Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Road Tripping with Joe....The White Bass Gamble

 photo P3182498_zpsqohiylpt.jpg
I only had one day to kill so it was going to be a relatively short trip. Four hours to the nearest trout stream...three hours to my favorite smallie creek or two hours and some change to check out the white bass situation. While all of the choices had upsides (and downsides), in the end I chose the white bass gamble for several reasons. First of those being that, if you hit it right, the whites are usually around in numbers and are relatively easy to catch when found.
 photo P3182500_zpsud8f81jp.jpg
 photo P3182513_zpsyrujgmzr.jpg
The second reason was that I wanted to take my best buddy along and he just doesn't do well with extended car rides or long, tough hikes anymore. At 14 years old (what's that, like 100 in people years!) he's to the point where short trips to the local lake and laying in the grass under a shade tree are his idea of a good time, and we get out and do just that as often as possible.
 photo P3182502_zps2oeeowfb.jpg
That being said, I know I sure miss those long roadtrips together with nothing to do but enjoy each others company on a quiet riverbank, and I sincerely hope he does too. On this day, the weather was mild and the trip relatively short and since I didn't even know if the fish were up in the river yet I was fine with calling it a day whenever my old buddy got tired and was ready to head home. Just two old guys with a day to kill.
 photo P3182517_zpsfyt5x35a.jpg
 photo P3182515_zpsgbarmxn1.jpg
We hiked...we sat on the bank and listened to the water meander by...we gave a piss poor attempt at chasing a couple of mouthy red squirrels in the field edge as we were hiking from one spot to another...and we even managed to throw a few flies as time permitted.
 photo P3182510_zpsgwhqwici.jpg
 photo P3182507_zps9dryn2oq.jpg
 photo P3182519_zpsj11mzhft.jpg
We snacked on peanut butter crackers (Joes favorite) at almost every stop and we had our usual fried chicken tailgate lunch.
 photo P3182526_zpsk3axrfzy.jpg
 photo P3182524_zpsqvam0izw.jpg
While I can't say that the fish were ever found and caught in any numbers, we managed a few small males to hand and lost a few others.
 photo P3182529_zpsixcwyo8w.jpg
 photo P3182531_zpszef6mi4m.jpg
That being said, it still might have been the best trip I've had in quite awhile. Sometimes the company you keep outweighs the end result achieved...here's to many more fishless trips with my old friend.
 photo P3182514_zpsp770fksg.jpg
 photo P3182511_zpscmicdmoo.jpg

Monday, March 21, 2016

Signs of Spring

 photo P3112444_zpszgwj8ies.jpg
Most of the signs are there...green shoots of grass, budding trees, those robins that are constantly searching my excuse for a yard for their next meal (I guess it's easier for them when your yard is half dirt). I've been paying attention these past few weeks and the signs have not gone unnoticed, somewhere in the dark reaches of my brain a plan has been developing to find out if the signs are truly harbingers of another changing season or just a tease by Mother Nature.
Spring for me means the end to a long Winter of trout fishing and the beginning of a new chapter, one that has perhaps become my favorite time of the year. Spring for me, above all else, means hungry smallmouth bass waking up in many of the Ozark streams and aggressively chasing streamers.
 photo P3112468_zpsn12t2cay.jpg
 photo P3112488_zpsg6ckasco.jpg
Those brown beauties start slowly dispersing from their Winter haunts and searching out the prime lies in the river where they'll begin to put on the feed bag in preparation for the upcoming spawn. If you're a smallie guy then you undoubtedly know the scenario I speak of, and if you're like me, it has to be one of your favorite times of the year.
Some years it might be the end of March or even the second week of April before things really get moving in the right direction. Often times old man Winter still has a solid grip on things this time of the year and warmwater fishing is but wishful thinking. This year we had a very mild Winter and we've had several days already that have felt like mid June instead of March, thus that little voice in the back of my mind saying Go!...Go!!...Go float your favorite smallmouth stream and see what's going on. After all, the worst thing that can happen is a nice float down an empty river and a skunking at the end of the day, those are odds I can play with.
 photo P3112463_zpseh51bu82.jpg
I tried to round up some company for my little one day excursion but couldn't produce any interest among my fishing buddies. Too early for smallmouth...it's gonna be overcast and rainy...six hours of driving for about the same amount of fishing time. No thanks, I'll wait til the fish are biting. The excuses were many and probably all valid points but I'm not that easily discouraged (or maybe it's just that I'm not that smart!).
Needless to say I made the trek down South and floated one of my favorite smallmouth creeks this weekend to see if the signs were true? From the lack of people on the water, I never saw another person, I'd say the general concensus is that it's still too early for smallmouth.

