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Al Agnew

Fishing Buddy
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Al Agnew last won the day on April 10

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About Al Agnew

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    Smallmouth Bass Angler

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  1. Personal Best Smallie

    I'm glad you realize what a special fish that is. As you say, you may never catch another that big from an Ozark stream the rest of your life. (And I recognize that spot in the photos--I've fished that hole religiously for 40 years and have never caught one there that made four pounds, let alone more than 5!)
  2. Secluded Multi-Day Float Suggestions

    Yep, Crooked Creek is a losing stream. During dry weather the entire flow sinks underground just downstream from Yellville, and it's mostly dry with a few permanent pools from there until the last few miles before it reached the White River, and even in those last couple miles is will have very little flow. It can get very skinny above Pyatt, too, though it's sometimes floatable a lot farther upstream.
  3. Digiscoping

    I recently acquired a 30-70X Swarovski spotting scope, and I love it. But where I'm getting the most use out of it out here in Montana is digiscoping with my Iphone. I got an adapter that you put the phone into and then it attaches to the eyepiece of the scope. The thing is a little tricky, because focusing the scope by looking at the screen on the phone isn't as easy as it would seem, and you absolutely need a tripod, while a remote shutter button for the phone is a big help, too. But I have those things, and Mary and I spent a day in Yellowstone Park this week, trying it all out. We had a great day of wildlife viewing, with wolves and bears, both black and grizzlies. A bison had just died, and was about 100 yards off the road, and there was a pregnant, collared wolf on it. This is a picture I got with the scope and Iphone: Compare that to a pic I took with my SLR and 500 mm lens with 1.4 extender (so 700 mm): However, the phone optics aren't nearly as good...here is an enlargement of the same picture taken with the SLR and big lens...note the better detail: On the other hand, the phone really handles low light situations better. This bear photo couldn't have been taken with the SLR and big lens; the bear was under a big evergreen tree and it was late in a cloudy afternoon, so it was very dark. The bear was about 200 yards away, so not only would it have been very small in the frame, but it would have been very dark or would have required a very slow shutter speed, which doesn't work well with animals that are probably in motion. But the phone compensated for the lighting very well. This was not even at full zoom on the spotting scope, but was zoomed in on the phone itself: So while the stuff I've taken with the phone and scope has not been publishing quality, for my purposes of getting reference for paintings, it's been pretty amazing.
  4. Check this out

    Brits and other Europeans call elk deer because the European elk is the red deer. They call moose elk because the European moose was always known as an elk.
  5. Mineral Fork access and float question

    I've done it from 185. Not a bad put-in on the county road just upstream from the bridge. Skinny water until Mine a Breton Creek joins to make the Mineral Fork, then it's about a mile on down to F. But there weren't any big log jams or barbed wire fences when I did it several years ago, and no landowners came to run me off. Your experience may vary!
  6. Solo canoe thoughts

    Yeah, I didn't see it on the website, either, though I didn't look past the Vagabond page. Probably somewhere around 400 pounds, comparable to other solo canoes of the same length.
  7. Secluded Multi-Day Float Suggestions

    You simply won't find scenery comparable to the upper Jacks Fork or lower end of the Buffalo. Even the other parts of the Jacks Fork and Buffalo don't compare to it, except the upper Buffalo downstream from Ponca for 10 or 12 miles is better yet, though different. Even if you've floated the middle Buffalo, you won't be prepared for what the lower end is like. And there's a huge difference between the Jacks Fork above Alley Spring and the JF below Alley. The two stream sections are quite different in some ways but very similar in others. Both the lower end of the Buffalo and the upper Jacks Fork have NO flat bottomland, they are nearly canyons, wooded all the way from the top of the ridges to the edge of the river, nothing but bluffs, trees, and gravel bars. The lower Buffalo is almost wilderness, with little or no human settlement for a long way from the river, so you won't hear anything manmade except for jet airplanes passing over. The upper JF is a narrow canyon with gently rolling uplands adjacent to it, so human activities are not more than a mile from the river in many places and you'll hear the occasional lawn mower, tractor, or automobile in the distance. Plus, the upper JF has several accesses, while the lower Buffalo doesn't have any real accesses between Rush and the White River. But still, you won't see many signs of people on the JF. However, in that time period, you probably will encounter at least a few other floaters on the Buffalo, and if there is enough water, quite a few on the JF. As for your other rivers you listed, some of them are more likely to furnish solitude...especially if you're willing to put up with low water levels by going higher up on the stream. If solitude is what you're seeking, hope for low water levels and do one like the upper Kings River, upper half of Bryant Creek, Eleven Point from Thomasville to Greer, Osage Fork, upper Gasconade (well above the stretch that Gasconade Hills services), or the St. Francis. I'd rate the scenery fairly similar on all those except the St. Francis, which is unique among floatable Ozark streams. I wouldn't recommend floating the whitewater sections, but you could start at Silvermines and float downstream as far as you wished to cover. There are a lot of difficult passages on the St. Francis above the Highway C-N bridge, rocky rapids and willow jungles, but the landscape is scenic, interesting, and very different from most Ozark streams (and the fishing can be quite good).
  8. Solo canoe thoughts

