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Johnsfolly

Ozark Slam (Part 2)

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After leaving the Current I headed back towards Rolla. I have been thinking about trying to catch a blackspotted topminnow which should be around the rivers and creeks surrounding Rolla. I stopped at Beaver creek just south of Rolla. I went down to the creek to see if there were any topminnows. I saw several northern studfish and a couple of topminnows that had a orange edge to their fins, but not blackspotted topminnows. I have an idea that those fish may be a different topminnow and will have to come back later. While looking at these minnows I saw a 10 inch smallmouth and a 12 to 13 inch largemouth.  I figured that these fish were a captive set being in a relatively small pool. I went and got my fishing gear. I put on a 1/32 oz tube jig with a green pumpkin slider with a chartreuse paddle tail. On my first cast I ended up with a green sunfish (I will continue to curse these guys for the rest of the day). Next cast I hit the large bass, but it threw the hook. No chance at one again. The next cast landed this 5 inch largemouth, (3rd slam fish) keeping with the Micro Slam theme on the day.

Largemouth - Beaver Creek - 22Jul17.jpg

I caught a couple more green sunfish and the last one tore off the paddle tail. I switched to a Bitsy crayfish body and caught my first smallmouth of the day (4th slam species). At less than 7 inches again keeping with the small slam fish.

Smallmouth - Beaver Creek - 22Jul17.jpg

With four of the five slam fish in hand and no interesting minnow species I left Beaver creek and headed towards Big Piney river to try to find some minnows (that's a different post). Afterwards I headed back north to try to finish my slam. I focused on one of my favorite creeks and started at a spot where Olivia caught a rock bass back in May. The river was much lower than that May trip and my subsequent trip in June. I had switched to a microlite rod with 4 lb test to target rock bass. First cast and BOOM a big green sunfish! The next cast brought another sunfish. Then a largemouth bass followed by a smallmouth. I left that hole and headed upstream to a spot that I have almost always had success on rock bass in previous slam attempts. The water was so low that it no longer flowed above the gravel between these two holes. A couple more green sunfish and several smallmouths including a 12" fish in the hole that should have held some rock bass. Usually there is 2 to 3 feet of water in front of the rock pile that I was fishing. On this trip the water was only about 18 inches. I have typically found rock bass in front of big rock and gravel areas with 3 to 4 feet of water. This low water may become an issue on my slam quest. The next rock bass producing hole ended up the same way, more stinking green sunfish along with brown and green bass. I also caught longear sunfish as well. All of the holes that I fished were very low compared to years past. I could easily see most fish in the hole and all were aggressive to my baits with every cast. There were no shy fish. Chubs, sunfish, bass, etc were all going after my bait. I fished and replaced several jig bodies after the fish tore off the paddle tails. Even without the tail the bait was still getting hit, but no rock bass. I even caught a 14 inch largemouth that was close to 2 lbs. I would have traded that fight with a simple rock bass on the line. I switched to the John deere microjig and continued with my bad luck, just more sunfish and bass. I broke off a smallmouth that was a similar size as that large largemouth bass. I walked as far upstream as I could before I felt like I would not get back before dark if I went any further upstream. At the last hole I found what I wanted, a deep hole with a lot of rock. I made a cast in front of the rock pile and got hung. So this trip ended with me spooking any fish off of that pile as I waded through the hole to get my bait.

I finished the night with a couple of casts at the first hole that I fished and caught three more green sunfish. My slam attempt came to an end without a successful completion. I had fished four different bodies of water, drove over 365 miles, and ended up in my driveway just after 9:50 pm. I caught over 50 fish on this marathon. So I still felt it was a successful day even without an Ozark Slam.

 

 

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Funny how sometimes you can catch rock bass when you're not even trying, fishing for bass, and other times they seem to disappear.  Seems like when it gets hot and the water gets low, they don't get active until after dark.

I think the most likely place to catch your slam all on one body of water is the trout section of the Meramec.  I've accomplished your slam several times there, especially in the winter, where I've done it all in one pool.

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I know it is rarely fished for but in the ewrly 60's I just loved to catch Long Ear sunfish on tiny poppin bugs in the upper meramec. .in the spring or early summer when they spawed  there were many that had gotten to pretty good size for that species. What my wife's grand aunt would call " Just right eatin size" and they certinly were. We used to scale them gut them out and cut off their heads Those things all fried up did not have a lot of meat on them. What was there though was sure good though after you picked carefully of those tiny bones. The fried crunchy tails were good as well. Loved those experiences in the Yesteryears as the past was always refered to then. Was heart broken last time I went to see my old starting and takeout point at Onandaga. I have sworn i will never go back to that river agian. All I can say is give people a river to enjoy and they will destroy it.

 

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