Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
Tropical Storm Cindy is wreaking havoc on the coast and in the southern part of the state. While winds aren't a big problem, high tides and heavy rain are causing coastal roads to flood. Other low-lying areas in the southern part of the state are experiencing flooding as well. The storm is expected to move tonight and tomorrow into the western part of the state and that means yet more rain for the already beseiged Calcasieu system. Just as speckled trout were being caught again in the upper part of Big Lake and Lake Prien, now it appears that might be another couple weeks - if NO more rain!
Governor Edwards signed House Bill 156 last Thursday. This might well have been the most important fisheries legislation this session. Otherwise known as the "Cameron Oyster Bill", HB156 is now Act 259 of the Regular Session, and limits oyster harvest in Calcasieu and Sabine lakes to hand-tonging only. The bill, authored by Rep. Stephen Dwight of Lake Charles, was necessary since oyster dredging in Big Lake has badly diminished the resource. Since scrapers were first allowed in 2005, the number of estimated oysters in Big Lake has declined from 1.2 million sacks to less than 100,000 sacks! One of the side effects has been a decline in the speckled trout fishery which depends on oyster beds for prey habitat as well as filtering of organics (improved water quality). The oyster season in Calcasieu is closed for this year, but hopes are recover will allow it to reopen in 2018.
With IFTD / ICAST coming up soon there's been more news about the decision by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) to split it's International Fly Tackle Dealer Show from ICAST. In a recent article in Angling International, it was revealed that the decision to move to Denver in October of 2019 has been "universally applauded by manufacturers". In an interview with David Leinweber, owner of Anglers Covey fly shop, we got an insight as to reasons behind the split. First,
was the desire to bring in smaller shops. Second, was the location and time of year. It's apparent that July in Orlando does NOT sit well with many fly anglers, whether they are shop owners, manufacturers, media, or reps. On the other hand, there's economics. ICAST was a great deal for IFTD, and saved travel costs for media and owners of cross-product retail.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Happy Father's Day! I hope all you fellow dads are enjoying this fine day. Turns out my Father's Day "gifts" came yesterday, first spending time on the water and afterwards with many fly fishing friends at the Mission 6 Tournament down at Pointe-aux-Chenes, and second, when the LSU Tigers came from behind to defeat Florida State in their first game of the College World Series. This is a special team that deserves to have a long stay in Omaha. Geaux Tigers!
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Gene Taylor will be leading the group in tying the "Bass Bully" created by Terry Wilson. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF Region 1 Office in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. The meeting will include an update on the lake and a proposal for a "Weevil Day" where weevils would be provided to the public for stocking into the lake. On Wednesday, the CCA Tri-Parish Chapter will hold it's annual banquet at the Northwest Community Center in Eunice. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse or date, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, 1-year CCA membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. Also on Wednesday, The Backpacker Lafayette store on Kaliste Saloom Road will host a "Ride the Bull 8 Registration Party". Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. In addition to registering for the world's largest kayak fishing tournament coming up on August 26th in Grand Isle, attendees can enjoy free food and beer. On Thursday, The Backpacker in Baton Rouge will also host a Ride The Bull 8 Registration Party at their store on Jefferson Highway. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. For more info on both of these registration events, go to www.ccalouisiana.com (CCA sponsors RTB). Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the second of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall in Metairie. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided.
On Friday it's the first day of the Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston and that means the annual Kids Fishing Tournament at Lincoln Parish Park. Open to ages 12 and under, accompanied by adult. No entry fee or pre-registration required. For more info, go to www.louisianapeachfestival.org. On Saturday, it's another in the "Salty Boot Rec Kayak Fishing Series" hosted by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club. This is a non-tournament group trip. And there is no fee. Open to both members and the public. The group will leave at 3:30am from Ambassador Caffery, or travel on your own. Sign-in at the launch spot at West Cove on Calcasieu Lake at 5:45am. Return at 2:00pm, where lunch will be provided. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.
Keeping an eye on the Gulf. This week is the summer solstice, and a reminder that with the peak of solar radiation, the Gulf of Mexico is heating up for storm season. We often think of August and September for hurricanes, but history shows that June and July can be problematic. Typically, development this time of year leads to tropical storms. And if you don't think that's worth concern, just remember that it was a tropical depression - not even a hurricane or storm - that caused the worst flooding in Louisiana history last August. So it's worth keeping an eye on a current low pressure system off the Yucatan. The National Hurricane Center is forecasted at 90 percent for it to become a tropical storm. As you can see from the forecasts of different sources - known as Spaghetti Models - there seems to be solidarity that the system will move into the north central Gulf later this week. As early as Thursday, the Louisiana coast could see strong winds, coastal flooding, and heavy rains.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing. And we're tossing in a soapbox rant for added measure.
