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Al Agnew

Fishing Buddy
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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. Al Agnew

    What's Cooking?

    I'd never pickle, brine, or smoke tongue. That would be sacrilege to what I consider the tastiest meat on a cow!
  2. Al Agnew

    Buffalo River Trip (need Advice)

    Plenty of goggle-eye (the Ozark bass species) in the Buffalo, but like every other stream, the longears will get to everything small you throw before anything else. The Buffalo is actually a somewhat sterile stream, and also somewhat isolated when it comes to warm-water fish. What I mean by that is that unlike a lot of rivers which have different kinds of warm-water fish migrating up them from the larger rivers they run into or the very fertile lower sections of the river itself, the Buffalo is a low-nutrient stream all the way to its mouth, and then it runs into the cold water of the White River, where there just aren't many warm water species living. So the Buffalo's fish are pretty much limited to the natives that live there year-round. For instance, I haven't heard of walleye being caught out of the Buffalo in recent years, so I doubt that there are many, if any, in it these days (they used to come up out of the White River before the dams). Not sure about fish like flatheads--there is a decent but not great population of channel catfish. Largemouth are not common, spotted bass almost non-existent. Trout come up out of the White in cold weather, but they don't survive in the Buffalo in the summer because water temps get up into the high 80s or even warmer once the water gets low. There are gar in the big holes that live there year-round, and there are BIG redhorse (a function mainly of lack of gigging pressure--the 10 hp limit on motors in the Buffalo and the usual low water levels in the fall and winter keep gigging limited to areas around the accesses).
  3. I haven't used the Carbonlites. But I'd recommend the Major Craft Nanoace crankbait rods (available from Tackle Warehouse). They have a couple different models and they are in that $110 price range.
  4. Al Agnew

    What's Cooking?

    Had leftover beef tongue tonight with homemade egg noodles. Mary won't eat tongue but is okay with fixing it in the Instant Pot. One tongue gives me three nights of meals, and it only gets better each night. Mary had salmon.
  5. Al Agnew

    Buffalo River Trip (need Advice)

    In higher spring water levels, Clabber Creek usually has some fairly impressive standing waves, enough to swamp an open canoe if you take the heart of the biggest waves. However, at that level you can probably sneak by to the inside of the bend (the left), over a big gravel bar that rises to a thick stand of willows. You enter the shoal at the end of the pool at Rush, and the river bends to the right out of the pool, then bends left into the shoal itself. The right bank is rock and ledges, underwater in higher water levels, with really brushy bank on that side and swift current. The current is a little slower on the left side. In lower water levels like you have by May and June normally, the shoal narrows and the rock ledges on the right appear out of the water, and the gravel bar appears on the left side. The shoal gets narrow and studded with rocks, requiring maneuvering, but once that rocky gravel bar on the left appears, you can probably walk down the edge of it. At least that's the way I remember it, and the way it looks on a couple of videos I've seen. I've floated it recently (like three or four years ago) only at lower water levels, where it's a steep drop through big rocks that you just about can't avoid scraping over. It's been a long time since I floated it in higher water.
  6. Al Agnew

    Fishing kayak.

    Yep, I'll say it again...any boat is better than no boat. And I totally agree with your last sentence. A good canoe or kayak should last you many years. If you use it 20 times a year, after 5 years you've used it 100 times, and a $1000 boat has ended up costing you $10 a trip at that point, a whole lot cheaper than renting one. Have to say I REALLY can't fathom the paddleboard thing. I've messed around on one and it's fun to mess around on, but for fishing it's gotta be the height of inconvenience to try to carry much of anything, a real pain in the butt to handle the long paddle while standing when you've got your rod in one hand and you're trying to position the craft to make the next cast, and I can't imagine standing on one while fishing fast-moving water. But to each his own, I guess.
  7. Al Agnew

    Fishing kayak.

