For Days 3 and 4, Joe, Johnny and I rowed ourselves in Joe's beautiful drift boat. Both days we floated Section 1 because that's the section of river Joe knew the best from his guiding days. The plan was to utilize the same strategy--slam the banks early, find risers in the afternoon, and finish with streamers at dusk.
On the first day, we had one of the most memorable (and definitely the most valuable) catches of the trip. One thing you have to understand about this crew is that we rarely come unprepared. Actually, we're usually so loaded with gear that half the stuff we lug halfway across the country never gets used. This trip was no different. Here are the weapons we used for day 3. Pay close attention to the rod in the foreground.
Every now and again, having a lot of gear (e.g. extra rods) proves useful. On our first day in Joe's boat, we put in at the dam. Joe took the first shot at rowing, as he was the former guide, and Johnny and I planned to throw some heavy sink tip rods with big streamers to see if we could dig up one of the big, big browns that are often seen hanging out near the dam. We put the boat in the water and Joe rowed hard across the heavy current over to the power house where the current was not ripping. Once we hit the slack water, Joe rowed upstream so we could start our streamer fishing as close to the dam as possible. Joe really earned his stripes for this because even in the slack water, rowing upstream was not easy with the 30 mph breeze that was screaming off the dam directly downstream. Thanks for the effort Joe.
Depressed, Joe pulled the boat over in the slack water and we tended to John's wound. After a few minutes, we decided it was worth rowing back upstream, floating the same line, just to see if we could locate the rod. We had no idea how to get it even if we could find it but we went for it anyway. Sure enough, on our first drift, we spotted the silver reel and rod with about 60 feet of fluorescent green fly line waving in the current. We pulled over again and thought: how can we get this thing? Had we been in a salt water skiff we may have had a gaff. Actually, with all the shit we bring on trips, I'm surprised we didn't have one. We put our heads together and formulated a plan. The idea was to rig up the two stiffest rods in the boat, tie on huge, articulated streamers, reel them all the way up to the front guide, and try to snag the rod or the fly line laying on the river bottom.
Joe rowed us back upstream, and with cameras rolling, the following unfolded:
After our rod retrieval, karma was on our side. What was not on our side was the weather. We got hit pretty hard on Day 3 with a significant thunderstorm (i.e. serious wind, hail, and pounding rain). With all the gear we had, JD forgot his rain jacket. He was not comfortable.
Eventually we were forced to quit. That night we enjoyed steaks and good red wine and reluctantly packed our things. It was an amazing trip and hopefully will become an annual adventure for the three of us.
- 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."