After a long day and an even longer night at The Arena bar in Mountain Home the night before, the 6am wake-up call could have come later in the morning but there was breakfast to be had and fish to be caught. Up and packed away, we stowed away gear out of my Jeep into Chance Maxville’s rig from the float the day before as he and Corey Dodson were going to float in his skiff while I was going to fish out of Dominic’s boat. After a few minutes, plans were had and we took off for Cotter, Arkansas and the White Sands Restaurant (an institution for traveling fly fisherman….and a really good breakfast); after all I had time to kill while waiting for Dominic Zametto to drop his boat in and for us to run shuttle.
Today was a few months in the making, as I finally got to spend some time on the water with Larry Babin (Hogs On The Fly) and Dominic Zametto (Two Rivers Fly Shop) in Dominic’s Boulder Boat Works drifter. Chance Maxville and Corey Dodson from the Chasin’ The Dream Blog floated the same stretch, in Chance’s skiff. Words can’t even describe the stories told in the boat with Larry Babin (Hogs On The Fly) and Dominic Zametto (Two Rivers Fly Shop). This weekend was my first time hanging with both these guys; and if first impressions mean a shit, it was the first of many good times. Larry has been guiding on the White River for about 5 or 6 years now (maybe more) and is one of the few full-time drift boat guides on the river (guiding out of an Adipose Skiff); his knowledge of the river showed through a few times throughout the day as he would slip in and out of guide mode. Over the years, Larry has gotten alot of “guilt by association” wrap in my opinion, but the guy has always been an uber friendly guy when i would run into him on the ramp and would go out of his way to say hello or to pass a friendly tip or two and after trading messages back and forth on the book of face, a plan was hatched to meet up and fish a bit. Larry is a joker and a blast to fish with. Ask him about the whizinator…..holy shit it is a great application of a wiffle ball bat (that is all i can say).
The other guy in the boat, was Dominic…..eventually that is all his name will be in Mountain Home. Dominic, man what to say. If I could figure out a way to tell my stripper stories with his Mississippi drawl…..holy shit. There is a certain mystique about a 35yo guy that moves to a small Arkansas town and buys a fly shop, and wears a beard well. Well, after spending a day on the water with him, I can tell this wasn’t just a hopped up plan or mommy’s money. The guy sounds like he is going to pull his heart and soul into Two Rivers Fly Shop on the Norfork and make it what it should be. He was a blast to spend a day in the boat with, and the bastard even caught the biggest brown (a nice 18″ brown on a streamer) and hopped on the oars right after.
Even though it was weak generation again, we opted for a different float and fished Wildcat Shoals to Cotter. Fish were picked up with some regularity on streamers in the morning, but the water levels were not as conducive to it, so Larry switched out to some small dry flies and stockers were caught at will. We each took turns rowing (although….I wasn’t on the sticks that long, apparently my rowing lacks something to be desired…even though I avoided the 360’s), but I spent most of the time throwing streamers in the bow and when i wasn’t it was good just to kick back and enjoy the float.
It is tough to find a bad day on the river, and today was one of those days…that didn’t suck. The sun was shining, the Champagne of Beers were on board, and fish were caught, god only knows what other boats were thinking as they overhead our conversations as we floated down river. We pulled off the river around 4pm and headed back up to Wildcat Shoals to finish our shuttle, where we ran into Bill Thorne and his wife from Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher, Corey Dodson (Chasin’ The Dream), we ended up bullshittin’ at the access until about 4:30pm or so but I had to jet and drive back to St. Louis. I didn’t end up getting back home until about 10pm on Sunday night. Yeah it was a long weekend, but damn I would do it again in a heartbeat. Looking forward to hanging with these guys again in the not so distant future.