#21,22,&23 - Breezing through Tornado Alley: Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas
We arrived in Nebraska at night, and settled in for another week of fishing, if it was going to be like Iowa. We set up for our first night at Prairie View Lake. But after only a couple of hours of fishing, we managed to catch three channel catfish, also the state fish of Nebraska! Finally redemption after our Iowa saga. Take that MeatEater Podcast. It felt great, and we eagerly headed back to the warmth of the car and drove towards Missouri that night, managing to get out of Nebraska without even spending the night there.
The next day we fished at some lakes in Missouri in the Kansas City area, and faced poor conditions during the day. High winds, low temperatures, and some scattered rain made it an unpleasant affair, and we took a break to go ask for some specific spots to try. When we asked at a bait and tackle shop in the area, we were told to try the fishing on a series of lakes that were East of the city. We set up at the smallest of the lakes, barely more than a pond. Before half an hour had passed, we had multiple bites, and managed to land four or five fish channel catfish in under two hours. Catclaw lake it was named, and for as small of a body of water as it was it definitely held a lot of fish. More success! We hadn't changed our clothes in 3 states! (see pics). We drove part of the way to Wichita, our destination in Kansas, that night.
We finished up the drive the next morning and set out to fish a couple ponds in the area that we had found on the Fishbrain app. We picked Wichita because we were hoping to head from there to Texas, where we planned to stay with some family friends so that we could have a real meal and a bed for thanksgiving. The van was becoming inhospitable in single digit temperatures. The first couple places we fished were unproductive, but once it got dark we moved to a new spot, and it didn't take too long after I got set up for the action to start.
One of my rods kept getting bites, but every time I tried to set the hook the fish wasn't there. The fish wasn't moving, as I would reel in to replace my bait and cast back at the same spot, with the same result every time. Finally, after putting on a big piece of chicken and letting him eat it without touching it, I set the hook and felt resistance, and saw a huge flathead rear out of the water, no more than five feet from the bank. To my utter dismay he just looked at me and spit the hook out. I went to tell Daniel what happened, and found that over on the other side of the pond he had caught several channel cats already, but I had been too focused on that large flathead to see his texts. I threw in a cast, and soon enough had a small catfish of my own. We set out on the long drive down to the San Antonio area, but it killed me to leave that flathead there without catching him. I'll be back someday for it.
We drove through Oklahoma and part of Texas the next day, facing bad traffic for much of the drive. Because of the delay, we knew we wouldn't make it all the way there that night, so we stopped in Waco to visit our Baylor friends from home. We drove a few hours south of Waco afterwards, planning to fish the next day before heading to meet the Mcleans, family friends of ours who kindly offered to take us in over Thanksgiving.