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darbwa

Fishing Buddy
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About darbwa

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  • Birthday 11/26/1975

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    Tulsa, OK
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    SCUBA, fishing, golf, music, canoeing, sailing, boating, anything on the water, warm weather, snowboarding, travel

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  1. The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad. -A.K. Best The fourth Andy Hart Memorial fishing trip took place last week (7/10/19 – 7/13/19) on the Current River. It was the 13th annual trip overall. Two father/son pairs from Tulsa and one father son pair from Kansas City set out early Wednesday morning to fish, float, and remember our dear friend. Most things about this trip seemed to be much more routine than past trips. I think the fact that this is the third year since it has become primarily a father/son trip and the third year that we set out for the Current River system (last 2 years began on the Jack’s Fork) just made it all seem a little easier to prepare for and to know what to expect. Nevertheless, there is always plenty of excitement and anticipation towards such a great few days of fun, fishing and relaxation. For this year’s excursion, we decided to go back to the previous year’s plan of floating from Round Spring to Powder Mill. Last year we made a last minute audible in favor of an Alley Spring entry due to the heavy rain in the forecast and the ability to stay in cabins on the river in Eminence. After an uneventful drive to Round Spring, we began to load the canoes when the rain began - something that has been a recurring theme on this trip. We paid the rain little attention as we readied the gear and the tackle. We shoved off the river’s edge around 1:00pm in a steady rain. Unfortunately, our first pair was so anxious to get on some fish that we did not get a traditional group photo with the entire group. Fishing was slow that first afternoon and it was slowed significantly by the lightening and thunder that coaxed us into taking refuge on the riverbank with a small cave not more than a couple of miles from Round Spring. As the storm slowly moved off, we continued down river. Our collective rust was showing as we all spent far too much time retrieving lures out of trees and resolving line tangles. One boat even suffered a broken rod tip – our departed friend Andy was truly with us! Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. -Henry David Thoreau I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the inspiration for this annual trip that I have been posting about for years now. Andy Hart and I met in 1st grade. We were 6-years-old and he was my best friend. I experienced so many firsts with Andy. He was the first friend to spend the night, the first to have me spend the night. He was the first friend to come to the lake with me. The first friend I went fishing with, the first friend I called when I needed to talk, especially if I needed to laugh (We once spent about an hour on the phone whistling TV theme songs to see if the other one could guess what we were whistling). Andy was the first friend I had a beer with and he was the first person I thought of when someone said, “best friend”. Living half a continent apart nor going to rival universities changed any of that (he moved to San Francisco after college at Mizzou). We would still go through the elaborate handshake routine we made up in grade school every year when I picked him up from the airport for our annual fishing trip. And no matter how badly he was out-fished, he was ready to plan the next trip as soon as the trip ended. He never failed to call me on my birthday and he always had a way of making no conversation about him. Andy gave me strength. He made me feel bigger, stronger than I felt on my own. He was positive, popular, attractive, and he was my advocate. He always had my best interest ahead of his own. He was my brother and I miss him terribly. So, this fishing trip is one way that I remember and feel closer to him. I have even created an “Andy Hart Spirit Award” given to the attendee that most exemplifies Andy on the river. Some of the traits we look for in an AHSA winner are: -Do not catch fish. If you do, make sure they are small and after everyone else has caught plenty; -Leave something important behind (could be a tent, food, fishing gear, anything really); -Break something; -Get hung up a lot! -Bonus points for tipping a canoe. With all of that said, day one on the river this year looked more like a competition for the Andy Hart Spirit Award than a fishing competition which is the natural undercurrent of any trip like this. The river was beautiful that afternoon with a thick fog setting in after the rain moved off. At times it was hard to see a canoe only a hundred yards or so down river! As evening crept in on us, fishing remained slow with only occasional small fish being reeled in. We found a decent gravel bar to camp on despite few miles of progress down the river. A fire was barely possible on this Wednesday night due to the soaking that afternoon and the continuous building of thick fog that made wearing a headlamp counter-productive. We worked on keeping a fire alive through dinner and post-dinner conversation. That night, while in the tent, you would think it was raining from the sounds of the dew collecting and dripping from any leaf around. Morning came all too quickly with the sun beating through the tent and creating the feeling of a steam bath. A cold can of coffee and a breakfast burrito got me moving and a slow camp breakdown commenced with the intent to let the morning sun dry out all of the wet gear. By the time we were packed away for another day on the river, a nice soak in the cool river was absolutely necessary to cool us down. Creeps and idiots cannot conceal themselves for long on a fishing trip. -John Gierach Day 2 was a noticeably better day of fishing as every canoe seemed to have shaken off the rust. Gone were the repeated hang-ups and equipment problems. Who would have guessed that the result of that improved performance were more fish?! Everyone was catching