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Al Agnew

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Al Agnew last won the day on March 22 2020

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  1. True. I always have to chuckle when I see somebody complaining about a high dollar topwater lure that will last years, when you can go through two or three bags of soft plastics in a day if the fish are taking them.
  2. I haven't floated through the Fort since about 2002. Back then, there was a dam near the upstream end of the stretch through the fort that would have definitely stopped you from running with a jetboat. But I just spent a bit of time looking for it on Google Earth, and can't find it. There was and still is a low water bridge in the middle of the fort that would be unrunnable. There was once a dam a short distance above East Gate...the dam is still there but the river bypasses it and has for many years.
  3. I've caught two or three above Leadwood. But from Leadwood downstream they now outnumber smallmouth, or at least that's how the numbers of those I catch shake out most days. The Leadwood low water bridge is the final barrier to upstream spread of spots, and it's mostly held for many years.
  4. Mitch, spend some time on Facebook...if you have the number and variety of "friends" I have on there, you will be exposed to hundreds of memes per day where one side is attacking the other side and mostly misrepresenting what the other side is all about. It's done by so-called conservatives and so-called liberals, by so-called Democrats and so-called Republicans. I say "so-called" because it's been proven that many of these vile memes originate in Russia and other countries, but then get passed along by ordinary Americans who take them in hook, line, and sinker. Somebody said recently in a discussion like this that we are being divided by the political elites (and they meant on both sides). I responded that, nope, we are being divided by cynical people motivated by greed or ideology who continually post crap on social media, and we are also being divided by cynical media personalities who know that outrage sells, and the more they can rouse the rabble the greater their market share is. And we are completely complicit in this, because many, perhaps most, of us NEVER make the attempt to actually hear what the other side is saying, we let the personalities on our side TELL us what the other side is saying. And those personalities have a vested interest in demonizing the other side. You are looking at it from your side. You think the dividing is all being done by those commie liberals. Bullcrap. The dividing is being done by both sides in just the ways I've described above, by making the other side look as horrible as possible and by people never actually listening to the viewpoint of the other side. One of the truths I've learned in nearly 70 years on earth is that we all have an infinite ability to convince ourselves that what we want to be true is true, and to grasp any evidence that reinforces our viewpoint and ignore or denigrate any evidence that doesn't. With all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips, we are becoming more and more tribal, using the internet not to get facts or wide ranges of opinions, but only going to the places on the net that tell us what we want to hear.
  5. Kinda interesting that "there is no imminent danger of catastrophic failure of the dam", but they want to "minimize" the risk of catastrophic failure. I did a lot of reading about the Teton Dam a while back. It was a dam in Idaho, built by the Bureau of Reclamation, which failed as soon as it was filled, and wiped out a couple towns downstream. It was the only huge dam failure (so far), and was another factor in the defeat of the Meramec Dam in Missouri because it happened while all the controversy about finding caves in the Meramec Dam site was going on. It failed because they allowed it to start filling before the main spillway was finished, so when it so happened that it was a record snow winter and the snowmelt coming into the lake was far greater than what they expected, the lake filled too fast and simply supersaturated the earthen dam. Reading about it was amazing, and I wrote this about it for the book I was writing: The snowpack the following winter was extremely heavy, and by March of 1976 dam operators knew the reservoir would be filling more quickly than the standard rule of one foot per day. They had no real choice in the matter, since the main outlet works that would have been able to carry off the excess water had not yet been completed, and they were depending upon the auxiliary outlet, which was designed to carry only a fourth of what the flow of the Teton River coming into the reservoir was going to be that spring. By mid-May, the river was in full flood, and the dam was at its mercy. No mercy was given. On June 3, a small leak in the dam appeared. The next day there were three leaks. They remained small throughout the day. But the next morning, Saturday, June 5th, 1976, there was a large stream of muddy water coming from the right abutment next to the dam. Another leak developed at the contact point of the dam with the abutment. At 9:30 AM yet another leak appeared twenty feet from the right abutment, which quickly became a torrent eroding the dam. The chief engineer ordered the main outlet works to be opened even though he knew it would be hours or days before they could begin to carry off the water above the lake, and sent bulldozers in to try to stop the huge leak in the dam face. At that point the hole was the size of a swimming pool, spewing pulses of muddy water. The bulldozers had no effect. A whirlpool was forming on the surface of the lake on the upstream side of the dam. At 11:30 AM the hole suddenly widened by 20 feet and the bulldozers fell into it, their operators leaping off and running for their lives. At 11:55, the crest of the dam collapsed into the reservoir, and two minutes later a third of the dam disappeared and a massive flood rolled down the canyon. Beaver Dam is a partially earthen dam. It really sounds like that keeping the flood pool too long may be saturating the earthen part of the dam and weakening it. Kinda worrisome.
