Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad....Weekend TR

I had a three day weekend this last week and while I wish I could say I fished every waking moment, I had to make do with two out of three. The wife was out of town as well for a horse event , taking my best fishing buddy with her , so I had to make a few calls and find some willing participants to join me for my weekend travels.
One of the guys I work with had just purchased a pontoon recently and was itching to get it on some moving water. After a little discussion we decided on a plan to head South and fish a small creek I'd been wanting to float for awhile now but just havn't made it happen.
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I know better than to listen to the weather forecasters but I made the mistake of doing just that on this trip. The local news for the area we were headed was predicting scattered thunderstorms up until around 10:00 am on Friday morning so I made the call to leave KC a little later to hopefully miss the storms. Of course when we arrived at about 9:00 there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the heat was already beginning to build. After a couple of hours on the water we were both wishing we'd gotten a little earlier start to the day to avoid the heat , oh well , live and learn.
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The fishing itself started out good and then slowed down towards the middle of the afternoon under the bright sun. I actually landed four smallies before we had even left the boat ramp, waiting for my buddy to get his boat figured out.
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We caught lots of fish in the 8-12 inch range and a few others that really made the day.
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It was my first time on this creek and I was pretty impressed with the overall fishing. The fact that it was a nice Friday in the middle of June and we only saw two other canoes all day long impressed me even more than the fishing though. We took our time on the relatively short float and made a full day of it. My partner had plenty of time to get accustomed to his new boat and play around with it a little and I had lots of time for a relaxing streamside lunch and to just basically enjoy being out on the water.
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We saw several nice fish over the course of the day that we just couldn't convince to leave their shady holding areas to come out and play. I'll definitely be floating this one again , preferably on an overcast day to help minimize the effects of the skinny , clear water.
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Day two I had originally planned to fish around one of the locals with a buddy , but unfortunately he had to cancel at the last minute due to other obligations. I debated about going anyway but then decided to stay around home and catch up a few of those chores that I should have done weeks ago , bah humbug! I did mangage to sit down at the tying desk for a few hours Saturday night at least , working up a few more smallmouth streamers for the next days excursion.
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Sunday was an early one , up at 3:00 and on the road by 3:30. After less sleep than what I would have liked , everything was a little fuzzy for the first hour or so of the drive.
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I finally pulled in to our decided upon meeting place just before 6:30 and we loaded gear in the boat and headed out.
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Compared to Fridays short relaxing float , this one was going to be pushing the limits in the opposite direction. We'd done the eighteen miles in one day before , but never at these historically low flows that the river is experiencing right now. Our saving grace was the fact that we would be fishing out of my buddys new Towee boat , equipped with a rowing frame and a fifteen horse outboard for those long slow stretches you just want to get through in a hurry.
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It was my first chance to fish out of the Towee style boats and I was thoroughly impressed by the way it handled. After a short time on the oars you really wouldn't even know that you weren't in a drifter , except for that motor on the back. Which I might add saved our asses from a lot of back breaking oar pushing through some slow water sections.
As for the fishing , it was a tough day. We caught fish of course , quite a few small ones in the 10-12 inch range and a couple of others that helped really salvage the days fishing.
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Between the low water levels and the bright sunny day , we had to work pretty hard for the fish we did catch. But hey , that's fishing. If it was easy every time you went out it would get old , right?? Maybe someday I'll get good enough at this to answer that question with some conviction , for now though I'll just have to guess and say yes.
We still had an enjoyable day on the water regardless of the tougher fishing conditions. Every time I got ready to comment on the slow fishing I just reminded myself that I could be back home cleaning the garage or mowing the yard. Yeah , it was a good day of fishing when you put it like that.
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I didn't take many pics of the days events simply because there wasn't much time for it. With eighteen miles of river to navigate before sundown you were either rowing or fishing all day long , not much time for anything else.
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We were pulling off the water just before 7:00 Sunday night. Tired , sunburned and smiling from ear to ear after another weekend spent chasing Ozark smallies. It was time to add a few more bug splatters to the windshield on the long drive home and finish up the last few remaining hours of the three day weekend.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Smallie Day Trip

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Had the opportunity to do one of those one day whirlwind trips again and just couldn't pass it up. Seven hours of road time for about the same amount of time on the water...some might say I have a problem.
The fishing was a little slower than the previous trips but fish were still caught and a good time was had by all involved parties.
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The bite definitely seems to be moving from a post-spawn into a more summer like pattern for us , lots of fish everywhere but fewer and fewer of those pigs that we were getting regularly earlier in the year. We still landed a few chunky fish that pretty much made the day.
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It still beats the hell out of anything else I can think of doing and I can't wait to get back out again!
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

5/30 - 6/1 Weekend on the River...Smallmouth Style

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.
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We spent the first night dodging raindrops and drinking beer while sitting around the driftwood fire.
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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.
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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.
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It didn't take too long before we started catching a few of the fish that we were after.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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