Monday, May 20, 2013
Coastal restoration projects unveiled. At last Wednesday's meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), a list of nearly 40 projects was revealed that would be partially or fully funded by the monies received from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP had agreed to pay $340 million for coastal restoration, oyster recovery, and fisheries science facilities. In addition, a settlement on criminal charges with the Justice Department yielded another $1.2 billion from BP and $75 million from Transocean directed to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which in turn will be used for coastal projects. The list put together includes 10 diversion projects, several shoreline or ridge enhancements, and at least 3 marsh restorations using pipeline sedimentation. Of significance are the diversions that would move Mississippi River water and sediment into the central and lower Maurepas Basin. Such diversions would greatly enhance the freshwater fishing there, and the saltwater fishing in the central and eastern parts of Lake Pontchartrain. There could be additional projects depending on the final judgement... under the Restore Act, Louisiana could receive 80 percent of fines for violation of the Clean Water Act, which could range from $4.5 billion to $17 billion. There could be fewer projects as well... a group led by Mike Lane of RodnReel.com is opposing some of the diversion projects, pointing out that Caernavon has destroyed more wetlands than it has created, and that year-round diversion of river water would hurt inside shrimping and saltwater fishing. It is likely that if the group could consolidate it's efforts to one or two specific projects, those could be delayed or dropped.
Safe Boating Week - tragic lesson. We mentioned yesterday that this week is National Safe Boating Week, and that the number one cause of boating deaths is drowning, often a consequence of not wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Tragically, on Saturday afternoon on Caddo Lake near Karnack, Texas - just as the Caddo Conclave was taking place - a canoe with two men from Marshall tipped over. One was able to swim to shore, but the other went missing. A search by game wardens eventually led to finding the missing man's body. According to officials, neither man was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. Safe paddling lesson #1 - ALWAYS wear a PFD!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
What's happening this week. A busy one, as we head into Memorial Day weekend. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran 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 holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: this Saturday's Speck-n-Redfish Cup tournament. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Tangi Chapter of CCA will hold their annual banquet at Twelve Oaks in Hammond. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shop in Bossier City. Time is 6:30pm. This month Bud Bethea and other NLFF members will be conducting a "Fly Fishing 101" session. This is a free session on how to setup tackle, and learning to fly fish. The public is invited. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Whitney Bank, 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Pointe Coupee Chapter of CCA will hold their annual banquet at the Scott Civic Center in New Roads. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact email@example.com. On Saturday, it's the kickoff of the annual CCA-STAR Louisiana. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's The Camp Fly Fishing School Advanced Workshop. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their annual "Speck-n-Redfish Cup". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12noon. No registration required, please bring your own tools, materials are provided. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their free "Fly Fishing 101" sessions. This one-day, 2-hour workshop features one hour on tackle and rigging, and one hour on basic casting. In addition, students get in-store discounts on Orvis products, as well as free one-year membership in the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). Registration is required as seats are limited. Contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.
Summer is officially here... by Louisiana standards. We're still a month away from the solstice, but from a climate perspective, summer begins the last full week of May and ends around the second week of September. With the exception of tropical activity, the weatherman can take a vacation. The forecast is highs in the upper 80s and 90s, and lows in the 70s, with high humidity. The fronts that brought us near-freezing temperatures just a couple weeks ago are gone until September. Despite the heat and humidity, there are many things to like about summer - great surf fishing, snowballs, shrimp and crabs, bream fishing, going to the beach, action movies, and saltwater fishing tournaments. Of tournaments, the list is overwhelming... several dozen to be exact. Which is why we concentrate only on the ones that feature fly fishing or kayak fishing or youth. One tournament that has them all kicks off this weekend, and that's STAR.
