Friday, March 29, 2013

Guide's day off = Guinea pigs

We'd just finished loading the boats up from our day on the NFOW and was headed south back to Mountain Home when I got a text from guide buddy Brock Dixon of North Arkansas Troutfitters. "Are we still fishing tomorrow?" I quickly replied, "Damn straight." Brock and I had been trying to get a day on the water together to do some fishing for a while now but with my limited amount of days to fish and his busy guide schedule, we just couldn't made it work. Finally though, we got a day scheduled to fish the upper White River in hopes of some decent water to do some streamer fishing.

Plans for the morning were laid out and it was gonna be game on for the 2nd day of our trip to the Ozarks. Turns out, all cheap, tight-wad fly fisherman enjoy the same greasy breakfast spots as we met for some morning grub at the White Sands Restaurant in Cotter, Arkansas. Just an FYI for you readers, if you haven't ate at White Sands on a trip to the White are missing out. The food is good, the waitresses are cute, and its pretty dang cheap as well. The only cause for concern is you will want to have a toilet close by or at least have some toilet paper in the boat when it decides to hit bottom.

Anyways, after breakfast, we made the normal shuttle runs for our vehicles and then headed for the boat ramp to dump Brock's skiff in the river to get the float started. As we arrived at the ramp, we were all pretty stoked to see that BSD was bumping some really nice water out of the dam. Hopes were high for a decent streamer bite as we rigged up 8wts again with big nasty bugs. Then the inevitable happened just as we launched the boat...the water shut off and started to drop. This is where I'd like to point out that the COE and the SWPA are a bunch of douche bags, whats the point of broadcasting a proposed generation schedule if you don't stick to it even the least little bit?? Ok, off the soap box now, we made the best of it and fished some good banks with the streamer rods till the water fell out on us. We had a couple of bumps and a few follows from some decent fish but they were super spooky and not aggressive at all when chasing the bugs.

After the water dropped out, we dug out the 5wts, slipped on a thingamabobber, and dropped a couple of caddis-ish bugs off the back end. Brock had some new bugs that he had been wanting to try out and we volunteered our services as fly guinea pigs. From there, we just stuck with the bobber rigs and fished all the fishy seams and runs, pulling out stocker rainbows and a couple of decent browns as we went about our merry way. We took turns swapping out on the sticks and made Brock do some fishing so we could keep him out of "guide mode". It was a learning experience for us too as we got to pick Brock's brain about the fishery and learned a few new tricks. BS was swapped back and forth, crap was given to each other when the time called, and we just had a pretty good time. Also got a sneak peek of things to come as the day warmed up, big fluffy Caddis started to pop and buzz around. The fish really weren't keying in on them yet but its only a matter of time if we keep getting some warm weather. Although, as I'm writing this, its snowing outside...

I also did some filming with the GoPro throughout the day but the footage is nothing special like what I mentioned in the post before with our NFOW trip. You're not gonna be amazed by the footage but I hate to see footage go to waste so here is another quick video smasher of the day's fishing. Hope you enjoy....

If you're looking for an outfitter or guide to use on the White River system. Be sure and give Brock a call at North Arkansas Troutfitters or check him out on the Book of Face. The dude has a whole bag of tricks when it comes to catching trout on the White and Norfork Rivers. He is one fishy dude...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Urban Combat

A few weeks back, we told you guys about our much needed day trip to our local urban fishery on the Arkansas River in downtown Tulsa. The water was super cold, super low, and the fishing was pretty slow but hey, we got to do some fishing. Scouted out some water for the up-coming striper season as well. I also did a little filming with the GoPro, nothing too extravagant, just a few shots here and there. I finally sat down and edited up a video from the footage. Its nothing special, just a little fishing smasher from the day's activities.  Hope you guys enjoy....

If at all possible, watch the video in HD because I added an HDR filter to the footage. It looks really cool in full HD, either 1080p or 720p. If you watch it in standard looks like crap, to be honest.

Let us know what you think of our vids! I have 1 more video to upload for you guys, just need to put the finishing touches on it. Look for it in the next day or two with a blog post over our day trip with Brock Dixon of North Arkansas Troutfitters...