fish on Thursday as we spent most of the day in the canoes fishing as we floated. The solitude we enjoyed on Wednesday was not to last on this Thursday as jet boat after jet boat roared up and down the river (some repeatedly) many times sending us scurrying to keep our canoes afloat and dry. On one occasion my canoe took a wave over the side of the boat as it was parked on a gravel bank. At another point I was honestly frightened for the life of my son as a jet boat speeding down river took a route between him at the front of the canoe and shore that couldn’t have been more than 10 feet away. The boat squeezed through the tight, shallow section of river putting their boat within a couple of feet from the front of our canoe at full speed. Despite my inclination, I will save my additional rant over this instance and the subject of river jet boats for another time and place. "Many of the most highly publicized events of my presidency are not nearly as memorable or significant in my life as fishing with my daddy." - Jimmy Carter We took few breaks on Thursday to stretch our legs before reaching Two Rivers where we took an extended break to add some more ice and water to our coolers. Pressing on down river, the fishing remained steady but fish of significant size were not to be found. We enjoyed nearly perfect summer river weather – warm to hot with light breezes and intermittent cloud cover – and ideal floating conditions. Fishing was easy and consistent and the occasional shout of “ANDY!!” could be heard from any of the 3 canoes lazily gliding down the current. As afternoon rolled into evening we began to keep our eyes peeled for a nice spot to camp. The spot we chose had an abundance of firewood so night 2 allowed us to enjoy the roaring fire we missed out on the night before. The clearer dryer night and the light show of the fire inspired us to say up a bit later on night 2 so we played dice, laughed at stories about Andy and enjoyed time with our friends and our sons. Watching these boys grow up to be fine young men is like watching a flip book of the greatest story ever told – it goes too fast but it never disappoints. Looking back at the previous AHM trip reports: AHM1 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/topic/55430-fishingtrip-report-629-71/?tab=comments#comment-459217 AHM2 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/waters/rivers/jacks-fork/jacks-fork-fishing-reports/fishingtrip-report-728-731-r402/ AHM3 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/waters/rivers/jacks-fork/jacks-fork-fishing-reports/fishingtrip-report-829-83118-r819/ Day 3 was almost a replay of the previous day. It is remarkable how familiar this routine has become; how similar our conditions have been both day to day and year to year. Rain has repeatedly been a factor but never a burden (although we have had some close calls), weather and floating conditions have been good to great and we always catch plenty of fish. After our standard routine of breakfast, camp breakdown, and reviving cool-water plunges, we were on the move once again, albeit with a nagging sense of dread that our annual trip was quickly heading to its all-too-quick ending. Our anxious pair that left us early on day one did so again on day 3 not to be seen again until our take-out spot in the afternoon. The other 2 canoes could not be in any hurry as our short time on the river on Friday resulted in a productive day of fishing. We caught almost as many fish as the day before but again all of the fish were fairly small. I believe the largest fish of the trip was only 14.5”. Earlier than desired, we came upon the highway 106 bridge signaling our last stretch of river before our takeout spot across from Powder Mill. However, our leading canoe had gone on down river to Blue Spring as the bank across from Blue Spring was our previous year’s take out spot. Despite the miscommunication, the very helpful outfitters at Carr’s Canoe Rental (Billy Smith specifically) were very accommodating with our pick up and we soon had everyone retrieved and headed back towards Round Spring. Billy was a wealth of knowledge about fishing the Current and other rivers as well and he provided plenty of good conversation on our ride back to our vehicles. Throughout the trip, I tried many different lures and techniques. For the first time I didn’t catch any fish on top-water lures despite frequently trying several different types and I caught only a couple on crankbaits. The lure of choice was once again 3” soft plastics in a variety of colors.
  2. The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad. -A.K. Best The fourth Andy Hart Memorial fishing trip took place last week (7/10/19 – 7/13/19) on the Current River. It was the 13th annual trip overall. Two father/son pairs from Tulsa and one father son pair from Kansas City set out early Wednesday morning to fish, float, and remember our dear friend. Most things about this trip seemed to be much more routine than past trips. I think the fact that this is the third year since it has become primarily a father/son trip and the third year that we set out for the Current River system (last 2 years began on the Jack’s Fork) just made it all seem a little easier to prepare for and to know what to expect. Nevertheless, there is always plenty of excitement and anticipation towards such a great few days of fun, fishing and relaxation. For this year’s excursion, we decided to go back to the previous year’s plan of floating from Round Spring to Powder Mill. Last year we made a last minute audible in favor of an Alley Spring entry due to the heavy rain in the forecast and the ability to stay in cabins on the river in Eminence. After an uneventful drive to Round Spring, we began to load the canoes when the rain began - something that has been a recurring theme on this trip. We paid the rain little attention as we readied the gear and the tackle. We shoved off the river’s edge around 1:00pm in a steady rain. Unfortunately, our first pair was so anxious to get on some fish that we did not get a traditional group photo with the entire group. Fishing was slow that first afternoon and it was slowed significantly by the lightening and thunder that coaxed us into taking refuge on the riverbank with a small cave not more than a couple of miles from Round Spring. As the storm slowly moved off, we continued down river. Our collective rust was showing as we all spent far too much time retrieving lures out of trees and resolving line tangles. One boat even suffered a broken rod tip – our departed friend Andy was truly with us! Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. -Henry David Thoreau I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the inspiration for this annual trip that I have been posting about for years now. Andy Hart and I met in 1st grade. We were 6-years-old and he was my best friend. I experienced so many firsts with Andy. He was the first friend to spend the night, the first to have me spend the night. He was the first friend to come to the lake with me. The first friend I went fishing with, the first friend I called when I needed to talk, especially if I needed to laugh (We once spent about an hour on the phone whistling TV theme songs to see if the other one could guess what we were whistling). Andy was the first friend I had a beer with and he was the first person I thought of when someone said, “best friend”. Living half a continent apart nor going to rival universities changed any of that (he moved to San Francisco after college at Mizzou). We would still go through the elaborate handshake routine we made up in grade school every year when I picked him up from the airport for our annual fishing trip. And no matter how badly he was out-fished, he was ready to plan the next trip as soon as the trip ended. He never failed to call me on my birthday and he always had a way of making no conversation about him. Andy gave me strength. He made me feel bigger, stronger than I felt on my own. He was positive, popular, attractive, and he was my advocate. He always had my best interest ahead of his own. He was my brother and I miss him terribly. So, this fishing trip is one way that I remember and feel closer to him. I have even created an “Andy Hart Spirit Award” given to the attendee that most exemplifies Andy on the river. Some of the traits we look for in an AHSA winner are: -Do not catch fish. If you do, make sure they are small and after everyone else has caught plenty; -Leave something important behind (could be a tent, food, fishing gear, anything really); -Break something; -Get hung up a lot! -Bonus points for tipping a canoe. With all of that said, day one on the river this year looked more like a competition for the Andy Hart Spirit Award than a fishing competition which is the natural undercurrent of any trip like this. The river was beautiful that afternoon with a thick fog setting in after the rain moved off. At times it was hard to see a canoe only a hundred yards or so down river! As evening crept in on us, fishing remained slow with only occasional small fish being reeled in. We found a decent gravel bar to camp on despite few miles of progress down the river. A fire was barely possible on this Wednesday night due to the soaking that afternoon and the continuous building of thick fog that made wearing a headlamp counter-productive. We worked on keeping a fire alive through dinner and post-dinner conversation. That night, while in the tent, you would think it was raining from the sounds of the dew collecting and dripping from any leaf around. Morning came all too quickly with the sun beating through the tent and creating the feeling of a steam bath. A cold can of coffee and a breakfast burrito got me moving and a slow camp breakdown commenced with the intent to let the morning sun dry out all of the wet gear. By the time we were packed away for another day on the river, a nice soak in the cool river was absolutely necessary to cool us down. Creeps and idiots cannot conceal themselves for long on a fishing trip. -John Gierach Day 2 was a noticeably better day of fishing as every canoe seemed to have shaken off the rust. Gone were the repeated hang-ups and equipment problems. Who would have guessed that the result of that improved performance were more fish?! Everyone was catching fish on Thursday as we spent most of the day in the canoes fishing as we floated. The solitude we enjoyed on Wednesday was not to last on this Thursday as jet boat after jet boat roared up and down the river (some repeatedly) many times sending us scurrying to keep our canoes afloat and dry. On one occasion my canoe took a wave over the side of the boat as it was parked on a gravel bank. At another point I was honestly frightened for the life of my son as a jet boat speeding down river took a route between him at the front of the canoe and shore that couldn’t have been more than 10 feet away. The boat squeezed through the tight, shallow section of river putting their boat within a couple of feet from the front of our canoe at full speed. Despite my inclination, I will save my additional rant over this instance and the subject of river jet boats for another time and place. "Many of the most highly publicized events of my presidency are not nearly as memorable or significant in my life as fishing with my daddy." - Jimmy Carter We took few breaks on Thursday to stretch our legs before reaching Two Rivers where we took an extended break to add some more ice and water to our coolers. Pressing on down river, the fishing remained steady but fish of significant size were not to be found. We enjoyed nearly perfect summer river weather – warm to hot with light breezes and intermittent cloud cover – and ideal floating conditions. Fishing was easy and consistent and the occasional shout of “ANDY!!” could be heard from any of the 3 canoes lazily gliding down the current. As afternoon rolled into evening we began to keep our eyes peeled for a nice spot to camp. The spot we chose had an abundance of firewood so night 2 allowed us to enjoy the roaring fire we missed out on the night before. The clearer dryer night and the light show of the fire inspired us to say up a bit later on night 2 so we played dice, laughed at stories about Andy and enjoyed time with our friends and our sons. Watching these boys grow up to be fine young men is like watching a flip book of the greatest story ever told – it goes too fast but it never disappoints. Looking back at the previous AHM trip reports: AHM1 