Louisiana Fly Fishing

Winter fishing is the pits and other deep holes, like the Chalmette Pen where this drum was taken. With cold water temperatures on the coast, reds, specks and other inshore species will seek the deepest water where temps are moderated. These would include: sand pits where water has filled in, pipeline canals, deadend oilfield canals, discharge areas, shipping channels or ship harbors, cuts scoured out by tidal flow. Options for fly anglers: (1) a heavily weighted fly on floating line and countdown, (2) adding a sinktip section to the end of a floating line, (3) use of an intermediate or sinking line. What option you use will depend on conditions and depth, as often fish will move from deep to shallow later in the day.


Fly Of The Month

Half and Half. This is a half-Clouser, half-Deceiver, with the tail of a Deceiver, and wing of a Clouser with lead eyes. For winter use, especially when fishing deep, try these modifications: use a jig hook instead of a straight-eye hook. For low light conditions or very clear water, use darker or neutral colors or a grizzly hackle feather for the tail. Such as the Special Edition Saints Black and Gold shown above. The best method for fishing this pattern is allowing it to sink (countdown method), then strip-long pause-strip, and repeat.


Featured Tackle

Fishpond Westwater Lumbar Pack. Louisiana Fly Fishing readers know that I'm a big fan of hip packs. They're great for bank or canoe fishing and, unlike vests, are comfortable during our annual summer "SweatFest". The problem with many packs is their bulky size. Kind of defeats what a good lumbar pack should be about. Not with Fishpond's Westwater Pack. New for 2015, it's a medium size bag made of water-resistant material and equipped with water resistant zippers and rubber pulls. Now here's the best part... it features Fishpond's new CYCLEPOND fabric made from 100 percent recycled commercial fishing nets salvaged from the oceans! You can be functional, look cool, keep your stuff dry, and be environmental concious all at the same time! MSRP is $99.



 TIPPETS
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Best of 2014 - Yak Angler Awards. Yakangler.com annually does their Kayak Angler's Choice Awards where you, the voters, get to select among hundreds of nominees in 10 categories. The first round featured a slew of Louisiana-based entries, but unfortunately after the 3rd and final round, there are no winners from our great state. However, finishing in the top 3 were the following: Steve Lessard - Kayak Angler of the Year, Pack and Paddle - Retailer of the Year, Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club - Forum of the Year, Grand Isle - Location of the Year.

Best of 2014 - Fly Lines edition. Last December, my Fly Lines column in Louisiana Sportsman was "Best of 2013" subtitled "I Hate Lists So Much, I Made My Own". Afterwards, I swore I'd never do another "best list" column. But thanks to a special group of column fans, that all changed. You'll have to read the December 2014 issue (just out) to find out who they are... and to read my Best of 2014 listing.

The Houma Courier is reporting the Leeville bridge is now collecting sufficient money from tolls to allow state officials to give the go-ahead for the final stretch of elevated highway. Engineers will begin working on the design that will elevate the road beginning just north of the Golden Meadow south levee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Calendar reminder. Please check our Calendar page and see if your 2015 event is listed or not. If not, please email me at catch at laflyfish dot com with the event name, date, location, a brief description, and contact info. As mentioned previously, this information goes to the annual calendars starting December 1st. Getting your event some early, free publicity is worth the small amount of effort needed to contact me.

Leeville Launch Update. The new public launch is now open, including the designated kayak launch. According to the Launch Leeville Facebook page, the official Launch Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony will be held on Monday, December 1st at 1:30 pm. For puddlers, the importance of the launch is that it gives a convenient access to the Lake Jesse area and marsh east of Bayou Lafourche (no more having to combat launch south of the bridge).

Greenway for Covington. According to an article on NOLA.COM, the City of Covington is working with the National Park Service to create a community greenway. A greenway is a recreational corridor, usually bordering along a river, stream or other natural feature. In this case, the plan calls for about 10 miles of interconnected sidewalks and shared-use trails for bicycling, walking, jogging, birdwatching, etc. But the main feature will be a paddle trail encompassing 5 miles of the Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte rivers. There will be a number of launch and disembark sites.

The 2015 F3T already making waves. The 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour kicks off in January, but it's already getting lots of attention, and not entirely for the action-packed fishing. One of the selected films, "CO2ld Waters", addresses the issue of climate change, and it's potential impact on coldwater fisheries. And other human activities. The problem is a comment in the film's trailer by Yvon Chinourd of fly fishing accessory-maker Patagonia: "If you've got a politician whose running for office who thinks he's smarter than 98 percent of the world's climate scientists, they're crooks or they're dumb asses.". Needless to say, this is not popular with some running for Congress, especially here in the 5th District. To be fair, there's no denying that many politicians turn a blind eye to anything supported by the other party. Still, Mr. Chinourd should be more careful with his words. For example, what about those of us non-politicians who aren't entirely sold on human-induced climate change (HUICC)? Are we dumbasses too? Well, I've been called that before... but as someone who once worked for the Louisiana Office of State Climatology (I went to LSU for masters in Atmospheric Sciences), I probably know a lot more than Mr. Chinourd about this issue. For one, the "97 percent" that is oft used refers to the Zimmerman/Doran survey of 3,146 scientists, of which the views of only 79 respondents were filtered to get the 97 percent. The argument has been made that those 79 represented the most prolific writers on climate change. However, other surveys range the gamut from a woeful 3 percent to a slim majority who believe in HUICC. Like many surveys, if you pose enough of the right questions, you can get the results to meet the desired outcome. I imagine this controversy will not go away... which might not be so bad for the 2015 F3T (more attention, bigger audiences). As always, I look forward to the Fly Fishing Film Tour.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
What's happening this Thanksgiving week. A light one due to the extended holiday. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be LDWF Inland Fisheries biologist Rickey Moses, who will discuss waters in the Cenla area and results of recent fish surveys. The public is invited. 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. Instructor will be Emmitt Simmons, who will be showing how to tie a no-name shrimp pattern, and loop flies. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. If you have no tools, the Red Stick club has some for use during these sessions. Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, and Friday is Black Friday. More on that later.

LDWF's Get Out and Fish! Program had a successful launch last Saturday at Girard Park in Lafayette. LDWF hosted the event in partnership with the City of Lafayette to promote their new community fishing location, and attendance far surpassed expectations with 250 registered anglers. The goal of the program is to recruit new anglers - particularly youth and families - to the sport of fishing, and doing so through community waters where angler access is not limited, or a boat is not required. As many LFF readers know by now, a community fishing program is something that myself and others have long advocated to LDWF and the Wildlife Commission. Similiar programs exist in 31 states. It now appears to becoming a reality here in Louisiana thanks to LDWF and the Louisiana Wildife and Fisheries Foundation and many fine sponsors... we are VERY excited about this! LDWF is currently identifying more public water bodies across the state that meet required specifications by their biologists. These waters will be stocked on a regular basis during the year. LDWF will promote the launch of each new site with a Get Out and Fish! event. For the event at Girard Park, 800 pounds of adult channel catfish were stocked beforehand. Now here comes the good part... starting next month, Girard Park will be stocked with adult rainbow trout! This will make Lafayette the third parish (along with East Baton Rouge and Ascension) to have winter stocking of ponds with rainbow trout. When warmer weather returns in March, Girard Park will be stocked with channel cats once again.

This Friday is Black Friday. Historically the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. It gets it's name from the presumption that a lot of small retailers operate at a financial loss for most of the year, but Black Friday is the point at which they "go into the black" and make profit. One thing is for sure... the best shopping deals of the year happen next weekend starting Friday and continuing thru Cyber Monday. Most of the highly-prized sale items are electronics. I've stood in lines two football fields long in the middle of the night, braving cold and sometimes rain, waiting just to buy one (or more) of my kids that special item they wanted - at half price! As for us fly anglers, there's good and bad news. First, the bad news... most fly tackle is price-protected. That means no discounts anytime. The good news is that there's lots of accessory items - from rain jackets to GPS units to tackle tools to waterproof cameras and more - that will be on sale. In addition, store brand fly tackle, such as rods and reels sold under Bass Pro, Cabelas, Gander Mountain, etc. label can often be found on sale. Over the years, I've taken advantage of the store brand sales to purchase complete outfits for my nephews and nieces. Nearly all of these are graphite rods and okay lines. Not the quality of Orvis, TFO, Sage or Redington, But for beginners, it's good enough to get started and build their interest. If you're wanting to get a jump on what bargains there are, go to www.blackfriday.com. This site lists circulars for all the major retailers.