Monday, March 25, 2013

3 Ozark fly fishing blogs. 1 River. Look out...

Rewind back to the 1st fishing trip of the year. Plans were made to spend 3 days on the White River to chase big brown trout on streamers for the opening day festivities on the Catch and Release area below Bull Shoals Dam. It was meant to be a trip of epic proportions. We had 3 drift boats, 9 accomplished anglers, and a whole lot of big nasty flies to chuck at those White River browns. Well, things just weren't meant to be for me on this fishing trip. On Thursday morning, there was cause for concern that I wouldn't even get to go and would have to send my drift boat with Crik so the guys could fish. Luckily, my wife came through for me and I was able to leave with the boys on Thurs night but there was a strong possibility that I would have to come home on Friday evening. This fear became a reality about 2:30 pm somewhere between White Hole and Wildcat Shoals on the White River. We finished the float (with no fish) and I packed up my gear to head for home. I left my boat and camera gear with the boys in hopes that things would fair better for them.

Now over the course of the next couple of weeks, to say that I wanted to go fishing was a major understatement. I was dying to get back out in the boat and throw big flies in hopes that a tug would result in a big brown. Luckily, I got a weekend scheduled in to do some fishing and started to lay plans out for my return. Well, the rest of the crew wasn't gonna be able to make the trip this time so I had to call an audible. After a few text messages, I had made some plans with streamer geek and fellow Ozark fly fishing blog nerd, Brian Wise of Fly Fishing The Ozarks to do some streamer fishing on the NFOW (North Fork of White River). Bingo! Then, the week of the trip, fellow CTD member Crik sends me a text and says that he's in for some streamer fishing. Brilliant! The same day, we became part of one of the most epic Facebook group messages that the interwebs had ever seen. Matt Tucker of The Ozark Chronicles had gotten wind of this proposed meat chuckin' trip to his favorite river, he wanted in. There we were, 3 of the fishiest Ozark based fly fishing blogs, hashing out plans for fishing (and shenanigans) for the upcoming weekend.  Talks of flies, floats, how hot Chris' fiance is, and how much I really hate cats were discussed...

Fast forward to Friday evening, Crik and I were on the road with the truck and drift boat headed east on Hwy 412 for Mountain Home, Arkansas where we would make base camp at the RRI (River Rock Inn). To our surprise, we were met with snow not far outside of Tulsa and drove through it for the entire journey to Mountain Home. The forecast was calling for snow throughout the night and into the next morning...epic streamer conditions? Yes sir!

The next morning, we woke to below freezing temps and light snow still falling from the skies. The normal morning routine of checking flows, weather forecasts, and trying to dispose of the previous nights greasy dinner choice into the hotel throne was executed before we jumped in the truck to head for River of Life Farm just outside of Dora, Missouri on the NFOW. Tucker, being the hard ass he is, got up at like 2:30 in the morning and drove down with Dan Ritter and his dad with his Hyde in tow with the plan to meet us at the NFOW. Well, turns out, Tucker is also an over-achiever and we arrived at ROLF a few minutes early to find them already with boat in the water and rods rigged, ready to fish! So Crik and I hurriedly geared up and dumped the skiff into the river. Now, just a quick update on what our plan was. After dumping the boats in the river, Tucker and I would shuttle our vehicles down to Sunburst Ranch where we would jump in with Wise and drive back to the put in. Well, I'm pretty sure Tucker and I set the land speed record for 2 vehicles w/ drift boat trailers as we took the "back way" out from ROLF to the highway. At some point, the theme from "Speed Racer" began to echo inside my head as we sped down the dirt roads to Sunburst Ranch. I must say, Tucker can hold his own on a back road with trailer attached but I was almost able to run the ol' Shake n' Bake on him a few times. Sorry were out-classed and never had a chance...

Anyways, we made the shuttle, jumped in the Wise's go-kart, and sped back to ROLF to get on the river so we could start chuckin' the chicken at some brown trout faces. Or so we thought. Tucker got on the river first as Crik and I waited on Wise to get geared up and gather up half his car to take with him on the float. Now, Crik and I had planned a surprise for the boys. There had been talks on our epic Facebook group message of someone needing to get a costume or two so we could wear them on the float. Crik was unable to find the particular costumes that were discussed but he was able to walk away with a Jack Sparrow pirate hat (Wise), an Indian head dress (Crik), and a Viking helmet (Me). We decided it was time to break out the party favors on the boys. If you have never seen a Pirate, Indian, and a Viking in a drift're missing out. It was straight comedy...

