Monday, July 23, 2018

6th annual "Masters Series" this Saturday

Kelly Galloup to headline 2018 Series
There are two major fly fishing events held each summer in Louisiana. One is the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo, held two weeks ago in Westlake. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Fishers, this year's event was very well organized and a big success! Folks are still talking about it.

The second major event of the summer is the annual "Masters Series" held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers of Shreveport, the Series is much different than the conclaves (expos) put on by other clubs. It's basically a day-long seminar conducted by the headliner. Segments include programs, a casting demonstration, fly tying demonstration, and more.

The headliner is usually one of the big names in fly fishing, one who has made major contributions to our sport, and/or brings a wealth of information for improving our success as anglers. Past headliners have included: Dave Whitlock, Davy Wotton, Bob Clouser, and George Daniel.

This year NLFF is proud to present Kelly Galloup. Galloup is co-owner and  guide of Slide Inn Lodge on Montana's Madison River. Galloup started tying flies at age 13, he currently has over 40 recognized patterns. His biggest contributions have been the articulated streamers now recognized as the ticket to big predatory fish.

In addition, Kelly has written two books, Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout and Cripples and Spinners.  He's been published in nearly every fly fishing periodical in the country, and was a host of Fly Fish TV on the Outdoor Life Network.

The Masters Series is a limited ticket event, with only 75 tickets sold. Tickets are $40 each and include lunch and refreshments. As of today, only a handful of tickets are still available. Anyone wishing to get in,  please contact Scott Irwin at 318-469-0854 asap.      

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/22

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Glen 'Catch' Cormier will give a presentation "Whats New for 2019" highlighting most of the new fly fishing and kayaks featured at ICAST earlier this month.  As well as a "State of Fly Fishing" report. The meeting is open to the public. For more info, go to

Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Goodwood branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Conference Room B on the 2nd floor. Time is 7:00pm.  Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. 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 will hold a "fishing meeting" in lieu of their monthly general meeting. Club members are invited to fish at the Gretna City Park Ponds from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.  At 7:00pm, the group will gather for a short business meeting. For more info, go to

On Saturday, it's the 6th annual NLFF Masters Series. More on that later.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

SweatFest 2019: no celebration this weekend!

Friday temperatues and heat indexes near record highs
We're now in the second half of our annual SweatFest - the festival no one likes to celebrate. As is typical, the hottest days come in late July through mid-August. Currently, the situation is compounded by a large ridge of high pressure over a four state area.

A heat advisory has been issued this weekend for north, central and southwest parts of Louisiana. Maximum daytime temperatures in the upper 90s up to 105 degrees - combined with high relative humidities - will result in maximum heat indices of 105-110 degrees.

Persons involved in outdoor activities - especially fishing - should take extra precautions. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light and loose fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. Be prepared to move to a cool and shaded location.

Fishing in the advisory areas has been mostly poor, fair at best, over the last couple of weeks. Mid-July through August is the time of year when I do the least amount of fishing. Even January has much better days.

Too hot to fish? Tying flies gives an indoor alternative during the second half of SweatFest.Nearly 80 percent of the flies I use during the year are tied during this "down time". With each batch of a particular fly, some are put into the fly box, while the better ones are placed into "donation bin". Later flies from that donation bin will be put into separate boxes for donations to club events in 2019.

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 State of the Sport - Fishing & Fly Fishing

At ICAST, we were given an oral presentation on the current state of recreational fishing in the United States. This data was compiled by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation in conjunction with the Outdoor Foundation, and was released last Monday.

Since 2010, fishing has been on a slow but steady growth. Currently there are 49.1 million participants, with the largest growth in the age group 25 to 44. Men make up 65% of all anglers, and whites make up 78% of the sport. Only 33% of all anglers have a college degree.

With regards to fly fishing, growth has also been on constant rise since 2010, and at a slightly higher rate than fishing in general. In 2017, there were 6.8 million fly anglers.  This represents an all-time high in participation!  The largest growth was in the age group 25 to 44, which makes up 35% of the sport. Nearly 45% of all fly anglers have a college degree. Almost 72% of flyfishers are white, but the number of Hispanics continues to grow, now over 11 percent. Almost 1 million people were new to fly fishing in 2017, another all-time high.

There's no question that outreach programs such as "Fly Fishing 101" or similiar clinics put on by clubs, retailers, and agencies are having an impact. Also, exposure to our sport via the internet and television programming (NBC Sports Channel, World Fishing Network, Pursuit, etc.) are also generating interest. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/15

On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm.   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 Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: upcoming LA1 Slamboree tournament, CPR Update, tackle tips, and fishing reports. For more info, go to

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

Starting Friday, and continuing to Sunday, it's the Louisiana Sportsman Deer, Duck and Fishing Expo at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This show is a compliment to the magazine's spring show in Gonzales. There are numerous exhibitors as well as multiple seminars. Times are Friday, 3pm-9pm, Saturday, 10am-9pm, Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission is $12 for 13 and over, $6 for ages 6-12, and free under 6. For list of seminars, go to

On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Highway 1 Slamboree" tournament out of Top Water Marina in Leeville. It's open to the public, entry fee is %35 (plus $1.25 paypal fee) and can be done online at their website. Species is "Cajun Slam" - slot red, speckled trout, flounder 12" or longer. Artificial tackle only. For more info, rules, or to register, go to

Recapping ICAST / IFTD 2018

The world's largest fishing trade show took place last week in Orlando. This was the seventh, and final merged event between the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show and the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). For 2019, ICAST returns once again to Orlando on July 7-10. While IFTD moves to Denver on October 16-18.