Thankgiving Week is "Take a Kid Saltwater Fishing Week". Maybe not officially, but it should be! Take advantage while kids are out of school and the weather is comfortable for all-day fishing. While the early part of this week will be rough (north winds 15-20), by Wednesday the coast looks to be somewhat calm and Friday could be a banner day with the return of southerly flow. This past week when mild conditions returned, the speckled trout fishing was the best of the year. Lots of limits were caught around Leeville, Golden Meadow, Cocodrie, Bayou Bienveneu and Calcasieu Lake. Even when the trout weren't on, the redfish were ready and willing. The cold snaps we've had have pushed trout to the inside areas like Hopedale Lagoon and Delacroix, Pointe-aux-Chenes near Houma, and Lakes Prien and Charles out west. Not to mention the roadside pits along Highway 1. The best part of this time of year is that you can setup a kid with a shrimp and not worry about dealing with pesky catfish or those bait-stealing pinfish. Often the fish that comes along in the absence of reds and drum are sheepshead. Those are a hoot to catch on any kind of tackle and are good eating as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Congratulations to Dr. Vic Tedesco, III. The Houma resident has long been one of Louisiana's premier fly anglers, having put numerous entries for a wide variety of saltwater species in the LOWA State Fly Fish Division records. He's also been one of the state's most active fish taggers. At the annual Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program's Awards Banquet, held November 6th at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, Vic was awarded "Tagger of the Year". Last year, Vic tagged 1,574 fish overall, of which 77 were recaptured. He put in a total of 446.5 hours tagging fish! Vic had the most number of speckled trout tagged (1,308). Other notable taggers included Donna Dearman (663 reds), Jeff Bavar (657 reds), Andre Thomas (526 reds and 43 red snapper), Larry Shields (521 specks), and Diane and Norman Norton (359 specks). Altogether over 700 volunteers tagged nearly 26,000 fish, more than double the number of the previous year. Another statistic of interest: 24 women and youth anglers were recognized, the most since the program started. The LCMFTP is a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana.

The IFFF has a new Fly Tying Skills program. In the most recent issue of The Flyfisher, the magazine of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, details were given on a new program called "Fly Tying Skills Award". It's basically a merit badge program for fly tyers. The program was designed for tyers to measure their skills and receive valuable feedback to improve their craft. The first level of three awards, the Bronze Award, is now detailed on their website. The program consists of 5 required patterns and 3 flies of the tyers choosing. For more details on the FTS program, go to FFF Tying Awards webpage.

Speaking of the IFFF, their Southern Council has a new website. If you enter the legacy URL, www.southerncouncilffff.org, it will redirect you to their new URL, www.ifffsoc.org. The site also has a new, improved look. Two items that you might take notice of on their home page, the Council will be holding their annual "Moving Waters" fly fishing schools next Spring. One session in April and another in May.

Monday, November 17, 2014
Louisianians featured in Fall issue of Flyfisher. There are a good number of reasons to belong to the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF). The dues and other monies raised go to further our sport, as well as various conservation projects across the globe, and to assist other groups such as Boy Scouts, Casting for Recovery and more. There are also occasional promotional items that benefit members directly. But one benefit of membership often overlooked is Flyfisher Magazine. As I've stated on numerous occasions, this is one of the three best magazines of our sport, period! Like many of you, I get tired of reading about fishing for exotic Nirubi bass in Malaysia. It's nice to read some articles that speak to most of the fly fishing I do. One other aspect of this magazine is that it sometimes highlights folks I know. Take the Autumn 2014 issue that just arrived. In addition to a number of folks out-of-state that I recognized, there are several Louisianians featured. First, the winners of the IFFF Annual Awards... Kyle Moppert of Baton Rouge received the Council Leadership Award for outstanding contributions at the council level of the IFFF. Kyle worked with Russel Husted to split the Gulf Coast Council into a new Texas Council AND a reorganized Gulf Coast Council. This past September, the Gulf Coast Council held it's 6th Expo which raised monies for striper research on the Gulf Coast. Another award went to Marc Pinsel of Hammond. Marc won the Charles Brook Memorial Life Award for lifetime promotion of the sport thru tying, writing, and service at IFFF functions. Outside of the annual awards, Keith Richard of Breaux Bridge, owner of The Camp Fly Fishing School, was recognized as a winner of the Cutcatch Award. This is an open award that goes to anyone who catches four subspecies of cutthroat trout in a single year. Keith accomplished this on a trip to Wyoming in August. In the Flyfisher columns, Fred Hannie of Lake Charles and Glen Cormier of Cotile had their flies posted in Verne Lehmberg's "The Fly Box". Fred's realistic "Turtle" and my "Coma Cocaho" are recognized. One resident of the Bayou State whose always featured in Flyfisher is Tom Tripi of Folsom. Tom is the casting columnist for the magazine. Tom's column is always informative and often entertaining. There's only one way to get Flyfisher... that's become an IFFF member.

Sunday, November 16, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Community Center on 1620 Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying starts at 6:00pm, with the meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 7:00pm. This month's featured fly will be the Cactus Charlie, aka LaFleurs Charlie. Guests welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. If no tools, the club has sets for use during the session. For more details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On the agenda: recent fishing reports, upcoming Christmas Party, and upcomong Turkey Trout Throwdown on December 6. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided.

Winter weather has arrived early. Last week here in Alexandria we suffered - yep, that's the word, "suffered" - through 3 days with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. Then today came "Rainpocalypse", and there's a chance of wintry mix later tonight. Temperatures are expected in the 40s (highs) and 20s (lows) for Monday and Tuesday. If you live south of Alexandria, you won't be spared the rain or the cold, just not as bad. If you live north of Alex, it's worse... lows will be in the teens Monday night! Just how bad is this? The normal low temp for Alexandria on Monday is 46 degrees. If the forecast holds up, come Thursday we'll have had 4 days - almost 5 - where the high temperature was below the average low temperature!

What does this cold mean for fishing. Two weeks ago, my dock looked like Aquarium of the Americas. Lots of fish hanging around in the vegetation down to four feet (maximum visibility). On Friday, I couldn't see but one fish... a small bass that looked like it was lost. Oh, and a bunch of minnows. I took the canoe out with Belle and the fishfinder showed sizable fish hanging in 8-15 feet of water... in 8-15 feet of water. In other words, fish are holding close, or right on, the bottom. The water temperature has plunged from 69 degrees to 53 degrees. It's rainbeaux trout stocking temps - already! Needless to say, for saltwater anglers, this is good for "The Pen" near Chalmette and the one at Lafitte, for pit fishing along Highway 1 near Grand Isle, and in Lake Charles proper. As for freshwater, I'm hoping the sacalait turn on as well. I'll find out this week.

The 2015 Calendar is nearly complete. There are only a few event dates yet to be determined, including Paddlepalooza, and a trio of "Fly Fishing 101" workshops annually held by clubs. Some events such as the Kayak Demo Days are usually not announced but 1 to 5 weeks in advance. Just this week, we learned that the IFFF Gulf Coast Expo will be held September 19th, and that there will be no IFFF Southeastern Council Fly Fair next year. Also, the Cane Country Fly Casters has decided to make their "Natchitoches Fishing Expo" a biennial event. For my Texas Aggie friends, that doesn't mean "somewhere by Ennis"; no it means "every 2 years". A number of fly fishing events are biennial - including the Renzetti Fly Fishing Fair set again for December 2015. The club felt such a huge undertaking is best done on "fresh batteries". We agree! Please check out the LFF Calendar... if you know of something not listed, please send it to us asap. In 14 days, we send our calendar events off for January publication. Also, a reminder of the guidelines: we publish all in-state activities related to fly fishing, kayak fishing, kids fishing events, general fishing seminars, club meetings, non-profit fishing organization meetings or banquets. We also publish any out-of-state fly fishing day-long or multi-day events held within 8 hours of a Louisiana metro area (Shreveport, Monroe, Slidell, Lake Charles).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Old Man Winter will be making a very early visit to Louisiana tonight and tomorrow. The first polar vortex of the season, aka "Astro", is plunging into the south, and will bring 40s for highs and freezing temperatures for lows for the northern parishes - get this - thru Sunday! For LSU fans making the trip to Arkansas for the game Saturday against the Razorbacks, there's a good chance of snow. The good news for Fall-n-Tide participants is that the bitter cold will remain north of the Highway 190 line... temps are expected to be in the 60s on the coast Saturday. However several days of north winds 10-20 knots could make fishing tough. The long range forecast calls for milder temperatures Thanksgiving week thru early December. Then - if the winter forecast predictions hold - "Coldpocalypse" thru mid-January.

