Thursday, May 28, 2020

Tidbits Thursday

Marsh & Bayou Outfitters is moving. Founded by Ben and Chris Tiblier, M&B has been in business in the French Quarter of New Orleans since 2014, a local source for fly fishing products as well as for fly fishing guides. On Tuesday, MBO posted on their Facebook page that they've decided to move from the Big Easy to the Northshore. The new location will be 2800 Florida Street in Mandeville, with an opening sometime in July.

Date set for Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival.  LAFFF was originally scheduled for the first weekend in April, but postponed due to the COVID19 outbreak. Now organizer Johnny Martinez has set a June 27th date. The event has been condensed into one day, with the Big Bass Challenge (tournament) starting at 7:00am, and awards presentation at 2:00pm. Other activities include casting instruction, casting contest, fly tying demos (including realistic tying by Fred Hannie), and a raffle to benefit Casting For Recovery. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.

Online fly fishing and tying continues. Organizations, clubs, and fly shops are continuing to hold Zoom webinars and meetings at this time of social distancing. The Kisatchie and Acadiana clubs are holding a joint "Tying Tuesdays" each week. The clubs have announced continuation of this through June. Once regular in-person meetings resume, the clubs will continue to hold an online "Tying Tuesday" at least once, perhaps twice, a month.

Meanwhile, FFI has weekly Zoom webinars. Fly Fishers International has been holding various meetings each week. For example, this past week the FFI Tying Group did an online tying session, the Learning Center did a casting program with Molly Semelik, Jeff Currier continued his global fly fishing presentations with a program on "Big Fish of Canada", and the Conservation Committee continued their series of "Conservatin Conversation" with steelhead and cutthroat trout expert Dr. Richard Williams. These series and other presentations are posted on this webpage .  You do NOT need to be an FFI member to attend.

And then there's OFF THE WATER. Prior to the pandemic, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club had started doing a weekly Facebook Live program on Tuesdays at 8:00pm. The program features weekly guests on a wide variety of subjects, and cover topics from recent and upcoming tournaments, fishing locations and tips, fishing reports, tackle tips, and much more. It's also entertaining as well!

Speaking of kayak fishing. Check out this article by Melinda Martinez of the Alexandria Town Talk about kayak fishing in central Louisiana. The article features myself, Mark Elliott of H2GO Outdoors in Monroe, and Jerry & Kelly Maynor of Tioga. Martinez also mentions the Kayak & Canoe Fishing Tournaments Of Central Louisiana Group as well as Pack & Paddle of Lafayette.

Fishing reports. Great bream fishing continues across south Louisiana, especially in the Verrett-Palourde system. Recently bream have been bedding strong in central and northern parishes. Hotspots include Cane River, Lake Nantachie, Chicot Lake, Black River Lake, Caney Lake, Lake D'arbonne, and Cross Lake. Bass fishing on Toledo Bend in backwaters is good with frog patterns right now. On the coast, speckled trout have been hot in Golden Meadow and Hopedale, with some big fish being caught out west in Calcasieu on the south end of Big Lake. Redfish have been pretty solid everywhere except those areas affected by river water (fish are there but flies aren't as effective).


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Redington, Risen add new products to 2020

After this past week's new products posting, I received a couple of emails announcing more new items just released. Both from companies that target the budget and mid-priced market.

Redington Run fly reel - Let's face it, most freshwater fly fishing situations don't need a machined reel - which can cost hundreds. For example, the very popular Lamson Liquid and Orvis Encounter are not machined and sell for around $100. What they do have are very good centerline drag systems (conical and carbon disc) and appealing aesthetics. The new Run offers likewise. The carbon fiber drag is adjusted using an ergonomic knob. It comes in three color options (black, silver, burgundy) with a nylon reel case and a lifetime warranty. MSRP is $109.

Risen 23PS rods - Speaking of aesthetics, you normally wouldn't find high appeal in anything less than $500, but the new freshwater-targeted 23PS series does just that. For $289, you get a rod built on a fast-action IM12 Metallic Green blank, light green and silver thread wrappings, a nickel silver machined reel seat with green burl wood insert, and AAA-rated cork grip. The only negative is that the series is limited to five lengths/weights. The 23PS also includes Risen's lifetime warranty.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

While you were quarantining - five new products for 2020

Many non-essential businesses are beginning to reopen, including fly shops and other fly fishing related retailers. As they do, fly anglers might be surprised to find several new items arriving as we move into summer. These were products we expected to see in Spring, until the pandemic arrived.

