Thursday, May 31, 2018

New book features Fred Hannie flies

Fred Hannie of Lake Charles is one of the most respected fly tiers in the country. His realistic flies are incredibly lifelike. One time he gave me a wasp fly and I left it on the kitchen counter. My wife spotted it and grabbed a swatter and hit it several times before I walked in and saved that priceless bit of tying art!

Hannie's flies have been featured in several magazines, in his own book on realistic tying, and now in a new book by Tony Lolli. "The Art of the Fishing Fly" is 240 pages long and features stunning photography by Bruce Curtis of flies and the anglers who use them. It also focuses on the evolution of fishing flies and profiles 75 different flies. Included in that list are a dozen of Fred's flies. The book's forward was written by former president Jimmy Carter!

The Art of the Fishing Fly is now available on Amazon. Hardcover price is $25.70 and Kindle price is $14.99.  For those who want to see Fred tie one of his incredible creations, he'll be one of the featured tiers at the upcoming Contraband Fly Fishing Expo in Lake Charles on July 13-14.

ACA National Casting Championships coming in July

The American Casting Association will hold it's 110th annual National Casting Championship July 25-28 at the Valparaiso Casting Club in Valparaiso, Indiana. Most of the top casters in the world - both fly and conventional - will be on hand to compete for distance and accuracy. Among the many events are Single Hand Distance, Two Hand Distance, Trout Accuracy and others.

For two decades after World War II, competitive casting in the United States was a big deal. While it may have lost much of it's appeal domestically, it remains very popular in Europe. However, the USA has it's stars. Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel have dominated much of the competition, setting world records in fly casting. And in 2015, 11 year old Maxine McCormack brought national attention as she broke several records. In 2016, she won the world casting title while competing with the USA Team in Estonia. Her emergence has reinvigorated interest in the ACA Nationals.

Some of the records set at the ACA Nationals include 1-Hand Fly Distance men's of 243 feet (Steve Rajeff, 2009) and women's of 155 feet (Pamela Peters, 2006). The 2-Hand Fly Distance men's record is 294 feet (Henry Mittel, 2011) and women's record of 179 feet (Pamela Peters, 2010). Anglers Fly Distance records include men's of 190 feet (Rene Gillibert, Steve Rajeff), women's of 150 feet (Alice Gillibert) and junior of 122 feet (Maxine McCormick).

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Free fishing days start this weekend

This weekend kicks off National Fishing and Boating Week, a celebration of the importance of recreational boating and fishing in America. Most states, including Louisiana, have designated "free fishing days" either the first weekend or second weekend in June.

Free fishing days are a perfect opportunity to try out fishing for the first time. Or, if you're willing to travel, to partake of fishing in another state without having to purchase a license. Some states may have certain restrictions. For example, you might be able to fish freshwater for free, but still have to buy a saltwater permit or trout permit. So please check before making plans.

Louisiana's free fishing weekend is June 9-10. You can fish fresh or salt over these two days without needing a license.

Adjacent states:
- Arkansas, June 8-10 (beginning noon June 8th)
- Mississippi, June 2-3
- Texas, June 2nd (state parks are always license-free with admission)
- Oklahoma, June 2-3

For a complete list of free fishing days in all states, go to

Another setback for Alaska's Pebble Mine

This week, the proposed Pebble Mine project took another hit when Northern Dynasty Minerals - the company backing the project - failed to reach an agreement with it's financial backer, First Quantum Minerals. This was the fourth failed attempt for Northern Dynasty to secure a financial partner. 

Anglers, sportsmen, commercial fishermen, conservationists, and environmentalists everywhere celebrated the latest setback and hoped that this might shut down the Pebble Mine project once and for all. Pebble Mine is located in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near world-famous Lake Iliamna, and contains ore deposits rich in copper, gold and molybdenum. Widespread opposition is due to the fact that mining operations such as this generate large amounts of waste water - possibly toxic - that would put at great risk one of the world's greatest salmon fisheries. Also at risk would be countless wildlife that depend on the river, including bears and eagles. It would also risk thousands of jobs that depend on the renewable resources of the area.

