October 28, 2021

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Fortunate Friday the 13th

AMITY — For smallmouth bass fishing, Friday the 13th was my blessed working day.

I joined an previous friend for a very long-delayed vacation on the Caddo River. The weather was pleasurable, the h2o was amazing and refreshing, and the fishing was very good.

My husband or wife for this excursion was Alan Thomas of Benton, formerly of Russellville. For decades he was a typical guest on this site. He was my companion for most of the 2006 Summer season Smallmouth Tour and for the once-a-year Finish of Summer Celebration, which mixed a stream fishing vacation and a boat-in dove hunt on the Arkansas River in close proximity to Dardanelle. Thomas was as soon as a single of the most prolific duck hunters on the Arkansas River, and he taught me the artwork of hunting the backwaters and sidewaters of Lake Dardanelle.

It all seems like yesterday, but these excursions have been rather lengthy ago. Thomas is a professional now, with a ton of tasks that call for a whole lot of vacation. He deserted duck looking on the river when he joined a club at Bayou Meto Wildlife Administration Region. We continue to be in contact, but we have not fished together in four decades. That was a excursion on Sylamore Creek, where somebody abandoned a Ford Bronco in the center of the h2o. It was up to the tops of the tires in gravel.

A reunion emerged when Thomas identified as throughout the 7 days and proposed a trout fishing excursion on the White River at Mountain Property. That idea swiftly fell aside, so he pitched a smallmouth fishing vacation on the Caddo River. Thomas seriously likes the higher part of the Caddo River from Norman to Caddo Gap, but you can find not considerably water that far upstream mainly because of drought. Then he proposed putting in at Glenwood and fishing upstream.

“How about this?” I requested. “Let’s put in at Amity, float downstream a mile or two and then wade fish back up to the ramp.”

“I have hardly ever fished down there,” Thomas claimed skeptically.

“It doesn’t get fished a lot,” I reported. “Most people normally takes out at Amity, but not quite a few people go downstream from there. The upcoming takeout is on DeGray Lake, and that is a very long way.”

We arrived about 10 a.m. Friday. Puffy clouds ended up gathering to the north, and there was a respectable circulation of drinking water. Thomas loaded up a day’s value of gear in his kayak, and I did the same in my tiny aluminum canoe. We paddled downstream to the conclude of the upcoming pool below the ramp. We tied our boats to our belt loops and commenced fishing. Normally, covid-19 was a major topic. I received my second vaccine Thursday.

“The first covis shot produced my arm genuinely sore for about a working day and a half,” I claimed. “They told me it would in all probability transpire yet again with the 2nd one, but I took a Tylenol in advance of bed previous night and one more one particular when I bought up this morning. I have not experienced any pain, but a minimal sore-arm is even now far better than acquiring covis.”

“What are you talking about, covis?” Thomas demanded.

“Monthly bill Rhodes, my close friend in Sheridan that would make turkey calls. He phone calls it covis,” I said. “Ever since I heard him say that, it is covis to me forevermore.”

Thomas made use of to brag constantly about his superb vision. He could place ducks in the distance very long in advance of anybody else, and he gave specific descriptions of fish hugging creek bottoms. It was uncomplicated to feel he was blowing smoke, but he often caught the fish moments following giving its description.

Items have changed a minimal. He is, after all, a very little older. Making an attempt to tie a new hook on his line, Thomas shoved his line to the ideal of the eyelet, to the remaining of the eyelet, beneath the eyelet and about the eyelet. Cursing underneath his breath, he dug a pair of drugstore reading through glasses from his dry bag.

“What are you laughing at,” Thomas mumbled.

“I’m ideal with you,” I explained. “I can’t see diddly squat, but I am too very pleased to don ‘cheaters.’ I choose length by echolocation and just hope I maintain it out of the trees.”

Thomas howled with laughter and ongoing attempting on his lure.

Minutes afterwards, he established the hook on mere water.

“He adopted it all the way to my knees,” Thomas mentioned. “I feel he was about to get it, but then he saw me and turned absent at the previous next.”

“Naw, guy,” I explained. “That fish was like, ‘That dude won’t be able to see me. He is putting on cheaters.”

Soon following, yet another fish did steal Thomas’ Zoom Child Brush Hawg.

“He bought my wallet, my credit history playing cards and every little thing,” Thomas groused.

Not prolonged right after, Thomas commenced pinpointing fish on the bottom.

“There goes a 3-pounder, receiving out of Dodge,” he shouted. “There is certainly a few with each other suitable there.”

“Fred Sanford, you are not able to see nothin’, you ol’ fish-eyed fool,” I taunted. “What’d you do with your cheaters?”

“I only have to have them for viewing stuff up close,” Thomas protested. “I continue to see high-quality at a length.”

Like previous situations, Thomas caught one particular of the a few smallmouths he claimed to see.

I wish I could report that we caught 25-35 fish like we commonly did in the previous. We usually caught at least a single 3-pounder apiece and quite a couple 2-pounders and improved. Friday was not 1 of all those days. We caught a smallmouth right here and a Kentucky bass there. The most significant smallmouth was about 14 inches. My smallest fish was a 4-inch Kentucky bass. The bites came with regular frequency to punctuate a discussion that protected a whole lot of ground.

In the riffle leading to the following pool down, Thomas caught 4 smallmouths in immediate succession. He predicted a significant a person for an encore that by no means transpired.

At the conclude of the trip, at the mouth of the pool underneath the Amity ramp, I skilled a Inexperienced Sunfish Shootout. I caught 4 eco-friendly sunfish on four consecutive casts. And just like that, the bites stop coming.

We concluded about 3 p.m. We expended about four hrs fishing and about two hrs driving. We agreed that it was one of our most effective visits of the year, and we both necessary it incredibly substantially.