It's been a while since I've posted. It's definitely not for a lack of things to say. I been fishing quite a bit. I caught my first bonefish (and almost a permit) on my honeymoon in Belize. I fished the Little Red River in Arkansas for the first time. I had a great second half of the '09 duck season, and spent numerous hours in a deer stand with both a rifle and bow.
I'm not real sure why I haven't felt the urge to write. I think once I get behind on posting, I get intimidated by the thought of having to catch up. I'm still embarrassed that it's been a year and a half since I got back from Alaska and haven't written about it (although, I did manage to post the pictures on Facebook). I haven't even written about the fishing I did in Jackson during my wedding week. I need to catch up!
What follows is my attempt to get up to speed (minus Alaska). This is the abridged version of what's been going on. I'll try to be better about keeping this more current.
I got married on July 11, 2009 in Jackson, Wyoming. Sara and I were out there for almost two full weeks so there was NO WAY I was not going to wet a line.
The most memorable fishing day was our guided trip on the South Fork. We fished with Worldcast Anglers and I would recommend them to anyone headed that way. Salmon flies were the bug of choice and we ended up boating several nice fish on dries before the day was over.
The highlight of the day was landing a 19 inch tagged cutthroat. I was in the boat with Davis and we were both very excited and surprised when we got a glimpse of the tag. We basically equated the tagged trout to shooting a banded duck. After netting, photos, and release, I could tell Big John was a little jealous as this was something he had never done.
It did not last long. John, who is basically the luckiest person I know, hooked another tagged fish just 10 minutes after I got mine. It was an amazing turn of events. Seriously, imagine shooting two banded ducks with your best friend within ten minutes of each other. Not bad. Our guide later told us that he had not seen a tagged fish in his boat in the past five years. It was pretty cool. JD and I plan to get a dual mount with both fish and their tags attached. Yes, we kept the tags.
I would have posted some pictures of these fish but, unfortunately, shortly after returning from Jackson, my hard drive decided to fry itself and I lost all of my pictures. The official diagnosis for the 8 month old desktop was "defective hard drive." Thanks Dell!!
Deer Season '09
Let me give you a quick breakdown of deer season:
Rifle Hunting: Ryan sits in the stand and doesn't see a deer. Ryan climbs down and drinks with the Holtsman boys.
Ryan gets back in the stand and sees a non-legal buck. Ryan gets down and drinks with the Holtsman boys.
Ryan gets up in the stand, takes a bathroom break and misses a chance to shoot a doe. Chris shoots a real nice 8 pointer. Ryan gets down, drinks with the Holtsman boys and talks about Chris' deer.
Ryan sits in Chris' stand, doesn't see a deer. It starts to pour down rain, Ryan goes duck hunting.
Bow Hunting: Ryan sits in a stand at Eddie's farm and sees 50 deer at about 200 yards. Ryan gets burned by a doe while watching the other deer. Ryan watches Davis kill a deer through his binoculars.
Ryan sits in a stand at Henry's farm and doesn't see any deer. Davis kills another deer in his fucking yard while sitting on his patio with a beer.
Ryan sits in a stand at Sara's dad's house, has 4 doe trot under his stand, draws his bow and the arrow falls off the string.
I don't know if I just suck at deer hunting or what. Hopefully I'm saving all my karma for turkey season.
Duck Season '09
While it started off relatively slow, I would say the '09 Duck Season ended with a bang (no pun intended). I had some of the best duck hunting days I've ever experienced and one day that I will never forget. The day of the year (and my hunting career thus far) came just days after a pretty slow hunt that I had at Raccoon Ranch with Stone. The reason I remember that, and the reason I will never forget the slow hunt, is because I managed to go for a swim submerging my entire body, gun, shells, and camera. My Barretta was on the bottom of the slough, twice (I fell a second time while trying to recover from the first fall). When I got home that night, I was very meticulous about taking my gun apart, cleaning every moving part, and letting it air dry.
Just days later, a front moved in. A big front. We had 20-40 mph Northwest winds gusting up to 60 mph. Snow, rain, sleet, and a shit ton of ducks came with it. JD and I geared up and headed out to Duck's Rest. We climbed into D-3 (name of the blind) just in time for first shot. Sure enough, right as we loaded our guns, a dozen mallards dove in. With the wind howling like it was, these ducks were basically stationary in the air as they tried to land, hovering about 20 yards from our blind. Davis quickly tripled. I aimed, squeezed the trigger, and all I heard was "click." I cycled my shell and pulled again---"click." The third shell finally fired and I dropped a mallard.
I thought it was a fluke but this continued to happen. Pack after pack of ducks dropped in like they were on strings but my fucking gun would not fire. Davis tripled again and had his limit plus two bonus ducks in about 30 minutes. Eventually, I gave up on my Barretta and used his Winchester to get my remaining mallards. We went back to the "Duk Bus" and I soaked my gun in Gun Scrubber. I guess I didn't use enough solvent the first time because after dousing everything a second time, I didn't have any more problems. What a day in the blind! I learned the hard way how to properly clean my gun.
