Sunday, August 27, 2017

What's happening this week - 8/27

Some of these activities may depend on what happens with Hurricane Harvey and whether it's trajectory takes it over Louisiana the early part of the week. Please check the websites listed.

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine 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 the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. Time is 7:00pm. Location TBA. Guests are welcome. Check out their Facebook page.

Saturday is the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-n-Redfish Cup. It's open to the public. Entry fee is $25. The format is as follows: you can fish anywhere in Louisiana public waters. Bring your fish to Pack and Paddle in Lafayette before 5:00pm Saturday. Food will be served. Heaviest stringer of 4 fish (max 2 slot reds, max 2 specks) wins.

Harvey continuing to wreak havoc

We're all tropically depressed for our friends along the Texas coast. Hurricane Harvey came in Friday morning as a Category 4 storm, the first  major hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since 2008.  While the wind damage was significant, it's the extremely heavy rainfall that has captured the attention of the nation. Over 22 inches of rain has fallen in 3 days in some counties, with as much as 44 inches possible before Harvey moves on. That's more than Victoria gets in an average year!  The photos coming out in the media and on Facebook are awful reminders of previous flood related disasters here in Louisiana. Our experiences with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and the tropical depression of last August, will likely get repeated with folks from Beaumont to Baffin Bay and further inland. According to all the forecasts, Harvey is unlikely to move much over the next 3-4 days. The latest models seem to be divided - the remnants of Harvey will either move into northeast Texas / northwest Louisiana and into Arkansas, or move due west towards El Paso.

Pack and Paddle expands its fly fishing lines

Pack and Paddle in Lafayette is known for having the largest selection of fishing kayaks in Louisiana. They've also been carrying conventional and fly tackle for several years, although the fly tackle has been limited to TFO rods, reels, lines and locally tied flies.  Back in July, the store added a good selection of fly tying materials with emphasis on warmwater and saltwater patterns. Now, owner John Williams has announced that they'll be carrying Sage, Redington and Rio products. On Friday, September 8th, PnP will hold another of their "Fly Fishing Hangouts". Time is 5:00pm to 8:00pm. They'll have several activities planned, but the main theme will be the "2018 Sage, Redington, Rio Factory Tour". The Sage trailer will be on hand loaded with rods, reels, and lines - including the new Sage HD and Foundation rods - for folks to try out. Reps from all three companies will be on hand to answer questions. Fly tiers will also be on hand to demonstrate their favorite patterns for Louisiana waters.  The event is free. For more info, go to

The September issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out

LAS magazine is available at sporting good stores and convenience stores across the state and parts of southern Mississippi. This month's issue is highlighted by the new expanded coverage of kayak fishing. Paddles 'N Puddles columnist Chris Holmes states, "In keeping with the growth and interest in the sport, over the next few months Louisiana Sportsman is expanding it's coverage of everything kayak fishing related.". In addition to his monthly feature, Chris will tell readers the best places to go, what activities are happening, product feature highlights, and more. Needless to say, we're all very excited about this! Speaking of excitement, my Fly Lines column is the annual tackle review from the IFTD Show in July. Readers tell me this is one of their favorite articles each year. Once again, I list my "Best of the Best" in rods and reels in each price category. Other columns of interest: In "Creature Feature", Jerald Horst asks where all the pompano have gone; Jerald and his wife Glenda spotlight Liana Aspirion and her favorite dishes including a Crawfish Monica and Barbecue Shrimp. Jerald also has a couple of feature articles, one on finding and exploiting trout migration during September, and another on dock shooting for crappie. As always, there's also Solunar Tables, Tide Tables, and regional fishing forecasts.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What's happening this week 8/13

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. Dirk Burton will give a presentation on fly fishing in the Atchafalaya Basin. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St Paul's Lutheran Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Among items on the agenda is this Saturday's Contraband Fly Fishing Expo. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome! On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Tom Bullock will be demonstrating a new way to tie an old favorite, the soft-hackled wet fly. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Sugar Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Cade Community Center in St. Martinville. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include dinner, open bar, one-year membership, more. For more info, go to

This Saturday is the 13th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo

Hosted by the Contraband Fly Fishers, Tom Nixon Chapter club of Lake Charles, the event will be held at the VFW Hall Post 7321 on Highway 171 north of Moss Bluff. Time is 8:30am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. Like most conclaves, there's fly tying demonstrations, seminars, casting clinics and demos, silent auction, raffles, exhibits, food and refreshments. This event always features two of the best realistic tiers in Louisiana - Fred Hannie and Lee Robinson. Well worth watching them tie their unique flies. For more on this event, go to

