Spring River (Mammoth Spring, Arkansas) — July 18, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 10

We arose at 6:00am on this last day of our trout bum adventure to fish the Spring River that rises from the ground in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. After waking up all those crashing in our room. Not only did we manage to bum a room for our trout bum adventure, we allowed our unofficial Team Ozark Chronicles groupies (Team Chronic Smack) to crash on cots in our room. It was the least we could do for them, since they brought down a huge check for the folks at Hooked On A Cure. Ron Caimi, the bamboo rod maker from Waterloo, Illinois (www.troutcamprods) also drove down to fish with us on the Spring River and make the presentation of the rod he built (we did that on Saturday night – man what a beautiful rod) for the Hooked On A Cure raffle and he met up with us at the tailgate of Rich’s Bronco.

After cooking espresso by the propane burner on the tailgate of the Bronco and casting a couple of different fly rods, we loaded the truck with all our trout bumming gear and headed for the Gooseneck Island Restaurant on the bank of the Spring River for the world’s best biscuits and gravy (not to mention they make a pretty good ham & cheese omelets). Brent successfully bummed breakfast for the both of us, and we ate heartily (of course we had the biscuits and gravy). Owner Jack Bartruff was very happy to help out our cause for St. Jude.

We than got ready to launch the Hyde drift boat on the Spring River. Only Team Ozark Chronicles could successfully bum a Hyde drift boat from Wisconsin to be delivered and used on the last day of the trip. We had never met Rich Brown or Matt Pedersen prior to this trip (other than some emails back and forth), but a couple of comments about wanting to fish the Spring River from a drift boat and they agreed to come on down. So this might be the finest bum of the trip – get two guys to bring down their drift boat for us from Wisconsin and take us out on the Spring River in it. After the launch, we were on the water and fishing by about 8:30am. I made a comment about missing the early morning bite, when I was quickly asked “Are the trout in the Spring River different from any other trout, in the fact that they won’t eat all day long?” by Rich Brown. To which I had no replies and no worries, as the trout bum experience was nearing an end.

[From Brent] While Matt, Matt and Rich were putting in the boat, I took Ron to the hotel to get his truck, checked out of the room and noticed the fuel gage was getting on a quarter tank. I swung into Hocker Oil’s Gas+ station at the state line on highway 63 and explained what we were doing. As I suspected, you really need to get in touch with corporate offices of gas stations to get fuel, and that wasn’t possible on Sunday. However, the manager (who asked to remain anonymous) pulled $20 out of his own pocket to give to us. Can you believe the generosity of people? (This whole experience has really helped me believe in mankind again, as I have noticed myself getting a little cynical living here in the city.) I put the $20 in the tank, noticed it was pretty much full and hoped that would be enough to get us home.

[From Matt again] After walking the boat down a couple stretches of shallow water, I am now convinced the Spring River needs at least 6” more of flow to be prime drift boat water. But we got some interesting questions from the locals about the boat, as we truly believe we were the first drift boat on the upper Spring River. But watch out for when we win the pontoon boat from Cabelas, that should be prime for this river.

Fishing was slow for everyone. Well, everyone except McClane. I ended the day with only 5 fish brought to hand, but McClane brought to hand 19 fish for the day with his damn nymph fishing techniques. Just as we were getting ready to get off of the water and head home, Tommy Garner (http://www.tommygarner.tv/index2.html) and his wife Wanda Garner (http://www.womenanglers.us/) had arrived to shoot some video and photographs of our trout bumming adventures for their respective publications. Tommy was shooting some video tape and the fish were cooperating with McClane, while I was having trouble hooking up. But I was rescued when the battery for the video camera went dead, and he had to shoot still photos. I hooked up managed to land a fish for the camera as well. After some brief conversation and thank you’s, we headed toward the parking lot to meet Rich and Matt and have one last bummed meal before heading back to St. Louis.

