Bull Creek Campout

The setting for my campout.

My "tent."

Went camping this weekend on Bull Creek, and had a wonderful time. It had been five years since I'd spent the night on the river by myself. I like to do it every once in awhile just to prove to myself I still can.

Above, you can see a picture of my "tent," which was contructed of thin pvc pipe arched over the top of my truck bed, with a tarp layed over the top, and staked to the ground on the corners. It wouldn't be of much use in a severe storm, but it's good for keeping away a light rain or a heavy dew. Not bad for a city boy, eh? (I actually stole this idea from a couple buddies.)

After setting up camp and grilling some hamburgers, I had about an hour before dark to fish. Bull Creek is a challenging stream to fish. First of all, it is bathtub clear, which means the fish have extremely high visibility. (Your fishing line looks about like a rope.) Secondly, you may walk 100 yards or more before you find a pool of water deep enough to hold fish. But when you do, watch out, because they're in there!

To give you an example, at one point I got my lure hung up on a log. The water was no more than six inches deep all the way up to my side of the log, but on the other side of the log it abruptly dropped off to 6-7 feet deep. When I peeked on the other side of the log, 5-7 keeper smallmouth scattered in every direction. Wow!

The key to fishing this kind of water is to locate such a pool, stand way back, and make a very light presentation. (I used a baby torpedo and a baby spook.) After the lure hit the water, I would wait for several seconds, before lightly popping and twitching the lure. This strategy resulted in one nice smallmouth, and a few slightly under the limit. Just as fun were the "hits" I missed. More than once, a fish would knock my little lure completely out of the water, yet fail to get hooked. Nevertheless, each hit is a thrill.

It was a beautiful evening to camp. The stars were out. The lightning bugs filled the sky. I even heard a whipporwill and hoot owl a time or two. But the highlight of the trip was early the next morning. Walking along the creek in the early morning haze, three forms emerged from the fog in the creek ahead of me. It was three bucks, and one of them was a granddaddy, 8-10 points by my estimation. We looked at one another for a full minute, and then they splashed across the creek into the underbrush, and were gone. I didn't catch any more fish after that, but by then it didn't matter. I had drank in God's majesty. And it was good for my soul.