I just learned that Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will hold a free Paddle Demo Day this Saturday on Bayou St. John across from Cabrini High School. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Boats include Hobie, Jackson, Native, Perception and others. For more info, go to their Facebook page.
Voting has concluded for Best of Louisiana Outdoors. The 2017 nominations included a few forum members for Kayak Angler of the Year, the Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo for Rodeo of the Year, WarmFly.com and Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club for best forums, and multiple others. We should know in the next week who the winners were.
With IFTD / ICAST now a month away we're starting to get rumors of new products. Apparently, Scott and Thomas and Thomas will introduce new rods for the 2018 product line at the annual trade show. After the last two years - both of which have had record numbers of new rod models introduced - I was expecting this show to be very quiet regarding fly rods. But I might be wrong.
I've been asked about the Texas FFI Expo. The Texas Council of Fly Fishers International (formerly Federation of Fly Fishers - FFF) has been holding their annual "Destination Texas" expo since their formation. Last year it was held in September and with good turnout, it was anticipated it would again be held this September. However, at Bass On The Fly, I spoke to FFI-TC president Russell Husted and as of then, no expo had been planned for this year. And it looks like nothing has changed. For those looking for a regional "conclave" to attend in the coming months, the Contraband Fly Fishers Expo takes place on August 19th, the FFI Gulf Coast Expo takes place in mid-September, and the FFI Southern Fly Fair takes place the first weekend of October.
As for 2018 events... we're not even to the mid-point of 2017 and we've got over a dozen listed on our LFF Calendar for next Spring. Nearly all those are fly fishing related. Most, if not all, the kayak fishing events are scheduled in the last months of the year.
With summer weather now here I'm seeing the usual barrage of articles - online and print - about taking precautions for summer heat. I won't list those here, but if you Google, you'll find them! But there's one item all these authors list that gets my goat, and that's sun protection. Consider that the summer solstice is just a week away. The time to mention sun protection would be in March. Late March solar radiationis no less intense than late September radiation. In fact, solar protection should be a year-round exercise: hat, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts and pants, neck and face buff, and even foot protection.
On June 19th, Facebook will have a new format for it's non-profit pages. According to their email, no action is required by groups. However, it might be worthwhile for clubs to check after that date to see if any of their information has been lost.
Time for the Cormier monthly soapbox. The Facebook Pages upgrade reminded me of something that happened when I was in North Carolina. I knew there was a local fly fishing club that used to meet on a certain day that I would be around. I looked for the club's website - none! I looked for their Facebook page - no postings in over a year! Maybe it was on the newspaper or local tabloid community calendar? Nope. For all I knew this club no longer existed. However it does. And according to one member that we found, the club is in serious decline. Surprise, surprise!
The word for the day - Communication! This NC deal got me worked up and for good reason. During the four years I was president of the FFF Gulf Coast Council, I preached external communication to clubs like it was Revelation. Back then social media and blogs were coming along, but today they're mature products that are more user-friendly and have tons of support. Facebook, Snapchat, Blogger, Wordpress and others offer simple-to-use means of connecting to the community and letting others know you exist and what you're about. At the very least, EVERY club - fly fishing and kayak - should have an active Facebook presence. Let me share this... even with all the exposure my local club (Kisatchie Fly Fishers) does - website, Facebook, Twitter, newspaper, local tabloid, external events, etc, - I still meet folks on a weekly basis who don't know that there's a local fly fishing club. So even your best efforts will only reach a small audience. But guess how many NO efforts will reach?
Sunday, June 11, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's the Cane Country Fly Casters monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Community Center in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the LDWF building on Quail Drive. Casting at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This month's program will feature Larry Offner, former owner of Green Trout Fly Shop in Denham Springs. His presentation will be "Muses of an Ex-Fly Shop Owner". The public is encouraged to attend. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, it's the Mission 6 Fly Fishing Tournament out of Pointe-aux-Chenes. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold another "Paddle Demo Day" on University Lake at BREC Wampold Park on Stanford Avenue. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The demo is free to the public. Boats include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, Perception, Yolo and others. Subject to weather, please confirm by calling 225-925-2667 or going to their Facebook page.
