The young man sitting beside me was an ambitious fella from Poplar Bluff, Mo.
He was hungry to ride shotgun in my canoe for a day.
I was taking him fishing for smallmouth bass here in the Ozarks.
He told me that he wanted to float a stream that has been an inspiration to me. He said he wanted to experience what I had experienced.
That summer morning came. As we drove he asked me questions about the Little Black River. Will we see any snakes? Do you think the fish will be biting? How many times have you been there?
I smiled at his excitement. New places do that to people like him and like me.
Anticipation is a word that is used to describe the feeling one has as they tie on a large topwater plug in July on an Ozark stream, and we were past ready.
Pushing off with the paddle blade the canoe came alive. The canoe came alive as the current of the river grabbed it. It felt good to be back on familiar waters with so many early life memories.
Looking upstream where the Big Eddy heads up, I looked up through the narrow run and riffle.
I launched a heavy Pop R 35 yards upstream in the lower end of the riffle and within 3 seconds the water exploded.