We found ourselves at the D&W State Line Restaurant in the Ozark Heritage Mall in Thayer, Missouri around 4:00pm sitting at a table and awaiting the return of McClane who was trying to successfully bum a meal for the four of us. He returned, and said he successfully bummed some burgers and fries for the both of us but our “posse” would have to fend for themselves. During dinner, we relived some of the action of a day on the Spring River and our trout bum experience. In a flash, we were gone from the State Line Restaurant and on our way back to St. Louis. McClane pulled his best Mario Andretti impersonation, and had us back at my house in record time. To which I was met with a sign made by my daughters that read “Welcome Home Daddy.” As quick as I was met with hugs from my family, McClane was gone to see his special someone – and I completely understand. As much fun as we had during our trout bum, it is good to be home.

[From Brent] Yep, I would have to agree with Matt. This has been a trip of a lifetime, one I will never forget and one that I have learned so much from. At the same time…..I also couldn’t wait to get home to see my girl, Jen and all the animals. It’s good to be home. I think I’ll sleep good tonight!!


Tight Lines,

Matt Tucker & Brent McClane


Little Red River (Heber Springs, Arkansas) — July 17, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 9

McClane was up until 1:00am working on reports for FR&R, while I was in the room across the hall dreaming of more monster brown trout in my sleep. We got up today around 6:00am, to meet up with Team Chronic Smack, the unofficial fan club of Team Ozark Chronicles, at the public access at the base of Greer’s Ferry Lake Dam and the start of the Little Red River. After we said goodbye and thank you to our gracious hosts (www.jamierouse.net) we headed for the river. We got to the access around 7:30am, and quickly suited up and prepared to meet up with Rich Brown (www.fishinfatman) and Matt Pedersen (www.ramblingreports.com) and fish with them for a day on the river. We have to personally send a shout out to all those from www.fishinfatman.com and www.ramblingreports.com for all the support for Team Ozark Chronicles as it was pretty overwhelming. After the official presentation of the Team Chronic Smack check to Team Ozark Chronicles and the showing off of some really sweet raffle prizes that the posse from the north brought it was time to hit the river.

Rich and I headed towards the dam in search of the elusive Ozark grand slam, and had some insider information that this was the place. We had a blast catching brookies and rainbows all morning long, while McClane and Pedersen were downstream trying their luck. We didn’t catch any monsters, but had a blast in the process of the hunt. I almost received my first baptism in the Little Red River, but managed to catch myself before I hit the drink. But good news, my Fuji FinePix S5000 camera is functioning properly after my Norfork baptism earlier this week. But I doubt it would have survived two dunks in one week. Those little brook trout were a blast to catch on the tan & ginger mohair leech I was sight fishing to them.

Then it happened. Like any other good tailwater experience, this one came to an end with the defining sound of the horn from the dam. It signified that they were starting generation and to seek higher ground. So Rich and I reeled up and headed towards the parking lot, where we sat in the shade of a friendly camper’s awning and awaited the return of McClane and Pedersen and tails of monster trout. Upon their return, we heard stories of lots of trout, and McClane’s kindness in teaching a couple of kids to fly fish and the fact that the kid caught a very nice trout for his first fly rod trout was what made McClane’s day. In total, we caught 30 fish between Brent and I and the other guys caught a nice mess also, but we won’t include them with our totals. After shedding our gear we decided to not run down river in search of lower water, but opted to seek out a place to bum some lunch.