One of the advantages of the merged show was the opportunity for attendees to see the wide array of products that are common to all types of fishing - shirts, kayaks, coolers, luggage, software, to name a few. These made up over half of ICAST exhibitors. Most of those companies were NOT at Fly Tackle Dealer prior to the merge. So the question will be: how many accessory companies will come to a separate Fly Tackle Dealer Show?

Another potential issue with the 2019 show is the date. Buyers are concerned about the timing for orders, which usually begin in September in time for the Christmas season. Guides and pro-staffers have expressed concern about the fact that October is their best fishing month.

Despite those issues, IFTD 2019 is already generating much excitement. Many attendees had "Florida Fatigue", while several companies that held out of ICAST due to high costs plan to return to IFTD.

I'm continuing to add new product summaries to our sister website, Unlike the larger fly sites with several staff members, we're a one-person operation. So it will take longer to post all the products. But here's the other difference - we test every new rod and examine every new reel.

As is our long tradition, my Fly Lines column in the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman will spotlight several of the new tackle. And again list our "Catch's Choice Awards" highly recommended rods and reels for 2019.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

What's happening this week - 7/7

A big week in fly fishing, with the Fly Tackle Dealers Show (ICAST) in Florida during the week and the 14th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo here in Westlake, Louisiana on Friday and Saturday.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For details, go to

On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:45pm, program at 7:00pm.  Also on the agenda: the club's annual "Master Series" coming up on July 28th featuring Kelly Galloup.  Guests are welcome to the meeting.  For more info, go to

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier community building on 444 Metairie Road.  Time is 7:00pm.  Joe Bandera will lead the group in tying the "Peanut Popper" as well as a bonus fly. Bring $1 to cover materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome!  For more info, go to

On Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo at the Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake.  Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters of Lake Charles, this will be their most ambitious and largest event in several years, featuring one of the world's top fly tiers and young gun anglers, Pat Cohen.  Along with Cohen is a very impressive list of FFI Master Certified Casting instructors as well as nearly two dozen tiers from across the Gulf Coast.  The event kicks off Friday noon, and goes all day Saturday.  For a complete schedule of activities and times, go to

* Regarding IFTD/ ICAST.  We'll be reporting product announcements and other news from the trade show via our sister site and giving a summary report here on Thursday *

Monday, July 02, 2018

What's happening this week 7/2

With Independence Day on Wednesday, a very light week ahead.  Hope everyone and their loved ones enjoy a great holiday. Right now, the forecast calls for a tropical low to move across the state this week and bring us some much-needed rain in western and central Louisiana.

On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting in Lafayette, location TBA.  Time is 6:30pm. For more info, contact Bob Tabbert at 337-989-0815.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will host a "Fly Tying Level 1" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:00am.  Cost is $20 and seats are limited, so pre-registration is required.  As of this writing, only a couple of seats were still available.  The class will cover tying tools, and how to use them. Then with help from the instructor, students will tie two of the most effective flies for Louisiana: at topwater gurgler style popper and a subsurface redfish fly. All tools and materials are provided.  To register online, go to and click on "Store Events".

July is here

A number of big events taking place this month.

Next week - Tuesday thru Friday - in Orlando, Florida, is the annual IFTD trade show (fly tackle), held in conjunction with the ICAST trade show (conventional tackle). Most of the new products coming out Fall 2018 and into 2019 will be revealed. As always, we'll be covering live from the show and posting press releases and updates on our sister blog,

July 13-14 is the annual Contraband Fly Fishing Expo to be held at Isle of Capri Casino in Westlake, featuring special guest Pat Cohen. Details were posted here last week, but since then the Contraband Fly Casters have added the event booklet to their website at

July 20 thru 22nd is the annual Louisiana Sportsman Duck, Deer, and Fishing  Show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.  Last year, the publishers of Louisiana Sportsman magazine - which now run the show - expanded to two shows a year, one in Gonzales in March and a second in New Orleans in July.  The summer show will feature exhibitors and multiple daily seminars, including kayak fishing.  Also the New Orleans Fly Fishers will be taking part in the show.  For more info, go to

July 21 is the annual "LA 1 Slamboree" kayak fishing tournament along Highway 1 corridor from Golden Meadow south. Hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, it's their largest tournament of the year and open to the public. Details can be found at

July 28 is the annual North Louisiana Fly Fishers "Masters Series" to be held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. This year's headliner is renown big fish guru Kelly Galloup. Some tickets are still available for $40 which includes lunch and refreshments. For more info, go to