Saturday is a big day for Louisiana fly fishing. It's the first-ever "Fly Fishing For The Mission Tournament" out of Eddie's Kayak Rentals in Pointe-aux-Chenes. This will be only the 3rd active saltwater fly fishing tournament in over 20 years (as opposed to passive such as CCA STAR) - and the first one in over five years. It's odd that a state crowned as both the "Redfish Capital of the World" and "Speckled Trout Capital of the World" that active saltwater fly fishing tournaments should be so rare. But judging from the expanding numbers of young people taking up our sport, and their strong interest in tournaments, that this will change. The Mission 6 tournament already has over 20 teams registered. It's for boats and kayaks.
For anyone wishing to enter the Mission 6 tournament it's not too late. The entry fee is $60 per team ($30 per person) with part of the proceeds going to support Mission Six, a non-profit giving back to veterans, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, etc. The remaining money will be paid out as prizes. There's also been donations from event sponsors for raffles. One of those will be a 2017 Jackson Mayfly Kayak! Kayaks will launch from Eddies at 6:00am, boats at 6:30am. Weigh-in time is 3:00pm to 4:00pm. Target is 2 slot reds per teams, fly rod only. Heaviest bag wins. For more info, check out the post in our LFF Events Forum or go to www.mission6.org.
You may have noticed that the LDWF Bistineau meeting was not mentioned for this week's activities. That meeting has been moved from June 15 to Tuesday, June 20. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the agenda will remain the same, including the discussion on the proposed "Weevil Day" to help combat giant salvania in the lake.
LDWF also announced a special meeting this Monday June 12 of the LDWF Commission at their headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. This meeting is to consider options and public comment for the 2017 recreational state red snapper season in conjunction with a proposed additional federal red snapper season. A live video stream of the meeting is also available at gotowebinar.com.
Lots of fishing sales this week for Father's Day. I don't know about you folks, but I got a bunch of circulars and emails the last several days and there's good news for Dad if he loves fishing. All the sporting goods stores have some kind of specials going on, and that extends to fly fishing and kayak fishing. Both Cabelas and Bass Pro have their house-brand fly tackle on sale, and Orvis has $25 off coupon for $50 or more purchase.
It's been comfortable fishing the last week in the northern and central parts of the state. Prevailing north winds, with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the low 60s. Unfortunately this week summer returns with 90s for highs, 70s for lows and those afternoon thunderstorms. That might not be so bad for fishing, though. It's been a tough week for bass and bream for a lot of folks, despite a full moon and lots of anglers fishing the late hours. Conversely, I got several good reports of crappie action on Kincaid, Cotile, Grand Bayou, and Caney Lake. Of course, Toledo Bend is hot right now on top of PVC and bamboo structure placed in 20 to 30 feet of water. A sink tip connector may be necessary to fish those structures. The forecast for this week calls for calm seas beginning Wednesday. Should be just perfect for flycasters for this weekend's Mission Six tournament - or those fishing the CCA STAR.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
This weekend is Louisiana's Free Fishing Weekend. In conjunction with National Fishing and Boating Weekend, Louisiana invites residents and visitors alike to fish our waters this Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11, with NO license required. All other fishing regulations, such as size and limits, remain in effect.
Arkansas also has free fishing this weekend It kicks off at noon on Friday, June 9, and ends at midnight, Sunday, June 11. Both residents and non-residents will NOT need a fishing license or a trout permit to fish anywhere in Arkansas.
For anyone heading to the Little Missouri River this weekend to take advantage of Free Fishing Weekend, there's something you should know. Jeff Guerin, the river's fly fishing guide and proprietor of the Little Missouri Fly Fishing website, reported last week that there was some trout mortality due to a massive cinnamon ant hatch. The trout feed relentlessly on the ants, some of the ants sting inside their throat and bellies, and the trout suffer from the toxin buildup. Yesterday it was reported that only a small number of fish were killed, mostly small ones. However, the trout tend to feed less agressively following one of these ant hatches. Sore stomachs perhaps?
It's time to renew your fishing license. The current 2016-2017 Louisiana licenses expire on midnight, July 1st. Licenses for 2017-2018 are already available. In fact, if you don't have a current fishing license, buying a 2017-2018 license will allow you to fish immediately on purchase. Remember that the basic license is required for ALL fishing, even saltwater.