You have to be stupid not to fish the STAR! The CCA Louisiana Statewide Tournament and Angler's Rodeo (STAR) begins its 19th year of competition on Saturday, May 25. One of the largest, and richest saltwater fishing tournaments in the country, offering over $500,000 in prizes, STAR spans the entire Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast and is open to anglers of every age. It lasts for 101 days as the tournament runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2013. There are numerous divisions, including Fly Fish and Kayak. The Fly Fish has an East and West Regions, for largest speckled trout, the winner of each gets a $1,500 gift card to Academy courtesy of Costa del Mar. The Kayak Division has East, Southeast, Southwest and West Regions, for largest speckled trout, the 1st place in each will win a Hobie Outback kayak courtesy of Hobie. The minimum size for Fly Fish and Kayak entries is 14 inches. Folks in these divisions should register ANY speck over 14 inches they catch, as the Consolation Drawing (4 TFO Loomis rods for Kayak, 1 TFO fly rod for Fly) is in effect again this year. Folks who fly fish and/or kayak fish also have a shot at other divisions, including tagged redfish. The first tagged redfish wins a Chevy Silverado and the next 9 anglers to catch one win motorboat rigs. There's also a Youth Division for CCA members 17 and under. Youth entrants can compete for FREE (must fill a STAR entry form) and can also compete in all categories. For youth, it's as easy as catching a 14" speck or flounder and taking a picture with the youth holding the fish on a ruler and emailing it to the tournament director. As you can see, STAR is one tournament where everyone has a chance to win and win big. But you must be a CCA member and also registered in STAR. I can understand that some folks have issues with CCA and don't join the organization. What I don't understand is that, among the 80,000 members, less than half sign up for STAR. That's beyond stupid... that's "chicken stupid"! Sign up for STAR, sign up a kid for STAR (it's free) and take them fly fishing and/or kayak fishing and let's light up those boards early and often!
The CAMP Fly Fishing School Advanced Session is this Saturday. Another advanced session will be held in September. They are held at their facility in Breaux Bridge. Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $135 per person and includes instruction, lunch, handouts and more. Registration is required, as seats are limited. There's even a pond to practice to your test your newly acquired skills on and hopefully fool a few bass and behemoth bream. In our opinion, these advanced sessions are the two best investments of your time and money for improving your fly fishing skills. As Cormier's 2nd Law of Fly Fishing states, "Good casting leads to fly fishing success". When you can proficiently shoot line, execute a double-haul, a reach mend, a curve cast, a roll cast, a Belgian cast, and other techniques of casting, then you greatly improve the odds of catching fish in most situations. The second biggest investment beyond tackle should be your time to learn to use it!
Safe Boating Week is May 18-24. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this summer. Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition. For kayakers, it's important to wear a PFD at all times, even though it may not be required while anchored. A number of sporting goods stores are offering discounts on PFDs this week, including inflatables that allow yakkers to retain freedom of movement and stay cool. If you have an old iPFD, check that the CO cartridge is full. Also make sure your PFD has been tested and sanctioned by a USCG recognized laboratory. A USCG-approved PFD will have an approval number on the label inside the jacket.
Louisiana Free Fishing Weekend will be June 8-9. These dates are provided for novices and non-anglers as an opportunity to experience sport fishing in fresh or salt water without the purchase of a recreational fishing license. In addition, LDWF and supporting sponsors will be holding various events on June 8: a kids tournament in Baton Rouge, a fishing derby at Lake D'arbonne, a youth fishing derby at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville, and a Louisiana Saltwater Series Youth Fishing Event at Grand Isle State Park. For details, check the post in the LFF Forum.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Caddo Conclave is this Saturday The 4th annual fly fishing festival co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and East Texas Fly Fishers clubs will again be held at beautiful Caddo State Park in Karnack, Texas. The park is adjacent to the lake and Louisiana anglers can fish upriver to the bridge without having to purchase a Texas license. In it's few short years, this has become one of my favorite events... the lodge provides the perfect setting, and there's great cabins, camp sites, or nearby lodging. The programs, tiers, casting and kayak demos, and the pot luck Friday supper and Saturday lunch barbecue are well worth the $10 fee ($20 entire family). The fishing can be great at times, but my suggestion is to fish early... that's usually when I've caught some nice bass on poppers. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org or contact Scott Irwin at 318-742-1887.