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/topic/55430-fishingtrip-report-629-71/?tab=comments#comment-459217 AHM2 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/waters/rivers/jacks-fork/jacks-fork-fishing-reports/fishingtrip-report-728-731-r402/ AHM3 - http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/waters/rivers/jacks-fork/jacks-fork-fishing-reports/fishingtrip-report-829-83118-r819/ Day 3 was almost a replay of the previous day. It is remarkable how familiar this routine has become; how similar our conditions have been both day to day and year to year. Rain has repeatedly been a factor but never a burden (although we have had some close calls), weather and floating conditions have been good to great and we always catch plenty of fish. After our standard routine of breakfast, camp breakdown, and reviving cool-water plunges, we were on the move once again, albeit with a nagging sense of dread that our annual trip was quickly heading to its all-too-quick ending. Our anxious pair that left us early on day one did so again on day 3 not to be seen again until our take-out spot in the afternoon. The other 2 canoes could not be in any hurry as our short time on the river on Friday resulted in a productive day of fishing. We caught almost as many fish as the day before but again all of the fish were fairly small. I believe the largest fish of the trip was only 14.5”. Earlier than desired, we came upon the highway 106 bridge signaling our last stretch of river before our takeout spot across from Powder Mill. However, our leading canoe had gone on down river to Blue Spring as the bank across from Blue Spring was our previous year’s take out spot. Despite the miscommunication, the very helpful outfitters at Carr’s Canoe Rental (Billy Smith specifically) were very accommodating with our pick up and we soon had everyone retrieved and headed back towards Round Spring. Billy was a wealth of knowledge about fishing the Current and other rivers as well and he provided plenty of good conversation on our ride back to our vehicles. Throughout the trip, I tried many different lures and techniques. For the first time I didn’t catch any fish on top-water lures despite frequently trying several different types and I caught only a couple on crankbaits. The lure of choice was once again 3” soft plastics in a variety of colors.
  3. I have to say I am a bit surprised by the unanimous (although an unimpressive 2 of 2) Gasconade nomination. I have never been on the Gasconade, but from what little I have read, I imagined it to be a bit slow and boring in terms of canoeing and scenery. I also thought of it more of a powerboating river which, again, would make the canoeing much less enjoyable. Are your recommendations more based on the fishing potential or am I off in my admittedly ignorant assessment of the river? The Jacks Fork/Current and the Buffalo have proven to be nice rivers for multi day floats while the Kings and Elk rivers have been my single day fishing spots. I have many rivers to cross off my list yet!
  4. No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Heraclitus The third annual Andy Hart Memorial Fishing Trip took place last week. This was the 12th annual trip overall. Once again, we selected the Jack’s Fork/Current River watershed as our conduit. Our original plan was four our group of 10 (five father/son combinations) to get on the Current at Round Spring on midday Wednesday and get off the river at the Logyard midday Friday. At about 6:00AM on Wednesday morning the group of 6 leaving Tulsa became 4 as one of the dad’s fell ill overnight. Fortunately, we were able to procure seven of the eight racks of ribs he had prepared for the trip as well of some of his fishing tackle. So, as it turns out, a group of four from Tulsa and a group of four from Kansas City headed toward the Current River with dreams of lunkers dancing in our heads. By the time both groups approached Springfield, we were met by mother nature and her attempts to scare us off from our plans. We drove through thunderstorms that at times included severe downpours of rain that limited sight enough to slow our progress to a crawl. Undeterred, we met up in Eminence where we decided to audible to a new route down the river – one that would assure us of a dry night one. We decided to rent a couple of cabins on the river bank in Eminence and return to the route we travelled last summer, beginning at Alley Spring. We headed up to Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental to get our trip underway. Although we received some strange looks for wanting to head out on a 3-day journey in the pouring rain, the folks at Harvey’s got us set up and on our way. Our first day on the river, we started with a steady rain falling but the boys quickly got on some fish before even stepping into a canoe. We were hopeful that the bite would keep up but were soon disappointed as the fishing from Alley Spring back to Eminence was quite slow. However, the rain did not keep up with the same intensity as before and it stopped all together in the late afternoon, giving way to a beautiful, foggy-river sunset. We took our time knowing that we did not have to set up camp with cabins waiting for us that night. As we unloaded our canoes and began to make a fire, our last canoe made it back to camp shortly after nightfall. Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday. A A Milne On our first night, we honored our dear, departed friend by sending sky lanterns into the night sky – one for each of the 9 years Andy Hart came on this float trip. Unfortunately, we did not get all 9 airborne but we toasted him and thought of him as we watched several sky lanterns drift away into a very still night sky. Day two began later than most mornings on the river due to our relatively plush accommodations for a river trip. We slept in, made breakfast and began to load up for a new day on the river with unexpected sunshine greeting us. The fishing was once again slow, but we kept at it as we drifted through town and by all the horse camps near Eminence. Despite all the rain, the Jack’s Fork remained gin-clear, possibly making the fish a bit tougher to catch and a bit easier to spook. As the morning gave way to afternoon, the cloud cover increased, and the fishing improved. All of us began to catch