If I said it 100 times, I have said it 10 times; there is simply no better place to be on a February weekend than on the White River below Bull Shoals Dam, near Lakeview, Arkansas. A recent ice storm kept me from getting down there for the “opener” (that is two years in a row I haven’t made it down for opening day, that will have to be correct next year), but all was not lost as Brent Hinds and I left our offices at 12pm on Thursday to meet up and buy provisions (read…beer) and drive down.
At the urging of Jim Traylor, we opted to stay at Gaston’s White River Resort, thanks to a healthy 40% winter rate discount and the fact that our preferred fish shack (RiverCliff Cabin) was previously booked. So at least we had reservations for the weekend. Brent and I swung by a new liquor store near my house called Fryer Tuck’s. This is a beer drinker’s nirvana. They had an entire aisle and back wall devoted to those wonderful beverages. They also had plenty different types of wine, if you are a panty waist. We must have spent at least an hour there purusing the aisles looking for the perfect single malt scotches and beer to bring. We ended up with $188 of Scapa (single malt), another brand of single malt that I can’t remember, and lots of beer from the old stand-by New Belgium Brewing Company and a couple of bottles from some new breweries. All said and done, we were on the road to Gastons by 3pm on Thursday.
By 3:15pm, Brent had pulled out the vise and was tying up some beaded worms for highwater fishing and some tungsten mono-midges for fishing on low water. The man can flat tie, which is why he does it commercially I guess. I don’t have the patience.
Our apparent lolly-gagging seemed to have worked out perfect, as we were able to meet up with Brian Greer for dinner at one of the better Mexican restaurants in Rolla (it is behind the Moto-Mart, right off I-44…..but the name escapes me). A quick meal, and we were soon on our way towards Lebannon……thanks to a miscommunication. We exited I-44 at Newberg, and proceeded to take the backroads to Edgar Springs and Hwy. 63 before we were truly on our way.
All said and done, we rolled into Gastons around 8pm on Thursday night and were able to get checked in. The damage the area suffered from the recent ice storm was very apparent, even in the darkness as we drove south on Hwy 5. Gaston’s had power restored on Tuesday, and the grounds were still in the process of being cleaned up. But it didn’t matter, we were fishing tomorrow.
We proceeded to get unpacked, and broke out the alcohol and vises and proceeded to tie until about midnight when we hit the sack for an early breakfast with Jim Traylor of FlyFishArkansas.com and a day of fishing the White River.