When the lovely Mrs. Tiffany Johnson dropped Chad and I off on a local piece of private smallie water last week, the two of us were excited at the prospect of several hours of sight fishing gorgeous native fish out of tiny, pristine, crystal clear pools. The thick vegetation along this narrow stretch of creek made for challenging casting situations, calling for roll casts and creativity from the fly rod dedicated Mr. Johnson. I for one am not opposed to the application of conventional tackle in the pursuit of smallmouth bass, and found low angled pitches and flips from my spinning rod to be just the ticket for such tight quarters. The difference in tactics between fly rod smallmouth addicts and myself always makes room for fun poking and friendly competition, but the end result is always the same – there’s more than one way to tackle a bass creek. This particular outing however threw a nasty curve at my seasoned companion.
Not an hour into our lengthy hike, a young sycamore reached out and ensnared Chad’s backcast, and the forward stroke was interrupted by a splintering “CRACK!” that signaled the sudden and unexpected death of Chad’s TFO Clouser rod (which by the way, is a proper and justly priced choice of weaponry for Ozark warmwater fishing, and especially deadly when rigged with one of our Duane Hada signature smallmouth flies).
After the initial wave of dismay and fury subsided, the two of us began sifting through our daypacks to take stock of our resources and ponder the possibility of an on-site salvage operation. With the alternative of having to watch me clean up with a spinning rod the rest of the day looming before him, Chad’s backwoods resourcefulness kicked in, and the resulting effort produced a less accurate, but effectively repaired fly rod.
Enjoy these pics of a successful and entertaining trek down an underfished gem of a creek. There is still plenty of time left in the season to hunt up some dandy smallmouth. Come see us at the shop for the right gear and advice to make it happen, or book one of our guides for an educational and memorable outing.