fish more frequently as a light rain set in. Fortunately, the rain lasted less than an hour and as it subsided all four canoes were in close proximity to each other when we hit a honey hole that provided some of the largest fish on the trip and my own personal best smallmouth, an 18.5-inch beauty. The bite remained solid as we made our way into Two Rivers in the middle of the afternoon. It wasn’t until Two Rivers that we saw another human being on the river at all. After a quick stop at the new store at Two Rivers, we pressed on enjoying the increased current of the Current River. The water clarity decreased, and long casts became easier on the larger river – two factors that I believe contributed in better fishing compared to the smaller, clearer Jack’s Fork. Just after our stop at Two Rivers, an officer (not sure if he was a game warden or a Park Service officer) called us to the river’s edge to check our fishing licenses. In my 42 years, this is the first and only time I have ever had a fishing license checked! I was pleased that my diligence in always getting my license finally paid off. Fishing was steady all afternoon and evening as we looked for our intended camping spot for night two across from Martin Bluff. When we reached our camping destination, we couldn’t believe our luck with the weather. We had expected a very wet trip from start to finish with a break finally on day 3. As it turned out, we had a cool, overcast trip with minimal rain. After setting up our camp and building fire, we had dinner on the river and played some dice on one of the coolers. We also were given a nice light show with lightening flickering and lighting up the sky in the distance but never truly threatening our peace. We had another wonderful night on the river celebrating our friend, our friendships, our sons and all our good fortune. Be like a river. Be open. Flow. Julie Connor I am not sure if it was the cool, calm night, the sound of the river, or the extra little bit of Fireball I imbibed but I slept like a rock! A beautiful foggy morning greeted us as well as some delicious breakfast burritos that, along with a liter of Gatorade and some cold brew coffee, soothed my slightly aching head. After working through the breakdown of camp with the sun ascending, several refreshing plunges in the river helped to cool us down. Friday was the warmest and sunniest day of our trip, but I don’t think the temperature even sniffed 90 degrees and there was plenty of intermittent cloud cover. Fishing was once again steady on Friday. While there were not many fish of significant size, the bite was steady enough to keep everyone satisfied. As we reached our pick-up spot at Blue Spring, I could not help but reflect on our all-too-brief trip. I am not one who believes in this sort of thing, but once again it felt like our friend was looking after us and compelling our trip work out with the best possible results. We had storms early to keep others off the river but overall great weather and great fishing. What could have been a washout of a trip became the most comfortable summer float imaginable full of fun, friends and fish! A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. Oliver Wendell Holmes Throughout the trip, I tried many different lures and techniques. I caught only a couple on any top-water lures despite trying several and I caught a couple on crankbaits. The lure of choice was once again 3” soft plastics in a variety of colors.
  5. No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Heraclitus The third annual Andy Hart Memorial Fishing Trip took place last week. This was the 12th annual trip overall. Once again, we selected the Jack’s Fork/Current River watershed as our conduit. Our original plan was four our group of 10 (five father/son combinations) to get on the Current at Round Spring on midday Wednesday and get off the river at the Logyard midday Friday. At about 6:00AM on Wednesday morning the group of 6 leaving Tulsa became 4 as one of the dad’s fell ill overnight. Fortunately, we were able to procure seven of the eight racks of ribs he had prepared for the trip as well of some of his fishing tackle. So, as it turns out, a group of four from Tulsa and a group of four from Kansas City headed toward the Current River with dreams of lunkers dancing in our heads. By the time both groups approached Springfield, we were met by mother nature and her attempts to scare us off from our plans. We drove through thunderstorms that at times included severe downpours of rain that limited sight enough to slow our progress to a crawl. Undeterred, we met up in Eminence where we decided to audible to a new route down the river – one that would assure us of a dry night one. We decided to rent a couple of cabins on the river bank in Eminence and return to the route we travelled last summer, beginning at Alley Spring. We headed up to Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental to get our trip underway. Although we received some strange looks for wanting to head out on a 3-day journey in the pouring rain, the folks at Harvey’s got us set up and on our way. Our first day on the river, we started with a steady rain falling but the boys quickly got on some fish before even stepping into a canoe. We were hopeful that the bite would keep up but were soon disappointed as the fishing from Alley Spring back to Eminence was quite slow. However, the rain did not keep up with the same intensity as before and it stopped all together in the late afternoon, giving way to a beautiful, foggy-river sunset. We took our time knowing that we did not have to set up camp with cabins waiting for us that night. As we unloaded our canoes and began to make a fire, our last canoe made it back to camp shortly after nightfall. Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday. A A Milne On our first night, we honored our dear, departed friend by sending sky lanterns into the night sky – one for each of the 9 years Andy Hart came on this float trip. Unfortunately, we did not get all 9 airborne but we toasted him and thought of him as we watched several sky lanterns drift away into a very still night sky. Day two began later than most mornings on the river due to our relatively plush accommodations for a river trip. We slept in, made breakfast and began to load up for a new day on the river with unexpected sunshine greeting us. The fishing was once again slow, but we kept at it as we drifted through town and by all the horse camps near Eminence. Despite all the rain, the Jack’s Fork remained gin-clear, possibly making the fish a bit tougher to catch and a bit easier to spook. As the morning gave way to afternoon, the cloud cover increased, and the fishing improved. All of us began to catch fish more frequently as a light rain set in. Fortunately, the rain lasted less than an hour and as it subsided all four canoes were in close proximity to each other when we hit a honey hole that provided some of the largest fish on the trip and my own personal best smallmouth, an 18.5-inch beauty. The bite remained solid as we made our way into Two Rivers in the middle of the afternoon. It wasn’t until Two Rivers that we saw another human being on the river at all. After a quick stop at the new store at Two Rivers, we pressed on enjoying the increased current of the Current River. The water clarity decreased, and long casts became easier on the larger river – two factors that I believe contributed in better fishing compared to the smaller, clearer Jack’s Fork. Just after our stop at Two Rivers, an officer (not sure if he was a game warden or a Park Service officer) called us to the river’s edge to check our fishing licenses. In my 42 years, this is the first and only time I have ever had a fishing license checked! I was pleased that my diligence in always getting my license finally paid off. Fishing was steady all afternoon and evening as we looked for our intended camping spot for night two across from Martin Bluff. When we reached our camping destination, we couldn’t believe our luck with the weather. We had expected a very wet trip from start to finish with a break finally on day 3. As it turned out, we had a cool, overcast trip with minimal rain. After setting up our camp and building fire, we had dinner on the river and played some dice on one of the coolers. We also were given a nice light show with lightening flickering and lighting up the sky in the distance but never truly threatening our peace. We had another wonderful night on the river celebrating our friend, our friendships, our sons and all our good fortune. Be like a river. Be open. Flow. Julie Connor I am not sure if it was the cool, calm night, the sound of the river, or the extra little bit of Fireball I imbibed but I slept like a rock! A beautiful foggy morning greeted us as well as some delicious breakfast burritos that, along with a liter of Gatorade and some cold brew coffee, soothed my slightly aching head. After working through the breakdown of camp with the sun ascending, several refreshing plunges in the river helped to cool us down. Friday was the warmest and sunniest day of our trip, but I don’t think the temperature even sniffed 90 degrees and there was plenty of intermittent cloud cover. Fishing was once again steady on Friday. While there were not many fish of significant size, the bite was steady enough to keep everyone satisfied. As we reached our pick-up spot at Blue Spring, I could not help but reflect on our all-too-brief trip. I am not one who believes in this sort of thing, but once again it felt like our friend was looking after us and compelling our trip work out with the best possible results. We had storms early to keep others off the river but overall great weather and great fishing. What could have been a washout of a trip became the most comfortable summer float imaginable full of fun, friends and fish! A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. Oliver Wendell Holmes Throughout the trip, I tried many different lures and techniques. I caught only a couple on any top-water lures despite trying several and I caught a couple on crankbaits. The lure of choice was once again 3” soft plastics in a variety of colors. This post has been promoted to an article
  6. Not sure of the best spot to post this question. This looks as good as any. I only get one (2 if I'm lucky) good float trip every year and I usually spend as much time planning and preparing for it as I do on the trip itself. So, in preparation for next year... Where would you go (river and section) for a 3 or 4-day canoe/fishing/camping trip that focused on smallmouth and why? What if your focus was on any fishing or a combo of fish? I always post about my annual trips here on this forum. My post for last week's float down the Jack's Fork and Current should be ready to post by tomorrow I hope. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
  7. My brother and I took 4 employees on a canoe/fishing trip from Elk River Campground to Wayside. We got on the river at about 10:00AM and the air temperature was cool (low to mid 60s). The water was low and clear. The bite was slow early but picked up as the temperature increased and the breeze picked up. Fortunately the breeze was blowing downstream for the most part because the gusts were occasionally strong. We caught over 80 fish between the 6 of us with several nice sized smallmouth and largemouth mixed in with plenty of little ones. There were at least a half dozen bass over 14 inches with a few over 16. Most fish were caught on white rooster tails, several were caught on hard and soft plastic crawdads and a few on crankbaits and other swimbaits. I have had a lot of luck with the fishing on the Elk and always think of it as a very good fishing river but there is one thing that is always very disappointing about the Elk - the way people treat that river is shameful. The amount of trash that people carelessly litter the river with is an embarrassment. I am absolutely fed up with seeing that river treated like a trash can. It is time that the authorities view the littering as a potential revenue source and start ticketing those that have such little respect for the river.
  8. The boys were so great on that trip that we had a new adventure for them this week. We took the 2 younger boys fly fishing for the first time in Southwest Colorado. We did an exhausting amount of hiking on a 12 hour fishing excursion but it was totally worth it. We all caught tons of fish! I am not sure who is more lucky, those 2 boys or their dads! What a way to end the summer!