[From Brent] Our fish numbers would most definitely have been higher for the day if I had actually fished the whole time I was there, but while catching a number of fish in only a few minutes, some very well mannered young gentlemen came over to me and asked what I was catching them on. I love teaching kids to fish, so the next thing I know we were talking about leaders and knots and drifting and all kinds of things. I told them that the drift was the most important thing and the flies were secondary, but that sowbugs were probably the most common fly to use there. In just a little while the boys (Zack Birge and Brett Daniels) were all smiles as they brought in fish after fish. They obviously are very smart guys as I only had to show them once what to do. Good thing they let most of their catches go, cause these guys are going to be incredible fly fishers very soon. The highlight was when both boys had been fishing for a nice ‘bow’ for a few minutes and all of a sudden I hear “He caught it!!!” I looked up and saw Brett fighting a really nice fish and Zack helping his pal out with netting it. The look on their faces was better than catching fish myself. I may have found my calling…. On our way to meet Tucker and Rich, Matt and I stopped by the campsite of the boys and their moms and talked with them for a while. It was kinda cool that the flies they caught their fish on were tied a few nights before by “ESPN Dude” (John Wilson). I told them to watch the games on TV and that they would be able to see the guy that tied their flies. You gotta admit….at that age, I would have thought that was pretty cool.

[From Matt again] After we all finished up at the tailwater, we headed to McPearson’s Restaurant on Hwy. 25B in Heber Springs, Arkansas. McClane successfully bummed lunch for all four of us (a total bum of more than $50 in dining experience) and we enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch in true trout bum style. After posing with Jackie McPherson, the owner of the restaurant, and him offering to buy us breakfast tomorrow morning (does that constitute as another bum?), we were off to the Ozark Angler Fly Shop (www.ozarkangler.com) to say hello and see if we can bum a few things (more specifically some tying materials for Trout Crack). After going in and introducing ourselves, and several photos, we walked out with the needed tying materials, a set of croakies for McClane’s sunglasses, and an official OzarkAngler Hat Trick t-shirt for me – all of it bummed. McClane is really starting to find a niche with the bumming in person.

After we left the fly shop, we headed north towards Mammoth Spring, Arkansas and the Spring River. On the way, we drove through Cave City, Arkansas, home of the world’s sweetest watermelons. What is a trout bum to do, other than bum one of the world’s sweetest watermelons. Smooth talking McClane bummed us a yellow watermelon, and then it was picture time and time for the road. What a way to break up the 2 ½ hour drive (in total we have already driven over 900 miles thus far). Also while driving, Matt and rich both had their tying vices attached to their sun visors in their trout truck and were tying flies all the way. What a hoot. You all HAVE to see the photos of this spectacle. Talk about ingenious!!!

We arrived in Mammoth Spring around 6:00pm, and checked in to the RiverView Motel off of Hwy. 63 and overlooking the Lassetter Access on the Spring River. All we had to do was mention St. Jude to the owners, Bill & Bonnie Gildersleeve, and a free room was a done deal. They were more than willing to help out, as they have in years past for families traveling to St. Jude. What a nice place to stay when fishing the river, as it has a great view, clean rooms, and a great location. After check-in, we found Ron Caimi. Ron is a bamboo rod maker from Waterloo, Illinois (www.troutcamprods.com) and was kind enough to donate the grand prize for the Team Ozark Chronicles raffle to benefit Hooked On A Cure, a really sweet bamboo fly rod. After hitting the showers and getting cleaned up, it was time to check out the rod that Ron built. Man what a super sweet rod, I only hope that the person that wins it in the raffle appreciates it for the fine piece of work that it is and fishes with this rod (Ron truly believes his rods aren’t made to be set in the corner and admired, but they are to be fished). Once we were all done admiring the ‘boo’, it was time to head to Fred’s Fish House in Mammoth Spring for dinner.

McClane worked his magic again, I don’t know if it was his smooth talking or if it was the fact that he carried in one of the world’s sweetest watermelons to slice up for the employees and patrons of the restaurant, but not only was he able to bum dinner for himself and I, but he also bummed dinner for our posse of 3 (Rich, Matt, and Ron) as well. ([from Brent] You all should have seen the look on everyone’s faces when I walked in with that thing!! It was pretty hilarious!!) We all sat in the big round table in the front of the restaurant, reliving the trout bum experience, when we were told by our waitress, Samantha, that today was her 19th birthday. Well, what are trout bums to do, other than sing Happy Birthday to her and serve her a slice of watermelon with some candles in it. We ate heartedly at Fred’s Fish House and had a ton of fun in the process. But like all good things, the fun at Fred’s had to come to an end, and we were on our way back to the RiverView Motel.

