Sunday, May 28, 2017
Well it's been awhile since I've posted. Was out in the wilderness of Shenandoah National Park the past two weeks with 27 other members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. Had a great time tent camping, hiking, and of course a little fishing mixed in. Two of my favorites - smallmouth bass and brook trout. Will post a fishing report later. But for now there's lots to catch up on.
What's happening this week. With Memorial Day and the odd fifth week, not much. On Monday, it's Memorial Day. Please remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our precious freedoms. On Wednesday, the CCA Natchitoches Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Events Center downtown. On Thursday, the CCA Cenla Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Riverfront Center downtown. Both the Natchitoches and Alexandria events are $65 per person ($35 spouse/date, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, door prizes and 1-year membership in CCA. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 201" clinics. Time is 8:00am. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour on-the-water workshop where basic fly fishing skills are applied to actual fishing situations. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. Call 225-931-2567 for more info. Later that Saturday at the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge, the Sabine Skiffs 2017 Tour makes a stop. Time is 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Folks are encouraged to come by and check out these innovative skiffs and talk fly fishing. Also on Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold a fishing outing on the Cane River Lake followed by a cookout at noon. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in New Orleans will host a "Paddle Demo Day" on Bayou St. John near Cabrini High School. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models will include Hobie, Jackson, Wilderness and Perception. As always, check their Facebook page for updates in case of inclement weather.
While I was out... I received a couple of requests to post something on the LFF Forum. I'll explain this once again. If YOU wish to have something posted on our forum, please take the initiative and do it yourself. I don't run a welfare state! Sometimes I get the gumption to post an event or some news on the forum, but don't count on it being constant. And especially when I'm traveling - which is often - fulfillment of such requests is non-existent! Just so readers are aware.
The CCA STAR tournament has begun. Expect the first results to be posted on Wednesday or Thursday. Like always, we'll have the standings for the Fly and Kayak divisions posted in the forum. They can also be found on the CCA STAR website at www.ccastar.com.
A couple of fly fishing tournaments in Texas have been announced. The first is "Bass On The Fly - Brazos River Edition". This first-ever tournament will be somewhat identical to the very popular CPR event held on Lake Fork. The date is Saturday, July 8. The location will be Spivey Crossing RV Park in Aquilla. Fishing time starts at 6:00am with "weigh in" no later than 2:00pm. Rods, reels and flies must be exclusively for fly fishing. Entry fee is $60 per person and can be paid via the iAngler Tournament website. For more details, go to www.ianglertournament.com.
The second Texas fly tournament is the Galveston Classic set for Saturday, July 22nd. It's being put on by Gordy and Sons Outfitters of Houston. Entry fee is $300 per team. Tournament will be capped at 25 teams, so early registration is advised. This is a catch-photo-release (CPR) event for 2 slot redfish (20-28 inches in Texas). Most combined inches from 2 largest reds wins. Weigh-in is at Gordy and Sons on 22 Waugh in Houston. The captain's meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Friday. For more info, go to www.gordyandsons.com.
Registration for the FFI National Fair has begun. For Fly Fishers International, formerly known as the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), the national fair is their singular event. This year's FishFest takes place August 1st thru 5th in Livingston, Montana. The last three of those days is the Expo, with workshops running all five days. It's an opportunity for fly anglers to see some of the nation's best fly tiers and/or to take any of a large number of workshops or seminars. Other activities include vendors, kids activities, live music, food, even a beer event. As for workshops, anglers looking to get their casting certification or an advanced certification, there are a number of workshops available as well as testing. For complete info, go to www.flyfishersinternational.org.
The Fly Tiers Weekend returns this year. Co-hosted by Little River Outfitters and the FFI Southeastern Council, the event had to be cancelled last year. For 2017, FTW will be held on the large grounds at Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee, under a huge heated tent. The Weekend features many top tiers from Virginia to Louisiana, along with programs and casting clinics. We'll post more on the Calendar page at a later date.
We're just over a month from ICAST. ICAST is the world's largest sportfishing trade show, and is currently merged with IFTD the world's largest fly fishing trade show. As announced earlier, in 2019 the merger ends and IFTD will again be it's own show - in Denver, in October. Already there's been some "pain" about the move to October... a LOT of long-running fly fishing events are held that month. There will probably be some pain about the split as well, but that's to be seen. However, this year's event is shaping up to be a down year with regard to new products. Considering the last two years have had an unusually high number, this is understandable. Still, it's an opportunity for a small company to stand out.
Finally a shout out to Don Lawler and Howard Malpass. Don took Howard, owner of Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport, down to the coast this past week where they limited out on reds on Wednesday. On Thursday, Howard caught his first black drum - all of 40 pounds! Way to go, guys! I know the weather's been tough this Spring for fly anglers, but hopefully with settled Summer weather more reports like this will start flooding in.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Happy Mother's Day! Hope all you moms are enjoying a great day - you deserve it! Like most of my fellow dads, I'm doing the cooking today. Actually, I did a brisket which I started around sunset and finished at sunrise this morning. With the big gathering we have planned, hope it came out okay or else it's a 30-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried, lol.
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are location of the month and fishing product spotlight. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Delta Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Southern Yacht Club on West End in New Orleans. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. The public is welcome. Jamie Franklin will lead the group in tying the "Silli Butt", Catch Cormier's crappie fly which he also used to win the recent bream tournament at Bass On The Fly. Bring your tools if you have some, if not, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Vermillion Chapter holds their annual banquet at the VN Hall on North Lafitte Road in Abbeville. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual "Spring Catch and Eat" marsh fishing trip along Highway 1. Members of other clubs are welcome to participate. For more info, go to www.rsff.org or check the Red Stick Fly Fishers forum on www.warmfly.org. On Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a "Paddle Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on Stanford Avenue at University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, and more. Weather permitting, call 225-925-2667 for more info. Also on Saturday Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" in the morning, and a "Fly Fishing 201" later in the day. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. FF201 is a one-day, 2-hour "on the water" clinic applying the basics of our sport to actual fishing situations. For more info, or to register for either or both, call 225-757-7286.
On a side note, I'll be gone for some time as I head on a camping and fishing trip in one of our national park areas. As such, I'll be out of touch except every few days. If LFF readers have any urgent questions or issues, please feel free to contact our associate editor Ira Cameron.
Yet another avoidable tragedy. Last week search crews from Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Red River Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Caddo Parish District 8 Fire Department recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy from Black Bayou Lake in Caddo Parish. A call was received on Tuesday about a capsized boat near the Highway 1 bridge containing four teenagers. Three of the teenagers were able to swim to shore, the fourth never resurfaced. None of the boys was wearing a floatation device. It seems like every week I'm reading of a fatality in which a PFD was -not- worn. Please wear that PFD! Tell others to do likewise!
The latest issue of Flyfisher Magazine just came in the mail. Flyfisher is the official publication of Fly Fishers International, which until recently was known as the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF). The magazine has undergone a complete transformation, just like the organization's name change, logo, motto and updated website. While the magazine's name remains the same, it has a new look, a new editor, and several big changes in the departmental columns. What's been retained are messages from the FFI Chairman, President, FFI news, and news from FFI councils. I'm somewhat disappointed that a few of my favorite columns have disappeared (at least for now). Included with this issue were two other publications: the latest issue of Fly Fusion magazine, and a brochure on the upcoming 2017 International Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, Montana, set for August 1st thru 5th.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
Bream fishing is on fire! Lots of good reports the last couple days. With the full moon, the gobbules are on the beds. Fly anglers will have success finding beds using popping bugs early or late. When the bite slows on the bugs, go submergent with Cap Spiders, Jitterbees, Slow Sinking Spiders, Tussel Bugs, Black Boudreaux, Hares Ears, Fluff Butts, Silli Butts - whatever works best for you! Remember to keep only what you need and release the rest.
Surf fishing is also heating up. Some really nice specks are being caught on calmer days. We're still in a pattern influenced by fronts that bring strong southerly winds, so check the forecast prior to making plans.