    I've been in several of those you mentioned. Yes, the seats are reasonably comfortable, but the high seat arrangement made me a little uncomfortable and the lower seat setting was terrible. I do not like the way everything kinda sits on top of the craft rather than inside it. Makes it necessary to strap more stuff down or put it in hatches rather than just have it sitting in front of you. As for getting in and out, I find it a LOT more difficult to get in and out (or off and onto) a SOT in the situations where I'm most likely to want to enter or exit the craft. Like I said before, if you're always mounting and dismounting in more than a foot of water, the SOT is great. But 99% of the time when I get into or out of the canoe, it's at the bank when the canoe is sitting on the gravel. In water that shallow, it's the difference between getting up from a seated position on the floor, as opposed to getting up from a chair. A moving floor! I hate it. As for seating in canoes, the best solution is go go with one of the commercially available seat backs, not stadium seats, that attach to the canoe solidly, and then experiment with various cushions for your rear until you find the right balance of firmness and give. Closest thing commercially available that does it all that I've found is the Sitbacker, but I made my own seat back that has a four position adjustable angle to the back. Like somebody said, different people have different priorities. If standing to fish is important to you, a solo canoe isn't for you. If you like a lot of gee gaws and tricked out boats, a canoe isn't for you. If convenient storage and high capacity is important, a canoe is better. If you get out and wade to fish a lot, kayak might be better. If you're carrying your boat on racks, a canoe is a lot easier to handle--not only lighter in weight to lift, but also easier to grip and handle solo. The canoe may be easier to flip, depending upon the design, so that's another facet of personal preference--if you don't have good balance, you might want to go with the most stable kayak you can find. But keep in mind that regarding performance, everything depends upon the shape of the bottom, and not whether you paddle it with a double blade or single blade. I use both in either craft. When I have fished from a kayak, I use a short single blade for all my maneuvering as I'm fishing, and only use the double blade to get through tricky riffles and cover territory in long, dead pools. In the canoe, I use the single blade exclusively when drifting downstream, but if I want to paddle upstream I use a double blade. I have nothing against kayaks...I now own five of them, though none is strictly a fishing kayak. For me, a canoe is by far the better choice.
  8. Al Agnew

    Fishing kayak.

    Two things I don't get...the assertion that solo canoe seats are less comfortable, and the assertion that it's easier to get on or off or in or out of a SOT kayak. I've paddled quite a bit now in both, and HATE getting off or onto an SOT compared to a canoe. I can paddle the canoe right up onto the bank and just step out. I have to keep the kayak in 18 inches of water and slide off it...maybe that's because I have pretty short legs, but I always feel like I'm about to fall off the SOT when I'm trying to get off it. As for the seat, sure, a nice seat back on the kayak is comfortable compared to the bench seat with no back in a canoe, but you can get a bunch of aftermarket seat backs for canoes, and the fact that you're sitting in the canoe a lot more like you're sitting in a chair, rather than sitting within 6 inches of the floor like you are in a kayak, makes the canoe far more comfortable as long as I have a good seat back. However, I agree with Ham that finding a good solo canoe has gotten more and more difficult, and that's a big problem. The OT Disco 119 is a serviceable solo but there are far better ones out there. 14-15 ft. solos are about ideal in length. You won't find any in Royalex anymore unless you get very lucky with a used one, but actually glass composite canoes are pretty useful, and still come in some excellent designs. As for stowing rods horizontally, that's another big advantage to the canoe. Keep in mind here I'm talking ONLY about solo canoes, which is the only thing you should be comparing kayaks to. A tandem canoe is doable by yourself but it's not FUN. Solo canoes are FUN to paddle.
  9. Al Agnew

    Fishing kayak.

    Ham, you know I'm gonna call you on that one. Comparing a solo kayak to a tandem canoe is apples to oranges. A SOLO canoe will paddle just as easily as any kayak. It's paddling with a double bladed paddle that has the much shorter, gentler learning curve...and you can use a double blade just as well in a solo canoe as a kayak. But I agree with you...longer is usually better for a host of reasons. Get the 12 footer.
  10. Al Agnew