My duck season was cut short when Sara and I left for Belize. I was fine with trading cammo and waders for swimsuits, sunscreen, and salt water fly rods. The trip to Belize in December was our delayed honeymoon and, like the wedding, it had to involve a little bit of fishing. Sara's blog really details the trip well. I strongly recommend checking out the pictures and stories:
Scroll down to the Belize posts. I promise you'll enjoy them.
At the risk of avoiding redundancy, I will defer to Sara's post for the pictures and most of the details. I do have two comments however. First, I need to talk about my shots at permit. My first guided day, we had perfect conditions and saw a ton of permit. Unfortunately, things were not going my way. The last section of my rod kept falling off when I was casting--I needed wax for that ferrule. My fly line kept getting knotted at my feet--I should have changed it out prior to leaving. Twice I hooked bonefish out of the middle of a school of permit--good cast, bad luck. One permit, a good 15 pounder, actually struck and missed my fly altogether--I hope he starves. Literally dozens of fish chased and chased and chased and chased but they did not eat. I guess the elusive permit won the day. Conditions on the second day of guided fishing were terrible for permit. We ended up seeing one or two but nothing like the day before.
The second comment I have, and no this is not just ass kissing, is that I have a pretty amazing wife. She really supports my fishing addiction, as evidenced by the fact that I fished at my wedding and on my honeymoon. She's a wonderful companion and I'm really lucky to have found her. Seriously, I fished almost everyday of our honeymoon. Even if it was on the beach in the morning while she was asleep, I got out just about everyday. Trust me when I say that my best catch was back at the room in bed.
Little Red River, AR
JD, Stone, Joe Scott and I threw together an impromptu trip to the Little Red to fish with Jamie Rouse. This was the first of two trips to AR this year and I am already jonesing for # 2. For the second trip, we are headed to the White over Valentine's Day weekend. Again, evidence that wife = awesome.
Fishing on the Little Red was pretty slow but the trip itself was nothing short of spectacular. First off, we flew to Heber Springs on a twin engine Navajo Chieftain. The flight was bad ass and enabled us to get a full day on the river on Monday. Jack Jackson, our pilot, was great and got us to and fro safely.
In Heber Springs, we stayed at a place called Fat Possum Hollow. This is a 250 acre farm on the banks of the river that is normally reserved for timeshare holders. Thanks to Eddie P. and his buddy Paul, they let us rent a place for the weekend that was perfect. The lodging was great. We had three bedrooms, a nice fireplace with unlimited firewood, a flat screen with DirectTV for the football games, computer and Internet, full kitchen, grill, etc. The place even loaned us their Mule (the ATV, not the animal) for the weekend so we could cruise around and get to the river for night fishing. They also had a little BYOB bar on the property with a pool table / ping pong table, poker table, and another great fireplace. I gave the crew a lesson in ping pong until Stone finally took a match off me. Once he found his stroke, he was tough to beat. Thanks to Eddie, Paul, and Maurice for letting us crash at the Fat Possum for the weekend. The place was great.
Our guides for the weekend were Jamie Rouse and Matt Milner. They did an excellent job and I learned a few new tricks that I will have to implement locally. Unfortunately, the fish did not cooperate. Due to all the rain that's hit the area, we had three days of full generation. Jamie warned us prior to coming down that the Little Red is the hardest of the tailwaters to fish on high water. He was right. Normally, one would think the high water would be perfect for streamers but the fish were just not moving. We fished hard for three days and caught some fish but nothing picture worthy. Hopefully, we're just paying our dues for the White. Can you say Walter II?
I've got a lot to look forward to in the near future. This Sunday I'm quail hunting with Diamond Joe and Davis. We did this two years ago and it's a great way to spend the day. The quail meat is great and I use the feathers for tying flies. Two weeks after that we go to the White. This is our classic, annual trip with Stu, Billy, Stone, and Davis. We're trying a new lodge this year closer to the dam and have Jamie, Matt, and a third guide, Chris, taking care of us for the weekend. Hopefully, we'll see some low water and get a chance to do some night fishing. In April, I turn 30 and there's talk of going to Vegas. May brings turkey season and Location X. Summer is somewhat up in the air but Sara and I are already discussing plans to return to Jackson for our one year anniversary. It's only fitting that we float the South Fork several times.
I love my life....
- Missouri Trout Stalker
- Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
- I am an attorney in my early thirties with a serious fly fishing problem. I work at a large corporate law firm where things move pretty fast. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of corporate America, I try as often as possible to get away and enjoy a quiet stream. My blog attempts to detail the adventures I have both on and off the water in "My World on the Fly."