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Al Agnew

Fishing Buddy
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Everything posted by Al Agnew

  1. You know, that's kinda food for thought. So you think those guys built a whole lot of brushpiles, and then reaped the harvest of those brushpiles catching those fish? I know that kind of thing goes on. Question is, in a tournament situation, how ethical is it? Another question...do you think that building brushpiles actually improves the bass population, or population structure, or does it just concentrate some big fish in places the average angler has no idea how to find or fish? Note...I'm not saying it's wrong, just musing and wondering what others think.
  2. Ah, the old "well, he did it, too!" defense. Yup, the Democrats played politics with the issue for a while, after Trump did the ONE thing he's done on Covid that actually made sense--an easy thing for him to do because of his xenophobic base--by shutting down people coming in from China. The Democrats are greatly to blame during that rather short time period when they were attacking Trump for it. Before that, Trump ignored his experts' advice and downplayed it just as much. After it became obvious it WAS a big problem, you didn't see the Democrats attacking him for it anymore, did you? But you saw Trump doing all kinds of stupid crap to downplay it in order to get the economy going, because he's always figured that an economy chugging along is his best chance to get reelected. But perhaps his motives for doing it aren't important. What's important is that he has consistently ignored best science and done nothing but politicize it. So have the Democrats, but I think that they have been on the correct side of this whole thing ever since that one thing that Trump did that I give him credit for. Like I said before, science changes as we learn more. Leaders should evolve their positions and rhetoric to match the science. Trump has not. Now today, I hear he's finally saying it's a good idea to wear a mask. So maybe he's evolving. We'll see.
  3. I am starting to unfriend everybody on Facebook that continues to downplay the seriousness of this virus by the following types of statements: It only affects old people and people with pre-existing conditions. (I'm old enough to be in the high risk group, and there are a lot of people with pre-existing conditions that have died from complications arising from this THAT WOULDN'T HAVE DIED OTHERWISE.) It only kills (whatever) percentage of people, so why are we worrying about it? (Sucks if you're one of those people, PLUS there are a whole lot of other people who haven't died from it but have still spent weeks or months in the hospital suffering from it, and lots of people who have suffered serious and apparently permanent health damage from it.) The spike in numbers is because more people are being tested. (Maybe. But actually irrelevant. The true number to worry about is hospitalizations. Hospitalizations from it are spiking in many areas, too. A positive test doesn't put you in the hospital any more than an infection before you were tested that is asymptomatic puts you in the hospital. More hospitalizations means more people are getting SICK from it, which can only happen if more people are getting it, not more people are having positive test results.) It's all a government or liberal or deep state or Bill Gates conspiracy. (This is just plain stupid.) First they told us to wear masks, then they said masks do no good, now they are telling us to wear masks again, so I ain't wearing no mask. (Guess what, that's how science works. It was a NEW virus, with a LOT of unanswered questions about how it spread and how it infects people. It is completely to be expected that as we learn more about it, advice on how to deal with it will change. The BEST advice (so far) will be the most recent advice.) The media has blown it all out of proportion. (The media is a wide net. The news reporting numbers, the news reporting interviews with experts, the news simply REPORTING on it, is not blowing it out of proportion when those numbers, those experts being interviewed, etc. are easily checked. Sure, there is sensationalism here and there, but the numbers don't lie.) It's no big deal because lots of people test positive that never even knew they had it. (This is touted like it's good news, when in fact it's terrible news. With a disease like the flu, for most of the time you're infectious, you feel like total dog crap and you aren't going to go out in public if you can help it, and if you do go out in public, you will probably try to avoid close contact with anybody--and probably most of the time people will know you feel like crap and avoid you. But with this, if you are asymptomatic, you are likely to go on about business as usual, and spread it to an unknown number of people who have no idea you are dangerous.) Forcing me to wear a mask or not go to a wedding with 200 people attending or not be able to go into a crowded bar is infringing upon my freedoms. (Maybe, but if you are more concerned about your freedom to be totally self-centered than you are about protecting others from yourself (see above about asymptomatic spread) or even just giving others a little more of a feeling of security through the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask, then you're really not somebody I care to associate with in any way.)