A new idea for battling Lake Bistineau salvania. Next Thursday, June 15, LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet and his staff will conduct another public meeting on their efforts to control salvania on Lake Bistineau. The meeting will be held at the LDWF Region 1 Office in Minden at 6:30pm. Seating is limited to 100 individuals. As with prior meetings, a state of the lake will be given. Following that will be details on a new idea, a "Weevil Day", where LDWF would provide weevils to the public for stocking into the lake. With the help of anglers and concerned citizens, this could be the largest weevil stocking effort to date on any Louisiana lake.
Help Gander Outdoors and win $100,000. Gander Mountain, one of the largest big box retailers has been "going out of business" the last several months, but many stores may not be closing. In April, Camping World and Good Sam, the nation's largest network of RV retailers, purchased Gander's assets in a bankruptcy auction. Now, CWGS CEO Marcus Lemonis has announced that Gander Mountain will be rebranded as Gander Outdoors. And they're looking for a logo, and asking customers to help design it. He's even offering a $100,000 reward for the winning logo. The top 100 designers will get $1,000 gift cards, and the top 10 finalists will be flown to Chicago for a celebration to announce the winner. For any outdoors artists out there, here's your big chance!
More pedal power coming to kayaks. With ICAST less than five weeks away, we're starting to get more breaking news regarding new fly fishing and kayak fishing products for market come late 2017 or early 2018. Last week, NuCanoe announced that it will introduce the H2ProPed for it's Frontier 12 and Pursuit kayaks. This marks NuCanoe's initial offering of pedal models. The H2Pro Drive doesn't require a hole in the hull like most systems, making it adaptable to existing models. The propeller is mounted on the transom, while the pedal system is mounted to the internal tracks of both boats. We hope to test these yaks and see how they work.
The red snapper saga continues. We normally avoid discussion on the political issues surrounding this species. First, because they're very rarely caught on fly and because only a few folks ever pursue them on fly rod. But also because both the science and management seems to be unclear. But one thing is for sure - a limited entry fishery for red snapper is NOT a solution. A couple of weeks ago, LDWF proposed an Exempted Fishing Permit for State Management. The proposal would allow 150 anglers, chosen by lottery to catch up to 25,000 pounds of red snapper per year in both state and federal waters. They would have to record their catches for scientific monitoring. The proposal met with fiery opposition from several conservation groups. CCA and other groups didn't see the EFP as scientific. In fact, CCA Louisiana responded by saying that the proposed format was never discussed in several meetings the group had with LDWF concerning red snapper management. And in fact, the group made it clear in discussions they opposed any solutions involving Individual Fishing Quotas, which was being supported by the Environmental Defense Fund. The EDF bluntly stated that not everyone who wants to fish should be able to fish. That's a position that CCA could never accept. Last week, the Legislature voiced their opinion, passing a resolution by 98-2 in opposition to the EFP. However, resolutions do not carry the weight of law. At this point, it's still up to NOAA to approve or decline.
There is one sports fishing org that supports the EFP. And that's the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. In their press release they stated, "We applaud Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fish for showing strong leadership for recreational fisherman by submitting this EFP application which will allow for testing of an innovative approach to angler access to the fishery.". The press release also went on to state, "This EFP, if deemed a successful management tool, has the ability to be used for Steelhead, Salmon and many other iconic fish species.". This statement did NOT go well with many fly anglers I've spoken to. Many of us are opposed to limited access fishing, and red snapper appears to be the "slippery slope".
Monday, June 5, 2017
It's good to be back home. After 3 weeks of hiking, camping, and visiting family, it's nice to settle back in my comfortable chair and enjoy the company of my BFFF (Best Fishing Friend Forever). Belle is anxious for a much-awaited trip in the canoe. And I'm anxious to see what the bass are doing. So today's posting will be short.
What's happenng this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Wednesday, the CCA Pointe Coupee Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Scott Civic Center in New Roads. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse or date, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin club holds their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Bring tools if you have them, otherwise the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.northshoreflyfishing.com. Also on Thursday, the CCA Cajun Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the South Crowley KC Hall in Crowley. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse or date, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. 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.