Here are the ones that we think will generate the most excitement:

Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack - Submersible packs aren't new. What's different with the DCZ is the TruZip, a 100% waterproof, self-healing zipper that isn't a tooth zipper. While the pack incorporates lots of interior room (enough for a laptop?), it also features a water-resistant exterior pocket for quick access to keys or wallet. What excites me most about the DCZ is that it comes in a gorgeous Pacific Blue color as well as the usual camo. After all, this is fishing not hunting. MSRP $229. 

Orvis Hydros fly reel (upgraded) - The Hydros is one of the best values in a mid-priced saltwater fly reel. The machined body is complimented by a sealed clutch-bearing drag and low startup inertia. For 2020, Orvis has reduced the weight while strengthing the top-end drag. It also comes in LSU Purple. What's not to love? MSRP for the Hydros IV (8-weight model) is $259. 

Cheeky Launch - Friends will tell you that I love my Cheeky reel. It's not just functional, but I love the simplistic style and color. Also a big positive: a narrow spool which eliminates line stacking. For 2020, Cheeky has replaced it's popular mid-priced Boost series with the Launch. Lighter and with improvements on their sealed carbon drag system, the Launch 400  (8-weight model) weighs only 6.8 ounces and comes in a beautiful light blue color (notice that I love blue). MSRP is $249. 

Sage Maverick - this is a new mid-priced saltwater rod series that replaces their Motive series. I had an opportunity to cast this new rod at a show back in December before it was even announced. I was blown away. Unlike the Motive, the 7-weight Maverick had no problem casting 90-100 feet of line on target. Not that I fish that far out, but that type of reserve power comes in handy at times. No problem casting 30 feet on target either. Now the question is, how does it fight a big red? Sage salt rods have always risen to the occasion there, and if the Maverick does, it'll be one of the best salt rods on the market at any price level. MSRP $550. 

Orvis Recon II - At the December expo, the Sage rep told me, "We're aiming for the Orvis Recon". The Recon has been in the top tier of every group review, e.g. "shootouts", often rating above premium rods costing twice as much. Orvis is not sitting on their laurels. For 2020, they've adapted their Helios 3 technology into the Recon. Now I like the Helios 3, but I don't think it's the best premium rod (some friends do). So for me, adding H3 tech to the Recon might not be an improvement. If Orvis successfully managed to keep the beloved Recon taper while injecting the Helios vibration reduction, then this rod will certainly remain king of the mid-priced rods. MSRP $549 for the 8-weight model.   

Sunday, April 19, 2020

More cancellations announced

Within the span of a week, two of the country's largest annual fishing trade shows have been cancelled.

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association announced that the 2020 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show (IFTD), scheduled for October 7-9 in Denver, is now cancelled.

Then last week, the American Sportfishing Association announced that the world's largest conventional fishing show, ICAST, once again scheduled for July in Orlando, is cancelled.

Previously, Fly Fishers International announced the cancellation of their annual Fly Fishing Expo set for July 21-25 in Bozeman, MT. Other major outdoors organizations such as NRA, Ducks Unlimited, and Pope and Young have cancelled their annual conventions.

With regards to regional fly fishing events, the latest cancellation is the FFI Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair. It was set to return in October as a mixed event, with a festival and tournament format. Also, last week, the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend was also nixed. Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers with participation of clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi, it was scheduled for early July.  A week ago, Ted Warren announced that the annual Bass On The Fly, set for Lake Fork in early May, was cancelled.

Between now and October only two events remain open for now.  The North Louisiana Fly Fishers Masters Series - set for the last Saturday in July.  And the LDWF's National Hunting and Fishing Day events on the last Saturday in September.

All club meetings are still off for the foreseeable future. A few have gone to video conferencing to hold meetings and tying sessions.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Virtual fly fishing in the time of social distancing

It's now evident that ALL fly fishing events - from beginner fly fishing and fly tying clinics to gatherings to tournaments - from now through April are cancelled or postponed. 

That doesn't mean that fly anglers can't get together across the internet. Virtual webinars and meetings via Instagram, Facebook Live, Zoom, and other internet platforms is at an all-time high as a result of social distancing guidelines.

Here are just a few of the internet activities taking place:

Orvis has a new Instagram Live series featuring some of the industry's top guides, product experts and fly fishing gurus. Here is the schedule:

Techniques and Tactics with Tom Rosenbauer
LIVE on Instagram @OrvisGrandRapids @rosenbauert
Monday, March 30th -7:00pm CST
Tom Rosenbauer and Trent Jackson will discuss their favorite small-stream trout tactics and answer your questions.