  6. I love spotted bass where they belong, and it's sad that they have been such a disaster to smallmouth in the Meramec system (and the Gasconade, for that matter). Yup, they ARE fun on topwater...I was on upper Big River day before yesterday and caught 28 of them on top...along with 21 smallmouth and only 5 largemouth. I hate it that they now outnumber the smallmouth up there.
  7. We lost our innocence on 9/11. We had thought that, having outlasted the Soviet Union and converted China to a greed-driven instead of ideologically driven country, we didn't have much to worry about. The thing I remember most was how absolutely gobsmacked everybody was..."oh crap, there are terrorists out there who not only hate us but have the capability to really do serious harm to us". I remember how much most people, no matter what their political persuasion, were on board with invading Iraq and Afghanistan to "do something". It didn't last long, but it may have been the last time, and may be the last time, Americans actually put aside their differences and support a common goal. I don't believe the conspiracy theories, sorry. I have no illusions about the competency of government agencies. Their very incompetence at times argues against grand conspiracies--how do the numbers of government workers in on the scheme ever keep it all secret? It could have been prevented, we had the knowledge and the intelligence, but our intelligence agencies were rivals, not partners. And the scheme would be unnecessarily complex...if you had the means to bring down the towers in the first place, why not just do it and frame some "terrorists", rather than having somebody do suicide missions flying planes into them plus the Pentagon? But I'm also just as certain that the Bush administration (not so much Bush himself but Cheney and Rumsfeld and some of the other "hawks" in the administration) was quick to take advantage of the event to drum up popular support for their ideas of nation building. It wasn't ideological, it was geopolitically strategic. Iraq has oil. At the time we were dependent upon a bunch of countries which didn't like us for a majority of our oil, and that didn't look like it would change any time soon. So turn Iraq into a country "friendly" to the U.S. (maybe even a puppet government), and bingo, we'd have a stable oil supply there at least. Of course, by this time we've learned that we simply aren't effective at nation building when the people with the most influence in that nation are medieval religious nutcases that hate our brand of society. But at the time they probably thought it was easily doable. Heck, we all did. I was never sure about the whole weapons of mass destruction thing, but I thought, naively, that they were competent enough to pull off the nation building and that it might turn out well in the end. In the 20 years since, we've learned, or should have learned, a lot of things. One of the things I've learned is that if we have an outside enemy to rally against, that enemy is still not likely to prevail. We've been pretty effective as a government in keeping another 9/11 from happening. But...once that outside enemy fades into the background like Islamic terrorism has, we are ripe for being manipulated into going against a different enemy. And now, the different enemy is the people in our own country who don't agree with us politically. We are being conditioned by domestic greed and foreign influence in social media to hate each other, and I'm not sure how we back off from that.
  8. It drives me nuts, and I always kick them over as well unless it's a place that is already "civilized", like in a campground or access point. On Facebook people get all indignant when they see complaints about rock stacking..."it doesn't hurt anything". Well, what part of "leave no trace" do you not understand? Why do you think other people want to see your lame attempt to shout, "look at me, I was here"? But I've been called rude and selfish for calling them selfish and self-centered. As if I shouldn't expect for wild places to be wild. As you can tell, the whole thing ticks me off.
