Monday, October 10, 2011
Kayak fishing the Meramec River
Friday evening I picked up my buddy Brian D. about 7 pm and we headed a few hours northeast to meet another friend of ours, Ryan B., for some camping, kayaking and fishing on the Meramec River. We camped at Onondaga Cave State Park, which is fairly nice. Well, much nicer than our usual primitive camping that we do. We mostly avoid state parks and campgrounds for less crowded outdoor arrangements.
We got to the somewhat populous campground about 9:30-10 pm. After being momentarily detained outside the park gate by an obviously bored park official, speeding ticket waved (luckily), we met up with Ryan and started to relax fireside. Dinner consisted of hotdogs and Mother's "Three Blind Mice" Ale, followed by a dessert of pipe smoke.
Saturday morning, 9-9:30 am, we headed over to the outfitters to catch the shuttle to the put-in point. The kayaks we rented were really only good for bouncing off things. They were heavy, wonky-designed, bits of plastic with paddles that seemed a foot too short. They tracked weird and lost momentum easily. But, even a day on a crappy sit-on-top kayak, beats a day in an office, so we still had a blast. We floated 9.5 miles, from The Bluffs to Ozark Outdoors Campground. Roughly eight hours on the water.
Left to right, Brian, myself and Ryan.
Brian, wandering through some downed trees. There were a lot from last year's rainy spring.
Brian scores the first fish of the day, a long-eared sun perch. We caught between 15-25 fish a piece, but only a handful were of keeping size.
Another perch that I caught.
Ryan and a small small mouth bass.
A small mouth bass that I caught.
Another small mouth.
What the river looks like underwater.
Brian and a Kentucky spotted bass.
Kentucky spotted bass.
Brian and a goggle-eye bass.
Another small mouth bass.
I actually caught a shad minnow on a spinning lure. Weird.
Ryan gets frisky with his catch.
Someone's river camp shack.
Lots of caves line the river.
Pipe and an ale by the fireside. One of my favorite things in life.
Gigging john boat on the river. Two up front with multi-pronged spear tipped poles and one at the helm. They had banks of lights just below the gigs to light up the river bottom.
The Subaru did great as a camp vehicle. I slept in the back both nights. Not the most comfortable sleeping, a taller person would have trouble, but it was really quiet. I only woke for an owl and sunrise.