Thursday, July 19, 2018

SweatFest 2019: no celebration this weekend!

Friday temperatues and heat indexes near record highs
We're now in the second half of our annual SweatFest - the festival no one likes to celebrate. As is typical, the hottest days come in late July through mid-August. Currently, the situation is compounded by a large ridge of high pressure over a four state area.

A heat advisory has been issued this weekend for north, central and southwest parts of Louisiana. Maximum daytime temperatures in the upper 90s up to 105 degrees - combined with high relative humidities - will result in maximum heat indices of 105-110 degrees.

Persons involved in outdoor activities - especially fishing - should take extra precautions. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. Be prepared to move to a cool and shaded location.

Fishing in the advisory areas has been mostly poor, fair at best, over the last couple of weeks. Mid-July through August is the time of year when I do the least amount of fishing. Even January has much better days.

Too hot to fish? Tying flies gives an indoor alternative during the second half of SweatFest.Nearly 80 percent of the flies I use during the year are tied during this "down time". With each batch of a particular fly, some are put into the fly box, while the better ones are placed into "donation bin". Later flies from that donation bin will be put into separate boxes for donations to club events in 2019.

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 State of the Sport - Fishing & Fly Fishing

At ICAST, we were given an oral presentation on the current state of recreational fishing in the United States. This data was compiled by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in conjunction with the Outdoor Foundation, and was released last Monday.

Since 2010, fishing has been on a slow but steady growth. Currently there are 49.1 million participants, with the largest growth in the age group 25 to 44. Men make up 65% of all anglers, and whites make up 78% of the sport. Only 33% of all anglers have a college degree.

With regards to fly fishing, growth has also been on constant rise since 2010, and at a slightly higher rate than fishing in general. In 2017, there were 6.8 million fly anglers.  This represents an all-time high in participation!  The largest growth was in the age group 25 to 44, which makes up 35% of the sport. Nearly 45% of all fly anglers have a college degree. Almost 72% of flyfishers are white, but the number of Hispanics continues to grow, now over 11 percent. Almost 1 million people were new to fly fishing in 2017, another all-time high.

There's no question that outreach programs such as "Fly Fishing 101" or similiar clinics put on by clubs, retailers, and agencies are having an impact. Also, exposure to our sport via the internet and television programming (NBC Sports Channel, World Fishing Network, Pursuit, etc.) are also generating interest. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/15

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 the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

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. On the agenda: upcoming LA1 Slamboree tournament, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. 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 St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. 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.

Starting Friday, and continuing to Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsman Deer, Duck and Fishing Expo at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This show is a compliment to the magazine's spring show in Gonzales. There are numerous exhibitors as well as multiple seminars. Times are Friday, 3pm-9pm, Saturday, 10am-9pm, Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission is $12 for 13 and over, $6 for ages 6-12, and free under 6. For list of seminars, go to www.louisianasportsman.com.

On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Highway 1 Slamboree" tournament out of Top Water Marina in Leeville. It's open to the public, entry fee is %35 (plus $1.25 paypal fee) and can be done online at their website. Species is "Cajun Slam" - slot red, speckled trout, flounder 12" or longer. Artificial tackle only. For more info, rules, or to register, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

Recapping ICAST / IFTD 2018

The world's largest fishing trade show took place last week in Orlando. This was the seventh, and final merged event between the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show and the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). For 2019, ICAST returns once again to Orlando on July 7-10. While IFTD moves to Denver on October 16-18.

One of the advantages of the merged show was the opportunity for attendees to see the wide array of products that are common to all types of fishing - shirts, kayaks, coolers, luggage, software, to name a few. These made up over half of ICAST exhibitors. Most of those companies were NOT at Fly Tackle Dealer prior to the merge. So the question will be: how many accessory companies will come to a separate Fly Tackle Dealer Show?

Another potential issue with the 2019 show is the date. Buyers are concerned about the timing for orders, which usually begin in September in time for the Christmas season. Guides and pro-staffers have expressed concern about the fact that October is their best fishing month.

Despite those issues, IFTD 2019 is already generating much excitement. Many attendees had "Florida Fatigue", while several companies that held out of ICAST due to high costs plan to return to IFTD.

I'm continuing to add new product summaries to our sister website, flytacklereport.blogspot.com. Unlike the larger fly sites with several staff members, we're a one-person operation. So it will take longer to post all the products. But here's the other difference - we test every new rod and examine every new reel.

As is our long tradition, my Fly Lines column in the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman will spotlight several of the new tackle. And again list our "Catch's Choice Awards" highly recommended rods and reels for 2019.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/7

A big week in fly fishing, with the Fly Tackle Dealers Show (ICAST) in Florida during the week and the 14th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo here in Westlake, Louisiana on Friday and Saturday.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For details, 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.  Also on the agenda: the club's annual "Master Series" coming up on July 28th featuring Kelly Galloup.  Guests are welcome to the meeting.  For more info, 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.  Joe Bandera will lead the group in tying the "Peanut Popper" as well as a bonus fly. Bring $1 to cover materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome!  For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

On Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo at the Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake.  Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters of Lake Charles, this will be their most ambitious and largest event in several years, featuring one of the world's top fly tiers and young gun anglers, Pat Cohen.  Along with Cohen is a very impressive list of FFI Master Certified Casting instructors as well as nearly two dozen tiers from across the Gulf Coast.  The event kicks off Friday noon, and goes all day Saturday.  For a complete schedule of activities and times, go to www.contrabandflycastersinc.net.

