Indeed another trout derby has come and gone and as Chris Adams noted when I bid he and Laura goodbye on Sunday, "We got another one made." Chris and I have been friends for about ten years now, fishing together, camping together, sharing personal stories together and simply being the friends we are.
As it is with most people that enter the trout derby, the goal is to catch one of those big derby trout. However, there are some that simply come for the experience - the good food, fellowship, and spending of quality time with one another. Unfortunately for me, I feel like I missed out on a lot of the really good stuff that comes with the trout derby and I'm terribly disappointed in doing so.
Chris and I avoided the derby fishing crowd and a chance at catching one of the lunkers placed in the main campground area. We opted to travel to the kingdom of the south wilderness and take our chances of catching a decent or good stringer of Missouri trout. The fishing was good at the south wilderness, but the larger Missouri trout were simply not there for us this derby.
I got to the river Friday afternoon and as it would seem to be for me... problems started right away. Fishing for some ten inch trout with a partridge and orange, one trout came up and ate my bug. With the hookset came the next sequence of unbeliveability. As my rod tip went up in the hookset, the rod tip and half of the third section went down... into the river. Now, I refuse to believe a ten inch trout broke this rod and evidently it had some stress on it to begin with. Most likely the stress came courtesy of you know who... you know, like bumping a tree limb or throwing it up on the bank trying to climb a steep incline. Anyhow, the broken rod certainly wasn't a day maker.
Pitching a tent and little more, I planned on sleeping on the ground with no mat, air cushion, or anything that resembled some kind of body comfort. I really don't think that would have been much of a problem if I hadn't been required to toss and turn till midnight because my neighbor next door left his loud-ass generator running. The dog-gone thing finally ran out of gas, and when it did their was a loud collective cheer from the rest of the campers at the end of Area 1.
The next morning came early at 4:45. I met Chris and Laura at the wilderness parking lot at 6:30 and we began our walk. Twenty minutes later we arrived at the fishing hole when a sudden awareness hit me straight in the face. That awarness was the fact I forgot to bring a stringer. Stringers are required when one is fishing the derby. The thought of walking back to the schooner and retrieving said stringer was not all that appealing, as I stood on the bank huffing and puffing from the just finished hike.
Having a hoodie on... one like a gansta wears, I decided to sacrifice the draw string to save a walk back to the schooner, not only possibly saving the day. The first two trout I catch are small and they go back, but number three is kind of nice at a pound plus. He goes on the makeshift stringer and it goes on my wading belt. Five minutes later I check the hoodie cord stringer and it's just fine. So was the trout... because he was free - guess that knot I tied wasn't real secure.
By 10:30 I have five trout on the hoodie stringer and I'm also feeling the effects of a broken rod, sleeping little on the hard ground, the hike in, the forgotten stringer, and some darn hard wading. I decide to get one more and at eleven o'clock I tell Chris I'm done, as I leave him and Laura to the water.
Sunday I got a little later start having to catch up with Chris and Laura. By now, the soreness had started to set in. The winter storms had kept me off the river for two weeks and although I hate to admit it, when I don't fish regularly and then try to do so, it's a toil on my body. The fishing started off like gang busters with the first two casts producing two one pound trout. The third fish was a small one, but having damaged the fish I had no choice but to keep him. After that third fish the catching died for me, but Chris was sore lipping tons of fish.
Although I was done with the fishing part of the derby and tried no more, I did have the opprotunity to visit a little. I got to watch Donny Carter do what he does best - dry fly fishing, visit with James Webster a little, and watch Susie's brother James present her memorial award to the overall fly fishing winner. The smile on James face told that whole story.
The folks from CPASA (Citizens For The Protection Of the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer) were on hand encouraging the outdoor community to get involved and be concerned over the aquifer and the many things, like Blue River, it makes possible. CPASA is a good organization and I'm proud to be a small part of the effort.
Lastly, as it is with each derby, there is one guy I'm always on the lookout for. He's a young man that, not only I, but so many people have come to love and admire. Kody Young is one fantastic young man with a great sense of sportsmanship and stewardship. When I look at Kody... I know I'm seeing the future of fly fishing at Blue River. His fishing etchics are so highly held by himself... there is no chance of Kody doing anything but right. That's something that can't be taught and can only be owned.
Kody certainly owns it.
|Kody Young - always excited by fly fishing.|