Thursday, August 19, 2021

Events cancelled due to Covid concerns

With the recent spike in the number of Coronavirus cases, and in an effort to insure the safe health of all involved, a number of clubs, FFI councils, and other groups and agencies have cancelled events scheduled for the next few months.  Some of these had been rescheduled from early Spring due to the last spike in January.. They will next be held on their traditional dates in 2022.

In addition, several club meetings are on hold until further notice. However, those clubs using Zoom will continue to meet online.

* Note: the FFI Gulf Coast Council has a Zoom Pro account available to their member clubs for their use. Assistance is also available. *

Here is a rundown of cancelled 2021 Fall events, and tentative 2022 dates.
  • Gulf Coast Sweetwater Classic – hosted by the FFI Gulf Coast Council. Next date: March 11-12, 2022.
  • FFI Southern Fly Fishing Fair – hosted by FFI Southern Council. Next date: September 29-October 1, 2022 (tentative).
  • Florida Fly Fishing Expo – hosted by FFI Florida Council. Next date: Spring 2022.
  • National Hunting & Fishing Day – hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at four venues across the state, the 4th Saturday in September. Next date: September 24, 2022.
  • Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo – hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers. Next date: October 1, 2022.
  • Red Stick Day – fly fishing festival hosted by Red Stick Fly Fishers of Baton Rouge. Next date: Saturday, March 5, 2022.
  • Toledo Bend Rendezvous – public weekend retreat for fly tiers set for first weekend in November. Cancelation pending no cancel fee. Next date: November 4-6, 2022.
One event that will not be cancelled is the Fly Fishers International Virtual Expo. While official dates are November 5-7, there are a number of workshops, auctions, and other activities tied to the Expo occurring in the weeks ahead. For complete schedule, go to www.flyfishersinternational.org/Virtual-Expo/Activities

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Toledo Bend Rendezvous returns Nov. 5-7

Toledo Bend Rendezvous
Friday-Sunday, November 5-7, 2021
North Toledo Bend State Park, Zwolle, LA

After cancellation last year due to Covid-19 protocols, Rendezvous is back.  The announcement was made recently by event organizer Walter McLendan.  What  is Rendezvous?  For 32 years each Fall,  fly tiers and other fly fishing enthusiasts from across several states – along with their families – gather for a weekend of fly tying, fly casting, food and fishing. With only a minimal fee to cover lodging and meals. The event is open to everyone.

The excellent facilities at North Toledo Bend State Park are ideal for a Fall weekend fly tying retreat. Activities take place at the park’s group facility, which features a commercial kitchen and dining hall, and lodging available for up to 150 people in 5 heated log bunkhouses (30 beds each). There’s also a heated central shower and restroom building with nice night lighting on all the sidewalks.

Rendezvous continues to be a gathering for some of the top fly tiers in the country, most of whom have been featured at regional and national expos.  There are no organized activities.  Whether you come to tie, or come to watch and learn, or just partake the great scenery, fishing and on-the-water location, you’ll be glad you came!

The FFI Gulf Coast and Texas Councils, along along with several member clubs, are co-sponsors of this event, and make it possible for attendees to enjoy a low lodging rate.

Fees (family or individual are the same):

  • $40 for weekend, includes lodging and meals
  • $20 one night, includes lodging and meals
  • $10 just for the day
For more info, go to http://flycasting.bravesites.com

Monday, June 14, 2021

Welcome to SweatFest 2021!

SweatFest.... a celebration of heat, humidity, hurricanes, and horseflies. As well as lots of mosquitos, and the occasional tropical storm. Conversely, it's also fun time for those who love the beach, snowballs, and cutting grass.  

Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff for 90 degree days and 70 degree nights, and high humidity.  Enjoy the June breezes now because come July they go away and the sweating kicks up a notch. By early September, the nights are long enough for radiative cooling to take effect, even if the days are still a bit balmy.

As for tropical weather activity, it's hard to imagine any worse than last year. A record number of storms impacted Louisiana, including the worst storm to hit southwest Louisiana since Rita (Laura). The National Hurricane Center predicts another above-average year. And as of this writing, a depression in the Bay of Campeche threatens to become Tropical Storm Claudette by the weekend, with serious rain totals for the southeast parishes.

The summer sun and heat of SweatFest bring dangers to anglers. Heat stroke is the number one threat. Bring an ice chest or cooler tote bag with water and/or sports drinks to stay hydrated. Skin exposed to high UV radiation leads to sunburn, and over time to skin cancer. Protect your skin by putting on a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen before you get on the water. Wear long sleeve breathable shirts, a rim cap or a bill cap in conjunction with a gaitor (buff). Always were some type of cover for your feet.

Also be aware that thunderstorms can be a daily occurence in summer. At the first sign of towering  cumulus clouds, start making your way back to the launch (especially if you're in a kayak). Lightning can strike from eight miles away, so waiting for lightning to approach is not a smart option!

Friday, June 11, 2021

2021 Legislative Summary: one big win, one big loss

Yesterday the 2021 Louisiana Legislative session came to an end. And so did any hopes of passing HB535, the bill to create a nearshore exclusion zone for menhaden harvest along the coast.

