Louisiana Fly Fishing

Summer reds are here. Late summer brings an influx of bull reds to the passes as the spawning period begins. But juvenile reds in nearshore waters also make a short migration into the lower estuaries, perhaps following crabs and shrimp. The hot days call for different tactics: the best action, especially on poppers, will be from first light to an hour after sunrise. After which, attractor patterns like spoonflies and seaducers will work. Crab patterns are a sure bet on most days. While large reds don't like the shallow ponds due to hot water, smaller slot reds will still be common.


Fly Of The Month

Kwan Fly. Pat Dorsy created the Kwan for the backwaters of South Florida but it's proven to be a universally-effective redfish fly. Even sheepshead will eat it on occasion. The most popular colors are tan/brown and tan/chartreuse. The materials needed are: Tiemco 800S or equivalent hook, beadchain or lead eyes, body of EP Fibers or Aunt Lydia's craft yarn, tail of craft fur or Pseudo Hair, and an egg sack of orange or yellow yarn. Use alternating colors for the yarn/fiber body or a waterproof marking pen to add color bands. For tying instructions, there are a couple Youtube videos of this popular pattern.


Featured Tackle

MTI Helios inflatable PFD. So far this summer, there's been at least 3 news reports of kayakers who've drowned - none wearing a life jacket. It's hot out there and perhaps the reason why some paddlers go without a vest. But that's no excuse. An inflatable PFD is less bulky and much cooler, and can save your life! The MTI Helios 2.0 jacket goes beyond standard IPFD with a comfort V-yoke, 3D mesh lining, reflective trim, and light colors. It even includes a signal whistle. MTI is a small American owned company that specializes in life jackets. This manual-inflatable PFD comes at suggested MSRP of $129, a good price for a vest of this quality.



 TIPPETS

Sunday, July 17, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, Pack and Paddle will hold their weekly "One Beer Fly Casting" informal casting session. Meet at their store on 601 E. Pinhook Road in Lafayette. No cost, the public is invited. No formal instruction, just a chance to cast at targets and have fun. Of course, if casting help is requested, folks on hand can help. BYOG - bring your own gear, PnP will supply the beer! On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Community Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, with general meeting at 7:00pm. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda is this month's "Highway 1 Slamboree" tournament on July 30th. Guests are welcome. 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. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Steve Oliver will be tying a popper pattern. The public is invited. On Saturday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Master Series" at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. This year's special guest is legendary fly angler Bob Clouser, with the theme "Bass Fishing Top to Bottom". Only a few tickets remain... price is $40 and includes admission, coffee, drinks, lunch. Check with Tom Bullock at 318-393-7729 for more info or for ticket availability.

ICAST 2016 lived up to it's reputation as the world's largest sportfishing industry trade show as a record attendance of more than 15,000 exhibitors, retailers, buyers and media attended last week's event in Orlando, Florida. This was the fourth consecutive year that ICAST, sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) was held cooperatively with IFTD, the International Fly Tackle Dealers Show, sponsored by the American Fly Fishing Trade Assocation (AFFTA). Exhibitors of both shared the massive 650,000 square foot Orange County Convention Center. Officially the exhibitor count was listed as 552, but that's deceiving because in a few dozen cases, a listed "exhibitor" was several different brands that happen to be under one parent company. For example, Pure Fishing represents over a dozen different brands such as Berkeley, Abu Garcia, Penn, Owner, Fenwick, SpiderWire and so on, and each of those brands had their own separate space. So the actual number was probably closer to 800. One of the things that ICAST / IFTD has done in the last couple years to help companies get more exposure to buyers and media is the addition of the "Demo Day". This event is held on Tuesday prior to the actual show which begins on Wednesday. This year, ICAST and IFTD did separate Demo Days. The IFTD event was held at Grande Lakes Golf Club, with various fly tackle companies and kayak or drift boat companies stationed at ponds along the course. Participants rode golf carts to each station and got a chance to do actual fishing with various rods. It's a good thing that the demo day was held, because I needed every extra hour available to test out or examine products, or talk to companies because like I said, there are more companies each year and more products. ICAST has set three straight records in three straight years at Orlando. So it's no surprise that for 2017, the show is going back there again.

After a banner year for new fly tackle products at the 2015 show, I fully expected that this would be a quiet year for new products - especially new rods. WRONG! The IFTD New Product Showcase was chock full of new rods, as well as reels. Incidently, somebody sent me an email asking about the St. Croix SOLE rod being named "Best of Show - Fly Rod". An explanation is in order... there are two new product showcases at this trade show, one for IFTD and one for ICAST. The ICAST section for fly rods only had a small number of new rods. The St. Croix SOLE won the ICAST "Best of Show" fly rod award, while the Sage X won the IFTD "Best of Show" fly rod award. So if you read any articles and find it confusing, that's the explanation. The problem with those awards is that most of the voting takes place prior to the show and no real testing is done. On the other hand, your humble correspondent tested out 43 rods as well as examined many of the new products and visited with their representatives. I try to cover many products or companies that most media ignore. In the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman, I'll share my reviews of some new and existing rods and give my personal "best of show" awards. I'll also be doing more in-depth reporting of new products on my blog next week. As readers will learn, nearly all fly rods these days with price points over $300 are very, very good rods. And even several under $200. The competition is so fierce these days that bad, or even average, rods quickly go extinct. Among premium rods, the differences among rods of the same class are very close in quality and performance. Keep in mind that my analysis of rods is based on my own casting style. I would expect readers to keep an open mind and check out other media reporting as well. Just beware of what some may say. When you read a blog that states that (unnamed) rod "stole the show" at ICAST, then it's a good bet that person is either a pro staff "jihadist" or is smoking those funny cigarettes!

As for kayak fishing at ICAST... let's just say my mind exploded on the first day! The number of new products - including kayak accessories - was overwhelming. It looks like 2017 will be "Year of the Pedal" as at least five companies will be joining Hobie and Native in the pedal-powered kayak sales. The three that got the most attention were Old Town with their PDL Drive, and Wilderness Systems and Perception which will share the new Helix PD drive. In each case, new boat models were introduced that use those drives, for example, Wildy with their Radar 115 and Radar 135 which also combine design elements from the award-winning Ride and ATAK models. Wilderness also introduced the ATAK 120, a shorter, lighter and more manuverable version of their ATAK 140 paddlecraft. Jackson Kayak introduced the Mayfly kayak designed specifically for fly fishing. And while companies were throwing their hats into the pedal-power race, Hobie and Native were standing idle. The one big knock that reviewers of Hobie kayaks have listed for years is "lack of reverse". Well, no more! Hobie introduced their new Mirage 180 drive which features reverse. It'll be standard on all their Mirage drive kayaks starting this fall. Native showed off their new Ultimate FX13, a pedal power version of their Ultimate FX kayak. The folks at the Native booth also showed me an updated version of the Manta Ray kayak due for next Spring. Except this boat looks nothing like the old Manta Ray and in fact, looks to be a whole new boat with a layout that many flyfishers will find accomodating. Of course, I spent time at nearly all the kayak company spaces (except the ones that make those round kayaks). For those who prefer to paddle, there's a plethora of choices on the market for 2017 featuring kayaks with framed seats. Just about every company that had a framed seat yak had a lot of folks at their space. The few companies that don't offer a framed seat yak pretty much were idle. I think based on that observation, if your kayak company doesn't offer a framed seat in 2017, your sales aren't going to be good. It's my opinion that comfort has become the number one preference for kayak anglers. Like with fly fishing products, I'll have much more details and analysis on my blog in a couple weeks. Also, I'll be posting some of the press releases and specifications in the Puddlers Forum. Also look out as I spent a lot of time checking out kayak fishing related products and accessories and will be posting something on those.