The new IFFF Texas Council has a website. It's a work in progress, but so far looking real good. Check it out at www.texascouncilifff.com. One thing that the website will provide is a calendar of activities taking place in Texas (at least, those affiliated with the council or it's member clubs). Many Louisiana fly anglers attend Texas events, such as Fly Fish Texas, Red River Rendezvous, Ed Rizzolo Tying Festival, and Caddo Conclave, to name a few. One held this past weekend, the annual "Bass On The Fly Tournament" at Lake Fork, next year will be sponsored by the IFFF Texas Council. At this year's tourney, over 40 anglers participated, and over 40 bass were caught. And some big ones, too... the boat winner, Carey Thorne of Dallas, had a five bass limit with total length over 100 inches!
Jackson Kilroy - Evolution of the Fishing Kayak. Last week, Jackson Kayaks began shipping their latest product to dealers. The Kilroy is a sit-inside yak specifically designed for fishing and hunting. Yes, you read correctly - "sit inside" - aka SINK kayak. From the time of their invention by the Inuit eskimos some 4,000 years ago up until Tim Niemer created the sit-on-top (SOT) in 1988, all kayaks were SINK. In fact, at the time of my first kayak fishing experience, there were no SOTs. SOTs revolutionized kayak fishing, and are credited with it's explosion into the fastest growing segment of the outdoors industry. SINKs mostly have faded away as fishing vessels - with one very notable exception, the Native Ultimate. In fact, the Ultimate continues to rank in top 5 sales out of the 200+ boats on the market. SINKs do have a couple of advantages over SOTs, one being speed. For any given length, width, a SINK will always be faster than a SOT. However, that advantage does little good if the boat is not designed for fishing... which few SINKs are. The Kilroy is different. According to Jackson Product Manager Damon Bungard, the Kilroy brings together all of Jackon's great fishing innovations, such as hi-lo seating, rod and tackle storage and unique floor system. In addition, the hull has been designed for stability, and the large, open cockpit designed such that fly fisherman can stand, and have no obstructions to hang fly line on. The Kilroy specs: length 12'4", width 31", height 12.5", weight 69 lbs (64 without seat), capacity 375 lbs. MSRP is $1149.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
What's happening this week. It's Nick Ross Week in Louisiana... on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the LRCE building on Florida Boulevard. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Nick Ross, of the San Juan Angler Fly Shop in Durango, CO. Nick guides the waters of southwest Colorado, northwest New Mexico as well as Montana and Colorado. He will talk about his home waters, as well as his adventures elsewhere. Should be a great program, the public is invited. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge off Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Casting practice begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Nick Ross will be the guest speaker here also, again talking about fly fishing Colorado, Montana, Alaska and elsewhere. Visitors are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: recap of the recent Expo as well as fishing reports. On Thursday, it's the annual CCA Shreveport Chapter banquet at Riverview Hall on Clyde Fant Parkway. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying meetings at St. Frances Church on Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome, materials are provided. Starting Friday, it's the 4th annual Caddo Conclave at Caddo State Park in Karnack, Texas. More on that later. Also starting Friday is the annual Red Stick Fly Fishers' Spring Catch-and-Eat marsh fishing trip, that culminates with the Saturday night fish and shrimp fry. Check their website at www.rsff.org for more details. On Saturday, the Orvis Baton Rouge store holds another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions. The 2-hour course has one hour dedicated to tackle and rigging, the other hour dedicated to casting. Students also receive in-store discounts and free membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). The course is free, but seats are limited, so registration is required. For details or to register, contact Alex at 225-757-7286.