One more event this week and that's SwollFest. It will be held out of Sanddollar Marina on Grand Isle, kicking off Wednesday and ending on Saturday. SwollFest is one of the largest active saltwater fishing rodeos in Louisiana. It began in 1997 by Dr. Nick Rauber of Baton Rouge and was basically a family and friends tournament at the time. Some five years later, it had grown into a charitable event open to the public. Now in 2017, it boasts over 600 participants, over 100 sponsors, and most important, having contributed tens of thousands of dollars each year to beneficiaries such as Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Diabetes Association, Cancer Services, Sportsman Foundation for Military Families, Women's Hospital, and many more. Normally we don't promote fishing tournaments because they're a bit outside our scope. But SwollFest meets one of our prime criterias - kayak fishing tournaments. A few years back, they became one of the first general active tournaments (as opposed to passive tournaments like CCA STAR) to have a kayak fishing division. The Kayak Division winner will be awarded to the individual with the most points (based on weight) for speckled trout, slot red and flounder. Entry fee is $65 and includes tournament, t-shirt, Friday meal, Saturday seafood boil, beverages and live entertainment. For complete details, go to www.swollfest.com.
Speaking of tournaments, lots of news from CCA STAR. This past weekend, three (3) tagged reds were caught - two out of Lafitte and one in Rockefeller. Only one had registered for the STAR and that was Jason Toombs. According to an article by Todd Masson in NOLA.com, Toombs had seen the hints and tips posted by CCA on where to find some of the tagged reds, and one spot was close to his house in Lafitte. He made the short boat ride down the bayou and tried several spots, and caught a few nice reds. But just before he was to head in - storms coming and out of bait shrimp - he hooked into a small slot red that had a tag sticking out. When he got to Joe's Landing, it was closed, so he had to call STAR tournament director Rad Trascher for instructions! Being the first registered angler to catch a tagged red, he wins a brand new Chevy Silverado. However, there's still 97 tagged reds swimming - the next registered angler to catch one wins a Chevy Colorado, and the next 8 win a new NauticStar bay boat.
The June issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine is now available in sporting goods and convenience stores across the state and parts of southern Mississippi. In this issue: my Fly Lines column is about "Materials of Opportunity", a term our friend Don Lawler uses to describe fly tying materials found in craft stores, dollar stores, and hardware stores. We tell about how Don and other tiers have used these materials to create effective flies - and how even these stores can provide teaching materials for the beginning fly angler. In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes recaps this year's Paddlepalooza kayak fishing tournament. In his Creature Feature, Jerald Horst fills readers in on the dolphin - the fish, not Flipper. It's got an amazing story, check it out! Feature articles include several on the "species of the month", speckled trout. Kinny Haddox interviews one of northeast Louisiana's top bream anglers and lists his favorite spots in that region of the state for "filling the ice chest to the rim - with brim!". As usual, there's Newsbreakers, Solunar tables and tidal charts as well as regional hotspots for June.
FFI affiliated clubs can now get insurance. Last week, I received an email from Fly Fishers International (formerly the Federation of Fly Fishers - FFF) giving the news. Previously, only FFI/FFF Charter clubs were eligible for discounted insurance thru the organization. Earlier this year, the FFI polled affiliated clubs asking for their feedback on the possibility of getting insurance. I'm guessing a lot of clubs said "yes, we'd like to have it". After all, it's a real good deal... based on research I did for my club, almost half of the cost of an independent deal! If your affiliated club is interested, go to www.flyfishersinternational.com for details.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Well it's been awhile since I've posted. Was out in the wilderness of Shenandoah National Park the past two weeks with 27 other members of the Louisiana Hiking Club. Had a great time tent camping, hiking, and of course a little fishing mixed in. Two of my favorites - smallmouth bass and brook trout. Will post a fishing report later. But for now there's lots to catch up on.
What's happening this week. With Memorial Day and the odd fifth week, not much. On Monday, it's Memorial Day. Please remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our precious freedoms. On Wednesday, the CCA Natchitoches Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Events Center downtown. On Thursday, the CCA Cenla Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Riverfront Center downtown. Both the Natchitoches and Alexandria events are $65 per person ($35 spouse/date, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, door prizes and 1-year membership in CCA. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 201" clinics. Time is 8:00am. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour on-the-water workshop where basic fly fishing skills are applied to actual fishing situations. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. Call 225-931-2567 for more info. Later that Saturday at the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge, the Sabine Skiffs 2017 Tour makes a stop. Time is 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Folks are encouraged to come by and check out these innovative skiffs and talk fly fishing. Also on Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold a fishing outing on the Cane River Lake followed by a cookout at noon. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in New Orleans will host a "Paddle Demo Day" on Bayou St. John near Cabrini High School. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models will include Hobie, Jackson, Wilderness and Perception. As always, check their Facebook page for updates in case of inclement weather.
