Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Starting the Summer Off Right!

This past weekend was one of the nice long, relaxing weekends that I look forward to all week long. Lauren and I started it out by heading out to the Farmers Market at the new Farmers Park on the South side of town. If you find yourself in Springfield for the weekend this is a must do cultural experience that every foodie will enjoy. We ended up walking away with a couple of bags of veggies that we picked up from various producers and a package of bison hamburger patties from Elkhead Ranch which is located East of town in Bruner, MO. We ended up grilling the burgers for dinner on Sunday evening and they turned out amazing. Bison is a lot leaner than beef, but still packs a ton of flavor. Talking with the guys from Elkhead Ranch really sparked an interest in me. My family has always had cattle, but the thought of raising bison- an icon of the American West- is something that is truly intriguing to me. I will definitely be looking further into this.

Sunday afternoon I had the chance to hit the James River for a couple of hours. The water was still a tad high from the recent rains, but I was able to wet wade to several good spots. I have been almost exclusively fishing with my fly rod the past few months, so I decided to change it up a bit and do a little spin fishing. On the water I'm guilty of being a little stubborn when it comes to lure selection. It's an awful habit that I need to break if I want to be more productive, but when you have your favorite lures it's hard to not throw them. I'm still very new to river fishing, but I have become very partial to Zoom Speed Craws when targeting smallmouth, spotted bass, and rock bass in the local waters. Zoom is my go-to for soft plastics. They're tough, come in a wide variety of colors, fairly cheap, and found just about anywhere. During my time on the water I was able to hook up with a descent size green sunfish, my personal best spotted bass for this stretch of the river, and about a 15-20'' longnose gar. Luckly, the gar ended up biting through my 6lb. after 2 huge leaps and a quick run down a fast moving riffle. I would like to purposefully catch these living dinosaurs someday, but at the time I was not in a good position to safely land one of these toothy critters.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Back At It!

I'm back! The past few weeks have been packed full of work, graduations, and weddings which made it difficult for me to get out much. Thankfully, last weekend (yes, an entire week ago! I'm so behind!) I had a wide open schedule that allowed me to get back out on my bike and spend a few hours on the water with a fly rod in my hand.

Saturday's are for Riding


On Saturday morning, despite the recent rains and possibility of pop-up thunderstorms, my buddy Nathan and I decided to take a little road trip down to Branson to ride the White River Valley trail system. This was the first time that either of us have had the chance to get back down to this trail since last summer.

Thankfully, the weather decided to hold off and the trail was dry enough for us to become reacquainted with this excellent trail system. We were pleasantly surprised to come across several improvements that have taken place in the past year that have made the trails more rider friendly and sustainable. Any mountain bikers living in the Ozarks should do their best to take a day and experience everything that White River has to offer.

After a couple of hours of riding we packed up and took a dip in the lake over at Table Rock State Park to cool off and clean up a bit. We looked like complete dirtbags, but who cares. Gotta do whatcha gotta do! After a quick change of clothes we headed into Hollister and grabbed a bite to eat at the Ye Olde English Inn. Really cool old inn and pub with awesome food and cold drinks without the Branson crowds. Definitely check it out if you're in the area.

Sunday's are for Fishing


I finished out my weekend on the James River with a fly rod in my hands and smallmouth on my mind. Unfortunately, I was unable to hook up with any smallmouth throughout the afternoon, but I did get into a handful of sunfish and a chunky Goggle-Eye (Northern Rock Bass). I fished with various colors of Clouser Minnows and Wooly Buggers, but I'm wondering if I need to get a little deeper or provide the fish with a meatier presentation. Looks like I need to learn to tie a few smallmouth patterns!

Until next time...