Back at the hotel, several beers were drank (thanks to the 8 cases of beer bummed from the fine folks at Anheuser-Busch and Feather-Craft Fly Fishing), and we downloaded the photos from today on the water. It was 11:30pm before we all hit the sack to get well rested for a day on the Spring River. Matt and Rich crashed with us in our room too. They brought cots along and we all snoozed the night away with the thoughts of leaping trout dancing in our heads.

Little Red River (Heber Springs, Arkansas) — July 16, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 8

We are almost done with this trout odyssey, we have avoided any scenes from Deliverance. Today found ourselves rising out of our beds at 5:00am to head to the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas to fish with Orvis Endorsed Guide Jamie Rouse (www.jamierouse.net). But before I get too far in to the awesome day of fishing we experienced at the Little Red, we have some more thank yous and “bums” to tell you about.

First, we would like to extend a very warm thank you to Steve and Julie at His Place Resort (www.hisplaceresort.net) for allowing us to bum 4 nights of lodging off of them for ourselves and our newest fly fishing friend, John Wilson (Hey John, who was bumming who buddy?). His Place Resort rescued us from the heat by graciously accepting my plea for air conditioning late on Monday night. My only regret is that we got to hang out with Steve and Julie a little more than we did, but the routine for the week was eat / sleep / fish, and the fishing had been pretty darn good. Thanks again Steve and Julie for the great accommodations, and your support of Team OzarkChronicles.

As we were leaving for Heber Springs to meet up with Jamie Rouse, we decided to stop by the Ramada Inn in Mountain Home to use their wireless internet connection (we bummed them into letting us use their internet connection for free earlier in the week). Because we had noticed that our reports were all out of order, and that there still were no fishing pictures posted, we sent in .zip files for each day of our trout odyssey through 07-13-04 (these files included our trip reports and photos for each check-in, separated by days.). So we thought we would stop off and send in all of the files we had done so far through 07-13-04. While uploading these to FR&R, Brent decided to try and bum us breakfast from the Country Kettle Restaurant in Mountain Home, Arkansas (attached to the Ramada Inn). He came back in no time with a promised photo opportunity, and two big plates of food (biscuits & gravy, hash browns, sausage, bacon, eggs). Very cool, and a very good breakfast compliments of them.

Our bellies were full and we were finally on our way to meet up with Jamie Rouse and fish the Little Red River, home of the world record brown trout (weighed over 40lbs). We arrived at Jamie’s house around 9am, and after brief introductions to his very gracious wife the boat was loaded and we were on the way to the river. We were fishing more than 20 miles downstream this morning, and had a little drive a head of us. We finally got to the water rigged up our rods, and hit the water. First cast was made around 11:00am.

Jamie has been guiding the Arkansas trout waters for over 10 years now, and spends at least two months a year guiding in Alaska as well. He knows the Little Red River like the back of his hand, and likes to show clients why they need to return to the river. He guides approximately 200 days per year. Jamie is a very charismatic guide, and definitely serves up a lot of enthusiasm when on the water. If you ever get a chance to throw streamers with Jamie, take him up on the offer, it is a blast.

We were fishing around the boat dock for some time, due to a big thunderhead that was brewing above, and McClane was picking up fish left and right with an egg pattern affectionately named “Little Pinky.,” While I was chunking a San Juan worm pattern named “Red Diablo” and splitting time with that by throwing a 9’-0” 7wt sink tip with streamers. Fishing was slow for me as I was only picking up an occasional fish, but McClane was knocking them dead. Fishing continued to be slow until after lunch, when I committed to throwing my 9ft 7wt and a sink tip with a clouser minnow on the end.