  4. Let me give you all my set-ups... Canoe rods: 1. Topwater exclusively--an ancient Lews 5'6" medium power pistol grip rod, cut down to 5'3". The reel is my most expensive one, a Diawa Tatula SV TW. I bought this reel because everybody else said it cast light lures a mile, and I wanted it originally for casting 1/8th ounce hair jigs in the winter, and casting light buzzbaits in the summer. It's good, but it ain't any better for me than any of my other reels. But it's smooth and casts topwater lures a mile, for sure! 2. Light crankbait--this is the outfit I often use to cast my homemade crankbait, and it doubles as-- a jerkbait outfit for the canoe. 5'6" Razr rod, short straight handle, medium power. Reel is a Lews Mach 1, about the cheapest of my newer reels with one exception, but a pretty good reel. 3. Heavier crankbait--I use this one for deep diving cranks but it works well for my shallow runner as well, which is pretty wind resistant...an old Loomis crankbait special (the brown one) 6'6" medium power, but cut down to about 6 ft. by cutting off a couple inches of the handle and 4 inches of the tip. Reel is a Diawa Tatula CT100. 4. Light spinnerbait--I use this one mostly for my 1/4th ounce twin spin...St. Croix 5'6" medium power pistol grip--this is a GREAT rod for canoes if you like pistol grip rods. I don't know why I didn't buy several of them. Lews Laser Pro reel. 5. Heavier spinnerbait--I use this one for regular spinnerbaits...an old Castaway 6' medium power rod, Lews Mach 1 reel. 6. I don't use jigs and soft plastics all that much in the canoe, so my two rods for that kind of fishing are real salvage jobs. One is a Kistler Helium that started out as a 6'6" medium power, but had about 5 inches broken off the tip so I just put a tip guide on the end of it, and I suppose it's now a heavy power. The reel is an really old Shimano Scorpion 1000. The other one is a Kistler Z-Bone 2 meter (I guess about 6'8") medium power that got about the same amount of tip broken off, and an ancient green Shimano Curado CU100. Jetboat rods--since I use the jetboat more in the winter than in the summer, some of these rods kinda do double duty: 1. Topwater (summer) and jerkbait (winter)--A Kistler custom made (done as a trade for artwork) 6'3" topwater and jerkbait special rated for 6-12 pound line with a pistol grip. Reel is a Shimano Curado 70 HG. 2. Crankbaits--Major Craft Nanoace crankbait special 6'6" medium power, Shimano Citica 200G6. 3. Spinnerbaits, doubles as a rod for bigger jerkbaits in the winter--Loomis 6" medium power, about 15 years old and not their top end rod for sure, Garcia Revo STX. 4. All-purpose--Browning Medallion 6' medium power, ancient Curado CU200 reel. 5. Light hair jigs, doubles as a Superfluke type lure rod in the summer--Major Craft Nanoace 6'9" medium power worm and jig special, Lews BB1SHZ reel. 6. Heavier jigs, etc.--Nanoace 6'9" medium-heavy power worm and jig special, Kastking Stealth reel. That reel is my least expensive one, and I haven't had it quite long enough to recommend its durability, but once I got it dialed in it casts light lures about as well as any reel I own. I'm actually using it for heavier stuff right now because I want to see how it holds up.
  5. I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure I can help you much. I cast lures down to 1/8th ounce on casting tackle, but most of the time I'm not trying to get great distance with lures that size. You're right, the WORST lure to try to throw on casting tackle for me is a 1/4th ounce buzzbait. It's the one lure that I AM usually trying to get good distance on that gives me trouble. I've actually gone to making my own buzzbaits with flattened 3/8th or even 1/2 ounce heads but in a compact package. With a flattened head I can keep the heavier ones up at the surface fairly easily. Distance with light lures on casting tackle seems to me to be more a function of the rod than the reel. There are a lot of reels out today that can handle throwing light lures IF the rod is good for it. The lighter in power the rod is, the better it loads with light lures, and the longer it is the more power and thus distance you can get with a cast with smooth acceleration and not a hard as you can heave. My canoe rods are shorter than most people use...5.25 to 6 feet, and I don't really plan to get great distance with some of the lures I use. Basically I'm only making long casts when I'm fishing very clear water or making long searching casts with crankbaits, and I don't have any trouble getting the distance I need in clear streams with anything from 1/4th ounce twin spins to any crankbait or topwater lure I use...but I don't use lures that are very small. So...my reels are mid-level (in cost) models from Lews, Shimano, Diawa, and Abu-Garcia...I have zero brand loyalty and every reel I own cost from $100 to $200. I have yet to see a big enough difference in how they cast light lures to make a definitive choice of one over another. My rods are mostly medium power, with a couple on the medium-light side and a couple for jig and worm fishing that are medium-heavy. I've had people recommend reels to me that they swore would cast light lures a mile...and when I tried them they were no better than what I was already using.