Sunday, July 10, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church off Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Burley Johnson will tie a new fly as well as demonstrate airbrushing and stippling a popper. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. Also on Monday, Pack and Paddle will hold their weekly "One Beer Casting" casual fly casting session. Meet at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette at 6;00pm. PnP will provide the beer. This is a free event. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This month, Arkansas guide Benjamin Woodard will speak on best places to fish smallmouth bass in southern Arkansas. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Bayou Pirates club will hold their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors on 1914 70th Street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Anyone interested in kayak fishing in north Louisiana is welcome. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none a few sets are available for use during the session. 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. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome.

Sunday, July 3, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Independence Day. Hope everyone has a great holiday! On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:00pm. Everyone is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at the Ward 3 Recreation Center on 7903 Lake Street in Lake Charles. Time is 6:30pm. Fellow kayakers welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Wednesday, Pack and Paddle holds their weekly "One Beer Fly Casting Clinic" casual fly casting session. Meet at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette at 6:00pm. This free session is not formal instruction, just to get together and cast and enjoy a beer. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold a fly tying workshop on poppers featuring Stephen Robert. Time is 8:30am to 1:00pm. Pre-registration required. Bring your tying tools, materials provided. Go to www.kisatchiefly.org or call Glen Cormier at 318-793-5855 for details.

The latest issues of Louisiana Sportsman and Tide magazines came in the mailbox on Friday. The July issue of LAS is available at many convenience stores and sporting goods stores across the state, while Tide magazine is a benefit of membership in the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). In this month's LAS, my Fly Lines column talks about the "amazing spider flies". During the hot days of summer, it pays for bream anglers to go arachno! Among the patterns we cover are the Cap Spider, Slow Sinking Spider, Foam Spider, and Electro Spider (that last one inspired by the Spiderman II movie). In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes talks about mothership kayaking out of the new PAC Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. In his Creature Feature column, Jerald Horst talks about Yellow Grouper. Feature articles include "Black Bay Bonanza" on trout fishing the productive southeast bay, by Rusty Tardo; "Fishing Small" on kayak fishing north Louisiana by Kinny Haddox; "Pulling the Trigger" on fishing triggerfish, spanish, and bluefish just off the coast by Humberto Fontova. Of special interest is "Blue Crab Special" by John Flores on public places to go crabbing. In this issue of Tide Magazine, "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions" by Captain Dave Lear expounds on the tough choices that kayakers have to make in choosing a puddlecraft. The article features Ben "Fishtaco" Roussel and Chris "Where Yak" Holmes from the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club. Chris does a sidebar on the "Ride the Bull" kayak fishing tournament out of Grand Isle, it's history and it's future now under the management of CCA Louisiana. Also of recommended reading is "Fixing the Magnuson-Stevens Act" by Matt Paxton.

With ICAST/IFTD just over a week away there's been a flood of teasers of new products in the last few days. Getting all the buzz are several new kayaks, and sneak peaks of at least two boats -not- named Hobie or Native that will be pedal-powered. In addition, several companies are adding frame seats to a few of their boats. In the last three years, the frame seat has become a must-have for buyers in the kayak fishing market. As for fly fishing, last year was a banner one for the number of new fly rods and typically that means "lean" for the following year. But 2017 is shaping up to be another banner year as far as new rods go. There's also several new reels and as always, lots of new accessories. A very competitive market in all aspects of fly fishing and light tackle fishing has brought constant innovation and better choices for the consumer.

Friday, July 1, 2016
The second half of 2016 starts today. I know it's hard to fathom as we begin "SweatFest 2016" - the festival no one likes to celebrate - but Fall is not far away. Already the days are getting shorter and nights getting longer. In just four weeks football returns with the opening of Saints practice. Soon after college teams start practice and it goes from there. There's football season, hunting season, and "fall fishing season". According to biologists, marsh fishing this fall could be the best in years! As for freshwater, I'm also looking forward to the return of good crappie, bass and "grass pike" action, stream fishing, and fall fishing on my favorite coldwater (mountain trout) waters. It's not all good, though... we're also entering the peak of hurricane season. Let's hope this year is a repeat of last year and no serious storms come our way. As far as fly fishing activities, the list keeps growing with the move of the IFFF Texas Fly Fishing Expo from June to September. Other 2nd half events include the Contraband Conclave, Rio Grande Rodeo, North Louisiana Fly Fishers Masters Series, the IFFF Gulf Coast Fly Fair, IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair, Louisiana National Hunting and Fishing Day, and Toledo Bend Rendezvous. There's also several club fishing activities. The best part of fall fishing is that the crowds of summer are gone... well, at least until they start catching limits of trout on the inside waters!

Monday, June 27, 2016
A correction to our Sunday posting. We mentioned that the "Fishing for Memories Rodeo" was this weekend. It was actually held this past weekend. On Saturday morning, on the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" radio show, my cohort (fellow field reporter) Brendan Bayard mentioned that this coming Saturday is the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's "Highway 1 Slamboree". It's actually on July 30th. However, registration has begun and if interested in a t-shirt, then folks need to register by July 7th. The confusion on tournament dates can be attributed to some old dates that were given at the beginning of the year, and subsequently changed. Yes, sometimes we get lazy and don't follow up. But it's more like VERY BUSY and not having enough time to follow up. I do thank LFF readers for keeping me on my toes!

Sunday, June 26, 2016
What's happening this week. A lot of tournaments for kayakers to choose from as we head into the 4th of July weekend. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. Location TBA as this will likely be an on-the-water session. For more info, check their Facebook page or go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Rick McGuffie, LDWF district biologist who will speak on the status of fisheries in central Louisiana. The public is invited. 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 in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Monday, Pack and Paddle will hold their weekly "One Beer Casting" casual fly casting session. Meet at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette at 6;00pm. PnP will provide the beer. This is a free event. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying workshop. Time is 6:00pm. Please bring your tying tools. If none, a few sets available. Materials provided. For more info, call Ron at 225-271-3100. On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold a quarterly meeting at Frenier's Landing Restaurant on the end of Peavine Road in LaPlace. Time is 7:00pm. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold a special event in lieu of their monthly meeting. NOFF will have an "Open House" for their monthly general membership meeting. Time is 5:00pm. It's an opportunity for anyone who wants learn about the club or fly fishing in general to come out for a great time. It will take place in the open meadow between Big Lake and Bayou Metairie (to the left of the museum). The club will have a canopy set up with water and drinks. It's also an opportunity to cast a number of different fly rods as well as a casting contest. Capt. Tristan Daire from Olde Towne Fly Shoppe and Outfitters with be there with some of the latest gear. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold an "Advanced Casting Clinic" from 12 noon to 2:00pm. Pre-registration is requested, and a link has been provided in the LFF Events Forum for this session. The clinic will concentrate on increasing distance and improving accuracy. Bring your own equipment or use the store supplied setups. To get more info, call 225-757-7286.

