Friday, June 4, 2010

May: Missed opportunities and despair

May 7, 2010: I made plans with Kevin Smith to fish and camp on the Little Red River in Arkansas. Kevin and a group of his friends make the annual trip to celebrate friendship and Cinco de Mayo. Kevin and Terry went down on Tuesday with Don May and Steve Bilon arriving on Wednesday. I was off on Thursday but had made plans to be at the MTFA meeting. So, my plan was to drive down Friday morning, stay for a night and return on Saturday. I had a hard time getting around on Friday, and finally had the gear packed and headed south on Hwy 65. I looked on the computer and printed directions to the little Red River. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to study them before leaving Springfield. After a few hours down the road, I realized my directions were worthless. I did not know the exact location of Kevin and were they were camping on the Little Red River. I drove for five hours and entered the city of Searcy, a small town northeast of Little Rock. I found the river, a featureless river with a color of mud in the middle of rice country. I was downstream from Kevin, later to find out at least fifty miles. Needless to say, I did not have a cell phone. In my despair, returned to Springfield that evening. I missed my opportunity to wet a line…

Norm and Warren exchanging fish stories

May 15, 2010: I had to day off before (Friday) with possible plans to fish the Niangua River near Bennett Spring. The rains before and during this weekend turned the usually tranquil stream into a raging river with the gage level up six feet. I drove to Bennett Spring S.P. in the morning and stood by with Norm, Warren Wilkerson and Rod before attending the memorial service to Dave Senderling. I returned to Springfield after the service to work in the afternoon.

Rod is feeling a chill

May 18, 2010: The weekend storms dropped four inches of rain. The rivers were swollen and the lakes levels on the rise. There were not many options to fish other than the Pot Hole. It was below 655 ft before the recent rains, now at 660 and filling the basin six inches a day.

I took the kayak down late afternoon.

The water from Taneycomo was flowing over the dam. I went to the usually spot hoping to find a walleye. There was not much action and finally hooked up at 9 p.m. which took me by surprise. The tippet failed and I broke off almost immediately, more despair…

May 26, 2010: Jim and I made plans the first of the year to get our fishing days together on the calendar. This was our first trip of the year and Jim wanted to fish the North Fork of the White River. This is Jim favorite stream with many years of experience fishing this river. His knowledge of the river, knowing the sweet spots enables him to be successful on this stream.

We left Springfield at 6 a.m. and arrived Pettit’s before 8 a.m. Craig told us Hammond Camp had dirty water upstream. The stream was up with reports indicating the level to be at 3.7 ft.

Jim getting started for a day of fishing, we put in at Blair Bridge

Craig figured we would have better luck starting at Blair Bridge and floating 2.5 miles down to Patrick Bridge for our day of fishing. We agreed…

Fishing below Blair Bridge

Just below the bridge, I came across a large snapping turtle, probably getting ready to lay some eggs.

Jim and I caught a few browns just below the bridge and continue to find browns with an occasional rainbow in the mix. The current was pushing our comfort limits for safe fishing, since the water was up. Needless to say, we did not have any slips into the drink. I did have a concern near the end of the day. Jim went on down stream with the canoe; I was to wade down stream fishing a seam. When I started out into the current became concern for my safety. So, I removed my waders, broke down my five-piece rod, boxes, wallet, and any thing that could possibly get lost and stuffed them into the waders. I rolled up the waders and placed them around my neck, just in case of falling. Once I walked off the end of the island had no problems wading down stream. The day was hot in the sun with thunderstorms building around us. We did not encounter any rain but did have several loud claps of thunder around us.

We did not catch any large fish this day, but caught and release a dozen trout. We have plans to return mid-June.

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