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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. If CWD has killed a bunch of humans, MDC is not the only people hiding the fact. NO state wildlife agency that I know of has come out and said that. No agency has said you shouldn't hunt deer. To be honest, I'm torn...I DO suspect that CWD might be dangerous to humans, and I don't want to eat deer when there's a chance they could transmit it. As much as I like eating venison, I am not sure I'll hunt deer anymore. But if this is some great conspiracy as Larry seems to think nearly everything MDC does is, then MDC is only one of many parties in on it.
  2. Stuff could change, but I'm planning on being there at this point.
  3. Well, there really ain't no such animal. The North Fork would have come closest to what you're looking for, but it hasn't yet recovered from the tremendous damage done with the huge flood a few years ago, and trout population is way down and looks to remain that way for a while. The flood ripped out so many bankside trees that there is very little shade left, and the river gets too warm after the first few miles below the springs to support a healthy trout population. Plus the aquatic insects are taking a while to recover. So while the North Fork meets most of your other criteria, I wouldn't call it good fishing right now, as you found out. Most other trout streams in Missouri are more popular than the North Fork, so it's hard to get "off the grid". Some of the smaller streams don't get a huge amount of pressure, but the fishing can be tough on them unless you know what you're doing. Your best bet might be the Current River below Montauk or the Eleven Point below Greer Spring.
  4. Um, that's not quite right. Elder v Delcour was settled on the upper Meramec River regarding a stretch that is not floatable year-round (unless you want to do a lot of scraping bottom and some canoe dragging in late summer), so it sets the precedent that any stream of that size or larger falls under the decision. The gray area comes in streams that might not be quite as big as that stretch, or where there is some dispute. But on several streams of that general size range, it didn't take a case going to the MO Supreme Court, it just took an opinion by a state Attorney General that it fell under the case law. And assuming Elder v Delcour covers a given stream stretch, the public has an easement to not only float and fish it, but to also get out and wade, camp on gravel bars, stop for lunch, and portage around obstacles, as long as you don't get past the gravel bars. Somebody mentioned above that a landowner had posted a gravel bar, threatening to call the sheriff's department. I gotta wonder if that's not a bluff, because MOST county officials around floatable streams should know by now that you can't prosecute for trespass on gravel bars on floatable streams. There will always be landowners who make the attempt to keep people off their gravel bar, but legally they don't have a leg to stand on. And there will always be the few rich, influential landowners who actually are big enough donors to get the elected county officials on their side, at least until the next election. Stream access "law" in Missouri is a mess with gray areas and lots of misconceptions, but for the most part if it's a floatable stream the public's rights should be pretty clear by now. As a practical matter, I stay off gravel bars that show signs of landowner use, like lanes or roads coming down to the water or lawn chairs and bbq grills or a cabin right up the bank. But I don't HAVE to do so according to the case law.
  5. Old time Ozark fishermen used to jiggerpole. Take a big 5 hook Dowagiac lure with props front and back, put it on a long pole, and float down the river just dragging and figure-eighting the thing around every rock and log you come to. It was apparently pretty effective.
  6. I think that might be a dollar sunfish. Different species from the usual longears!
  7. I'm in Montana now but just realized I'll be in MO that weekend. Might show up at some point.
  8. While I fly fish exclusively for trout, I simply don't enjoy it for smallmouth. Why? Several reasons. First and biggest is that my favorite way of fishing for river smallmouth is from a solo canoe. It's just no fun to try to keep the canoe in position while also trying to cast, impart action to the fly, and keep track of stripped in line, etc. I've tried it a bunch of times, but just don't enjoy dealing with those problems. Sure, I could stop and fish good looking areas, but I just don't enjoy stopping and wading as much as I do staying in the canoe and continually drifting and casting. Second reason--some of my best summertime smallmouth streams are very clear, and simply require longer casts than I can make consistently with a fly rod. Three, at least 50% of the time in the summer I'm fishing walk the dog topwaters. I have yet to find a "fly" that will do that walk. Four, I simply enjoy the kind of rapid fire casting to targets I do all the time with casting tackle. I've been meaning, however, to do some fly fishing from the jetboat. I think that it could be very good on larger, murkier waters, using large "flies" and making those pinpoint casts to cover when the river is murky enough that you can get closer to the fish.
