Fly Fishing for Bass

Fly fishing for bass isn’t a new idea. But it is something of a niche pursuit. If you bass fish but haven’t tried them on a fly rod; do so. If you fly fish but haven’t targeted bass; they are worth your time. Here’s a link to my USA Today story on Fly Fishing for Bass. Thanks for taking a look.

And if you don’t fish . . . by all means get started.

Political Angling

I happen to live in a slice of the country where we get local TV political ads from four states. It has not been easy viewing. The Illinoisans seem to be the hardest knuckled bunch but none are people I’d care to share a duck blind with. IMG_1182

In my home state of Kentucky we have a creel full of local, state and national races. The big one, of course, is for U. S. Senate, where Candidate R apparently thinks President Obama is his opponent and Candidate D can’t seem to do much more than talk about the past evils, failings and shortcomings of Candidate R.

I, for one, would like to have heard some fresh ideas, or at least some general thoughts on how any of the candidates, but especially Kentucky senate Candidate D and Candidate R, plan to deal with any of the long list of challenges facing the country: the economy, environment, ISIS, health care, immigration, crime, minimum wage, education, crumbling bridges and highways, poverty, Ebola . . . as everyone knows, it’s a long list.

The political ads have ranged from befuddled to ridiculous. I can only assume they hit the same lowest common denominator across the country. The price tag: $4 billion.

Please vote Tuesday, even if you have to hold your nose to do so.

Turkey Time . . . Almost

Turkey season opens Saturday. I was doing some windshield scouting this afternoon.

Road follows a small creek to a low head dam. I know this place. The water spilling over the dam funnels off a little rock ledge onto a gravel spit then flattens into a pool that fills a sharp bend. The spot is about the size of a two-car garage. Usually fluctuates from torrent to trickle. Not today. Just about right. Fishy. IMG_2976

Had a 7-foot 4 weight fly rod in the truck. Weather was sunny and breezy. Cool enough for a jacket. The water temp was barely touching 50 but . . .

Pulled on knee boots and waded onto the tongue of the gravel spit. Two casts. Two bass. Not large but feisty.

Pretty good afternoon of scouting.

Arkansas Notes: Wading the mighty White

Big rivers have no regard for fishermen and will kill them given the opportunity. They should be approached with a heavy dose of respect.

Even when it is in a passive state; when the Corps of Engineers have quieted Bull Shoals Dam to a trickle, the White River remains formidable, powerful and restless.

That was the White’s condition Wednesday; accessible to wading, but barely so.IMG_2919

At the downstream end of the Gaston’s property the White at low flow splinters and swirls and sluices into a football size patch of nervous water. The two guys down stream from where I was working a piece of promising water with a fly rod  were plucking trout from the river with regularity. When I recognized my fellow anglers – Jeff Samsel and his son Nathaniel (pictured) – I became a bit dismayed.  Not because I was sharing the river with the Samsels; I treasure fishing with Jeff and Nathaniel any time, any place. But Jeff is an excellent angler and Nathaniel is quickly becoming one. Fishing behind the Samsel men is not a good idea.

Still, I waded carefully, caught a few, missed as many and only suffered a minor sunburn. A pretty good afternoon.

Arkansas Notes: Gaston’s on the White

Gaston’s White River Resort has been in business since 1958. The White River has been in business as a trout fishery since 1952. That’s when President Truman arrived by train, stayed four hours, and gave his dedication blessings to Bull Shoals and nearby Norfork dams, thus forever changing the local landscape.

Truman’s place in history is secure. The White River’s place as one of the most productive tailwater trout fisheries in the country is also secure. Gaston’s reputation as one of the best resorts and fishing outposts on the river is well established, as well.

I fished Tuesday with my mentor and long time friend Larry Rea, who spent more than three decades with The Commercial Appeal, the bulk of which as that newspaper’s outdoor editor. He retired a few years ago then got into the radio business. You’ll find more about that at

Gaston’s has everything you need; from bare bones to full service. Fishing guides, food, lodging, service, tackle, information . . . even the current “hot fly.” Check them out at

Larry and I fished Tuesday with veteran guide Ron Armagost (pictured), who has caught more fish than he can remember and guided more fishermen than need remembering. Ron has a life changing  story of his own, which he was gracious enough to share. More about that soon.

We caught about three dozen trout, which everyone except me considered a good but not great day of fishing (I thought it was terrific). The weather was perfect, the company was excellent and the folks at Gaston’s do their best to make guests feel at home.

I’m here at the invitation of Larry Rea and host Jim Gaston as part of an annual media gathering hosted by Gaston’s. There are about 20 writers and broadcasters here this week, all of whom are colleagues and many of which are friends, including Bryan Hendricks.

Following Tuesday night’s Gaston’s hosted cookout Bryan asked if I wanted to try some nighttime fly fishing. Fishing in the dark does something evil to my casting. Still, I managed to catch a fat nighttime rainbow. Luck again trumped talent.

The weatherman is promising cold and wind on Wednesday. I don’t think the trout will mind.