Monday, May 15, 2017

The Fishing Trip(s)

In anticipation of getting in some fishing, while visiting Brendan in Benton, AR, I went to Walmart and picked up a cheap rod and reel combo. I went out a few days ago with it to' the Saline River at a local park (really more of a boat launch than a park) and got in a few casts before the reel fell apart, a piece f it going into the river too deep for me to retrieve without taking a bath. Needless to say I did  not catch a fish. A few days later, I finally brought it back to Walmart and got a refund. Then I picked up another one, the same thing. I also wound up getting some basic tackle to add to Brendan's tackle box and had previously bought some lures for him at Bass Pro Shop,

We had planned on renting a canoe this weekend in Brenton to fish the Saline River but the one place there is only open Saturday and Sundays and was booked on Saturday for an annual canoe race. On Sunday, it being Mothers' Day, they were closed. So yesterday, we headed out west to Glenwood, AR and Caddo River Camping & Canoe Rental. We paid for a canoe and were soon being transported about 7 or 8 miles upstream to a launch site.

We picked our canoe and were soon on the river fishing very close to from where we launched. The river was teeming with fish at that point. We saw bass (either largemouth and or smallmouth and rock bass), suckers, alligator gar, other fish that resembled trout  (but we were told there are no trout in the Caddo River), sunfish & probably crappie and carp. We did not catch and after about 15 or 20 minutes of fishing we realized out canoe was leaking and headed back to the launch site to pick up another. The guy working for the canoe outfit was pretty surprised to see how much water we had taken on. We figured that if we spent another 5 60 6 hors on the water we would have sunk and that might have been a bad thing.

Once we got the new boat, we fished there a bit more but did not hook anything. The canoe guy had told us that spot has some of the wariest fish on the river as it is overfished (not as in too many taken to too many fishermen trying to catch them). So we moved on. We paddled on over some small rapids and fished soon again. We continued that for the next 5 or 5 1/2 hours.

The water was crystal clear in may places and we saw a lot of fish but never any as abundant next to where we had launched. Something tells me we should have fished them some more and tried a larger variety of lures or bait. We had meal worms, superworms, red wrigglers and night crawlers for live boat. We also had catfish bait pellets, and a few different trout baits (like salmon eggs). Brendan also had a good selection of lures.

Brendan caught one sunfish - the first fish of the day - on glitter strewn Power Bait. Then it was quite the while before we caught another, or should I say until I caught one. That one fish was it for Brendan, for fish anyway. He did catch a craw dad and a baby turtle with a net. At one stop, he got out on a gravel bank to stretch. He asked if I wanted some minnows for bait and grabbed out net. I spotted a craw dad and he netted it. Used it for bait at that spot but to no avail,

 As I was hooking up the crawdad, he scooped something else up and was beaming with satisfaction as he walked over to me and showed me a baby turtle. That was, I think the best catch of the day. As with all the fish we caught, we released the turtle in the same spot where he caught it. I wanted to keep it but Brendan wanted to let it go, so off it swam.

Shortly afterward, I changed over to using night crawlers. That was the ticket for me. I caught two sunfish, a smallmouth bass and what I think was a White Crappie. I have never know crappies to go for night crawlers but that is what the fish looked like. All went back into the water. I might have kept the crappie and the bass had they been bigger, the crappies was about 8" long and the bass was maybe an inch or two bit larger.

After that we fished some more but had to get paddling. We had only until 6PM to get back to base and had been fishing for a couple of hours and maybe went about 2 miles at most. So it was back to paddling. Of course we stopped now and again to fish. At one spot Brendan went for a swim. At another, he waded up to his waist to fish. As I said though, there were o more fish for him and I maxed out at the four I already mentioned. We stayed pretty dry for the whole trip, that is until maybe a couple hundred yards from base. There we hit some white water that cam up over the prow and soaked  most of me. I was smart enough to have brought a change of clothes in the car so I was dry again soon enough. Brendan had worn a swimsuit and despite using at least three applications of a 50 SPF  sunscreen, he got a very red and very sore set of canoe knees.

All in all we had a good time regardless of the pretty excruciating pain I had in my still aching tailbone (from a fall down the stairs in late January). Sit on a life jacket helped with that some but I will not be canoeing again in the foreseeable future until it heals completely.  My hips and back were also pretty bad and my shoulders and neck got quite sore not being used to all the paddling. Even Brendan, who is no stranger to physical labor, had aching joints and muscles both during and after the trip. I am certain he will be canoeing again and hopefully catching more fish the next time.

All the best,
Glenn B