While I was out... I received a couple of requests to post something on the LFF Forum. I'll explain this once again. If YOU wish to have something posted on our forum, please take the initiative and do it yourself. I don't run a welfare state! Sometimes I get the gumption to post an event or some news on the forum, but don't count on it being constant. And especially when I'm traveling - which is often - fulfillment of such requests is non-existent! Just so readers are aware.
The CCA STAR tournament has begun. Expect the first results to be posted on Wednesday or Thursday. Like always, we'll have the standings for the Fly and Kayak divisions posted in the forum. They can also be found on the CCA STAR website at www.ccastar.com.
A couple of fly fishing tournaments in Texas have been announced. The first is "Bass On The Fly - Brazos River Edition". This first-ever tournament will be somewhat identical to the very popular CPR event held on Lake Fork. The date is Saturday, July 8. The location will be Spivey Crossing RV Park in Aquilla. Fishing time starts at 6:00am with "weigh in" no later than 2:00pm. Rods, reels and flies must be exclusively for fly fishing. Entry fee is $60 per person and can be paid via the iAngler Tournament website. For more details, go to www.ianglertournament.com.
The second Texas fly tournament is the Galveston Classic set for Saturday, July 22nd. It's being put on by Gordy and Sons Outfitters of Houston. Entry fee is $300 per team. Tournament will be capped at 25 teams, so early registration is advised. This is a catch-photo-release (CPR) event for 2 slot redfish (20-28 inches in Texas). Most combined inches from 2 largest reds wins. Weigh-in is at Gordy and Sons on 22 Waugh in Houston. The captain's meeting will be held at 7:00pm on Friday. For more info, go to www.gordyandsons.com.
Registration for the FFI National Fair has begun. For Fly Fishers International, formerly known as the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), the national fair is their singular event. This year's FishFest takes place August 1st thru 5th in Livingston, Montana. The last three of those days is the Expo, with workshops running all five days. It's an opportunity for fly anglers to see some of the nation's best fly tiers and/or to take any of a large number of workshops or seminars. Other activities include vendors, kids activities, live music, food, even a beer event. As for workshops, anglers looking to get their casting certification or an advanced certification, there are a number of workshops available as well as testing. For complete info, go to www.flyfishersinternational.org.
The Fly Tiers Weekend returns this year. Co-hosted by Little River Outfitters and the FFI Southeastern Council, the event had to be cancelled last year. For 2017, FTW will be held on the large grounds at Little River Outfitters in Townsend, Tennessee, under a huge heated tent. The Weekend features many top tiers from Virginia to Louisiana, along with programs and casting clinics. We'll post more on the Calendar page at a later date.
We're just over a month from ICAST. ICAST is the world's largest sportfishing trade show, and is currently merged with IFTD the world's largest fly fishing trade show. As announced earlier, in 2019 the merger ends and IFTD will again be it's own show - in Denver, in October. Already there's been some "pain" about the move to October... a LOT of long-running fly fishing events are held that month. There will probably be some pain about the split as well, but that's to be seen. However, this year's event is shaping up to be a down year with regard to new products. Considering the last two years have had an unusually high number, this is understandable. Still, it's an opportunity for a small company to stand out.
Finally a shout out to Don Lawler and Howard Malpass. Don took Howard, owner of Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport, down to the coast this past week where they limited out on reds on Wednesday. On Thursday, Howard caught his first black drum - all of 40 pounds! Way to go, guys! I know the weather's been tough this Spring for fly anglers, but hopefully with settled Summer weather more reports like this will start flooding in.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Happy Mother's Day! Hope all you moms are enjoying a great day - you deserve it! Like most of my fellow dads, I'm doing the cooking today. Actually, I did a brisket which I started around sunset and finished at sunrise this morning. With the big gathering we have planned, hope it came out okay or else it's a 30-piece bucket of Kentucky Fried, lol.
What's happening this week. 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 these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. 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. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are location of the month and fishing product spotlight. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Delta Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Southern Yacht Club on West End in New Orleans. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. The public is welcome. Jamie Franklin will lead the group in tying the "Silli Butt", Catch Cormier's crappie fly which he also used to win the recent bream tournament at Bass On The Fly. Bring your tools if you have some, if not, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Vermillion Chapter holds their annual banquet at the VN Hall on North Lafitte Road in Abbeville. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual "Spring Catch and Eat" marsh fishing trip along Highway 1. Members of other clubs are welcome to participate. For more info, go to www.rsff.org or check the Red Stick Fly Fishers forum on www.warmfly.org. On Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a "Paddle Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on Stanford Avenue at University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayak, and more. Weather permitting, call 225-925-2667 for more info. Also on Saturday Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" in the morning, and a "Fly Fishing 201" later in the day. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. FF201 is a one-day, 2-hour "on the water" clinic applying the basics of our sport to actual fishing situations. For more info, or to register for either or both, call 225-757-7286.
