In true McClane fashion, he arrived late to my house on Friday morning. After checking out the camper (he had never seen it) and loading all my gear, we were on our way for a weekend of fishing by 9:30am and sitting at Eat Rite diner in High Ridge, a mere 5 minutes from my door step, for breakfast by 9:35. Any good fishing trip needs to start with a country fried steak and scrambled eggs with cheese — Brent is slowly learning. By 10:00am we were fully on our way and by 11:30am we were in Wal-Mart shopping for food and beer. We bought just enough beer to last us two nights of moderate drinking — an 18 pack of MGD and a 12 pack of Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat — and were on the road again. Checked into the room and suited up to fish by 1:45pm.
Friday afternoon might have been the best trout park fishing I have ever experienced in Missouri. In the two hours that we fished, Brent and I brought to hand a combined total of no less than 30 fish with many more lost. The fish we were catching were bigger than normal and also had a lot more fight in them, with many leaving the water more than once during the fight. A white mohair leech proved deadly for me on Friday, and Brent tore them up with a #16 tan scud. Towards the end of the day Friday, Brent and I were walking down the bank when a guy walking past asked if we belonged to the St. Louis Fly Tying Group on Yahoo. When someone recognizes you like that, it is either a good thing or a bad thing, but given McClane’s rise to celebrity on the past fishing trip we couldn’t deny that we were members of this internet possee. It turned out to be Dave Dawson, one of the few list members whom I had not had the pleasure of sharing water with yet. In true fashion, we all fished the big pool directly below the C&R area and Dave promptly caught a very nice fish on a glo-ball nonetheless. The whistle blew at 4:00pm and we walked back to the truck. We invited Dave to come up to the condo and tie flies with us later this evening after we have dinner at the Lodge. He agreed and the evening was set.
Montauk Lodge is a very interesting place. The food and atmosphere is great and the employees and patrons aren’t affraid to tell it like it is. McClane and I picked a table ordered a couple of steaks and while we were waiting on them, started a conversation with another set of fishermen next to us. From the looks of the two gents, they didn’t appear to have that good of a day and the conversation verified it. McClane and I had agreed we could have left at 4:30pm on Friday and the trip would have been a sweet success; but we didn’t know what we had in store for ourselves this evening. After chowing down the steaks, we got back to the condo and started tying up some flies. Dave Dawson arrived around 7:00pm. Dave is the owner of Eagles Park Campground, near the Tan Vat Access of the Current River, and one heck of an interesting fellow. The drinking and tying commenced (see photos). I won’t go in to much of the details, for it was a night that one had to experience for one’s self, but it was definitely interesting and we accomplished several things. First we actually tied some flies (I tied up a dozen #12 white mohair leeches); McClane and I learned that tying a Glo-Ball the Dave Dawson way takes a skill that at least one of the two drunk city boys doesn’t possess; we learned that Dave Dawson is a wealth of knowledge about the river and the area; we drank all the beer we had bought for the entire weekend (and Dave even brought over his own 12 pack — so that is like 42 beers between 3 guys); McClane in a fit of drunken rage baked a gooey butter cake and burned the bottom of it so bad we could have used it for a frisbee in the field down by the lodge. When McClane looked down at his watch and announced it was 2:30am, we were all in shock as the time just flew by. We picked up and it was off to bed to dream of fishes.