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Morning Sun
  • Dablemont — We Slayed ‘Em

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  • Rich Abdoler and I were sitting in the boat the other day catching smallmouth bass on about every other cast. We slewed ‘em… or slayed ‘em, or whatever you want to call it. They were fighting so hard that after a couple of hours my shoulders and arms got tired, so I just leaned back and as I am wont to do, waxed eloquently about the quality of the afternoon of fishing in the warm sunshine, comparing it to what heaven must be like.   “Rich” I said, “you and I have had hundreds of fishing trips and I can’t think of much anything better than catching fish, but this afternoon reminds me that at times it can get a little tiresome and repetitious. If heaven is indeed like this, every day, don’t you think we’ll get tired of catching fish even if St. Peter goes along?”   I could see Rich was thinking about what I had said, as he bent his rod hard on another two pound smallmouth, fighting to gain the green depths below the boat.    “Well… maybe a little,” he said in a monotone voice. “But I figure there’ll be some good duck-hunting too!”   The Gasconade River trip, which I wrote about last week, was a bust. The river was high, and I didn’t finish third or fourth after all, I finished second. That no account Dennis, who practices fishing on a greater scale than the rest of us, caught six bass, and I caught four and Rich caught two. Kent caught none, and you might feel sorry for him until you hear the rest of the story.   Anyhow, we didn’t do well, and we didn’t even pick a good spot to have hot dogs for lunch, as Rich nearly set a whole drift afire and the hot dogs all fell in the fire as the grill collapsed. When you have to wash your hot dog off in the river it becomes something different than a hot dog, and mine was burnt pretty bad on one side anyway so I couldn’t reheat it.   But the river was beautiful and we didn’t see another soul.   As we were loading our boats and gear, Kent Caplinger went to complaining about not catching anything. He reckoned he just wasn’t as lucky as the rest of us. He said on his last trip on another river he hadn’t caught any fish either, and then he remembered that was the time he was wading in the river at dinnertime and found a hundred dollar bill floating in the river. Unlucky, he called hisself! I told him if I found a hundred dollar bill in the river just once I wouldn’t care if I caught any fish for a month.   So forgetting the Gasconade trip, Rich Abdoler and I picked another stretch of river last weekend, and that’s when we got into the fishing that was a lot like heaven’s finest smallmouth stream. We started fishing at two o’clock in the afternoon and were trying to keep track of the fish we caught.  “That’s 34,” I said as we both fought hefty smallmouth at the same time.    “No that’s 36,” Rich said. “The last one I caught was 34. That gave me 17 and you 16. Now I have 18 and you have 17. That’s 36!” You have to remember that Rich once worked for the government!   By six o’clock that evening we had caught and released 79 smallmouth and five largemouth. Three or four of the smallmouth we caught and released were better than 18 inches long, and so fat I believe they would have weighed three and a half pounds. But we were using light gear, with nothing larger than six-pound test. Part of the time I had an ultralite crappie outfit with only four-pound line. Because of that, Rich had his line broke twice and I had mine broke once. We saw the bass what broke the lines, and they were lunkers. We intend to go back this week and catch them again and try to get our jigs back.   The real story to the trip is the little quarter ounce brown and orange jigs we were using. My dad, who has been gone for more than a year, had an old tackle box with several of the little jigs in it, and he thought they were the only lure in the world for bass and goggle-eye. He and his best friend, Charlie Hartman used them for years as they fished the Big Piney and the Gasconade. I found four or five still in little plastic bags. As I tied one on that day, I could see my dad telling me I needed to find some just like it. He was good with them. Once on the Gasconade many years ago, he tied one on for my mom and she caught a 22-inch, five and a quarter pound smallmouth which is on my wall today. Dad never equaled it.   I loaned Rich one of the jigs, and told him I hoped dad was watching, and it just felt like he was there with me all day as again and again, hard fighting bass jumped all over the little jig. I am surprised that little light outfit I used was still intact.   This might leave some fishermen asking, what good did it do you to catch all those bass and come home with nothing to eat? Well, this story ain’t over! At six o’clock, Rich and I tied on little yellow curly tails and moved downstream a couple of miles and began to catch white bass. They weren’t big, just small males, but out of the 30 or so we caught, I kept 21, and filleted them and had more fish for Sunday dinner than St. Peter might allow you to eat in heaven, due to their rules on gluttony. Anyway, on light outfits, those white bass were fighters, and by seven o’clock we were tired of catching them too. They were really hungry, and just like the bass, we really slewed ‘em. Or is it “slayed 'em”?   Folks, please come by and see me and Ms. Wiggins on the 29th of March at our big Outdoorsman’s Swap Meet, only about 17 miles north of Springfield just off Highway 13. It will be at the Brighton Assembly of God Church gymnasium. Only the readers of the column know about it, on account of we can’t get any publicity anywhere else. There’ll be 45 tables loaded with all kinds of outdoor stuff and it is free to the public.   My old college roommate Woody P. Snow will be there, signing his new book, “Blood Silver” which is a great book about the Ozarks. But for those of you who have listened to him on the radio for years as the Ozarks best-known radio personality, you will want to ask him for his C.D. entitled “Blood-Sugar”. It is a collection of songs he wrote and sings, and it is fantastic. I have nearly worn mine out listening to it in my old pickup when I travel …great music!   Next week I will give a better idea of what to expect at this big event, but you can get full information and see something of a listing of what will be there on my website, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com.   Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at lightninridge@windstream.net. Our office phone is 417 777 5227.

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