I did a kamakazi trip to the Trout Capital of the World …… Cotter, Arkansas, to visit my friend and fly fishing guide Tom Rogers (TNT Fly Fishing Service). I left STL around 6:00pm and arrived at the Comfort Inn in Mountain Home, AR around 10:30pm (after checking vacancies at the newly built Holiday Inn Express to find that they had no vacancies). It was a nice room, and the price was right (plus it is one of the newest hotels in the city). I grabbed about 5 hours of sleep, before I met up with Tom Rogers, his friend Tommy, and fellow guide Jim Martin. Jim was taking out some of Tom’s clients, while Tom visited with me and we caught up since our last visit together in June. We had breakfast at The Brass Door Restaurant, which was pretty good — but not as good as the Norfork Cafe or the Country Kettle was.
This trip wasn’t about fishing at all, although I did throw a rod or two into the back of the Blazer for good weight distribution. I was going to see Tom before he heads out West for his trip to Montana, and he needed some computer help and what not. We got the “business” side of the work done about 1pm and then headed over to the Southern Rod Builders Guild gathering at Fulton’s Lodge, where I was introduced to a ton of great people and saw some freakin’ beautiful rods. They were all there to display and cast, but against my better judgement I tried to limit picking up a rod and casting it as I didn’t need another toy. About 3pm and a ton of handshakes, it was time to hit the water briefly. My goal was to be on the road back to STL by 6pm — but that didn’t happen.
They did not generate water on the White all day on Saturday, so we headed to the base of the dam to see what was up there (since they shut down the C&R area at the end of october and this would be my last chance to fish it until February). Fishing was slow for me, but there wasn’t another sole on the water nearest the dam. Just Tom and I, and it was great. Tom was tearing them up, while I was struggling to get a solid hookset. We were fishing with #18 scuds and sowbugs under the smallest white palsa indicator that I have ever seen (like 10 times smaller than a normal palsa) — you could barely see it on the water (which I believe was my problem, trying to follow it in the setting sun). It was a great time though, and we fished until about 6:30pm. Tom slayed them, and I didn’t officially bring a fish to hand. But it was still a good day, and I did get to wet a line.
After dinner at El Charro’s, a mexican staple in Mountain Home, and a trip to Walmart, it was time to say goodbyes and for me to get on the road back to STL around 10:00pm that night. Man what a drive in the rain, but I got back safe around 2:30am on Sunday morning.