Guide Speak with Josh Nugent of Out Fly-Fishing Outfitters
LIVE on Instagram @OrvisPlano
Tuesday, March 31st - 7:00pm CST
Josh Nugent, Owner and Guide at Out Fly-Fishing Outfitters in Calgary, joins Plano Fishing Manager Steven Palmer to discuss what makes the incredible fisheries in Calgary so unique.

Fly Tying with Bryan Eldredge, Falcon's Ledge Guide
LIVE on Instagram @OrvisSanAntonio
Wednesday, April 1st - 7:00pm CST
Grab your vice and join Falcon's Ledge Guide Bryan Eldredge and Landon Rowlett, Fishing Manager of Orvis San Antonio. Bryan will Tie his favorite Dry and Dropper while also discussing the best way to fish them.

Gear Talk with Shawn Combs and Ian Huang
Live on Instagram @OrvisBatonRouge
Thursday, April 2nd - 7:00pm CST
Join Shawn Combs, Rod and Tackle Product Developer (including the Helios 3), along with Ian Huang, Baton Rouge Fishing Manager, as they swap stories about the gear they're using to chase fish this spring.

Club online tying sessions
Zoom has extended some of the Pro features to the Free version during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New Orleans and Kisatchie clubs are discussing using Zoom to conduct online fly tying sessions. Bill Morrison and Gene Taylor, Tying Co-Chairs for the KFF club, are estimating the first session within the next 8 days.  Because of the attendee limitation on the Free version, clubs will be restricting these sessions to "members only". 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Corona Virus cancellations and postponements - running update

On Monday, President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. These included avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people.  Later in the day, numerous state and local agencies, public libraries, private businesses, etc., announced closures of facilities where groups meet.  That resulted in yet more  cancellations and postponements of fly fishing and kayak fishing events.

This will be a running post of all activities which are posted, or have been posted, on our Calendar page. Please check back here often to get the latest as more announcements are posted daily.

Cancellations:
- Sowbug Roundup
- Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival
- Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Festival
- New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo
- Fly Fish Texas
- Boats on the Bayou
- Kayak Fishing U. / March LKFC meeting
- New Orleans Fly Fishers March meetings
- Kisatchie Fly Fishers April meetings (no more March meetings)
- Fly Fishers International (FFI) National Expo
- Reel Recovery April retreats (including 1 in Louisiana)

Postponements (rescheduled for Fall 2020)
- Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club "Trout Challenge"
- Cenla Fly Fishing 101
- Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Event cancellations due to Coronavirus concerns

As mentioned yesterday, Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for fly fishing and kayak fishing events nationwide. But concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus have led health and government officials to promote "social distancing" as a means of containing the spread.

Starting this past Thursday, many state and local governments nationwide began ordering bans on large gatherings. On Friday afternoon, Louisiana followed suit when Governor John Bel Edwards issued an executive order closing all Louisiana public schools, banning gatherings of 250 or more, and postponing the state's April 4 presidential primary.

The immedate ban closed down the Louisiana Sportsmans Show for Saturday and Sunday. After a very low turnout on Thursday and Friday afternoon, the weekend closure was a serious economic blow for the many vendors.

The FFI Gulf Coast Council's first-ever Sweetwater Classic went on as planned at Percy Quin State Park in Mississippi. The tournament only had 44 attendees, well below the gathering limit. Disinfectant wipes were available for attendees.

However, just about every event planned for the next 8 weeks was cancelled over the weekend. Here is a list of fly fishing events cancelled or postponed across the region:

- TRWD Flyfest (TX)
- Sowbug Roundup (AR)
- Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival (TX)
- Tri-Lakes Fly Fishing Festival (MO)
- New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo (LA)
- Fly Fish Texas (TX)

The Kisatchie Fly Fishers is looking at postponing their annual Fly Fishing 101, and Bayou Coast is considering cancelling their annual Paddlepalooza.  Club meetings are also under consideration for cancellations over the next month or two.

We'll keep everyone abreast of further developments.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What's happening this week - 3/15

Nothing much. What normally is one of the busiest times of the year for fly fishing and kayak fishing events is looking sparser by the day. More on that later.

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their annual Spring Picnic at Cotile Recreation Area. The board decided to go forward since (a) only 30 members are signed up, and (b) this could be the last activity until May.

Tuesday's meeting of the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club special program with Brendan Bayard and Steve Lessard has been postponed to a later date.

Thursday the Acadiana Fly Rodders meeting is still on for now.

Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers 2nd session of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions is still on for now.

All fly fishing and kayak events for this weekend have been cancelled.