 photo P3112450_zpsdhageko6.jpg
 photo P3112485_zpscdisn67w.jpg
They were definitely right about the weather, it rained and I got wet.
 photo P3112491_zpsnnnqjnpo.jpg
As for the six hours of drive-time, no biggie, I do it all the time for but a slim chance to catch a fish. What else was I gonna do..stay home and watch college basketball??
What I discovered is that it's still early, there were a few hungry fish but I'd say you should probably wait at least another couple of weeks before trying it yourself.
After all the weather this time of year is pretty unpredictable anyway and besides that, there's all that basketball on TV. Maybe in a few more weeks it'll be worth getting out on your favorite creek...but definitely don't go now!!
 photo P3112470_zpsb2iibzl7.jpg
 photo P3112456_zpsdgwfczdq.jpg
 photo P3112455_zps1j6rekbz.jpg
 photo P3112442_zps3kptraqs.jpg
 photo P3112464_zpsecbebhuv.jpg
 photo P3112473_zpsacysqzdb.jpg
 photo P3112478_zpsolnlruk0.jpg
 photo P3112474_zpssv5zul5o.jpg
 photo P3112475_zpsio8zoex7.jpg
 photo P3112496_zpsjjrtpuoz.jpg

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring Break 2016

I took my annual March vacation last week, my own personal Spring Break so to speak. Nine days without the headaches of the normal 9:00 - 5:00 grind is always a welcome thing, but even more so if at least some of that time is spent on the water. I was fortunate enough to spend most of the week hanging out in a rented cabin with a small group of family and friends doing what guys normally do on extended fishing trips...eat, sleep, fish...repeat the process.
The weather was nicer than average for early March, the streams I floated all fished exceptionally well and my evenings were spent hanging out with folks I enjoy sitting around a fire with...what else could a guy ask for??
 photo P3012310_zpsukrqj4m6.jpg
 photo P3012314_zpsmamyla4x.jpg
 photo P2292294_zpstogxg74u.jpg
 photo P3012322_zpsnlqfm2ot.jpg
 photo P3012321_zps84ldkibf.jpg
 photo P3012325_zpsmberhavv.jpg
 photo P3022377_zpsd8wu6amh.jpg
 photo P3012326_zpsi4qs2mrq.jpg
 photo P3012328_zpsipkcsfxl.jpg
 photo P3012341_zpsfehtmtbr.jpg
 photo P3022378_zpstj2j6e33.jpg
 photo P3012348_zpsdhjg9hvo.jpg
 photo P3032446_zps4vko72sv.jpg
 photo P3012354_zps48cn4cth.jpg
 photo P3022409_zpsoxl8jfc2.jpg
 photo P3022416_zpsbotv5suv.jpg
 photo P3022412_zpsnhwxkx9v.jpg
 photo P3022384_zpsyfrk6lif.jpg
 photo P3022402_zpsos25i664.jpg
 photo P3032451_zpsuk1qn41w.jpg
 photo P3022405_zpszyvmmggd.jpg
 photo P3032436_zpsk3e4tzwc.jpg
 photo P3032437_zpsyt9xzsmt.jpg
 photo P3032452_zpsyfsajsxz.jpg
 photo P3022421_zpshfxjr8fn.jpg
 photo P3022418_zpsdggi8yi4.jpg
 photo P3032477_zpso8nynnpp.jpg
 photo P3032441_zps0sgrbdxk.jpg
 photo P3032447_zps4a4cs8o6.jpg
 photo P3032470_zpsoakdadr0.jpg
 photo P3032448_zpsmusi6wtw.jpg
 photo P3022424_zpskegf9rf3.jpg
 photo P3032465_zpsq6yi7caa.jpg
 photo P3022399_zps7hg0nrfy.jpg