  9. The one I caught the other day on a very slow day otherwise...I was almost sure it was a 20 the whole time I was getting it in. And it was a hot fish that jumped completely out of the water twice and halfway out three more times, and took longer than usual to get in. I have a net in the boat but it was in the locker folded up and I didn't want to take my attention off the fish long enough to get it out, and the lure was a topwater with three trebles right in the thing's face, so it was pretty tense for a while. Finally found a gap between the hooks and lipped it, lifting it quickly into the boat and then getting my hand out of the way before it shook its head again. Anyway...once I had it actually in the boat I knew it wasn't going to make 20 inches. I have a ruler on the front of the boat that bumps up against the edge of my trolling motor mount so it's just like a bump board as to accuracy. I measured the fish carefully--19 1/4th inches. Spawned out, but still thick across the back. The one my brother caught on our float trip a few weeks back that was his personal best was measured on my paddle blade, which I now have marks on it for 18, 19, 20, and 21 inches. I very carefully closed the fish's mouth, lined it up exactly with the edge of the blade, and squeezed the tail lobes together--the lower lobe was pretty chewed up but the upper lobe was intact. It came exactly to the 21 inch mark, and that's the biggest smallmouth I've had in my canoe in a few years. Yep, I bet I caught a dozen or more between 19 and 20 for every one I catch that actually makes 20 inches. The 20 inch mark is truly the mark to shoot for on Ozark river smallies. If you catch one well over 20, it's a real beast of a fish. Over 21 and for a lot of good anglers that's a fish of a lifetime. Which gets me thinking...my two biggest Ozark river smallies were 22 and 22.5 inches, though both were weighed and weighed about the same. I saw on Facebook the other day where some young guy showed a picture of a nice largemouth, I think it was a bit under 5 pounds, and said it was his personal best. At first I thought, well, that's not much of a fish to be your personal best. But then I realized he's a youngster with a lot of fishing in front of him, and he can look forward to breaking that personal best mark many times if he keeps at it. Me? I wonder if I'll ever best those two fish, both caught many years ago. That actually makes me a little sad.
  10. This is a weird year because of all the high water. Usually by May they are about finished spawning, and maybe they have the post-spawn doldrums. But I fished three days this week, the other two times on very clear water, and saw plenty of smallmouth still spawning. The Meramec day was slow, but the day before, floating a smallish clear stream, I caught more than 60 smallmouth, including 10 that were between 16.5 and 18 inches, and nearly all were on topwaters. Then today I waded one of my pet creeks--fished about three miles of creek in 6 hours, caught 65, and I swear I got nearly every fish in the creek over 8 inches to hit my topwater, but way more were not getting or staying hooked than what I caught. Honestly, I think I had strikes on at least 250 casts. It was simply crazy. Fish would come charging out at the lure from 20 feet away, out of every conceivable spot that could possibly hide a fish. This creek doesn't have big ones, but I caught 10 that were in the 15-16 inch range.
  11. Well, I had kinda the opposite experience on a different section of the Meramec yesterday. Started out looking for the situation that Hog Wally had told me about on his sections of the river. Couldn't find fish. Tried about everything I thought might work. Was catching only the occasional small fish. So I went to fishing a big walking topwater just because if I'm not going to catch fish, I'd rather not catch them on topwater! Fish, fish, fish for about a half hour with nothing...then KAWOOSH! It was a very thick, though spawned out, 19 incher. Then back to nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, until the thunderstorm started rumbling...one more cast. SLURP! 17 incher. Hey, if you're only going to catch two good fish, I'll take those two on top any day!
  12. Al Agnew

    On beds?

    Tough to see beds in the high, murky water. They should have already been on beds beginning back in April, but the regular rises might be really messing with them. Could end up being a very sporadic spawn, or possibly if the rains stop, a late spawn. I do know I caught a 17 inch female on the Meramec yesterday that still appeared to be full of eggs.
  13. I agree with Gavin, and would add that you should make sure to call Harvey's well ahead of time to make arrangements no matter how you work it. They might or might not be busy Friday morning, might or might not be putting anybody else in up at Buck Hollow (almost certainly WON'T be putting anybody in a the Prongs), and may or may not have a spare driver to take you back up to either put-in. They are usually quite nice and accommodating people to work with, but you can't expect them to drop everything to take you the 40 minute drive up to Buck Hollow or longer drive to the Prongs, unless they can plan ahead for it. I have, in the past, just made arrangements with them to come and pick up my vehicle at Buck Hollow, and left the keys in the gas cap and the money in the vehicle. I've also stopped at their place the evening before my trip and dropped off a key so that they could come up and get the car at their convenience after I put in the next morning. But that was during mid-week at not the most busy times of the year. There are a LOT of good gravel bars for camping on the Jacks Fork, so no problem there, just keep in mind, as Gavin said, that the river comes up FAST after a heavy rain, especially when the ground is already saturated, so make sure to camp on a high bar that has easy access to even higher ground. I've been on the Jacks Fork when it rose two feet overnight when the only rain was up at the headwaters that evening.
  14. I've been to Cattawissa, and in no way could you call the pits there "the Meramec River". They are no longer even connected to the river in low water. It's dead slack water, just like any lake. In my opinion that was simply very poor reporting to say the kid drowned in the Meramec River.
  15. I agree with Flysmallie. Any stream with good numbers will have some big ones, but you have to realize that big ones are a tiny percentage of the overall population, and besides that they are less likely to be dumb enough to be caught. I consider myself a decent stream bass angler, and I catch probably 1 fish over 17 inches for every 50 I catch that are less than 16 inches. Plus, it sometimes takes different techniques and better knowledge of the river to catch bigger fish. So if you're looking for a stream where you can just go to it cold and catch a bunch of fish over 16 inches, you're probably going to be disappointed.
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