A Hot Summer Afternoon on Taneycomo

Last weekend found me rounding up the family and taking a hot car ride to the Branson area to work with a client and friend of mine on a project. It’s easy to get motivated when your client happens to be a fly fishing guide (turns out he’s a very good one, at that) who has cabin rentals on Table Rock Lake.  Winning…

I won’t spend all of my time pimping the outfit, but I highly encourage a visit to his website, Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter if you’re into that.  (And not just saying that because it’s part of the digital marketing strategy I have created 😉 )  Capt. Kris Nelson, AKA Tandem Fly Outfitters, did an outstanding job making the most out of what should have been a tough day on the water, getting us into more trout than I have ever been into… and that was on a “bad day” by his standards.

After an evening interviewing Kris for his website content and watching him tie the next day’s flies over a few aptly chosen  Trout Slayer Ales,  our morning started out early and hot.  So when Kris asked if Abby had a jacket, I sorta laughed… not really knowing that the temperature down in the valley below Table Rock, with the 40-something degree water temp, the dense fog on the water in the morning was like something in the 60’s (or less) for a bit.  In fact those “cold pockets” of air were intermittent along the river throughout the day. It was beautiful, drifting along the river fishing and hitting a cold spot, feeling the temp shift from 85 to 65 for 10-20 seconds…

We took a quick 20-30 minutes for the obligatory beating of a certain bank with dries, looking for that magical morning rise.  The driest part of that whole experience was my obvious neglect with keeping my casting tuned up (not touched a fly rod in over 5 years!) – I was under the impression that anything that said Orvis or G. Loomis did not require work and did it all for you. All that got me was one tail slap, but enough to get me excited. Our whistle sufficiently whetted, we moved on up towards the damn and the drift game.

Drifting is about the only way to go with water levels still post-flood-season high, and with the amount of water running, Kris knew just what to use and where to use it.

This is where the 13 year old daughter took over and became the star. Using scuds on strike indicators dropped no more than 6-8” from a San Juan worm or an egg pattern (as more of an attractant than anything), we proceeded to spend the next 5 hours rotating through several different drift lines, picking up nice rainbows along the way. We caught a number of fish in the 15-17” range, with something like 13-14” being our average fish. Ended up with 25-30 fish, something like that.

“Worst day of the year”, says Kris, apologetic for the slow bite all day, the size of the fish, etc… and I can cite his 50+ with some much nicer fish in much less time with clients a couple days ago as an example…

But in my book it went down as one of the best. You see, I got to spend the day on the water with a new friend, doing something I love and miss in fly fishing, and catching something different than what I get to see in Kansas. But most of all, it’s spending that time with my daughter, seeing her take to that fly rod with vigor, attacking a new and exciting challenge, seeing her enjoy it, excel at it, and thinking how much that reminds me of myself at that age.  And me not even caring that she outfished me.


Don’t hesitate to contact Capt. Kris Nelson. I’d love to give him a referral, as would anyone who he has taken out.  He is GREAT with beginners, kids, and has plenty for the expert as well. Check him out HERE.  If you are heading to Branson, take a half day, this guy will make the most of your time and give you the best shot at a trophy rainbow or brown you can find.  And look for another post on here when I drag the other two amigos down there in the next month or two for a Kansas Outdoorsman rendezvous with the Capt. and some early fall Browns, we hope.

~ benton

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