  6. I just don't think there is any predictability about how effective a possible Covid vaccine will be. Some viruses, including some flu strains, respond very well to vaccines, others don't. But I agree that this isn't going away any time soon and that a vaccine won't be a cure-all. However, what you have to really hope for is that, given time, the medical establishment will figure out effective treatments that will make dying or being permanently damaged by contracting this disease a lot rarer than it is now. If you have a 50% effective vaccine AND a really good recovery rate without permanent effects, it really does become like the typical flu, and the country gets back to some semblance of normal. But we're going to be going through some tough times until that happens.
  7. As we're finding out over and over again, especially during these times, the root cause of all the ills is simply TOO MANY PEOPLE using the resource. There will always be a certain percentage of the population who are complete doofuses, completely self-centered, apathetic at best to anything other than their own pleasure. Maybe that percentage is increasing, but even if it isn't, the more people using the resource, the more people that percentage represents and the greater impact they have. Whether it be paddle craft doing all the disturbing or jetboat wakes or swimmers or recreational bulldozer people that think they are helping the stream handle floods better but making things a whole lot worse, there are just too darn many people doing it. I've just about come to hate the kayak craze, too. And all the motorheads whose idea of fun is to see how many times they can go up and down the river in high speed jetboats. And all the drunken idiots clogging up the BEST streams in the Ozarks. Please don't say they all have a right to enjoy the rivers, too. Eventually, we are all going to have to sacrifice some of these so-called rights or see the streams keep deteriorating. And I know that few will agree with me, but if you are only using the river as a party place and not respecting the resource, or using it to make yourself look like a Youtube expert, maybe you DON'T have that right. But things won't change. We will continue to lose access because of pinheads who litter and vandalize, we will continue to find ever more crowded streams and ever more idiotic people, and we will continue to see streams and fisheries decline. I'm kinda glad I'm getting old and don't have too many more years to enjoy these streams, because I think I saw them at their best, and they are never going to be that good again.
  8. Never fished the Snake for steelhead, but did fish the Salmon, which flows into the Snake. We caught about 6 or 7 a day among four of us during a four day trip. What a hoot! Most were hatchery produced fish, though (all hatchery fish have their adipose fin clipped). We caught a few wild ones, which you must immediately release. Really impressive to know they made it that far, and probably multiple times if they were bigger ones.
  9. Humans have an unlimited capacity to delude themselves into believing that what they want to be true IS true, even in the face of overwhelming evidence showing it isn't. It's a root problem behind nearly every ill in society today. Don't trust the experts, don't trust the consensus, listen only to the people who are telling you what you want to hear. I guarantee you that guy wasn't fishing the Meramec in the 1970s, when there was FAR easier fishing than there is now. If I had known then what I know now about catching big ones, I would have caught a ton of 20 inch smallmouth back in those days. Why? Because it was pre-jetboats and thus there were a heck of lot less EFFECTIVE anglers back then. I am more and more convinced that it isn't even catch and kill pressure that hurts smallmouth fisheries, it's pressure, period. The more people fishing it, no matter what percentage are keeping them, the worse the fishing gets. And the big blabbermouths on social media posting videos of catching smallmouth don't help, especially when they name the stream they are fishing. I agree...it's going to take a long time for fisheries to rebound from the pounding they are getting this year. Tougher fishing may become another new normal.
