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NFC: LIKE A LONE RANGER



   


      Im submitting this to give hope to those who
have never collected before and have nobody
experienced to show them the ropes or even another
rooky to share a new experience with . 
     About three months ago I moved from Wisconsin to
Arkansas overlooking parts of Bull Shoals Lake in the
Ozarks . Though I had wanted to do some collecting  in
Wisconsin for a few years I put off taking the time
for numerous reasons .  I was determined to not let
that happen here .
     For me the most usable Lone Ranger equipment
proved to be the kick or dip net and minnow traps . 
     My first time out with the dip net was so
productive I thought I must have found my niche in
life -- kicknetter supremo . I've had days which
weren't so great since but have never been totally
skunked with my kick net on any collecting expedition
. Its a simple 1/4 inch mesh Wall mart special . My
only complaint is that the handle doesn't collapse to
fit in the trunk . But , maybe it wouldn't be as
sturdy ? Its not that Im really so great with a kick
net as it is that the kick net is a great piece of
equipment that anyone from kid to granny can use ! Ill
let the experts tell the proper way to use it , I just
use it any old way and it works . 
      I was leary of placing my minnow traps out and
leaving them to two legged scavengers at first but now
I just put them in inconspicuous spots and have had no
problems except when making long upstream treks to
find my traps only to realize that I had placed them
all downstream last time . At first I tended to place
them in the same type of location in the creek . The
same type of location generally produces the same type
of fish so the dawn came upon me and now I try to  
select various habitat locations . At different times
of the season fish species may change habitat
locations . For instance , early in the season I was
catching slender madtoms in six inches of water with
my kicknet . Then I wasn't . One day I placed a minnow
trap in a hole in the creek about four to five feet
deep . I didn't wade in , I just tossed it in with a
long rope . Next morning I knew where the slender
madtoms were . I found that placing minnow traps in
moderate to fast current locations tended to see the
openings clogged with leaves twigs and sometimes even
gravel on the upstream - productive - side . I placed
a minnow trap in a 55 g aquarium with various creek
fishes to see what would happen . After a two hours 
one dummy minnow ended up in the trap . After some
time two kinfolk joined him . Everyone else studiously
avoided the trap . Just about sunset three more
blundered into the trap . By sunrise everybody was
partying in the trap . That night life will get you .
And them . Minnow traps have the advantage of allowing
dry feet collecting from the shore . However I prefer
to plow a wake up or down the creek . This lets me
choose trap locations more carefully and I can place
them where bank bound 2 leggers bent on minnow trap
mayhem will have a tough time seeing the traps let
alone doing their dirty deeds . Most of the time I set
baitless traps . There are times when I use bait in a
trap but ill get back to that .
     I have 2 sets of rubber high boots which are
useful when collecting early in the year when the
water is cold but normally I just get in the water
with an old pair of work boots . At Clear Creek one
day I had the company , far upstream , of a fly
fisherman in full regalia . A very pretty picture it
would have made with him in his chest waders and all .
He could have lain down in that 6 inches of water and
not gotten wet . Very pretty though . I can see that
wadders would be usefull in mud bottoms or very cold
water but this part of the country was left short in
the mud catagory . We have rocks . And heat . And
humidity that fills rubber boots even if they dont
leak . 
     The curse of my Lone Ranger collecting gear has
to be the cast net . I just was not cast in life to
use a cast net . If YOU have the talent to use one
they can be very productive . During one of my
tortuous practice sessions with a cast net I selected
a fairly clear creek area which didn't appear to have
any fish but neither did it have any major
obstructions . Twice I managed to get the net to open
half way as it entered the water . Each of these
joyous events produced fish in the net . They were
small hornyhead chubs . The very next time I have 2
shots and a beer Im going to try that cast net again .

     Where oh where can I go . The cry of every Lone
Ranger new kid on the block . One obvious location to
start with is a boat landing . There is very easy
access and they realy can be good places to collect .
Not many boat landings are on creeks that I have found
and the one and only lake in this area is Bull Shoals
. It is known for going from a depth of 1 foot to 75
feet in an amazingly short distance . Most of what I
collected from such areas was bream , a term here
abuots meaning any of the sunfishes under 4 inches
that are normally used as bait . After breaming out I
started asking bait dealers and locals how to get at
the creeks . How could I ask such a silly question .
It was perfectly obvious ! You use the one laner . A
one laner is a little one lane vehicle track usually
found at one or the other end of a bridge going over a
creek . These little single lane "roads" often involve
a right angle , steeply downhill turn into a
wilderness of ruts . They may lead to one or more
homesteads or meth labs or stills but there will
always be a branch leading to the creek . usually
comming out under the bridge . Its best to choose your
branch of the "road" carefully . Some folks dont care
for their work to be interupted . By far , the
majority of people here are courtious and friendly as
country people all over are . I had learned the secret
of the one laner ! Where I had been whizing by what I
thought were horrible auto accidents going off the
highway were my little bits of heaven . Location is
everything .
     Well, location is almost everything . Having
company is more than just a pleasantry it could well
be vital to your safty . For instance - I drove down a
familliar one laner to my parking spot near a creek
,got out of the car and heard a loude HEY ! Startled I
looked around and saw the back end of a pickup truck
sticking out of head high weeds . A lanky young fella
stepped out of the weeds and said something
uninteligable and I thought this guy is higher than a
4 mile kite . I kept saying what untill I understood
that he had his pickup stuck and wanted me to pull him
out . I told him I thought he needed a wrecker but Id
try . Just about that time another fella steped out of
the weeds with an ax held across his chest . Well only
the Good Lord knows how much I wanted to be out of
there or at least have some old geezer along who
couldnt out run me . Turned out the second guy was
much more sober and had been chopping a small tree
down to use as a lever . Everything turned 
out OK but I knew I had to find me one of those old
geezers for company . 
     Down the road from me lives an avid fisherman .
He is without any interest in collecting . When I
mentioned That I was looking for good places to
collect minnows and such he mentioned that he would
like some good fresh and cheep (free) bait and he
would be willing to show lots of places I might try .
Especialy if I could supply him with crawfish . This
geezer is only one year older than I but , inspite of
my rotundness , I can outrun him . There is all kinds
of bait in this world . This is where the baited
minnow trap comes in - I had dicovered a place where
Wall Mart stink bait in a trap will fill it with
crawfish . He was duely impressed and goes creeking
with me most of the time . Just to watch and get his
share though . The new kid has a friend . And I CAN
out run him .
     One of my neighbors made the local paper . He was
arrested for being in possesion of a STEEL WORM . Any
of you northeners know why?


     A list of collected species will follow shortly .


     






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COSED ! GONE FISHIN . BILL

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