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Labor Day 2015 Report

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I visited the Lil' Red with my better half for the Labor Day Weekend. On the way, going through Little Rock, we stopped at Bass Pro. I was trying to pick up some Maxima Chameleon monofilament. There's recipes out there for tie-your-own leaders that call for it. I wanted to try it out. Nope. I can't seem to find Maxima anywhere. So I stuck with buying a couple of 7 1/2 ft 2x machine-tapered leaders to which I put tippet rings on, then tippet. The cabin we rented was downstream a little ways. It was beautifully kept up. Great hostess. It had river access, and kayaks we could use. We didn't kayak. They were sport kayaks, not good for fishing as no room for gear. The dock was a little funky and the wife declined to try and get into a kayak from it, so we ignored the kayaks altogether. Bummer in that with a fishing kayak I could have kayaked downstream to Mossy Shoals(? -I think). Doing that maybe I would have avoided the Labor Day crowds to which I attribute the tough fishing all weekend, that and my lack of experience on the LRR and in general.

So, Saturday, because we ate breakfast, I got out kind of late. In the water at Libby Shoal about 8. There were already several fishermen. There were no rises. Well, I tried every nymph combo I could think of por nada. Eggs with midge trailers didn't work, scuds no, pheasant tails and other mayfly larvae types, no, caddis type things, no. Meanwhile it's getting more and more crowded with bank fishermen and canoes, kayaks, river boats. A few bank fishermen seemed to catch a couple of trout on Powerbait I guess, but that was it. So Saturday was a bad day for trout. I did get to try the Sage TXL-F 4 wt I bought used on EBay. It's beautiful at casting a soft-hackle, and probably a dry fly, very accurate and smooth. It's not so good with a big, heavy nymph rig, but it's not designed for that. I never fished in the evenings, any day. Hung out with the Mrs and played Scrabble, Yahtzee and cards.

Sunday, I drove to Swinging Bridge. Again, lots of people in the water. I had switched back to my BVK 10 ft which is quite suited to this somewhat larger, open water. I had no action on nymphs, but kept moving downstream. Finally, down around the corner, I saw a few rises. I put on a "Pueblo Emerger" I had tied up, a 20, I think, in BWO, and started getting bit. I had a several short strikes but managed to catch a couple of smallish browns. On the way back up I saw a guy nymphing who looked like he knew what he was doing catch a couple of rainbows. Barnett Access to me is a really great access point with a great deal of fishable water, probably best fished on a weekend that's not Labor Day or else during the week.

So, having resigned myself to a nice cabin stay with my wife, on Monday I went out early for one last try at Libby. I had gone to the local fly shop the day before and bought some stuff (he didn't have Maxima Chameleon either.) But he did sell me some sowbugs which were a little different from the scuds I had tied myself, more of just a drab gray. I had never really seen a tied sowbug, I don't think, figured they were about the same as scuds, but this matched a lot better what I had seen in a couple of puddles along the bank. That's kind of why I went looking for some. After trying some other combo I finally tied on one of those drab sowbugs. The water just before the sun came a over the trees had little glare and with my polarized glasses fish were quite visible as they moved around near the bottom. More often than not my vision seems a little too poor to sight fish well, even with polarized glasses, but I started trying to target movement and shapes in the water. Still, nothing was interested at first. Then I saw a flash in front of me, then another in about the same spot. I thought, "That's a fish feeding!" I laid the sowbug out 5 ft in front of him. A few seconds later, he took it. Then he ran. "Whoa, man! It's a nice fish!" He took line about 5 or 6 times. Finally I was able to walk him up an inlet into some grass. He was about a 19 to 20 inch brown. I held him in the current till he swam off.

So tough as the fishing was, understandable at Labor Day Weekend, it paid off in the end. The moral of the story? "Support the local fly shop!"

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