Float trip offers group vision of paradise


Mar 11, 2001
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July 25, 2003

Charlie Farmer, Springfield News-Leader

Float trip offers group vision of paradise

I wanted to fish the Finley River near my home last Thursday.
The problem was my Isuzu Trooper, which I love dearly even though I have racked up 92,451 miles, needed some maintenance. Such things as oil filter change, lube job, antifreeze and rotation of tires.

Many of the guys at the dealership in Springfield are fishermen. I know this because I have traded there for years. I headed out of Ozark with a smattering rain pelting the windshield. It would have been a good day to wet a line for smallmouth and goggle-eye. Turn back the smallies to fight again and maybe keep the good rock bass for a fish dinner.

I pulled into the garage, still thinking about fishing. My truck was headed to the maintenance area, and I headed into the customer lounge. I figured this could be a long wait.

On the way to the busy lounge, I crossed paths with Bob Vincel. We greeted each other and headed into his office. Bob wanted to tell me of a fine three-day fishing float trip a few weeks ago. There were 10 friends in eight canoes.

Bob told me they floated 8 miles of the Kings River in Arkansas in three days at a leisurely pace.

The put-in was a little hard to find since the definition of "highway" in Arkansas is a little unusual. The highway turned to a gravel road as they got closer to the river. There were many unmarked turn-offs. Finally they caught up with the float trip gang about 8:30 p.m. The rest of the guys also had trouble finding the spot. They set up camp across the river on a nice gravel bar Thursday night.

They were quite pleased with the Kings River with its abundance of smallmouth and firewood and fewer floaters. They had a $5 big bass tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Not all was fishing. They ate very well. But the "gourmet" chefs did not make any of their intended desserts. However, all meals were delicious. It's not all fishing in this group. There were melon ball, celery, cold boiled shrimp, curry creme sauce appetizers, 8-ounce fillet mignon, 8-ounce lobster tails with drawn butter and lemons, and sea salt encrusted baked potatoes with sour cream and butter.

Yes, there was cold beer and pop in the boats for those who wanted too partake. There were Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers for cocktails after supper.

Grown men sitting on canvas chairs and believing this is as good as it comes with friends who savor fishing, camping, good food and fun.

I could tell more "river stories." But, of course, as the saying goes ... mostly "what happens on the river stays on the river."

Another great guy float trip!

Contact free-lance columnist Charlie Farmer at 1197 East Court, Ozark, MO 65721 or cjoutdoors318365@aol.com.

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