NSKA does it right…wish I had a backup-plan…

Before I replay yet another lackluster performance for 2019, I want to give a shout out to the guys of NSKA. It was great fun at the Boars Nest, and a very organized event.  I picked up a pretty cool lanyard from RoboHawk as a door prize.

I was impressed with the numbers in attendance, and the way they welcomed those of us from outside the area.   The table I sat at, with virtual strangers, allowed me to be a part of their conversations and introduced me to their friends, to their chicken coops, to information about the lakes around the area…and were not shy about what I had done wrong all day, as they joked with all who passed.  I absolutely love the family feel of our community.

Thanks to Jason Kincy for walking me through everything when I showed up late…congrats to Declan Mcdonald for a great showing by a young angler to win the NSKA event and to David Cruz for winning the Hobie satellite and getting a bid to the TOC!

Y’all at the NSKA are awesome, but then I seem to always find that in the kayak community.

….now to this….

Loaded up the Hobie Grail, grabbed Joy and set out for Rogers, Arkansas to fish on Beaver Lake.  Having fished the KBF open there last year, I was not totally blind (or so I thought) and was looking forward to fishing the same spot on Beaver…the creek below War Eagle Mill.

Well, Ben Spangler messaged me a few days before and warned me that it was raining…all day…and the water might be stained.  OK.  I am from Tennessee, stained is ok.

I watched the creeks and gullies as I got closer to Rogers.  The fields had standing water, the sides of the road we filled with standing water, parking lots had standing water….creeks were flowing in the trees; muddy, not just stained.

I held out hope.

I rounded a corner and could see the water above the dam at the mill.  And for the second time this season, my plans were in jeopardy.  I am pretty weak at extremely deep and clear water – the definition of Beaver Lake – so I held out hope that it would still be ok andf I would have some skinny water in my future; then I saw the creek.

I pedal my Hobie at least once a week – most weeks more – every week (for two years now) so I feel like I am in pretty good pedaling shape for an old guy…and the Hobie can forge through some pretty swift current…but I tossed a stick in to measure the current. Before the stick hit the water good, it was 10 feet past the point of entry at a point where the creek choked the water.  The engineer in me went to work…that was about a second…

(10 feet per second times (60 seconds in a minute)(60 minutes in an hour)) divided by 5280 feet in a mile…little under 7 mph.

…on my best day…I might be able to hold that for a second or two, but the water was also too shallow for the mirage drive….yep, I was in trouble.

I chose to fish around the dam on Beaver Lake first thing in the morning.  My first steps out of the truck were into my boots…while I quickly learned were filled with water, not the best start on a cold Arkansas morning.

I pulled some old smelly socks from under the seat of my truck and put my sneakers back on before launching. Not too often I sit in 15 feet of water and can count the rocks on the bottom, but the water was that clear!  I tried to stop thinking about my blown out creek.

Cast number two with a small Charlie Brewer swimbait, lost a 14 inch fish. Cast number four landed a 15.5 with that same bait…then the dink fest began…so after about 2 hours of littles (had I been on time, I would have known that 10 inchers counted for NSKA!!!)…I made a decision to drive 50 minutes back to War Eagle and take my chances.

Nothing of value to add here, I rolled the dice and lost….almost flipped when my drive snagged the bottom, almost lost my kayak to the 6 plus mph water when I jumped out to keep from rolling and lost a grip on the Hobie as the current tried to take it…luckily it hung on the bottom.  My calculations were fairly accurate – I could only beat the current in the widest parts and caught zero fish the rest of the day.

Reflecting on the way home, I played back the last months.  I changed my style this year, swinging for the fences instead of fishing for limits.  I could have easily pulled a limit on Beaver without moving…without almost flipping….

I said this out loud…and Joy said “maybe you should go back to what you know”….

…maybe I should.

On to Guntersville…..and catching limits.

 

Author: Mike Cheatham

Me…Mike Cheatham email…mikecheathamfishing@gmail.com something to know……….fished my whole life; now from a kayak….

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