A belated congrats to Marc Pinsel of Hammond who was awarded the International Federation of Fly Fishers Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award at the IFFF National Fly Fishing Fair. I had received notification of his award from Marc himself, but was on vacation at the time and forgot to post it when I got back. The Charles E. Brooks award is given to an individual who demonstrates a deep affection for outdoors, fly fishing, is or was an innovative fly tier, and has been active in speaking and/or tying at numerous events and thereby promoting and teaching others. I've known Marc since the founding days of the Red Stick Fly Fishers, and his dedication to the sport and the IFFF is unmatched. For many years, he served as the "shop pro" at Mayers Clothiers in Baton Rouge, helping folks get started in fly fishing by conducting casting and tying clinics. During my time as president of the IFFF Gulf Coast Council, Marc was invaluable, both as a knowledge base for all things Federation, as well as someone who was always willing to take on the tough tasks. He's also been invaluable to the Red Stick club over the years, teaching and helping club members, and in some cases, organizing coldwater trips. This is a great honor for a fine gentleman, who I'm very proud to call my friend!

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and The Conservation Fund have released an innovative vision for the state's Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and Refuges. The plan evaluates the 1.6 million acres managed by LDWF and establishes a strategic direction for management, future conservation, and restoration. The plan is open for public comment. To view it, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma.

Still in overtime? At least the conversation is still in overtime, regarding this past weekend's losses by the Tigers to Alabama, and the Saints to the 49ers. Both the Tigers and Saints lost at home in overtime, and both due to mistakes made by the home team. As our pastor said Sunday night, "The sun did rise today, will rise tomorrow, will rise for another billion years." It may take a billion years for some of my fellow Tiger/Saints fans to recover from this weekend.

Monday, November 10, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Speaker will be Larry Offner of WarmFly.com and Green Trout Fly Shop. The public is invited. Tuesday is Veterans Day... please thank those who have served our country. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. For the program, Vic has a great fly fishing video he's going to show. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Bill Heugel who will give a presentation on "Fish Senses", and also tie one of his flies. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St Frances Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. Bring your tools, materials provided. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariner's Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For details, contact Colin McCormick 985-264-3448. Starting Friday evening and continuing Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's 9th annual "Fall-n-Tide" fishing tournament out of Cypress Cove Marina in Venice. Entry fee is $50 and includes Friday night pastalaya, Saturday night fish fry, Captain's bag, t-shirt, entry into the tournament (Saturday) and a chance to win over 200 prizes. Divisions include Slot Red, Speck, Flounder, Cajun Slam (heaviest combo of slot red, speck, flounder), Ladies Slam, Youth Slam. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.

The sudden and unexpected passing of Jerome Hebert last Friday sent shock waves thru the Louisiana fly fishing community, as well as to all of his friends across the country. Jerome was only 43 years old, and seemingly in good health. He is survived by his wife Dena, also an accomplished fly tier. Together they were the "First Couple" of Louisiana fly tying. Their business, "A Bayou Runs Through It", was an outlet for their flies and Jerome's fly fishing artwork. In addition to being an innovative tier, talented artist, and an avid promoter of warmwater fly fishing, Jerome was an educator. Whether it was tying at countless events - including the IFFF National Conclaves - he also gave tying lessons, wrote a fly tying manual, and taught others how to fly fish. He was also very generous, donating his artwork and flies to many of the IFFF and club events held each year, as well as other charitable causes. While many of his fellow Gen-Xers did blogs and videos, but shyed away from personal interaction, Jerome gave much of his time to help others learn our sport. Someday when the Louisiana Fly Fishing Hall of Fame becomes a reality (and we hope it does), Jerome will certainly be a candidate. The only passion that surpassed that of fly fishing was his love for our Lord. We know that today Jerome is home, probably enjoying what he loved here on Earth.

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Today's cold front and another on Sunday will likely slow down what had been speck-tacular fishing on the coast the last week. In addition to great trout fishing - a number of limits under birds - there were good catches of reds and flounder. The colder temps and high pressure will affect the trout, and 15-20 knot winds will make fly fishing tough. But the forecast for Saturday calls for light winds. The lower water levels could concentrate reds in the ponds. Freshwater wise, the colder water temps have improved crappie catches statewide.

One passed, another failed. Tuesday's vote on the amendments to the Louisiana Constitution contained two of interest to sportsmen and conservationists. The first was Amendment #8, which establishes the Artificial Reef Fund in the Constitution and prohibits its money for purposes other than those described in the Amendment. That amendment passed with 57 percent of the vote. The second was Amendment #12 which would have required that at least 2 members of the Commission be from north or central Louisiana. That proposal failed, receiving only 41 percent. A breakdown look at the voting, by parish, reveals why this amendment failed: the more populous southern parishes voted almost 2-to-1, a few cases almost 3-to-1, against Amendment #12. However, passing this amendment wasn't critical to establishing regional representation - the governor can still make this happen by appointment.

The former director of CPRA is in a runoff for the 6th Congressional seat. Garret Graves headed up the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana before stepping down to run for office. During the campaign, Graves made coastal restoration, flood protection, and sportsmans issues a major part of his agenda. The conservative Republican will face off against former governor Edwin Edwards, who served time as a convicted felon then later became the star of his own reality TV series. Edwards won the primary with 30 percent of the vote, while Graves was 2nd with 27 percent. The bad news for Edwards (good for Graves) is that all of the major contenders in this race were Republican, splitting the vote. That vote is expected to unite in the runoff.

A similiar situation in the 5th Congressional race exists. Democrat Jamie Mayo, mayor of Monroe, won the primary with 28 percent of the vote. Unfortunately for him, all of his eight opponents were either Republicans or Libertarians. On December 6, Mayo will face off against Dr. Ralph Abraham, a Republican from Mangham making his first run for office. Abraham and Zach Dasher, nephew of Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty), finished ahead of the incumbent Vance McAllister. McAllister was elected 2 years ago, but shortly after taking office was rocked by a scandalous affair which labeled him as the "kissing Congressman". As a resident of this district, I supported Abraham in the primary because he's an avid outdoorsman and a strong supporter of veterans issues.

The Acadiana Fly Rodders and Red Stick Fly Fishers have set the dates for their annual fly fishing festivals, aka conclaves, for 2015. AFR will hold their event on Saturday, February 28 while RSFF will hold theirs on Saturday, March 7.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Today is Election Day. As is a Louisiana tradition, remember to vote early and vote often! On second thought, only deceased residents of St. Martin Parish have that priviledge. Seriously, please do take the time to vote. Over the last couple of years, I've heard numerous complaints from anglers about how we are managing our fisheries and our natural resources. Here's your opportunity to do something about it. Even seemingly insignificant races can be important, as those officials have a public forum for which to raise awareness of our issues. There are two important amendments to the Louisiana Constitution we do endorse. Please vote YES vote for Proposal #8 which will protect the Artificial Reef Development Fund. Also please vote YES for Proposal #12 which will give geographic fairness to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission membership.

Sunday, November 2, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold their quarterly meeting at Brewbachers in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Capt. Danny Wray of Calmwater Charters to talk about Grand Isle fishing. Also on the agenda: next weekend's annual Fall-n-Tide tournament out of Venice. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more details, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Fall Catch-n-Eat" marsh outing along Highway 1, culminating with the Saturday night fish and shrimp fry. For details, go to www.rsff.org.

It's November, and that means... perhaps the best month of the year for marsh fishing. And in particular, marsh fly fishing. While redfishing will continue to be very good, speckled trout and flounder are usually at their strongest numbers in both quantity and quality. I've caught many sheepshead and black drum on flies during late fall, so don't overlook these species either. In freshwater, bass fishing will continue to be good in deep water and protected areas. But it's sacalait time... during the last two weeks the "white perch" bite really picked up here in the Cenla lakes and it's just getting started.

IGFA has inducted Jerry McKinnis into it's Hall of Fame. Last Tuesday, the International Game Fish Association honored McKinnis along Hank Parker, Al Pflueger Jr, and Eugenie and Lou Marron. The long time host of "The Fishin Hole" and now the co-owner of Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society (B.A.S.S.) has been a strong influence on many of us baby boomers. His shows were fun to watch... whether fly fishing for trout on his native Arkansas rivers or casting for bass with lures, it all felt the same - quiet and easy. You wanted to be on the water with Jerry! He remains one of the most likeable fishing personalities in the world. A great honor and well-deserved!

Old Town introduces the NEXT. The NEXT falls into the category of kayak/canoe hybrid, a.k.a. "yaknoe" or "canyak"... pick your favorite. As such, it becomes competition for the Native Ultimate, Wilderness Systems Commander, Mad River Serenade and other similiar personal watercraft. The popularity of these boats is attributed to the fact that they offer the paddling efficiency of a sit-inside kayak, combined with the storage capacity and "throw your stuff in and launch" convenience. Available in four colors, the NEXT is built using the trademark OTC 3-layer polyethylene that can withstand abuse. It's got many attributes that paddlers will love: it's lightweight (49 pounds), it's low profile reduces wind resistance, it's got a subtle rocker that enables straight, smooth tracking. Best of all, it utilizes OTC's Element frame seating for all day comfort. The seating rests in an adjustable track that can slide 6" back or forth. It also has adjustable foot braces to give leverage when paddling. The dimensions of the NEXT are 13'0" long, 29" wide, seat width 21", weight 49 pounds, carrying capacity of 450 pounds. The MRP will be $999.

