EIGHT HOURS IN THE RAIN
BY JOHN BERRY
We have had a lot of rain lately. Of course, this coincided with some excellent fishing conditions surrounding opening day. The Catch and Release Section below Bull Shoals Dam was closed to facilitate the brown trout spawn from November 1, 2018 until February 1, 2019. The trout in this area of the river were not fished over for three months. The period of opening day and a few days after is a great time to target big trout.
My clients Steve from Kansas City and Jerry from Colorado wanted to go after big fish. While the fishing conditions were good the weather was lousy. The high temperature was in the upper thirties and we were scheduled for two days of unrelenting rain. I had instructed my clients to bring rain gear and to expect to use it.
It was raining from the beginning. I wore my Simms rain bibs and rain jacket. Under them, I wore fleece pants and a fleece jacket with long under wear and wool fingerless gloves. I tried to get by just wearing my baseball cap but it was soon soaked and I switched over to my Gore-Tex cap lined with fleece. I eventually had to use my hood to keep my neck dry.
I rigged their rods, launched my boat and began fishing in the rain. There was a dense fog that lasted all day. I could barely see a few feet in front of me and moved cautiously. In the morning, the going was a bit slow. We caught a few nice trout.
At lunch, we sat in my Suburban to escape the rain for a few minutes. I switched my gloves for a dry pair and we returned to the river. As luck would have it, my boat battery failed and I had to start my motor with my pull starter. Steve landed a stout twenty four inch rainbow, while Jerry got a nineteen. We caught several other nice trout. The fishing in the afternoon was quite a bit better. At 4:00 PM, we decided that we had enough. We went our separate ways after agreeing to start anew, at 7:30 the next morning.
By the time that I got home, I was chilled to the bone. I took off my rain suit and hung it up to dry. My fleece jacket was wet to the elbow. The water had wicked up from my wet wool gloves. My feet were cold despite my heavy wool socks. I went to bed early but had trouble sleeping because the sound of the heavy rain and thunder kept me up.
I got up early the next morning and gathered my gear to prepare for the day. It was scheduled to be cold and rain all day (heavier than the day before). As I was filling my thermos with coffee, I heard the phone ring. It was Steve. He said that he and Jerry had enjoyed the fishing but were not interested in spending another day in the rain.
Despite good fishing, the bad weather called off our second day. I was ready to fish but got to stay dry that day. Life is good!
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our streams for over thirty five years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or http://www.berrybrothersguides.com.