Monday, May 6, 2013
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Casting begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the CCA River Parishes Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact Sam Elliot at 504-416-3193. On Saturday, it's the 4th annual "Bass on the Fly" fly fishing tournament on Lake Fork, Texas. This ever-growing CPR (catch, photo, release) event features product booths, casting demos and contests, Lake Guide report, and much more. Categories are club, motorboat and non-motorboat (kayak, canoe, bank, float tube). Entry fee is $55 per person, with all funds going to payout or charity. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org. Also on Saturday, the Ascension Parish Library will hold a free fly tying class at the South Irma branch in Gonzales. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. No registration required. The class will cover basics of tying fresh and saltwater flies. For more info, contact Darrell Crawford 225-644-7989. Also on Saturday, it's the annual "Step Outside Day" sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, US Corps of Engineers, and US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Sherburne WMA near Krotz Springs. Time is 9:00am to 3:00pm. This free event targets youth and special needs individuals with hands-on activities including fishing, archery, nature photography, and much more. Drinks and food are provided. For more info on this program, call the LDWF Opelousas Office at 337-948-0255. Also on Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold a Group Saltwater Trip to Choupique Bayou south of Sulphur. This is not a tournament, and non-members are welcome to join in and participate. The meetup will be at 5:00am at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com or www.packpaddle.com. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in Mid-City New Orleans will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Bayou St John, weather permitting. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. A wide selection of boats from Hobie, Jackson, Native, Wilderness, Perception, Hurricane, BOTE, YOLO, Dagger, SurfTech. For more info, contact Blake at 504-648-0292.
The first-ever Natchitoches Fishing Expo this past Saturday was a big success. When Mrs. Catch and I arrived about 10:30am there was quite a crowd. It tapered off some in the afternoon, when things got warmer. But there are SO many things to do in Natchitoches on a Saturday, that's not unexpected. The sponsors - Cane Country Fly Casters - put a lot of work into the show and it paid off. Some great programs, a lot of exhibitors and fly tiers, not to mention the pulled pork sandwiches prepared by the Westside Baptist Church group were amazingly good! The CCFC club will review at their next meeting and plan to do it again next year, even better.
Also this past Saturday was the Jax Kayak Classic. This is the oldest and largest kayak fishing tournament in the country, held in Jacksonville, Florida. Once again, the number of participants topped 400 - 403 to be exact. By comparison, the next two largest single-day tournaments this past year were Paddlepalooza (262) and Ride the Bull (241), both held in Louisiana. The Jax tournament raised over $35,000 for their charities. But the real storyline here was the weather - heavy rain and winds gusting to 35 knots. Despite some of the worst conditions for a yak tournament, there were 10 slams, 20 reds, 35 trout and 25 flounder weighed in. Eddie Cabler of Jacksonville won the Slam Division with a 29.3" red, 22.5" trout, and a 23.4" flounder, all caught on spinner lures. The biggest red went to 17-year old Micha Mixon of Vero Beach, who won a Kajun Custom Kayak with his 33.25" red.
Kayakers need to be vigilant of weather. After reading about the Jax Classic and the horrible weather conditions participants had to endure, I was surprised everyone came out safe. That was almost -NOT- the case for two kayakers who were rescued Friday off the coast of Texas after strong north winds had pushed them out too far, and they were unable to paddle back into the wind and waves. Fortunately they had a VHF handheld radio in their yaks and were able to call for help, otherwise avoiding what could've been a disastrous ending. Whenever in open water, paddlers should have some sort of distress signal or radio/beacon to call for help.