First-ever "Fly Fishin' for a Mission". I've just posted details and a link in the LFF Events Forum on what promises to be the largest active saltwater fly fishing tournament ever held in Louisiana. It's happening Saturday, June 17th out of Eddies Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. There'll be divisions for boat, kayak, and overall. Along with cash prizes for winners, there's two big raffles. All to support a great cause! Hope to see many of you there.
And while participating in the FFM tournament there's also an opportunity to bag a qualifying fish for the state's largest passive saltwater tournament, the CCA STAR. The Louisiana CCA has doubled the number of tagged redfish for 2017 to allow more prizes in that category to be won. In addition, the Fly Rod Division is back this year with East and West categories. Complete details can be found at www.ccastar.com.
What is a Magnolia Crappie? At last night's North Louisiana Fly Fishers meeting where I did my presentation on fly fishing for crappie, the question came up about Magnolia crappie. As far as I know, only Mississippi has this particular sacalait, and only because it's something that their fisheries biologists have created. The Magnolia is a sterile hybrid (triploid) cross between a white crappie and black crappie. The eggs of the hybrid match are treated in a pressure chamber, causing sterility. Magnolias have been stocked in a few public lakes, but mostly ponds. Like most sterile hybrids, the energy that would go to spawning goes entirely to growth, resulting in growing faster and bigger. Incidently, Mississippi's state records have separate categories for black, white, and Magnolia crappies.
Yellowstone Angler has posted a new fly rod shootout. Every so often, they do a comprehensive hands-on review of a certain product. The review - done by a panel of their experts - covers a wide range of different manufacturers. By far, their most popular reviews are of fly rods. The most recent shootout was for 2017 models of 5-weight rods. Altogether, 26 different models were tested. While this sounds like a lot, it's not even half of what's on the market! Further, many folks don't often agree with their results. But in general, their top choices are excellent products. Go to www.yellowstoneangler.com to read the complete results and testing methodology.
Outdoor recreation is huge! According to the Outdoor Industry Association's latest Outdoor Recreation Economy report, it supports $887 billion in consumer spending, and 7.6 million American jobs. That's more jobs than finance and insurance (6 million), construction (6.4 million) and computer technology (6.7 million). Another tidbit from the report that was astounding - nearly 331 million people visit our national parks every year!
Monday, May 8, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. This month, the group will be tying flies. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Glen 'Catch' Cormier who will talk about fly fishing for crappie. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Wednesday, the CCA Plaquemines Parish Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Belle Chasse Auditorium in Belle Chasse. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. On Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA River Parishes Chapter holds their annual banquet at Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their first-ever "Oak Point Classic" tournament at Eddies Kayak Rentals in Pointe-aux-Chenes. Entry fee is $25 and open to the public. Shotgun launch, heaviest combination of 3 reds and 2 specks. For LKFC members, results are added to Angler of the Year series. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a "Paddle Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayaks, Perception, Yolo, and more. Subject to weather cancellation, call 337-406-8754 to confirm. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water fishing situations. Spots are limited, to register call 225-757-7286.
The inshore shrimp season starts today for state central waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to Freshwater Bayou. The eastern section from the Mississippi state line to South Pass, and the western section from Freshwater Bayou to Texas line open up next Monday, May 15th. The biggest impact on fly anglers will be in bays and lakes over the next couple of weeks. So the more "interior" you go, the less impact. But as previously mentioned, the level of trawling activity is a far cry from what it used to be. So clearer water may be in your favorite spot, just need to check around for reports and conditions.
If you're planning a trip to north Arkansas for their world-class trout fishing, better plan on booking a float trip or bringing a boat. As you all probably saw in the news, yet another historic flood took place at the beginning of the month. Third time in 6 years - yep, it's that global warming again! The Corps had to run flood surcharge operations at Beaver Dam, Table Rock Dam and Norfork Dam. All of which sent enormous amounts of water downstream where world-class trout fisheries exist. As an example, at Norfork Dam a typical one turbine generation produces close to 3,000 cfs. After the flood, over 29,000 cfs was released. Obviously there'll be changes to the river beds on all three tailwaters. Bull Shoals wasn't spared either, but it has more capacity and so less water was sent downstream. However, it does mean that their will be a LOT more water in the lake this summer than usual, and probably a lot more generation than usual.
The historic shop where Winston built it's bamboo rods was destroyed by a fire according to a Montana television news source. Station KBZK reports that the fire was likely electrical in nature. While the company will rebuild a facility for their world-famous bamboo rods, the shop contained many historical artifacts including some one-of-a-kind bamboo rods.
Monday, May 1, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers holds their monthly general meeting at Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Wednesday, the CCA Bayou Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. On Thursday, the CCA Lake Charles Chapter holds their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the 8th annual "Bass On The Fly" tournament at Lake Fork Marina in Quitman, Texas. Onsite registration is still possible on Friday during the Captains' meeting and other activities Friday afternoon. Entry is $60 per person. This is a CPR tournament with 3 longest bass total. Proceeds support Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council. Categories include boat and kayak/bank. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286.
Cabelas is holding a Ladies Day Out Fishing Derby next Saturday, May 13th at their store in Gonzales. Time is 11:00am to 1:00pm. Ladies of all ages can come out and test their fishing skills in the Cabelas ponds. The first 25 ladies will receive a free rod and reel. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 places of biggest fish (all species). For more info, call 225-743-3400.
It's May - the first transitional month. In Louisiana, there are four seasons: crawfish, shrimp, hunting, and football. Just kidding! There are only 2 seasons: summer and not summer. And Summer starts this month. Not on June 21st as the dishonest media would have you believe. Yes, my furry friends, enjoy these comfortable days and nights this week because real soon we're going to be having 90 degree days, 70 degree nights, high humidity and a daily chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Until mid-September. As I like to say, the weatherman's job gets boring in summer. They spend their days watching soap operas and waiting for tropical activity so they have something to motivate them at work.
What does May mean for fly fishers? It means the start of shrimp season. At one time, the volume of trawling was so substantial that for 2-3 weeks following the start of the season, it was very difficult to find clear water anywhere on the coast. That situation has changed drastically and now it's possible to find clear water all month - except when we get those 15-20 mile per hour winds from the southwest. Based on recent fishing reports, it looks like the bigger specks have moved to the lower bays and beaches. But there's enough keeper trout in the interior lakes to make a trip worthwhile. For CCA members looking to compete in the STAR Fly Rod Division, keep in mind that the largest trout entered in the tournament each year in that division come in the first four weeks.
The May issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out and available at sporting goods and convenience stores. In his new column, "First Light", new editor David Hunter Jones introduces himself to LAS readers. In the Fly Lines column, Catch Cormier talks about "A Contested Matter" - the growth of fly fishing tournaments and tips on what fly anglers will need to compete in CPR tournaments. In his Paddles-N-Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells the story of a group of visiting Texas kayak fishermen who came over to experience The Redfish Capital of the World. In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share recipes from Sheri Birk of Southern Exposure Charters, including crawfish etoufee. Feature articles include summertime crappie on Toledo Bend (by Chris Berzas), Delacroix Specks (by Joel Masson), northeast Louisiana bull bream (by Kinny Haddox), and Toledo Bend toads. And there are many other articles and columns, as well as Solunar Table and Tidal Charts for May.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
A very rough next few days. There's a couple of severe storm alerts for the mid-South, including north Louisiana, today and again for the weekend. That doesn't mean south Louisiana won't be affected... winds on the coast today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be anywhere from 20 to 30 miles per hour. Sunday could be brutal for the IFA Kayak Tournament out of Hopedale - there's a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain.
