Monday, October 10, 2011

Kayak fishing the Meramec River

IMG_3392_s
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.

IMG_3389_s

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.

IMG_3295_s
Left to right, Brian, myself and Ryan.

IMG_3296_s
Ryan, paddling

IMG_3298_s
Brian, wandering through some downed trees. There were a lot from last year's rainy spring.

IMG_3299_s
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.

IMG_3301_s
Another perch that I caught.

IMG_3303_s
Ryan and a small small mouth bass.

IMG_3309_s

IMG_3311_s

IMG_3312_s
A small mouth bass that I caught.

IMG_3314_s
Another small mouth.

IMG_3315_s
What the river looks like underwater.

IMG_3316_s
Brian and a Kentucky spotted bass.

IMG_3320_s
Caterpillar

IMG_3325_s
Kentucky spotted bass.

IMG_3327_s
Ryan

IMG_3331_s
Brian and a goggle-eye bass.

IMG_3332_s
Another small mouth bass.

IMG_3334_s
Ryan

IMG_3335_s
I actually caught a shad minnow on a spinning lure. Weird.

IMG_3337_s
Brian

IMG_3339_s

IMG_3345_s

IMG_3343_s
River bottom

IMG_3348_s
Ryan gets frisky with his catch.

IMG_3353_s
Me

IMG_3354_s
Ditto

IMG_3358_s
Someone's river camp shack.

IMG_3360_s
Lots of caves line the river.

IMG_3364_s

IMG_3366_s
Caveman TV

IMG_3369_s
Pipe and an ale by the fireside. One of my favorite things in life.

IMG_3371_s
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.

IMG_3391_s
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.

8 comments:

Evan said...

Looks very relaxing.

Trevor said...

yup! it was nice. i hope to do this sort of thing more often, come spring. i'm going to build a skin-on-frame kayak this winter.

Shawn said...

Great pics- looks like it was good for the soul, as they say. Looking forward to watching the build of the kayaks, but don't forget about the Wa`apa!

Trevor said...

It was great, really! We didn't catch anything big, but we made up for it in numbers. When spring rolls around, I plan to fish quite a bit more often. From the kayak in progress and the Wa'apa. It won't be on the level of the fishing you do, but until I manage to move back to a semi-tropical coastal area, I'll make the best of it.

Spring will bring certain outrigger adventure pics. I've got a couple of solo island camps in the works. I just have to find out if it's legal and wait for warm weather.

Shawn said...

I think you should mount the Wa`apa hull on skis and do some winter sailing. Don't forget the camera! :)

Trevor said...

That reminds me, I need to dig out the plans I drew a couple of years ago for a minimalist landsailer. Something I could knock out for about $35-40. You can see it on my Flickr site. I might have to work on that over winter, if I get the other boats done quickly.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12235211@N02/3903090523/

Trevor said...

UPDATE: That shad I thought I caught is most likely a flathead chub.

Trevor said...

Or could be this little dude, the cypress minnow.
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/cypress-minnow