  10. The fishing has been really tough for me on the middle Meramec in the jetboat. Canoe floats on smaller streams have been okay but not great. Way too many people. So I've been checking out my favorite creeks. I have three favorites, four sections in total, and after today I've fished most of all four one time. Creek fishing isn't rocket science. If the fish are there at all, they are within reach of any lure you care to throw. You WILL put your lure in front of every bass in the creek. And usually they aren't tough to get to strike. I keep my creek wading simple. A sling pack with one little Plano box, four or five smallish walk the dog topwaters, and a couple of my homemade twin spins, and I'm good. I've gotten to where I simply hate spinning tackle, so while most guys would use light spinning tackle on these creeks, I use one of my lightest baitcasting outfits. A bottle of water, my favorite wading shoes and some quick dry shorts, and I'm set. Creek section number one was a couple weeks ago. I have a longer history with this creek and this exact low water bridge than any other stream, because it was where I caught my very first smallmouth, when I was about 7 years old. My grandpa grew up not far from this spot, and he always liked this creek. Even though he lived on another creek full of minnows, Grandpa insisted on driving the 30-40 minutes to this spot to trap minnows, and sometimes he would take me along. One fine summer day, we were at the creek, and Grandpa had just set his glass minnow traps. I was peering off the edge of the bridge, which had three box culverts carrying the water beneath it, when I saw two nice size fish. I asked Grandpa what they were, and he said they were smallmouths, and if I wanted to catch one to go catch a couple crawdads. I did, and while I was procuring the bait, he grabbed a spare rod out of his old pickup, and rigged it with a hook and a couple small split shot. He took the crawdad I offered, hooked it, and told me to just put it in the water on the upstream side of the bridge and let the current take the line and bait underneath the bridge. I did, and soon was hauling out what seemed to me to be a big, wonderful fish. I suspect it was maybe 12 inches long, but I was hooked as surely as that fish. So the creek has memories for me. I've fished this creek off and on now for 60 years. In all that time it has changed some, but not a whole lot. The bridge was replaced a few years back, and has a different configuration so the smallies no longer lurk beneath it. It's a popular swimming hole, and often has people parked alongside it. But I seldom see another angler. The habitat has deteriorated through the years, but somehow the fishing stays good. It's not a big creek. In the spring, there might be enough water to float it; I've done it a couple times. By early summer it's dwindled to the point where the riffles average about 15 feet wide and 4 inches deep. The fish-holding pools are 2-4 feet deep, with very little water anywhere more than 5 feet. It's very clear, gravelly everywhere with huge gravel bars, very few larger pools with rocks; most of the cover consists of freshly downed willow trees. There were a bunch of people swimming when I got to the bridge, and several cars parked on the road shoulders, more people than I usually see. I could only hope that the people all belonged to those cars and nobody was upstream fishing, the way I planned to go. I bypassed them all, stepped into the water, saw two nice smallmouth chasing minnows, first cast with the little WTD topwater and the smaller of the two whacked it, missed it, and then the bigger one took it. 16 incher. I'm not superstitious, but somehow the fishing never quite lives up to the promise of catching a nice fish on the first cast. Fished up through two pools with no action, then got to a pool about three feet deep with some rip rap along the bank that the landowner had dumped to keep the bank from eroding, and the rip rap was lined with fish...a 15 incher and a half dozen smaller ones. Then long stretches of nothing. Got to where I'd finally find a nice fish and it would get off halfway to me. Waded up about a mile, and then a guy and his dog and his four kids came down the creek in kayaks! This creek ain't big enough to kayak. I'm really beginning to hate kayaks. They didn't look like they were having a lot of fun, except for the dog. I let everything settle down, waded up to the next good pool, and hooked a huge fish for this creek. The thing had to be at least 18 inches and I think it was bigger. But when it leaped 4 feet in the air and threw my lure, I decided it was about time to quit anyway.So not a BAD day...but there was line in the trees, there weren't as many fish as usual, and after all the high water this spring, the pools were filled in badly with gravel. The creek has just a fraction of the good habitat it had even five years ago. I was a little bummed. But not so much that I didn't go back a week or so later. This time I planned to wade downstream from the bridge. There weren't any other people there so I was happy. But the first couple good pools produced nothing. Finally I caught a couple smallish ones, under 12 inches. Then at the head of a pool about the size of the average living room, I got a big blow up on the topwater, and brought in a 17 incher. I was wading downstream, and making the usual long casts from the top of the riffle above into these pools, and quite a few nice fish were in the swirling water at the bottom of the riffle. I caught a 16 incher. Several in the 14-15 inch class. But there were some of the better pools that didn't produce much of anything, which was surprising.I fished downstream more than two miles, with hit or miss results. There was a private low water bridge that was going to be my cut-off point for the day, and the pool within sight of it was nice, 4 feet deep or a little deeper and maybe 50 yards long. I caught a 16 inch largemouth at the head of it. Got a strike from a good fish that missed. Another miss. Then a terrific strike, where the fish came from several feet away with its back out of the water to slam the lure...and miss it. Of course, I set the hooks too soon and the lure came back at me. I reeled in the slack, and cast to the same spot. This time the fish followed the lure for a bit before swiping at it, and I missed it again. At this point the 17 incher was 15 feet in front of me and seemed to be staring at me. I flipped the lure just past it, worked it toward