As mentioned, the July 4th weekend is "Rodeo Weekend" on the coast. And three of them offer a kayak division. The Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo is one of the state's oldest events, having started in 1948. Three years ago, GMFTR added a Kayak Division. Categories include Slot Red, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Cajun Slam and Leopard Red (most spots). With the exception of Leopard Red, 1st thru 3rd will be awarded, however, each fish may only be entered into one category. Entry fee is $35 and includes entry, boiled shrimp dinner on Saturday night, and other festivities under an air-conditioned tent. GMFTR kicks off on Thursday safe light and weigh-in ends on Saturday at 5:00pm. Another rodeo option this weekend is the 63rd annual Iberia Rod and Gun Club Rodeo held out of Quintana Landing at Cypremont Point. Kayakers can fish from 12:01am on Friday with the final weigh-in at 1:00pm on Sunday. Eligible species are redfish, speckled trout, flounder. Entry fee is $25. This is a roadrunner event with launching confined to Louisiana public waters. For more info, go to www.iberiarodandgunclub.com.

A reminder that 2015-2016 Louisiana fishing licenses expire this week at 12:01am Friday. If you haven't renewed yet, do so asap. Remember that the 2016-2017 licenses are valid from the time of purchase, so the minute you buy your new license it's good to go!

A few reveals ahead of ICAST/IFTD. We said that the first week of July should bring some leaks about new products coming out for 2017, that will be fully revealed at ICAST in mid-July. Well some companies are getting an early start. For example, Sage came all out with a promotional blitz for it's new "X" series fly rods. In a press release last week, Sage announced that the X Rod will feature KonneticHD Technology, creating tighter loops with better accuracy and efficiency than ever seen. The release goes on to say that "The new taper delivers greater black recovery and a crisper tip-top, allowing anglers to dig deeper into the rod and access more of the lower sections of the blank, shifting power closer to the angler.". Now let me translate what I think this means... it basically means that the X-Rod will be a slightly more moderate rod than their ONE Series, yet still retain the ability to make long, accurate casts. For $895, it better be the best casting rod on the market! And it probably will be. After all, each year one or two rod companies come out with a stellar new rod that one-ups the competition. Last year it was the Scott Meridian. After recently fishing all day with the Meridian, I can say it was clearly deserving of all the recognition it garnered the past year. Well now Sage has to answer and if early reports are any indication, the X rod will do so. It's not just rods that are in fierce market competition, so are reels. Allen has made it's mark by offering quality fly reels - both overseas and in the USA - giving customers a wide range of choices to fit any budget. But their premium offerings continue to grow with their new Atlas. The Atlas features the same drag technology used in their Omega and XLA series reels, in a sealed housing. The machined, anodized, large arbor reel comes in sizes for 5, 8, and 10-weights. What clearly defines the Atlas is it's narrow spool width, pretty rare for a large arbor reel with large backing capacity. For some anglers, this is preferred over wide spool reels - but often it comes at a premium cost. Not with the Atlas, it's MSRP is $329 to $349 and that comes before any discounts that the company usually gives on occasion to their email followers. The Atlas will be available shortly after ICAST in mid-July.

Sunday, June 19, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. 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.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Community Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. 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. Visitors are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during this session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold an informational meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF Region 1 Office at 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. Discussion will include current status of the lake, and management of giant salvania. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, it's the annual Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend where members of organized clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and elsewhere gather for food, fishing and fun. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. Also on Friday, it's the start of the annual Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston, and the annual Lincoln Parish Park Kids Fishing Tournament. The tournament starts at 8:00am. No entry fee or registration, just show up and bring your own fishing pole. Bait provided. Participants must be accompanied by parent or other adult. For more info, go to www.louisianapeachfestival.org. On Saturday, the Camp Fly Fishing School will hold an "Advanced/Instructor's Prep" workshop at their facility in Breaux Bridge. Time is 9:00am to 5:00pm. Cost of $150 includes instruction, handouts, lunch, refreshments. This session will deal with advanced techniques for more distance, handling the wind, and specialized casting, as well as principles of casting needed for the IFFF Certification exam. For details, go to www.thecampflyfishingschool.com. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" class at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet. Time is 8:00am. FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing including rigging and basic casting. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "Kayaking 101" workshop at Lake Martin. Time is 5:00pm. Cost is $45 and includes instruction, use of kayak, paddle and PFD. To register or more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

A few special summer activities recently announced. On Thursday, June 30, the New Orleans Fly Fishers Club will have an "Open House" for their monthly general membership meeting. Time is 5:00pm. It's an opportunity for anyone who wants learn about the club or fly fishing in general to come out for a great time. It will take place in the open meadow between Big Lake and Bayou Metairie (to the left of the museum). The club will have a canopy set up with water and drinks. It's also an opportunity to cast a number of different fly rods as well as a casting contest. Capt. Tristan Daire from Olde Towne Fly Shoppe and Outfitters with be there with some of the latest gear. On Saturday, July 2nd the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will host an Advanced Fly Casting Clinic at their store in Perkins Rowe. Time is 12:00 noon to 2:00pm. For more info, call 225-757-7286. On Saturday, July 9 and Saturday, August 9 the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold "Too Hot to Fish Fly Tying Clinics" at the LDWF Outdoors Education Center in Woodworth. Featured instructors will be Stephen Robert on July 9th and Jeff Guerin on August 13th. More details forthcoming, check their website at www.kisatchiefly.org.

Time to renew your Louisiana fishing license. The 2015-2016 licenses expire on midnight July 1st, after which you'll need a 2016-2017 license to fish Louisiana waters. The new licenses became available on June 1st, and are good from the time of purchase thru June 30 of 2017. Good news is that there is no increase in license fees - for most folks, it remains $9.50 for basic (covers freshwater) and extra $13.00 for saltwater. Persons 60 years of age or older qualify for the special "Senior Fish/Hunt" license that covers all fishing, basic hunting, big game, and WMA use. Members of the military also get discounts on saltwater license, combined fish/hunt license. A retired military annual fish/hunt license is also available for just $5.00. As for non-residents... the basic stamp is $5.00 per day, with saltwater stamp $17.50 per day (total $22.50 per day). For frequent visitors to our state, the annual license might be a cheaper option - though NOT cheap! The NR season basic stamp is $60.00 and saltwater $30.00 for total of $90.00. Licenses can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, or online via the LDWF E-License option. With the E-License option, you print the license or save it as a PDF to take with you (an extra service fee is charged for this convenience).

We're less than four weeks away from the annual International Fly Tackle Dealers Show (IFTD) held in conjunction with the annual International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The world's largest fishing retail trade show is significant in that, for the vast majority of companies, their new products for the coming year are introduced. Some years the number of new products are few; other years are many. Last year's show was a "boom year"... it took me a good 3 hours to go through the New Product Showcase! So I expect next year's offerings to be lean. So far, the rumor mill has been quiet, but a few companies have leaked out info. TFO and Sage will be offering a new rod series, and Taylor Fly Fishing, which has made reels only, will be offering their first rod series. Simms is also expected to offer new waders. As usual, we'll be reporting live from the event, and summarizing our findings in the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman.