On a side note, I'll be gone for some time as I head on a camping and fishing trip in one of our national park areas. As such, I'll be out of touch except every few days. If LFF readers have any urgent questions or issues, please feel free to contact our associate editor Ira Cameron.
Yet another avoidable tragedy. Last week search crews from Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Red River Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Caddo Parish District 8 Fire Department recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy from Black Bayou Lake in Caddo Parish. A call was received on Tuesday about a capsized boat near the Highway 1 bridge containing four teenagers. Three of the teenagers were able to swim to shore, the fourth never resurfaced. None of the boys was wearing a floatation device. It seems like every week I'm reading of a fatality in which a PFD was -not- worn. Please wear that PFD! Tell others to do likewise!
The latest issue of Flyfisher Magazine just came in the mail. Flyfisher is the official publication of Fly Fishers International, which until recently was known as the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF). The magazine has undergone a complete transformation, just like the organization's name change, logo, motto and updated website. While the magazine's name remains the same, it has a new look, a new editor, and several big changes in the departmental columns. What's been retained are messages from the FFI Chairman, President, FFI news, and news from FFI councils. I'm somewhat disappointed that a few of my favorite columns have disappeared (at least for now). Included with this issue were two other publications: the latest issue of Fly Fusion magazine, and a brochure on the upcoming 2017 International Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston, Montana, set for August 1st thru 5th.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
Bream fishing is on fire! Lots of good reports the last couple days. With the full moon, the gobbules are on the beds. Fly anglers will have success finding beds using popping bugs early or late. When the bite slows on the bugs, go submergent with Cap Spiders, Jitterbees, Slow Sinking Spiders, Tussel Bugs, Black Boudreaux, Hares Ears, Fluff Butts, Silli Butts - whatever works best for you! Remember to keep only what you need and release the rest.
Surf fishing is also heating up. Some really nice specks are being caught on calmer days. We're still in a pattern influenced by fronts that bring strong southerly winds, so check the forecast prior to making plans.
First-ever "Fly Fishin' for a Mission". I've just posted details and a link in the LFF Events Forum on what promises to be the largest active saltwater fly fishing tournament ever held in Louisiana. It's happening Saturday, June 17th out of Eddies Kayak Rentals at Pointe-aux-Chenes. There'll be divisions for boat, kayak, and overall. Along with cash prizes for winners, there's two big raffles. All to support a great cause! Hope to see many of you there.
And while participating in the FFM tournament there's also an opportunity to bag a qualifying fish for the state's largest passive saltwater tournament, the CCA STAR. The Louisiana CCA has doubled the number of tagged redfish for 2017 to allow more prizes in that category to be won. In addition, the Fly Rod Division is back this year with East and West categories. Complete details can be found at www.ccastar.com.
What is a Magnolia Crappie? At last night's North Louisiana Fly Fishers meeting where I did my presentation on fly fishing for crappie, the question came up about Magnolia crappie. As far as I know, only Mississippi has this particular sacalait, and only because it's something that their fisheries biologists have created. The Magnolia is a sterile hybrid (triploid) cross between a white crappie and black crappie. The eggs of the hybrid match are treated in a pressure chamber, causing sterility. Magnolias have been stocked in a few public lakes, but mostly ponds. Like most sterile hybrids, the energy that would go to spawning goes entirely to growth, resulting in growing faster and bigger. Incidently, Mississippi's state records have separate categories for black, white, and Magnolia crappies.
Yellowstone Angler has posted a new fly rod shootout. Every so often, they do a comprehensive hands-on review of a certain product. The review - done by a panel of their experts - covers a wide range of different manufacturers. By far, their most popular reviews are of fly rods. The most recent shootout was for 2017 models of 5-weight rods. Altogether, 26 different models were tested. While this sounds like a lot, it's not even half of what's on the market! Further, many folks don't often agree with their results. But in general, their top choices are excellent products. Go to www.yellowstoneangler.com to read the complete results and testing methodology.