Sunday, October 26, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Roger del Rio will lead the session. Beginners welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. The club has tools for use during the session, if you have none. On Tuesday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will hold a free seminar, "Five Great Saltwater Kayak Fishing Locations" with emphasis on waters within proximity to Lafayette and Lake Charles. Time is 6:00pm. Presenters will include Greg Sonnier, Jeff Robinson, Scott Bienvenu, Lee Trahan and John Williams. Details for each location will include launch spots, best conditions to fish, etc. For more details, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Friday is Halloween, a great time each year to trick-or-treat speckled trout in the marsh! Also on Friday, and continuing thru Sunday morning, it's the 26th annual Toledo Bend Rendezvous. More on that later. On Saturday, it's "Hook Kids On Fishing" at Lamar-Dixon in Gonzales. Registration is 8:00am, with event from 9:00am to 12 noon. Each kid goes thru 7 stations covering various aspects of fishing, such as tackle, water safety, hooks and rigging, etc. First 50 kids are eligible for a free rod and reel courtesy of CCA Louisiana. First 150 kids receive a goodie pack. There will also be food, refreshments, spacewalk, vendors and much more. For more info, call Steve McDaniel at 225-243-7074.

This weekend's Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous, better known as the Toledo Bend Rendezvous, is one of the premier fly fishing events held in Louisiana each year. It's an informal gathering - perhaps "retreat" is a good term - of fly fishers and fly tiers from across several states. The event is held at scenic North Toledo Bend State Park near Zwolle. Folks gather on Friday afternoon after 3:00pm, sleep in the bunkhouses on Friday and Saturday evenings, and depart after breakfast on Sunday morning. There are options for staying one night, or just coming for the day Saturday. At Rendezvous, there are no planned activities, but lots of fly tying, fishing, and food. No pre-registration is required... just show up and pay the appropriate fee ($25 per family per night, $20 per single per night, donation otherwise). What makes Rendezvous so appealing? The tables in the large dining hall become transformed into a fly tying exhibition... attendees can sit across from some of the top tiers in the South and observe. For more info, check out the post in the LFF Events Forum with links to the Rendezvous website.

Another oil spill disaster for Louisiana? Not quite, but the spill from the Mid-Valley pipeline on Tete Bayou near Shreveport sent 4,000 barrels of crude draining towards Caddo Lake. The good news is that spill has been contained, and crews are working to cleanup the mess. Caddo is a popular fly fishing water, and contamination could've been disastrous as bacteria that naturally degrades the oil isn't as active in cooler/cold weather.

It's time for Louisiana's pike. There's one word to describe catching northern pike on fly rod: addictive! Unfortunately, our state doesn't have Esox lucius, or it's larger cousin, the muskellunge. But many lakes in the Cenla and Norla areas offer a smaller relative, the chain pickerel, aka "jackfish". The most active period for this toothy predator is October thru May. The world record is 9 pounds, 6 ounces, taken in Georgia. Nothing even close to that size here... the LOWA Rod and Reel Top 10 listings range from 4.38 pounds to 5.75 pounds. Even a typical jackfish in the 3-pound range can be a blast on a 6-weight rod. The LOWA Fly Rod Division lists only one entry: a 1.27-pounder taken by Ardes Johnson on Hardwater Lake near Jena. Don't let the single entry fool you... jackfish can be taken on fly. In fact, they love flies, particularly poppers and streamers. My favorite fly is a Seaducer. I've used seaducers for northerns, and the chains seem to love them as well. The biggest issue with any type of pike is their dental work - it makes short work of tippets. A bite tippet of fine wire will work, but it can take away from the action of the fly. An alternative is a heavier fluorocarbon (16-20 pounds) tied with a Duncan loop. And still check the condition of the tippet after each fish caught.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Congratulations to Benton Parrott for winning the 2014 IFA Kayak Tour Championship in Houma this past weekend. Benton, who lives in Spanish Fort, Alabama, is a fixture at many of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club events. Like most of the Championship competitors, he fished the Grand Isle area where bull reds have been on the rampage. His 2-day total of 1 red and 1 speck per day was an incredible 124.28 inches! Even then, only 9 inches separated first place from 10th place. The IFA tournaments are catch-photo-release (CPR) and artificial lures only. Benton used soft plastics, topwater baits and Berkeley Gulp to catch his fish. The 2nd place finisher - Matthew Vann of Pensacola - used twitch baits, crank baits and jigs to catch his fish. In 3rd place was Eric Pendarvis of Prairieville, who like everyone else was killing the bull reds, so depended on a big trout at one of his favorite spots to make the list. Other notables: the Friday leader, Elizabeth Saylor of Jacksonville, finished 7th. Last year's IFA National Champion, Steve Lessard, finished 9th. Steve may have been suffering jet lag, having just returned from The Netherlands where he won the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championship. Chris Holmes, kayak fishing columnist for Louisiana Sportsman, finished 10th.

Artificial reef construction at The Pickets is underway. When Fieldwood Energy acquired Apache Corporation's Gulf of Mexico assets in 2013, it was required by the federal government to remove all structures at Ship Shoal 26, better known to coastal anglers as "The Pickets". This area nearshore in Terrebonne Parish has been the source of many legendary speckled trout trips. Back in the day, it was not uncommon to catch limits of 3-5 pounders. Many trout fishermen were upset that the feds would not allow an exemption. But thanks to a joint effort by Apache, Fieldwood, LDWF, and CCA Louisiana, The Picketts will live on. A $1.2 million project to create an artificial reef is underway. Funded by Apache, Fieldwood, the LDWF Artificial Reef Trust Fund, and the CCA Building Conservation Trust, roughly 14,000 tons of 4-inch limestone are being deposited over 3 specially engineered reefs designed to protect and enhance scour holes in the seafloor that attracted trout and other species. The construction should be completed in 3 to 4 weeks.

Speaking of the LDWF Artifical Reef Trust Fund... On November 4th, voters will take to the polls for a wide number of elections for local and national office. In addition, Louisianians will vote on 14 proposed constitutional amendments, two of which affect anglers. The first is Proposition #8 - Artificial Reef Development Fund. A vote "FOR" would establish the Artificial Reef Fund in the Constitution and prohibit its money for purposes other than those described in the Amendment. A vote "AGAINST" would leave the fund as it currently exists - a statutory entity - which allows the administration to raid it whenever it needs money to balance the state's budget. In recent years, the Jindal Administration has extracted $46 million from the fund, leaving a balance of only $12.5 million. This has not been enough to fund all the proposed rig-to-reefs projects, alarming everyone who fishes offshore. Not to mention another hit on red snapper anglers. For this reason, Louisiana Fly Fishing strongly supports a YES vote on Proposition 8.

The 2nd amendment of concern to us is Proposition #12. This would change the makeup of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. A vote "FOR" would require that at least 2 members of the Commission be from north or central Louisiana. Currently the 7 members of the LWFC are appointed by the governor. Of those, 3 must come from coastal parishes and be representatives of the commercial and fur industries. The remaining 4 are appointed from the state at-large. The problem is that, following Buddy Roemer, every governor has been from south Louisiana and the at-large appointments have been skewed likewise, thus making a 6-to-1 margin in favor of southern parishes. Since the LWFC is responsible for setting seasons, policies and regulations regarding our hunting and fishing, many hunters and anglers north of the 31st parallel feel misrepresented. Having lived in the Cenla area now for 18 months, I can tell you this ballot item is a hot item here. Louisiana Fly Fishing supports a YES vote on Propostion 12.

