Sunday, September 15, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/15

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is a simple Yarn Crab Fly, a great pattern for reds, sheepshead and drum. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Also on Thursday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders resume their monthly meetings after summer break. Time is 6:00pm. Location is the Pack & Paddle "Outpost" building on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.org.

Brendan Bayard wins 2019 IFA Kayak Championship

The Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Kayak Tour is the largest national saltwater kayak fishing series, incorporating five divisions across south Atlantic and Gulf waters. These tournaments are CPR (catch-photo-release) on IFA approved measuring boards, which allows for any sized fish to be entered.

Qualifiers from each division then compete in the national championship, which was held this past Friday and Saturday out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle.

Many of the biggest names in saltwater kayak fishing compete in this event each year, and one of those familiar names is Brendan Bayard of Baton Rouge, whose line of trophies probably requires it's own building!  Brendan is also a longtime kayak fishing field reporter on the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" weekly radio show (Saturday mornings 5:00am to 7:00am).

Yesterday, Brendan pulled off another win. His two-day total of two redfish and two speckled trout measured out to an aggregate of 121.75 inches!  His longest redfish were 41.25 and 40.00 inches, his longest specks were 23.00 and 17.50 inches. He edged out Justin Rienerth of North Carolina, whose total length was 119.00 inches was anchored by a 43.00 inch red.

Other Louisiana finishers in the top 8 (received prize money) were: Matt Carr (5th), Lance Burgos (6th), Terry Pham (7th), and Scott Bienvenu (8th).  Terry lost out on a big speck that got sharked. Other anglers reported losing some nice fish as well. Even so, 22 of the competitors had four-fish total aggregates of over 100 inches!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/8

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual banquet in lieu of their monthly meeting. Location is Shanes on Mansfield Road in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. The banquet is open to members and non-members of NLFF. There's some great raffle items, some one-of-a-kind.  For more, call Scott at 318-469-0854.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Speckled trout in trouble, and "changes must be made"

Trout SPR has been below the conservation level for 8 years
On Thursday, at the monthly meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, commission members and approximately 45 attendees heard a presentation by LDWF marine biologist Jason Adriance on the 2019 Speckled Trout Assessment.  In a nutshell, spawning stock biomass and spawning recruitment are below conservation standards - and have been since 2011.

The problem is happening across all estuaries. There are two main culprits:
- winter kills of speckled trout are more frequent and more damaging, despite milder winters. The cause may be due to coastal erosion and loss of deepwater canals and other winter freeze-kill havens for trout.
- Overfishing. There are more anglers, with more effort, and being more successful per trip (prior to the decline).

Making matters worse... Louisiana's target management for trout Spawning Potential Recruitment (SPR) is the lowest of any Gulf state, anywhere from 8 to 15 percent lower.  So there was very little margin for overfishing to begin with.

Adriance said LDWF will come up with management options and present those to the Commission, as well as get public input. The options include:
- creel limit reductions
- minimal length increases
- slot limits
- closed areas
- closes seasons
- special regulations after serious winter kills

According to an article in Louisiana Sportsman website, CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson stated afterwards that they need time to fully understand the science regarding the variables at play. "We need to see more information before rushing into any judgements."

The Fly Fishers International (FFI) Gulf Coast Council was represented at the meeting by Glen 'Catch' Cormier, GCC Conservation Director. He posted the particulars of the meeting, including the various graphs and charts. Those can be found at www.gulfcoastcouncilffi.org.

The FFI-GCC understands the science, and is anxious to hear the recommendations of the biologists. It was very clear from the presentation, that Louisiana has had, for several years, a serious problem that needs changes.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 9/1

Monday is Labor Day, and the last day to enter a fish for the 2019 CCA STAR tournament.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to  www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

On Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 covers the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-n-Redfish Cup. Open to the public, entry fee is $25. The format is as follows: you can fish anywhere in Louisiana public waters. Bring your fish to Pack and Paddle in Lafayette before 5:00pm Saturday. Food will be served. Heaviest stringer of 4 fish (max 2 slot reds, max 2 specks) wins. Entry fee includes 1 raffle ticket for a new Hobie Pro Angler (more raffle tickets can be purchased at the weigh-in). Must be present to win. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Sunday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Fishing FUNdamentals" at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Cost is $40. FFFun covers the basics of fly fishing, with emphasis on gear, flies, techniques that work on Louisiana waters. Followed by hands-on casting session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required.  To register, go to www.packpaddle.com

Sunday, August 25, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/25

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: a presentation on a new KFF Casting Skills Challenge and the FFI Casting Skills Challenge, tackle tips for September redears, and video on Arkansas' White River. The public is welcome. For details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/18

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  This month's pattern is the March Brown Spider, one of several wet flies highlighted by Dave Hughes at last month's Masters Series. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. 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 in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Building 500 in the Government Building Complex off F. Edward Hebert Blvd on the West Bank. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Friday and Saturday is the 11th annual Ride the Bull. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet Blvd.  Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. No fee, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FF101 is a one-day clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. To register, go to this link or call 225-757-7286.

