Cloudy days and no pressure make for some great fishing on the White
I had an opportunity to get off the vice for a day and do some fishing down on the White River in Arkansas. We got a late start and didn’t get on the water until just after noon, but we made up for our tardiness by catching one brown trout after another – in fact, browns were all we hooked. It was one of those days where you “should have been here today”, and we only saw two other boats the whole time we were fishing. The overall lack of pressure most likely contributed to why we did so well. The majority of fish we caught were less than twenty inches, but we did manage to bring one into the net that did eclipse that benchmark size. The guys I was with definitely had plenty of chances on large browns, but when you are learning the streamer game, missing fish is all part of the process. Poor hook sets or when someone is not anticipating a strike almost always result in losing out on the fish of a lifetime. The positive aspect of going through the paces is when you have a day when anglers have multiple chances of hooking up with nice trout, the odds of someone realizing success increase substantially – especially when fishing complicated techniques involving articulated streamers. I know we had some really nice browns on throughout the day, but a lot of things need to go right before these fish are actually landed. That’s why they call it “fishing” and not “catching”.
We were actually planning on fishing the Norfork, but once I told my friends what the real options were: either having a chance at catching several huge browns on the White or playing the “numbers game” with the hopes of finding something large on the ‘Fork, their reply was, “We have caught tons of dinks through the years, but we haven’t had too many chances at trophy browns.” Plus, the fact that this was going to be their first time fishing down in Arkansas, they were eager to try the legendary White River as their inaugural experience. The water was perfect for streamers, and we couldn’t have timed our arrival any better. Bull Shoals was generating roughly 100 megawatts, which equates to flows in the 5,000-6,000 cubic feet per second range. These are ideal conditions for stacks of browns to hold close along the banks.
There was a big learning curve for both of my companions, and it did take them some time to grasp how to effectively cast eight and nine-weight rods with big streamers attached, but by the end of the day, they both were appreciative of their “baptism by fire”, and they were also happy that I was unrelenting in challenging them to succeed at a completely different type of fly fishing. Phil and Brody are both avid fly fisherman that like to fish Taneycomo at night, and they are used to throwing six-weight rods with big, single Wooly Buggers – their experience fishing ‘light’ streamer setups in Missouri helped immensely because they both understood how important it is to load the rod correctly – this made it possible for them to quickly start hitting the right spots using lines with shooting heads. Of course, this was a change that took some getting used to, but at least they knew the mechanics of distance-casting before we got started. Casting a floating line with a single fly is fine for low-water conditions, but shooting-heads are designed to spread out the weight of the fly and incorporate it into the head – this helps balance out the pattern from just the weight of a heavy streamer pattern and also aids in keeping the fly down in moving water.
The highlight of the trip was seeing Phil hook into his first brown over twenty-inches on an articulated fly he would have never thought to use in a million years. His biggest brown ever (10 pounds) was caught at Taneycomo fishing at night, but this was his only experience so far that involved hooking large browns during the day, and he was thrilled to have multiple chances at catching nice fish, many of which he could see chasing the fly. After the trip was over, he was already talking about getting back down to the White on his next day off. Brody did struggle a bit more with the casting, but he was still able to land a few browns, but the most important aspect of this trip for him was improving on his overall casting skills. This will pay off big time in the long run. One last thing that I want to emphasize is that it is always important to challenge yourself by trying different techniques and fisheries, and it never hurts to step away from the ‘norm’. This was exactly what my friends needed in order to start their progression and take the next step of advancement in the sport of fly fishing… I’m glad I had the privilege of showing them what it takes to make this happen.
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a festive holiday season and a happy New Year. This picture is of my beautiful family, and they are the reason that I work so hard as a guide and commercial fly tier. May you all be blessed in 2011.
Non-expiring gift certificate deal
Hopefully, many of you have come across my recent promotions in the newsletter and right here on the reports page. If any of you are like me, you tend to wait to the last minute to try and come up with the perfect gift, but I may have a solution that could save the day. My proposition is this: even though all of my current promos expire at the end of January, if you order a gift certificate before the month of December is over, the discounted rate will be good indefinitely until it is redeemed. If you know anybody who has expressed an interest in learning how to fly fish, a guided trip(s) is the best present one could give. All current promotions are listed below.
– Veterans and subscriber promo
Veteran’s Special: A full-day of guided fly fishing on whichever river is offering up the best fly fishing for $150 (Taneycomo) and $175 (Arkansas). There is no limit on the number of days that can be booked, and only one member of the party needs to be a war veteran.
– Newsletter pro that is also in the newsletter
Promo #1: Three days of guided fly fishing on the White River, the Norfork Tailwater or on Lake Taneycomo (depending on where the best fishing is) for the price of two days. This is a savings of $350.*
Promo #2: Two days of guided fly fishing on the White River, the Norfork Tailwater or on Lake Taneycomo (depending on where the best fishing is) for the price of $500. This is a savings of $200.
***Please feel free to give me a call if you want to discuss this deal in further detail.
Free fly offer for joining the newsletter
It has come to my attention that there are many of you out there who have not received your complimentary fly for signing up for the newsletter. I apologize for not being clearer, but after you sign up, you must send me a brief email with your address so I know where to send the pattern to. Also, there are times when emails end up in my Spam folder or get lost during the busy season, so if you have signed up and not received your fly after emailing me, please send me another note with your mailing address at: [email protected]. This is my direct business email, so I will likely receive your request. Also, use this email if you are just now signing up for the newsletter to gain full access to special content and member promotions.
Tying 5600 flies will sure hurt your eyes
It’s been quite a strain getting fly orders completed, but I’m moving along rather expediently and at least tying is something I enjoy doing. The worst part about shifting into ‘commercial-tier’ mode is that I don’t get out on the water as much as I would like, but considering that Table Rock and Bull Shoals Dams are releasing heavy amounts of water pretty much day and night, I’m not missing out on a whole bunch considering that boat fishing has been quite chilly after the recent cold-snap. There are some low-water windows on the Norfork during weekends and in the middle of the day, but that’s about it for the wading crowd. It is quite surprising that the Corp of Engineers is running so much water considering that air temperatures across the region are not extremely cold and the lakes (which are all 5 to 6-feet low) are starting to drop pretty quickly. This scenario is setting the stage for plenty of upcoming low water, as long as a bunch of rain doesn’t start consistently falling. Also, the guys who are fishing from boats on the White River, Norfork Tailwater and on Lake Taneycomo are all reporting steady action on some very chunky fish.
Please give me a call or send me an email if you have any further questions regarding my Web site mishap, the gift certificate promotion ‘extension’ or for any other reasons. If you want a break from the snow and ice, come on down and fly fish the Ozarks this winter; everything is coming together perfectly to make this the best cool-weather fishing we have experienced in years.
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