A big fly fishing tournament is coming in June. The Louisiana Fly Fishing Facebook Group - not affiliated with this website - is organizing a fly tournament out of Pointe aux Chenes on June 17. While it doesn't officially have a name yet (TBD this week), it'll be a two-person team event open to both boat and kayak. Kayak anglers can pair off, or fish single. Top prize will go to the heaviest 2 slot reds. This tournament will be open to the public, but just based on group interest, it promises to have a real good turnout. Complete details will be posted in the LFF Forum early next week.
Another fly tournament that's coming up and real soon is "Bass On The Fly". The 6th annual BOTF will be held at Lake Fork Marina in Quitman, Texas next Saturday, with some activities on Friday afternoon. Online registration is still available, and onsite registration will be accepted. This CPR tournament has separate divisions for boat, bank and kayak. Part of the proceeds go to benefit Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council For complete details, go to www.bassonthefly.org.
The Kisatchie Fly Fishers will again be holding their Summer Workshops for 2017. These are half-day or extended day workshops with a featured regional expert/tier. The first workshop will be on Saturday, July 29th at the LDWF Outdoor Education Center in Woodworth. Guest will be Chris Morris, nationally-recognized guide on the Little Red River in Arkansas. Seats are limited and go first to KFF members, but any seats left over will be available to members of other clubs.
On July 22nd, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Masters Series featuring George Daniels at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Tickets are currently $35 each and include admission, light breakfast and lunch. After May 31st, if any tickets are left, they go up to $40. And tickets are selling... Daniels - author of "Dynamic Nymphing" and other books - is a dynamic personality himself. I saw the young man at the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show where he packed the room. Better get tickets soon, this will sell out!
CCA Louisiana is doubling down on the number of tagged redfish for their 2017 STAR tournament which begins one month from today. In prior years, CCA released 50 tagged reds. But this year the number will be 100. As usual, the first entrant to catch a tagged red will win a Chevy Silverado pickup, the 2nd prize will be a Chevy Colorado, and the next eight tagged reds will win NauticStar boats. In addition, the first Louisiana Sportsman subscriber to catch a tagged red during the tournament will win $10,000.
A few other rule changes to STAR have been made to give better odds to regular anglers. This include exclusion of immediate family members of professional guides. However, registered anglers are still permitted to fish with a professional guide.
We're still 10 weeks away from ICAST/IFTD but a few new product announcements for 2018 are trickling in. This week Diamondback posted a teaser about their new View series rods. These rods will feature custom Diamondback hardware including the woven graphite seats with the now-famous Diamondback weave. There will be nine sizes ranging from a 7'6" 3-weight to a 9'0" 9-weight. All with medium-fast action. A divided tube will be included. Best of all, these rods will sell for $155 to $165 making them competitive with TFO, Echo, Redington and other great budget rods!
There is growing concern that some state parks will close come July 1st due to deficits in the Office of State Parks funding. Two that are of great interest to fly anglers that have been mentioned are North Toledo Bend State Park - home to the annual Southern Flyfishers Rendezvous (simply known as "Rendezvous") - and Hodges Gardens State Park near Florien. About 170 concerned citizens recently met for a disussion on Hodges and there are several ideas being pursued to keep this gem of a park open. In addition to the beautiful gardens, Hodges Lake is one of the best fly fishing waters in central Louisiana.
LDWF has graduated 23 new agents to the Enforcement Division. The graduation ceremonies take place today at 10:00am at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The new agents will be assigned to various parishes to enforce hunting, fishing and boating regulations.
Monday, April 24, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The club will do their annual casting games this month, weather permitting. Guests are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Tuesday Tying Clinic" in the White River Fly Shop. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, they have a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Tuesday, the CCA Acadiana Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel (across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA Shreveport Chapter holds their annual banquet at Riverview Hall on 600 Clyde Fant Parkway. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. Starting Friday evening and continuing Saturday, it's the 14th annual Paddlepalooza kayak fishing tournament. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament. More on that later.
There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! This weekend is the state's oldest and 2nd largest (3rd largest in the country) kayak fishing tournament. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, Paddlepalooza XIV is expected to draw another crowd between 250 and 300. Because of the size of this tournament, organizers have moved activities this year to Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle, which also hosts the world's largest kayak tournament (Ride the Bull). And while the early weather forecast may not be conducive to many, folks won't shy away. Why not? Because of the good food (jambalaya on Friday evening, fish fry on Saturday), the big raffle (over 200 terrific prizes), the comradery, and the fact that the categories favor anyone a chance to win. The big category is "Cajun Slam" - that heaviest combination of 1 slot red, 1 speckled trout and 1 flounder. But there's also a Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, Senior Slam (trolling motors allowed), Leopard Red and 4 individual species categories. Best of all, the format is such that only one puddler can win over the entire board. So it maximizes winners. While only a handful of us will be using fly rods, it doesn't mean fly rods can't be competitive. I've had some very good finishes, just that catching flounder on fly has been very difficult for us fly folks. In fact, it's been tough for everyone... the numbers of slams is often between 10 and 20. Regardless of your tackle, if you still wish to register, onsite registration is available on Friday evening at the Captain's meeting at Bridgeside. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
The annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament is also Saturday. Hosted by the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers of Houma, this tournament is held at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. It's open to all members of any recognized Louisiana fly fishing club. If you're not a member of any club, you can signup for membership in FAFF at the event and participate. There is NO entry fee for the 2FBT. This year, the fishing site has moved from the large 7-acre pond to the smaller 3-acre pond that holds bigger bream (or so we're told). Onsite registration is 8:00am, fishing begins at 8:30am, fishing ends at 1:00pm. The format is simple: you start with 2 flies. All your fishing must be done with those flies. If you lose both flies, you're done for the day! Scoring will be based on total centimeters of 3 largest bluegill. Bring a bucket if you plan to live release, or ice chest or fish bag if you plan to keep. This is a great, fun event and one I hope many of you will consider participating in.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Time for the mid-week tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers and kayak anglers or others.
Tough choices for Louisiana fly anglers. Spring 2017 is turning out to be one of the best in many years for marsh speckled trout. While most of the reports are conventional tackle, fly anglers are having success on topwater poppers and shrimp patterns under a VOSI. However, soon these trout will be heading to the bays and surf, so time is limited! Meanwhile, central and northeast Louisiana waters that were flooded and muddied by the big storm of two weeks ago have now cleared up. Fly anglers are having good success this week on popping bugs and jitterbees for bream, and poppers and Bass Bullies for bass. Seaducers are also catching bass as well as chain pickeral in grassy areas.
Fly Fishers International has an updated website. The organization formerly known as Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has updated their site in conjunction with their name change. It's better organized and easier to navigate. If you're looking for videos on fly tying by Mike Verduin or other past tiers, check out the FFI fly tying page.
More evidence of the growth of fly fishing. Last week's 2017 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) indicated that most Americans are diversifying their sports participation. Some of the beneficiaries of that trend are fitness sports, camping, hiking and fly fishing. In fact, fly fishing topped all fishing and hunting sports with an increase of 6.0 percent year-over-year. In conventional fishing, Freshwater was ahead 1.2 percent, while Saltwater was ahead 2.4 percent. Another interesting trend - Standup Paddle Boarding is up 23.3 percent over the last five years, and 6.6 percent over last year.
Sunday is the last day to early register for the upcoming Paddlepalooza XIV kayak fishing tournament taking place along Highway 1 corridor on April 29th. After Sunday, onsite registration is available at the tournament headquarters - Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. But there is an extra cost, and the possibility that tournament shirts may not be available.
The 2017 Hurricane Season is expected to be average with 12 named storms predicted. This forecast calls for less storms than last year, even though none impacted Louisiana. However, it was a tropical depression in August that resulted in one of the worst flood events in state history, rivaling that of Hurricane Katrina. Much of this forecast is dependent on the strength of an El Nino event. If it strengthens, then the forecasted number of storms would diminish.
Already the 2018 Calendar is getting busy. A number of regional fly fishing events for Spring 2018 have been announced, but most are long-standing traditional events such as the Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival, Sowbug Roundup and Louisiana Sportsman Show. One new show that will return is the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show the first weekend of February. Apparently it was a huge success and will remain part of The Fly Fishing Show tour. Most kayak fishing events are not announced until late in the year.
