Sunday, July 28, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/28

A very quiet week, with one activity of interest to kayak anglers.

On Thursday, Pack & Paddle will host "Learn to Ride the Bull - Kayak Fishing Edition" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. There is no cost. Doug Menefee and members of the PnP staff will present an informative seminar on bull red kayak fishing, with emphasis on the upcoming "Ride the Bull" tournament.  Topics will include: rigging, anchoring, safety, reading wind and tide, landing a bull red, effective use of a fish finder, and much more. For more info, go to

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A half-dozen items to catch up on

Just got back from 8 fantastic days in northern Colorado with fellow members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. Not counting the 4 travel days. It was mostly hiking, but I did spend two half days fishing and a full day fishing with my younger son Tiger Jake. Most of the waters were raging from runoff, the result of heavy spring snowfall and recent above normal temperatures. But we did find some fishable water, catching mostly brookies and cutthroat on dry fly.

A lot happened while we were gone. Hurricane Barry, for example. So let's catch up on at least a half-dozen items you may have heard about. Or maybe not.

1. Hurricane Barry aftermath.  The greatest damage appeared to come from the storm surge to unraised structures outside the storm levees below Houma and Golden Meadow. One of those was PAC Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. In the 3 1/2 years since Eddie and Lisa Mullen established PACKR, it has become the most popular kayak fishing launch spot on the Gulf Coast, and site of numerous tournaments. The PAC Shack restaurant - which is raised - was intact. But the launch and shop were totally destroyed. The good news is that plans are underway to rebuild.

2. Fish kills. Anytime a hurricane hits Louisiana, the possibility of localized fish kills is high. In late summer, very warm water is low in oxygen. When leaves are stripped from trees by strong winds and blown into this water, they consume what little oxygen exists during decay. On Monday, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received reports of kills around the lower Amite River, Blind River and Manchac. LDWF is investigating and determining the extent of the kill.

3. Rescheduled events from Barry. Dates have been set for the LA1 Slamboree kayak fishing tournament and Pack & Paddle's Spoon Fly Tying class. The Slamboree - hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club - is now set for Saturday, August 10th. The Spoon Fly tying class will be held this Saturday, July 27th at 9:30am. Cost is $20. As of yesterday afternoon, a couple seats were still available. 

4. Kirk Dietrich's book is now published. It's not an exaggeration to say this is the most anticipated fly tying book of the year - and possibly several years!  Kirk, a native of Chalmette and lifelong resident of southeast Louisiana, is a nationally-renown fly tier recognized for his many innovative warmwater and saltwater patterns. Those include the Kirks Spoon (sold by Orvis), the Rattle Rouser, the Squirrelly, and numerous balsa poppers and divers. He's written numerous articles for magazines and websites, many on the subject of tying or fishing bugs. So it made sense that his first book would be "Tying Bugs: The Complete Book of Poppers, Sliders, and Divers for Fresh and Salt Water".  Stackpole Books (the publisher) has released a promotional card with the following: "The most complete fly tying book on poppers, divers, sliders (collectively called "bugs") ever written. Includes over 400 detailed step by step instructions with historical anecdotes for traditional patterns such as Lefty's Bug, Peck's Special Popping Minnow, Sneaky Pete, as well as innovate patterns tied with the latest materials. All facets of bug making are covered...". And there's much more. The book is 224 pages with 917 color photos! It can be pre-ordered from Amazon - available September 1st - for $39.95. Or a signed/inscribed copy from the author via Paypal (check Kirk's Facebook page for instructions).

5. The 28th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers, the 2020 event has been announced for Saturday, February 8th, at Bethany Christian Church on Westheimer in Houston. Featured tyer will be Gunnar Brammer of Duluth, Minnesota, an amazing young tier who specializes in designing and tying predator flies for all big game species. The Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival also features the largest contingent of tiers of any event on the Gulf Coast, from several states.