Fishing during the solar eclipse

On August 21st, all of North America will observe an eclipse of the sun. A large swath of the United States will get to observe a phenomena that only happens a few times a century - a total solar eclipse. That swath will stretch from Charleston, South Carolina to Lincoln Beach, Oregon. Here in Louisiana, we'll be treated to an 80 percent shading of the sun (at max). Don Kirk of Southern Trout magazine is asking anglers who might be fishing during the eclipse to report back what effect it has on trout. Already on Facebook, there are anglers planning to fish reds and speckled trout that day and see what effect it has. Likewise, I'll probably be checking out the effects on bass and crappie during the eclipse. It'll be interesting to see what results are posted from all these varied sources.

Results of the 109th ACA Championships

The 109th American Casting Association Championships were held the last week of July in San Jose, California. The ACA consists of clubs and members throughout North America, and annually holds several casting competitions with categories for spin, fly, and spool. In the 1-Hand Fly Distance, Steve Rajeff once again won the Men's category edging out his longtime rival Henry Mittel, 227 feet to 219 feet. In the Senior Men, Keith Sharp set a new national record with 188 feet. In the 2-Hand Fly Distance, Mittel edged out Rajeff, 283 feet to 272 feet. Donna O'Sullivan won the Womens with 161 feet, while Keith Sharp won the Seniors Division with 204 feet. Perhaps the most presitigous fly category is Anglers Fly Distance. Here in the Men's Division, it was Mittel edging out Keith Pryor 179 feet to 154 feet, with Rajeff in 3rd place with 152 feet.  Youth casting sensation Maxine McCormick won the Intermediate Division with 127 feet. Donna O'Sullivan took Womens with 87 feet, while Elaine Gong took Senior Women with 99 feet. Keith Sharp edged out Ed Tamson in Senior Men, 135 feet to 125 feet. In Dry Fly Accuracy, Steve Rajeff won the Mens with a perfect 100 score, while Mike Miller took Senior Mens with 96, Beth Statt took Womens with 93, and Elaine Gong took Senior Women in a cast-off after tying with Alice Gillibert. Maxine McCormick took Intermediate with a 97 and Micheal Han took Juniors with a 90 score. For complete results, go to

Hardy Ultralight duo shines at ICAST/IFTD

Two new products from Hardy for 2018 received rave reviews at ICAST/IFTD. Their new Ultralight fly rod is made from their proprietary Sintrix 440 material. In the hand, their 4-weight was one of the lightest rods I've ever held, rivaling that of the Sage X. On the IFTD Demo Day casting pond, it made for a nice, delicate presentation up close, but surprisingly could boom out to 60 feet without much effort. Initial offerings will be in 2 to 5 weights with lengths from 8'8" to 9'9". MSRP will hover around the $700 mark. A rod that light needs a complimentary reel. The Hardy Ultralite MTX reel got my vote for Best Freshwater Reel in the New Product Showcase. It's stunning beauty aside, this reel uses a carbon fiber and machined aluminum frame to reduce weight, while maintaining a powerful carbon-fiber drag with 340-degree adjustable setting and no start-up inertia. This reel will match great with any of the new lightweight premium trout rods now taking the market. Sizes range from a 3-5 to 7-9 with MSRP from $429 to $499.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Jackson Cruise FD is coming!

One of the surprises at this year's ICAST was a prototype of the new Jackson Cruise FD kayak.  It's sibling, the Jackson Coosa FD came into the trade show as a "new model" and was featured in the New Product Showcase even though it was unveiled at Outdoor Retailer last year.  The Coosa FD recently arrived at Jackson dealers everywhere and has been a smash at the demo days.  The "FD" stands for "Flex Drive", Jackson's patent-pending system that uses a unique articulating system for both deep and shallow navigation. A daggerboard protects the 3-blade propeller allowing for navigation among stumps and other underwater structures, and even into shallow water. While the propeller system is what makes this boat special, the Coosa FD has retained many of the features of the paddle version.  Likewise, in creating the Cruise FD, Jackson has opted to retain the cleaner layout design that fly anglers and less-hardcore conventional anglers loved so much about the paddle Cruise.  The Cruise FD will not be as long and wide as the Coosa FD, so likely not as stable.  And of course not as featured.  But it will be less expensive - likely $1999 compared to $2999.  That alone will likely make it a big seller.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

What's happening this week 8/6

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Jeff Guerin, guide on the Little Missouri River and other Ouachita Mountain streams in southwest Arkansas. Jeff will update the club on the current state of the fishery, plus other news regarding the Little Mo. Guests are welcome! On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, the Backpacker store in Lafayette will conduct a "Paddle Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Brands include Hobie, Wilderness, Perception, KC Kayak, Yolo and others. Please confirm if weather arises by calling 337-406-8754 or checking the Backpacker Facebook page.

