Monday, June 2, 2014

650 miles of fishylook'n spots (not in 650 words of less)

 Had a trip planned to the Ozarks in NW Arkansas to catch some smallies with my brother-n-law.  But like any good plan it started off with a change of plans.  The weather was looking a little sketchy so what was suppose to be an overnight float trip starting Friday evening became this:  FISHING 3 bodies of water in 2 days.  Now that's a fishing trip.  But that's not the best part, I had packed my gear and loaded all my stuff the night before.  I watched the weather report and was in bed asleep by 7pm.  The plan was to get up at midnight and drive 2 hours to meet my brother-n-law and load all his gear in my truck.  By 5:30 we'd  be at my favorite Ozark stream.  Too excited to sleep I was awake at 10:30, ready to go.  I killed an hour watching the weather, ESPN, and making my lunch.  At midnight I couldn't wait any longer...better to be early than late.  So off I go.
Leaving the launch in our dust

Best part:  At 1am it hits me square in the face.  I had left my meticulously packed milk crate sitting at the door of my garage. All the gear I needed to fish 3 different bodies of water in 2 days was now 45 miles behind me.  I realized I had left early so I just had to go get it and I'll just be a little later.  Not going to bore you with the details but a launch time of 5:30am became 6:30 (remember I was delayed by 2 hours).  I'm sure this has happened to others but it's a first for me.

Tubes seemed to work best

Crazy start to the morning now the fishing.  Unloaded and gone in seconds.  Those smallies are in trouble now.  We'll lets just say it started a little slower than I had wanted.  Threw buggers, poppers, sneaky's, anything that looked like bait fish for 2 hours without a strike.  Several follow's but no takers.  Finally after watching by brother-n-law catch his 3rd bronzeback I relented and picked up my baitcaster with a craw.

Baitcaster 3 Flyrod 0

Not the biggest I've caught but I don't care I was happy to avoid the skunk

  Spotted a really fishylook'n spot and set the craw down next to a large rock in a deep hole.  Few seconds go by and I feel a hard "Thump", reeled down and set the hook...and heard a "Crack." You guessed it, broke off on the hook set.  BUT, I see my line floating, now I'm confused, if I broke by the fish I shouldn't see line...actually it broke in the reel.  I'm in luck, grab the line and pull the monster fish in...I HOPE! I reacquire my 8lb section of fluorcarbon and nothing.  I guess it had snapped at the fish and the reel.  Now that's crazy, never happened before. So I get up and running again.  Great practice run but now it's time to go to work.  Find another fishylook'n spot, followed by good presentation, and "Thump"...reeled down and set..."Crack." gotta be kidding.  It's gonna be one of those days.  That set-up goes in the bottom of the cuda (glad to have rod storage) and out comes my spinning rod that I reserve for pulling in redfish in Grand Isle, but I'm losing my mind and I've had 3.5 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours so I'm going All In. I attach a 10' leader to my 20lb braid via double uni knot and start looking for that next fishylook'n spot.  And there it is, nice deep pool with a large rock garden in the middle.  I calm myself and make a good cast, make the craw jump a few times and sit it down...."Thump", reel down and on.  The fish gods have rewarded my commitment.  So I think.  Fish dives for rock's, line grabs tree branches, and a snake fall's into the water and starts down stream headed in my direction.  I'm not scared of snakes, good try fish gods.  Not sure where it went b/c I was totally focused on landing this fish.

This fishing picked up as the day got older.  The fly rod never produced but tubes and craws took a few hard fighting smallmouth's.

The end of day 1 came after floating 7 miles in 12 hours.  We were exhausted but managed to catch around 20 smallies each just nothing to brag about this trip.

Had a tube in it's mouth but not mine

Never know what you'll run across when in a yak.  Came across this shotgun in the case at lake number 3. It had been in the water a while based off the appearance.   Turned it into the local state park office.
Day 2 started early. I have been teaching my uncle about kayak angling over the last few months (sorta obligated to since he bought my Native in March.  We chased spawning white bass in March, LM bass in April/May but the catching has been slow for him so today we were after bream.  Stopped at the bait shop for crickets on the way to a CentralArk lake known for large bream.  No pictures per his request but it wasn't slow.  Lake number 2 ended at lunch time I dropped him off and made the drive south in search of some LM bass.  I had emptied my freezer of fish Memorial weekend so I needed a few to take home.  Caught 7 bass but only kept 4.  I don't like to keep bass but my wife loves fish and since I'm a stay-at-home dad who gets to enjoy trips like this very often..I know what I have to do. I don't alway's keep fish but when I do it's b/c my wife made me.  Checked my mileage when I got home and I traveled 650 miles in search of fishylook'n spots.  Hope you enjoyed.  Another epic journey is in the works.  Stay Tuned.  


  1. Nice looking trip...surprised you got nothing on the fly. We've been doing pretty good on murdich minnows (large ones) and double decievers. Best colors have been olive/white and olive/yellow for me the past couple trips.

  2. I think I was just moving to fast trying to keep up with the other guy. Thanks for the tips. I'd like to get back to the Ozarks next week I'll be sure to have some DD's with me this trip.

  3. What type of soft plastic craw fish baits do you use on crooked creek?