The ACA National Casting Championships set for July 27-30. The American Casting Association will hold their 109th event in San Jose, California. While the championships entail both conventional and fly casting, it's the fly casting results that often get the most attention. And rightfully so... some of the most impressive stories come from this competition. Among the events are Trout Fly Accuracy, Dry Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, Anglers Fly Distance, One-Hand Fly Distance, and Two-Hand Fly Distance. Expect two of the world's best casters - Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel - to once again battle it out in Mens categories, while reigning Junior Champion Maxine McCormick could set new records once again.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are location of the month and fishing product spotlight. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA East Jefferson Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Also on Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual "Spring Concordia Weekend" trip to Lake Concordia. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, Ship to Shore of Lake Charles will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at the Prien Lake Park Launch off I-210. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Nucanoe, Wilderness, KC Kayak, and more. Weather permitting, call 337-474-0730 for more info.
Orvis has scheduled several fly fishing classes for the month of May at their Baton Rouge store. These free classes are 1-day, 2-hour sessions. Registration is required in advance. The classes include Fly Fishing 101 on May 6, May 20, and May 27, and Fly Fishing 201 for May 13, May 20, and May 27. Again, check our LFF Calendar for times and more details on these classes.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The IFFF is now Fly Fishers International. The largest organization dedicated to the sport of fly fishing underwent a name change on April 1st. The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), which began in 1964 and for decades after was known as the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), is now Fly Fishers International (FFI). The name change came after a marketing study in which "brand identification" was tagged as one of the issues in reaching out to the growing number of young fly casters. To put it simply, organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association all have their primary focus (ducks, trout, coast) identified in the first words. For IFFF, that was in the 3rd and 4th words. While a name change is only a small part of the overall marketing effort, it's one that has made the most news - and favorably at that. A logo change also has been made. One of the two new logos is shown on left. Currently, if you click on their old website domain name, www.fedflyfishers.org, it will take you to www.flyfishersinternational.org. Also, a couple of councils and a few club websites have made the change from the IFFF name to the FFI name. Making name changes, changing websites, changing club leaflets, etc. isn't a minor task! I expect it'll be a few months - at least - before all IFFF references are modified to FFI.
Fly Rod and Reel is no more. I read on Dan Blanton's website that the popular magazine is now defunct, but I'm not completely certain after reading former editor Greg Thomas' blog. On March 26th, he posted that he'd been terminated by the owner of Down East Publications. Not because the owner or the board of directors was unhappy with Thomas' work, but because the fly fishing industry's support of the magazine was lacking. In this web-centric world we live in circa 2017, print media has taken a severe beating. But there continues to be strong exceptions (e.g., Louisiana Sportsman). I still believe that strong and diverse content can revive print media. As for FFR, I'll certainly miss the reviews and articles by the best anglers in our sport.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time for our mid-week updates. Several tidbits of news of interest to flyfishers and kayak fishers in a quick-hitting format.
Nominations will soon end for Best of Louisiana Outdoors. Started three years ago by the Louisiana Charter Boat Association in conjunction with outdoors radio personality Don Dubuc, BOLO recognizes the professionals, businesses, and others who make Louisiana outdoors great. Nominations and voting are open to the public. The nomination period ends this Friday, April 14th. Folks who make nominations are eligible for several great prizes, including fishing trips.
Of all the categories in Best of Louisiana the ones of most interest to LFF readers are the following: Best Guides (flyfishing and kayak fishing guides are eligible), Best Fishing Forum, Best Outdoor Writer (hey, I'm just mentioning this), Best Outdoor Photography, Best Louisiana-born lure (fly is eligible), Best Marina (my nominee is Eddie's Kayak Rentals), Best Kayak Tournament, Best Fishing Blog, and many more.
Congratulations to Josh Reppel. Josh won the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Redfish Rumble" out of St. Bernard Parish this past Saturday. One of BCKFC's smaller "Series Tournaments" - which are also open to the public - The Rumble had a strong turnout of almost a hundred puddlers. Nearly half of which didn't weigh in a single red! Josh weighed in 3 reds and 1 bass totaling 28.88 pounds, followed by Bill Crawford with 26.82 pounds and Shawn Rogers with 26.55 pounds. BTW, Josh won last year's BCKFC / Masseys Fish Pix Fly Rod Slam Division. But in this case he caught his fish on conventional tackle.
Of course, Paddlepalooza is next up for the Bayou Coast club. The state's 2nd largest kayak tournament, and 4th largest in the country, will be stationed at Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle the last weekend of this month. Online registration continues, as of this morning 101 had signed up. It's still early though, and typically 100 to 150 sign up in the last couple weeks.
Congrats to the Kisatchie Fly Fishers on a successful "Fly Fishing 101" this past Saturday. The Alexandria-based club held it's 3rd annual half-day event covering the basics of the sport including hands-on fly casting, hands-on knots and leaders, equipment, flies and fishing locations. With 18 participants, it was their largest FF101 turnout to date, edging out last year's class.
The Contraband Fly Fishing Expo scheduled for August 19th has had a change in location. The new location will be the VFW building (Post 7321) at 2668 Highway 1 in Lake Charles. This is north of Moss Bluff, and just south of the small community of Gillis.
Temple Fork Outfitters has a new logo (again). A few weeks back, TFO introduced a new logo that spelled out "Temple Fork Outfitters" with no imagery. Apparently it didn't get well received based on Facebook responses. Of course, Facebook alone shouldn't be the judge of a marketing logo, but it certainly is a barometer. I think one response that summed up my feelings as well was that the popularity of window stickers and most of them are small to medium size. The full text logo would've been somewhat large. TFO went back to the drawing board, and what you see is their latest effort. IMO, it's a much better logo. Based on early Facebook responses, they apparently have a winner.
Sabine Skiffs is coming to Orvis BR on June 3rd. Based out of Bayou Vista, Texas, Sabine Skiffs manufactures an aluminum flats skiff known as The Versatile. It's 17 1/2 feet in length, with a maximum 78 inch beam, and horsepower rating between 30 and 50. Designed by Brian Little, The Versatile looks much like it's fiberglass counterparts and supposedly has no hull slap. It boasts features like zero dead rise hull and walk-around gunnels. On June 3rd, the boat will make it's appearance at the Orvis store on Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Later that week, on June 6th, Sabine will be at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club where a "Demo Day" will take place.
John Geirach has a new book. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is the latest from fly fishing's favorite author. Geirach, part humorist and part commentator, is a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. In his latest book, he brings his usual sharp sense of humor to the fishing life and life in general. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is available thru bookstores and online for $25.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
What's happening this week. It's Easter Week, so lots of folks will be on the water. Be safe! On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be John Williams of Pack and Paddle in Lafayette who will talk about kayak fishing and rigging. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host a public meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF Region 1 Office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. The meeting will update on current status of the lake, including efforts to control giant salvania. Everyone interested is encouraged to attend. On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at The Backpacker on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: presentation by Brendan Bayard and the upcoming Paddlepalooza on April 29th. The meeting is open to the public. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Old Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Beginners are welcome! Bring your tools, if none, sets are available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, in none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" in the morning, and a "Fly Fishing 201" later in the day. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. FF201 is a one-day, 2-hour "on the water" clinic applying the basics of our sport to actual fishing situations. For more info, or to register for either or both, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will host a "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. New 2017 models from Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayaks, Perception, YOLO and more. Sunday is Easter.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Another mid-week update in quick hitting format. But since we didn't do a Sunday report, let's begin with what's happening this week. It's not too late, as activities begin tonight.
The Acadiana Fly Rodders meet tonight at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. Casting starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. The public is invited.