Pebble Mine came to the forefront of the fly fishing community in 2013 during the Fly Fishing Film Tour. The movie "The Last Cast" told the story behind the Stop Pebble Mine initiative. Numerous fly fishing companies, such as Orvis and Patagonia, as well as organizations such as the Federation of Fly Fishers (now Fly Fishers International) voiced their opposition to the project. Today over 300 companies in the industry have united in opposition to Pebble Mine.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

What's happening this week - 5/27

With the Memorial Day holiday, start of summer vacation, and the threat of subtropical storm Alberto, some activities this week may be affected.

Monday's monthly fly tying session for the Red Stick Fly Fishers has been cancelled.

On Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Rapides Westside Library. Note the change from their regular 4th Monday date. Time is 6:00pm. It's their annual "Spring Casting Session". Members and guests are asked to bring their favorite fly outfit. If none, the club will have a few outfits for use during the meeting. Brief business meeting afterwards. For more info, go to

The Thursday meeting of the New Orleans Fly Fishers has been cancelled.

Saturday is the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's inaugural "Midnight Madness" kayak fishing tournament along Highway 1 from Top Water Marina south. Launch time and fishing begins at 12 midnight with weigh-in at 12 noon to 1:00pm. Target is total weight of up to 10 speckled trout and 5 flounder (11" or longer).  Entry fee is $30, open to the public. For more info or to register, go to

Also on Saturday, Ship to Shore in Lake Charles will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Prien Lake Park. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats from Hobie, Wilderness, Perception, Old Town, ATX, Ocean Kayak and more. Members of the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club will be on hand to discuss fishing. Weather permitting, check their Facebook page for updates.


Congratulations to David Drez of the Contraband Fly Casters club. Yesterday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, David passed the Fly Fishers International Casting Instructor certification exam. He becomes the 11th FFI-CCI in Louisiana.  A list of current CCIs can be found at

The 9th annual Bass On The Fly tournament has been featured on the website.  The article recaps the tournament stats and winners, as well as acknowledging sponsors. As the article states, weather was a detriment to this year's attendance, even though a total of 39 boaters and 23 kayakers participated. The husband-wife team of Don and Kim Penick took first place in the Boaters Division, while Rex White and Eric Dilts of the North Louisiana Fly Fishers finished 2nd for the 2nd year in a row. Kevin Fuller took 1st place in the Kayak Division with 5 fish totaling 56 inches. For the complete article, click here.

Speaking of fly tournaments, this is the last week to register for the 6th annual Cedar Lake Fly Fishing Tournament to be held June 30th out of Biloxi, Mississippi. The freshwater tournament is sponsored by the Mississippi Coast Fly Fishers, and the $25 entry fee includes lunch from Your Mamaz House. For more details, go to this site.

Friday, May 25, 2018

KastKing introduces fly outfits benefitting "Anglers of Honor"

Click on image for enlargement
In 2011, Tate Cui and some of his college buddies at Syracuse University decided to start a fishing tackle company that emphasized value. KastKing was founded on the concept of providing a quality product, yet keeping prices low by selling direct to customers via eBay, Amazon, and through their website. 

KastKing has expanded a great deal in the last 7 years. Two years ago, they broke into the fly fishing market. One of their big sellers has been the Emergence outfit that features rod, reel, fly line, backing, and carrying case. Like most cheap Chinese products, it was a bit on the heavy side and therefore for my annual ratings didn't beat out similiar combos from Redington, Cabelas, TFO, Bass Pro, and Echo. However I would note that the KastKing outfit has had generally good reviews on Amazon (4.8 out of 5).

Yesterday KastKing announced a new combo series called the Defender series. It's dedicated to U.S. military veterans and the support organization Anglers of Honor ( The outfit includes a 9-foot, 5-weight, 4-piece rod, CNC machined fly reel with graphite disc drag, floating fly line, backing, tapered leader and carrying case with "Anglers of Honor" logo.

