Going Fishin'

Going Fishin'
Red Sunset

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

OZ 2

Early in November I spent several days in the Missouri Ozarks. This past week found me a little further south in the Arkansas Ozarks for more fishing adventures in the Land of Oz.

I was taking part in Arkansas State of Fishing sponsored by Frabill, Northland Fishing Tackle, MarCum Technologies, Arkansas Tourism, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, and area resorts.  Over 20 outdoor writers participated in this extended photo shoot, staying two to three days to experience the variety of fishing adventures.  Even though it was a massive undertaking with complicated scheduling, Arkansas hospitality was clearly demonstrated by area resort owners and staff who made everyone feel right at home.

My base of operation was Gaston's Resort, from which I had the opportunity to fish the White River for trout, Norfork Lake for bass and Bull Shoals for crappie.

On day one I joined forces with Eric Naig and local trout guide Curtis Redburn to discover why the White River is recognized as a world class trout fishery.  Small rainbows came on almost every cast with a live red worm.  But it took my bold change up to a pink suspending jerkbait to draw strikes from big browns in the river.

On day two I explored the coves of Norfork Lake with bass angler Larry Olson.  Larry guided me to the lake's triple bass trophy: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass.  All bass were caught on a Northland Jungle Bug with a crawdad trailer.

My final day in the Land of Oz, I fished Bull Shoals with Curt Niedermire and guide Frank Saksa as we probed brushpiles in 25 feet of water for big black crappies.  We scored crappies up to 2 pounds by following Frank's detailed instructions on counting down a 1/16-ounce jig to the top of the brush.

If you would like to arrange a magical visit to this land of enchantment, check out the following websites: http://www.visitmyarkansas.com/ and http://www.ozarkmountainregion.com/.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Land of OZ

The lighted sign at the end of the road read "Alhonna Resort and Marina."  Although I was disoriented in the inky darkness, at least I knew we were not in Kansas.

This was my first visit to Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri.  I didn't know what to expect, except that surprises were in store.

Under the tutelage of my local guide, I learned that in the fall most of the bays and cuts on lake of the Ozarks are filled to the brim with crappies - both white and black.  The brushpiles planted for crappies also attract largemouth bass and hybrid stripers.  Turns out all these species love Bobby Garland Crappie Jigs.  However, the majority of largemouths were caught by fishing buzzbaits and Jewel Jigs tipped with Gene Larew Craws around the thousands of docks that covered every foot of this lake's shoreline.

To escape the docks, several of us took a little trip via Hobie Kayak down the mysterious Niangua River.  I quickly discovered the clear waters of this creek were filled with baitfish, smallmouth bass, trout and green sunfish - plus some largemouth and spotted bass.  But our "easy paddle" turned into an epic river runner's tale as one member of our group upset on a downed tree blocking the stream.

As we paddled hard to completed our trip before darkness covered the land, a horde of flying monkeys followed in the trees...turned out to be several squirrels chasing one another.
In all, ten different fish species were caught by our entourage over three days.  Although other anglers used a variety of lures and rods, I stuck with one outfit and one lure to catch fish in both the lake and river.  I worked my magic with a Lew's Light action spinning outfit (yes, Lew's is back) and a Bobby Garland 3-inch Slab Slay'r Double Silver Rainbow on a 1/16-ounce jighead.  When I lost the last of the Rainbow sparkle baits on the third day, my confidence also hit a snag.  It was time to click the heels of my angling shoes and return home for more fishing adventures.  

To plan your own adventure to the Land of OZ, go to http://www.visitmo.com/.