the fish, and the smallie spun around and took it solidly.At that point I turned around to hike back to the truck. Usually I don't bother to fish on the way back, but I had just one lure in my little box other than the topwaters, one of my homemade twin spins. On a whim I tied it on, and started fishing it back up through that same pool...and caught two 15 inchers on it! That twin spin was simply magic that day. All those good pools that had produced nothing on the way down produced good fish on the twin spin on the way back. I caught ANOTHER 17 incher. A couple more 16s. And at least as many fish going back up as I had coming down. When I got back to the truck I didn't want to quit. After three bad days on the Meramec, I decided to try another of my wading size creeks. This is one I messed around on all the time as a kid, and back then it was rather polluted, full of mine waste, and did not have ANY smallmouth. It was many years later that my brother tried it and found out it had a pretty decent smallmouth population since the pollution and mine waste problems had finally been addressed. It's a civilized creek, houses along it, pipelines crossing it, 6 bridges crossing it in the three mile section that's worth fishing. It smells a bit, because the treated sewage of a LOT of people dumps into it. But it has a few really nice little areas, ledge rock waterfalls up to three feet high, little bluffs, a nice spring...The water was low and warm, and the smallmouth were pretty much stacked up at the heads of pools. There are a few pools that are 3-4 feet deep, but most of the fish-holding water was less than two feet deep. When you made a cast you had to land it in the middle of the channel, because the bass were along the edges and if you landed too close to them they'd flee. If you landed 5-10 feet away they'd charge it, leaving a big wake...now that's some cool sights to see and some fun fishing. The year my brother and I discovered it had smallies, I caught about 50, including a few in the 16-17 inch class. It's never been quite that good since. On this day I caught 44, with nothing over 15 inches, lots of 10-13 inchers, nearly all on topwater. Fun day! I don't pound any of my favorite sections of creek. Once or twice a year is all I'm going to fish them. So today I wanted to go again, but wasn't going back to either of the creeks I'd been. I hesitated to go to my third favorite creek; it had been badly damaged by a huge flood last year, scoured down to bedrock in many sections, habitat gone. But I decided it was worth a try to see if it had recovered with the slightly smaller floods we'd had this spring. I have less of a history with this creek. I first fished it with my brother in law back in the mid-1980s, and didn't go back for nearly 20 years, because what we found was a torn up creek where the landowner had bulldozed it out for a long stretch. No habitat. There were a few smallmouth, but there just wasn't hardly anyplace for them to hide. This creek probably has a long history of such abuse. I don't know for sure, but I suspect it was seriously channelized many years ago, because it is a lot straighter than most creeks, almost arrow-straight lines going along the edges of the big bottom fields. It is the smallest of the creeks I fish, the riffles today were maybe 10 feet wide and 2-3 inches deep, and many of the pools are not much bigger than the average mobile home. But after that first disappointing trip those long years ago, when I went back again finally I discovered a real gem. The habitat still wasn't great, but the creek had long recovered from the recreational bulldozing, and the number and size of smallmouth in it was truly amazing for such a tiny creek. Over a four or five year period I caught a pile of 18-19 inch smallmouth from it! Lots of 15-17 inchers. But...then some total doofus whose grandfather or somebody owned land along the creek started showing all these pictures of big smallmouth HE was catching from it on a bowhunting website...and NAMED THE CREEK. Suddenly there were signs of fishermen when there had never been any before, and the 18-19 inchers just totally disappeared. It was still okay for smaller fish, good enough to keep fishing it, but it was a big disappointment that the big ones were no longer there. Until last year, when I found the creek so torn up and shallow that there just weren't many fish. This creek has always had a shallow gravel and rock bed over shelving bedrock, and the pools are mainly formed where the rock and gravel piles up to form little dams. All the little dams had been scoured out, and the gravel and rock from them dumped into the lower portion of my favorite stretch, filling it in. So today I went not expecting much, but just hoping for some improvement. The pool beneath the bridge is about the deepest on the creek and gets pounded mercilessly. But on my second cast, two nice smallmouth charged the topwater. One slammed it, got hooked, and the other followed it around as I brought it to me. Both were 16 inchers. And this time, catching a nice fish right off showed promise that the day lived up to. Over on the other side of the pool, I quickly caught a very fat 16 inch spotted bass. (Spotted bass are not native to this creek but invaded it shortly before they invaded the Meramec River system.) Next pool, more nice fish. Every pool that looked like it should hold a fish had one. But there were more spotted bass than smallmouth, and I caught several hybrids as well. And there were also little largemouth everywhere, probably coming from somebody's private lake. In one wide, shallow pool, I saw minnows jumping to escape something, out in the middle of the pool a long cast away. I made the long cast, and got a blowup from a big fish. Best smallmouth of the day, 17 inches! I kept working my way upstream, and came upon a lady swimming with two little girls. I caught a 16 inch spotted bass at the tail of the pool, and a 15 inch smallmouth right in front of them, which impressed them all. I let the little girls touch the fish before releasing it. In little more than a mile of creek, and about 3 hours of fishing, I caught 54 bass! The habitat hadn't improved much, but the fish were somehow still there. It just goes to show that these fish are resilient...give them just a LITTLE help on habitat and some respite from the catch and kill crowd, and they'll respond. So I don't have too many more creeks in my back pockets , but I've got a couple in mind to try yet this summer.