It was business as usual after we got on the water. We were armed with 8wts, sinking lines, and BFFs (Big F*cking Flies). We all took our shots at all the sexy banks, ripping streamers back to the boat, and hoping that next tug would be a big nasty brown trout. Well, the fishing just wasn't there for us. We had a few half-hearted tugs and I landed a decent kentucky bass on a big streamer. Weird? In Tuckers boat, their luck was a little better as Tucker's old man stuck some stocker browns and then Dan stuck a nice brown on a black hog snare. I would like to interject at this point that we had fish Tucker's sloppy seconds all morning as they hogged all the virgin water ahead of us. Real dick move Tucker. On the bright side, we had a blast floating and BSin' our way down the river. Some interesting things happened to us, I broke my 8wt about halfway down on the freak deal. Then we had the tree incident. Crik hung his fly in a tree on his back cast. Total head in rectum moment but whatever. We row back up to fetch his fly. I'm still not sure exactly how it all happened but at some point Crik thought it was a good idea to stand up in the rear seat of the boat to get his fly. This resulted in an immediate loss of balance as the seat rotated around on him and he began to fall. In his panic of falling, he grabbed the nearest limb which could of qualified for a freaking tree and brought the whole motherlover down on us in the boat. I'm not sure how someone didn't get major head trauma or at least a rod get broken but we all survived. After clearing the boat of the tree, we were able to retrieve the fly and proceed on down the river where we arrived at Sunburst Ranch where Justin Spencer had a fire going on the shore for us...

Now this is where the real shenanigans went down. You have probably already seen our Harlem Shake video on Facebook and I posted it to the blog just the other day for the interwebs to see. I guess at some point, Justin and Tucker decided the previous week that we needed to film a fly fishing version of this viral YouTube video. Wise's wife and kids showed up with Justin's family...with them came some costumes and the music for the video. Then at some point, Justin went back up to the barn and came back with a freaking rooster. Crik was soon voted to be the roosters handler for the video. Indeed. I'm still in awe that we threw this whole ridiculous thing together and made it look awesome on video. We had chicken costumes, a pickle costume, our pirate became an ass pirate, and one of the boys looked like a psychotic Ronald McDonald. Dan and Tucker's dad didn't know what to think. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. It was awesome...

Afterwards, we loaded the boats up and headed downstream to Patrick bridge to dump the boats for our 2nd float of the day. Due to the high flows, we couldn't get under any of the low water bridges on the river so we had to shuttle around them. The plan was to float from Patrick Bridge down to Justin's new riverside property called The Landing. It's a nice short float with some awesome streamer water and tons of brown trout as the MDC (Missouri Dept of Conservation) stocks regularly in the lower sections of the river. The sun had came out so we switched up presentations in hopes of enticing some of the stocker and hold over browns into eating one of our bugs. Once again, Tucker shoved off first and led the way (another dick move BTW) down the river as we banged away at all the sweet banks in the section. Fishing was a little better for us on this section. We picked up a few decent brown trout and missed several fish along the way. There was plenty of good BS flying back and forth between the boats as well which always makes for an interesting float.

Overall, it was a freaking great day on the water with a good crew of guys. Very cool to get 3 major Ozark based fly fishing blog crews together to do a little fishing. Also got to pick Wise's brain about the NFOW and learned a few new things about fishing this river. I must say, I'm quickly starting to prefer this river over our fabled tailwaters in Arkansas. Its such a beautiful river and a unique fishery as far as the Ozarks go. We actually returned to the NFOW a few weeks later and got into some really good streamer fishing but more on that story later.

I did do some filming on this trip but it was only with the GoPro. I had to leave the DSLR at home with the wife since technically it is her camera. So I didn't have very much footage to work with to begin with. Then on top of that, I had the GoPro set up wrong to work with the DIY UV filter that we made for the GoPro so you can see the lens cover in all the footage. I apologize for this but I hate to waste footage so here is a quick smasher of the footage from the day's trip! Enjoy...

Would also like to think Justin and Amy at Sunburst Ranch for the fire, free pizza, and shuttles on Saturday. You guys are awesome!!

Also, thanks from Matt Tucker for some of the photos...totally jacked them from your FB page dude...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Harlem Shake...Fly Fishing Style!

