips just like this one before the Summer winds down. Here's to the end of winter...finally!Delete
btw, really glad little debbie could make it for breakfast! :)ReplyDelete
Okay now you have my attention! Lets plan atripReplyDelete
Just got to get our schedules to match up...it's hard to believe it's almost Memorial weekend and we havn't hit a smallie stream yet!Delete