    Trout opener article in the St Louis Post

    Hey, I love for people to go to the trout parks. It means fewer people where I want to fish, so the more that go there the better. If Foghorn decided to concentrate on smallmouth on my creeks instead of trout in the parks, he'd educate every smallmouth in the creek. It's just not my cup of tea. I like my fishing with a little more solitude and a little fewer signs of civilization and a much wilder kind of fish. When I did go to Maramec on opening day, there were some interesting happenings. One kid was running up and down the bank carrying the biggest rock bass I've ever seen before or since, asking everybody he came to what kind of fish it was. The guy he asked before he got to me told him it was a smallmouth. I finally told him it was a goggle-eye, and probably a state record. I don't know if he believed me. The thing had to weight 2 pounds. My buddy Rick was using a Mepps spinner in one of the little pools that were surrounded by fisherpeople, and got snagged with a lady on the opposite bank. She said she'd reel it to her side and get it untangled. She did...she cut his line and threw his spinner out into the middle of the pool. He was so shocked he just stared at her. Two guys on opposite sides of the branch hooked the same fish--well, pretty sure one guy hooked it and then the other guy hooked his line and his lure slid down to the fish. They were both reeling like crazy, until suddenly the fish came out of the water, suspended in midair at the ends of the two very taut lines. Neither guy would relent and they both kept reeling until they established that one guy had stronger line than the other. The other guy's drag was slipping as the top dog guy slowly reeled the fish over to his side! Teenage kid finally hooks a trout after fishing most of the morning with nothing. He gets so excited he forgets to reel and just turns and runs up the bank dragging the fish behind him. The fish comes out of the water and is flopping up the bank when it comes unhooked. The kid looks back, sees the fish flopping toward the water, and runs back to grab it. Fish makes one more flop, and as it's in midair the kid dives for it, ending up with his whole upper body in the water...and no fish. Fun times!
  11. Place the batteries in the right spot and two batteries is no problem at all in how shallow you run. Like others, I have a 1652 Blazer with a 24 volt trolling motor, batteries are under the front deck at the back edge of the deck, maybe a fourth of the way back from the front of the boat overall. Balances the boat well and I have no trouble running shallow.
  12. Al Agnew

    Trout opener article in the St Louis Post

    I haven't done any opening days since I was barely out of high school, and that was back in the Devonian Era, when the limit was 5. Never went anywhere but Maramec Spring. It was probably the most entertaining place to go, since it was closest to St. Louis and got all the citified people that didn't have a clue about what they were doing. And yes, watching the people was definitely better than catching the fish. I haven't fished in a trout park, period, since doing it a couple times in the winter about 20 years ago. I'd far rather fish for more "natural" fish in the trout management areas, and for truly wild trout in Montana, and perhaps the thing I hate worst about the trout parks, other than the crowds, is that stupid horn that tells you when you must start and stop fishing. I don't know why, but that thing always did bug the crap out of me. And having to display your daily tag...that bugs me, too. And trout with worn off fins, that bugs me. And little dams and bridges all over the place, that bugs me. And people using spincast gear, that bugs me.........................yep, I'm a crotchety old dude.
  13. I love good fish, and don't want a lot of other tastes interfering with the taste of the fish, but like fried fish. So...SMALL bass or walleye, or any size of any of the other members of the sunfish family (bluegill, redear, crappie, goggle-eye), I'm going to dip in a mixture of egg and milk, dredge in cornmeal with salt and a little pepper, and deep fry. And for heaven's sake, don't overfry them! I usually split my fillets down the middle lengthwise at the natural slot in the muscle to do so. If we don't want quite so many calories, we grill the fish with a light skim of butter and some green onions, in little fish fillet baskets. If it's not as good tasting fish, like bass over 14 inches or white bass, coat the fillets in melted butter, roll them in crushed potato chips, put them in a casserole pan, dump a bunch more crushed potato chips over them and drizzle the whole thing with about another half stick of butter, and bake them.
  14. Al Agnew

    Getting in one last day...