6. Enjoy this break from SweatFest. This morning's temperature here near Alexandria was a chilly 61 degrees! Over the next several days, both high and low temperatures north of Highway 190 will be below normal, with below normal humidity. Folks on the coast may not feel as much of the cool, but it should still be more comfortable than the last few weeks. I'm anxious to see how the fish like this cool weather! As far as SweatFest goes, it'll be back soon enough. We're also watching a possible tropical development in the Gulf.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/21

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Independence Park Library on 7711 Goodwood Blvd in  Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more, go to

On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive. Time is 7:00pm.  For more info, go to

On Saturday, it's the annual "Masters Series" hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers club.  Location is the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier CIty.  Time is 9:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $40 and includes admission, lunch, coffee, refreshments.   A few tickets are still available at this time.  This year's special guest is Dave Hughes.  Hughes has studied trout streams and lakes, the natural foods on which trout feed, and the flies that trout eat. He has written numerous articles and columns for various magazines, and written over 20 books on these subjects.  His presentation will explore many of his findings.  For more info or tickets, contact Tom Bullock 318-393-7729 or Scott Irwin 318-469-0854.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

TFO unveils new fly products at ICAST

Temple Fork Outfitters is at ICAST in Orlando this week, with several new offerings for 2020 in the New Product Showcase. Three of which will interest our readers.

The Axiom II-X is a variation of last year's revamped Axiom series. It has the new Axiom technology paired with the fast-action tapers found in the TiCrX series. The Axiom technology embeds a double-helix of Kevlar that acts to buttress the rod's carbon base under compression. Axiom II-X rods deliver high energy for long casts with incredible tracking. They also absorb shock better, with faster recovery.

The NXT Black Label series is designed to make fly fishing simple and affordable. The kit includes a TFO Pro II medium-fast blank, either 5-weight or 8-weight, a matching cast aluminum NXT BLK II or III reel, a premium weight-forward floating line, and 20-lb Dacron backing.

The BVK SD series of reels is now one of the best reel values on the market. That's because TFO took the popular BVK, added a fully sealed drag system, and didn't raise the price!  The new drag also has a wider range of settings. Like the BVK, the BVK-SD is machined and anodized, and so good for saltwater use.

ICAST Best of Show winners announced

Click on above for larger image
Starting Tuesday evening, and continuing today at the first full day of the ICAST expo, attendees had the opportunity to exam and vote on their favorite new products in the event's New Product Showcase.  A couple hours ago, winners were announced - and some came as no surprise.

While the show this year is nearly all conventional tackle, there are several companies who sell fly tackle in attendance. There's also a strong showing of kayak and kayak accessory companies. Hobie has made the biggest splash of them all with their new Mirage 360 Drive, which will be available on certain PA models in 2020.

Because most fly fishing representatives, industry personnel, pro staffers, media, etc. are not present (will be attending IFTD later this year), the voting is probably a lot more skewed than during the past 6 years when IFTD and ICAST were combined. For that reason, I'm not putting much stock in the results of the fly products... yet. They may be excellent products, but I'll wait and see.

Here's a list of fly and kayak-related product winners only:
- Best Kayak Accessory - Hobie Mirage 360 Angler
- Best Technical Apparel Coldwater - Simms M G4Z Stockingfoot Wader
- Best Technical Apparel Warmwater - AFTCO Overboard Submersible Shorts
- Best Fly Fishing Accessory - Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack
- Best Fly Reel - Seigler Reels SF
- Best Fly Fishing Rod - St. Croix Imperial Salt
- Best Eyewear - Costa Water Woman

The ICAST 2019 Overall Best of Show winner will be announced on Thursday at 2:00pm.

Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend has been cancelled

Earlier today, Red Stick Fly Fishers Saltwater Chair Randy Leonpacher informed all attendees of this weekend's Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend that the event was cancelled due to a tropical disturbance that is expected to become Hurricane Barry by the weekend.

Just an hour ago, Randy made contact with the folks at Boudreaux's Motel in Leeville, the location for the Friday and Saturday evening activities. And where many of the attendees would be staying. They said that the road in Leeville is under water and they are unable to get to the motel!

As of now, there are no plans to reschedule this event. However, the club's 2019 Fall Catch & Eat is scheduled for the last Saturday in October. All those who signed up for the LFFW are encouraged to take part in this event.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

2019 RBFF Report: fly fishing continues growth

As is the case each July, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has released it's Special Report on Fishing. The 2019 Report will be part of the "State of the Industry" presentation at this week's ICAST in Orlando, Florida. It contains results from a comprehensive survey which targets angler participation in the previous year (i.e., the 2019 report covers 2018 participation) in the United States.

