River Rendezvous 2009
Our freak flag
Jerry works a cypress-studded run
I believe this beauty is what they
call a Pumpkinseed
Tredixie with a nice spot caught
Kreekn tries to raise him one...
Friday campfire footage
Hide the women and children!
Wow! What a
difference a year (and a good weather forecast) makes! On the
weekend of May 28th, at least 40 or so ARFers converged on the
Locust Fork for our 3rd Annual River Rendezvous. I don't think
anybody ever dreamed that this many folks (from as far away as
Mobile) would show up to fish and fellowship on this small river on
a nice May weekend. But they came in droves, and as I pulled up to
the campsite early Saturday morning, it was obvious that I missed
out on some festivities the night before. It was pretty obvious from
the body language of some and the lack of visible motion from others
that Friday had been a big night.
My camera doesn't have a wide
enough lens to capture all the tents, trucks, and people
On Saturday morning, Mark was
itching to get after some fish!
Yet one group
with 6 or 8 kayaks was already about to pull out and head upstream
for the hairy float back to the campsite. Hasty introductions and
re-introductions ensued, and soon the "upstream posse" was off. Side
bets were made regarding who would flip their boats and how much
equipment would be sacrificed to the River Gods as the "downstream
posse" and "wade-near-the-campsite posse" drank coffee, loaded
boats, and readied their gear for the days fishing. We also had one
person assigned to go over and check Nick for a pulse every few
minutes just to make certain he didn't expire on us.
I was one of
six that opted for the flatter downstream float. After running
shuttles, applying copious amounts of suntan lotion, hauling boats,
and rigging up, our flotilla was off and floating by around 10 AM.
It was hot, and the fish bit just well enough to keep us interested.
Kreekn did pretty well with a small flyrod popper, and tredixie
caught the best fish of the day bouncing a PacaCraw off the bottom
in some cover. I didn't get a strike until about halfway down when I
paddled up a good-sized creek and found a hungry spotted bass that
wanted to eat a plastic worm. I was a little stupefied about the
fact that the fish seemed to love Kreekn's popper but didn't want
anything to do with my Baby Chug Bug. The fish were definitely being
Preparing for battle
Tredixie working his PacaCraw at
the launch site
The "Upstream Posse" embarks
Bass ain't the only fish in the
Minkeydee with a nice one!
Wore him slap out!
Aren't these guys supposed to jump
in the water when things get near?
Tredixie with the surprise of the
trip: a big ole channel cat that couldn't resist his lure!
Mark takes a break on a sandbar
persistence pays off!
Kreekn with a nice one to end the
"upstream posse" was faring a little better. Their float was
definitely more exciting with a couple flipped boats and many near
misses and the scenery up stream is absolutely beautiful compared
with the flatter terrain downstream. The catching was a little
better too, as Guy brought in the weekend's best fish: a 2-15
spotted bass. Everybody caught some fish, and some folks paddled
more than they fish, and a couple folks just laid back where the
river allowed and caught a quick nap.
The "Upstream Posse" gets ready...
...For lots of these!
ML scores a nice one on a worm
Bamabass gets in on the action
Speaking of action...
...This is not it
But Jason does deserve kudos for
being the only ARFer to successfully run the falls!
Not sure who this is, but he wasn't
the only one swimming!
Not a bad view!
Great shot of the local flora
ML with a Locust rarity: a
The best bass of the weekend:
downstream, I had decided that the bass mainly just wanted something
small and decided to content myself throwing a tiny Beetlespin. I
figured if nothing else, I'd tangle with some of the bluegill and
redbreast that had been constantly molesting my larger offerings. As
it turns out, that's what the bass wanted too, and I proceeded to
tangle with 6 or 8 feisty little spots as well as numerous bream
throughout the rest of our float. The fishing was tough, but
everybody managed to catch a few, especially if there was a little
current somewhere close. We didn't do a whole lot in the long, flat,
slow sections. Mark (after his bout with seasicknesss) even managed
to load up on about 4 or 5 bass right near the takeout when the
river picked up speed again.
Back at camp,
everyone seemed refreshed by the day's activity and we set about the
business of beer and dinner, Nick provided everyone with some
delicious grilled trout and redfish and a few other brought
hamburgers and all the fixin's. Pat King, the owner of the campsite,
even dropped by to hang out for a while and we all had a great time
discussing campfire topics until we dropped off one by one around
The best part of these gatherings
morning saw the campsite in high spirits and a little less wobbly
than the previous morning. A bunch of folks ate a quick breakfast
and headed back to their respective corners of the state. A few
hardy souls either floated or got in one more wading trip around the
campsite before heading home. I had planned on heading home and
stopping off for a few quick casts on another river on the way, but
I decided to take one more shot at the Locust and the bass that had
proven so finicky the day before.
I began wading
upstream with my boat tied behind me, fishing the pools and runs
before hauling the boat up the next rapid. It was some serious work,
and the footing was pretty treacherous too. Every now and then I'd
hit a calm spot and hop in the boat and paddle/fish my way upstream
before hopping out again. There are some absolutely
delicious-looking pools up there for those willing to put in the
effort to reach them. I just knew there were lots of bass, and some
big ones just waiting for the right offering to swim by.
It took a while
to discover the right offering. I started off alternating between a
small spinnerbait and bouncing various crawdad imitations off the
bottom. No luck. Then, I kept noticing tons of little minnows
swimming around, so I tried a small Rapala and various other small
topwater lures. Still no luck. Finally, I tried a small
shallow-running crankbait in a crawdad-looking color. That was just
what the doctor ordered. The fishing was far from fast and furious,
but the fish were a little bigger and more plentiful than they had
been the day before. All told, I caught ten or so, including a nice
one that came up through the fastest whitewater in the river to slam
Check out the gut on that thing!
The fish, I mean.
This guy hit in the fast stuff!
A few hours later I
returned to camp and was amazed at what I saw. If I hadn't known
better, I'd have guessed that nobody had used the campsite for
weeks. It was that clean (which is probably why Mr. King lets us use
his property every year)! Thanks to all who participated in the
cleanup. That's the kind of reputation I'd like associated with
Alabama River Fishing.
All told, it
was a great weekend, with lots of fish caught, laughter shared, and
new friendships made. I can't wait to do it again next year!