Thursday, August 21, 2014

Floating and Fishing the Big Piney

First time for me on the Big Piney.  We put in at Six Crossing and planned to float and fish down to the Ross access. We did stop fishing and started to paddle harder when it looked and sounded like a thunder storm was about to hit.  We reached our destination with just a few drops hitting us and I don't believe the storm ever really developed. Even with the earlier than expected takeout, I had a long but fun day.  Left home at 5:45 am and returned about 10:45 pm. I've been tired today, but would definitely go again. What can be much more fun than good friends, floating a beautiful river and even catching a few fish?

Three of us, Sharon, Lou and I, that floated the James Saturday did this one Wednesday.  Unfortunately our fourth from the other day had to work. Just after the put in we came up to the first of the many pretty bluffs along the river.

Notice the cave near the top of this bluff. Look at the close-up below.  We think that straight below is an eagle's nest, near the bottom of the photo, and another one to the right of the cave, vertically between the cave and the first nest.

Each of the ladies spotted at least one snake, one had a frog in its mouth.  I was downstream from them and missed this sight. Saw a few heron, both Great Blue and Green. Also saw a very large soft shell turtle, the largest I've ever seen. Two things that really added to this trip was we didn't see or hear many other other people.  There was one couple in a canoe that passed us.  The other was something we did not expect to see.  Take a look at Lou's photo:

Yes, that's a stealth bomber! It was very loud as it passed overhead.  Actually, it either made two passes or there where two different ones. In spite of the noise from this, the trip was very nice, peaceful and enjoyable.

What about the fish? We all caught some. I got several longear sunfish, a couple of creek chub (Lou called one a hornyhead chub), and a small smallie. I believe Sharon's caught three goggle-eye, a few green sunfish (her favorite), a chub or two, and some longears, not sure what Lou caught, but I know she had a nice smallie and was talking to fish the entire float.

Just going to add a few pictures now from the float. Some with comments.

Tying on a new fly and taking a short break.

Lunch time.  We also stop for a morning and afternoon snack break.  Afterwards we went to a Chinese Buffet that also featured a Mongolian Grill.

Lots of trees and rocks makes for good fishing!

 I'm heading down stream while Lou is fishing.  Sharon's somewhere up stream from me. Now a few of Lou's pictures.  She got most of the fish pictures.
 One of the green sunfish Lou caught.  Notice all the pink reflecting on the fish and Lou's glasses.

Sharon and me coming floating down stream.

Nice smallie, another selfie by Lou.

My smallmouth, not as big as those I caught in Wisconsin or Canada, but it still put a nice bend in the flyrod. Good friends, good fishing, good water to float, almost no other river traffic all made this a very good day.  Thanks to Lou and Sharon for showing me this river to fish and float.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Floating the Lower James River

Three friends and I set out Saturday to float and fish a five mile section of the James River. Our plan was to put in at the Kerr Access and take out at the Cox access. We planned a late departure from Springfield.  I hoped this would put us behind the crowds, but no such luck.

The fishing was fun, but nothing to brag about. We caught smallmouth, Kentucky bass, bluegills, longear sunfish, creek chub and Lou even landed a soft-shell turtle that was foul hooked.  Sharon was nice enough to unhook it, but says the turtle tried to reward her with a little nipping.  Personally, my biggest fish was the creek chub.  Other than that, I caught several longears.  There were several places were I had hits on just about every cast. I fished poppers almost the entire float and I believe Lou and Sharon did the same.

First stop: Lou, Isabel and Sharon resting and and refreshing.

Sharon playing one of her many fish.  You can see just a few of the other river users behind her.  We often went to the edge of the river to let the crowds pass. Some of the others insisted on forcing everyone on the river to listen to their music.  It was blaring so loud you could hardly hear anything else.  The later the day, the more their alcohol took effect and the more vulgar they got.  But even that didn't ruin a fishing and float trip among friends.
Lou and Isabel pulled over in the shade to let others pass us by.  One of the few times Lou did not have a fly rod in her hands. Isabel didn't fish, just along for the ride. Near the end of the day, when I was fished out, I held on to her canoe and she paddled us down the stream, so I guess I was just along for the ride then.
Sharon tying on a new fly, Isabel relaxing.

Lou making one of her several hundred casts of the day. There is no way I can fish as long as she can.
There were fish all up and down this section of the stream, they seemed to be swimming in the channel here.
The three fly fishers.  The three of us plan on fishing and floating the Big Piney on Wednesday.  Isabel has to work, so just the three of us this time.
Sharon and I up close, I believe that's Lou just behind and then more of the other floaters. The bow of Isabel's canoe in the foreground.

Beaching the kayak's to stretch our legs and do a little fishing from the gravel bar. Thanks to Isabel for taking these last few pictures for us.

We took out about 7 or 7:30. Had a very good day with good friends.  We made a nice day even better with a stop in Nixa when four tired, grubby floaters went into Ruby Tuesday's for a late supper.

Just got this photo of Sharon with the turtle that Lou caught.