"Conoclimium (= Eupatorium) coelestinum. Image taken with point-and-shoot camera whilst retreating to higher ground on the bank of a rising Little Red River."
My twin brother: 'So, let me think about this. You say that in the face of death by drowning you stopped to smell a WHAT and get this picture?'
Me: 'What else is there to do but for the master of the flyrod to enjoy the beauties of Nature in the waning moments of his life?' "
It was a bright and windy day Wednesday last when I arrived at the Ozark Angler on Wilburn Road to deliver stuff for sale; enjoyed a SUBWAY double meat BMT and shoot the breeze with Donnie Hyslip. Talked about the River, flies (a serendipity he said works. He loaned me two of 'em.); and the lack of rain. Heber Springs did get 1-inch of rain last night!
Drove the incredibly longest 3+mile stretch of eternal road ever to get to the Cow Shoals parking lot. Suited up me and my 1wt, Rosie Grace (yes, windy but I loves me my RG!); tied on Donnie's serendipity and walked down to the steps to the Cow. Water was skinny. Across the way, under the trees I saw a nice brown clear the water by a body length going after something. Made a cast and decided that the serendipity would wait for another trip.
Slipped and slid my way down the River, around the bend; tied on a well-crafted (of course) tiny soft hackle dressed upon a #21 TMC 102Y, silk burnt orange/black hen. Cast delicately, of course, toward the Stygian flow slightly downstream of a shallow riffle. The wind assured that the fly and much of leader and 1wt flyline landed well upstream of my target. Imaginative, Olympic free-style mending rearranged the mess and got the soft hackle leading the way downstream. KABOOM!
Yes, chil'rens, ole sore-ankled Don hooked up! The fight lasted all of a brief spell. A trout took my fly without so much as a thank you. 7X tippet is very new to me.
So I retied another such fly and cast, or allowed it to drift sown into the depths of a pool to my right. BOOM! Got him! A wee brown. A couple few 'bows came to Ketchum releasing tool. Windy! Took off my remaining Cocoons sun glasses to deal with one of the trout (wading in swift water); placed glasses inside wader. Well, you know what happened. Somewhere is another pair of Cocoons with my DNA all over it!
Ended up at the local Wally-World acquiring some Polaroid clip-ons.
Back on the River, down at my spot again. Soft hackle, copper/golden yellow ribbed brassie on #16 Orvis 1639. Trout liked it.
Sometime in my piscatorial reverie a boat with two gentleman quietly motored up to deep water about 30 yards downstream. One fellow made a couple casts toward the left bank. I took another 'bow; kissed it; thanked it for biting; released it. Looked up and the gentleman with the flyrod was "very busy". So I cast again and brought another SNIT to release. The gentleman was still "very busy". His flyline was pulled all over the place. So I thought I'd take a picture - forgot about my on flyline and ... BOOM! ... another trout. I took care of my own business, collected myself and yelled to the "very busy" gentleman, "Would you like for me to get you a barbecue sandwich and a bottle of oxygen?" Laughter. "Whew!" Finally the monster came to net. Friend measured the brown trout - 25-inches! They be staging for the spawn, babies. Please DO NOT fish the upper and middle Cow Shoals 'til January when the spawn is concluded!
Well, the boaters floated on down the River. I took heed to their advice and tied on a #16 sowbug (sans beadhead!) that I varied with brown partridge tail and partridge soft hackle (a "hatching" sowbug). BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! It was gettin' gooder.
I felt increase pressure from the current. Looked to right bank to see very dry leaves floating down the River. Time to perform a speedy retrograde movement back to the car. Lots of good muscle work in such rapid, upstream wades. Got to high ground; called the Greers Ferry Powerhouse line. Yes, generation ended about 90 minutes prior to my getting back into the Shoals.
I've missed the Little Red, among other things and people in Central Arkansas. There be a rhythm to life to the area, especially the Little Red. Readjusting to that beat of heart is an adventure, a life of gentle reality. Glad to be home.