OT: Vacation IV

My fourth vacation since slowing down is starting Sunday night. This one is going to be expensive. I’ve never paid for a guide over five straight days.

I’ve been invited to join the Wildcat Club. It’s a fly fishing club that is hosted by Edmond resident David Buskirk. He invites seven men to join him to fly fish for five straight days.

We will meet at his lodge (or river house) above Wildcat Shoals on the White River. We will stay at his lodge through Thursday night. Pairings will be drawn at dinner Sunday night. All meals are cooked at the house.

We will be assigned to four elite guides (one of them is Kristopher Bouldin, married to daughter Becca). We will change guides each day and also change fishing partners.

Our big fish will be measured each day and recorded on the scoreboard. The guide gets credit for the big trout in his boat each day. The winning fly fisher and winning guide will each be presented with an engraved Bowie knife Friday night.

I’m beyond excited. I’ve been asked to list my favorite wine, bourbon and cigar. I really didn’t help much there. I just said I’d drink whatever. I was told they will have Pappy 15. I guess that’s good. Scarce stuff will be common at David’s lodge.

I’d say that the fly fishers are probably better at handling themselves after dinner than on the river. I am as talented as any fly fisher in the bunch, but with these guides it isn’t hard to get on the board each day with a big brown trout. (Big rainbows count just as much.)

But I’m not going to be much help here or with Hog+, ESPN Arkansas radio or at the fly shops this week. I will probably stay at David’s lodge each night since it’s about a 45-minute drive home. If I’m going to partake of the special liquids each night, I won’t come home.

Kristopher took me on a practice run on Monday and I did well. But the bite was incredibly good. I landed 14 nice brown trout on hoppers. He said five or six of those fish would have put me in a great position on the scoreboard. But you never know about hopper fishing. It can go cold quickly.

I practiced with two different rods to figure out which one I can place a big foam hopper best. I’ve decided that an old TFO BVK 6 weight with a Rio Grand line is better than my new high dollar Winston Air Pro II with a Scientific Angler MPX 6 weight line. Not a huge difference, but being able to place a hopper 6 inches from the bank (and not in the bushes) is important. I’m really good with the BVK. I was advised by Kristopher to rest my shoulder a couple of times a day so as to pace myself for five days of casting, something I have never done. He also advised with a strong voice to pace myself at night after dinner. I know he’s correct on that one, too.

The weather forecast is good, but we won’t know the generation schedule for the White until the night before each day.

I’ll take some pictures and might write a column about it. As they say at the Wildcat Club, cheers.


This is a reward of retirement. Made me smile. BTW your interviews on Hog+ are really, really good. Enjoy, you’ve earned it.

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Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip! You’ll have to write a column about it.

Do you ever use a GoPro camera? Turn it on and forget about it. Later, you can capture short clips and images in very high resolution (up to 4K)…all from the fly fisher’s perspective of the cast, drift, set, play, and landing. Post-landing pics are nice, but the action before that pic is taken is why you love fly fishing.

Don’t try any new camera technology stuff on this upcoming trip. Focus :wink: on your fishing. Good luck!

I’ve seen Go Pros on river. Seemed like they were messing with it more than fishing

Yep. Those folks forgot to forget about their GoPro.

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Life is good huh Clay

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So is food here. Pairings party is tonight. I fixed apple pancakes for the tournament contestants this morning. They were a hit.

What a blast. Enjoy.

That’s daughter Becca with the big brown above scoreboard. I took that picture.


Makes it even sweeter.

There was a big brown caught today. Not be me. I’ve got some catching up to do. I probably caught more fish than anyone but did not have anything big. Not out of it. But have some work to do.

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Sounds Great,Have fun Clay.Hope you catch a lot.

Can’t beat good fishing, good company, good food, good relaxation. Only assuming you relax a bit Clay.
Money well spent. Expect some fishing stories later at your leisure.

Like hitting gold, puts a smile on one’s face. Carpe diem.

Gumbo was the dinner fare last night. Incredibly good. Tonight it’s filet mignon. But for now, I need some big brown trout. I am focused and ready.


Man, ya’ll eat well.

Halfway through fishing day. Eating lunch. Much better day. Bunch of browns on hopper. One dandy. Pics later.


Not many folks take a net begin enough to land one of those.

Three others (out of 8) caught bigger fish today. I was only one inch short of big fish. My guide is son in law Kristopher Bouldin tomorrow. He will put the pressure on me to hit the spots with my hopper tight to the bank. I will try not to let him down.

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Not among the leaders today. I fished hard and caught lots of fish but the biggest was a 17 inch brown. Ken Hall of Fayetteville caught a 25 inch brown. He is in first place overall. I am ahead of several. I’m only rookie among the eight contestants. Most have done this many times. It’s highly intense.