Bassing The Ozarks: A Visitor’s Tale

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Greg Darling with a thick Ozark smallie: Ben Levin image

 

Some kind, and inspirational, thoughts from well-travelled fly shop manager Greg Darling after three days on Crooked Creek with our guide team. Thanks mate!

Mention “Ozarks” and immediately I start dreaming about bass. Thoughts of warm water mountain streams and creeks coinciding with Dave Whitlock fly patterns igniting a visual image so surreal that I feared disappointment.

At a teen age an older friend and neighbor Joe had told me with great passion about these mountains called The Ozarks. Even at my then young age I could see in his eyes there was something very special about this region.

Fast forward four decades later, I finally find myself destined for this piece of the lower 48. A unique trait of passion is it never goes away no matter how many years pass.

Lodging at Rim Shoals on the banks of the big White River while knowing of its legendary Brown trout fishing certainly was intriguing but due to extreme runoffs the current recommended option was to chase some bronze kind. Receding water and spotty weather made conditions favorable for some small creek bassin`. This was the Ozark fishing I had always dreamed about.

It would take a book worth of pages to recount the play by play action that took place on those three days on the bass creeks. I believe it was at some point on day two that my life long dreams had been confirmed and possibility of self-dreamed up disappointment had long since passed.

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A monster Ozark Bass: Ben Levin image

These bass are wild, strong and smart. Four species would come to hand including the beautiful local native known as the Ozark Bass. The aggressive Long ear and Green sunfish species keep you on your toes between your bass catches and each one that comes to hand is its own marvel of colors.

The river is busy with beavers and minks, turtles and gar, eagles and herons. Deer appeared several times from a distance to get a drink or swim across. I wondered not why Mr. Whitlock made this his home.

Brothers Ben and Gabe Levin openly shared their passion of these fisheries on my three guided days. Chad Johnson rode along one day and worked his streamer magic. Like me, he too whispers to the fish, literally! On the third day Steve worked the sticks with a curiosity to learn what the buzz was about, the curiosity had been quenched by lunch time.

Thank You, to all you guys for sharing your fishery and your passion. You’ve left me lifelong memories and never ending desire to make it back one day. Hopefully one day soon.

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18″ smallmouth largest for the trip: steve dally image