One topic of discussion at the AFR meeting will be a recap of this past Saturday's conclave. It was a well-planned event, and the programs were terrific. But the attendance was below average. The club opted this year to move from their traditional last Saturday in February to April 1st. IMO, Lafayette in April has just way too many things to compete against. Judging from the list of local events and activities in the Times Magazine, it has to be the Events Capital of the World!
Other meetings this week. The Pontchartrain Basin meets Wednesday night at Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Thursday night, the CCA Monroe Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Monroe Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth). Go to www.ccalouisiana.com for more info.
Cenla Fly Fishing 101 is this Saturday. Sponsored by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, CFF101 is a one-day, 3-hour workshop covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with more emphasis on casting than most FF101 courses. Location is the LDWF Booker-Fowler Fish Hatchery in Forest Hill. Onsite registration begins at 8:30am, with class starting at 9:00am sharp. For complete details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.
The 3rd annual Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival kicks off Friday at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. This event features exhibitors, fly tying, and on Saturday, a fishing tournament. The "festival" is free, the tournament has a $40 entry fee. All proceeds benefit Project Healing Waters. The event - organized by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez - is growing in popularity thanks to the lake's reputation for big bass on fly. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.
For kayak anglers, a busy weekend. Saturday will be the Bayou Coast club's annual Redfish Rumble out of St. Bernard Parish. Registration is still open at www.bckfc.org. Meanwhile for those interested in getting into kayak fishing or upgrading their current boat, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free Kayak Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Also on Saturday, Masseys of New Orleans will hold a free Kayak Demo at Bayou St. John near Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm.
The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club quarterly meeting will be next Wednesday, March 12, at the Backpacker in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda will be their upcoming Paddlepalooza tournament on April 29th. This is the club's largest tournament of the year, and one of the top 5 tournaments in the country. This year, the activities location has changed from Leeville to Bridgeside Marina at Grand Isle to better serve the growing participation.
The Fin-Addict Fly Fishers have announced a date for their annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament. It's Saturday, April 29th. The location will again be at Lamar-Dixon in Gonzales, but the pond will be different. It'll be the smaller pond behind the last expo building. The contest is free and open to any member of an organized Louisiana fly fishing club. This is a really fun tournament and one I look forward to each year! Complete details - including rules - have been posted in our Events Forum.
Louisiana Sportsman reports that a 10-pound speck was caught on Friday - out of all places Pointe-aux-Chenes! The angler, Ted Samanie of Schreiver, is a longtime speckled trout veteran. PAC is not known for producing big trout, but this 29-inch behemoth fell for a green-sparkle soft plastic tightlined within sight of the boat ramp.
This monster trout means big specks are still in the marsh. In fact, trout fishing in the interior marshes remains good usually until about the middle of April. But already the migration to the lower bays and coast has begun. If you want to get into good marsh speck fishing, better do it real soon!
One place where speck fishing won't be good this weekend is the Calcasieu estuary. The upper Calcasieu (here in western Cenla) received up to 11 inches of rain on Sunday alone! The two creeks - East Calcasieu and West Calcasieu - join to form the single river near Hineston. As of yesterday, each branch was a small lake a half-mile wide! All this "chocolate milk" was rushing south in a fury!
Even in the normally clear freshwater lakes of central Louisiana, there's dirty water just about everywhere following Sunday's deluge. Cane River Lake is a 35-mile winding oxbow that is a bream fisherman's paradise in April. Unfortunately the heavy rain has forced closure of the two of the three launches. Leaving only the downtown launch - where the dirtiest water is found. Hopefully, no more rain and things will clear up soon!
Orvis has a promotion for a limited time. When you purchase a Helios 2, Recon, Superfine Glass or Superfine Carbon fly rod, you'll recieve a free fly line of your choice.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time for those quick-hitting mid-week reports. A lot of small things we cover that are of interest to fly anglers, kayak anglers, or both.
First some breaking news. The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has announced that in 2019 they will move the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show to Denver. Also, to increase industry participation, the show will move from July to mid-October. Currently IFTD is joined with ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades show. It's been held in Orlando in mid-July the last 3 years and will continue for this year and 2018. After 2018, the two organizations will again operate separate trade shows at different times and locations.
This announcement is somewhat disappointing. Although the majority of AFFTA members felt that IFTD should move back west, and be separate from ICAST, that doesn't change several facts. First, growth in fly fishing is taking place more rapidly along the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and Sun Belt areas. Second, for many dealers who carry mixed tackle, this means having to attend two shows. Even moreso for those who carry kayaks, where a third show (Outdoor Retailer) is in play. Third, having the show in October presents a change in the industry itself. What will happen when dealer orders for new year products are taken in September? It'll be interesting to see what happens.
Looking to buy a kayak or upgrade to a new one? April is the most prolific month for those ever-popular "demo days". As my friend Don Dubuc likes to say, "Always try before you buy!". Coming up next month, we have demos on April 8th (Backpacker, Youngsville and Masseys Outfitters, New Orleans), April 16th (Backpacker, Baton Rouge) and April 22nd (Ship to Shore, Lake Charles).
Harbuck Outdoor Sports in Shreveport may also be doing a demo next month or in May. At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting earlier this month, Adam did a demo for the club. He mentioned that, with the addition of his new 8-yak trailer, he'll start doing more. Also, Harbuck Outdoors will soon be carrying the NuCanoe line of kayaks.
Registration has begun for Paddlepalooza XIV which will be held on April 29th. Palooza is the 2nd largest kayak tournament in Louisiana, and 4th largest in the country. While fishing boundary is still the Highway 1 Corridor, the "headquarters" has moved this year to Bridgeside Marina to better accomodate crowds and parking. Entry fee is $60 and includes tournament entry, Friday night dinner (Captains meeting), Saturday night fish fry, t-shirt, goodies bag, and a chance at hundreds of raffle prizes. In addition to the Cajun Slam and four species categories, there's also a Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, and new for this year, Seniors Slam (age 65 or older). For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
Registration has begun for Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival to be held April 8th and 9th at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. Originated by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez three years ago, this event is part conclave, part fishing tournament. Registration is only needed for the contest, and can be done in advance or on-site. Categories are Boat and Kayak. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.
Registration has begun for 8th annual Bass On The Fly which will be held on May 6th. Location will be Lake Fork Marina on Lake Fork, Texas. This CPR tournament awards based on total length of 5-fish photos. Categories include Boat, Kayak/Bank, Club, and Big Bass. Entry fee is $60. There's also an optional Sunfish Tourney on Friday afternoon with entry fee of $10. Registration prior to April 16th will be eligible for a drawing for a Sage Bass II Fly Rod. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.
Congratulations to Terry and Roxanne Wilson. The Missouri-based outdoor writers are well known to many Louisiana fly anglers, whether it's from their presentations at club events, or from regional conclaves, or as authors of several warmwater fly fishing books. Yesterday, Southern Unlimited of Montevallo, Alabama, publishers of various outdoors magazines, announced the couple as new co-editors of Southern Trout Ozark Edition Magazine. They will take over with the upcoming May issue. STOE is an offshoot of Southern Trout Magazine that focuses on fishing in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Louisiana Boating Education "Lagniappe Day" will take place at nine locations across the state on April 22nd. Each location will have instructors for the boating education course, along with food and refreshements, door prizes, all for free. However, pre-registration is required. Sign up quickly as these classes fill up fast. Louisiana law requires anyone born after January 1, 1984 must complete an approved boating education course and carry proof of the completion in order to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. For a list of class locations, go to www.wlf.la.gov.
For anyone visiting Florida this weekend it's "Freshwater Free Fishing Weekend" Saturday and Sunday. The requirement for having a fishing license is waived for all recreational anglers - residents and non-residents - for those fishing freshwater only. Another freshwater license-free weekend will take place on June 10-11. The saltwater license-free weekend takes place June 3-4.