The Perfect Cast DVD from Gary Borger. Whether you're a friend or longtime LFF reader - hopefully both - you know that I consider Gary Borger to be one of the best fly fishing instructors in my lifetime. Having seen him in person on several occasions, taken a couple classes with him at FFF events, and read (owned) several of his books and VHS tapes, I'm continually fascinated with the extent to which he researches and analyzes every aspect of our sport and presents it with such clarity to his audience. That shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, after all he is a retired plant sciences professor (University of Wisconsin-Wausau). Borger has been writing articles, books, making videos, and giving seminars on fly fishing, casting, fly tying, and trout since 1972, and was named one of the top seven most influential fly fishers of the last 50 years by Fly Fusion magazine. As mentioned, I have an old VHS tapes produced by 3M Scientific Anglers featuring Gary on fly casting, but last year Borger released an updated high-definition DVD on fly casting under the Tomorrow Press label. The Perfect Cast I is 72 minutes long, and covers the three basic casting methods (Wrist, Forearm, Whole Arm) as well as more specialized casts such as Bow and Arrow, Elliptical, Roll, Reach, Hook, Curve Mend, Puddle Mend, Switch Cast, Forward Spey. Other subjects include false casting, tailing loops, casting in the wind and more. Unique shots from above illustrate discussions of the casts and mends. This DVD is available from www.garyborger.com for $16.50 postage paid.

Sunday, June 12, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, with casting outside prior to the meeting. The public is invited. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior to the meeting. The group will be tying flies. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting and socializing starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month, Jerry Driskell will present a program on trout fishing the San Juan River in New Mexico. The river is world famouse for both quantity and quality of trout. The public is invited. 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. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Sunday is Father's Day; don't forget to take dad fishing!

Sunday, May 29, 2016
What's happening this week. Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday for most, but more importantly a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Orvis FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour session that covers the basic of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also this Saturday and Sunday, it's "Free Fishing Days" in Louisiana and Mississippi. In Louisiana, this applies to recreational fishing in all waters. In Mississippi, this applies to freshwater only. There's a separate free saltwater fishing day on July 4th.

Summer has begun - climatologically speaking. The summer soltice may not be until June 22nd, but seasons in Louisiana are always a few weeks early. I call this the start of "90-90-90"... 90 days of 90 degrees high temps in the day and 90 percent humidity in the morning. Enjoy the June breezes because come July, they go away and "SweatFest 2016" begins! Of course, with the start of "summer" comes the start of tropical activity. Already we're on the 2nd tropical storm of the year. TS Bonnie appears to be headed toward South Carolina, so we're good for now. The bad news is that forecasters are predicting 2016 to be a very active year, with the most named storms since 2012. They've missed their forecast - on the good side - the last two years, let's hope it extends to three!

The summer season brings increased emphasis on safety. With school out, Louisiana waters can often get crazy with boaters, especially on weekends. Most of the boating fatalities occur during the summer months. The good news in that regard is that - thanks in large part to the LDWF's Boater Safety Program - the number of fatalities has declined significantly in the last three decades, from an average of 52 per year in the 1980s down to single digits. In most cases, on-the-water fatalities are either alcohol-related and/or not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD). I know it's hot, but wear that PFD all the time if possible. It costs a bit more, but an inflatable PFD will save your life and keep you cooler.

Keeping your cool can save your life! Summer sun and heat brings many dangers. For example, heat stroke. Bring an ice chest or cooler tote bag with water and/or sports drinks to stay hydrated. The sun does it's damage over time - skin exposed to the high UV radiation during summer months can lead to cancer. Protect your skin by putting on a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen (30 or higher) BEFORE you get on the water. Wear long sleeve breathable shirts, a rim cap, or a bill cap in conjunction with a buff. Wear some type of cover for your feet. Also be aware of the daily thunderstoms that can pop up very quickly. At the first sign of dark clouds in the horizon, start making your way back to launch (especially in a kayak).

A brief look at Summer 2016. Not many fly fishing and kayak fishing events, but those few are pretty big events! The weekend of June 24-26, we have the annual Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend. This event is a gathering of members of clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and a couple other states with the focus on surf fishing and marsh fishing for reds, specks, flounder, and other salt species. On July 23, it's the 4th annual "Masters Series" hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers at the Red River National Refuge in Bossier City. This year's headliner is Bob Clouser. A few tickets of the 75 original tickets were still available as of last week, but they're going fast! Then on August 20, it's the annual Contraband Conclave at Moss Bluff United Methodist Church Center. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters, there's seminars, fly tying demos, casting instructions, vendors, exhibitors, raffles and more. Admission is free. On the kayak fishing side, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club has two big tournaments, their annual "Highway 1 Slamboree" on July 30 and their "Cajun Castaway" at Calcasieu Point on August 20. And then there's the world's largest kayak fishing tournament - Ride the Bull - August 26-27 out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. RTB7 promises to set another record, as many past attendees have confirmed to me that they'll be returning this year in rememberance of organizer and Louisiana kayak fishing pioneer Kristen Wray, who passed away earlier this year following a courageous battle against cancer.

For those who follow competitive fly fishing the U.S. National Championships will be held this week in Lake Placid, New York. The top finishers will have the opportunity to compete for Team USA when the World Championships are held in August in Vail, Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Super Bowl of competitive casting takes place July 25-30 in Wilmore, Kentucky when the American Casting Association hosts it's 108th National Tournament. The categories include spinning and fly casting. The fly casting categories include 1-Hand Distance, Dry Fly Accuracy, Trout Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, 2-Hand Distance, and more. Within each category, there's divisions for Men, Women, Senior Men, Senior Women, Intermediate, Juniors and Youth. Much of the attention is given to the 1-Hand Distance and Overall winners, two titles that have pretty much been dominated by Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel. Steve's 1-Hand Distance record of 243-feet remains unfathomable, while brother Tim's record for Men's Accuracy Flies with 300 points is equally jaw-dropping! But last year, it was 11-year old Maxine McCormick that got all the buzz after she set new records for Women's Fly Accuracy and Juniors Fly Distance (111 feet).

Sunday, May 22, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Kenny Robertson, LDWF wildlife agent and also president of the Cotile Lake Environmental Association. Kenny will talk about fishing regs, water safety and about Cotile Lake. Also on the agenda: Roger Breedlove's rods for sale to benefit the club, tickets for the CCA Cenla Banquet (June 9) and tickets for the NLFF Masters Series featuring Bob Clouser (July 23). Visitors 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 Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying session. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your own tying tools, but if none, a few sets available for use. Materials are provided. On Wednesday, the CCA Tangi Chapter holds their annual banquet at Twelve Oaks on the SLU Campus in Hammond. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($30 spouse/$25 youth) and includes admission, membership, dinner, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the start of the 2016 CCA STAR Tournament, which runs through Labor Day. Of the 16 divisions, five of most interest to LFF readers are Fly (East and West), Kayak (East, Southeast, Southwest, West), Youth, Tagged Redfish, Tagged Speck. New this year is the Bank Division. For more details or to register, go to www.ccastar.com. Also on Saturday, the Camp Fly Fishing School in Breaux Bridge will hold an "Advanced Fly Fishing Workshop". Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost of $150 includes instruction, handouts, lunch, refreshments. This workshop goes beyond introductory topics and deals with getting more casting distance with more efficiency and also specialty casts that cover a wide range of fishing situations. For more info, go to www.thecampflyfishingschool.com. Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-N-Redfish Cup. This is a fish-anywhere in Louisiana kayak tournament, with weigh-in from 4:00pm to 5:00pm at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Heaviest stringer of 2 slot reds and 2 specks wins. Entry fee is $25 and it's open to the public. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

The IFFF Texas Council has updated their Expo website. The Texas Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers has held their annual conclave, aka "Destination Texas Fly Fishing Expo" at New Braunfels in June. This year, they moved to a new date and a new location - Grapevine Convention Center on Thursday-Saturday, September 8th thru 10th. Thursday will be for CCI and MCI Continuing Education and possibly other day-long workshops, with Thursday evening a showing of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival. On Friday, and continuing Saturday, the event begins in earnest with programs, exhibitors, fly tiers, casting workshops, and more. The headliner list looks quite impressive - including Pat Cohen, Kelly Galloup, Jen Ripple, and our own Fred Hannie. More info and registration will be coming. The website is www.txflyfishexpo.com.