RBFF works with the Outdoor Foundation and a variety of market research and consulting firms in compiling the survey. The survey contains detailed information and trends on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, geographic region and more.

The report also breaks down the participation by types of fishing, including fly fishing. And here, there's good news! Continuing a trend that began in 2010, fly fishing remains on the rise in America.

"Fly fishing has the fewest participants, but the number and percentage of participants has been increasing the most. Since 2016, the participation rate has increased by an average of 3.7 percent, and the number of fly fishing participants has jumped by an average of 4.5 percent."

"Also encouraging for fly fishing, the category had the highest rate of first-time participants. In 2018, 17.4 percent of participants were new to the category. In 2018, the number of fly fishing participants increased to 6.9 million participants, which was an all-time high for the activity."

By region, the highest number of fly anglers was in the South Atlantic (Maryland to Florida). Roughly 18.5 percent were from this region. Other top regions were Pacific (WA, OR, CA - 18.2 percent), Middle Atlantic (PA, NY, NJ - 15.2 percent), East North Central (WI, MI, IL, IN, OH - 12.5 percent) and West South Central (TX, LA, OK, AR - 11.4 percent).

Other continuing trends of fly fishing participation of the last decade continued in 2018.  Greater female participation, growing Hispanic participation, and a growing youth movement. In fact, the age group 25-34 now accounts for 19.1 percent of fly anglers in the U.S., with age group 35-44 second with 15.7 percent.

More evidence that fly fishing is strong among younger anglers - less than 25 percent of current fly fishers are 55 years or older. This is the lowest percentage of senior fly anglers in a decade.

Another interesting statistic from the survey was the level of participation among fly anglers. Over 98 percent identified themselves as either "avid anglers" or "would like to fish more". This indicates that the interest among participants is very strong and not likely to lose interest in the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 08, 2019

National Hurricane Center upgrades storm possibility for Gulf

We've been tracking reports of the possiblity of a tropical disturbance forming in the northern Gulf of Mexico later this week. As of 10:00am this morning, that possibility has been raised to 80 percent.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a trough of low pressure associated with a rare cool front over central Georgia is forecast to move south into the northeastern Gulf. Once it moves over the very warm waters of the Gulf, it's expected to strengthen. Gradual development is then possible.

By Thursday, the system will then likely move northward and westward. While the models show several different tracks, the most consistent place a landfall either just east of Slidell or south of Beaumont. Either location would result in a large amount of precipitation for south Louisiana. The other unknown is how organized the system will be when it lands - depression, tropical storm, or hurricane.

Attendees to the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend this coming weekend will be notified if there is any change in plans.

Demystify publishes review of Shadow Assassin reel

We don't often link our news stories to other websites publications, but this is one we couldn't ignore. For the last few years, many of our readers who are on Facebook have seen the ads for Shadow Fly Fishing. They've asked about the fly reels, of which I've never seen one in person.

Shadow is a direct online retailer - not sold through shops or stores - much like Allen, Taylor and many others.  While they offer a variety of products, it's their two budget-priced fly reels that get most attention: the Assassin and the Gladiator. Both are bar-stock machined, with carbon fiber disc drag.

The Gladiator sells for $134 (currently on sale for $99). It claims a "water resistant drag". It comes in a few color options (gunmetal, red, green). But like many cheap reels, there's a low spool diameter to width ratio - the 7/8 model has a diameter of 3.46 inches and width of 1.18 inches. Still, it probably is satisfactory for marsh fishing.

The Assassin is definitely a notch up. It claims a "waterproof drag" with an amazing 20 pounds of drag strength!  It also promotes its use for saltwater. It comes in gunmetal or blue/black. The diameter/width ratio is much better - for the 7/8 model the diameter is 4.00 inches and width is 0.9 inches. This compares to many premium reels such as Galvan, Bauer, etc. It sells for $205, but currently on sale for $174.

As the article's author states, the discounts might indicate some new models or revisions of current models are forthcoming.

Want to know how the Assassin performed in real world testing?  Here's the link to the Demystify article.  CLICK HERE.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/7

One of the busiest weeks this summer, with several educational opportunities.

