Sunday morning I got up at 4am and was packed my bags and headed to the parking lot of the Ramada Inn in Mountain Home, Arkansas. It was the last day of a great trip, the only thing that I had to look forward to now was a few hours on the river before a long drive back to St. Louis. I met up with Kris Maurer in the parking lot, and we hit the McDonald’s drive through and drove to the White River below Bull Shoals Dam to meet Tom Rogers (TNT Fishing Service) at the parking lot at 5:30am. It was a quiet Sunday morning, and we were the first ones to arrive at the parking lot. We opted to wet wade and were in the process of rigging our rods when Tom pulled in (early as usual — or in fisherman’s terms, right on time). We were going to throw large dry flies to the cruising risers this morning in the fog. We headed out to the water and began systematically casting and wading our way into the river in a line. Within the first couple of casts, I had a strike but no hookup. As we stood in the water and fog, it was amazing to see and hear the number of fish rising. It was one of those unique moments where you know that there is no better place to be anywhere at that exact moment. As the sun began to cook some of the fog off of the water, I tied on a #8 stimulator and continued to work the water. I was rewarded with a 16″ – 17″ Cutthroat. I continued with this fly until the fog had completely burned off the water, picking up one more decent sized rainbow. I then switched to a #18 tan colored scud (one might call it Trout Crack) and fished it under about 2ft of indicator and was rewarded with two additional fish for a total of 4 fish in about 3.5 hours on the water. Because of the long drive back to St. Louis, I said my goodbye to Kris Maurer and Tom and I walked out to the ramp. After a quck yell to Matt Pedersen and Renee to say good bye, I was at my car and was putting up the fly rod and stowing away my gear when Jim Traylor came up and we chatted for a bit. As he headed back to his fishermen, I headed for the long drive back to St. Louis. Man do I hate I-44 construction, it took me almost 6hrs to make the trip back.
What a great cause Hooked on a Cure is. This is the organization that we raised money for last year during the Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament. After learning how cool of an event this truly is, I was bound and determined to help them out this year again as a volunteer for the event. I was teased with the opportunity to take Mel Krieger from St. Louis down to the event, but my friend Brent Hinds was the man that got the esteemed task. He did say it was an interesting drive and Mr. Krieger is very opinionated when it comes to non-flyfishing related topics (e.g. Relegion). Becuase of work obligations, I didn’t get out of St. Louis until about 5pm on Friday evening. After highway construction, and my Magellan GPS adding an additional 100miles to my trip, I arrived at the Ramada Inn in Mountain Home around 10:45pm and headed to the room to find Brent Hinds, my roomate for the weekend. After I got the rundown of his trip down, and the low country boil, as well as the plans for tomorrow, it was time to hit the sack.
Saturday morning we were at River Ridge Inn on the Norfork River to lend a hand to April Conrad, the organizer of the event. It appears that my only task for this weekend was to shoot some photos of the event with my new digital slr camera. And man did I shoot some photos, almost 300 of them. I met some really cool people that morning (such as Flip Pallot) and got to hang out with some friends that I had made at last year’s event (Ken Richards, Jamie Rouse, John Wilson, Quinn Berry, and many more) before the anglers and thier guides headed out for the water. After Brent and I were assured that April did not need any additional help, we snuck off to the White River to shoot some photos of the anglers wading the low flow at the dam. I hung out with William Tapply and his guide Denise Barton and thier angler as they fished the runs near the boat ramp, shooting photos at will. I also got to sneak in a cast here and there as I could finagle the rod from Brent Hinds as he fished. I must say that the White River during low flow really impressed me, much more than the Norfork has during low flow.
Saturday afternoon was spent hanging out with two of the nicest people that I have ever met, Tom and Becky Rogers. Tom had just gotten back from a 10 day saltwater fly fishing trip, so he shared stories of that. It was good to see Tom and Becky for the afternoon. He took me to the fly shop that just opened up the street from his house. The name of the shop escapes me right now, but it was a very well stocked shop and the staff seemed extremely courteous so I picked up some gear while I was there. As the afternoon wore on, Tom and I made plans to fish the low water on the White River in the morning and to meet at 5:30am at the parking lot.
Saturday evening was the Hooked On A Cure dinner and auction. It was held at the Bel Arco Resort near Bull Shoals Lake. As I said above, I was there to help out in any way I could. This evening it appeared that I was to be bartender to the fly fishing stars, as Brent Hinds, Rich Brown, and myself tended the bar the entire evening of the event. It was a complete blast getting to talk to the people at the event. Some of the highlights of the evening was having a gentleman spit his drink on the bar becuase I mixed it a little too strong for him, and having the same man finish his drink, and then tell me he was an ex-convict and knows how to love a man. Yup, just a little wierd. The night was a complete blast though, and I am glad that that is where I was, as I got to meet people that I probably wouldn’t have other wise; as a bartender is everybody’s best friend. The preliminary estimates from April Conrad is that they raised over $43,000 for St. Jude through the Hooked on a Cure event. I strongly urge everyone to learn more by visiting http://www.hookedonacure.com.
Somehow, someway, I was able to talk my Dad into trout fishing with me at a family function the previous weekend. He and I hadn’t fished together in quite some time, well to be more exact, we haven’t fished together since I have taken up fly fishing. I picked up my Dad and Dan Weber (my sister’s future father-in-law) up at my parent’s house at 4:30am and we were headed down to the river. We arrived at the entrance to the Trout Park shortly after the whistle blew and purchased our trout tags and headed for the water. I was a step ahead today and had planned on playing guide to my father and his friend for the day, so I had 3 rods rigged (since they weren’t paying me, I was going to fish) and we headed to the top of the park. I had them drifting a bh larva lace midge near the top of the park. As I took on of thier rods to show them what they needed to do, I quickly caught a fish on my first drift. I don’t think that I have seen them laugh so hard. It was a blast to watch them fish the water near the top. As the day wore on, we decided to move downstream and around the park. Not much to report although in the limited about of time that I fished, I caught 4 decent sized rainbows — the biggest being 16″ all on a midge of some sort. We took off from fishing about 12pm and headed towards the I-44 traffic (man do I hate that traffic)……..