The Southeastern Fly Fishing Festival will be held this weekend at the Ramsey Center arena at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. This is the annual "conclave" for the Federation of Fly Fishers Southeastern Council. At one time, the FFF-SEC was more "southeastern" than it is now, encompassing clubs and members from southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, south Alabama and Florida. Those first areas are now part of the Gulf Coast Council, while Florida formed it's own council. Even so, there's been good participation from these areas at the FFF-SEC Festival during it's years in Georgia. Now the move to North Carolina reflects a shift where many of the clubs from that state are part of the council. For more info on the Southeastern Fly Fishing Festival, go to www.southeastfff.org.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Weekend Forecast. Can you believe 59 degrees - for a high? That's what folks in several parishes in north Louisiana can expect today. The rest of the weekend won't be much warmer, either. Folks getting an early start heading to the Natchitoches Fishing Expo today might need a coat - the low temperature is expected to be 36 degrees in the City of Lights. Even Grand Isle will be in the 50s Saturday morning. Hard to believe it's May. Along with a host of festivals this time of year, it's also time for shorts, t-shirts, cold snow balls, hot boiled crawfish, surf fishing and perch popping. Not much surf fishing this weekend... north winds 15-20 will dissuade only the hardiest from any inshore or offshore fly fishing trips. Which leaves freshwater. Caterpillars are falling from trees across south Louisiana, and giving perch poppers - those who use popping bugs to catch bream - a reason to celebrate. The only caveat is dirty water in the Verret system and other waters affected by the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers, and recent heavy rainfall. The lakes in the CenLa area haven't been hit as hard, and this past week the bream were biting great on Lakes Kincaid, Cotile and Concordia. Even taking popping bugs on warm days. I'm afraid this cold spell will shut the action down for most of the day... bream, bass and crappie don't like high pressure. Your best bet will be late in the afternoon Saturday and Sunday.
>A new logo. When the Federation of Fly Fishers changed their name to the "International Federation of Fly Fishers" - in recognition of the many members and clubs across the globe - it was considered only a matter of time before their logo would change. According to Philip Greenlee, IFFF Chairman/President, many members asked not to change the logo, at least significantly. The new logo maintains the traditional reel of the Federation, while adding features that represent the organizationís international presence. The finished product is the collaboration of IFFF Treasurer Ron Winn and Jackie Oldfield of Keokee Publishing. Said Winn, "We feel we designed something that respects our tradition while giving an updated look."
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
May is here. We transition from spring to summer this month, and by the time Memorial Day rolls around, we're (hopefully) seeing the advent of prime surf fishing for trout, the start of the white trout run and pelagic species. Also, the start of the brown shrimp season and great crabbing. The bounty of the Gulf awaitens us! Prime bream spawning takes place in the larger reservoirs like Darbonne, Caney, Toledo Bend, Kincaid. If the river falls to less than 28 feet in Baton Rouge, look for the "live" oxbows like Yucatan, Morganza, Deer Park, Vidalia and others to produce big bream and sacalait. The lower Atchafalaya Basin will turn on as well. Some of the activity highlights for this month include, the first-ever Natchitoches Fishing Expo on May 4th, the 6th annual Bass On The Fly tournament at Lake Fork in Texas on May 11th, the 6th annual Caddo Conclave on May 18th, and the start of the CCA STAR tournament on May 25th. Also, The Camp Fly Fishing School holds the first of their two annual Advanced Sessions on May 25th. I highly recommend those for anyone looking to develop or improve their saltwater casting and stream casting skills.
Just announced - Backpacker demos this weekend. The Backpacker will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at each of their locations Saturday and Sunday, May 4th and 5th. These events are free and open to the public. On Saturday, the Lafayette store will hold one at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. On Sunday, the Baton Rouge store will hold theirs at Wampold Park, aka Baton Rouge Beach, on University Lake, from 12 noon till 4:00pm. You can test out kayaks, canoes and paddleboards from: Hobie, KC Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, Yolo, Perception, Dagger, and Mad River. Also... on hand for both events will be members of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, to answer questions about kayak fishing and boat rigging.
