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Al Agnew

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Al Agnew last won the day on April 10 2018

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About Al Agnew

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    Smallmouth Bass Angler

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  1. I haven't paid attention to the Cardinals for several years now, but since they were in the playoffs I started watching them the last few games. Painful. It looks like they don't have a clue when it comes to timely hitting...or just hitting at all. Gotta give Wainright credit for the tough pitching performance he had the last game, but they left him in just a bit too long. Like watching the guys like him who were there when I was still paying attention to them.
  2. If you want to know how to tell largemouth from spotted bass at a glance, check out the article on my new blog. riversandart.blogspot.com
  3. Brian is right, cwc made sure the spots weren't released up there. But there are other tournaments and from what I've heard they've released a lot of spotted bass around Steelville. MAYBE there's not too much to worry about. If the Meramec above Meramec State Park was great habitat for spotted bass they would have been up there in great numbers by now, like they are on Big and Bourbeuse. There seems to be something holding them back on the upper middle Meramec, so maybe it'll stay that way for the most part. But that doesn't mean I'm not worried about it.
  4. They do just fine in clear streams, which really worries me. They are in nearly every pool on Joachim Creek almost up to De Soto. I've seen them in Big River up to Bonne Terre. Nobody knows what they'll end up doing to the ecology of these smaller, clearer streams, but I'd like to shoot the pinhead who allowed them to escape and the politicians that said it was okay to raise them. Besides that, they are about the ugliest fish I've ever seen.
  5. So like I said, things can get really muddy. My understanding, and the opinion of most "authorities cited in the case" is that the Mulberry case did NOT affect stream bed ownership. It did affect the absolute control of creek bottoms and gravel bars. The legislature afterwards, bowing to the pressure from property rights people, actually muddied things up worse by saying that it put the whole ownership thing in question. What really worries me is in the political climate of today in both Missouri and Arkansas, we can only end up losing access and use rights to Ozark streams. These streams have been used for floating, fishing and most importantly gravel bar camping and picnicking for well over a hundred years. It's as traditional a use as it gets. Any landowner on an Ozark stream SHOULD understand and accept that the public has some rights to the use of the river and gravel bars, and that he will have to deal with the public...and I say that as a river landowner myself in two different states. But large, influential landowners are continually trying to get that tradition use abolished instead of living with it, and there are a lot of legislators that are on their side.
  6. In my opinion and experience, downsizing is seldom necessary and usually not the best way to go when it comes to river smallmouth (or other river bass). Many years ago when most of my fishing was done on Big River and the middle Meramec, I was intimidated by ultra-clear water like you find on streams like Huzzah and Black River, and thought I really needed to use very light line and small lures when I fished those types of streams, rather than my usual lures for the murkier water of my home rivers. My results were uniformly mediocre to bad on the clear streams. Finally I just decided, to heck with it, I'll use the stuff I knew caught big fish on my usual waters. Not only my usual lures but also the casting tackle and 8-12 pound line. Guess what--it worked. Way, way better than the ultralight stuff and downsized lures ever did. I came to the conclusion that river bass are the same no matter what kind of water they are in, the same aggressive fish looking large and easy meals. They may be more wary of sounds and shadows and movement, so you can't approach them as closely, but they are still looking for the same kind of stuff to eat. Then, I kinda got into a rut in thinking that certain lures STILL don't work in very clear water very well. For years I never threw a regular spinnerbait in really clear water, just my homemade twin spin. That didn't really change until two years ago, when I was on a smallish, very clear stream and the twin spin just wasn't working well, and neither was much else. I don't know why I tied on the 3/8th ounce double willow War Eagle, just on a whim. But all of a sudden I started catching fish. Big fish, 18-19.5 inchers. It was like magic that day. Almost as good the next, on a different stretch of the same river. And even better a few weeks later on another extremely clear stream. Now, the spinnerbait is one of my go-to lures no matter what the water conditions are.
