Smallmouth Flies: Whitlock’s Near Nuff Sculpin

It’s no secret that my favorite fish to chase here in the Ozarks are Smallmouth Bass, and I’m getting my flyboxes restocked and ready for when smallmouth fishing starts getting serious. You can fish for them in the winter, but it requires the sort of “low and slow” deep fishing that I don’t find all that enjoyable with a flyrod. Plus, I need some time to get my boxes refilled.

Now that I’ve gotten back into tying again and am working on those smallmouth boxes, I remember how well tying reinforces the fishing. When you tie flies, it gives you time to anticipate those trips coming up and, well, to be honest, fantasize about days on the river chasing fish.

Whitlock's Near Nuff Sculpin This week, I’vbe been tying some Dave Whitlock’s Near Nuff Sculpins. Just as with the Near Nuff Crayfish, Dave’s simple sculpin pattern is one of my favorites and thus one of my go-to flies. Both are great producers for me on Ozark smallmouth streaks (they’re pretty good trout flies, too).

I usually tie the sculpin in the olive color, though I have tied brown ones in the past. Most of the streambeds I fish are darker and greener.

Daptone Records: Soul Kings

Despite my forays into all sorts of music (both playing/recording and listening), I always come back to two WILDLY disparate genres: 80s jangle pop and dirty, greasy soul music. It’s okay. I’m used to being a man of contradictions. Just ask my therapist.

Sharon Jones & the Dap-KingsAs far as Soul music goes, I’m generally old school: mostly Stax (Booker T. and the MGs, etc.) with a heaping helping of Al Green (before he found the Lord), a splash of Mr. Brown, and a scattering of 70s funk. I thought REAL funk and soul had died a horrible, horrible death some time in the late 70s. But, so much good Soul music was recorded in the 60s and 70s, I figured I had enough to get me by.

Then I stumbled upon Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Holy. Crap. REAL SOUL MUSIC. Made in the 00s! And it was GOOD, too! I then learned that Daptone Records puts out all sorts of great greasy Soul, just like I like it, and the Dap-Kings are the Daptone house band. Think Booker T. and the MGs with Stax only move to Brooklyn instead of Memphis.

Musicianship-wise, I started on drums in school band (I actually started on alto sax, but that didn’t last but a few weeks), but the first non-schoolband instrument I played was bass. I later switched to guitar, though never got very good at it. Still, playing bass is where my heart is, and Duck Dunn my hero. Duck’s going to have to share the podium now, though, because the playing Dap-Kings’ bandleader and producer and bass player, Gabriel “Bosco Mann” Roth, is just exquisite.

If you’re new to Daptone, start with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (any album will do, but I’m a big fan of 100 Days, 100 Nights, which is their latest). Then hit the Mighty Imperials, and THEN pick up the two collections of singles, which are greasy, greasy, GREASY!