Monday, April 29, 2013
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Blvd in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: fly tying and perhaps a special guest. Visitors are welcome. On Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. Special guest will be Rad Trascher, CCA STAR Director. Rad will cover the upcoming STAR tournament as well as several hot issues that CCA is currently following. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, Pack and Paddle will hold the classroom session for "Outdoor Photography". Fee is $59, and includes the classroom and field sessions (Saturday). Reservations are required, as spots are limited. Go to www.packpaddle.com. On Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission holds their monthly meeting at Waddill Outdoors Center in Baton Rouge. Of significant importance to fly anglers on the agenda is the date for the opening of inshore shrimp season. Before Katrina, you could write off at least 2-3 weeks of good fly fishing due to the turbidity resulting from the opening. Now, the effect is much smaller, but in some places it will impact sight casting. On Thursday evening, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod St. in Mandeville. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Lake Charles CCA Chapter will hold their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include one-year membership, dinner, open bar. Live auction and raffles also. Contact Julie at email@example.com for details. On Saturday, it's the largest fishing show in North and Central Louisiana this year, the Natchitoches Fishing Expo, hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters. The event encompasses both fly fishing and reel fishing, with over 35 exhibitors, 35 fly tyers, Ladies only workshops, numerous other activities, and programs by Judy Wong, Pete Cooper, Jeff Guerin, Denis North, and many more. For details, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
SB 128 needs our help. On Monday, the state Senate Finance Committee was to hear Senate Bill 128, authored by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin. The bill, endorsed by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and CCA-Louisiana, would protect the Artificial Reef Development Fund from being raided in the future by the Administration, by placing it in the state constitution. The cause for this bill came as a result of the Jindal Administration raiding the Fund for $45 million over the past 3 years, moving it to the General Fund, to help balance the budget. Opposition to raiding of the ARDF Fund, supported by fees from the energy industry and private donations, has a possible lawsuit brewing as well. The Monday hearing was deferred when Governor Jindal threatened to veto the bill if it passed the Senate and House. However, Jindal may be changing his stance. As of today, the administration has agreed to take a neutral stance. Still, a veto-proof passing of the bill is the only sure way to protect this fund. For more details, check the post in the GENERAL FORUM.
Top Apps for Fishing. Mobilewalla has just rated their top Mobile Apps for Fishing. Among the winners for Apple products were: Saltwater Sportsman (magazine), Fishing Spots (tracks waters and honey holes), and Fly Tyer Pro (virtual tying reference). Among the Android top apps were iFishing Fly Fishing (game), Fishing Knots, and My Fishing Companion (logs fishing experiences). Others top-rated were Fishing Deluxe, Freshwater Fishing Spots and Lures, Field and Stream Fishing, and Fishing Calendar.
A whole lotta water coming down. May is typically the high water month for the Mississippi River. And because the Atchafalaya receives a portion - up to 30 percent - it too is often subjected to high water this time of year. Heavy rainfall in parts of the river basin - particularly the Arkansas River - combined with melts of late snowfall up north, have combined to bring the river to flood stage along many points. Here in Baton Rouge, the river has gone from 23 feet last week to 27.3 today and is expected to crest at 34.5 on Thursday, May 9th. That's a half-foot below flood stage. Live oxbows like Yucatan, Old River-Morganza, Old River-Vidalia, Deer Park Lake, and others will be unfishable for the next few weeks. The high water in the Basin will likely put a damper on some great action at Henderson, Big Alabama and Bayou Sorrell. When the water does go down, it should be great fishing.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
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 Blvd in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: local fishing reports - the bream are turned on, and redfish are moving into the ponds. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Dan Weber will demonstrate a couple of his favorite bream flies. Beginners are welcome, tools and materials are provided. On Wednesday, the East Jefferson Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, membership, open bar. For more info, contact Glen Gourges at 504-958-9440. On Thursday, the Bayou CCA Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Houma Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, membership, open bar. For more info, contact Julie at 225-927-3630. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road in New Orleans. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another free "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. Registration is required, seats are limited. For details, check the EVENTS forum or call Alex at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly Fly Tying Clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12noon. No registration required, please bring your own tools, materials are provided. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual "Redfish Rumble" tournament along Highway 23 in Plaquemines Parish. Entry fee is just $20. Open to the public. Heaviest stringer of 5 slot reds. Launch time is 5:00am with weigh in at 1:00pm at Myrtle Grove bar. To register, go to www.bckfc.org and fill the waiver and pay via Paypal.
