Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bows and Bro's, Little Red River adventure

Family had big plans in central AR this weekend, so I was "forced" to take my BnL fishing Saturday, life is tough sometimes. Thanks to the hospitality of a FB friend we were given access to a private launch spot on the Little Red River.  So we planned to meet at 4:30, load his ride 115x on my truck, and drive to a location on the river neither of us had ever seen.  With 4 hours of sleep I was up at 4 am and ready to go.  Made a cup of coffee and went outside to load up....about 5 mins later my BnL arrives about 25 mins early...everyone knows I can't sleep the night before a fishing trip.  So SOP is, if your up early, head on over b/c I'll be up too!!  We load up and hit the road early with excitement in the air and a little bit of nervousness about the destination.  We arrived at 5:40 am to the address we were given and both were glad to see some of the landmarks we had been told about actually at least the location was real.

Parked and started looking for the trail to the river.  Walking around on someone else's property in the early morning hours might seem crazy, but not to the fish obsessed.  We found a trail and started our journey to the river.  After 5 mins of walking, the trail became a dry creek bed...we kept on for another 10 mins before we decided that, if this was the trail, it led to really bad things.  Not wanting to meet whatever was waiting for us in the dark, at the end of the dry creek bed, we scaled a 10ft embankment...quickly!!  At the top we found "another trail"...with a big sign/picture of a fish that read, "River" and an arrow...awesome, that helps!!  At this point we're feeling pretty good, we've managed to not get shot, lost, or murdered (HUGE plus) and we've found the river.  All we had to do was carry our fully loaded kayaks down a smallish mountain.  Let's fish!!!  We found a little pedestrian bridge over a creek and decided this was the spot...dropped the yaks in the creek and made our way to the river.  1st part of this adventure is a success...we're on the river, alive and fishing.

Time to break in the new TFO I got this week.  Made my way to the far side of the river and ditched the yak in favor of some wet wading.  About 10 mins in and fish on!!  Nice start to the morning, 1st bow I've held since June.  

TFO and a bow.  Note: making a "bow" in the hatch strap causes less snags.

Quick photo and released.  Saw a few fish rising up river so I slowly walked that direction.  Made a presentation and got a take.  2 fish in 20 mins!!  Day is looking good.  Checked on my BnL, it had been several years since he fly fished.  It looked like he had knocked the rust off, so I decided to paddle a little further up river and see if I could put a good bend in that new TFO.  Got a few more takes but no hook-ups.  Not long after I hear BnL hollering from down river and he's hooked-up...he was pretty stoked about his 1st bow!  It had been several years since he held a trout.

The sun came up and the boats came out...not long after...the bite slowed way down.  We had landed 10-15 bows in 3 hours, but from 10-12 it wasn't happening for us.  I tried nymphs, hoppers, small streamers, everything I had in my limited trout arsenal but all I got was good experience tying knots and changing leaders.  We had drifted over a mile and had to paddle up river to get back to the start.  We decided now was a good time to make wake.

Along the way the river got calm, the boaters must have caught their limits and went home.  The trout came back out and we began to see them in the river.  BnL sight fished 5 bows at the halfway point, all while I was tying a bugger on...I though about ramming him with my kayak but I almost had my knot tied (those that fly fish understand).  He had a good spell that lasted the entire paddle back.  We made it to a shoal that I had success at earlier with a sow bug, so I beached the yak and worked the far bank.   It didn't happen fast but I managed to pull 4 out of that shoal and had 3 shake off.

We paddled up river a mile and drifted back, repeating this drift a few times, pulling in several more bows.  Final total, ~50 bows between the 2 of us but no browns.  No real big ones, ranged from 10-14 inches.  Both lost our biggest on weak sets.  Coolest part of the trip; having a bald eagle fly over us, it was close enough I think I could have touched it with my fly rod.  Interesting catch; a small bow with a deep gash, perfect beak shape, behind the head...released it thinking it would just turn upside down.  Saw it 30 min later about 1/2 a mile down river...could see the white and red gash on his head.

I suspect one of these tried to snack on that bow.

It ended like it began, the fog started to set the sun faded, and we were left with that anxious feeling we had at the start.  We had to make our way back to the truck and hope we hadn't trespassed or have an angry homeowner waiting for us.  Paddled to the creek we started at and found it empty...the water had dropped a foot since we started.  So we waded through the mud to the bridge and carried our fully loaded yaks up the smallish mountain.  Got back to my truck and found nothing...not a sole around.  Got a call from the FB friend that he'd be home we waited and met someone with the same addiction we of kayaking!!  That's why I love yaking, it's a great sport filled with great people, similar people with similar interest.  2nd part of the adventure completed, not end up in jail...or worse!


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