    We're headed for Montana for a while, plus it looks like cold weather is returning to Missouri, so I wanted to get in one more day of fishing. Today was my only chance. I texted cwc on the way to the river to see if he could join me, and he said he could but only for the morning. We put in and headed for the nearest wintering pool. Stopped in the pool above it, which occasionally holds a few winter fish, and caught a couple. Then into the pool itself. There are eddies in the upper portion that always hold winter fish, but action was slow. We only caught a couple. So we fished down the pool and began to catch fish in the lower portion. The farther downstream we went, the more fish we caught. Cwc ended up catching one good one, 18.5 inches. We fished the next good pool, and again caught all our fish at the lower end, where it begins to shallow. One more marginal pool, and several more at the lower end. Obviously a pattern. But it was time for cwc to call it quits, so I ran him back up to his truck and then headed for another really good wintering pool. This one is always full of fish in the winter, and you can spend a good part of a day fishing all around it. But I went to the lower portion first. Caught a few fish on jerkbaits, and then a few on hair jigs, but not really as many as I expected. Fished rather quickly the rest of the way up the pool, catching a few, mainly in the upper end is slightly stronger current. But I ended up catching only about 12-15 altogether, none larger than 15 inches. Certainly not what I'd hoped for. But... At the lower end of this pool it shallows out but doesn't really go into a riffle, just a shallow flat and then below, a little run about 50 yards long with various logs and rocks, only 5-6 feet deep and with some current, not a classic wintering spot. Well, I think the vast majority of the fish in the wintering pool above had headed down to this spot. In about an hour and a half before I had to leave, I'm pretty sure I at least got a bite on more than 90% of the casts I made, mostly with the hair jig, though I also caught some on the jerkbait. I didn't count the fish I caught, but it had to be at least 60. Most were 11-14 inches long with a few over 15, the largest 17.5. Hooked a couple others that were that big or a little bigger. I guess those fish considered that run the lower end of the big pool above, so the pattern of the fish in the lower end definitely held. Interestingly, it's only been a few days since the river had ice along the edges...but the water temp was 48-50 degrees! Pretty sure it will drop again with the forecast, and those fish will move back to their typical wintering area.
  15. We're headed for Montana for a while, plus it looks like cold weather is returning to Missouri, so I wanted to get in one more day of fishing. Today was my only chance. I texted cwc on the way to the river to see if he could join me, and he said he could but only for the morning. We put in and headed for the nearest wintering pool. Stopped in the pool above it, which occasionally holds a few winter fish, and caught a couple. Then into the pool itself. There are eddies in the upper portion that always hold winter fish, but action was slow. We only caught a couple. So we fished down the pool and began to catch fish in the lower portion. The farther downstream we went, the more fish we caught. Cwc ended up catching one good one, 18.5 inches. We fished the next good pool, and again caught all our fish at the lower end, where it begins to shallow. One more marginal pool, and several more at the lower end. Obviously a pattern. But it was time for cwc to call it quits, so I ran him back up to his truck and then headed for another really good wintering pool. This one is always full of fish in the winter, and you can spend a good part of a day fishing all around it. But I went to the lower portion first. Caught a few fish on jerkbaits, and then a few on hair jigs, but not really as many as I expected. Fished rather quickly the rest of the way up the pool, catching a few, mainly in the upper end is slightly stronger current. But I ended up catching only about 12-15 altogether, none larger than 15 inches. Certainly not what I'd hoped for. But... At the lower end of this pool it shallows out but doesn't really go into a riffle, just a shallow flat and then below, a little run about 50 yards long with various logs and rocks, only 5-6 feet deep and with some current, not a classic wintering spot. Well, I think the vast majority of the fish in the wintering pool above had headed down to this spot. In about an hour and a half before I had to leave, I'm pretty sure I at least got a bite on more than 90% of the casts I made, mostly with the hair jig, though I also caught some on the jerkbait. I didn't count the fish I caught, but it had to be at least 60. Most were 11-14 inches long with a few over 15, the largest 17.5. Hooked a couple others that were that big or a little bigger. I guess those fish considered that run the lower end of the big pool above, so the pattern of the fish in the lower end definitely held. Interestingly, it's only been a few days since the river had ice along the edges...but the water temp was 48-50 degrees! Pretty sure it will drop again with the forecast, and those fish will move back to their typical wintering area.
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