The International Federation of Fly Fishers is currently accepting applications for small conservation grants. The IFFF Gulf Coast Council can help any FFF charter or affiliated clubs apply for these grants. The deadline is July 1st. For details, go to the GCC website at www.gulfcoastfff.org and click on the CONSERVATION page.
Monday, April 15, 2013
What's happening this week. On Monday, the New Orleans Area CCA Chapters will present a Spring Fishing Seminar at Bent Marine in Metairie. Time is 5:30pm. On the agenda are: Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, CCA Director David Cresson, RodnReel.com's Mike Lane, and "TroutMasters" Captains Mike Gallo, Sam Barbera, Ahad Broaddus, and Greg Schumbrecht. Also offshore captains Anthony Puglia and Peace Marvel. A $5 donation is requested at the door, ladies and youth free. Red beans and rice dinner will be served, beverages provided by Southern Eagle Budweiser. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, it's the CCA Acadiana Chapter banquet at Heymann Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch on Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, it's the CCA Northshore Chapter banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, contact email@example.com. On Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will conduct a free "Fly Fishing 101" at it's store at Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Seats are limited, so registration is required. The class will consist of one of tackle and rigging, and one hour of casting. Each attendee will receive in-store savings and free 1-year membership to Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers. To register, call (225)757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's The Camp Fly Fishing School - Beginners Workshop at The Camp FF School in Breaux Bridge. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a free Kayak Demo Day at the Vermillionville Pond in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Makes will be Jackson, Hobie, Wilderness, Native, Diablo, Yolo, Bote, including some new 2013 models. Deals on selected boats as well at the demo. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. Also on Saturday, Masseys in New Orleans will hold a free Kayak Demo Day on Bayou St. John at 1400 Moss Street. Boats include Bote, Hobie, Native, Heritage, Jackson, Wilderness, Perception, Hurricane, Wenonah, Yolo, Dagger. For more info, call 800-754-7467.
The Camp Fly Fishing School offers three major workshops each calendar year. They are held at their facility in Breaux Bridge. Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $135 per person and includes instruction, lunch, handouts and more. Registration is required, as seats are limited. There's even a pond to practice to your test your newly acquired skills on and hopefully fool a few bass and behemoth bream. The first session is always a Beginners Clinic, the second is Advanced Clinic, and the third is Advanced with emphasis on training Instructors (including for the FFF Casting Certification test). This Saturday, the Beginners Clinic will be held. Covered is equipment, leaders, knots, and much more, with a strong emphasis on casting.