Although it was created for veterans, KastKing is selling to the public and will donate a portion of each sale to Anglers of Honor. The outfit is available on Amazon for $99. The rod and reel look to be of higher quality than that of the Emergence series, and at a lower price, may be worth taking a closer look at. We hope to test this outfit in July at ICAST and will report back.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Masseys, Pack & Paddle offering Tidal Watersports

Just this week, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans and Pack & Paddle in Lafayette announced that they will be carrying kayaks from Tidal Watersports. These basic kayaks offer a number of features at great bargain prices. They are meant to compete against cheap kayak offerings from Bass Pro, Cabelas, Academy -  even Walmart, Tractor Supply and T.J. Maxx! Yes, kayaking has become that popular. As the PnP blog puts it, "Why stand in a box store trying to get someone (who knows nothing about kayaks) to help you, without trying it first and have no service after the sale?".

The three boats in the Tidal Watersports lineup are the "Coast", the "Shoreline", and the "Vista". One benefit of Tidal kayaks is that - unlike the vast majority of boat makers - dealers have the latitude to offer promotional sale pricing instead of being locked into the manufacturers MSRP price.

The Coast is 10 feet in length, comes with waterproof hatches, removable padded seat, 4 rod holders and a paddle. MSRP is $559. This weekend, Pack & Paddle is offering this boat on sale for $449.

The Shoreline is their premier fishing boat. It's 12 feet long and features a hi-low frame seat, open floor plan (great for fly casting), dry storage up front, gear tracks, and a weight capacity of 400 pounds. The MSRP is $899.  Again, PnP is offering it for sale this weekend for $799 and that price includes paddle and life jacket!

The Vista might just be a big win for Tidal. At 13 feet long, this tandem sit-on-top kayak has frame seats and beaucoup open floor space. It also comes with four plastic accessory mounting points, tub type dry storage for each paddler, and four rod holders. With a capacity of 500 pounds. It's rare to find tandem kayaks of this type, but almost impossible to find at an MSRP of just $1199. Again, Pack & Paddle is offering this boat this weekend for just $999.

As with all their boats, Masseys and Pack and Paddle offer "try before you buy" testing. The rental fee can be applied towards the sale price when you buy.  For more info about these boats, go to or

LDWF to hold research symposium on June 4th

On Monday, June 4th, biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from across the state will meet in the Louisiana Room at LDWF headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The purpose will be to present the latest information on wildlife and fisheries research.

The event runs from 9:00am to 3:00pm and is open to the public. There is no cost. Preregistration is not required. For those unable to attend in person, a webinar link will be provided at :

For more information, contact Jeff Duguay at 225-765-2353 or or Brett Falterman at 504-286-4160 or

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Potential world record fly rod redfish caught from kayak

Photo by Joe Underwood, courtesy of IGFA
Without question, Louisiana is the redfish capital of the world. But when it comes to bull reds on fly, Virginia has quite a legacy. Many years ago, I worked with Stuart Lee, who was our accounting manager at the Richmond office. At the time, Stuart held two fly rod world records for red drum. Both caught in Virginia's fabled Eastern Shore waters of Chesapeake Bay.

Currently, Louisiana holds the IGFA fly rod record for 20 pound tippet -  a 41.65 pounder taken by Conway Bowman out of Hopedale while guided by Capt. Gregg Arnold. But that record is now in jeopardy.

On May 14th, well-known kayak angler Rob Choi of Richmond Virginia was fly fishing the Eastern Shore from his yak using a Half-and-Half (half Clouser, half Deceiver) when he hooked and landed a 53-pound redfish.  After weighing it on an approved measuring device, the fish was released. The record application documents and photographs have been sent off to IGFA, where they are currently under review.

