Articles

A prefect winter day!

If you look for it come December and if you are ready for it, a day or two can crop up that is absolutely perfect for float fishing. On the upside, too, is that no matter where you float, you will be there by yourself. Competition on the river is not even a thought to consider. Just pick a stream and go. I promise you, your vehicle will be the only ...

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Autumn is the shortest season

I can't prove it, but, I do believe the Fall of the year passes more quickly then any other season. Some would say that Spring passes too quickly. Yet, I recall the first day of Spring this year I had three inches of snow on the ground before dark and it was the middle of May before the air conditioner kicked into overdrive. Chances are you won't s ...

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Big Smallmouth love hot weather.

It's July and August and about the last thing on the priority list for most folks is a day in the sun float fishing a river. I want to give you a short list of reasons why I miss very few days float fishing in the 100 degree temperatures of July and August. From my 2012 log: On July 6th, Kendall lands a 19 inch Smallmouth, on the 7th, I land one. O ...

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Dream Big

The older I get the more inclined I am to do a lot of day-dreaming during the winter months. You might also find me asleep in the recliner at 3 in the afternoon, too. When retired, you can do both and it's considered normal behavior for an old outdoorsman. Winter is also a good time to catch up on some reading. I try to keep a list of books during ...

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Bass with a Bounty

I've never fished for money. I fish to relax and to escape. I have always worked to make money. Therefore, money and fishing have always appeared to be on opposite ends of my motivation scale. Don't get me wrong, I do not have anything against money or what it takes for each of us to make a living. Fortunately though, I'm retired now and I guide fo ...

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Get those kids outdoors!

It's hard to beat November and December for being on the river and in the woods. Hunting seasons are in full gear and if you've got the time to go, there's plenty of opportunity available. I know the excuses, as I've been there. For goodness sakes, there's barely enough time to hug your wife and pat the kids on the head, let alone do something outd ...

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A jitterbug in the dark

So you've been out there trying to catch a big Smallmouth this year and you've had fun exploring the Ozarks. But, you've still not caught that "biggun" you've always wanted to get into on a float trip. I'm going to help you out here in your efforts to catch a big river bass. Now is the time to go! I'll give you a little more help with this and ...

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"What's your favorite stream to fish?"

It's time to reveal some insight from a lifetime of float fishing streams across the Ozarks! If I have a most frequent question from folks wanting to catch a Smallmouth of a lifetime it's, "what's your favorite stream to float fish?". Right behind it of course, is "what's your favorite fishing lure?" These are honest questions and I really don't mi ...

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What else can go wrong on a float fishing trip?

I've had a lot of good fortune float fishing and float hunting. After doing it so long, I eventually learn to not do some things that lead to trouble. But, circumstances have a way of catching up over time. A few weeks back a good friend and I were going to make a duck hunting float on a local stream. We got started later then we planned; but, knew ...

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Just go fishing, anyway!

Predicting the weather in March and April is usually done one day at at time. Anything past tomorrow is just a 50-50 thing, no matter how many radars are tracking the next front coming through. Sure it may be 75 and calm today; but, tomorrow it could be 20 with the wind out of the north at 25 mph. For that matter, it could be 75 again with the wind ...

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Jan/Feb Article: Taking inventory!

It's that time of year when the books must be balanced. For many, inventory is a headache that's associated with business. What's in stock, what needs to be ordered for the new year; and, not least, it's tax time. I know, I'm sorry I even brought the subject up. After all, you want to read something that's lighter on the mind and certainly on the b ...

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River time at my pace

This time of year I spend a lot of time on the river, alone. For that reason and others, it's a special time. I just see more, hear more and do more. Most wonderful is that there is never any rush, I've only myself to satisfy. Stealth and silence go to another level. Movement and noise while floating along a stream in my olive drab seventeen footer ...

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October, as good as it gets

I write fishing and hunting stories; but, I sometimes wonder if anyone's listening! It's not that I'm wondering if you read my articles, it's just that I'm wondering if folks actually "hear" what I'm saying. Take "Fall float fishing" for instance. When I write and say that you just can't beat being out there this time of the year on a stream, I won ...

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Bubble gum, Senkos and Fishing

"I hope the fish are bitin'!" Every fisherman's had the same thought. He's worked hard all week and a fishing trip is planned for Saturday. A whole year has passed since the last trip and it's hard to stay focused knowing a fishing trip is just a few days away. Daydreaming about big ol' bass just comes naturally and Saturday just can't get here soo ...

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So, you want to be fishing guide?

"Boy have you got the job!" I hear that one a lot. And, they're right. I love being a float fishing guide. But, you can't really make a living at it unless you are in a perfect environment. In the business world you hear one key component to success is "location, location, location". I couldn't agree more when it comes to being a successful guide. ...

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Bullet Proof!

I'm a good deal past 60 now and I hear myself grunting and groaning more these days. Strapping on my hip-waders can take a good 20 minutes to accomplish and definitely gets me to huffing and puffing. Following a pack of Beagles through the brush after rabbits for half a day will give me leg cramps at bedtime. "Jumping" into my pickup bed to tie dow ...

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Sometimes a duck just want to be shot!

Steam was lifting off the river just after daylight one morning last week as good friend, Kent Caplinger and I untied my big canoe from the back of my pickup truck for a duck hunt on a local stream. It was COLD! Across the shoal from our access another hunter we did not know was tucked into the willows with a handful of decoys out, chest waders on, ...

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Streams just turn my crank!

By now, you've figured out that I'm passionate about creeks and rivers. In fact, I'm just a little possessed! Hot or cold, wind or rain, ice or snow, if I can get to the creek bank, I'm apt to be out there with a paddle in hand to enjoy the moving water. The thing is though, it's not all about fishing and hunting. The plain truth is, I'd be out the ...

