A Travellerspoint blog

June 2011

Bull Shoals Lake Day 5: Houseboat for Sale?

Mike was able to capture the sunrise from the top of the boat on our last morning because his sore finger woke him up early.

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Just after the sun rose, a lone duck flew in from nowhere. He hung around the boat for a bit so Mike threw him some bread pieces.

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We left the mooring and cruised back to the marina early. We said our goodbyes to Sven #19. As we left the lake and turned the car toward home, we drove over the dam to get a good look at the White River.

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The nine hour drive home was pretty brutal but we survived. In a lot of ways, the trip was much different than we expected. Since the lake was flooded, the diving was a little disappointing. We had hoped to catch more fish including a walleye or two. The lake itself was much more beautiful than we expected and the experience of living on a houseboat was much more enjoyable than we expected. Our plans of one day owning a larger sailboat are no more. The first night home we spent googling houseboats for sale. Maybe one day...

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Posted by zihuatcat 22:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 4: Captain Mike vs. Moby Bass

Our last full day dawned and Mike was more determined than ever to get a fish for Vi.

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You would think, with all of this tackle, that something would bite.

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Casting with the bait net didn't work.

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More casting by rod and reel didn't work.

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All that was caught was this:

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The fishing was slowly becoming a Greek tragedy. I gave up and went noodling with Vi.

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By late afternoon, it was time to leave the dam area and make our way back toward the marina. We decided to return to the mooring from the night before since the boat had to be back by 9:30 a.m. the next day and we wanted to get in line as soon as possible. On the way, we stopped at the cliff walls along the side of the lake. A few brave guys were cliff jumping into the lake.

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Mike decided to take one more stab at getting a fish for Vi when we cruised past a small island of trees.

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Success! Mike caught a 2.5-pound, 16-inch small mouth bass (insert happy dance here).

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Unfortunately, Mike's happiness was short-lived and the fish got him back. He was sawing thru the poor little thing on the back of the boat when I said, "That knife sure doesn't look very sharp." Not thirty seconds later, Mike cut his finger to the bone with the fillet knife. Apparently it was sharp enough.

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Vi and I got him patched up and Vi finally got her fried fish.

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Posted by zihuatcat 22:31 Archived in USA Tagged lake bull shoals Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 3: Drowning Worms and Killing Time*

We woke up on Saturday morning, sticky and sweaty from our non-a/c sleep the night before. Vi made more breakfast tacos. This time they were chorizo/potato and sausage/potato (Mike no longer eats chorizo because of a regrettable incident with Jack in the Box).

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Mike was intent on getting some fishing done since he hadn't had a chance the day before with all the jet skiing and diving. He rigged up a couple of rods, we broke free from the mooring, and jockeyed our giant boat up against the shoreline of trees. This little guy was hanging out in the tree as we neared shore.

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Vi was hell-bent on having fried fish but since she didn't get a fishing license, it was up to me and Mike to accommodate her wishes.

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In the meantime, Vi struck a few poses.

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Our plan for the day was to make our way down the lake towards Bull Shoals Dam and find a place to moor for the day and rest of the evening. We fished for about an hour with no luck so we decided to head that way. Mike drove for a little while then I took over so he could relax with Vi and enjoy the cruise.

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It was about an hour's trip down to the dam. Since the lake was flooded, the dam was roped off with buoys so we couldn't get very close. We found a little cove by the boat ramp and Mike did a little impromptu hiking to get us tied up to the trees.

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We hadn't been there very long when a storm began brewing just overhead. We took the opportunity to snack on some guacamole while we waited out the rain.

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And nothing beats killing time with a few fresh pina coladas.

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Once the rain cleared, we went back to fishing. On the second cast, Mike caught a small, yellow bass. I was frantically looking for the fishing guide to see if he was a keeper or not but Mike didn't think so and threw him back. As it turns out, we could have kept him.

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More casts led to nothing. We lost some lures. We caught some trees. Mike even resorted to fishing with worms. We noticed some little perch-like fish in the shallows and he was finally able to snag one with the worms.

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Poor little perchie was placed on a hook and thrown out into the deep as bait. Still nothing. We eventually gave up on fried fish for dinner and setted for fajitas instead. Vi called it a night fairly early while Mike and I spent some time chilling on the roof. That evening, after I had retired for the night, Mike sat on the aft of the boat watching a huge fog bank roll in before retiring for the night himself.

  • From the song, "Just Fishin'" performed by Trace Adkins.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 2: Giant "Rent Me" Sign = Tourist

We woke early to the sounds of the marine radio and lots of activity on the docks. Vi whipped up some yummy potato, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos with homemade pico de gallo.

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After breakfast, we were given our how-to-drive-the-boat-and-not-hit-anything instructional test drive. We then grabbed our six scuba tanks and had our rental jet ski brought around.

