A few weeks ago I headed up to the Little Sac River for the first time to try my hand at catching white's on the fly. I was able to land about half a dozen fish that evening, but I had to wade through the crowds to do it. While I was out there I ran into a guy who knew the river and its inhabitants very well. After a few minutes of conversation I ended up following him down miles of dusty gravel roads as he pointed out some off the beaten path fishing holes. On Friday I was able to cut out of work early and decided to take advantage of the day by trying out one of these newly discovered spots.
|I promise the truck was in park!|
After an hour drive and a quick hike I was streamside. As I was tying on a chartreuse and white Clouser I saw several fish break the surface. Two casts in and I was already hooked up with a descent sow.
|Hooked up with my first white bass of the day|
|My first of 6 healthy whites|
|This snag produced most of the afternoon's fish|
|Biggest fish of the day|
|I also spotted a few carp tailing in a shallow pool just down stream. Looks like I'm going to have to tie up some John Montana Hybrids. Check out his blog here.|
|A sign of a good day of fishing. First "bass thumb" of the year.|
Throughout the afternoon I landed a total of six keeper sized whites and one tiny little largemouth. Although I didn't catch any lunkers, all of the whites that I landed were quite a bit larger than the small males I was catching a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I did miss several hooksets and managed to break off 4 flies while fighting fish. Missed hooksets are just part of fishing, but the 4 break-offs were a bit concerning. I'm not sure if the problem was due to sloppy backcasts, poor knots, or fighting several fish before retying. While I'm fairly new to fly fishing, I have been bass fishing for years, so consistently checking line and retying often is nothing new to me. I'll be paying closer attention to my knots and tippet to see if this problem persits.
The afternoon also allowed me the opportunity to test out a couple pieces of gear. So far I have really enjoyed my Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel that I received for Christmas this past year (thanks Mom and Dad!). I had completely forgotten to recharge my GoPro after my last fishing trip, so it was the perfect opportunity to break out the Nomad 7. All I had to do was plug the camera into the USB port on the solar panel and throw it up on the dash for the one hour drive to the river. That one hour charge was enough to get me through the afternoon. This is one piece of gear that will be getting quite a bit of use in the future.
|Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar panel paired with the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition|
Saturday: Turkeys and Trails
Saturday saw me up at 4:45 a.m. clad in camo and headed out to Paris Springs Access in search of some thunder chickens. I have only been hunting for a couple of years now and I have yet to harvest an animal with my bow. I feel like I finally know what I'm doing when it comes to deer hunting, but turkey hunting is an entirely new experience for me. As soon as legal shooting light set in I heard several gobblers sounding off in the distance. While hiking along the edge of a recently planted corn field I spotted what I thought was a jake about 150 yards away. I know enough about turkey hunting, especially hunting on public land, to know that you should call the bird to you to avoid any accidents involving other hunters. After a few minutes of calling I started to notice that the jake that I thought I was calling in was actually a decoy. **Sigh** I quietly packed up and moved on. By 7-7:30 a.m. the birds completely shut down. I continued to hunt until about 11 a.m. without spotting any real birds. I did end up running into the hunter that had the decoys set up while I was taking a quick lunch break. We talked for about half an hour and parted ways. He left me with a bit of encouragement and a few tips for finding birds. While I didn't see a single turkey, it was still a good morning to get out.
|Neat old barn|
|Paris Springs Access is a beautiful conservation area that I would highly recommend checking out. Beware that there aren't really any trails except for a few narrow foot paths around Turnback Creek.|
|The Carter Family Cemetary along the yellow trail|
|I can't get enough of the Ozark hills.|
|Indian Paintbrush growing within a cut cedar. For more information on Indian Paintbrush click here.|
I'm not sure of the exact length of the yellow trail, but I'd put it at about 4 miles. Its a great hike with plenty of rugged ascents and descents that keep things interesting. Be sure to watch you foot placement in some spots or else you might end up at the bottom of the hill faster than you would like. Lauren and I always joke about who will have the stumble or trip of the day (it's usually her!). If you ever find yourself with some free time this spring, consider heading down to Busiek for a quick hike and a refreshing splash in the creek. If you find yourself with even more free time, I wouldn't suggest chasing wild turkeys or white bass.. I've heard its not very fun...