Sunday, October 19, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The featured fly will be the Clouser Minnow. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. For those without tools, the club has tools available for use during these sessions. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion start at 6:00pm, meeting starts at 7:00pm. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. For October, guest speaker is Casey Brunning, 2013 Adventure Kayak Fishing World Champion. Casey will discuss what this very unique kayak tournament is all about, and how to fish it successfully (a regional qualifier will be held in Cocodrie in November). On Thursday, it's the annual CCA STAR Awards Banquet at Live Oak Arabians off Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Cocktails at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, awards 7:30pm auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $50 per person, $30 spouse, $25 youth. For more info, go to www.ccastar.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch, 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. On Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There's no cost. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Instructor and patterns TBA. Also on Saturday and continuing Sunday, Three Rivers Fly Shop in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, will offer "Entomology for Fly Fishers" class. Instructor will be entomologist Rob Woodruff. The class will consist of 4 hours lecture and demo as well as a half-day field trip. Cost is $75 per student. For more info, or to reserve, go to www.threeriversflyshop.com.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
It's the Fly Fishing Edition! This month's Angler Magazine labels itself as the "fly fishing edition" with many of it's articles and columns dedicated to our sport. The Angler Magazine is a national publication with regional versions. Each region features columns, articles, and ads pertaining to local fishing and retailers, while the "national" columns by acclaimed outdoor writers Mark Sosin, Conway Bowman, Mike Ritz, Tracy Patterson, C. Boyd Pfeiffer and others. The Baton Rouge - Houma regional edition features columns by Capt. Danny Wray, Capt. Mike Gallo, and a fly fishing column "LA On The Fly" by Larry Offner of Green Trout Fly Shop and WarmFly.com. Here's just a few of the articles in the October edition pertaining to our favorite sport: Larry describes "The Perfect Afternoon" fishing with Roger Stouff on Roger's native waters; Mike Fandal of Old Town Fly Shop in Slidell writes about catching "The Bayou State's Big Bull Reds On The Fly" including several of his favorite crab flies; Mike Ritz writes about Cancun fly fishing; Conway Bowman describes the "Two Handed Strip"; the New Product section features fly fishing products for 2015. The Angler Magazine is available from various fly shops and retailers. Best of all, it's FREE.

Must read: Midcurrent interview of Micheal Keaton. The actor best known for his roles as Batman, in the comedies "Beetlejuice", "Mr. Mom", "Multiplicity" and "Toy Story 3", and in dramas "Jackie Brown" and "One Good Cop", is an avid flyrodder, a regular on the fishing series "Buccaneers and Bones". Marshall Cutchin of Midcurrent.com conducted the interview. The interview comes on the brim of the release of Keaton's latest film, "Birdman", a dark comedy which already has critics lauding his performance as Oscar-worthy. You can read the interview at MidCurrent.com.

Update on the Leeville Launch. The completion date for Phase I is looking like mid-November. This will also include a boat and a kayak launch, with access to Southwest Canal and the Lake Jesse area. The Phase II part is still in initiation stage. It will include a fishing pier with handicapped access and an artificial reef provided by CCA.

Sunday, October 12, 2014
Our website was hacked this past weekend. This happens to a lot of websites these days, but the last week was the first time that our site - and many others - was invaded. Apparently we were the innocent victims of a cyber war between Chinese and US hackers over the Occupy Central protests taking place in Hong Kong. What silly, stupid games! I don't understand why they do such things... really!

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. The program will will be dedicated to the group's favorite saltwater flies they use for reds, specks and flounder, just in time for prime marsh fishing season. The meeting is open to the public. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Awards and Fundraising Banquet at Mandina's Restaurant in Shreveport. This is in lieu of their regular meeting. NLFF will have some great auction items, raffle items and door prizes. For more details, check out the October newsletter posted in our Forum or check the NLFF Forum on warmfly.com. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Burley Johnson will demonstrate tying Squirrel Tail nymphs. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 1st of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church at 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome! On Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the 2014 IFA Kayak Tour National Championship, being held for the second straight year out of Houma. More on that later. On Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will conduct a "Deer Hair Tying Workshop" in Natchitoches featuring instructor Mike Hawkins. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the annual "Wild Things" celebration at Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe. This free event, sponsored by Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, routinely has over 4,000 visitors! Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm, and there is no cost! Wild Things features speakers, live animals, art, canoe tours, hands-on activities, various demos, and conservation groups. The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will again be demonstrating fly tying and teaching kids to tie flies! Food and drink sales at Wild Things help support refuge projects. For more info, call 985-882-2000.

Deer Hair Tying Techniques is the name of the workshop being conducted this Saturday in Natchitoches by the Cane Country Fly Casters. Instructor Mike Hawkins, whose demo tied at numerous conclaves and other events, will lead a hands-on session tying the Dave Whitlock Diving Frog and Deer Hair Bream Flies. The time is 8:30am to 1:00pm. The $20 fee includes instruction, tying material, beverages, breakfast snacks and lunch. This is a limited-seating workshop open to all tiers with some experience (in other words, if you've NEVER tied a fly, you might want to take a beginners course first). Bring your own tying equipment. There is limited seating for 30 tiers, and as of today, quite a few seats were still open. This promises to be a great workshop for all tiers of all skill levels. If you wish to participate, contact Burley Johnson at 318-471-5049, or Vic McClain at 318-228-9729. More info will be available tomorrow on the LFF and WarmFly Forums.

Steve Lessard of Geismar wins the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championship. What an accomplishment for my friend "Gnatless", who promised he would make proud our Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and the state of Louisiana, and he certainly did! He came into kayak fishing with great passion and a love of the plastic boat, and as anyone who knows him will say, there's not anyone who works harder to catch fish than Steve! He's like a sponge when it comes to learning about anything fishing. It's led to a very successful compilation of tournament victories and places over the last several years, including the IFA Kayak Tour National Championship last October and now, the HKFWC. The HKFWC took place over 3 days last week in The Netherlands on three lakes called the Vinkeveen Plassen. Gnatless competed against 47 other qualifiers who were trying to catch-photo-release (CPR) the largest pike, perch and zander for each day (a zander looks like a walleye and gets up to 40 pounds). No zanders were caught during the whole tournament, but Gnatless was the only angler to catch a pike and a perch each day. His winning total was 364 centimeters, 90 centimeters ahead of 2nd place finisher Kyle Moxon of Canada. Steve also became the first non-native contestant to win the HKFWC title (every winner before was fishing their home waters). Now the question is, will the "Pike Whisperer" - as he is being referred to - get back to being the "Redfish and Speck Whisperer" for another title here in Louisiana.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
It's almost here! 2015 that is. Judging from what I saw in every store yesterday, you'd think Christmas was just around the corner. Guess what? It is! Just 11 weeks away! And guess what comes just after Christmas? Yep... New Years. Before you know it, 2015 will be here. Long before then, many working folks will have to plan their vacation schedules for the coming year. Not to mention that December 1st is my deadline for submitting to annual publications. That's why we try and update the LFF Calendar with as many events for next year as early as possible. Currently, nearly all the usual major activities have been set. On a related note... Recently I was told "There's too many events on your calendar.". That's like when my wife says there's too many sports channels on our subscription. Somebody please tell me... how's that a problem? Having many choices is a very good thing. It might be bad if you're one of those who feels a need to attend every event. If so, let me warn you... Cormier's 11th Law of Fly Fishing states, "Thou shalt not spend more time at non-fishing events than on the water." It's a law, and anyone who breaks it will be sentenced to 8 hours of hard labor washing and waxing my car. Yep... attending too many conclaves and other events is not good. But not attending any is even worse. If you're one who avoids events, I'm not sure you're on our side. Events are great... they provide opportunities to learn, to meet, to share, and in some cases, to even fish. Take in events like you (should) drink beer - in moderation.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Correction: USFWS Wild Things is October 18th and not this coming Saturday as reported earlier. Apparently we copied the calendar date from a previous year (our calendar entry has been corrected also).

So here's a list of major events happening this month. And hopefully the dates are correct... on Tuesday, October 14 the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Fundraising Banquet at Mandina's Restaurant on 830 Fannin in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. The event will have some great auction and raffle items. You do not need to be a member of NLFF to attend. For details, check out the NLFF October newsletter, posted in our Clubs Forum. On Saturday, October 18 is "Wild Things". This event is an annual celebration of National Wildlife Refuges in Southeast Louisiana. The event takes place at Big Branch Marsh NWR headquarters on Highway 343 in Lacombe. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission, parking and all tours are free. Among the many activities will be fly fishing and fly tying conducted by the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers club. For more details, go to www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana. Also on Saturday, October 18 is a "Whitlock Flies Tying Workshop" hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters in Natchitoches. Renown tier Mike Hawkins will lead a hands-on clinic on tying two of Dave Whitlock's classic flies. Cost is just $20, but registration is required as class size limited to 30 seats. The session is open to members of any recognized fly fishing clubs. Bring your own tools, materials will be provided. For more info, contact Sunny at 471-6204 or Burley at 471-5049. Or go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. On Thursday, October 23 it's the annual CCA STAR Awards Banquet at Live Oaks Arabian in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $50, $25 for youth. CCA will be honoring the winners of the various STAR tournament divisions, including Fly East, Fly West, Kayak East, Kayak Southeast, Kayak Southwest, Kayak West. Should be a great time as always! Finally on Friday, October 30 and continuing on Saturday, it's the annual Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous, a.k.a. Toledo Bend Rendezvous, at North Toledo Bend State Park in Zwolle. It's not an organized event, but a casual gathering of flyfishers from several states. The nominal fee includes 2 nights lodging and meals. About 50 or more outstanding fly tiers make this event and spend the weekend tying flies, making Rendezvous well worth the weekend for folks wanting to learn tying, or advance their tying skills, or learn new patterns. For more details, look for an Events Forum posting sometime later this week.

