Smallie tail _ all images this post by Gabe Levin
It’s easy to forget about smallmouth when the weather turns cold. Too often do I find myself rushing out my front door on my days off to beat the crowds on the White or the Norfork, when I should be ambling care-free out my back door to the creek, a stone’s throw away, where I can spend the entire day in solitude, enjoying the finest and most challenging sight fishing in the Ozarks. A recent float on my favorite little piece of the Crooked Creek put me within clear sight and close range of hundreds of dandy smallmouth, largemouth, and carp, reminding me not to skip out on creek fishing just because it’s November. The weather was clear and calm, the last of the fall colors still clung to the trees, and I saw no one on the creek save the deer, turkey, bald eagles, mink, and other native inhabitants.
The catch, by Crooked Creek standards, was average. But the fishing – and there is a difference between fishing and catching – was superb. Low, crystal clear water this time of year makes the fish very visible, yet incredibly wary and selective. You may remember from my posts earlier in the year that big bass in small water require stealth and patience. This time of year they demand it doubly so. It can be a frustrating game, but all the more rewarding when it works.
One wild, native bass, sighted, stalked and perfectly fooled, is worth more than ten easy rainbows. Slow down, take your time, treasure each individual fish and admire its colors and details. Enjoy the quiet beauty of the creek and all its inhabitants, aquatic and terrestrial. Count your success not in numbers of fish caught, but in the number of times you find yourself looking around, thinking “Wow, this place is cool.”
Dally’s offers guided float and/or wade fishing trips on Crooked Creek. Call us to book a trip in 2014, the smallmouth bite is really good anytime from April through September. _ Gabe Levin