* Regarding IFTD/ ICAST.  We'll be reporting product announcements and other news from the trade show via our sister site www.flytacklereport.blogspot.com and giving a summary report here on Thursday *

Monday, July 02, 2018

What's happening this week 7/2

With Independence Day on Wednesday, a very light week ahead.  Hope everyone and their loved ones enjoy a great holiday. Right now, the forecast calls for a tropical low to move across the state this week and bring us some much-needed rain in western and central Louisiana.

On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting in Lafayette, location TBA.  Time is 6:30pm. For more info, contact Bob Tabbert at 337-989-0815.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will host a "Fly Tying Level 1" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:00am.  Cost is $20 and seats are limited, so pre-registration is required.  As of this writing, only a couple of seats were still available.  The class will cover tying tools, and how to use them. Then with help from the instructor, students will tie two of the most effective flies for Louisiana: at topwater gurgler style popper and a subsurface redfish fly. All tools and materials are provided.  To register online, go to www.packpaddle.com and click on "Store Events".

July is here

A number of big events taking place this month.

Next week - Tuesday thru Friday - in Orlando, Florida, is the annual IFTD trade show (fly tackle), held in conjunction with the ICAST trade show (conventional tackle). Most of the new products coming out Fall 2018 and into 2019 will be revealed. As always, we'll be covering live from the show and posting press releases and updates on our sister blog, flytacklereport.blogspot.com.

July 13-14 is the annual Contraband Fly Fishing Expo to be held at Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake, featuring special guest Pat Cohen. Details were posted here last week, but since then the Contraband Fly Casters have added the event booklet to their website at www.contrabandflycastersinc.net.

July 20 thru 22nd is the annual Louisiana Sportsman Duck, Deer, and Fishing  Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  Last year, the publishers of Louisiana Sportsman magazine - which now run the show - expanded to two shows a year, one in Gonzales in March and a second in New Orleans in July.  The summer show will feature exhibitors and multiple daily seminars, including kayak fishing.  Also the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be taking part in the show.  For more info, go to www.louisianasportsmanshow.com.

July 21 is the annual "LA 1 Slamboree" kayak fishing tournament along Highway 1 corridor from Golden Meadow south. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, it's their largest tournament of the year and open to the public. Details can be found at www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

July 28 is the annual North Louisiana Fly Fishers "Masters Series" to be held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. This year's headliner is renown big fish guru Kelly Galloup. Some tickets are still available for $40 which includes lunch and refreshments. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Contraband Fly Fishing Expo booklet now online

14th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo
Friday-Saturday, July 13-14, 2018
Friday,  Noon - 4pm
Saturday, 8am - 4pm
Isle of Capri Casino Hotel, Westlake, LA
Free admission!

Next month the Contraband Fly Casters of Lake Charles will host their annual expo, and plan to make it the biggest one in many years.  Headlining the event is Pat Cohen, one of the most recognized names in fly tying, and a master of deer hair flies.

In addition to Pat, some of the top fly tiers in the Gulf Coast region will be demonstrating their favorite patterns - including nationally-recognized realistic tier Fred Hannie.  Several of the region's top fly casting instructors - such as Jay Clark and Jeff Ferguson - will be on hand to give casting sessions and instruction.  There's also a number of programs covering everything from fishing South Louisiana waters to fishing the Texas Hill Country.

Exhibitors and vendors will also be present. There are raffles and silent auctions to  benefit Project Healing Waters and Reel Recovery.

The Contraband club has put out an Expo booklet with schedule of activities, speaker bios, list of tiers, and much more.  The booklet is available online - click here to open.

For more info, go to www.contrabandflycastersinc.com or call 337-540-1292.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mid week tidbits 6/27

With only 12 days to go until IFTD / ICAST, the release of new fly fishing and kayak fishing products is gaining momentum.  The latest release comes from St. Croix Rods. Available in September of 2018, the new Mojo Trout series will consist of 11 new beautiful and dutiful 2-piece and 4-piece models from 6-feet to 9-feet in length, covering 2-weight to 7-weight.  The blank will be built on SCR's high-modulus SCIII graphite, and will be targeted at a price point "not to break the bank".

Another new product getting much buzz in advance of the trade show is Flymen Fishing Company's new soft-body Surface Seducer Double Barrel Popper.   The original SSDD Bug came out last summer and won Best of Show (Flies category) at IFTD.  Incidently, it caught the most bass on the pond at the IFTD Demo Day of any flies used.  Well, Flymen has improved the bug by switching from a hard-epoxy coating to a flexible coating.  The company even has a video out where the body is tested with a hammer (ouch!) and still holds up!

EFTTEX, the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exposition, is this week and several fly companies have introduced new products.  However EFTTEX is far more secretive than IFTD / ICAST and only a few scraps of information can be found.  What we have learned is that TFO, Winston and Hardy all have new rod series.  We did know of the TFO Finesse being upgraded to a more powerful blank, but retaining the classic action. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

What's happening this week 6/24

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Kristi Butler, manager of the LDWF Booker-Fowler Hatchery. The meeting is open to the public. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Goodwood branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Conference Room B on the 2nd floor. Time is 7:00pm. This month the group will be tying the Senko Worm fly.  Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7640 Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.neworleansflyfishers.com.

Saturday is the last day for fishing with the 2017-2018 Louisiana licenses. On Sunday, July 1st, the 2018-2019 fishing licenses will be required. Make sure to purchase your new ones before then.