Missouri: The Show Me (Your Fins) State – Part 3

4 May

Day 3

Now where did we leave off?  Oh yeah, I had awoken to a headache from a long night of drinking and bullshitting.  My hangover was not quite at the stage where I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and cry, but close.  Day 3 though was much anticipated as about halfway through our float, Rainbow Spring started dumping millions of gallons of cold water into the river, which means that my favorite fish would be making an appearance sometime today.  Now I have nothing against warm water fish.  They are great for shits and giggles, but driving halfway across the country to fish for bass is kind of like going to the Asian massage parlor and leaving with nothing but a massage.  You’re not really there for the massage — it’s just a nice bonus to the happy ending.  I had done my research on the river and there haven’t been any rainbows stocked in years.  Browns are stocked but hold over pretty well as the spring dumps cold water into the system year round much like a bottom released tailwater.  I had no misconceptions that this was going to be an easy river that would spread its legs just because I asked nicely.  I did not, however, expect the fishing to be as tough as it turned out to be.  The first trout of the day was caught by Chris (a reoccurring theme throughout the trip).  He stuck a nice 16/17-inch rainbow a good half-mile above where the trout water started.  We all took this to be a good sign, but as so often the case in my fishing career, it wasn’t.  I caught a little rainbow of 6 inches and Kyle, our fearless outfitter, snagged a few trout throughout the day (none of which I saw therefore didn’t actually happen).  Now I have had tough days on the river before, and I know that if you caught fish all the time it would be catching and not fishing (I myself have uttered this phrase to hundreds of clients who couldn’t keep their flies out of the trees) but this day was getting a little ridiculous.  To compound my miseries sans fish I had the misfortune of being stuck in a canoe all day.  I am not a Mohican, nor am I related to Louis and Clark, but I thought why not learn to paddle a canoe?  The reason not to learn to paddle a canoe is you might actually have to paddle a canoe.  My back was screaming for mercy within the first three hours and there was another four hours in the float.  Chris and I passed the time not catching fish by hatching a plan to eradicate the world of canoes by burning each end everyone of them.  We still might do it to, but sitting here now it seems like it would be a lot of work, which isn’t actually my normal modus operandi.  But I digress. The only saving grace to this day in the canoe not catching fish was the knowledge that my glorious Hog Island drift boat would be waiting at the end of the day and I would no longer have to use a paddle like some Amazonian bushman, but could get back to two oars like God had intended. 


Yours truly pimping the new Hog Island ad?  John, come on you know you love it.

Yours truly pimping the new Hog Island ad? John, come on you know you love it.



We made it down to the second campsite and there he was.  The “he” I refer to is Bob.  The reason Bob was my favorite ponytailed guy in Missouri that day was he had taken care of my trailer and the boat was ready to launch.  Cheers Bob, again.  We transferred gear, ditched the canoe from the river Styx and hustled down to the second campsite.   Now, here I have to admit we did not help out that much when we got there because we had been out of beer all day and the closest store was 15 miles.  I got there in about 7 minutes.  After buying the place out of Budweiser, Snickers, and pizza quesadillas (deep fried and delicious) we headed back to camp to find everything set up and dinner being served.   The rest of the night went like this: beer, whiskey, Bob singing, whiskey, whiskey, beer, and blackout.  It was a fitting end to a tough day.  Sometimes you have to put in those tough days though to convince the gods to smile down on you and cut you a frickin’ break.

Day 4

Day 4 can be summed up with two words: glorious redemption.  At this point we knew there were big fish in this system.  We had seen them giving us the finger on Day 3, but to this point we hadn’t gotten the returns on investment you hope for when driving 12 hours.  I know there are no guarantees but a brother’s got to dream.   The magic happened over a two-hour period where Ryan, Kyle, and my man Chris stuck the three best fish of the trip.  When it rains it pours.  Ryan was first; I didn’t see the take as I was in the boat behind him.  I did almost run him over, not once but twice trying to net the fish from the boat as he was fighting the thing in a wicked current.  He eventually reeled in a nice bow despite the multiple factors working against him.  


Ryan with his, "Against all the Odds" rainbow

Ryan with his, "Against all the Odds" rainbow



We did our media “thang” and all got out to wade the section.  I wasn’t turning anything so I decided to go bullshit with Bob some more (I love Bob).  We were remarking on how Chris personifies a bulldog when it comes to fishing.  He wades up to his vertically challenged armpits, he takes a section of water and beats it down till nothing can be reasonably alive in there, and he never gives up.  This is an attitude that I plan to adopt with my fishing and can honestly say that I admire a hell of a lot.  Well, right about then we saw his indicator go down and his rod take a serious bend.  I ran out with the boat net and caught a glimpse of the leviathan.  The thing look like a steelhead and fought like a brown bottom digging the whole time.  Right about then I catch a glimpse of Kyle running up stream with what looks to be a full net and grin like he just left a bag of flaming dog poop on the neighbor’s porch.   The camera is rolling and bedlam has broken out.  I choose this moment to take a swim in the swift current; in my defense I never spilled my beer or soaked my cigs.  We finally got Chris’ fish in the net.


1 Piggie

1 Piggy



Between his fish and Kyle’s fish we were happier than a pig in shit.  We did not take 900 pictures like a certain world record holder I don’t know. But we are a media group and did our thing.


2 Piggy Piggy

2 Piggy Piggy



Both fish swam away no worse for wear after being handled minimally.


1 + 2 = AWESOME

1 + 2 = AWESOME



 The rest of the day was spent throwing big streamers and hooking browns.  More were hooked than landed, but the day left us all riding a trout high and dreaming of Sonny Bono.  (I don’t know why but I think Bob ruphied the spaghetti.)  Well the rest of the tale I will leave for the video, but I can definitely say that Missouri has a serious trout fishery in the N. Fork of the White River and needs to be respected.  Respect.



Check out the Rest of the Shutters Snaps from this trip here!


2 Responses to “Missouri: The Show Me (Your Fins) State – Part 3”

  1. Wookie May 4, 2009 at 2:48 AM #


  2. troutsniffer May 4, 2009 at 2:53 AM #

    i am tired and horny, yet strangely flatulent

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