I didn’t pick up the quantity that McClane had picked up today, but I definitely had the quality down pat. I was working the far bank, and WHAM! out of no where comes a nice wild 16” brown trout football (this fish was almost as round as he was long). It had absolutely beautiful colors and I got to see the take, which is why I love streamer fishing. That pumped both Jamie and I up, and we hit the banks even harder. WHAM! I hooked up with another football of a 17” brown trout. This was pretty cool, I was thinking to myself. Then we set-up for another drift, and then Jamie had a take by a HUGE fish, but the fish only swiped at the tail of the clouser. We drifted out and set back up on that drift, in hopes that the brown would take again. Well, he did. WHAM! This was a huge fish on, and my 7wt and 4x tippet did the trick, and I got him to the boat and Jamie netted him before he could put up much of a fight. In the net was a 23” brown trout, and man was it fat. After several photos, high fives, and reviving the fish, she was back in the water. Man what a beautiful fish, and my biggest wild brown trout to date (the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission does not stock brown trout in this river, unlike some of the other tailwaters). With that, we decided to call it a day. Jamie had a meeting he had to get to at a new home on the river that he is building for his clients to rent out, so we headed over there with him to check out the river while he was in his meeting (did I mention that his new 3 bedroom, 2 bath, rental unit is right on the river). McClane headed to the bridge, and quickly took over 5 rainbows on a tan scud in less than 20 minutes. After that, he decided to call it quits, and we headed over to Jamie Rouse’s house, where he had graciously agreed to host a couple of trout bums for the evening. Shoot, he even fed us lunch, and he and his family cooked us dinner as well (BBQ Burgers, grilled vegetables, and salad) while we each showered and shaved. It is amazing what a hot shower and shave will do for a trout bum. It was a sweet day. We ended with 33 fish in total, with a 16″, 17″, and 23″ brown trout.

It is now 9:22am, and I typing this report. McClane and I have just finished the strawberry shortcake (complete with whip crème and blueberries) that Jamie had brought in for us to snack on. McClane is diligently working away on the 07-14-04 and 07-15-04 reports. Fishing had been good, so the reports have been waiting to get done (but we did take some notes), until now. Tomorrow, we are going to fish the Little Red River near the base of the dam in hopes of catching another Arkansas Grand Slam (Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout all from the same river in the same day). We are going to be fishing with Matt Pederson (www.ramblingreports.com) and Rich Brown (www.FishinFatMan.com) until about 1pm or so, and then we will be heading over to the Spring River and meeting up with Ron Caimi (www.troutcamprods) at Fred’s Fish House, where we hope to bum dinner for ourselves and perhaps our friends. This trip has almost come to a close, but there are a lot more fish to catch so please keep checking in.


Fish Hard,

Matt & Brent (written by Matt)

White River / Norfork River (Mountain Home, Arkansas) — July 15, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 7

Ouch!!!! I wake up to the pain of someone pulling on my toe!!!! Matt is trying his best to wake me and that is what seemed to work I guess. Glad it was just my toe!!! One thing I have to give Matt credit about here is that no matter how little sleep or what time so far, that boy has gotten up when the alarm has gone off. I have still never heard the damn thing!!!!

As I have tried to impress upon all of you previously, you MUST keep know the water here and the generation schedules and how long it takes for the water to rise or to fall at the location you want to fish!!! I think that kinda gets the point across…….. You just don’t call up a buddy and say, “Hey, let’s wade and fish XX access on X month and X day at 7:00!” You may only get to fish 20 yards of shoreline with that rigid of an itinerary. Some of these guides down here are thinking all the time to get you the best experience they possibly can and one of them is Tom Rogers. OK, so we’re supposed to meat Tom at 7:00. Not a problem. However, what I didn’t know until much later is that Tom had already tied a couple dozen flies and figured out the power generation for the day and gotten all of the gear packed before we had gotten there.