As mentioned previously, the House rejected the Senate amendments and subsequently, a conference committee was formed to work out a compromise. Among the six legislators in that group was Bob Hengens, the Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman that worked to derail the bill. With only hours to work out differences, the group was unable to reach agreement before the session ended.

Commercial fishing interests also fought hard to derail HB691, a bill to restructure fishing and hunting licenses and fees, and in most cases, bring them up to the Southern average. That bill needed a two-thirds vote of both House and Senate to ratify several amendments made in each chamber, but it did so with only hours to go. Expect Governor Edwards to sign this bill into law. This bill was greatly needed to help defray LDWF budget deficits as the result of loss of oil and gas revenues, and without having an increase in 20 years, the cost of inflation.

The fight to create an exclusion zone for menhaden is far from over just because of one defeat. Public sentiment and science are too strong to let this continue. What action will be taken next remains to be seen.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Free Fishing Days, 2021-22 licenses now available

Each year, wildlife agencies in each state designate "Free Fishing Days" for the public to fish recreationally in public waters without a fishing license. These events are part of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs June 5-13, 2021.

This year, Louisiana's free fishing days are Saturday and Sunday, June 12 & 13.

It should be noted that while there is no cost (license) required to fish on these days, certain species or types of fishing may still require a permit. For example, a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit (ROLP) is required to possess tunas, billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, cobia, wahoo, and dolphinfish in Louisiana waters. 

Speaking of licenses... Louisiana annual fishing licenses for 2020-2021 expire June 30th at midnight, after which you'll need a 2021-2022 license. The new licenses became available on June 1st, and are good from the time of purchase thru June 30 of 2022.

Licenses can be purchased online at https://la-web.s3licensing.com, or at local license vendors.   Acceptable online methods of payment are Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Bissett named new AFFTA Executive Director

This past Thursday, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) announced Capt. Lucas Bissett of Slidell, Louisiana, as their new Executive Director. Lucas has been an AFFTA board member for the past four years, the last three as a member of the executive committee.

Lucas is owner of Lowtide Charters, a fly fishing guide service operating south of New Orleans. He graduated from University of South Florida in 2003 before moving back to his home state to pursue fly fishing guided business. He has been a champion of coastal conservation, including founding the Black Mangrove Project in St. Bernard Parish, which was featured in a award-winning documentary as well as several magazine articles and podcasts.

AFFTA Board Chair Jim Bartschi stated "“As a fellow member of the executive committee and AFFTA’s Vice Chair, Lucas has helped to shape the vision of AFFTA. As the Executive Director, he’ll be implementing that vision.".

Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited and AFFTA Board member added: “Lucas has the passion, focus, and commitment to take AFFTA to another level. All of us who fly fish should be grateful to have such a knowledgeable and energetic leader at the helm of a trade association that punches far above its weight.".

We congratulate Lucas on his appointment and wish him the best of success in years to come.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Fly Fishing Film Tour coming to Lafayette

2021 F3T & Fly Fishing Hangout
Saturday, June 19, 2021

Pack & Paddle, 601 E. Pinhook, Lafayette, LA
3:00pm - Hangout activities
5:30pm - Films start
$20 tickets, limited to 40 seats

The 15th annual Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) will be making a stop at Pack & Paddle in Lafayette on Saturday, June 19th.  In conjunction with F3T, P&P will also hold one of their now-famous "Fly Fishing Hangouts" that afternoon prior to the showing.

F3T is a collection of independent short films highlighting the adventure and conservation aspects of our sport. Shot across the US, Canada and around the world, these films celebrate fly fishing in all it's splendor featuring great adventures, epics takes, and spectacular scenery.  F3T is shown at select venues across the country.

This is sure to be a great chance to see some folks you haven't seen during this long pandemic year. The Fly Fishing Hangout starts at 3:00pm, with beer and snacks, and games. The games include "Marshman Sharpshooter" casting to targets, and Team Iron Fly competition, where random-selected teams build a 5-step fly out of unique materials. Each team will have 40 minutes to tie their fly.

The $20 tickets are available locally in advance at Pack & Paddle or online at www.packpaddle.com.

Friday, May 28, 2021

HB535 postponed to Tuesday, June 1st

The Senate Natural Resources Committee did not get to consider a bill to create a buffer zone for the industrial take of menhaden yesterday as planned, due to the full Senate session running very late. Instead, House Bill 535 will be considered by the committee on June 1st at 9:00am. We strongly urge our readers to reach out to the following committee members individually and urge them to vote YES for HB535.

  • Bob Hensgens (Chairman) - sen26@legis.la.gov
  • Mike Fensi - sen20@legis.la.gov
  • Bret Allain - allainb@legis.la.gov
  • Joe Bouie - bouiej@legis.la.gov
  • Pat Connick - connickp@legis.la.gov
  • Eddie Lambert - lamberte@legis.la.gov
  • Sharon Hewitt - hewitts@legis.la.gov