The IFFF Southern Council also updated their expo info. The Southern Fly Fishing Fair, aka Southern Conclave, is held every year the first full weekend of October in Mountain Home, Arkansas. For the last 14 years, the event has been held at Baxter County Fairgrounds. Previously it was held inside the banquet room at the Ramada Inn - which the conclave had long outgrowned (and by a lot!. The one good thing that many of us who have tied or given presentations at the Fairgrounds conclaves could say was that it had plenty room. And that was about it! However, several of us were very excited to learn that for 2016, the event will be held at The Sheid Convention Center on the campus of Arkansas State University - Mountain Home. It's a very impressive facility, and I expect many of the vendors and fly tiers to be pleased with the new location as well. The Convention Room also has a large auditorium which will be used for showing of the Fly Fishing Film Tour. More show info details will be coming in the next couple of months.

Sunday, May 15, 2016
What's happening this week. A busy one, with three fishing events this Saturday. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month, Gene Taylor will be demonstrating the Chernobyl Ant. Attendees can tie along. Beginners and guests are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begin at 6:00pm with 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. On the agenda: the upcoming Speck-and-Redfish Cup tournament, tackle tips, fishing reports, product spotlight and yak fishing location. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Wednesday, the CCA Delta Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will be tying a streamer and discussing George Daniels' new book, "Strip Set". Beginners and visitors are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Pointe Coupee Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Scott Civic Center in New Roads. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Spring Catch-n-Eat" marsh fishing outing open to members and members of other recognized clubs. The fishing takes place along Highway 1 corridor, culminating with a fish and shrimp fry Saturday evening. For details, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's the 3rd annual "2-Fly Tournament" hosted by the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers. It's open to members of any recognized fly fishing club. There is no cost. Registration begins at 8:00am with fishing from 8:30am to 1:00pm. Rules are fly fishing with only 2 flies allowed at start, and thru duration of the tournament. Longest cumulative total of 3 bream wins. For details, check out Stephen Robert's post in our Events forum. Also on Saturday, it's the annual BREAMFEST at Providence Hill Farm in Jackson, MS. This charitable event is open to the public with over $4,000 in prizes. Fishing times are 8:30am to 10:30am with lunch at noon. Entry fee is $150 adult, $50 youth. Divisions are Adult and Youth. For more info, call Chris at 601-497-2471 or email breamfest@icloud.com. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" clinic. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on, on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Fishing will take place on a stocked pond. To register, call 225-757-7286. Also this Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake off Stanford Avenue. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models include Hobie, Jackson, Native Watercraft, Perception, Wilderness, and Feel Free.

Tickets for the NLFF Masters Series going fast! Even though we're still 2 months away from the North Louisiana Fly Fishers 4th annual "Masters Series" on Saturday, July 23rd, the number of available tickets is shrinking for "A Day with Bob Clouser". One of the legends of our sport - with WAY too many accolades to list (I'd have to sit at the keyboard all day) - Clouser will be giving presentations, casting clinic, and hands on fly tying. The club is hoping to sell what few tickets remain of the original 75 tickets over the next couple of weeks, so they can finish with that part of the event. Tickets are $40 each and include admission, lunch, and refreshments. One reason why tickets have gone so fast is that a number of clubs signed on as sponsors, buying up blocks of 10 tickets. Those clubs include: Magnolia Fly Fishers, East Texas Fly Fishers, Kisatchie Fly Fishers, Contraband Fly Casters and Gray Wolf Fly Shop. If you're interested in attending this great event, give Scott Irwin a call at 318-469-0854... but hurry!

Updates on Orvis Fly Fishing 101. Alex Beane, manager of the Orvis store in Baton Rouge, sent me an email this week stating that additional "Fly Fishing 101" classes are coming up on June 4th and July 2nd (they were not on our LFF Calendar). FYI, the FF101 sessions are free, 1-day, 2-hour clinics that cover the basics of casting and rigging, along with casting instruction and actual hands-on casting by the students with evaluation by the instructor. Each FF101 session is followed the next week by "Fly Fishing 201" where students fish a stocked pond, and put the learnings of FF101 to actual use. It's a very innovative approach and one that has worked very well for both Orvis and the fly fishing community. In fact, Alex says that over 400 students last year took FF101. This is a nationwide program so do the math and you can see why, according to AFFTA surveys, the numbers of people in our sport continue to grow to all-time highs. But that's just half the story because anyone can teach fly fishing, but the question is, does anybody learn? As an instructor, I've had many former Orvis FF101 students and they almost always show good skills from the start. That enables instructors to move quickly to "advanced beginner" and even intermediate level material. If you know someone with an interest, please share and tell them to contact the Orvis store at 225-757-7286.

The 2016 Hobie World Championship is coming to Louisiana was announced this past week. The dates are December 4th thru 10th, with the location being Leeville and the now-famous Highway 1 corridor. The Hobie Worlds Championship is to kayak fishing what the Superbowl is to football or the World Series to baseball. Except that it's international... over 50 qualified anglers from around the globe will be contesting using identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayaks. This is the 6th Worlds Championship, with the last 3 being held in Australia, Netherlands, and China. The contest held in the Netherlands was won by Louisiana's own Steve Lessard of Geismar, and many are hoping that a Louisiana native qualifies for the 6-man USA team. If not, the most likely "home representative" would be Benton Parrot of Spanish Fort, Alabama. Benton is among a handful of puddlers whose already qualified on the merit of winning last year's IFA Kayak Tour Championship out of Chalmette. Parrot, who frequently fishes Louisiana waters, is Team USA Captain, and guarantees a lot of good fish will be caught. But defending World Champion Ma Xiaohong of China plans isn't planning to give up his crown simply because four of the 5 champions have been from the host country. Besides, he's heard about "Cajun Sleigh Rides" and says he's looking forward to having several. This should be a great event for our state come December.

Monday, May 9, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, with casting outside prior to the meeting. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. The group will be tying bream flies for their outing this Saturday on Cane River. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting and socializing starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month, guest speaker will be renown mussel biologist Tony Brady. Tony will speak on mussel biology and propogation and even on tying a mussel fly. The public is invited. 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. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, Masseys Outfitters in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Fishing Seminar" at their store in Town Center. Time is 7:00pm. Jackson Fishing Team member Ben "Fishtaco" Roussel will give tips and tricks for fishing out of a kayak, as well as methods on fly fishing from a kayak. The public is welcome. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors (Hook 1 Louisiana) on 1914 E. 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA River Parishes Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge holds another Fly Fishing 101 clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with an hour of tackle and rigging and one hour of casting instruction. It's FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on Stanford at University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River Canoe, Dagger, Yolo. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Bayou St. John near the Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models include Hobie, Jackson, Native Watercraft, Wilderness, Feel Free. Also on Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold a fishing outing on Cane River. For more details, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com.

Finding Trout in All Conditions. That's the title of a new book by Boots Allen. According to the press release, "Finding Trout in All Conditions: A Guide to Understanding Nature's Forces for Better Production on the Water" is a comprehensive examination of those parts of the natural world that impact trout, trout food and forage. It examines how trout react and feed under the influence of barometric pressure, rain, snow, air and water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and much more. Research on the book was based on the author's 30-plus years of guiding and fishing around the world, and conversations with other guides and experienced anglers. It's available starting tomorrow at Amazon.com. Price is $18.99 for Kindle, $34.99 for Hardcover.

