As many of you know Chris Morris and I spent the Weekend at The FFF Fishing Fair (Conclave) at Mtn Home this past weekend. It was a great event. I got a Booth at the last minute and got Placed right beside The “Hogs on the Fly” Booth and Dave Whitlocks booth. Being my first time to the Conclave, I did not know what to expect. I showed up late and the place was packed. There were folks from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The highlight for me was meeting Dave and Emily Whitlock and getting my pic with Dave. I was equally as star struck by getting my picture and getting to talk to Sister Carol Anne Corley the “Fly Tying Nun.” If you have never heard of her here is a link to a good article. http://juneauempire.com/stories/092701/Out_nun.shtml
We got to meet a lot of people and got to talk fly fishing all weekend. Guides Chad Johnson, Ben Levin, Paul Hoelscher, Larry Babin, Ken Minsky, Dominic and Brian Wise all came by the booth and had some conversations about the river and doing some fishing trips in the future. Working on dates for some of them to come down to teach some tying classes on our Tuesday night meetings.
But the real fun started after we closed up shop on Saturday afternoon. We had planned on hitting the river early Sunday morning, but the cloudy overcast afternoon with a light mist and finding out that the SWPA was going to be running 2 generators was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Chris and I had already been talking to Larry, Chad, and Ben about fishing and some hot patterns and our “streamer affliction” had began to take over. So we packed up our booth and helped the SAGE/Redington Rep David Oldham break his booth down except for a few of the new 7 and 8 wt rods that needed a good “testing” on the river. Taking the new rods out for a test spin was Davids bartering tool to go along. We told Chad to have us a few flies ready (never underestimate the advice of a guy who “lives” on the river) and we were off.
We got on the water at about 6pm. 3 Guys, 6 rods, 2 rain jackets, 2 boxes full of flies and a full YETI headed off into the already darkening sky with a light mist slowly turning into a soft, icy rain. “Do you guys happen to have another rain jacket???? or some gloves?” The trip was not for the rational thinking person. It was cold, dark, and is not really something you want to do if you are just learning to cast. There is no light except for the occasional dock or house lights that are speckled along the river. Casting is strictly by feeling the lines roll out and load the rod at the end of the stroke, then starting your back or forward cast. But that was somewhat of the beauty of it. Not only could you not see where you were casting, but there was no sight indicator to watch. You could not see fish rising to cast to. Nothing to let you know visually that anything was even interested in what you were presenting except the distinct sound of “ga-loop”, and then physical “setting of the hook”, then the always rewarding tug on the line. It was an enlightening entry into a completely different experience in a sport that I was already in love with.
Strip, strip, strip…….GA-Loop!
So now I’m hooked on Night Fishing. Yes I caught a Fish but it was only about 16 in. After seeing those two fish there was no need for a picture of it. I spent a lot of time on the oars. Chris is a guide and I really wanted He and David to have plenty of fishing time.
We got off the water at around 1:30, in bed at 2:30, back on the water to float the Norfork at 6am. We caught several but nothing of any size. But for me its not always about catching fish. Time on the water with friends is always a good “investment”.
So swing by the shop and swap some stories, pick up some gear or find out whats hot on the rivers. Call and we will get a trip set up for you on the Little Red, Norfork, White, Or the North Fork of the White. The spawn is coming and we are going to experience an epic year with the lake levels being where they are. Lots of low water and streamer fishing when they are generating. We hope to help you “Get a Rod Bent” soon.