  11. Nope, not didymo. It's a typical algae for some of the clearer creeks. See it a lot on upper Black River as well. It never gets too overgrown.
  12. I suppose my dad was responsible for me being extremely un-religious and anti-church! You see, I had an aunt who practically co-raised me along with my parents. A widow without children, my sister and I (and later my brother) were her kids. And she was very religious; whenever the Baptist church opened its doors, she was there. She thought it was her duty to instill in me a love of God and church. So from the time I was old enough to talk she was dragging me to church and Sunday School and revivals. My mom was barely a believer, my dad never went to church at all. He worked 6 days a week as an auto mechanic, and the seventh day was reserved for fishing. So when I was old enough (about 7 years old) he began to take me fishing with him. But on the Sundays when he didn't go, for whatever reason (usually because the weather sucked), my aunt Evelyn would come and take me to church. So...every Sunday morning I would wake up before daylight and pray...pray that Dad was going to come into my room and say, "Get up, let's go fishin'". I grew to hate church with a passion. And those Sundays on Wappapello Lake, catching big bass, are some of my fondest memories of my whole life. Dad also instilled in me a love of creek and river fishing, along with my Grandpa. He had fished Big River all the time in the years before I was born, often with a fly rod, and he kept telling me stories about the river and smallmouth, so even though he no longer went river fishing, preferring Wappapello (which was an amazing fishery back in those days), the stories he told got me excited about it and I began to ride my bike the mile to the river on hot summer days to wade and fish, often by myself. I was probably about 8 or 9 years old at the time. Finally, Dad decided to show me what a float trip was like. But the only boat he had was his 16 ft. semi-V bottom aluminum johnboat that he used on Wappapello. The put-in at Bone Hole wasn't TOO bad, just sliding the boat off the edge of the low water bridge. Paddling that boat down the river in low summer water levels had to be a chore, though. And wrestling it up the long, high bank at the take-out had to be torture. But I loved every moment of the day...I didn't have to drag that boat around! A couple years later he bought a little 12 ft. johnboat so that mostly I and my buddies could go on our own float trips, as long as one of us could talk a parent into putting us in and taking us out. The way I still love to fish came from my dad. I like to fish fast-moving lures high in the water column, don't care for fishing stuff low and slow. It's the way we fished Wappapello back in those days. Dad was the only person I ever knew that could make more quality casts in a day of fishing than I can. As for material things he left me...not many. A bunch of cheap guns. A few old lures. A few rods, but I broke them. Dad bought stuff to use it, not to admire it, and used it until it wore out. I have some of his old reels from back in the day, Ambassadeurs and direct drive Shakespeare casting reels, the kind that didn't have a free spool button--when you made a cast the handles turned backwards (very fast). None of them actually work. Same with some of the guns. Mainly he left me memories and life lessons. Some of my most cherished memories were from later years, when I was able to take HIM fishing my way, float trips and river fishing from the jetboat. The March day when he caught the 21 inch Meramec River smallmouth, the biggest one he ever caught--the look on his face sticks with me to this day.
  13. I've been staying away from this thread for the last few days, because I'm simply tired of listening to Trump supporters. If you are voting for him because you can't vote for the other candidate, fine, I understand that. But if you actually think the guy has any personal redeeming qualities, or has done anything to make this country or the government better (other than stuff that any Republican president with a Republican Congress could have easily accomplished)...well, I'll bite my cyber-tongue and bow out again.