  9. The second annual Andy Hart Memorial Fishing Trip was last week. A group of 8 (4 dads and their sons) got on the river on Wednesday around 1:00PM at Alley Spring. Our plan was originally to take out on Friday at Roberts Field and recreate a 2011 float that I took with my friend Andy who passed away suddenly a year and a half ago. (I posted about that trip on this board as well back in 2011.) Due to the spring flooding, Roberts Field was no longer an option forcing us to make the 31 mile journey to the Logyard. We floated and fished all afternoon on Wednesday and had a great time. The fish were biting steadily but only a few of any size. We did most of our fishing from the canoe as the current pushed us along. We camped that night on a gravel bar downstream from Eminence. Unfortunately one of us forgot a tent in the car back at Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental but fortunately on Wednesday night the sky was clear and the moon was nowhere to be seen so the stars were out in force. We stayed up a little later than necessary Wednesday night so Thursday morning came early. Because we had cell reception I could see that a storm that had rocked Kansas City and a lot of western Missouri was headed our way. Wanting to sleep more but knowing that we needed to pack up our gear before the rain started, we reluctantly began to break down camp. The forecast for Thursday looked very wet…and it was. Knowing that the day and night ahead looked to be rainy, we called Harveys to ask if they could deliver the tent that was left behind to Two Rivers. It rained lightly but steadily all morning long and there was a great deal of fog on the river throughout the day giving my 9-year-old son reason to belt out the Deep Purple riff of duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-da-na, duh-duh-duh-dunt-da from “Smoke on the Water” (he is a drummer in a rock band). I didn’t even know he had heard the song! Again on Thursday the fishing bite was steady but one canoe dominated the fishing from beginning to end on this trip and unfortunately it was not my canoe. As morning turned to afternoon we started to get an unexpected break in the weather and even some sunshine in the mid to late afternoon. Harvey’s very graciously helped us out and met us at Two Rivers at 1:00 that afternoon to deliver the tent that was left behind. But after Two Rivers the weather became increasingly favorable and we thought that we may have dodged a very big, wet bullet. We continued to float and fish and have a few cold beers here and there. We stopped to throw the Frisbee and play some catch with a water bouncer. The sunshine (and those beers) helped to make us complacent about any urgency to set camp early even though the forecast in the morning indicated rain until well after dark. When we got to Blue Spring we tied up the canoes at the riverside trailhead and walked up to see the beautiful, crystal-clear water – always a must see on this stretch of river. Upon returning to our canoes we noticed that it was starting to look a little dark again. Because it was getting late in the day, we discussed that we probably should have already made camp but we wanted to get past Blue Spring. It was probably close to 7:15 by this time and we had not been able to look at any forecast since early that morning so we didn’t know what was about to hit us. It quickly became very dark and then the skies opened up. There was almost no wind and there was no lightning or thunder. But the rain poured and poured hard! Our group of 4 canoes paddled down river in close proximity and thoroughly enjoyed the soaking we received. We laughed and shrugged it off as we paddled our way through the rain. It was coming down so hard that the canoes quickly began to take on water. As we started to discuss a need to stop to empty the canoes of water, the rain finally began to relent. We continued to make our way down river while looking for a good gravel bar on which to camp. As the rains came to a stop, we found a great spot around 8:15 or so, just in time to set up camp before dark. We then made a late dinner and even managed a meager fire to stare at for a couple of hours. Fortunately we had no more rain for the rest of the night and everything seemed to work out for us just right. We discussed that our friend Andy was messing with us and taking care of us on this trip to remember him. We spoke of him often and laughed at his expense just as we would have done had he been there with us physically. We lamented his passing and drank to his memory. It was what he would have wanted. It was perfect. We were able to get a little more sleep on Friday morning and have a more leisurely breakfast and camp break. We were back on the water again on Friday morning heading toward the Logyard. Friday was a beautiful day that was partly cloudy and comfortable all day. Again, it was more of the same. Steady fishing for one canoe with occasional fish for the other 3. As Friday wore on our peaceful river was more frequently being interrupted by the sound and the wake of the jetboats that flew by us and our trip was coming to an end. Great trip! Great Kids! Great friends! Great fun! I can’t wait until the next one!