Friday, May 6, 2016
The May issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available at sporting goods stands and convenience stores across Louisiana. In this issue, my Fly Lines column - "Green, Green Grass of Houma" - tells why early summer reds love weedy ponds , what types of grass to look for, and what tactics and flies are effective. As always, we have the fishing forecast (Tippets) and list of upcoming events for the month ahead. In other columns, Andy Crawford writes about the slip cork rig for panfish; Chris Holmes in his "Paddles 'n Puddles" kayak fishing column tells why trolling for trout can more fish in the yak; Jerald Horst in his "Creature Feature" tells about Spots - no not the redfish ones, but the small member of the croaker family; Jerald and Glenda Horst share the Broussard family of Lafayette recipes including Oyster and Andouille Pasta. In feature articles, Jerald Horst tells us about secret spots for trout out of Grand Isle, and Kinny Haddox tells about creek fishing with Scott Long of DandyDon.com LSU sports website - yes, the son of LSU superfan "Dandy Don" Long. Incidently, it was Scott who helped me with formation of this website 20 years ago.

We're closing in on the start of 2016 CCA STAR. This year, the Fly Fishing Division remains the same, with heaviest speckled trout in the Eastern Region winning a $1,500 gift card to Academy Sports, and likewise for the Western Region winner. Once again, kudos to Costa del Mar for sponsoring the Fly Fishing Division. As far as I know, Louisiana is only other CCA state besides Florida to have this division. In the Kayak Division, there's been a change regarding top prizes. In the past, each of the four division winners took home a Hobie Outback with Mirage Drive. For 2016, the angler registering the heaviest overall speckled trout in any of the four divisions will win a Hobie Pro Angler, which is an upgrade from the Outback. However, the other three division winners will take a Hobie Quest (which is a paddle kayak). I've read some mixed reactions to this on some of the kayak forums, so we'll see. This year, there's a new division - "Bank Fishing" with the winner no longer being confined to the bank as they'll be awarded a 16-foot Weldbilt boat with 40 horsepower Mercury 4-stroke, donated by Bent Marine. Fly anglers and kayak anglers aren't just limited to their divisions... they can win in other divisions as well - including Tagged Redfish and Tagged Speckled Trout. Last year, two kayak anglers registered the first 2 tagged reds, one of those being our own forum member JCraft (he took home a Chevy Silverado). So the possibilities are endless. If you haven't registered for STAR, do so today by going to www.ccastar.com.

The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers club now has a new meeting location. The club will continue to meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm, but the location will be Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. If you live in the Northshore area, this is a great club with lots of experienced fly anglers and fly tiers and terrific comradery. Guests are welcome. They also do a fly tying session on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at Olde Towne Fly Shop at 3675 Ponchartrain Drive in Slidell. Beginners are welcome. To learn more about the club, visit their website at www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
What's happening this week. An active weekend culminating with Mothers Day on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting. This month will be an on-the-water meeting at Buhlow Lake in Pineville. Time is 6:00pm. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Ward 3 Recreation Complex on 7903 Lake Street in Lake Charles. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod St. in Old Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Wednesday, the Vermillion Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at the VN Hall on 1201 North Lafitte Road in Abbeville. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, live auction, raffles. For info, contact Rad at rad@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the Lake Charles Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, live auction, raffles. For info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, Backpacker and Pack and Paddle will hold major kayak demos in the Lafayette area. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to practical fishing situations. Seats are limited, so reservations are required. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's the 7th annual "Bass on the Fly" CPR tournament out of Lake Fork Marina in Texas. Time is 6:00am to 2:00pm. Cost is $60 per person, with optional $5 big bass pot and optinal $5 big sunfish pot. Categories include Boaters, Kayak, and Club. Activities begin on Friday and include free casting clinics 10am-4pm, product booths, kayak demos, and a guide report at 6:00pm. Casting and kayak demos continue on Saturday. Onsite registration can be done Friday or Saturday morning before 6:00am. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.

For folks in the Lafayette area who are looking to get into kayak fishing, or wanting to upgrade their existing kayak, or add to their "plastic navy", this Saturday provides a great opportunity to "try before you buy". Both Backpacker (Lafayette store) and Pack and Paddle will be holding major kayak demos... and it's free! Backpacker will be at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Brands to test will include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, Yolo and others. Pack and Paddle will hold their demo at Vermillionville Pond at 300 Fisher Road (near the airport) from 10:00am to 2:00pm. PnP carries Hobie, Jackson, Wilderness, Native, NuCanoe, Hurricane, Bote and others. Next weekend, Backpacker of Baton Rouge and Masseys of New Orleans will hold demos at University Lake (Wampold Park in BR) and Bayou St. John in NO, respectively. Each year, the early May demos stand out from the March major demos in that there are always a few new boats that come to dealers between March and May. This year, those models include the Jackson Kraken 13, Wilderness Tarpon T130X, and the Perception Pescador Pro 120. The three boats I've mentioned have all received high accolades. The Kraken and Tarpon are built for speed, but with enough stability for high seating and even some standup in calm conditions (and the right body type). The Pescador Pro offers a great value in a frame seat kayak, lightweight and great combination of speed, stability, tracking and manuverability. Realize that all these are claims based on initial test reports. I like many others hope to draw my own conclusions after this weekend!

Just announced - The Fly Fishing Show is coming to Atlanta on February 3rd and 4th of 2017. This will be the first time the expo has come to the Atlanta area, and the first time in almost a decade since the city had a major fly fishing show. Longtime readers may recall the "Atlanta Fly Fishing Show" which was part of the Shallow Water Expo events produced by Mark Castlow. The show coming in 2017 is produced by FFS President and CEO Ben Furimsky, and previously by his dad, Chuck Furimsky, with several venues across the country - mostly in the northeast and west. The furthest south that FFS has ever been was two years in Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth area) and North Carolina. For 2017, the Atlanta show will replace the North Carolina show due to lack of available dates to do both shows. Since a few folks from southeast Louisiana regularly attended the Castlow show in Atlanta, I'm assuming they'll look forward to FFS there. For me, the date conflicts with the Texas Fly Fishers conclave (Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival) otherwise it's always worth the trip.

With the NFL draft just completed and football recruits visiting college campuses over the next few weeks, I found it interesting that Lee University in Tennessee landed a major commitment this past week. Mason Sims is a 5-star recruit... in fly fishing! That's right, Lee University has a fly fishing team and Sims, a member of the 2015 World Champion USA Youth Fly Fishing Team and silver medalist, is their latest addition. Dr. Guy DeLoach, associate professor of business at the university - and coach of the fly fishing team - stated that several Lee University team members will be competing in world competitions. I wasn't able to get feedback from Mike Detillier on this news... he's probably still busy analyzing the Saints' draft picks. However, this signing probably elevates Lee to a top five recruiting class. Now LSU, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette need to get on the ball... or "fly".