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Buzzing from a canoe!

It was a nasty shoal to maneuver. The creek had split into channels at the head and logs had piled up on the islands formed by the channels. I had my hands full with the boat paddle! Making the bends with my 18' canoe and weaving through the stick ups in the current was taking both effort and skill. It's in these situations where many a canoe is du ...

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History and Heritage

It seems I've always had a gun or a fishing rod in my hands. In the late sixties, while in college, my birthday was chosen as number 11 in the military draft and I remember setting there in stunned silence trying to contemplate the consequences. Within a couple of weeks after graduation; and, in the middle of the winter, Uncle Sam had me on a short ...

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Had any solitude lately?

The Ozarks is one of those places that has a reputation, much of it is negative. Some of the reputation is deserved, some not. In a lot of the "important" areas we're ranked last, maybe next to last, if someone else messes up somewhere. We tend to be viewed as being in the dark ages a lot. Jeff Foxworthy's humor fits in the Ozarks and I've grown to ...

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Lay it on the Dinner Table!

Buzz and his buddy, Dan, had come up from Memphis and Little Rock for a couple of days of Smallmouth fishing. They were "pumped" about getting into Smallmouth on a stream! Good guys to the core and well into their 50's. They spent most of our introduction time telling me about hair-raising experiences in a canoe: being swamped in hairpin turns, two ...

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DUCK HUNTING, MY WAY!

For a lot of us, duck hunting just isn't what it used to be. If you don't have a land lease on a flooded marsh or if you're not part of a duck hunting club, it's just hard to justify buying a duck stamp. Then, you've got to consider the expense of a good duck boat and a trained retriever. On top of that, you've got to get up hours before daylight, ...

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A River Guides Thinking When Winter Is Coming

Cold weather and cold rains are coming and my float-fishing is winding down. Sure, I've still got a rod in the canoe and I know where the big girls are swimming, so, I'll still make a cast or two when the mood strikes. But, in reality, like the weather and the bass, I'm making changes and adapting to the conditions. Frankly, fishing's just not as m ...

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Float Fishing Fanaticism

I've learned that attitude is everything. Take Jerry and John for example. Friends since childhood and in their late 60's now, I've never seen two guys get more excited about a float fishing trip thean these two. Our trips will be planned weeks in advance. Every detail will be considered and nothing will be left off the table for consideration. I'v ...

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The stories of a Float-Fishing Guide

"What is that up there in the shoal ahead of us, Whiteside?" I hear something like that often as a float-fishig guide. Folks I take with me on the remote streams of the Ozarks want to learn all they can about the out-of-doors: but, I didn't expect to hear it from my good friend, Earl Whitted. Earl grew up 70 years ago on an southeast Arkansas dirt ...

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Look at the size of that Snake!

Rob, one of my brothers, was pointing from our crappie boat toward a rock jetty at the lake shore, his voice a little louder then the idling boat motor. I couldn't see the snake myself; but folks that had been fishing the rip-rap cove from the bank began to grab cane poles, kids, buckets, everything they had, and were scattering like quail on a cov ...

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Far away places

It is a place where you can find bear tracks around the cabin, and hear timber wolves in the middle of the night, and there is no indoor plumbing. So when Kent Caplinger staggered out in the darkness about three in the morning to answer natures call, the eerie cries of nearby loons sort of made the hair stand up on the back of his neck. Kent didn ...

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Streamside in the Springtime

There was a time when I looked forward to the Fall, more than any other season. It was the break from the heat and the anticipation of Squirrel hunting, the upcoming bow season for deer and the changeing of color in the leaves that I looked for most. But, not so today! It's the Spring of the year that I get most excited about and I'm not sure why, ...

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THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

The older I get, the more I realize how grateful I should be. And, the less apt I am at being timely about saying "thanks". I should have thanked Grandma for igniting my passion for fishing. She started it about the time I was big enough to follow her to the creek bank. Grandma knew how to add drama on a fishing adventure and there was ritual too. ...

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It's Winter, Float Season's Not Over!

Floating through the winter months is only for those that are serious about it. So, I've about got streams to myself, come November. If you thought I was crazy when applauding float fishing with temperatures in the 90's and higher, you're likely convinced now, that I'm just nuts. Hold on abit and read the story before you decide that my elevator do ...

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Explaining a Smallmouth

I can't find enough to read about the Smallmouth bass. But then, what can anyone say about this prized fish that hasn't been written a thousand times already? Not much! Most everything in print is a little too plastic or it reads like it's about a regular ol' bass that's just been souped up some. A Smallmouth is not a Largemouth with afterburners! ...

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On a River in a Plastic Boat - Larry Dablemont

It was a poor day to be fishing, because the wind was strong. But there are never any whitecaps on an Ozark river, and if you can keep any tree limbs from crashing down on top of you, and if you don't get bit by a cottonmouth or hit by lightning, you have a chance to have a good day. It helps if you can catch a fish or two, and we did. In fact we ...

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Are We There Yet, Dad?

I've never had much of a problem with cabin fever. Being the outdoor type anyway, there's always something to do. This winter there were Mallards to be hunted and naturally, I was stalking them from one of my canoes along secluded streams. As with float fishing for Smallmouth, there's nothing quite like it and more importantly, I'm out there on mov ...

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Streams Were My First Love

Mom talked to me about love as a teenager, but it was mainly about......well, you know........girls. Back then, talking about the opposite sex with mom just involved a lot of squirming on my half of the conversation. Though I was certainly listening, the "inside" part of me just couldn't get out in the form of words. I was too bashful to ask real q ...

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