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Interesting day...


Al Agnew

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First float of the spring for me, headwaters reach, I had my choice of a 7.5 mile float, a 9.5 miler, or a 12.5 mile marathon...and of course I chose the marathon.

First pool, right below the bridge, three fish caught on the twin spin, one in fast water. Okay, I'll try topwater in the next pool. Two fish on my homemade walk the dog lure. Then at the tail of the pool, I tried a buzzbait. Tossed it over a sunken log, and a big fish struck it viciously. I had it on for a long time, got plenty of good looks at it, it was at least 20 inches...but within five feet of the canoe the hook pulled out.

Usually losing a big fish doesn't bother me all that much...I've caught enough of them. But for some reason that one bothered me, and threw my fishing off. I fished well over a mile without getting another bite, finally breaking the drought with two 16 inch largemouths in a backwater on the twin spin.

After that, I started catching a fish now and then, but the day wasn't living up to that early promise. Still, the fish I was catching were mostly decent, 13-15 inchers. The small fish didn't seem to be up this far, and the bigger ones didn't seem to be as thick as they can be.

I'd made some new lures, a couple subwalks, walk the dog topwaters of a different shape, and a couple of prop baits that I had finally figured out how to make them walk the dog as well. I was trying them all. Altogether, I tried four different homemade walk the dog lures, the prop bait, two subwalks, my homemade crankbait, buzzbaits, twin spins, plain spinnerbaits, Superflukes, poppers of two kinds, and three commercially produced walking lures. Every one of them caught a fish or more, none seemed to be magic.

I caught a 17 incher on the prop bait, after having at least six or seven fish hit it strangely, several coming completely out of the water with mouth closed. The 17 incher engulfed it--go figure. Then it went cold.

It was cloudy all morning, and when the sun came out about noon, the fishing got worse. Topwater was not producing at all. The Superfluke went through a half hour period of working okay, then that bite died. I put on a homemade subwalk, and the first fish I caught on it was a 17 incher. Then I hooked and lost two that were that big or bigger. Aha, I'd found the magic lure...for a half hour, and then it mostly died, too.

The shadows were suddenly getting long, and I realized I had a good three miles yet to go. I had to paddle. I skipped some good looking water, but when I came to a nice bluff pool I had to stop and try the topwater one more time, even though it hadn't worked since mid-morning. First cast, the Sexy Dawg was absolutely hammered by an 18 incher, the biggest fish I actually caught all day. And for the next half hour, the Sexy Dawg was magic, even though the last stretch was not all that good habitat. I caught several, all 14-16.5 inches. And then as the sun completely disappeared, the bite stopped.

Total was about 45 fish caught, and I'd guess that at least 2/3s of them were over 12 inches. Two 17s and an 18. Hooked a couple that were definitely bigger than that. No idea what the water temps were, creek had good flow, plenty of water to float. Fish were mostly in slow water toward the middle of the pools, not necessarily in the deepest parts, though.

What a beautiful spring day. Saw two eagles, one adult and one immature. Bluebells were everywhere in the bottoms, stunningly blue. Both dogwoods and redbuds were glowing. Had the stream entirely to myself.

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You might of should have tried the Ned.

Your results would have most certainly been much more stellar.

You have heard of it? The Ned?

Chief Grey Bear

Living is dangerous to your health

Owner Ozark Fishing Expeditions

Co-Owner, Chief Executive Product Development Team Jerm Werm

Executive Pro Staff Team Agnew

Executive Pro Staff Paul Dallas Productions

Executive Pro Staff Team Heddon, River Division

Chief Primary Consultant Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Executive Vice President Ronnie Moore Outdoors

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No

Chief Grey Bear

Living is dangerous to your health

Owner Ozark Fishing Expeditions

Co-Owner, Chief Executive Product Development Team Jerm Werm

Executive Pro Staff Team Agnew

Executive Pro Staff Paul Dallas Productions

Executive Pro Staff Team Heddon, River Division

Chief Primary Consultant Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Executive Vice President Ronnie Moore Outdoors

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Dang, I knew there was something I was missing...I don't have any of the components of a Ned rig in my tackle boxes. I just know I'd have caught a bunch of fish on it...

What IS a Ned rig, anyway?

(That last sentence is a family joke. Our nephew, who now works at Boeing on things that he would have to kill us if he told us what they were, was about 4 years old, and prattling on and on about something that we can't remember what it was after all those years, but all of a sudden he paused, and asked, "What IS (whatever he was talking about), anyway?")

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Phil should make t-shirts to sell: OAF Home of the Ned Rig.

Good report Al. I've been out twice with similar results. Very hit and miss, with no lure or pattern especially better than another. I think better fishing is to come. Because, I believe, the current weather trends for the past few years are making spring fishing develop later. March is more wintery now, April slow in warming. Seems like May is the new April. We look outside and see all the greenery, and panic over missing the early season bite. Go past the city limits, and the trees are still bare, water relatively chilly, and the fishing sporadic. Missouri fishing per usual.

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