Monday, October 6, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana FlyRodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior beginning at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Metro New Orleans Chapter will host a "Fall Fishing Seminar" at Bent Marine in Metairie. More on that later. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For details, contact Colin McCormick at 985- 264-3448. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the 2014 Florida Fly Fishing Expo at The Plantation in Crystal River, Florida. Hosted by the Florida Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), this "conclave" offers workshops, programs, tying, retailers, company reps, youth activities and much more. Special guests are Bob Clouser and Wanda Taylor. Admission is $10, under 16 free. For more info, go to www.fedflyfishers.org and click on "Florida Council". On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. This free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic is designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Pre-registration is required, as spots are limited. For details or to register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Riverside Fly Shop in Jasper, Alabama will hold a free fly tying and casting workshop featuring IFFF Buz Buszek Tying Award Winner Bill Heckel. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the 4th annual Lil Mo Wall Hole Gathering at Riverside Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. More on that later. On Sunday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will be holding their annual "Family Day" at the St James boat launch in Gramercy. Backpacker will be on hand with several of their new kayaks, including the 2015 Hobie models, for on- the-water demos. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.

Wednesday's Metro CCA Fishing Seminar in Metairie promises to be interesting, to say the least! Normally the CCA fishing seminars are well worth attending, as the speakers - mostly captains - provide valuable updates as well as fishing tips. But the seminar being held this Wednesday at Bent Marine on 8001 Airline Drive in Metairie promises to be special. It starts at 5:30pm. Admission is $5 with free for women and children. Dinner is included. The guest speakers include some of the top experts on coastal fishing including: Don Dubuc, Andy LeBlanc, Mike Gallo, CT Williams, Ahab Broaddus and Greg Schlumbrecht. But it's Dudley Vandenborre who could steal the spotlight. As Todd Masson states, Dudley is the E.F. Hutton of coastal guides... when he speaks, folks listen! And at the recent CCA Northshore seminar, he spoke his mind about the state of trout fishing in southeast Louisiana, and what he believes are the reasons for continuing declines in trout catches, especially fish over four pounds. Days later, at the October meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, biologists gave the results of their speckled trout status study, concluding that the speck populations are currently in good shape, contrary to what Vandenborre and other captains have experienced. It'll be VERY interesting to see how Dudley and others respond to this study. One point that will be highly criticized: LDWF manages trout at an 11 percent margin for sustainable spawning recruitment (SSR). The study showed actual SSR ranging from 8 to 14 percent. Nearly every other coastal state manages trout at an SSR between 20 and 30 percent. I make this comparison: it's like LSU Football playing for a bowl game (6 wins) instead of aiming for the playoff (11-12 wins). In other words, if you can accept mediocrity, then you're happy with the LDWF report. If not, it's time for a change.

For coldwater trout enthusiasts, two events this Saturday. The Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas is less than 3 hours from Shreveport, and is a popular year-round trout fishery for Louisiana fly anglers. The rainbow trout are stocked from October thru June, and once the meat anglers have reduced their numbers, the remaining trout grow very fast both in length and girth. By this time of year, the Little Mo "footballs" have full color and put up a very spirited fight. Unfortunately as stocking season begins, catch-and-release restrictions are limited on some parts of the river, and those trout become targets once again for meat fishermen. Jeff Guerin, a full time guide on the river, established the Little Mo Wall Hole Gathering the 2nd weekend of October as a means to celebrate this last weekend of CR fishing on The Wall Hole section of the river. There's no fee, and food is provided (covered dishes are welcome) as well as refreshments (sorry, no alcohol allowed). The event kicks off at 11:00am. More info can be found at www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.

The other event is in Jasper, Alabama. Jasper is home to the Sipsey River, Alabama's only year-round trout water, exactly 5 hours from Slidell. Thanks to the efforts of Riverside Fly Shop and the Sipsey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, trout fishing on the river has greatly improved over recent years and is now more favored by flycasters from the Greater New Orleans area. On Saturday, Riverside will continue it's series of bringing in highly recognized folks in our sport for their seminar series, by hosting Bill Heckel. Bill is an IFFF Buz Buszek Award Winner for lifetime achievement in fly tying. Bill will be conducting both a tying and a casting clinic. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The event is free. More details can be found at the shop's website at www.riversideflyshop.com.

Return to warm weather. This week will see high temperatures in the high 80s and lows in the 60s, after the big chill of last week. Although air temps will be up, water temps are down. Here in the Cenla area, most of the lakes are in the 70-74 degree range! Needless to say, turnover has taken place on many lakes. Initially, fishing is sluggish after turnover. But from reports I got today, the bass and crappie have really turned on. Bass are chasing schools of shad, mostly in the afternoon. The crappie are holding deep... 10-15 feet... but enough are around structure in shallow water for floating lines and jighead / beadhead flies to do damage. The redears are still in the shallows and nailing a variety of beadhead flies, including the BHHERS under a tiny strike indicator. On the coast, limits of reds are being caught on a variety of flies, and finally... decent numbers of keeper-size trout! Of course, a weighted clouser under a VOSI will also catch LOTS of sand (white) trout right now. The sandies - which grow fast - are now in the 11-14 inch range. Put a dozen of those along with half-dozen 13 to 15 inch specks in your box and you've got a family fish fry with leftovers! If you decide to keep a few reds, remember to put the trout (sandies and specks) in a plastic bag and put the bag ON TOP the reds.

Sunday, September 28, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. 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 in Old Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday evening and continuing thru Sunday, it's the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Fly Fishing Fair at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Hosted by the IFFF Southern Council, the "Southern Conclave" has changed dates this year from it's historical Friday/Saturday event to a Saturday/Sunday event. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge on Perkins-Rowe will conduct a free "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. This clinic is a one-day, 2 hour session covering the basics of fly fishing, including 1-hour of casting instruction. There is no cost, but registration is required. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

We are saddened to hear that Donnie Schittone, a longtime fellow member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers, has passed away. Donnie was 61. He and his sons were fixtures at several of the club's annual events. He particularly enjoyed fishing bass, bream, and hybrid stripers. Services will be held Tuesday at 10:00am at Resthaven Funeral Home on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Donnie will be missed by his flyfishing friends!

Just announced - Diving Frog and Deerhair Bream Workshop. The Cane Country Fly Casters will host an Advanced Fly Tying Workshop on Saturday, October 18th in Natchitoches. Instructor Mike Hawkins will teach a couple of Dave Whitlock patterns, the Diving Frog and the Deerhair Bream. An "advanced" workshop is one recommended for those who have tied flies before. The session runs from 8:30am to 12 noon, with coffee and doughnuts starting at 7:30am and lunch following serving burgers and hot dogs. The session is limited to 30 tiers, so pre-registration is required. Details are posted in our Events Forum under "CCFC Tying Workshop".

Stay thirsty, my friends! Sharks have a week dedicated to him. He once taught a German Shepherd how to bark in Spanish. Even his tree houses have fully furnished basements. His cereal never gets soggy, it sits there staying crispy, waiting for him. He's Jonathon Goldsmith, a.k.a., the actor who portrays "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in the Dos Equis commercials. Goldsmith, who has appeared in over 350 television shows as a guest actor, is almost as adventurous in real life as the character he's portrayed for the last 9 years. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, off-roading, sailing, falconry, and even fine cigars. He's also been heavily involved with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), an organization dedicated helping remove ghost landmines. Now Goldsmith is raffling off "A Day With Jonathon Goldsmith" to help raise monies for MAG. The contest ends October 8. Contestants can enter by making a $5 donation or more online to MAG. The winner will be flown to Vermont to join Goldsmith and share on his personal adventures. There are runnerup prizes as well, including a signed box of his premium cigars.For details, go to www.maginternational.org.

