“Let’s go to Bennett!”
The weather was supposed to be decent and, well, fishing and motorcycle buddy Pete Oppermann, Olathe, didn’t have to ask me twice. So about 6 on a Saturday night, he and I headed down to the Trout Shack at Bennett Spring State Park, Mo., with thoughts of landing our trout limit.
“It’s going to be a good trip,” I told him. “I checked the website and they are hitting on just about anything black and yellow, especially maribou.”
And that color combination has always — ALWAYS — been good for me in catching trout.
But not this time.
Sunday was cool and overcast with occasional light rain throughout the day. I waded into the water and threw out my first cast using my trusting black-and-yellow spinner and immediately had a hard strike but wasn’t able to bring it in.
“Oh, yeah!” I thought to myself. “This is going to be great.”
An hour later, after moving up and down the stream, after changing bait several times, there had been no strikes, not even a nibble, and I was without any trout on my stringer.
“I’ve got two,” Pete said and held them up. “And I had a couple of others get off before I could get them in.
“How many do you have?”
I held up my empty stringer.
We took a break for breakfast, and then for lunch. By 3 that afternoon, the clouds became darker, the wind a bit chillier, and I still had yet to catch anything. I was feeling pretty dejected. My back was hurting. I was starting to get chilled and thinking about calling it quits for awhile. I had switched back to my trusty black-and-yellow spinner and cast the line to the opposite back. I pulled it back, let it drop into the water and then gave it a little jerk before starting to reel it in.
I felt it hang up and thought the bait had got entangled in some moss. I pulled up on the rod and the line began moving back and forth. And it kept moving as I reeled it in. Then the trout briefly came to the surface and then dived back down jerking the line as it switched directions.
“Finally!” I said to myself.
Then I started getting nervous. I could tell it was a good-sized trout. It was pulling the line pretty good and the way my luck had been going that day, I almost expected it to flip off my hook as I brought it closer to my waiting net. Slowly it came closer…closer…and then my net came up and the big trout was mine measuring 14 inches.
The catch brought back some excitement and despite what had become a pouring rain, I continued to cast…and cast…and cast.
For the next day-and-a-half, I continued to cast…and cast…and cast.
That 14-incher, which I ate Sunday night (and it was goooood!) was the only trout I was able to get on this trip.
Pete, on the other hand, who, basically, was using the same kind of bait as me, was the angler of the week catching a total of eight good-sized trout, including a 14-incher and several 11- and 12-inchers. He must have felt sorry for me, he let me eat one of his on Monday night and when we got home Tuesday afternoon, he gave me a couple for my freezer, one of which I will be eating for dinner tonight.
Although disappointing (for me) fish-wise, it was a good trip. After Sunday’s cool weather, Monday and Tuesday were sunny and warm. And while Pete caught the fish, I managed just a strike here and there without any success of bringing in another trout, although I did see a huge eagle swoop down into the Niangua River and grab a trout, fly to a nearby tree and have a nice feast. That was quite a sight.
But that’s fishing: Sometimes you have the touch; sometimes you don’t.
The real fun, though, always is in trying.