A study on tarpon genetics has concluded with interesting results. The 2-year study was done by Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine how many distinct populations of Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) existed. The answer is one! Fish from Virginia to Mexico to Brazil and even the African coast were found to share high levels of genetic flow, indicating interbreeding. What this means is that migrations and/or larvae dispersal takes place over great distances and that conservation measures need to be applied to all areas where tarpon are found.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. For March, it's their annual "on the water" gathering at Cotile Lake with fishing followed by grilled burgers, dogs, chips, etc. at one of the pavilions. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Sydney Dobson will be leading the group in tying the Carrot Nymph. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners and others are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, there are sets available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. The public is welcome. On Saturday, it's the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will conduct both a "Fly Fishing 101" and a "Fly Fishing 201". Both are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour clinic designed to introduce basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Time is 8:00am. FF201 is a 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where casting and other skills are applied to actual fishing situation. Time is 12 noon. To register for either, call 225-757-7286.
This Saturday is the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders of Lafayette, this festival is the oldest - and longest running - fly fishing event in the state of Louisiana. Once again it'll be held at the Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 8:30am to 3:00pm. As with all conclaves, it's a public event where families are invited, with seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics and coaching, and vendors. There's also raffle items and silent auction items that offset the costs of the event and that raise money for the club's charitable activities. Many of the raffle items are one-of-a-kind or difficult to find items, including donated fly boxes with flies never or seldom seen in fly shops. A couple popular speakers from past conclaves will be returning to help celebrate 30 years - Dr. Norm Crisp of Missouri and Lee Davidson from Idaho. In addition, Tom Bertuccini will do a presentation on "Western Fishing" and Jeff Ferguson will talk about "Finding Your Way Around Calcasieu Lake" which should be really popular. Tiers include Ray Boudreaux, Barry Dauphin, Beverly Vidrine, Lance Renoux, Ron Foreman, Kyle Moppert, Fred Hannie, Catch Cormier, and Bill Heugel. Other activities include a casting clinic on correcting errors by Keith Richard and Bob Tabbert, both master certified instructors. Doug Blair will also do a talk-through on Bamboo Rod Making. So as you can see, lots of activities and something for everyone! That evening, AFR will hold their annual banquet at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette and tickets are available for that event also. One more tidbit - this is the last regional "conclave" or other fly fishing show until September. So if you wanted to make one of these events this Spring, this is it! More details on the Acadiana Conclave - including scheduled times - can be found in the LFF Forum (Events Forum) or by going to their club website at www.acadianaflyrodders.com.
It's the final Day 3 at the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe in southeast Texas. The "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing" is proving to be just as exciting as it's football counterpart with a dramatic switch in the leaderboard after yesterday. Later today at the weigh-in at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, we'll find out if the two Louisiana anglers still in contention - Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part and Ryan Lavigne of Gonzales - can bring in some hefty fish to catapult them to their first championship. It'll take quite an effort... right now both are 12 pounds out of the lead. And even worse, ahead of them are some very seasoned competitors. Brent Ehrler of California and Dave Lefebre of Pennsylvania are in the top two spots, but lurking now in 7th place is Kevin Van Dam. NEVER, EVER count KVD out! And the first day leader, Mike Iaconnelli, had a tough day but is still in the top 10 and always has a strong close.
Speaking of tournaments, yesterday was the 70th annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival. Weather was a big factor, both in limiting attendance and in success on the water. In the Fly Fishing Divisions, Josh Macaluso caught the only bass and it weighed a whopping 0.1 pounds! Oddly, in the Cichlid Fly Fish Division, Josh Marcadal brought in a really nice Rio that weighed 1.32 pounds to win that division. In fact, it was the largest rio of any division caught. It wasn't just a tough day for fly anglers, many anglers had a difficult time finding fish or catching any of size. However, Tim Zissis brought in a 5.31-pounder to win the prestigous Adult Bass Division, followed closely by Mike Laviolette at 4.44 pounds.
There were also results from Boats on the Bayou. This is the kayak fishing tournament held in conjunction with the NOCP Rodeo. It took place on Bayou St. John which is brackish water and which contains a variety of freshwater and saltwater species. It was a very tough day for the puddlers as well, with few fish weighed in. Most of those were bass. Raye Christensen won the Bass Division with a very impressive 5.11 pounder. Followed closely by Joseph Rigsby with a 4.55 pound fish. The only saltwater fish entered was a 6.39 pound redfish taken by Micheal Misshore. Ty Hibbs won the Trashbash Division with a 0.36 pound perch(?).
Someone told me about a new fly fishing book out. But not what you might think - this is fictional and it's part of the "Murder She Wrote" mystery series of novels. Titled "Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line, and Murder", the storyline has our intrepid novelist/sleuth Jessica Fletcher entering a fly fishing competition at a lake near Cabot Cove. It's a nice day on the water but as always happens with Jessica, things go south in a hurry! I've never read the novels, but loved the TV shows (they are now in syndication on Hallmark Mystery Channel). It occured to me that on a per capita basis, Cabot Cove must be the Homicide Capital of America. It's a wonder there's anybody left! Regardless, if you can ignore the paradox of population dynamics in a small town, the book is available on Amazon for $10.43 (or $9.99 on Kindle).
News from IFTD. In mid-July, Orlando will again host ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades dealer show. Once again, the International Fly Tackle Dealers (IFTD) Show will be running concurrently and sharing the same facilities. Last week, IFTD announced they will again hold a Demo Day on Tuesday prior to the start of the main exhibition on Wednesday. At their inaugural Demo Day last year, the event garnered loads of interest from dealers and media, especially since there were LOTS of new fly rods set for introduction. Common sense dictates that this would be a down year, at least for rods. But we may see something with fly lines. Several companies are working on lines that are smaller in diameter per weight (denser) but still have high floatability. Such lines are more wind-resistant and would cast quite a bit farther than today's conventional lines.
Friday, March 24, 2017
We were saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Billy Munn after a long battle with cancer. Munn was considered one of the best - if not THE best - deer hair spinners in modern fly tying. The Bridgeport, Texas resident was a longtime member of the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and a fixture at the FFF Southern Conclave, Sowbug Roundup, and several other events. In 1986, Munn was awarded the Federation of Fly Fishers' Buz Buszek Award, for lifetime achievement in fly tying. In 2006, he put out a 2-hour DVD tutorial "Tying Hairbugs with Billy Munn" that has become a cult video. Ed Jaworoski, one of the biggest names in fly fishing, commented on the video saying "During my 50 years in fly fishing, I've seen the work of the best tiers in the business. When it comes to working with deer hair and similiar materials, Billy Munn is the standard by which all other tiers are gauged.". My late friend Chris Helm, himself a master of deer hair and a Buszek Award winner, told me that most of what he had learned came from Billy Munn. The fly tying world owes a great debt to this gentle man, and hopefully we can repay by passing on his legacy.
The Bassmasters Classic kicks off today at Lake Conroe, with the weigh-in taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The last couple of years we've pretty much neglected this event and for good reasons. First, the event was outside our state and even our "regional readership". Second, there wasn't much interest in folks traveling that distance for the Bassmasters Expo, one of the largest fishing exhibitions in the country. And third, Louisiana had - at most - just one resident in the field. But this year it's different. For starters, Houston is where southwest Louisiana goes to play. I expect to see a lot of Cajuns at the Expo and weigh-in. And they'll have some favorites to cheer on... the 2017 Classic will feature three Louisiana anglers. Greg Hackney and Ryan Lavigne, both of Gonzales, will be joined by Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part. Hackney and Crochet have fished the Classic before; for Lavigne this is his first.
LDWF has partially reopened Waddill Refuge. This popular urban outdoors area was closed following The Great Flood of August, 2016 when most of the facility - including the education center - was damaged. The center remains closed while repairs continue; it was for this reason that the Red Stick Fly Fishers moved their annual "Red Stick Day" fly fishing festival to another location this year. The good news is that the ponds are back in shape and stocked and should have good fishing. Many BR area fly anglers fish Waddill and report excellent action on flies.
