Lake Taneycomo (Branson, Missouri) — July 9, 2004

Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 1

What a wild and crazy trip it has been. I am two weekends back from meeting some true fly fishing icons and having the fly fishing weekend of my life thus far (before Trout Bum of course) and McClane just got into town this week after 10 days canoeing the Boundary Waters. Leading the life of Trout Bums is tough, but someone has to do it.

After throwing all our gear into McClane’s Dodge Ram Pickup (I swear we brought enough stuff to guide a boy scout group on all the tail waters of the Ozarks) we headed out of St. Louis about 9:00pm and headed for Branson, Missouri and the fabled waters of Lake Taneycomo and its monster Rainbow Trout. We arrived at the Table Rock Lake Dam at about 2:45am and they were not generating any water, so we checked out the access and decided to crack open a couple of cans of Budweiser that were one of 8 cases of beer donated to us by the fine folks at St. Louis’ own Anheuser-Busch at the access point (Trout Bums should never buy their own beer, it goes against the grain of a true Trout Bum). We opted to finish our brews and check in to the condo we have successfully bummed for our stay in Branson.

Another 45 minutes later, we found our way to Treehouse Condos on Table Rock Lake. We successfully “bummed” 3 nights stay in David Bewley’s 3 bedroom / 3 bath condo; true southern hospitality at its finest. David has even offered to cook dinner for us on Friday evening after we get off the water. We took to the power of the internet for all of the “bums” that we have accomplished on this trip. We have never met David before, but his generosity is very appreciated, as this crib is nicer than these Trout Bums’ home.

Saturday (actually in 4 hours) we have a big day ahead of us. We are meeting with Stan Parker of RiverRun Outfitters ( and will be fishing Lake Taneycomo from Stan’s drift boat. So this won’t be a long report, more of a check-in to let our loved ones know that we made it ok (being a Trout Bum is a dangerous proposition at times) and that we have big plans ahead of us.

Time for another beer and to sort the gear, then off to bed for an hour or so……


Tight Lines,

Matt & Brent (written by Matt)



Hey everyone, this is Brent. Matt typed the above while I reviewed and assisted, but this is just from me. I’m not sure if you all know this, but what all that we are about to do on this trip has basically been solely bummed by Matt. I just wanted to give him credit where it is due. He has sent out hundreds of emails over the past couple months asking everyone and anyone he could think of to make this possible. As he said I just came back from an incredible trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota, so my attention has been focused on that the last couple of months. So this is kinda a thanks from me to Matt and also a note just to let you all know the true “Bum” he has been. This is going to be an awesome trip from what it looks. Stay tuned. We’ll do our best to write as often as we can. Ciao, Brent




On the first day of the Trout Bum tournament, we feel that we may have set the bar for our trip. After about an hour of sleep, we got up and headed to Branson to meet with Stan and Carolyn Parker of River Run Outfitters ( On our way there, I hadn’t had coffee yet and saw a Starbuck’s on the strip on the way and suggested we try to bum some coffee. We walked inside talked to Dave the manager about our quest and he instantly handed us two Grande sized coffees.

We got to Stan and Carolyn’s shop about 8am, and met with everyone in the shop. Talk about a bunch of fun genuine people. We felt like part of the family instantly. After a few handshakes and some trout talk, we headed over to Jimmy Jet’s Grill across the street for the world’s best blueberry pancakes, and some great conversation with Mac & Betty McCammon that graciously picked up the tab for everyone at our table since we’re bums. Thanks guys. Honestly, that was one of the funnest breakfasts we have ever had. When do you get to eat breakfast at an old time diner with palm trees inside (see our pic). We met the political cartoonist for the local paper and talked about the cook’s recent run-in with a bottle of bleach. I thought her hair looked great!!!!

After breakfast, we headed out to the access after loading all of our gear in to Stan’s Clackacraft. I’m sorry to say (this is Brent) but this was my first experience in a drift boat. WOW!!! That was a blast!! I can’t believe how little water those boats can float in and how stable they are. Stan put us in some awesome locations and knew exactly where they would be holding for the number of generators that were running. Stan kept telling us that we hadn’t hit the area in the best water conditions, but we sure had NO complaints. Everyone that came by had little success apparently. Well, it may not have been the 100 fish days that we’ve heard about, but 29 fish was pretty darn good for us. OH, should I tell numbers. Well let’s see MATT. Um, Stan fished for a few minutes and caught 3 fish, and Matt caught 7 fish. I’m not very good at math, so you all can calculate the rest……my number of fish. HOWEVER, I will admit that I had on at least 20 other fish for quite a while and lost all of them. This is not a shot at Rio, but this was the first time I used the Flouroflex-plus, but I have never in my life lost so many fish. If any of you can tell me why I lost so many fish today, please feel free to email us and tell me what I was doing wrong. All I can think of is that I wasn’t used to the stretch. I sure the heck had more hookups, but I got the tar razzed out of me for loosing so many fish. After I lost one of my flies, Stan offered his rod so that I could get a line in the water quickly. I used Stan’s Orvis T3 rod with Wonderline and fell in love. I couldn’t believe how easily I could mend the line. I told Stan that I was buying new line from his shop when we got back.

WELL, once we got back to Stan’s shop, he informed us to pick out any weight Wonderline we wanted. WHAT!!! He wouldn’t let us pay for the lines. Holy SMOKES!!! I can’t wait to throw my new line tomorrow!!! My old line was over 2 years old and sinking almost as fast as my split shot. What A GUY!!!

Hey, I’m not done yet. OK, we had a great day on the water then we head back to this awesome condo that Dave Bewley has so graciously allowed us to stay in. GET THIS!!! He is waiting at the condo with DINNER for us!!!! Just before dinner, I decided to tie up a few flies that the fish loved today on Dave’s balcony (see photo). I definitely need some of those for tomorrow.

OK, for dinner……Dave’s wife, Leigh Ann, made us spinach dip (which is the best I have ever had), corn dip, cole slaw, baked beans and (OMG!!!) ribs to die for and then!!!!!……Peanut Butter pie that melted in our mouths!!! Talk about southern hospitality!!! We have fallen into the middle of it. HEY!!! Do I have to come home from this??!!! SOOOOOOoooo!! Here we all sit drinking a few typing to all of you to tell you about our incredible day and reminiscing about the day. The only thing missing is our loved ones. We definitely have to bring Jen (my girlfriend) and Karen (Matt’s wife) down here soon to have as much fun as we’ve had today. This place is a blast.!!!

Well, Trout Bum Watchers. I better sign off for now. I had about 30 minutes sleep last night and Matt had about the same. We need to meet our next guide at 6:00 in the morning and it’s 11:00 now. Good Night all. And “Thank You” to everyone that made this a great day!!! I hope you all have half as much to read tomorrow, as you had to read today. What a day!!

Tight Lines,

Matt & Brent (written by Brent)

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