Not many details were given about how Choi was fishing, but I can share what Stuart shared with me about Eastern Shore. A lot of bull reds congregate into deep flats during late Spring and early Summer. The fish can be seen at times, and a sinking line with a baitfish pattern - and a lot of patience - is the key to success on these big brutes.  While it's not the type of fly fishing Louisiana redfish anglers are used to, it's effective and the fight is just as fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fishing participation continues to rise

Events such as youth contests are inducting new anglers 
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Association yesterday announced that participation in fishing in the United States increased for the second year in a row. After a slight dip in 2015 (0.2 percent decline), numbers for 2016 and 2017 were back on the strong trend that started a decade ago. For 2017, participation rose 4% to 49.1 million anglers. This gives the last decade a 4.3% average increase.

Of great significance were the numbers of youth anglers. There were 11.6 million between ages of 6 and 17 who wet a line last year. That's a 5.4% increase from 2016.  Also up - the numbers of female and Hispanic anglers - up 3.1% and 11.0%, respectively.  And Americans that took up fishing for the first time was up a whopping 21 percent!

RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson stated, "As we continue to move closer to our 60 in 60 goal, news like this is incredibly encouraging. It's obvious that the work RBFF and the industry is doing is working. More and more consumers are realizing the joys of fishing.".

In most states, the community fishing programs, youth educational programs, and events such as National Hunting and Fishing Day have contributed largely to the continued growth. The largest increase in anglers has been under age 35 - which coincides with the time frame which most of these programs have been in place.

As for fly fishing participation... historically it tracks at about 10 percent of the total participation. However, last year it exceeded 11 percent for the first time. So it's probably safe to assume that it too rose 4 percent (but possibly higher).  We'll know for sure when the American Fly Tackle Trade Association (AFFTA) gives their annual "State of the Industry" presentation at ICAST/IFTD in July.

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's that time of year

Memorial Day weekend is typically the start of climatological summer here in Louisiana. And the start of tropical activity.  While it's still early for development of named storms, it's still possible for tropical depressions to form.  In fact, we might just have one for the start of Memorial Day weekend.

A broad, monsoonal-type disturbance in the Caribbean is expected to move into the Gulf later this week. Two models - GFS and Euro - call for northward movement and increased flow of moisture.  But the Euro model calls for some development and a more northwestern path.  At the least, it could mean a significant rain event for south Louisiana.

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest fishing periods of the year.  Expect everyone to keep a close eye on this disturbance.

Grand Isle Weekend is now Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend

It was a tradition for nearly two decades. Members of clubs from Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as a few members from clubs elsewhere, would gather in late June or early July for a weekend of surf and marsh fishing, featuring a shrimp boil on Friday night and fish and shrimp fry on Saturday night. Sponsored by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, the Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend (GIFFW) was centered out of Blue Dolphin Inn on the beachfront at Grand Isle.

Last year, the GIFFW was cancelled due to a scheduling snafu. That resulted in RSFF discussing the future of the event and other options. At a meeting this Spring, Saltwater Chairman Randy Leonpacher discussed the concerns and issues with continuing at Grand Isle, and proposed a move to Leeville. The club voted nearly unanimously in favor of the change.

So the Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend is now the "Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend" set for June 22-24, 2018 with headquarters at Boudreaux's Waterfront Motel in Leeville. As in the past, participants are free to stay whereever they like. UNLIKE the past, everyone is responsible for making their own reservations. Once again, the event will be culminated with the Saturday evening fish and shrimp fry to take place at Boudreauxs, with the fish being contributions of freshly-caught cleaned fish filets from participants.

Members of organized fly fishing clubs are invited to participate.  In order to insure enough food - including salad, drinks and dessert - Randy is asking that those coming give him a headcount. For more info on the event, go to the LFF Forum or Red Stick Fly Fishers forum on

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What's happening this week - 5/20

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.  Gene Taylor will lead the group in tying the Skip Morris Panfish fly. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to

On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none there are sets for use during the session. Materials are provided.

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Bring $1 for materials. For more info, go to

Saturday is the kickoff for the CCA STAR tournament. More on that later.

Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of Baton Rouge will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. Time is 11:00am to 3:00pm. Models include Jackson, Native, Bonafide and others. Hobie products will not be available (only at their New Orleans store). Subject to weather, check their Facebook page for status.