Another news report from LDWF was very sad indeed. On Monday, enforcement agents recovered the body of Phillip D. LeBlanc of Port Barre from the Pirates Cove area of Toledo Bend. This is an area I fish frequently, so the news hit home so to speak. A witness observed LeBlanc fishing from the front deck of his boat, and then moments later the boat was unmanned. When his body was recovered, he was NOT wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). What caused his death is unknown.
Registration for the summer-long CCA STAR tournament has begun. In fact, it's into week 3. Over the 12 weeks prior to kickoff on May 27, Early Bird winners are being drawn on a weekly basis for a variety of prizes. The Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana has the largest and most popular saltwater tournament, in large part because it allows anglers to fish at their convenience. It also offers a large number of divisions for species and gender/age, as well as four Kayak Divisions and two Fly Fishing Divisions. Fly anglers and puddlers also have the opportunity to win in other divisions as well. Such was the case two years ago when Jonathon Craft captured one of the tagged redfish from his kayak. The first 10 tagged reds caught by STAR participants get prizes - first red gets a Chevy Silverado, the next 9 get a rigged-out boar. Chances for another kayak angler or even fly angler winning in 2017 took a big step when CCA announced, that for this year, they plan to double the number of tagged reds released from 50 to 100.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
The April issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine is now available in convenience stores and outdoor retailers. The big news this month is the transition of editor. In the "First Cast" column, retiring editor Andy Crawford recaps his 14 years as an LAS staffer, including five as editor, and tells of his future plans. In the "News Breaker" section, newly appointed editor David Hunter Jones introduces himself to readers. Here are a few other of this month's highlights: in my Fly Lines column, "In-Crease Your Odds" examines the popularity of the Crease Fly with both anglers and fish. Louisiana's "Crease Fly Ambassador" and LFF Forum member, Kevin "Musicdoc" Andry, shares his recipe for tying this fly and tactics for using it. In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells yakkers how to "Keep 'Em Honest" and prevent thieves from stealing your kayak and gear. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst tells about the often-overlooked, but good eating Lookdown. In feature articles, Jerald Horst tells about good spring fishing for speckled trout at Bayou Lacombe; Dave Brown shares Toledo Bend guides secrets for big bass during spawning season; Kinny Haddox tells us about big bass opportunities in north Louisiana courtesy of Santus Mitchell, a Lincon Parish deputy and avid bass angler; Rusty Tardo shares guide secrets of fishing reds and specks around "The Castle" in Lake Borgne. Plus other articles, columns, tide charts, solunar tables, and fishing forecast.
Registration is now open for Paddlepalooza XIV to be held the weekend of April 29, with activities at Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. That's right, Grand Isle. After a dozen years in Leeville, Louisiana's 2nd largest kayak tournament - and the nation's 4th largest - had to move to a larger venue as participation has continued to grow to nearly 300. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, fishing takes place along the Highway 1 corridor from Galliano to Grand Isle. It's a roadrunner tourney - puddlers can launch anywhere in the boundary. After 13 years of staging this event in Leeville, Palooza moves this year to Things kick off on Friday night with jambalaya dinner, Captains meeting, and other activities. Saturday is the fishing day. After the weigh-in, there's the fish fry (fish weighed in) and a huge raffle with proceeds going to one of the club's charities. As for prizes, contestants with the heaviest Cajun Slam (slot red, speckled trout, flounder) are awarded. There's also a Ladies Slam, and a Kid's Slam (free entry). New this year is the Senior Slam for ages 65 or older. Those in the Senior Division that are 70 years or older can also apply to use a trolling motor on their yak. Entry fee is $60 and includes entry, Friday and Saturday night dinners, door prizes and raffles.
Monday, March 20, 2017
What's happening this week. It's a busy one. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Catch Cormier will be demonstrating the "Kray Phish", a fly created by Fish Skull Pro Tyer Daniel Moss which features two of their new products, Cray Tails and Faux Bucktail, and is effective for largemouth and smallmouth. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are this weekend's "Marsh Madness" tournament, the CPR Challenge, and new kayak fishing products. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Felicianas Chapter holds their annual banquet at the American Legion Hall in Clinton. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Thursday and continuing thru Saturday, it's the 20th annual Sowbug Roundup at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Sowbug is the nation's largest "club conclave". Hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, the event features more than 100 fly tiers, numerous vendors and exhibitors, and seminars and casting clinics. Admission is only $5 and includes all 3 days. For details, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Livingston Chapter holds their annual banquet at Forest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth). For more info, call 225-296-0423. Also on Thursday, Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101" clinics covering the basics of flatwater kayaking. Time is 5:00pm. Cost is $45 per person and includes use of kayak, paddle, PFD and instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For details, or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, it's the annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on Bluebonnet Boulevard. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Orvis FF101 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing with hands-on basic casting instruction. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact 225-757-7286. The Orvis store will also conduct a "Fly Fishing 201" later that same day. Orvis FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic applying casting and rigging skills to actual fishing situations. Again, seats are limited, so contact 225-757-7286 to pre-register. Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual "Marsh Madness" kayak fishing tournament out of Coco Marina in Cocodrie. Entry fee is $25. Prizes are for top 2 redfish stringer weight. It's a single launch site, shotgun start. Unfortunately, no fly fishing is allowed for this event as it's a tackle exchange tournament. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.
The annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival takes place this Saturday. Celebrating it's 70th anniversary, the NOCPBBR is the oldest freshwater rodeo in the country. It's also got something for everyone: there's a bank fishing rodeo with five divisions, a student bass fishing tournament, a kayak fishing tournament, and a "fishtival" with exhibitors and other activities of interest to anglers and their families. Of interest to fly anglers is the fishing rodeo - in addition to the Junior Anglers, Bass Adult, Champions Challenge and Cichlid Team categories, there's the Fly Fishing Category for the heaviest bass or cichlid (Rio Grande perch). The Fly Fishing Division is open to all ages. Registration is $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for under age 13. Folks can pre-register online until this Thursday, March 23rd. The fishing rodeo hours are 6:30am to 11:00am (weigh-in). For puddlers, the kayak fishing tournament, known as "Boats on the Bayou" is held on Bayou St. John from 7:00am to 10:30am. Entry fee is $15 pre-registration, or $25 on-site. Onsite registration begins at 6:00am. There are four categories for BOTB: bass, redfish, trout, and trashbash (any other species). What I like about this tournament is that, while winners receive trophies, the top prize - a kayak - doesn't go to the winner, but is drawn from all participants present. Another aspect of this event of interest to fly anglers and kayak anglers is The Fishtival. Once again, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be on hand, tying flies and giving casting lessons. Also, Masseys Outfitters will be doing kayak demos on Bayou St. John. Other exhibitors include the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and a variety of others including local artists and gifts. For complete info on this great event, go to www.neworleanscitypark.com.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Here's our mid-week tidbits in a "quick hitting" format inspired by my favorite website, dandydon.com (which incidently, played a large part in the creation of the LFF website 20 years ago). I hope to keep this a regular feature from now until things slow down in summer.
The Grand Isle Weekend has been cancelled this year. Sponsored by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, the GIWE is the largest fly fishing outing held each year in Louisiana. It's been held in late June for the past decade, and prior to that, was held in July, and included members of clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere. At their general meeting Monday night, RSFF members were told of some circumstances that had arisen that would have required a change in venue or dates for the GIWE. Instead, the club voted to cancel the event for this year. Like many of you, I'm sad to hear this.
Flymen Fishing Company has released Faux Bucktail a synthetic version of the popular natural bucktail material. FFC sells it's products under the brand name "Fish-Skull", with most products aimed for warmwater and saltwater applications. According to FFC, Faux Bucktail represents the first tapered mult-use synthetic fiber. One of the key differences is that this new material is not hollow like bucktail, so flies will sink faster. But also the material doesn't flare out when cinched with thread, so Clouser Minnows will keep a more "streamlined" look when tied. My friend Daniel Moss - a pro-staff member of FFC - is using this on his baitfish patterns and says it comes out clean. I've got a shipment coming in and will test it out later this week.