Sunday, September 21, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Orvis in Perkins-Rowe off Bluebonnet. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. The club has tools for use during the session, if you have none. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. For this month, the club will meet at Buhlow Lake in Pineville starting at 6:00pm. Please note the change in location and time, as the program will be casting practice and instruction. Beginners and visitors are welcome. On Tuesday, the CCA Slidell Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Slidell Auditorium in Old Town. Doors open at 6:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner and drinks. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the 10th annual "Texoma On The Fly" at Eisenhower State Park in Texas. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will be conducting a "Fly Fishing 201" class. The Orvis FF201 is a one-day, 2 hour clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills learned in Fly Fishing 101 to on-the-water situations. Also, to learn a few casting techniques. The class is free, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. Contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286 for more. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "4th Saturday Tying Clinic". Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Please bring your own tools, materials are provided. For more info, contact Ron at (225) 271-3100. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "2015 Hobie Mini-Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond in Lafayette. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. All the new 2015 Hobie models will be available to test paddle, many of which have the new frame seat. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is the largest outdoors celebration in the country, held on the 4th Saturday of September, with activities in all 50 states. Here in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has held "Outdoor Festivals" for over 30 years with venues at Waddill Outdoors Center in Baton Rouge, the LDWF office in Monroe, the Woodworth Outdoors Center just south of Alexandria, and at Bodcau Refuge near Minden. Each venue has a wide variety of exhibitors and activities for all ages, as well as food and refreshments. There's even fishing rodeos at some of these venues, and wild game cooking or barbecue cookoffs. Best of all, it's free! For those with interest in fly fishing or kayak fishing, the Bodcau, Waddill and Woodworth venues will have fly fishing clubs on hand. Folks can even do hands-on fly casting and fly tying. The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will also be on hand at Waddill to discuss kayak fishing and rigging.

Texoma On The Fly will celebrate it's 10th anniversary this Saturday. Hosted by Red River Fly Fishers of Denton, Texas, and Eisenhower State Park (where it's held), this event has gone through a couple changes in format over the years. It started as a "conclave", later became more like a "fly fishing 101", and now has reverted back to conclave format. When we say "conclave", we mean an event featuring speakers, demonstration fly tying, fly casting and/or tying instruction, exhibitors, in some cases kayak demos, food, refreshments, and more. Like so many club conclaves, TOTF is open to the public and FREE admission! Previously TOTF was held earlier in the year, and had good attendance from Louisiana fly anglers, with even a few tiers from our state on hand. That may not be the case this year, as TOTF comes just one week before the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair.

Fly Fishing with the Stars. The number 2 movie in America this weekend is "A Walk Among the Tombstones" starring Liam Neeson. Neeson is just one of many actors and musicians who love to fly fish. Add Hugh Jackman to that growing list. The multi-talented film and Broadway actor, best known for his role as "Wolverine" in the X-Men series movies, is preparing for his latest stage production, "The River", by taking his castmates on a fishing trip. According to an article in the New York Daily News by writer Joe Dzemianowicz, Jackman describes fly fishing as "becoming one with the fish, understanding the fish, and seducing them to the end of your line" and "a form of meditation".

Piranhas in Louisiana? Well, sort of. Last week, LDWF enforcement agents cited a Jefferson Parish man with possession of five piranhas in a fish tank in his apartment. Illegal exotic fish possession of certain species - of which piranhas tops the list - brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail plus court costs. The fish were seized (and hopefully destroyed).

Monday, September 15, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. 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: tackle tips, fishing reports, upcoming tournaments. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, materials are provided. On Friday, the Union Parish Library on 202 Jackson Street in Farmerville will be holding a “Fly Fishing Instructional Class”. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Veteran fly angler and fly tierTom Cathey of Monroe, also the fly fishing instructor for the LDWF Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, will lead the session. For more info, contact the Union Parish Library at (318) 368-9226. Also starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it’s the Red Stick Fly Fishers’ annual Lake Concordia Fall Outing. This event culminates with the fish fry on Saturday evening. RSFF members, as well as members of other recognized fly fishing clubs, can participate. For details and contact info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their “Fly Fishing 101” clinics. The Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course is a one-day, 2-hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost. In addition, once instruction is completed, each attendee receives gift coupons and free electronic membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers. To register, contact Alex Beane (225) 757-7286.

Today is the last day for Southern Conclave pre-registration. The FFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair, aka “conclave”, will be held the first weekend of October at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The largest annual fly fishing event in the South, it’s well attended by folks from north Louisiana, and even a few from south Louisiana. If you’re one of those folks planning to attend the Southern Conclave, and want to pre-register, then today is the final day to do so. You can always register on-site during the event, but pre-registration has it’s rewards. First, a discount on the admission fee. Second, only persons who are pre-registered will be in the drawing for a Sage One Rod worth $750. Third, most of the hands-on workshops – which have limited seats – have only a few seats open at this time. It’s very difficult to get into a workshop if you don’t pre-register. To pre-register, your snail mail form must be postmarked with today’s date (September 15), or the electronic registration must be received in their inbox with a September 15 date. For registration forms, as well as all other details about this conclave, go to www.southerncouncilfff.org.

Monday, September 8, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:30pm. Note the earlier time, as this month's program will begin outside with casting games. The business portion of the meeting will be held afterwards inside. The public is welcome. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Burley Johnson and Vic McClain will teach weaving of flies. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm, with casting prior starting at 6:00pm. For the program, Ben Dupree will talk about Black Lake and Saline Bayou National Wild and Scenic River. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Frances Church, 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair in Ocean Springs. More on this later. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold their first-ever Golden Meadow Smackdown kayak tournament. Entry fee is only $20, and it's open to the public. Fishing boundary is all waters in Lafourche Parish west of Highway 1 and north of the Golden Meadow levee. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.

This weekend is the Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair. Sponsored by the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Gulf Coast Council (GCC), it's the first-ever "conclave" of the GCC since it's reformation early last year. The event will be held at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Friday is mostly workshops, followed that evening by an Awards Dinner and Auction. A portion of the proceeds of that auction will go to the Gulf Coast Research Lab. Saturday is the main event, with seminars, casting instruction, fly tying demos, exhbitors, vendors, and more workshops. The show is free, and so are the classes. However, the workshops have limited seats, so registration is required. Online registration is still available. Looking over the agenda for the GCC Fly Fishing Fair, the thing that stood out to me was the number of casting classes and the impressive number of Certified Casting Instructors (CCIs) including Master Certified Instructors (MCIs). Anyone looking to improve their casting - or even learn some new tying techniques - should definitely make it over to Ocean Springs! There are a number of beginner sessions as well. This is one aspect that IFFF conclaves have over club conclaves: the workshops. Incidently, bring your fly rod to Ocean Springs. Unlike Louisiana, it's been an above average summer for specks and white trout in the area.

The end of SweatFest 2014? We know that September brings relief from summer heat and humidity, but so far this month it's been nothing but steamy. Heat indices this past week were in the 100 to 105 range. Good news... a cool front is expected to move thru the state on Friday. At least for folks in the northern and central parishes, it'll be a cool front. Highs here in the Alexandria area are expected to be in the mid-80s thru the weekend, with lows in the mid-60s. Let's see if this pushes the water temps down a few degrees, and gets those bass, redears, and crappie excited.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Damnation is showing tonight at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge. This is a free event presented by The Backpacker. Doors open at 6:30pm, the film starts at 7:00pm. DamNation is a documentary that explores the changing attitude towards dams, from engineering wonders to obstructions that harm the health of our rivers. Dam removal has been instrumental in giving salmon and other migratory species a chance to return to primeval spawning grounds, and rebounds in populations. Dams can provide clean hydroelectric power, and world-class rainbow and brown trout, especially on southern rivers where trout would not otherwise exist. It's a difficult balance, and it should be interesting to see how this documentary addresses that.

It's September... a month of transition as we head towards the equinox. Here in the Alexandria area, the average high and low for the 1st day of this month is 92/72, but for the last day of this month those averages drop to a comfortable 84/62. Radiative cooling has already begun to equalize radiative heating. What that means is that water temperatures will begin to drop any day now. Slowly at first, but if we get a cool front with dry air, we could see a drop of a several degrees. When water temperatures go below 80 degrees, lookout! It's like 5-hour energy for fish (but longer). Lakes in the northern and central parishes will benefit early on, and the result will be increased activity for bass, crappie, and redear. My dad used to say that the one thing that could keep him from dove or teal hunting in September was a trip to Toledo Bend for schooling bass busting shad. Got my shad flies ready for action! Because the Gulf of Mexico is such a large heat reservoir (as is Pontchartrain and Big Lake), don't expect water temps to drop much until the last days of this month. But speckled trout detect the changes, and will make their inside migration. Meanwhile, it's a great month for sand (white) trout, and the last really good month for nearshore species like mangroves, cobia, kings, and spanish.

It's September, and fishing events are in full force. Orvis in Baton Rouge restarts their "Fly Fishing 101" and "Fly Fishing 201" workshops. Check the calendar for dates. The Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo is this Saturday, September 6th in New Orleans. The Federation of Fly Fishers Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair is Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The weekend of September 19th and 20th, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual Fall outing to Lake Concordia. On Saturday, September 27th, it's the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, with LDWF hosting outdoors festivals in Monroe, Minden, Woodworth and Baton Rouge. On the Kayak Fishing calendar, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation holds their annual "Save the Coast" Fishing rodeo Friday and Saturday, September 5-6 out of New Orleans. Entry fee is $40. On Saturday, September 13th, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club hosts their first-ever "Golden Meadow Smackdown" out of the Community Park in Golden Meadow. Entry fee is $20 and it's open to the public. For all these events - and more - go to our Calendar page, or check the Events section of our forum.