Sunday, April 17, 2016
What's happening this week. It culminates with a weekend of big events. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Brent Humphries will lead the group in tying the Cap Spider, one of the late Mike Verduin's most popular bream flies. The public is welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begins at 6:00pm, general meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Acadiana Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at The Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, live auction. For more info, contact julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Wednesday, the CCA Baton Rouge Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Baton Rouge River Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. On Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. Also 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. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Scott Irwin will be tying one of Dirk Burton's creations, the "Cajun Tickler", a woven fly. Guests are welcome! On Friday, it's the kickoff to Paddlepalooza XIII to be held on Saturday. More on that later. Also starting Friday and continuing Sunday it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual spring outing to Lake Concordia to flyfish for bream, bass, stripers and catfish. It culminates with the Saturday night fish fry. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's The Camp Fly Fishing School Beginners Workshop. More on that later. Also on Saturday, The Lower Mountain Fork Foundation will hold their annual "Mystery Fly Tournament". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge holds another Fly Fishing 101 clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with an hour of tackle and rigging and one hour of casting instruction. It's FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Why is there never a loser at Paddlepalooza? I'll tell you why - great food, great comradery and many great ways to come home with prizes. In addition to the Cajun Slam category (slot red, speck, flounder) that offers the top prizes, there's individual species categories, Youth Division, Ladies Division, the Leopard Red and Trash Bash Divisions. The latter two offer the chance for any skill level to win. The Leopard Red - a slot red (18" to 27") with the most spots wins a Kajun kayak. In the Trash Bash Division, bags will be handed out to willing participants to collect trash in the marsh. Bring back a bag of trash and be eligible to win. Then there's the raffle - a chance at $15,000 in prizes which helps to raise money for two charities. Registration for the state's oldest kayak tournament is open thru the Captains Meeting Friday night. The Captains Meeting - and all other activities - will be held at Topwater Marina in Leeville (formerly Bobby Lynns). Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, P-Palooza is Louisiana's oldest kayak fishing tournament, the state's 2nd largest annual tournament (after Ride the Bull), and the 4th largest tournament in the country. As of last week, over 200 had signed up and it's very possible that last year's record 271 attendance will be broken - especially if the wind lays down. Wind has been a HUGE problem the past week, but many guides are reporting that the marsh is full of fish. Entry fee is $56 and includes Friday night dinner, Saturday night fish fry and a chance at $15,000 in cash and prizes. For more on Paddlepalooza, or to register, go to www.bckfc.org.

For fans of the Lower Mountain Fork in southeast Oklahoma, this weekend is your chance to make a difference for this year-round coldwater trout fishery. Located less than 3 hours north of Shreveport near Broken Bow in the Ouachita Mountains, "Beavers Bend" holds 12 miles of trout water, but the upper section known as Spillway Creek - which is fishable regardless of generation - has been ravaged by two major floods, one last May and again this January. The May 2015 flood release of water thru the Spillway was roughly 200 times the normal flow and wiped out many of the stream improvements on the river. The January release was similiar and wiped out some restoration as well as the fly shop. It also caused the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation to reschedule their annual "Mystery Fly Tournament" from late February to this Saturday. The premise is simple. Every participant gets the same fly, unknown to all in advance. Lose the fly, and you're done. As this is a fundraiser, you can buy an identical "Mulligan" in advance. The tournament starts at 7:00am and concludes around noon. It's a catch-release partner event, where teams keep each other's length (score). The entry fee also includes dinner that evening at 5:00pm at the Forest Heritage Center. All of the monies raised go to the LMFRF to help pay for projects to improve or restore the Fork, as well as various fly fishing causes the group supports such as Project Healing Waters and Reel Recovery. For more info, go to www.lmfrfoundation.org.

This Saturday, School is in session. The Camp Fly Fishing School, that is. Keith Richard, owner and operator of the TCFFS in Breaux Bridge, annually offers 3 day-long workshops (Beginners, Advanced, Advanced / Instructors Training). The Beginners session will be this Saturday, and covers the basics of the sport with emphasis on casting. Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $150 and includes lunch, handouts, and instruction. I often encourage newbies to enroll in as many beginner clinics as possible. But The Camp clinics are special... Keith is a nationally renown casting instructor; he and his other instructors are IFFF Master Certified. The class is heavy on casting, and I've seen great improvement in the casting of friends who've attended the School. Pre-registration is required, as seats are limited. So please call Keith Richard at 337-344-0908 for details and availability. Or go to his website at www.thecampflyfishingschool.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm, with casting outside prior to the meeting. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. This month, the club welcomes guests Howard Malpass of Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport, along with John and Mary Scarborough. Bring your tying equipment and supplies. If you don't have any, the club has some for use during the meeting. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting and socializing starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month, Dick Burton will present a program on fly fishing the Atchafalaya Basin for bass and bream. This waterway is one of the nation's greatest water wilderness areas, and is truly a Louisiana treasure. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Lake Charles Chapter will host a "Calcasieu - State of the Lake" meeting at The Calcasieu Room on 3700 W. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Time is 6:00pm. Admission is free, and open to the public. Light snacks and soft drinks will be provided. Featured speakers include Austin Feldbaum of CPRA, Randy Pausina and Patrick Banks of LDWF, and CCA Executive Director David Cresson. Starting Thursday and running thru Saturday, it's the annual Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home, Arkansas. More on that later. 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. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors (Hook 1 Louisiana) on 1914 E. 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA Plaquemines Parish Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Belle Chasse Auditorium on 8398 Highway 23 in Belle Chasse. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Saturday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their annual "Fly Fishing 101" clinic at Booker-Fowler Hatchery in Forest Hill. Time is 8:30am to 12:30pm. The clinic will cover the basics of fly fishing including tackle and terminology, hands-on casting, knots and leaders, and flies. It's free and open to the public, but pre-registration is advised. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

The Sowbug Roundup is this week. Those of you familiar with Sowbug are probably thinking I have the date wrong since this event has always been held in March. A scheduling snafu this year resulted in Sowbug being held a month later than usual. However I'm told that has been corrected for the next four years and in 2017 the event will return to March. For those unfamiliar with Sowbug... well, it's the largest club conclave in the country! Sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, it runs Thursday thru Saturday at the Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Admission is only $5 and covers all 3 days, under 12 is free with parent or guardian. Sowbug typically draws a thousand attendees or more, including many from Louisiana. What makes it so popular? Well, having world-class trout fishing is always a draw. But also, for years it's had the largest collection of fly tiers from across the country, a few even from Europe, than any other event in the USA with possible exception of the International Fly Tiers Symposium. In addition to the demonstration tiers, there's seminars, vendors, casting clinics, and much more. Proceeds go to the club's scholarship fund. For more details, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org.

We're saddened to hear that John Grantham has passed. John, a resident of Denham Springs, was a longtime member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers club, and served on the club's board. But more significant, John was a co-sponsor for the Pelican State Junior Fly Fishers club, one of only six Federation of Fly Fishers junior clubs in the country during the late 90s and early 2000s. Even after the club dissolved, John continued to teach fly tying to youngsters. He was 61.

As today's final of the Masters PGA golf tournament and pull for former LSU golfer Smylie Kaufmann (currently in 2nd place as we start today) to win the green jacket, up in the studio will be 3-time champion Nick Faldo giving analysis. Don't be surprised if "Sir Nick" blurps out a reference to his other favorite sport, fly fishing. I've heard him mention it before, but an article in the New Zealand site Stuff.com he's quoted as saying that fly fishing is like golf, you don't get a second chance - especially when casting to wary species like bonefish.

