Missouri, The Show Me (Your Fins) State (Part 1)

29 04 2009

When first approached by our new found friend Kyle Kossovich, of Long Boat Outfitters, to make the trek to Missouri to fish and film I was more then a little skeptical.  I mean I know the N. Fork of the White River in Missouri is just a hop, skip, and a jump to Arkansas where the trout fishing is sicky sicky narr narr (phrase borrowed from James Kelly, the absolutely sickest dude I know, and I am not even really that comfortable saying I know him), but Missouri? Yeah I thought I was being sold a bill of goods, and that swamp land in New Jersey never quite worked out as promised.  But in true Bent Rod style we loaded up the truck and the boat and set out on a cross country voyage that I nay say would leave me a changed man.  Not really changed so much as in desperate need of a shower, shave, and shit but we’ll get to that later.

Day 1

The trip started as most do with the participants feeling each other out as this was my first time road trippin’ it with Ryan and Chris (Ryan’s Fish Slayin’ Gnome).   I did my requisite pooping in funny places bit that won rave reviews from the audience and we all swapped stories, flatulence, and other vile habits with one another till my car was fully soiled with the stench of debauchery.

Chris had drawn the short end of the stick and was stuck in the backseat amongst the gear.  Chris was not a brave trooper nor did he have a stiff upper-lip.  He bitched and moaned for the entire twelve and a half hour car ride.  These complaints went largely ignored from Ryan and myself as Chris is only 4′ 11″ on a good day and as long as you keep your crotch away from his very short wingspan he is generally harmless.

After 9 hours of driving across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois we crossed into Missouri thinking that the Tom Tom was wrong about our remaining time in the car.  I mean how could it take 3 hours to drive 120 miles.  Well friends the crap ass gravel road we were on for the last hour was the reason why.  I have no idea why Tom Tom (stupid bastard) took us down that road as there was a perfectly good paved one that would have  gotten us their just as well or why I continue to blindly follow the Tom Tom like he is a TV Evangelist and I am down to my last nickel. I think it has something to do with me setting the voice as an English guy, it sounds so authoritative. I call him Mr. Belvedere  sometimes and pretend he’s my butler.  This gravel road would be the demise of my trailer bearing, the brave soul he was.

I am not a mechanic, I have never been a mechanic, nor do I have any desire to be a mechanic.  I am much like a woman when it comes to my trailer as I know it is supposed to roll down the road and that is about it.  This will no longer be the case because I have seen with my own eyes the horror that is a busted wheel bearing.  The bearing buddy had been lost in one of the numerous ruts, potholes, or ditches we encountered in our last hour.  When the bearing buddy said adios so did the grease.  With no lubricant, much like a first timer on prom night, the bearing completely shit the bed.  We were able to remove most pieces of the bearing from the axle with sheer grit and force. There was however one ring that refused to budge no matter how many times Chris and I tugged, twisted, and cussed it.  Luckily for us Kyle’s number two guide Bob was there and he proved the point that old Midwestern hippies rock beyond any shadow of a doubt.   Bob, who immediately perked up when we broke out the whiskey in frustration, knew a farmer with a cutting torch and assured me he would take care of the trailer and have it ready to go for day two of the float.  Bless you Bob and your old testicles.

This minor speed bump meant we needed to requisition a canoe which was not a problem as apparently that part of Missouri has an unhealthy obsession with that  filthy form of conveyance.  We all went to sleep knowing the next day would mean boats, fish, and some more speed-bumps along the way, this is a fishing trip after all.

Day 2

The second day of a fishing trip is usually when everyone’s true colors come out and  the niceties of introductions and the sort are done away with.    This was to be the case this trip too because no sooner then we had gotten the boats unloaded at the put in,  Ryan realized Murphy had not grabbed his rods at the house.  We all hurled obscenities at the both of them for costing us the hour it would take Ryan to go back to the house and get them but as it is I always say…and there was fishable water right in front of us.  The first day and a half of the trip would involve smallmouth bass, goggle eyed bass, and numerous other species in the chub and shitfish genus.

Murphy and a nice bronzeback

Murphy and a nice bronzeback

I am a trout guy down to my samon trucha underwear, but when in Rome…. fish warm water.  We flung it around until the guys got back.  With all rods, reels, and ladies undergarments accounted for we set off in two traditional Ozark Long Boats and one canoe that I would slowly grow to despise over the next two days.  I mean really that shit is for dudes in the 1800’s, and that’s only because nothing better had been invented yet.

What I Call One Mean Ozark Flotilla

What I Call One Mean Ozark Flotilla

We worked our way down river popping some nice bass and other various species along the way.  The real treat of this float is that the upper sections of the river lie in the Mark Twain National Forest and therefore gravel bar camping and multi-day floats are the preferred methods to get the whole wang dang doodle experience.

We got into camp around 4:00.  We had only been on the river for three or four hours but it already seemed like we had checked into the Hotel Wilderness. The gravel bar we camped on reminded me of something you would see on the Flathead or the Smith up in Montana but definately not the midwest.  Just goes to show you when you make assumptions you make an ass out of you and me.

CAMP 1: The site where Murph lost his virginty. Ryan promised he would be gentle...based on the screaming I think he lied

CAMP 1: The site where Murph lost his virginty. Ryan promised he would be gentle...based on the screaming I think he lied

Ater we had set up all the proper accoutriments (which Chris did not help with…lazy son of a bitch),  we had a great camp cooked meal and settled  into that great campfire game of drinkin’ whiskey and musing on the ways of women, money, and trout.

Cookin Camp Style Sucka

Cookin Camp Style Sucka

This is the first time in a while I have gotten to sip at the cup we call being a dude, but I quickly remebered. This was the last thing I remembered however as I was  sited walking into the river trying to find my tent.  I love Makers Mark, luuuuuve it.

The next morning I was rudely awaken by what sounded like wookie mating calls.  After grabbing for my taser I realized it was only the sounds of Ryan, Chris, and Murphy proving that three cases of sleep apnea are really worse than just one.  I stumbled around in my haze for as few minutes and suddenly smiled because trout were on the menu for the rest of the trip and in the ever so eloquent words of Ice Cube, “today’s gonna be a good day”.

I’ll get into that next time as my brain hurts now and I must rest it.





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