Once at TNT, Tom tells us how the White is going to be low for a little while and how it will begin to rise just about the time we want to go visit Wapsi, and that after that, that the water will be just right to fish the Norfork. Now, I’m not the dullest knife in the block, but that is a lot of head calculating and looking ahead in my book. And you know what……that is what ALL of the guides that we have gone out with on this trip have done. It’s just a different way of thinking to me and that is why I want to pass it along. Do NOT Attempt to fish this area without learning at least a little about how power generation affects the area you may choose to fish. I’m sure ANY of the fly shops will gladly help you out with all of this. OR….just hire a guide!!

OK, so this will seem like a much shorter report than yesterday, but that is only because we were trying to do too much (not the guides fault) and too many things as opposed to this day. So, after we meet Tom, we go to a local gas/deli shop for fuel, coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Tom wouldn’t let us pay a cent!!! After fueling the truck and us, we headed to Rim Shoal on the White River in the C&R area. Tom wouldn’t let you do a thing. If you needed a new fly, leader, tippet, split shot, indicator adjustment, monster tangle (so I’ve heard… ;)), ETC!!!!……Tom would do it for you. I felt guilty actually for as much as he was doing. For goodness sake…I think the guy could easily juggle cats!!! If he already doesn’t.

We caught 22 fish there before noon. However, we needed to leave by then to go visit Wapsi…..the fly tying material people. You all know them. Just look around your favorite shop. I have a feeling you will see the name………ALL Over!!! On our way to Wapsi, the Rogers’ offered to buy us lunch at subway. Man did that sound pretty good on such a hot day. We ate our sandwiches on the drive to Wapsi and I think I even looked at the back of my eyelids for a little while……glad Tom was driving!!! The next thing I know, were geting a private tour of the place and seeing not only what they “distribute” but also what they make themselves.

Our jaws were dropped most of the tour. I just wanted to ask if I could only have “one of everything”. Even at that rate, I probably would have had to rent a cargo trailer too take “one of each” home!!!!

After that incredible tour at Wapsi, we headed to Dry Run Creek and the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. We took, a few photos at this location and would like everyone to know how fun it is for the youth — PLEASE check regulations. Following the sight seeing, we chose to fish. Up until just before 8:00pm we fished and caught a total of 26 fish. Many were really nice.

We hurriedly got off the river and the boat on the trailer due to the impending rain and lightening storm. One of Becky Roger’s favorite places is El Charro in Mountain Home, Arkansas, so that is where I went. Allthough we did NOT try to bum dinner that night, the manager basically cut our bill in half. What a cool man.

By this time it is about 8:45 and we need to get the computer working. YES!!! Matt is good. He has it done and we are on our way home by 11:15. Once there, we packed all of our “stuff” and I washed a load of laundry in the kitchen sink and all smells much better this morning. Well, I catch myself just dropping off (into sleep) in the middle of the sentence. I think it’s time for bed. Take care All. I really need some sleep,


Tight Lines,

Brent & Matt (written by Brent)

Norfork River (Mountain Home, Arkansas) — July 14, 2004

Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament Check-In # 6

Hey Everyone, here we are again. Not sure what the exact problem is in getting the updates to you. Seems FR&R didn’t get an email or two of ours, and we have been totally swamped since Wednesday. So here are a couple of reports FR&R hadn’t gotten and the rest also. The last days have been just a blur actually. As you will see we basically got only a couple hours sleep (literally) went fishing and ate on and off for a couple days. Please just look at the dates we type in as the order of events will follow these dates…….I have had to keep a notepad and pencil in my fishing shirt pocket constantly, and take notes of when we have done what just to keep track of all that we have done. What a wild ride we’ve been on!!!

Well, after fishing with John during the day…..Hey, he’s still with us!!! Guess who is bumming off the bums??? Like I’m complaining. NOT!! We’ve learned a lot. OK, back to where I was……we finish fishing and head into Mountain Home, AR for some eats. We stopped at a couple restaurants, but since it was late, most managers are off work and no one else can authorize freebies. Finally we made our way to El Charro Mexican restaurant (see pic) and asked if we could bum dinner. YEP!!! We even bummed dinner for John. What a hoot. Food was great; service was awesome and quick as can be. Thanks El Charro!!!