  9. Some days are worse than others...this trip the fish were hitting it fairly well; I was hooking maybe 75% of the ones that hit it, including those that hit it more than once. I've also experimented a lot with hooks and hook placement. Most walkers have two hooks, but I've been using those that I could find that have three trebles. Which brings its own set of problems. Having three trebles makes lipping fish downright dangerous; I've begun to take a net with me on float trips. And it also means that the rear treble is almost always on the outside of the mouth and often gets snagged somewhere on the fish's body, which I don't like. And in addition, with the placement of three hooks, the front treble is pretty close to the eye of the lure and your line gets tangled on it with some regularity. And finally, on every lure I've bought with three trebles, the middle and rear hooks are too close together and get tangled with each other. So I have taken to replacing the rear hook with a much smaller one, and bending down the barbs on it. I'm even going to experiment with leaving the rear treble off completely. It seems to actually make some lures walk more easily, and since 95% of the fish I hooked are always hooked on the front or middle treble or both, I don't think the rear hook is even necessary. Not to mention that when the fish DOES take in the rear hook, it's often down in their throat. I'm going to make some with just two hooks, one fairly close to the eye and one fairly far back but not all the way at the rear end.
  10. I typed it last night after getting home. Yesterday I got started by 6:30 AM and finished around 4 PM, so basically 9.5 hours of fishing. The day before I was on the water at 9 AM and fished until about 7 PM.
  11. It had been three years since I'd done my multi-day float on my secret creek, but I went yesterday and today. The creek was low (as usual, and as I like it...keeps off the riffraff ). And super clear as usual--it has pools that are more than 10 feet deep, and there weren't any pools where I couldn't see the bottom. I discovered long ago that, while I'm sure one can catch fish in these conditions on lots of different stuff, topwater almost always works. So of course I tied on a walk the dog topwater on one rod. And my homemade twin spin on another rod. I had three more rods, and I planned on trying different stuff just to see if anything else worked. The creek has always been a good "laboratory" for trying things, because you know the fish are there and they aren't very sophisticated. If you can't catch them there on a given lure, it probably ain't a very good lure. However, the floods since 2017 have really done a number on the creek. There used to be a quite a few narrow, deep runs with overhanging trees to shade them, and that's where a lot of the bigger fish always hung out. Those runs are gone. The creek has widened, shallowed, and the bankside vegetation is pretty sparse so it's open to the sun. It was as warm as I'd ever experienced on it. Back in the "old days", I could depend upon catching well over a hundred smallmouth per day, often as many a 200 some days. And out of all those fish, at least a few would be 18-20 inchers. This time, I caught 89 yesterday and 94 today, with a total of 4 around 18 inches. The average size was pretty good...not a lot of dinks, lots of 13-15 inchers. Not up to the old standards, but still pretty sweet. I tried Whopper Ploppers. I tried a double bladed Plopper knockoff. I tried ordinary willow leaf spinnerbaits. I tried ordinary buzzbaits. I tried a twin spin with a swim bait on it. I tried Superflukes. And maybe caught one or two fish on each, except I never got a sniff on the buzzbait or the double Plopper. So by the middle of yesterday I'd given up on them all and was just throwing the topwater and occasionally the twin spin in faster water. What made the trip was the way the fish were hitting the topwater. Many, perhaps most of them, were really hitting it like they were angry at it, often coming mostly out of the water to pound it. I was often surprised when one would explode on it and I would be sure it was a big fish, only to soon discover it was a 13 incher. Really heart-stopping strikes. And the other really cool thing was that the majority of the fish were lying right up against the bank in shallow water. You couldn't land your cast too close to them or the splashdown would spook them in that clear water. But land it five to ten feet off the bank, and they would charge it instantly. It got to where I wouldn't even watch my lure hit the water, I'd watch the bank adjacent to it for a wake. If I saw the wake I'd just be ready to set the hooks. Often I'd see just a bit of "nervous water" against the bank when the lure would splash, and I'd expect a strike within a couple twitches. Wow...it was simply about as much fun as you can have and still be legal! As is usual for walkers, a lot of times they'd not get hooked on the first strike, and would come back and hit it again and again as long as I could keep myself from setting the hooks and jerking it away from them. I caught one of the 18 inchers that way on the twin spin, too...it hit with a massive swirl before the lure had moved 6 inches, but I didn't feel it and just kept reeling and watched it charge out after lure from 10 feet before slamming it again. But those topwater strikes were just unbelievable!