Monday, April 4, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting practice begins at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome! Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: updates on the new forum, the CPR Challenge tournament, and upcoming Paddlepalooza XIII, and more. For details, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.org. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at the Ward 3 Recreation Complex on 7903 Lake St in Lake Charles. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod St. in Old Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Wednesday, the East Jefferson CCA Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel on 2601 Severn in Metairie. Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 adults ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes dinner, membership, open bar, raffles, auction. For details, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the Bayou Chapter of CCA holds it's annual banquet at the Houma Civic Center. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, open bar, dinner, raffles, more. Contact Tony at tony@ccalouisiana.com. On Friday evening it's the kickoff for the 7th annual Caddo Conclave on Saturday. More on that later. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of it's "Fly Fishing 201" sessions. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to actual fishing situations. Pre-registration is required, as spots are limited. To register call 225-757-7286.

This weekend is the Caddo Conclave. Celebrating it's 7th anniversary, this fly fishing festival is co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and East Texas Fly Fishers and held at beautiful Caddo State Park in Karnack, Texas on the edges of Caddo Lake. Because it's border water, Louisiana residents need only have their resident licenses to fish in the park. And at times the fishing can be quite good for bass and large bream. But we digress... the conclave kicks off on Friday evening with a pot-luck dinner at the lodge. And some fly tying. Saturday is the main event day with breakfast, followed by seminars, fly tying, exhibitors, casting, and kayak demos. The $10 admission fee ($20 for family) includes breakfast, lunch, and all activities. The lunch alone is worth the price of admission, trust me! Incidently, this will be the last conclave in our state until the Contraband Fly Casters event in August. In fact, the only other regional fly fishing event until Contraband is Sowbug Roundup April 14-16 in Mountain Home, Arkansas. And then, it's the end of "Spring Conclave Season" until next year!

This past Saturday was rough especially for the various fishing events that took place statewide. The "Boats on the Bayou" tournament held at Bayou St. John in New Orleans as part of the NO City Park Big Bass Rodeo had some interesting results. No redfish were caught, but Chris Holmes entered a 1.84-pound speckled trout, followed by Sam McCarrol with a .77-pounder speck. Kevin Metz won the bass division with a 3.04 lbs, followed by Chase Crawford with 2.17 lbs, and Luke Beslin with .86 lbs. As for the Fly Fishing Division of the NOCP Rodeo, we saw no results published (were any fish caught?). The largest bass caught during the event was by Darryl Delerno Jr. whose 4-pound, 1.3-ounce bass won him the Bass Adult Division. His fish was caught just after the start using a white/chartreuse buzzbait.

Friday will be the last day for Joe Macaluso as Outdoors Editor of The Advocate newspaper. After 45 years, Joe is retiring and doing what all retired folks do - fish more and spend more time with family. This coming Saturday, Joe will be the special guest for the second hour (6:00am - 7:00am) of the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" radio show heard on WWL and various other stations across the northern Gulf Coast. Don will be taking calls, emails, texts, for Joe. I for one wish to express my congratulations and sincere gratitude to Joe, who has done so much to promote fly fishing and kayak fishing in south Louisiana over the last two decades. He's also been an outspoken advocate (pardon the pun) for conservation and public access. In this age of "chain papers", the outdoors sections in many have disappeared. Naturally the news of Joe's retirement has many concerned as few papers still have an outdoors section, much less one that runs twice a week (Advocate is on Thursday and Sunday). In his column yesterday, Joe assured readers that the Advocate Outdoors is not going away. There will be changes, but it sounds like there will be several younger writers contributing to the section. Again, best of luck Joe in your future endeavors!

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Hope everyone had a great Easter! The weather was gloomy this morning but improved as the day went on. Enough so that many families here in the Cenla area were able to enjoy their ritual Easter Egg hunt. Here at the Cormier homestead we had lots of family over and lots of great food provided by local farms and farmer markets vendors. And we even got some fishing in this afternoon with mixed results.

What's happening this week. Well, a lot if you're a kayak angler. There's no less than four tournaments this Saturday! On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting. For March, this will be an On-The-Water meeting, with the club gathering at Cotile Lake Recreation Area for fishing and food. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis Store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their annual Redfish Rumble at Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix. Entry fee is $20 and it's open to the public. Heaviest bag of 3 slot redfish and 1 bass (11" minimum) wins. It's a roadrunner tournament with boundaries St. Bernard and East Plaquemine Parish. Check in time 3:00pm. For more info or to register, go to www.bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club hold a bass tournament at Lake Bistineau. This is a CPR tournament and road runner. Anglers can launch at any public launch on the lake. Check in time is 2:30. Entry fee is $50 and open to the public. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Also on Saturday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their "Bass-A-Yak" tournament out of Black Lake near Campti. This is a CPR tournament with total inches of longest 3 bass wins. It's also a roadrunner. Check in time is 1:30pm. Entry fee is $20. For more info, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.org.

The New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival celebrates it's 69th anniversary this coming Saturday. The nation's oldest fishing tournament will again take place on the various waters of the Crescent City's famed park. If you're a flyfisher or kayak angler, there's something for you. The Fly Fishing Division is awarded to heaviest bass or cichlid, and is open to any age. For kayak anglers, the "Boats on the Bayou" competition on Bayou St. John offers categories for redfish, trout, bass and "trash bash" with a drawing for a 2015 Hobie Outback among ALL registrants as bonus. There's also categories for Junior Anglers, Cichlid Team, Adult Bass, and Champions Challenge. Fishing hours are 6:30am to 11am. In addition, the "Fishtival" features exhibitors, including LDWF, Uptown Angler, New Orleans Fly Fishers, Masseys Outfitters, Coastal Restoration, CCA, and many others. Entry is $10 adult, $5 youth, $15 for Boats on the Bayou, and can be done online at www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Our forum is down today. We've contacted the host and entered a support ticket. Hopefully this will be resolved shortly.

Catch. Photo. Release. Currently three of Louisiana's six kayak fishing clubs - Bayou Coast KFC, Lafayette KFC and Cenla Kayak Anglers - are running season-long CPR tournaments. These begin in January or March and continue thru October or November. The CPR tournaments are free to club members. They allow members to fish at their leisure, yet still compete for prizes. It's simple - catch one of the target species, place it on an approved measuring board, take a photograph showing the fish, the board, and a tournament token in the photo. Anglers are then encouraged to release the fish (although not required). The photo and a CPR form must be emailed to the tournament director within 1-2 weeks. At the end of the Challenge, prizes will be awarded based on longest length, or points based on total length. Each of the three clubs have both conventional and fly fishing categories. BCKFC awards Slams (total points of several species), one for conventional, one for fly fishing. Their conventional slam consists of red, speck, flounder, bass. Their fly fishing slam consists of red, speck, bass. LKFC also awards Slams, one for conventional, one for fly fishing for same species as BCKFC. However, anglers who tag their fish get bonus inches (or fraction of an inch). Also, LKFC recognizes individual species winners. CKA has a somewhat different format - no slams, but individual species only. Their categories are Bass, Crappie, Redfish and Fly Rod Bass. Also, they will award a "Bonus Drawing" among all non-winning entries at the end of the tournament, a measure to help encourage members that may not catch a really big fish to participate. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club has added a new feature for 2016 in their CPR tournament. Rather than email the photo and CPR entry form, members go to the kayakfishingseries.com website, click on the LKFC tournament button, enter their catch info and upload their photo. The tournament director goes to the website, reviews recent entries, then submits them for approval. Members can see the standings near real-time. For more info on each of these tournaments, go to www.bckfc.org (Bayou Coast), www.lafayettekayakfishing.com (LKFC), or www.cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com (CKA).

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