Louisiana CCA STAR tournament kicks off Saturday

The Coastal Conservation Association STAR is the state's largest annual saltwater tournament, now in it's 24th year. It kicks off the Saturday before Memorial Day and continues through Labor Day. Last year, nearly 13,000 anglers participated, but that number could be considerably less this year. More on that later.

Entry fee is $35 and you must be a current member of CCA (also $35, only $15 for member spouses, $10 for youth members). As always, the top division is Tagged Redfish, with the biggest prizes for the first 10 caught. CCA has tagged 100 reds for the 2018 STAR, distributed throughout the coast both inland and nearshore. There are also numerous other divisions - ranging from Speckled Trout (four regional divisions), Sheepshead, Flounder, and other species.

Back once again are the Fly Division and a Kayak Division - both heaviest speckled trout. Within the Fly Division, there are two (2) regional divisions, East and West. The winner of each division gets a $1,500 gift card to Academy Sports, sponsored by Costa. The Kayak Division has four (4) regional divisions, East, Southeast, Southwest, West. The winner of each division gets a Hobie Compass mirage-drive kayak, sponsored by Hobie.

Excitement for this year's STAR is considerably less than years past, due to CCA's opposition to House Bill 391 this past Spring. The bill, which would've allowed public access on flowing tidal waters (with exceptions) was defeated on the House floor after passing in committee. Many inshore anglers - particularly kayak and fly anglers - were outraged and vowed to boycott CCA, the STAR tournament and the Ride the Bull kayak tournament (hosted by CCA). We'll see how this plays out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mangrove Bay reveals the new Ibis Skiff

Mangrove Bay Boats is the latest to introduce a skiff designed to attract younger, budget-minded flats anglers who are also looking for a quality purchase.  Their new Ibis is hand laid using Kevlar and Carbon Fiber, and utilizes Vinylester resins (as opposed to polyester resin).  The boat is designed to last for generations and comes with a 100% transferable lifetime warranty!

Here are specs for this new boat:
- 16 feet LOA
- 57" beam
- recommended HP: 25
- composite corings (no wood)
- all stainless steel hardware
- LED navigation lights
- flush mount bow cleats
- 500 GPH bilge automatic

Best part of all is the price. The base boat sells for $8,500. 

For more info, and a gallery of photos on the Ibis, go to

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What's happening this week - 5/13

Today is Mother's Day.  Hope all are enjoying a great day celebrating the women in our lives, especially those who raised us!

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their month meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month Chester McDonald will speak on his fishing trip to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.  Also on the agenda: this weekend's annual Spring Catch-n-Eat marsh trip. Guests welcome. For more info, go to

On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Center on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack & Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: recap of the Oak Pointe Classic tournament, CPR standings, tackle tips, and more.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers holds the 1st of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during this session. Materials are provided. Bring $1 for cost of materials. Beginners welcome. For more info, go to

Starting Friday and continuing thru Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Spring Catch-n-Eat" marsh fishing trip along Highway 1. The outing culminates Saturday evening with a fish and shrimp fry, with participants contribute a portion of their fresh catch. For more info, go to

On Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their annual Spring Fishing Day & Picnic on the Cane River.  The group will gather starting at 11am for grilled burgers and dogs, followed by their May meeting.  For more info, go to

Also on Saturday, Pack & Paddle will hold a "Fly Tying Level 1" workshop at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 2::00pm to 5:00pm.  FTL1 is a one-day, 3-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Students will tie some basic patterns that catch fish. Tools and materials provided. Cost is $20, but seating is limited so pre-registration is required. For more info, go to 

Sunday, May 06, 2018

What's happening this week - 5/6

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Social gathering starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:45pm. This month Art Seale will give a presentation on fishing the Red River. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic introducing the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. For more info, contact 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in New Orleans will hold another "Kayak Demo Day" near the Cabrini Bridge on Bayou St. John. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Weather permitting, check their Facebook page for updates. Boats from Hobie, Jackson, Native, Bonafide and others will be available. For more info, go to

Sunday is Mother's Day.