  10. The second annual Andy Hart Memorial Fishing Trip was last week. A group of 8 (4 dads and their sons) got on the river on Wednesday around 1:00PM at Alley Spring. Our plan was originally to take out on Friday at Roberts Field and recreate a 2011 float that I took with my friend Andy who passed away suddenly a year and a half ago. (I posted about that trip on this board as well back in 2011.) Due to the spring flooding, Roberts Field was no longer an option forcing us to make the 31 mile journey to the Logyard. We floated and fished all afternoon on Wednesday and had a great time. The fish were biting steadily but only a few of any size. We did most of our fishing from the canoe as the current pushed us along. We camped that night on a gravel bar downstream from Eminence. Unfortunately one of us forgot a tent in the car back at Harvey’s Alley Spring Canoe Rental but fortunately on Wednesday night the sky was clear and the moon was nowhere to be seen so the stars were out in force. We stayed up a little later than necessary Wednesday night so Thursday morning came early. Because we had cell reception I could see that a storm that had rocked Kansas City and a lot of western Missouri was headed our way. Wanting to sleep more but knowing that we needed to pack up our gear before the rain started, we reluctantly began to break down camp. The forecast for Thursday looked very wet…and it was. Knowing that the day and night ahead looked to be rainy, we called Harveys to ask if they could deliver the tent that was left behind to Two Rivers. It rained lightly but steadily all morning long and there was a great deal of fog on the river throughout the day giving my 9-year-old son reason to belt out the Deep Purple riff of duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-da-na, duh-duh-duh-dunt-da from “Smoke on the Water” (he is a drummer in a rock band). I didn’t even know he had heard the song! Again on Thursday the fishing bite was steady but one canoe dominated the fishing from beginning to end on this trip and unfortunately it was not my canoe. As morning turned to afternoon we started to get an unexpected break in the weather and even some sunshine in the mid to late afternoon. Harvey’s very graciously helped us out and met us at Two Rivers at 1:00 that afternoon to deliver the tent that was left behind. But after Two Rivers the weather became increasingly favorable and we thought that we may have dodged a very big, wet bullet. We continued to float and fish and have a few cold beers here and there. We stopped to throw the Frisbee and play some catch with a water bouncer. The sunshine (and those beers) helped to make us complacent about any urgency to set camp early even though the forecast in the morning indicated rain until well after dark. When we got to Blue Spring we tied up the canoes at the riverside trailhead and walked up to see the beautiful, crystal-clear water – always a must see on this stretch of river. Upon returning to our canoes we noticed that it was starting to look a little dark again. Because it was getting late in the day, we discussed that we probably should have already made camp but we wanted to get past Blue Spring. It was probably close to 7:15 by this time and we had not been able to look at any forecast since early that morning so we didn’t know what was about to hit us. It quickly became very dark and then the skies opened up. There was almost no wind and there was no lightning or thunder. But the rain poured and poured hard! Our group of 4 canoes paddled down river in close proximity and thoroughly enjoyed the soaking we received. We laughed and shrugged it off as we paddled our way through the rain. It was coming down so hard that the canoes quickly began to take on water. As we started to discuss a need to stop to empty the canoes of water, the rain finally began to relent. We continued to make our way down river while looking for a good gravel bar on which to camp. As the rains came to a stop, we found a great spot around 8:15 or so, just in time to set up camp before dark. We then made a late dinner and even managed a meager fire to stare at for a couple of hours. Fortunately we had no more rain for the rest of the night and everything seemed to work out for us just right. We discussed that our friend Andy was messing with us and taking care of us on this trip to remember him. We spoke of him often and laughed at his expense just as we would have done had he been there with us physically. We lamented his passing and drank to his memory. It was what he would have wanted. It was perfect. We were able to get a little more sleep on Friday morning and have a more leisurely breakfast and camp break. We were back on the water again on Friday morning heading toward the Logyard. Friday was a beautiful day that was partly cloudy and comfortable all day. Again, it was more of the same. Steady fishing for one canoe with occasional fish for the other 3. As Friday wore on our peaceful river was more frequently being interrupted by the sound and the wake of the jetboats that flew by us and our trip was coming to an end. Great trip! Great Kids! Great friends! Great fun! I can’t wait until the next one! This post has been promoted to an article
  11. I agree that a shorter float will be more enjoyable for you. 39 miles will not be a float, it will be a paddle with no time for fishing.
  12. There is nothing he loved to do more. I attached a photo of him from the Buffalo in 2013. This photo couldn't have been more than 50 feet from where my son caught his biggest fish of the trip. In both photos Red Bluff is in the background. I forgot to say in my original post that I am so grateful that his brother made the trip along with another friend all the way from San Francisco.
  13. My closest friend since first grade and I had an annual tradition of taking a multi-day float/fishing trip on an Ozark river. The two of us would plan the trips together and try to get others to join us. Many years we did get others to join, a few years it was just the two of us. He would travel from San Francisco every year just for the trip. My friend passed away suddenly in December so this year I headed up a group for a river trip as part of a memorial. For the First Annual Andy Hart Memorial Float Trip we went down the Buffalo River. We started out as a group of nine at Tyler Bend on Wednesday and we were joined by 2 more at our camping spot just up from Glibert. 5 of our group departed at Maumee and 6 finished off the trip on Friday at Spring Creek. Several of us brought our sons along on the trip and it was a first of its kind for each of them. The weather was fantastic for late June, early July and the water was low as expected. We all caught fish but we did our best to make sure our boys had the most success - and they did. My son caught over 20 fish in 3 days and several of those he caught were very nice sized fish. Crawdad baits of all kinds were the most successful with top-waters working well in the mornings and evenings. It was a beautiful trip with many memories and tears. We also had some adventure when a storm rolled through camp on night 2. I still have many rivers to visit in the Ozarks but I have yet to find one nearly as beautiful as the Buffalo. But next time I will bite off fewer miles and have more time to fish.
  14. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I spent 6 months in New Zealand with my (now) wife. It was the greatest 6 months of adventure in my life. Unbelievably beautiful scenery and incredibly friendly people. Trip of a lifetime! I can't believe I haven't been back in 15 years now! Looking forward to seeing some photos!
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