  7. I think it's pretty muddy, still. The supposedly definitive case in Arkansas was on the Mulberry a couple decades ago, which did give the public the right to use gravel bars. However, since there is no statute that actually delineates the public rights (same as Missouri), it all depends upon which court case the judge thinks would take precedence, and if you happened to run afoul of a landowner and got arrested, you'd have to take it to court with a chance of losing. There is no doubt, in either state, that the landowner owns the land including the bed of the stream, but given that gravel bar camping is as popular in Arkansas as it is in Missouri, if landowners could run floaters off streams there the instant they touched the bottom or bank (which is actually the law in some states), it would cut out overnight floating, or even swimming, on a bunch of pretty popular streams. So I'm comfortable with my advice above.
  8. I'd guess there would barely be enough water to float from Carver down. Probably something like 75 cfs at Carver. Keep in mind that there's a losing reach below Woolum where a good part of the river's flow sinks underground in low water conditions, so you might have a couple miles where you will be doing a lot of dragging, it's just hard to say. But 200 cfs is PLENTY of water at St. Joe, so I'd guess you'd be okay.
  9. I think I've caught at least 20 smallmouth over 18 inches in the last two summers on double willow War Eagle spinnerbaits. They have been my best big smallmouth lure the last two years, even better than my beloved walk the dog baits. My brother caught his personal best, as I reported earlier, this spring on a big double willow spinnerbait...21 inches, 4 pounds 11 ounces. And that's just on Ozark streams...I caught a bunch of nice ones on the Salmon River in Idaho last summer on the War Eagles. Just sayin'!
  10. Yep, that's a bad one. Another really painful spot that I can speak of from personal experience is the area where your upper lip meets the bottom of your nose. Stuck a big treble hook there in far younger years, before anybody knew the string trick. Had to push it on through, like a ring in my nose except just a tad too low. I came very close to sticking one of those little Excalibur trebles that were so extremely sharp straight down THROUGH my fingernail past the barb...the barb was just barely still exposed. That would have been not good.
  11. I've gotten hooks out of myself using only one hand three times. Just gotta be a bit creative. What I did was find something solid and protruding enough that I could press the eye of the hook against it to get the same effect as pushing down on the eye of the hook, and use my other hand to jerk on the string. Besides, Yaknar had it in his leg, where he COULD use two hands. And yes, I do carry a multi-tool with a good set of pliers as well.
  12. You really need to remember the string trick to get hooks out. Pushing the barb on through is neither pleasant nor necessary, and just jerking takes a real man (or an idiot ). Google "string trick for removing hooks". I carry a length of old fly line and a pair of sidecutters on every fishing trip, because I've had to get hooks out of myself and others more than a dozen times.
  13. I believe, however, that Arkansas's laws are the same as Missouri's...although the landowner owns the gravel bars, on floatable streams the public can use them. As a practical matter, I always choose a gravel bar that has no signs of civilization around it, and no houses, roads, or outbuildings within sight of it, because although I might have the legal right to camp on any bar, I don't want to tick off a landowner and take the chance of getting into an unpleasant confrontation, plus it would tick me off too if I owned a gravel bar and used it all the time myself and when I wanted to use it to picnic or swim or fish the river some nimrod was camped out on my bar.
  14. Just fyi, if you are trying to decide whether a stream section you're not familiar with is runnable by jetboat, asking people who know is always the best, but failing that you can get some idea from looking at the river gauges. My rule of thumb is that on a river I'm unfamiliar with, I look at the median flow for the date and then the present flow in cfs. I want at least 400 cfs for the median flow before I assume it's USUALLY runnable this time of year. And then I make sure the present flow is around that or more. Right now, the James at Galena is flowing at 300 cfs or a little more and the median flow is 180 cfs. That tells me that unless you're very familiar with the river, it isn't usually runnable very far, because 180 cfs just isn't much water. And even though it's higher than the median flow (which is an approximation of the normal flow for this time of year), it's still below that 400 cfs point. You can also compare the median and present flow to a river you're familiar with, like the Meramec. The median flow for this time of year on the Meramec at Steelville is 172 cfs. If you are comfortable running the Meramec between Steelville and the mouth of the Huzzah this time of year, you MIGHT be okay running the James, and you can assume it's comparable in size and character to the Meramec around Steelville. On the other hand, the Meramec at Sullivan has a median flow this time of year at 349 cfs, and it's getting tricky to run in some places right now even when you're familiar with it, and you can assume the James is a little smaller than the Meramec at Sullivan at present. Personally, I've run the Meramec above the mouth of the Huzzah this time of year, but there are places where you really, really better know exactly what line to run.
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