Updates on FFI Council Events

Mid September and early October are the times for a pair of fly fishing expos hosted by regional entities (councils) of Fly Fishers International (formerly Federation of Fly Fishers). The Gulf Coast Council - comprised of FFI clubs and members in Louisiana, Mississippi, south Alabama and northwest Florida - will hold their annual "Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair" on Friday and Saturday, September 15 and 16. Location will be the Ocean Springs Civic Center in Ocean Springs, MS. Admission is free, as well as casting lessons and programs. Many of the best fly tiers from across the region and even other parts of the country will be demonstrating their flies. Last week, FFI-GCC released an event poster to clubs and on Facebook (shown in image on left). The full size version can be seen on Facebook. Meanwhile, the Southern Council of FFI announced info on their annual expo - to be held October 6th and 7th at the Vada Sheid Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The Southern Council consists of clubs and members across Arkansas, Oklahoma, western Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Several Louisiana clubs were once part of this council, and a good number of state FFI members continue to attend "Southern Conclave". Unlike the GCC expo, Southern charges a $10 admission and certain workshops require a fee. For this reason, they have advanced registration forms on their website at Banquet tickets, raffle tickets and conclave pins can also be purchased in advance.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

August is here, and that means...

1. The last full month of SweatFest 2017 - the one festival no one likes to celebrate. We had a tiny taste of early fall weather over the weekend, but the heat and humidity are back. We had several days last August with heat index over 110. So stay hydrated and limit your time outdoors if possible. August is also the start of the peack of hurricane season. I know you all love to hear that! Remember it doesn't necessarily take a "hurricane" to inflict great damage. Last August's tropical depression caused the greatest flood damage in Louisiana history. Enough bad news, let's go good.

2. Football is here! Saints are practicing for their first pre-season game against the Browns on August 10th. College teams started practice yesterday. Several teams have their first game on August 26th. UL-Monroe starts the state schedule against Memphis on the 31st (Thursday night game).

3. The last full month for CCA STAR.  The summer-long tournament ends on Labor Day. Typically, August is a tough month to catch big trout on fly or from kayak, but with conditions around Vermillion Bay and Calcasieu improving from heavy freshwater influence this Spring, the Southwest and West Divisions are starting to produce bigger trout.

4. The Contraband Conclave.  Officially labeled as the "Contraband Fly Fishing Expo", it will be held Saturday, August 19, at the VFW Hall on Highway 171 north of Moss Bluff. Like most conclaves, there's casting clinics, fly tying demonstrations, seminars, exhibitors, and raffle and silent auction items. More details can be found at

5. Ride the Bull.  The world's largest kayak fishing tournament, the 7th annual Ride The Bull will be held Saturday, August 26, out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle.  Activities start on Friday afternoon with the Captains Dinner and meeting, followed by the Calmwater Film Festival and live music.  Then on Saturday at 7am, anywhere from 500 to 700 kayakers, canoeists, or whatever floats without a motor, will spread out in Caminada Pass in hopes of catching a redfish over 10 pounds.  For more details, go to

Jason Borger's new book

Jason Borger has a new book on casting, entitled "Nature of Fly Casting: A Modular Approach". For those who don't know, Jason was the fly casting advisor and double to Brad Pitt in the movie "A River Runs Through It". He's been a featured speaker in recent years at the Red Stick Fly Fishers "Red Stick Day" and at the FFI Southern Fly Fishing Fair (conclave). His latest work is "Single-Handed Fly Casting". According to Jason, if you buy his book you'll get "A bunch of paper. Some ink. Several decades of fly casting instruction experience and research (with actual scientist types). And lots of drawings of me.".  Joking aside, Jason's book has been anxiously awaited. According to a press release, the author uses concepts developed through years of observing the ways people learn about fly casting. MSRP will be $60.