David Hunter Jones is the new editor for Louisiana Sportsman magazine. David replaces Andy Crawford, who retires today. Prior to this position, David was editor of Firearm News magazine, and also a chief writer for BassMaster magazine. The Florida native loves saltwater fishing and deer and turkey hunting, so he should fit right in with the majority of the magazine's readers. He'll have big shoes to fill - Andy has done a great job since 2009 in continuing to build the magazine as one of the best outdoor tabloids in the country. Andy will continue to contribute as an outdoors writer, but will focus his efforts on his professional photography services.
At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting Monday night Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport brought several 2017 kayaks for club members to demo. Those included two new pedal models I'd not had a chance to demo - the Native Manta Ray Propel and Perception Pilot. Both were very fast boats, clocking between 4.0 and 4.6 knots at a high cruising pace. Personally, I preferred the Pilot for fly fishing as the "motor" is easily stowed. But perhaps the best boat for fly fishing that I tested was the Wilderness ATAK 120. It's very stable and comfortable and surprisingly nimble, clocking 3.0 to 3.2 at cruising speed. The low profile also made for low wind resistance.
Hatch Magazine has done a review of the Redington Classic Trout. Folks who have heard me praise this rod (I own a 3-weight and 5-weight) know that I've compared it as the budget version of the legendary Sage Lightline series. But as Hatch magazine points out, the RCT doesn't have the excellent distance capabilities that more expensive "trout rods" have. In fact, I'd say that my TFO Finesse 3-weight is a tad better on distance than my RCT 3-weight. But both are GREAT rods for trout and bream fishing, and both offer a lifetime warranty that's tough to beat. To read what Hatch Magazine had to say, click on this link.
This cold spell has slowed action down considerably in north and central Louisiana. Yesterday I took the kayak out for bass and caught a couple and missed a couple others, but it was a very slow day for mid-March. The water temperature on my depthfinder was 58 degrees! That's almost 10 degrees less than it was a week ago. I did not see any small bream in the shallows, a telltale sign. Good news is that more normal March weather is on the way next week.
Monday, March 13, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting. For this month, there's a change in time and venue - from 5:00pm at the Red River Waterway Commission on Sibley Lake in Natchitoches. Adam Harbuck of Harbuck Outdoors in Shreveport will be bringing several new 2017 fishing kayaks for attendees to demo. Afterwards, Adam will be doing a brief presentation on kayak rigging. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will be holding their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, but with Daylight Savings Time the club pre-meeting casting practice will restart beginning at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Wednesday, the CCA Westbank Chapter will hold their annual banquet at NOLA Motorsports in Avondale Doors open 6:00pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year CCA membership, admission, dinner and open bar. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will demo hackle techniques and discuss the Regal vise. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, it's the first day of the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual club trip to the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas, aka "March Brown" trip. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also starting Thursday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsmans Show at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The "Granddaddy of Louisiana Outdoor Shows" will run 12pm to 7pm on Thursday and Friday, 9am to 7pm on Saturday, and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day, $5 for kids. With a couple hundred exhibitors and numerous activities, too many to list here! There's seminars by fishing pros, and deals to be had on fishing gear. Fishing kayaks will also be featured. Details can be found on the website at www.lasportsmenshow.com.
Registration is now open for Women's Fishing Workshops. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), CCA Louisiana, Cabelas Outdoors Fund, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the LDWF Foundation are teaming up to present two Womens Fishing Workshops this Spring at Cabelas. The dates are April 22 and May 20, both on Saturday. It's open to women 18 and older. Seats are limited to 30 women per event. LDWF biologists and other instructors will teach attendees about fish identification, handling, fishing equipment, basic skills, as well as cleaning, storing and cooking fish. Fifteen participants will have their name drawn to apply their skills on an overnight fishing trip to Grand Isle! These sessions book up quickly, so register asap. For more info and registration, click on this link.
Some articles from this month's Louisiana Sportsman magazine are now online. One of them is my "Fly Lines" column, for March the title is "Ask the Fly Fishing Answer Man". Readers can get to it by clicking on this link.
An inconvenient truth? Last week, a large group of prominent fly anglers signed off on a letter to Scott Pruitt, newly appointed head of EPA, criticizing him for his statement that "I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.". The signees took serious objection to his denial that human activities - particularly burning fossil fuels - is a primary contributor to global warming. The list of signees included Yvon Chouinard, Ted Williams, Craig and Jackie Mathews, Kirk Deeter, Tim Romano, Brandon Shuler, Phil Monahan, Tom Sadler, Marshall Cutchin, and many other prominent fly fishing writers or industry folk. To Pruitt's credit, he didn't deny that global warming is real. In fact, he seems to acknowledge it. He questioned how much of an impact burning fossil fuels is having. Personally, I think there is some human factor. You don't take trillions of tons of buried hydrocarbons, burn them off into the atmosphere, and not have some impact. The concern to many fly anglers is with regards to marginal trout streams, such as those in north Georgia and western New Mexico.
Monday, March 6, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: their upcoming Acadiana Conclave on April 1st. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA Bayou Lafourche Chapter holds their annual banquet at Thibodaux Regional Wellness Center in Thibodaux. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. On Friday, the 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana! More on that later. On Saturday, it's the annual Fly Fish Texas. More on that later. Also starting Saturday, and continuing Sunday, it's the inaugural Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a "Kayak Fishing Workshop and Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. The workshop is 8:30am to 10:30am and costs $10. Registration is required as spaces are limited. The Demo Day will begin at 12 noon and run until 2:00pm and is open to the public. All this is subject to weather, so call 225-925-2667 to confirm, or check their Facebook page. On Sunday, it's the start of Daylight Savings Time, which should be great news for working folks looking to get in afterwork time on the water on in their garden.
The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana this Friday as the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will once again host this series of short documentary films celebrating our sport. Doors open at 6:30pm, with showing starting at 7:00pm. At this writing, only a few tickets are still available. For the last 3 years all 150 tickets were sold out prior to the event! So be sure to call the Orvis store at 225-757-7285 for availability. Tickets are sold only at the Orvis store. All proceeds go to Project Healing Waters. There's a very affordable cash bar, and some great door prizes. The subjects of theseilms feature Kamtchatka rainbows and salmon, Florida tarpon, Mexican tarpon and permit, Alaskan trout, Siberian taimen, old friends fishing their favorite water, Montana trout, and Fanning Island in the Pacific. A complete list of films, along with details and trailers can be found at www.flyfilmtour.com.
A busy weekend for fly fishing events in north Texas. In and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there's three (3) big events taking place! The Trinity River Waterway Development event is geared more towards beginners, so I'll concentrate on the other two: the annual Fly Fish Texas hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Fly Fish Texas will again be held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, just southeast of Dallas. The event runs from 9:00am to 4:00pm and features seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics, fish biology, and even casting certification seminars. There's also fishing onsite for rainbow trout. Admission is free with paid admission to the Center. For a schedule of presentations, and list of activities, go to tpwd.texas.gov and click on "Fly Fish Texas". Meanwhile in Plano, at the Plano Events Center, Saturday and Sunday will be the inaugural "Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival". Show director Beau Beasley is trying to bring a Texas-version of his much popular annual "Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival". It'll feature some of the biggest names in fly fishing such as Lefty Kreh, Ed Jaworoski, Mike Mercer, Wanda Taylor, Tom Rosenbauer, Bob Clouser, and others. Along with some of the top regional anglers such as Stacy Lynn, David Leake, Steve Dally and others. The list of vendors is exhausting! Admission is $20 per day. Attendees can also sign up for special classes for an extra fee. A few of the classes have already sold out, so please check online. Then there's the beer tasting! Several local brews will be offered. Complete details on this event can be found at txflyfishingfestival.org.
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