  14. I'm guessing you'll be using Arapaho Canoe Rental place a little above the Caverns. I think that's the only rental place that regularly serves that part of the river, but I could be wrong. Anyway, probably won't be as crowded as farther upstream, possibly not even any more jetboats, since the jetboat crowds are getting thick upstream. As for the river, it's a bit bigger and slower than the stretches from Onondaga downstream, maybe twice as big as the river is above the mouth of the Huzzah. But it's still a nice river and at least as good smallmouth habitat. However, keep in mind that most of that stretch flows through the park, and there are several places for the public to easily get to the water along it, so it still might be crowded with swimmers, etc.
  15. Human error, both intentional and unintentional. Some say that bad land use practices have degraded the rivers to the point where they are better spotted bass habitat than they once were, but I don't think that's the reason. Actually there are major portions of the streams of the Meramec river system that are just as good smallmouth habitat as they were pre-spotted bass, but the spots are now all over them. The fact is that spots weren't native to the north-flowing streams of the Missouri Ozarks (Osage, Gasconade, and Meramec river systems). Nor were they native to the direct tributaries to the Mississippi between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. They were native to all the south-flowing streams, but had no easy connection to get to the north-flowing streams from their native range--they would have had to come a long way up the Mississippi and into the Missouri to get from all the south-flowing streams, which run into the Mississippi far down in Arkansas, to any of the north-flowing streams. But there are three ways they eventually got there. 1st, somebody at some point soon after Lake of the Ozarks was built must have stocked them in that lake, because they were in it by the 1940s, and from there they probably spread throughout the Osage system, and also into the Moreau system, since it is nearly connected to the lower Osage. 2nd, MDC actually stocked them into a number of central and northern MO streams, including the Loutre River, which flows into the Missouri River from the north pretty close to where the Gasconade runs into it from the south. So Gasconade fish could have come from there. But Meramec fish definitely got there by coming up the Mississippi. So why didn't they do it a long, long time ago? Here's my theory: The Mississippi south of the St. Louis was once a very turbid river, because it's below the mouth of the Missouri, which was one of the most turbid rivers in the country and maybe the world. So it wouldn't have furnished much of a travel route for spots to go up, and also it was such a long way to come up the Mississippi. The Castor River, where spots are native, flowed far down into Arkansas before reaching the Mississippi, and that would have been their closest connection. But around 1900 the Diversion Channel was built, diverting the Castor into the Mississippi just south of Cape Girardeau, and suddenly the spotted bass had a MUCH shorter route to get to the Meramec. But there was still that problem of very muddy water to get through...AND by that time the Mississippi was one of the most polluted rivers in the country, thanks not only to St. Louis but to Chicago diverting all their sewage and waste to the Illinois River, which runs into the Mississippi above St. Louis. But then two other things happened. The big reservoirs were built on the upper Missouri in the Dakotas and Montana, short-stopping a lot of the silt in that river. And the Clean Water Act cleaned up the Mississippi enough to make it survivable for bass. And the spotted bass took advantage. They were in Apple Creek, farthest south direct tributary to the Mississippi above Cape, by the early 1970s. In Saline Creek and River Aux Vases, farther north, by the late 1970s. Establishment Creek was next to the north, around 1980. Not sure when they got to Joachim and Plattin, which were next, since I didn't fish those two creeks back then. But they got to the lower Meramec by the mid-1980s, and from there they moved steadily upstream on the Meramec, Big, and Bourbeuse. And the rest is history. They found habitat to their liking, and the native smallmouth had not evolved to compete well with them...as long as the spotted bass weren't there, the smallmouth thrived, but once the spotted bass moved in, the smallmouth drastically declined.
  16. Paydown isn't one of them, but there are plenty of good places to wade and fish for smallmouth. But I doubt that any of us are going to tell you much about them. There are two main reasons for that. One is that they are small streams that can't take much fishing pressure and the anglers who know about them probably aren't going to want more people fishing them. But two, and more importantly, the access to wading size streams is often iffy at best. If it isn't a floatable stream, in Missouri it is basically private water. While we all have our creeks where either we know the landowners or we know the landowners are okay with people fishing them, that can change quickly, and the more people fishing them, the more likely it is that the landowners will shut them down. Your best bet is to do some of your own exploring. The upper, but still floatable, sections of the major float streams are always good wading possibilities where you are not likely to get hassled for wading them. As Seth said, you have to go pretty far up on the Gasconade, for instance, to find easily wadeable water, but it's there. Same with Big Piney, Niangua, Meramec, Big, Huzzah, Courtois, etc.