After eating, we decided we better go to Wal-Mart to try and transfer Matt’s pictures from his camera card…..remember?…..the one he dunked? OK, so we get at Wal-Mart a little after 9:00. Dhooooppp!!!! The camera center has JUST shut down. Matt’s rear was still puckered wondering whether or not his card was ruined, so we begged the nice woman running the center to PLEASE just let us see if the card had pictures on it, even if we couldn’t burn a CD at the time. She agreed. SHWEW!!! Card was fine and Matt’s pics were saved. Well, at least Matt felt better. We just decided to let his camera dry out a bit more before we would attempt to use it.

After Wal-Mart, we headed over to John’s place to pick up some glow-in-the-dark fly lines for all of us to use during night fishing. We grabbed that stuff and headed over to His Place Resort to respool reels with the new line sine we didn’t have spare spools with us. John taught us a few new knots while doing the respooling and we BS’ed a bit and finally got to bed about 11:00……well, they got to bed, I slept on the floor again!!! Actually, they offered to switch, but I said no, so I could whine to you all instead!!!

2:15am and the alarm goes off!! That was a nice nap. We all pop up and grab our clothes and gear and hit the road by 2:40. At 3:15 we are sitting at a private access (pays to know people that know people) and holding our new fly lines in the headlights of the dodge to charge them and we hit the trail. John told us to shut off our headlamps unless we wanted to shut all the fish down for a couple blocks as we walked. We kept close on John’s heels as we had seen a bunch of logs and large rocks earlier in the day. Way we figured it. If John dropped out of sight, we would stop or at least move to one side so it didn’t happen to us. We walked about a half mile upstream in the pitch dark about waist deep. It was a really cool experience. We would see through the fog enough above to see the stars and even satellites, but we could hardly see more than 30 feet in front of us. There was no moon yet tonight. That’s why John wanted to night fish. All around us as we waded, we could hear fish breaking the surface and feeding. Some of the splashes sounded like “toads”. That’s an Arkansas term for HUGE fish. Fish well over 10 lbs and 30 pounders had been caught where we were fishing.

The glowing spools of line looked like Homer Simpson had put plutonium in our reels and John told us to keep our reels on the bank side of us so the fish wouldn’t spook. By 3:45 am we were spaced out along the stream and could see the eerie glow of the gossamer like line unfurl in front of us as we cast in to the darkness. As we stripped in our big flies, every once in you would hear a “OH”, “CRAP!!” or other term from the darkness as one of us missed our first hits. In less than 20 minutes though, Matt and I had landed 5 fish. We were pumped.

Matt landed a nice rainbow and we decided to take a picture of it. We tried to take a few pics using our red lights on our headlamps, but they didn’t turn out well. We took a pic with the flash and started fishing again. That flash turned the fish off for 20 minutes. DANG!!! Finally we got into fish again and landed 17 fish with the average about 16”. Then Matt hooked up with a nice brown. Now this one was worth shutting the fish down for a little while. Although we didn’t have a tape measure, using the net as a scale to confirm later, it appeared to be a little over 20”. Nice fish Matt!!!! At 4:45 am the moon rose and our night fishing was done for the night. We walked back down to the access with a very satisfied look on our faces. Even driving out, was kinda cool. Not everyone gets to use a private access on property owned by a prominent member of the fly fishing community. Sorry….we were sworn not to tell who or where we were. Heck…..I doubt we could find it again anyway…

At 6:00am we ended up at Norfork Café to get breakfast. After talking with the cute waitress and telling her about our plight, she agreed to feed the bums and even the bums bum…..”GOG ESPN Guy”. That was one heck of a breakfast. If you are in the town of Norfork or around McClellans access you should really eat at this great place. At 8:00 am we were back at His Place Resort for a little shut eye. And I mean LITTLE!! We awoke at 10:00 to get a few things done. Matt, John & I headed down to the office of His Place Resort to thank Steve and Julie for all of their help and hospitality. Well…mostly……I had to bum batteries off of them for my camera so that we could take a few pics of them and their place to show all of you. J

