Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Little Bit of Ozark Goodness...Weekend TR

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A couple days off after a long, tiring week...a river that's on limited days, enjoying it's last few weeks of solitude before the partying masses corrupt it's identity for the season...a forecast for mostly cloudy afternoons with highs approaching 75 degrees and crisp, cool mornings...and an itch that's just dying to be scratched.
Those were the events that conspired to find me floating lazily down one of my favorite stretches of smallmouth water with nothing else on my plate for the next 36 hours. Making sure that the beer stayed cold and the flies stayed wet were the two top priorities foremost in my mind for the foreseeable future.
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The river was in a very generous mood once again, giving up several fish that left my hands shaking and knees weak.
The fish of the weekend came midday on Friday, floating through a nice medium depth fast water run. I was stripping a DD through a particularly inviting looking trough when I saw a dark flash accompanied by an instant bend in my rod. I knew it was a decent fish from the brief glimpse but figured another solid 16 inch stud. About this time the fish cartwheels out of the water, clearing the surface by a good two feet. Its a good thing I was wet wading because I'm pretty sure I pissed myself just a little. 25 yards downstream and another circus like jump later I had a beautiful 18 3/4 inch fish in the net.
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I would have swore she was 20 if she had spit the fly after that first jump, but first impressions aside it was probably the best battle I've waged with a smallie in several years.
True Ozark beauty...
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The river was still empty of floaters and the water levels were pretty much perfect for the stretch I was floating.
Two days of floating on two different rivers, broken up by an evening of sitting around the fire while listening to the whipoorwills and tree frogs fill the night with their raucious chorus. The kind of trip that's good for the soul.
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The natural beauty of the Ozarks never fails to amaze me, offering up new vistas on each visit...
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Happy Hour...
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Happier Hour...
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The locals...
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My menu planning is pretty simplified. Fried chicken for breakfast, fried chicken for lunch and some form of red meat on the grill for dinner...
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Maybe the best part of warmwater fishing...
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Grand exits...
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  1. Jeff, I haven't even broken out the short sleeve shirts yet, let alone wet waded. I'm jealous of the nice looking water, the even nicer looking bass and your ability to write and photograph it so I feel like I'm there.

    1. Thanks Howard...You can rest assured that Spring is on it's way to your neighborhood as well, won't be long and you'll be out there giving those fish heck!

  2. Awesome! I wet waded today too. I hate waders, so when I don't need um I don't bring um!

    1. I feel the same way. I hope to not put on another pair of waders until next Fall!!

  3. My man...a couple of things really stand out in this post. Your fish take is impressive, and your choice of food is second to none, you MUST have a new camera, for the photos are like being there. But number one is your choice of a pot to warm the beans. Well done.

    1. Thanks Alan. No new camera but I did get a new fish-eye lens for the one I have and used it quite a bit this weekend. I like the perspective it gives you for sure.
      Nothing like a can of beans over a fire...

  4. Thanks for sharing this trip! Beautiful water, beautiful fish...solitude. AWESOME!

    1. Appreciate it Dave. That solitude thing is about to be a thing of the past on most of my rivers, I have to make hay while I still can!

  5. She's a beauty. The photo of her in the net is a classic.

    1. I love the tiger striped colors of a clear water smallie. They may not have the vivid coloration of a high mountain brookie or a buttercup brown but they are definitely stunning in their own way.

  6. So much awesome here, Jeff. Those double decievers you tie up are the true definition of "work horse"

    1. Thanks Justin. My number 1 fly for pretty much everything I fish for. In the right size and color combo they can be deadly.

  7. Awesome. I've only ever waded those waters. Rare is it that I've caught those beasts. I mainly stick to the tribs. We are truly blessed to fish this watershed.

    1. I totally agree. It just sucks that we have to give it over to the idiots in the Summer.
      I need to figure out a way to fish LS, its the one I've never been on.