  12. What constitutes "best"? Numbers of fish? Big fish? Average size of fish? I have caught more than 50 smallmouth a day in 15 different float streams in MO, and several wading size streams. I have caught 19 inch plus smallmouth in 12 float streams and again several wading streams. My point is that there are plenty of "good" streams or stream sections, with really none standing out from the rest; the ones you catch the most and biggest fish from are the ones you know well and fish often. It would be far easier to name the WORST fishing stretches. (Worst float stream fishing stretch in my opinion--Current River from Akers to Pulltite.)
  13. How abundant are deer? Compared to an apex predator, extremely abundant. Put that apex predator, or an intelligent omnivore, in remote country, and it's a whole different story than an abundant critter in an area where human activity is almost constant. Again, I don't for a minute believe there are sasquatch roaming Missouri. But I'm not absolutely 100% certain that they do not exist in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest. 99% certain, probably. As for scat...who knows what sasquatch scat would look like? Chances are that it would look something like bear scat. In that case, you see a pile of scat, are you more likely to think it's from a bear, or would you do all the collecting and investigating that would prove it WASN'T bear scat?
  14. And guess what...there are a lot of people who will be MORE likely to buy a product they are pushing. "Poor taste"? They don't care and they shouldn't care if they believe in what they are protesting. The idea is to visibly get their views aired. Where they have failed, if it could be called failure on their part and not refusal to pay attention on the part of those decrying them, is in getting the message out loud and clear as to WHAT they are protesting and WHY they are protesting. When this kneeling thing first happened, people with agendas immediately equated it with sullying the flag and insulting "our troops". When it had absolutely NOTHING to do with either. Can you even tell me what they are protesting at this point? Are you a black person or would you even listen to the concerns of black people in this country? This whole thing infuriates me. Since when did kneeling become a sign of contempt or disrespect. You kneel to pray. You used to kneel to royalty as a sign of respect. They kneel not in disrespect for the flag or the country, but to call attention to things they care deeply about in--guess what--a respectful way. Okay, I'm done...I've been trying to keep my cyber mouth shut about political stuff lately; it just puts me in a bad mood.
  15. Well, let's look at that a little closer... Dinosaurs lived for about 150 MILLION years. THAT'S why we find dinosaur fossils. I wonder, in all the dinosaur fossils that have been found, how many actual individual dinosaurs are represented. I bet it's no more than a few thousand. A few thousand individuals leaving fossil remains that we've found so far in 150 million years of living dinosaurs. How long, theoretically, would a large, bipedal primate have been existing? A few hundred thousand years? And another thing...one reason we don't find dinosaur fossils littering the earth is that they were land animals, and it takes a VERY special set of circumstances to preserve a land animal's bones long enough to fossilize. The remains have to be buried somehow before they decompose and disappear or are eaten by scavengers. Seems that is usually when a big flood came along and buried the remains in mud. Not a very usual thing to happen. Then, the sediment that covered up those remains has to, itself, be covered up by more sediment, for a long, long time, until it turns to stone from heat and pressure. THEN, there has to be enough erosion of all the overlying rock to expose that layer, with its fossils. So when you get down to it, the chances of finding dinosaur fossils is almost vanishingly small, and it's only because they were around for that almost unimaginable stretch of time that enough of them got fossilized to make it possible to find some. Now...another question...how often does somebody wander through the woods and find the bones of, say, a bobcat? Really common predatory animal, but have you ever found a bobcat skull? I haven't. Or how many people out in the West where mountain lions are common stumble across a dead mountain lion? Although there are plenty of mountain lions, they are apex predators and far less numerous than their prey. Sasquatch would presumably far less numerous than mountain lions. And while I don't believe for a second that there are sasquatch roaming the Current River country, there is a lot of VERY remote, wild, rough country out in the Pacific Northwest, country that sees few if any people in a year. I'm not saying I believe sasquatch exist. But I am saying that it isn't quite as far-fetched as most people seem to think. Intelligent, shy creature living in remote country in small numbers...
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