  17. I hate to rag on the media because that's what everybody does, sometimes justified, sometimes not. But headlines that scream that somebody or some organization wants to "defund" the police seem to me to be rather misleading. As far as I know, nobody is wanting to completely defund or disarm police departments. Mainly, these proposals want to take SOME money away from the police departments, especially the funding for buying military style hardware, and put it towards whatever pet projects they think will reduce the NEED for police. Now that is certainly something that can be debated on the merits of it, and it sounds pretty pie in the sky on the face of it. But it is not what we might think of when we hear "defunding the police". The police in any given municipality probably need better training, more clearly stated policies on the use of force that everybody can read, and also more clearly stated policies on not covering for the few bad apples that are enforced as much as possible.
  18. All the factors mentioned, but in my opinion spotted bass were the worst thing to happen to the smallmouth on the lower Meramec. You can still find some pretty decent smallmouth habitat here and there, but usually all you'll catch in that habitat these days will be spotted bass. I caught some big smallmouth back in the 1970s on the river around Pacific and Eureka, when spotted bass were completely absent. It's the same with lower Big River...I floated it back when you would catch plenty of smallmouth in any moving water area all the way to the mouth of the river. Now all you'll catch in those same areas is spotted bass, with a very few exceptions.
  19. Totally sucked today a lot farther upstream. Caught one 16 inch largemouth, one 13 inch smallmouth, and maybe 7 or 8 undersize fish. Fished hard from 7 AM until the kayak hatch commenced about noon.
  20. I suppose there MIGHT be one or two flatheads big enough to eat one of those hand size bluegill, but upper Big isn't exactly known as a big catfish river. When I was a kid we fished for catfish at night all summer, and I think the biggest we ever caught was about a 6 pound flathead. We were lucky to catch a half dozen 1-2 pound channel cats in a night. But boy, could we ever catch bullheads!
  21. I honestly don't know. A wading shoe for Ozark streams needs to have a sole that doesn't slip on rocks, needs to drain quickly and dry quickly, and needs to keep out gravel. I don't know of anything that has all three of those attributes.
  22. Just the best wading shoes ever made. Unfortunately, the company that made them sold out to Adidas, who promptly discontinued that model. I have three pairs in my normal size, and two pairs in a bigger size to wear over my waders, which I got as soon as I realized they were being discontinued.
  23. I'll respond to this and then I'm done. If Trump "thinks like me", then a heck of a lot of people in this country are huge liars. What is he doing that is what he said he would do? Building a wall? That's about the only thing he's really tried to get done, except for things that ANY Republican president with a Republican Congress would have gotten done. We'll ignore for the moment the hyperbole about Mexico paying for the wall. The one huge thing that I think epitomizes Trump promises and following through is when he clearly stated, as one of his major campaign planks, that HE had this terrific health care plan to replace Obamacare that was going to be far better and EVERYBODY would love it. Then he got elected. And it soon became abundantly obvious that he didn't have one iota of a plan ("health care is HARD") and was hoping for the Republican Congress to come up with one he could sign and take credit for. And when they couldn't get it done (because...health care IS hard), that whole campaign promise went away completely. Remember the whole "drain the swamp" thing? Still a lot of alligators, and some new ones that he brought in and they got in trouble. Snakes in the grass in politics? Hey, you said yourself he's not a politician, so why would he listen to the Washington insiders...or, alternatively, if he's following really bad advice, doesn't that say something about who he chooses to listen to?
  24. Yup, unless you (or he) is a strong wader, I'd think you'd be limited in where you could wade with the river over 500 cfs. I've got good balance (and really good wading shoes), but I'm a fairly small guy. I simply don't have enough height and weight to be as strong wading as some of my buddies. If you DON'T have really good balance and shoes with soles you can depend upon (and felt is outlawed so there goes most of the good wading boots), you're going to run into real problems trying to wade the Meramec.
  25. Seems like this has happened more than once...Trump appoints some guy to some post. Trump supporters: "He's a great guy; good choice!" Then he starts to disagree with Trump. "Well, maybe he ain't such a great guy." He resigns or gets resigned. "Nope, knew he wasn't a great guy." He criticizes Trump later. "That sucker is a horrible guy. He should be in jail."
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