Ride the Bull this weekend

The world's largest kayak fishing tournament takes place this weekend out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. Founded ten years ago by Danny and Kristen Wray, it's grown from about 60 participants to consistently over 600. After Kristen's long bout with cancer ended with her passing, CCA Louisiana stepped forward to help organize the tournament.

Registration began June 1st and will continue up to the morning of the tournament. Things kick off on Friday evening with the Captain's meeting, vendors, and live music. Saturday morning everyone launches and awaits the shotgun start.

The format is simple. Catch the largest bull red in a limited area of Caminada Pass. After the fish are landed, a chase boat is summoned to bring the fish in for weighing, tagging, and release.  Top fish are awarded places.  With this format, just about anyone with some fishing skill has a chance to win or place.

If you ever wanted to see all the kayaks - or other pedal / paddle boats that exist out there - this is the event to do it. Paddle kayaks, pedal yaks, round yaks, square yaks, canoes, pirogues, biyaks, SUPs (stand up paddleboards), even bathtub-looking boats have been entered!

For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. The website also contains helpful tips and a checklist for the tournament.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

From the Office of Advanced Strategic Planning

Times have changed when it comes to scheduling events.  For example, it was once common for clubs to begin planning their annual "conclave" just a few months before the event was to be held.  That included determining the date, the location, and the program speakers.

Nowadays, if you don't reserve a venue or speaker for your event many months in advance, then it's likely too late. In many cases, lodging for club trips needs to be booked at least a year in advance.

And that is why if you look at our Calendar page, you'll see that nearly all the major events for 2020 have been scheduled.  And in some cases, into 2021 and beyond. The Kisatchie Fly Fishers have scheduled their annual "March Brown" trips to the Little Missouri River into 2021.  The Red Stick Fly Fishers recently announced the dates for their annual "Spring Concordia" and "Fall Concordia" freshwater weekends, held at Lakeview Lodge in Ferriday. Those dates go into 2022.

While it's assumed that some events will recur on certain dates, nothing is ever certain. That's why we urge readers to check out our Calendar before making plans.

Monday, August 12, 2019

McCormick, Rajeff, Mittel again take titles at ACA Nationals

Last week, as they do each summer, some of the best conventional casters and fly casters in the country gather at the American Casting Association Nationals in friendly competition to see who is the best at  putting a lure or fly at given targets, or reaching out to long distances.

Maxine McCormick, the 15-year old wondergirl of fly casting once again made news as she set yet another record at the ACA Nationals in Pasadena, California.  Her total in the three Women's Fly Accuracy events totaled a whopping 291 out of a possible 300 points!  Her nearest competitor, Beth Statt, finished with 257 points.

By contrast, Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel, both considered the greatest fly casters of modern times, finished 1st and 2nd in the Men's Accuracy Division with 294 and 290 points. Rajeff won the Trout Fly Accuracy contest with 98 points and the Bass Bug Accuracy with 97 points. But Mittel set a national record in winning the Dry Fly Accuracy, scoring a perfect 100 points! 

Rajeff and Mittel also split in the Fly Distance divisions. Rajeff won the 1-Handed Fly with a cast of 214 feet. Mittel won the 2-Handed Fly with 287 feet. Both tied for the Anglers Fly Distance with 166 feet, with Mittel winning the cast-off.

Other noteworthy performances included: Larry Allen won the Senior Men's Fly Distance 1-Handed with 173 feet and 2-Handed Fly with 214 feet. Elaine Gong won Senior Women's Fly Accuracy total with 245 points. Nicholas Galvan won the Junior Dry Fly and Bass Bug Accuracy with 91 and 89 points, respectively.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What's happening this week - 8/11

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Broadmoor United Methodist Church inside the Adult Education Center. Location is 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. For more, 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. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  The public is welcome! For more, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

This Saturday, Pack & Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their Outpost back of the store on 601 E. Pinhook. Time is 9:30am. Cost is $20. FTL1 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly tying, including hands-on tying of two effective flies for Louisiana. Tools and materials are provided for use during the session. Class size limited, so pre-registration is required. To register, go to www.packpaddle.com.