#47 North Carolina Attempt 3 via Arkansas Attempt 2 (unsuccessful)
We now headed back to Arkansas for the 2nd time.
We decided to try a different area of Arkansas, having spent our first attempt in the Mississippi Delta region of East Arkansas. We headed to Texarkana in Southwest Arkansas to fish the Red River, on a recommendation from Mark Spitzer, probably the worlds foremost Alligator Gar expert who has written several books about these shy monsters. His fame has extended to River Monsters where he helped Jeremy Wade of land a 'Gator Gar of his own. The Red river only runs through Arkansas for a small portion of its length, and only one side of it is in Arkansas for most of it, as it makes up the border with Texas.
We had limited access due to much of it being private land, but we decided to try our best, and were hopeful now that the weather was significantly warmer than it had been when we last went after this fish. We spent the first day trying several different spots along the bank where the water looked deep and slow moving, hoping for a bite, but it never came. We caught a few small catfish and one opportunistic turtle, but nothing else.
The next day, we tried to access a seemingly unowned part of the bank we found on the map, but on our way there we got stuck in the mud. We tried laying wood under the tires to get out, but nothing was working, so we walked about a half mile back down the road to a house we had passed, hoping someone would be able to help us out. We arrived at the house just as a Ram 2500 pulled in, and two guys hopped out and asked what we were doing. We told them our problem, and what we were doing in Arkansas, and they loved the idea of the trip and immediately offered to tow us out, which was an easy undertaking.
After we were free, they told us about a spot on their property that they had seen Gar at before, and led us there. We fished that night until the clouds of mosquitoes pushed us away around midnight, but we heard plenty of Gar breaching the surface, as well as some substantial splashes.
We got there the next morning, optimistic, the sun was shining, and got nothing all day and long into the night. We spent a total of three days there fishing from sunrise to past midnight. We did have some success catching Longnose Gar, but no 'Gator Gar, despite the massive fish we had heard and continued to hear further out from the bank. Midway through the third day, a police car rolled up flashing its lights at us. Apparently, the area we were fishing was right on the border of someone else's property, and the officer reluctantly told us they had contacted the Game Warden. We would not be allowed to fish there anymore, warning us we would get ticketed by the Warden if we didn’t leave. Sigh.
We tried heading back to the main section of the river, but it was flooded due to heavy rains over the past few days, and this means that all the Gator Gar would be pushed out of the main river and into old cutoff oxbows on the side of the river, which is exactly what we had been fishing. Unfortunately, that was the only one we could access on the river from the Arkansas side.
Mark Spitzer had offered to take us gar fishing with him when he returned to his home near Little Rock, Arkansas, a few weeks in the future, and we decided to head back and take him up on his offer at the end of June. We drove through the night, arriving in Boone, North Carolina the next morning, where it took me under half an hour to pick up the Brook Trout I needed there, having been unsuccessful when we passed through back in February. After the quick pitstop, we headed back home, far ahead of schedule and with only four states left.