It's September, and football fever is back. The first full month of pro, college, and high school games. You know when LSU or the Saints have a big afternoon televised game. The boat launches are full in the morning, then empty by noon. If you're one of the few non-football fanatics in Louisiana, you might use that to your advantage!

Sunday, August 31, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Labor Day and the last day of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament. For those registered in STAR, any trout over 14 inches caught on fly or from kayak gets you into the bonus drawing... unless of course you catch a first-place fish. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at 512 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior starting at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the 6th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo, hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers club. Location is New Orleans CIty Park and Bayou St. John. Fishing time is 8:00am to 12:30pm (weigh-in deadline). There is no entry fee, but you must be a member of a recognized fly fishing club. For complete details, check the posting under the Events section in the LFF Forum.

Feeling tropically depressed? For folks in western Louisiana, that feeling is understood after the easterly wave in the northern Gulf that brought as much as 7 inches of rain yesterday. At least it didn't have a name. Midway thru the peak of tropical storm season, we've been fortunate to have no named storms in the Gulf. That could change by next weekend. A large disturbance in the Caribbean, code name Invest 99-L, is expected to move westward into the southern Gulf by Thursday. At this time, there's only a 40 percent chance it will develop into a named (tropical) storm. But if it reaches the Gulf intact, anything is possible.

Thursday, August 28, 2014
The September issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine features an article on fly fishing for reds with Keith Richard of the The Camp Fly Fishing School and Captain Steve Smith of Stillwater Charters. In "The Fly Guy", writer Jerald Horst tells of a trip they made around Marsh Island south of Cypremont Point, with Richard sightcasting flies to the wary poisson rouge. Keith also comments on tackle for saltwater, the importance of a good fly line, and the Federation of Fly Fishers and the IFFF Casting Certification Instructor program (Keith is a Master CCI). A must read for anyone interested in taking up reds on the fly! Elsewhere in this month's LAS... my Fly Lines column ("Lessons from a Legend") gives tips and strategies from bass guru Dave Whitlock, some from the sesson he gave at the North Louisiana Fly Fishers "Masters Series" back in July. Chris Holmes "Puddles and Paddles" column deals with fishing for sharks from a kayak. Yowza! The News Breaker section features articles on the recent Ride the Bull 5, including an interview with Teamed Hook on Yak about the making of their winning video at the RTB Calmwater Film Festival ("Business as Usual"). And of course, lots of other great stuff (Seafood Bible, Fishing Forecast, etc).

Belle update. Several of you have asked about the latest on Belle, our faithful collie and often fishing companion. FYI, we returned home late Sunday night to discover her lying in a corner of the garage, her leg badly maimed and blood on the floor. We treated the wound and covered it up. The next morning 6:00am we took her to the nearest animal hospital here in Alex. We were very concerned she would lose the leg, but it appears likely that the leg will recover, barring infection. The vet believes that she was the victim of a steel jaw trap. Last two weeks they have cleared a large section of property adjacent to ours that one of the locals used to hunt and trap on. Belle and the neighbors dog have been trekking through this property, so this scenario is probably correct. Anywho, Belle is doing fine but she has a long recovery ahead. I'm hoping my BFFF is back in full form for when the crappie start biting this fall.

Sunday, August 24, 2014
What's happening this week. An exciting one... the start of high school and college football, the Labor Day weekend, and the last days of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Blvd in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome, public is invited. Bring your own tools, the club has some to use. Materials are provided. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, in conjunction with LDWF and Cabelas, will hold a "Kayak Fishing 101" workshop at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 9:30am to 3:30pm. There is no cost, but class size is limited to 35 students. For details, check out the post in the Puddlers Forum, or go to bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will host a "Kayak Fishing Mothership Trip" along Highway 1 in Lafourche Parish. The trip will be guided by Shane Curole of Team Hooked on Yak. Cost is $250 per person and includes use of a kayak, PFD, marsh anchor, lunch and guide. There's a limit of 4 seats for this trip, so reservations are required. For more info, or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com.

CCA STAR concludes next Monday. The Fly and Kayak Divisions in the summer-long tournament got off to a slow start this year. The Fly West Division leaderboard remained vacant for several weeks, but eventually filled up and since, has undergone a few turnovers as well. There's no question - numerous charter captains have confirmed this as well - that speckled trout fishing across Louisiana this year has been very much below average. So fly and kayak anglers have had to put in extra effort to register fish. There are several familiar names on the leaderboard as we enter the final leg, proving you can't keep good flyfishers down. But it's not over yet... in the last week, big trout have moved onto the beaches at Elmers Isle, Holly Beach, and the reefs off Cypremont Point. It could very well be that the winners of the Fly East and West are decided on this the last week of STAR 2014.

A big week for college football in Louisiana as the season kicks off for several schools, beginning Thursday. Everyone is excited about their favorite team, as at this point every team is undefeated, right? On Thursday, UL-Monroe entertains Wake Forest and Northwestern State hosts Missouri State, while Tulane travels to Tulsa. On Saturday, three big games of note... as everyone knows (or should know) LSU faces Wisconsin at Reliant Stadium in Houston in a clash of nationally-ranked teams that play similiar style offense. LSU has a number of exciting freshmen who could play a big role including quarterback Brandon Harris, running back Leonard Fournette, safety Jamal Adams and receivers Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre. LSU's chances may depend on how well those freshmen respond. Another big game has Louisiana Tech traveling to Oklahoma. The Sooners - which dismantled the Gumps in the Sugar Bowl - are my pick to win the national championship. In Lafayette, UL faces Southern in a game that should be a shootout. Also on Saturday, Nicholls travels to Air Force, Grambling travels to Lamar, and Southeastern hosts Jacksonville.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is September 27th. Established by Congress in 1972, NHFD is always the 4th Saturday of September, and recognizes the importance of traditional outdoors sports. This year's honorary chairman, country music star Craig Morgan - who also hosts All Access Outdoors television series - joins a long list of celebrities who have served as spokepersons for this nationwide celebration. Here in Louisiana, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hosts NHF Day Outdoors Festival at four venues: Monroe, Minden (Bodcau), Baton Rouge (Waddill), and Woodworth. Over 10,000 adults and youth attend these four events each year. Fly fishing clubs have long been part of the many organizations and agencies that exhibit at NHF Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers will be celebrating their 25th year at the Waddill venue, once again doing hands-on fly tying, fly casting and knots. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers will be doing likewise at Bodcau, while the Kisatchie Fly Fishers and Cane Country Fly Casters will be teaming up at the Woodworth venue. For the clubs, it's more than just picking up a few new members. It's exposing our sport to the many youth that attend. Most have never seen or cast a fly rod. Or even seen a fly, much less tied one. How important is National Hunting and Fishing Day? It's been cited as one of the reasons for the resurgence in outdoors participation in the pivotal 18 to 35 age group.

Thursday, August 21, 2014
The 106th American Casting Association National Championships was held August 5th thru 9th on the campus of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Hosted by the Southern Brothers Anglers ACA club, it featured some remarkable casting performances including Maxine McCormick of San Francisco, who in only her second ACA championships, set 8 new records in the Junior Division! Henry Mittel won all three fly distance events, edging out longtime distance king Steve Rajeff. However, Rajeff won several of the spin events, and once again was named Anglers All Round Championship as he claimed 5 gold and 7 silver medals. Here's a rundown on some of the fly category winners: In 2-Hand Fly Distance, Pam Peters - Womens 165 feet, Zack Willson - Senior Men 181 feet, Henry Mittel - Mens 247 feet. In 1-Hand Fly Distance, Pam Peters - Womens 131 feet, Chuck Phillips - Senior Men 150 feet, Henry Mittel - Mens 185 feet. In Anglers Fly Distance, Maxine McCormick - Juniors 94 feet (new national record), Pam Peters - Womens 113 feet, Alice Gillibert - Senior Womens 114 feet, John Seroczynski - Seniors Men 132 feet, Henry Mittel - 169 feet. Bass Bug Accuracy (100 points perfect score): Peg VanNatter Senior Women 85 points, Pam Peters - Women 87 points, Bill Burke - Senior Men 92 points, Maxine McCormick - Juniors 88 points (new national record), Steve Rajeff, Chris Korich - 99 points (Rajeff won castoff tiebreaker 99-98).

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