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Neither Vi nor I had ever driven or even ridden a jet ski so we were pretty excited about trying it out. Mike drove the boat to an outer mooring in the marina while we took the jet ski for a spin around the lake. We had rented the jet ski for two hours and since no more than two people could ride at a time, we took turns driving and riding. I initially kind of puttered around on it until I got my bearings while Mike took off like James Bond (minus the canary yellow life vest). What a blast! Mike wants to buy one next year so this was his way of "closing the deal." It worked because I loved it.

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Once we returned the jet ski, Vi laid down for a short nap. Mike and I spent some time on the bow of the boat so we wouldn't disturb her. People that know Mike know that he can't sit still for long. He has to be constantly doing something. I call this Mike-piddling. He decided that the houseboat had lots of Mike-piddling opportunities.

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Vi woke soon after and we unhooked from the buoy and set out on our first venture outside the marina with Captain Mike at the helm.

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The jet ski guy told us about a mooring not too far away that was secluded in a cove so we headed in that direction. The lake was 40' higher than normal so it made for interesting navigation. The map was no good. There were islands where there shouldn't be islands. Instead of rocky beaches which is the norm (as we understand), the shoreline was basically treetops sticking out of the water.

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We found the mooring, hooked up, and got ready for our first dive. Part of the reason we chose Bull Shoals Lake was that there are numerous designated dive sites. Unfortunately, because of the high water, the dive sites were not readily accessible. So Mike decided to drop a line down from the boat and go down and see what the conditions were at our mooring. My plan was to stay closer to the surface and practice my skills.

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Armed with a couple of dive lights and his trusty knife, Mike made his way down the line all the way to the bottom at 90'. The only thing he saw was an empty beer can (which he dutifully brought back up to throw away). It was a cold and dark place with the temperature being around 55 degrees at that depth. I stayed on the surface keeping a careful eye on his bubbles. We took about an hour break and then Mike decided to put his thicker wet suit on and go down the line again. By this time the boat had moved from its original position and he went down the line only to land in a tree. Thankfully, he was able to free himself without too much of a problem and snap a self-portrait at the bottom.

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I only made it down to about 10' and experienced severe double calf cramps and a splitting headache from the cold. That was enough for me.

We were pretty exhausted that evening and after grilling up some burgers, we called it a night and turned in early.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:42 Archived in USA Tagged lake bull shoals Comments (0)

Bull Shoals Lake Day 1: It's a Long Way to Flippin Arkansas

How will we ever get all of this stuff in the car? That was my worry. Here we were, about to set off on a 9-10 hour drive to Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas and we had so many "necessary" items that I didn't see how it could fit. But Mike the Master Packer made it happen. Of course, no one could open any doors without Coke cans spilling out and the back end was about six inches off the ground but at 8:40 a.m., we were off.

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Bull Shoals Lake is right on the border of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. We had rented a 50' houseboat for several days and invited our friend, Vi, to join us. The GPS lady told us to head north through Oklahoma and after a few more hours, we made it to the Arkansas border.

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Finally, around 5:30 p.m., we pulled into Flippin Arkansas.

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We had to make a Flippin pit stop at the Flippin Wal-Mart to get some Flippin water shoes. Then just a few more miles to Bull Shoals Lake.

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The plan was to spend the night at the Lighthouse Point Resort since our boat was not supposed to be ready until the following morning. When we checked in at the boat dock, they said they had a boat available and we were welcome to spend the night on it in the marina at no extra charge. Bonus! We only had to unload our piles of stuff once in the blazing sun. They brought a pontoon boat around to the boat ramp for us to load all our gear to take to the houseboat.

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We motored into the slip next to our home away from home for the next four nights, Sven #19, and unloaded our gear.

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After unpacking, the first order of business was finding the score with real time updates on the Mavs' game five of the championship series.

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Vi, our self-designated chef for the week, heated up some lasagna and garlic bread for dinner. We then settled in on the aft of the boat to relax and enjoy the sunset.

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Shortly after I went to bed around 1 a.m. and Mike and Vi were partying hard on the roof, a terrible commotion occurred outside my window. Earlier in the evening, a huge flock of Canadian geese surrounded the boat looking for food. We tossed them some pieces of bread and thought it was done. But no...they were back and they were mad. At each other. If you've never heard a goose fight before, you're lucky. It was like a waterfowl version of "West Side Story."

the Jets vs.

the Jets vs.


the Sharks

the Sharks

After the goose fight finally died down, I was able to get some sleep. Mike and Vi met a fisherman who showed them how to clean walleye and both went to sleep as well with visions of walleye dancing in their heads.

Posted by zihuatcat 19:57 Archived in USA Tagged lake bull shoals Comments (0)

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