John and I dropped Matt off at Tom & Becky Rogers’ of TNT Fly Fishing, Inc. so that he could work a little on their computer before we were to go out with Tom fishing later in the day. Mean while, John and I decided to try to get those pics off of Matt’s memory card again to send to you all. Well, after about a half hour at Wal-Mart and even getting the manager to agree to let us bum the cost of transferring them to disk…….their machine didn’t work. Seems it had never been set up for burning CDs yet. Just our luck. Next John and I headed to U-Haul to pick up a trailer to move some of his furniture into his new digs. He had mentioned moving the night before and I gladly offered to help. DANG!!! He actually took me up on it!!! Nothing like moving nice light furniture like a sleeper sofa, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc in the middle of the day with a heat index of 110 degrees. It was at that time I wished I knew enough about computers to be sitting in air conditioning like Matt. 😉 Actually, I was happy to help out John. Only wish I could have done something in return for the rest of the wonderful guides we had thus far also. Thanks John for all your great guiding!!

We were finished moving, dropped off the U-Haul and I met Matt and the Rogers’ at their place about 2:30. By 3:00 we were off with Tom and Becky to the access at the confluence of the Norfork and White and had the boat in the water by 3:30. Up the Norfork we went to near the dam. This time we were in one of the classic jon boats used in the White River system for trout fishing. This was again a totally different kind of fishing than we had done thus far. The generators were going on the Norfork and we were fishing for large fish in high water. That has been one of the coolest things about this trip. It’s not that we have just been fishing riffles and runs on different rivers, which is what I generally do, but we had been fishing completely differently from guide to guide. What an education!!!

We fished with Tom until about 8:00 pm and caught 18 fish ranging from 14 to 18 inches. After driving back to TNT, we said goodnight and set a time for the morning and headed to a bar and grill in Mountain to meet John for a beer and a burger. I could hardly think. I was a little tired to say the least and I still hadn’t eaten since breakfast (….although Matt smiled as he told me that Becky made mean poppy seed chicken when he was working on their computer!!! BUM!!!!) John has an internet board that a lot of people communicate on and one of those guys was at the bar also. I still don’t think I ever caught his name. I had just gotten turned down at the bar & grill for bumming when this guys says he will buy Matt and I dinner and a couple beers (No I’m not making this up). I think I said thanks and ordered a beer from the waitress all in the same breath. Thanks Dude!!! Actually, he said their was no need to offer up his name and he refused a picture. Bummer!!! That was our first bar bum and I had been waiting for that one. Oh well!!!

After eating a burger and drinking a couple beers, Matt and I were off to the Ramada to use our wireless internet access to try to write a report and send it to all of you. Now looking back on our day, I can see why we were so tired, spinning our wheels and decided to try to get a couple more hours sleep instead of sending this in. Hope you all don’t mind too much, but I wonder what we would have written then would have made any sense anyway. We decided to call it a…….day? It was 11:30, we had had only about 3 or 4 hours sleep the night before……(at two different times) and we needed to be up at 6:00 am.

I am sure I have missed a few things and at this time feel that we need to really give all of our guides more credit than we have thus far. Heck with our daily update confusions, you all still haven’t read about our day on the Beaver River. I sure hope you all get to read that one soon. I’ll upload it again tonight. Hopefully all will work well this time. Matt and I will talk more about how our experiences were so different with each guide at the end and how wonderful all of them have been too. Personally, I think the guys we have had thus far have been absolutely awesome. I would recommend any of them to all of you. It just depends on what type of fishing turns your crank, because all of them have a little different way of doing things. Wading, drift boats, jon boats, nymphing, streamers, dries, midges, low water, high water, night, day, numbers of fish, large fish, etc., you name it……we have done it here so far.

Well, that is about it for now. Hope you all are doing well….I know we are.

Tight Lines,

Brent & Matt (written by Brent)