On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at their new meeting location!  The club will now meet at the Adult Education Building at Broadmoor United Methodist Church on 10230 Mollylea Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. On the agenda: strategies for redfish and speckled trout in the marshes from Galliano to Grand Isle, as well as preparation for this week's annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend.  The public is welcome. For more, go to

On Tuesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Trout Prep" at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Trout Prep will cover the types of trout water, types of bugs and when they hatch, as well as rigging for dries, nymphs, and streamers. No fee, but registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Also 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.  The public is welcome! For more, go to

On Wednesday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Fly Fishing 102 - Sight Casting" clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 4:00pm to 5:30pm. FF102 Sight Casting will cover the basics learning to spot fish and cast from the ready position, as well as fishing with a guide. No fee, but registration required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

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. Bring $1 for materials. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during the session. Beginners welcome! For more, go to

Starting this Friday and continuing to Sunday, it's the annual Leeville Fly Fishing Weekend (formerly Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend). Hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, this event brings together members of clubs in Louisiana and Mississippi (and sometimes elsewhere) for marsh fishing along the Highway 1 corridor. Shrimp boil Friday night, fish fry Saturday night. Registration is required, deadline is Tuesday. For more info, check for details.

On Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette will hold a "Spoon Fly Tying Class" at their store on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 9:30am to 11:30am. Cost is $20. Instructor Flip Siragusa will guide students in hands-on tying of an epoxy spoon fly similiar to the Waldner variety, one of the deadliest flies for redfish and other species. Seats are limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, go to

Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" class at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am to 10:30am. Orvis FF101 is a one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics such as tackle, rigging and casting. Seats are limited so pre-registration is required. For more, call (225) 757-7286.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

St. Croix to unveil new Imperial Salt at ICAST

We're just days away from ICAST, the world's largest conventional sportfishing trade show. And while Fly Tackle Dealer is no longer merged with this event (IFTD will be in October), that doesn't preclude ICAST from having several new fly fishing products in the New Product Showcase.

As mentioned before, several companies - St. Croix, Pure Fishing (Hardy, Fenwick), TFO and others - make both conventional and fly tackle. For this reason, attendees will see and sample their new fly products for 2020.

Among the fly products to be featured at ICAST will be the new St. Croix Imperial Salt fly rod series. Available in six weights from 7 to 12, all in 9-foot length, the fast-action Imperial Salt combines SCIII carbon with St. Croix's patented IPC mandrel technology. Components are designed to withstand the toughest marine environments, such as Sea Guide PVD coated stripper guides with zirconia rings.

Made in the USA at their Park Falls, Wisconsin, factory, the Imperial Salt comes with a 15-year transferable(!) warranty. It also comes with a rugged rod case. MSRP ranges from $340 to $380.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Dates set for many 2020 events

We're at the midpoint of this calendar year, yet most of next year's regional events have already been scheduled.  Here is a list of those events and dates:

January 18 - Cenla Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Festival
February 1 - Atlanta Fly Fishing Show
February 8 - Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival (Houston)
February 15 - Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest
February 22 - GRTU TroutFest (New Braunfels)
March 7 - Red Stick Day (Baton Rouge)
March 21 - Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival (Plano)
March 28 - New Orleans City Park Rodeo & Big Bass Fishtival
April 25 - Fly Fishin For The Mission tournament
May 2 - Bass On The Fly (Lake Fork)

In addition, the New Orleans Fly Fishing Expo and an FFI Gulf Coast Council combination tournament/festival are in planning stage with dates soon to be announced.

Several clubs also have dates set for club fishing trips for first half of 2020. Among them are the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual trips to Lake Concordia and Spring Catch-n-Eat (marsh), and the Kisatchie Fly Fishers annual "March Brown" and "Cinco de Trout" coldwater trips.

Please check the Calendar page for updates. As these become available, we will post.

Monday, July 01, 2019

What's happening this week - 7/1

With Independence Day on Thursday, a very light week ahead.

On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm.  Guests are welcome. For more info, go to

On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. Time is 8:00am. FF101 is a free one day, hands-on clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For details, call 225-757-7286.

Also on Saturday, Orvis BR will hold a "Fly Tying 101" clinic at their store. Time is 3:00pm to 4:30pm. Orvis FT101 is a free one-day, hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided.  No cost, but pre-registration is required as class size limited. For more info, call (225) 757-7286.