    I guess different people paddle in different ways. I find the Vagabond to handle well with a good load--although I'm 5'8" and 170 pounds...but I load the thing with enough stuff for three days on the river and it handles as well as it does on a day trip. Love Gavin's description, though...tandem equals barge, solo equals Ferrari, kayak equals lipstick on a pig. I paddled a 15 ft. Grumman for more than 15 years as my only canoe. My first solo was an Old Town Pack, and I knew right then I'd never be without a solo canoe, even though the Pack leaves a bit to be desired. I now own 6 solos, all of which are sweeter paddling than that old Pack. If you have good balance, you can pole some solos, but it's not comfortable like poling many tandems. That is the only drawback to a solo canoe. Yeah, you can paddle a tandem upstream. I can do it quicker and easier. I can also paddle downstream quicker and easier, stop the canoe in current more easily, move it sideways in current more easily, take far fewer paddle strokes to turn it around, in fact just about anything you can do in three or four strokes with a tandem paddled solo, I can do in one or two in a real solo. At the end of the day, I'll be a lot less tired. Not to mention, even less tired after loading the thing onto the vehicle at the end of that day.
  9. Question on streamer chucking...

    I agree with Gavin that the smaller rainbows are followers and tail nippers, but when you put it in front of a big one that's in the mood... If I'm wading, I tend to fish nymphs or dries wading upstream, and then when I go back down I try streamers. I like fishing them downstream, letting them swing. I also tend to concentrate more in slower water with the streamers. I don't enjoy trying to fish nymphs in slow water, even though there are fish in it. You can fish a streamer in any kind of water.
  10. Solo canoe thoughts

    As Tim said, as long as you're talking just Ozark streams and similar, the less rocker the better. And he's right in everything else he said, too. High sides just catch wind, high ends catch it even more. You seldom encounter waves big enough to make a high sided canoe desirable. I always say that the difference between a good solo canoe and any tandem canoe is simply that paddling a tandem canoe by yourself is simply a means to an end...you paddle it in order to fish or just get down the river. Paddling a good solo canoe is FUN. The paddling itself is far more enjoyable (and less work). The Wenonah Wilderness is a great canoe, but unless you are a big guy and/or you do a lot of canoe camping and like to carry a lot of gear, it probably isn't as good a choice as some of the slightly smaller canoes. My all-purpose solo is the Wenonah Vagabond, but in Royalex, which is no longer made. I haven't paddled the tuff-weave Vagabond, but it should be a pretty nice canoe. I also have an old Oscoda Coda glass canoe (well, actually I have three of them), which is better tracking and faster than the Vagabond, and gets used when I'm floating a slow river like the Bourbeuse or middle Big and I'm covering a lot of water, since I can get down the long, dead pools faster and easier with it.
  11. Question on streamer chucking...

    Funny thing is, even the smallest streams can surprise you with some outsize fish if you try streamers when they are up and murky. Streamers are always hit or miss for me, but I always give them a try.
  12. Devils River

    The biggest reason I'd still go to the Devils is just because I haven't been there before, and it's excellent if challenging fishing, great scenery, and some interesting rapids and falls. Like I said, I would go in a minute if somebody wanted to set up a trip, but I think I'd pay the money to have a guided or outfitted trip, rather than trying to jump through all the hoops of doing it on your own. Some places I'd recommend: John Day River, Oregon--the best trip is 65 miles of wilderness in a high desert canyon that's just spectacular. I've done that trip twice, first time was the best smallmouth fishing I'd ever had up to that point, second was mediocre fishing but water conditions weren't great. I may do this trip again this summer, since I have a friend who is planning it. This is the trip to do if you're looking for probably good to great smallmouth fishing in a long, wild river trip. Lower Salmon River, Idaho--has to be a guided trip because of major whitewater rapids. I haven't done it yet but will this summer, though the trip is mostly just river running and not concentrating on fishing. But I know the fishing can be very good and the river is spectacular. Maine--any of three rivers, the Kennebec, Androscoggin, or Penobscot. Not sure what the opportunities are for long floats and camping on the rivers, but the smallmouth fishing is terrific, with lots of 17-20 inch fish. Scenery is nice.
  13. Question on streamer chucking...

    Yeah, I agree with Gavin in that I always expect to catch browns and not so much rainbows with streamers, but if the conditions are right the bigger rainbows will eat them, too.
  14. Devils River

    I haven't been but know several people who have been, and have seen videos. It's a unique experience, and as you said, not easy. It also isn't an easy river to paddle. I used to really want to do it, but now I'm not quite so gung ho about it...if somebody else set up a trip and invited me I'd go for sure, but there are other rivers in other parts of the country that are friendlier to visiting anglers and have better fishing.
  15. Question on streamer chucking...

    Somebody who fishes the North Fork a lot will hopefully chime in, but in general, if the water is a little high and murky streamers can be terrific. Low and clear, not so much unless it's a dark day...at least that's been my experience both on Missouri trout streams and Western ones. Since the water is often a little high and murky in the spring, I'd not hesitate to fling streamers on the North Fork in those conditions.

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