The Empire Strikes Back…

Darth Vader with Striper from Lake Norfork
Darth Vader with Striper from Lake Norfork

Remember the Star Wars movies?  Well, “The Empire Strikes Back” was about as accurate a description of our evening out on the lake as I could come up with.  Yes, your White River Trout Diva got stomped BAD fishing Monday night by her loving husband, Steve.  Not just a little bad…  BIG BAD.  He suggested I let our readers know just HOW BAD.  Therefore, he wears the Darth Vader helmet in this story, because I know how to use Photoshop…  Anyway — lemme tell you about it…

It was Monday night, April 13, 2009…  The White River Trout Diva had been relentlessly ribbing her husband, Steve (aka Darth Vader — at least in this story…) for several days about how she’s been beating him up no matter how they’d been fishing…  More fish…  Bigger fish…  Yes, that “Diva gloating” was fixin’ to meet up with a light saber!

Lord Vader summoned all the power of the Dark Side of the Force, as he plotted his revenge…  Vader would take the Diva fishing up on Lake Norfork this night.  It was about 6 PM.  The weather was cool, the skies were overcast, with a 15 mph breeze coming through…  The conditions were perfect for his triumphant return to power in the Galaxy…  He let her continue to gloat on the way to the lake, and didn’t say a word — it was all part of his plan…

OK, enough of the Star Wars metaphors for now…  Since we haven’t fished Lake Norfork much, we decided to do what we suggest our guests do to familiarize themselves with the White River — we took a guide.  Darrell from Bink’s Guide Service did a great job for us!  That’s what’s so great about living here — we’re right in the middle of 3 rivers (White River, North Fork River, Buffalo River) and 2 lakes (Norfork Lake and Bull Shoals Lake) so the fishing opportunities are amazing!

Anyway, we left the Quarry Marina Dock around 6:00, and Darrell knew exactly where to go…  We started working a long point before sunset with some Mighty Minnows.  You use a medium retrieve, and then jerk the rod sharply every turn of the reel, let in some slack, and repeat.  I missed several fish before dark…  Lord Vader Steve already had one Striper.  Diva was beginning to worry, as Steve hadn’t had any other strikes yet, but landed the first fish he did have a strike on.  It’s different from trout fishing, folks!

When you set the hook for trout, you just basically lift the rod firmly.  Too hard, and you’ll rip the hook right out of a trout’s mouth.  When you’re on the lake, you have to SET that hook!  Steve gets another fish — a nice walleye.  (Just a note to you trout fishers that may go to the lake to enjoy yourselves…  Do NOT try to “lip-hold” a walleye!  TEETH — BIG, EVIL LOOKING TEETH!)

OK, I can see it now.  My husband is just giving me “the grin”…  Ladies, you know what I mean.  The grin that says, “How’s that gloating working for you NOW?”  I switch over to another rod with a Fire Tiger Stickbait, so I can get used to it before dark.  You don’t jerk these; you just use a medium retrieve that’s just a little slower than where you can feel the vibration.

Your Diva misses about 5 more fish…  Had 2 on for about 5 – 10 seconds, and both got off.  Probably not getting that good hookset, no doubt.  The count by this time?  Steve had 2 Stripers, 1 Walleye, and 2 Hybrids.

Then, it was my turn.  I caught a nice hybrid, but not as big as Lord Vader Steve’s.  It was so much FUN, though!!!  Then, Steve caught his big Striper.  The one in the picture?  That was actually his smaller Striper!  The picture of the big one did not come out, so I couldn’t share it with you.  Steve thinks I did that on purpose, but I ask you…  Would I actually DO that???

Moving on…  All evening, Lord Vader did not miss a single strike.  He did not tangle up his rod.  He did not lose a lure, and he did not get hung up anywhere…  He wound up with 3 Stripers, 3 Hybrids, and 1 Walleye — all noteworthy fish.

And your Trout Diva?  Ratted up my line at least 3 times — once so bad I actually had to change rods — what a rookie mistake!  I KNOW I heard my dear husband giggle and our incredibly patient and professional guide did not say a word — he just handed me another rod, and we continued on.  I missed probably 9 fish.  I wound up with 1 hybrid, and I’ll tell you what — I had an absolute BLAST!  And I learned so much…  and it’s a good thing, too, cuz you know what?  I’m plannin’ my comeback…

Tonight may have been “The Empire Strikes Back”.  So be it.  But my NEXT blog to you folks, God willing, will be entitled, “The Return of the Jedi”.  Talk to you soon.

Your White River Trout Diva