White River — May 12 – 13, 2007

This weekend myself and 3 other anglers (Brent McClane, Brian Wise, and Tim Biesendorfer) headed down to the White River in Arkansas on a last minute Mother’s Day weekend trip. We got out of St. Louis around 6pm and arrived at Bull Shoals Dam around 11pm with just enough energy to suit up and hit the water. It is always amazing to me, how the cool water can energize us enough to night fish upon arrival (after all, they weren’t running water….so you take your wading chances when you can get them). The night fishing was a little slow, despite seeing fish cruise all over. We ended the night around 2:30am with McClane catching 2 fish on cork bass poppers he was fishing loudly on the surface. We were up at 6am on Saturday and were on the water at Roundhouse Shoals around 7:30am. My three partners were in to fish right away, while I struggled and then with a buggered up left foot decided to do a little studying up on how they were fishing this area. I am unsure how many fish they caught, but they were all in to upper double digits with nothing of any real size. The fly of the day appeared to be a tan scud (tied with the fur from McClane’s dog). We fished around Roundhouse until about 11am and then McClane and I decided to take a little drive and check out some other accesses and then head over to the Dam (after all the recording said they were only running 1 unit). The recording was wrong and we ended up taking a long drive and then meeting up with Wise and Beez for lunch in Gassville before they headed over to the State Park to fish for the afternoon. I opted to catch up on some sleep back at the White Sands Motel. After dinner we night fished around the Cotter access with no success and hung it up around 1:30am. Back up at 6am when I receive a call from a good friend Jim Traylor (aka JimmyT’s FlyFishingArkansas Guide Service) and he wanted to go fishing this morning. We loaded up in the boat and took off. Jimmy made fly suggestions and placed me in the perfect location and within 30 minutes of fishing I was hooked up with my biggest White River Brown Trout to date (a tape measured 26” fish with a 15” girth). The location of the fish and the fly recommendations you might be able to gather from the photos, but if you really want to know I would suggest looking up Jim Traylor for a trip on the White River. I was amazed at his ability to navigate the river on zero generation and he was able to get us away from the crowds at a chance for great fish.

I was all smiles the rest of the morning as I sat back and watched my buddies fish (after all……if I was only going to catch one fish, this might as well have been the one) and enjoyed a few barley beverages at 9am on Mother’s Day. Shortly after kicking back to relax, McClane hooked and landed a nice 21” brown trout and not long after that Mr. Beez hooked up with a nice fish that would have went 20”+ but lost it when my fly knot slipped (since I was done fishing I didn’t re-tie my fly after the fish…..and Beez decided he wanted to fish my rod). All in all it was a great trip. More photos, video, and details of this trip will be updated on my site in the coming weeks, so you can check it out there. I think we got some underwater video of the 26” fish as well as video of the fight. Apparently I shake quite a bit after landing a fish like this.

Hopefully everyone else got a chance to get out this weekend.

–Matt Tucker

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