What happens when you get 3 Ozark based fly fishing blog crews together for a day of streamer fishing on one of our favorite rivers? You get the fly fishing version of the viral video sensation, "Harlem Shake". If you haven't seen any of the videos, you have literally been living under a rock for the past couple of months. I must insist that you go to YouTube, search "Harlem Shake", and prepare to waste a considerable amount of time watching the shenanigans. It is straight comedy at its finest...

This video is the brain child of Brian Wise of Fly Fishing The Ozarks, Matt Tucker of The Ozark Chronicles, and Justin Spencer of Sunburst Ranch. Crik and I just kinda lucked into starring roles in the video after planning the streamer trip with Wise and Tucker. Additional actors that you see busting a move in the video are members of the Wise and Spencer families. The rooster was cast by Justin and Crik was called upon to be its handler for the video. The video was shot, directed, and edited by Brian Wise. We hope you guys enjoy...

I personally feel like this is the best fly fishing Harlem Shake video out there. We should be up for an Oscar or something like that. Don't you think???

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Flying Solo...

Now most of us here at CTD live a fairly normal life. We have real 9-5ish jobs, families, and all those other ridiculous adult responsibilities that comes with being a contributing member of today's society. Its safe to say that none of us are true "fish bums" in the sense but we like to think we get out on a fairly normal basis and catch a few fish. Then you have the member of CTD that we like to call "The Professor" due to his un-canny ability to catch fish and being a student of the sport, you could say. His name is Corey Dodson and fish tremble at the mention of his name. He's the closest thing we have in the crew to being a "fish bum", as the cliché goes. He has a normal job.....and he fishes. If he could figure out a way to not work and fish all the time, he most certainly would. The dude is always going somewhere fishy once 5:00 arrives on Friday afternoon. We envy him....and hate him.

This brings me to the most recent trip that The Professor went on a few weeks ago. In typical fashion, the dude was flying solo in the ol' 'Yota, headed south for our beloved tailwaters in Arkansas with drift boat in tow. The plan was simple, as it always is, fish from dawn to dusk to catch as many fish as humanly possible. Corey spent a day on the Norfork and a day on the White, floating from spot to spot to wade fish the good runs. The fish cooperated and he put some nice Ozark 'bows and browns into the net. There's not much of a story to tell with Corey's solo trips, the dude just catches fish. I will let the photos do most of the talking...

Until next time, keep chasing the dream...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dragging our feet...

So I have been slacking off on the content for the blog. So what? We have been fishing. Thankfully, Cole posted up some fishy reading material for our followers from his recent carp fishing expedition. I have 3 trips back logged that I will post about soon so just be very patient, hopefully next week there will be a steady stream of fishy media for you guys.

We also have a few hours of footage to filter through from the past 2 trips to the NFOW (North Fork of White) where we chucked half a chicken at brown trout all weekend. We should have some good stuff there. Still getting a feel for the filming thing so hang with us.

Stay with us guys...

Here's a little preview of what we have been doing the past couple of trips...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ol' Rubberlips

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert at catching carp on the fly. I am merely a student of the endeavor under the tutelage of my dad, the West OK Creek Ninja. I am still is he. Nonetheless, if I don't get something right....blame him.

Last weekend I got the opportunity to do a little early season carp fishing.....this is how it went.

Awoke to cloudy skies with light winds, and a chance of rain on Saturday morning. Suited up, and began the drive the first of many spots on the Wash Shit A River.

Arrived at "Super Secret Spot #1" to find the water a little off color. The first group of fish spotted did not appear to be in the "oh so happy, I'll gladly eat anything you stick in front of my face" mood. We made casts anyways....first group of fish spooked. This might get tricky....or ugly. Moving on.

Second group of fish....slower, deeper water. I cast my prototype.....the "Kangaroo Rat" (see recipe below) in front of the first fish. Where the hell did it go? Damn dingy water. Wait, fish seems interested. Strip line, strip again, fish is following. Still can't see fly. Mouth open...sucking water....waiting for tug....nothing. Need more visible fly. Damn dingy water.

Preparing for second shot. In steps West OK before I can pull the trigger with some sort of gaudy, white, cream colored.....thing. He has an advantage....he can see his fly in the damn dingy Second cast. Boom.....first fish of the day. I change to a lighter colored fly. Damn him and his tricky ninja ways.