Another New York City ban coming? Silas Robertson of Duck Dynasty might be a little crazy, but the folks in New York are a lot crazy. They've limited certain soft drinks, and are proposing bans on other sugar beverages and treats, and even high calorie intake foods. At the same time, talking about legalizing those "funny cigarettes". Perhaps they've been inhaling some of the smoke? For some time, some ne'er do wells have also been demanding the ban of fishing in Central Park. Fuel to their fire... Fox News Contributor Tucker Carlson - he of conservative leanings - was recently caught on video fly fishing in Central Park. I imagine if President Obama had been doing the same thing (and he does fly fish), things might've been different. But someone from Fox News? Well, that's just proof that this fly fishing thing has got to come to a stop! Can't have anyone - especially conservatives - enjoying themselves in New York City. Thank God I live in the South!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
An exciting time of the year. Three of my five favorite sports hit the spotlight this weekend. Fishing in both fresh and inshore has been great, when weather allows. A colder than normal spring and wacky weather has delayed the bream, but south of I-10 the action has really turned on. This big cold front moving thru could dampen the action again, but I'm betting that waters in west-central and east-central parishes are about to explode. If the wind dies down on the coast, the reds and specks have followed the small shrimp and crabs flooding the marshes, and fishing could be great there. Golf also is on my radar, as this weekend is The Masters tournament. All eyes will be on 3 Tigers - Tiger Woods, and two former LSU Tigers and current Louisiana residents - David Toms and John Peterson. As of this writing, Toms is tied for 3rd, and Peterson is tied for 8th on the first day of The Masters. Also on my radar is college baseball... a pair of Louisiana teams travel to Arkansas to face opponents in key conference matchups. The LSU Tigers play Arkansas, and Louisiana-Lafayette faces Arkansas-Little Rock. And the surprise of Louisiana college baseball season, the Centenary Gents at 22-9, face their major rivals, Austin College in Sherman. Catch some bream or reds on fly... watch some Tigers play golf... cheer college baseball... eat some crawfish... does it get any better than that?
College fly fishing clubs? Yes, indeed. Over the past few years, we've seen an explosion in the number of colleges that have bass fishing teams, and more recently, kayak fishing teams. In fact, the LSU Kayak Fishing Club is participating in a tournament this weekend at Anahouc, Texas, against several other colleges. These teams are outside the auspices of the Athletic Departments, but are overseen by the University as "clubs". In other words, the same rules that apply to the Hispanic Cultural Society or the Society of Mechanical Engineers apply to the college kayak club. The biggest obstacle facing college-based clubs is funding and organization. No problem there... sponsors such as B.A.S.S., Hobie and others are actively supporting college fishing clubs. Now Fishings Future, a Texas-based non-profit, is working to create college fly fishing clubs. One of those is at the University of Alabama. The UA Fly Fishing Club is non-competitive, but holds meetings and takes trips. According to an article in the UA college paper, the club plans to file paperwork this week, and hold their first event before the end of the Spring semester.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Natchitoches Fishing Expo to feature Judy Wong. There's a lot of well-known fly anglers and fly tiers featured at the first-ever Natchitoches Fishing Expo on Saturday, May 4th. Folks like Pete Cooper, Jeff Guerin, Bill Heugel and many others. But it's not just fly fishing... and there's some very prominent names among conventional bass and crappie anglers as well, such as Denis North. But few are generating as much excitement as the name most recently added to the lineup - Judy Wong of Many, Louisiana. Judy is a wildlife artist who grew up in Houston, spending time in the outdoors, and later after getting married, found herself in competitive bass fishing. She certainly found her niche - 2-time Women's Bass Fishing Association Champion, 2-time Women's BassMaster Tour Champion, 18 time Classic qualifier, and recognized by former President Bush as well as the Outdoors Hall of Fame. I've been a fan of hers for a long time, and as a former bass tournament angler myself, I'm amazed at her success. Even fly anglers who love the green trout will benefit from her vast expertise with this species at the Expo. For more details on the Expo, go to Cane Country Fly Casters website.
In other CCFC news - they're now GCC. At last night's monthly meeting, the Cane Country Fly Casters club voted unanimously to switch their council affiliation within the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), from Southern Council to Gulf Coast Council. This marks the second conversion of a Louisiana club to the newly reformed GCC since January when Texas officially became a new council. FYI, the original Gulf Coast Council consisted of some clubs from Texas, some from Louisiana, all of Mississippi, and a couple from coastal Alabama, along with the Destin club from Florida. Because of changes in the way the FFF is allocating educational, conservation and other resources, it behooved all Texas clubs to unite into one council, and the Destin club to reunite with the Florida Council. It also made sense for all clubs in Louisiana to join in what was left of the GCC. As a result of these recent additions, the new Gulf Coast Council is well on it's way to meeting the club requirement for permanent status, as well as the individual membership requirement.