Yes, that is a Story Kromer on his's badass...get over it. It goes well with his homemade net and neck pouch/lanyard.

We scan more water at SSS #1. Time to move on.

Arrive at SSS #2. Peek over the edge of the bank...feeders & cruisers....let's do this. West OK begins his stalk. Has a few looks.....can't connect. I move further downstream and leave him to his work.

Nice hole....clearer water. Time for the LOD (rubberlegs version). First cast too far. Second cast....tree. Dammit!! Regroup. Third cast.....we have a taker. Fly hits bottom....immediate suckage. The battle begins. I win. Lather, rinse, repeat. One more fish caught. Rain. Pack it in and head to the house for some sustenance and a siesta.

Gotta love the glass.

Noon Carp count:
Me - 2
West OK Creek Ninja - 1

I'm in the "lead".....something is not right.

Wake up from nap, still full from lunch. Sun is out now....temps rising. We should have been gone an hour ago. Suit up and hit the road.

Arrive at SSS #3 and begin assault right out of the gate. Two fish spotted. Intermittent cruising followed by brief periods of feedage. I cast. No go. Cast again.....get a look. Third cast....foul hooked. Damn sharp hooks.

West OK Creek Ninja plans approach for the next hole after doing some recon while I was preoccupied with aforementioned foul hooker. Two beefy brutes show themselves unexpectedly. West OK gets impatient. Fish spooked.

Round bend in river. Fish laid up in current break, pulling bits from a stump. West OK attempts a shot....cover blown. Fish retreats to pool with several others. Erratic behavior ensues. Moving on.

Continue leap frogging downstream, looking for feeders. Time to give the "Rat" another chance. Spot a feeder on the edge of some grass. Place fly in current slightly ahead and to the right of fish. Fly is immediately noticed and pounced upon. Battle begins. I win.

Mmmm...fishy. fish. More walking....still no fish. Walking....FISH!! Plan, and begin approach. Cast to rooter, he doesn't notice. Leader slides over back. Foul hooked...again. Damn sharp hooks.

Getting dark....steaks and beer are waiting. Book it back to the truck. Spot a couple of sleepers in the shallows near our parking place. What the hell, I'll give it a shot. Sloppy casts...water gone. Never had a chance....oh well. Great day.

Final fish count:
Me - 3
West OK Creek Ninja - 1

I "won". This is not the norm.

The Kangaroo Rat

The base for this pattern originates from the The Damsel, tied by the dudes over at This River Is Wild. I took the original pattern and tweaked it just a bit. I tried to maintain the same general profile, but incorporated pine squirrel as a tail to add movement (a la the Trouser Worm tied by McTage) when fished in short strips, as well as to add a fuzzy shellback in one step. The original Damsel is meant to be fished on the drop, without much weight. Likewise, the "Rat's" sink rate can be adjusted by using different sized bead chain eyes, or by substituting mono eyes for a much slower descent. It's still a little early to tell if the pattern will be a consistent producer, but I have high hopes for it.

The original

A slightly "brighter" variation

The Recipe (in the order tied on the hook)

Hook - Gamakatsu Octopus Circle, Size 4
Thread - Flymaster Plus, White (colored with sharpie to suit the fly)
Eyes - Bead chain in various sizes, or mono
Tail - Pine squirrel
Shellback - Trimmed pine squirrel tail
Legs - Round rubber legs, spinnerbait skirt, whatever you have on hand.
Ribbing - Vinyl D rib or brassie size wire in the color of your choice
Body - Dubbing of your choice.
Hackle - Hen saddle in the color of your preference
Head - Dubbing of your choice

Some visual goodness from The Toad Fly...

The crew down at The Toad Fly in Central Arkansas spent some time on the water this past year and have put up a teaser full of visual goodness for their upcoming film, Chasing Waters. The guys did some awesome work on this video with some great shots and plenty of fishy stuff going on. The epic hook removal at the end is pretty legit too...

Show these guys some love! Check out their video, get on their Book of Face page, and follow them on the Instagram.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why I Fish via the ChiWulff...

I have said it before, if u don't follow ChiWulff on the're totally missing out. Those guys really can write and post up some great content on the web of the wide world.

The "Why I Fish" series is my fav, if u haven't noticed so far. It's great stuff. Here is some more of it...