Outdoor recreation is huge! According to the Outdoor Industry Association's latest Outdoor Recreation Economy report, it supports $887 billion in consumer spending, and 7.6 million American jobs. That's more jobs than finance and insurance (6 million), construction (6.4 million) and computer technology (6.7 million). Another tidbit from the report that was astounding - nearly 331 million people visit our national parks every year!
Monday, May 8, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. This month, the group will be tying flies. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. 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 Glen 'Catch' Cormier who will talk about fly fishing for crappie. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Wednesday, the CCA Plaquemines Parish Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Belle Chasse Auditorium in Belle Chasse. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. On Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Olde Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. 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! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Bring your tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA River Parishes Chapter holds their annual banquet at Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their first-ever "Oak Point Classic" tournament at Eddies Kayak Rentals in Pointe-aux-Chenes. Entry fee is $25 and open to the public. Shotgun launch, heaviest combination of 3 reds and 2 specks. For LKFC members, results are added to Angler of the Year series. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, the Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a "Paddle Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayaks, Perception, Yolo, and more. Subject to weather cancellation, call 337-406-8754 to confirm. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" session. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water fishing situations. Spots are limited, to register call 225-757-7286.
The inshore shrimp season starts today for state central waters from the eastern shore of South Pass of the Mississippi River to Freshwater Bayou. The eastern section from the Mississippi state line to South Pass, and the western section from Freshwater Bayou to Texas line open up next Monday, May 15th. The biggest impact on fly anglers will be in bays and lakes over the next couple of weeks. So the more "interior" you go, the less impact. But as previously mentioned, the level of trawling activity is a far cry from what it used to be. So clearer water may be in your favorite spot, just need to check around for reports and conditions.
If you're planning a trip to north Arkansas for their world-class trout fishing, better plan on booking a float trip or bringing a boat. As you all probably saw in the news, yet another historic flood took place at the beginning of the month. Third time in 6 years - yep, it's that global warming again! The Corps had to run flood surcharge operations at Beaver Dam, Table Rock Dam and Norfork Dam. All of which sent enormous amounts of water downstream where world-class trout fisheries exist. As an example, at Norfork Dam a typical one turbine generation produces close to 3,000 cfs. After the flood, over 29,000 cfs was released. Obviously there'll be changes to the river beds on all three tailwaters. Bull Shoals wasn't spared either, but it has more capacity and so less water was sent downstream. However, it does mean that their will be a LOT more water in the lake this summer than usual, and probably a lot more generation than usual.
The historic shop where Winston built it's bamboo rods was destroyed by a fire according to a Montana television news source. Station KBZK reports that the fire was likely electrical in nature. While the company will rebuild a facility for their world-famous bamboo rods, the shop contained many historical artifacts including some one-of-a-kind bamboo rods.
Monday, May 1, 2017
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on 415 Roselawn in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers holds their monthly general meeting at Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Wednesday, the CCA Bayou Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. On Thursday, the CCA Lake Charles Chapter holds their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, and more. For more info, go to www.ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the 8th annual "Bass On The Fly" tournament at Lake Fork Marina in Quitman, Texas. Onsite registration is still possible on Friday during the Captains' meeting and other activities Friday afternoon. Entry is $60 per person. This is a CPR tournament with 3 longest bass total. Proceeds support Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council. Categories include boat and kayak/bank. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" at their store on Bluebonnet in Perkins-Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286.
Cabelas is holding a Ladies Day Out Fishing Derby next Saturday, May 13th at their store in Gonzales. Time is 11:00am to 1:00pm. Ladies of all ages can come out and test their fishing skills in the Cabelas ponds. The first 25 ladies will receive a free rod and reel. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 places of biggest fish (all species). For more info, call 225-743-3400.
It's May - the first transitional month. In Louisiana, there are four seasons: crawfish, shrimp, hunting, and football. Just kidding! There are only 2 seasons: summer and not summer. And Summer starts this month. Not on June 21st as the dishonest media would have you believe. Yes, my furry friends, enjoy these comfortable days and nights this week because real soon we're going to be having 90 degree days, 70 degree nights, high humidity and a daily chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Until mid-September. As I like to say, the weatherman's job gets boring in summer. They spend their days watching soap operas and waiting for tropical activity so they have something to motivate them at work.
What does May mean for fly fishers? It means the start of shrimp season. At one time, the volume of trawling was so substantial that for 2-3 weeks following the start of the season, it was very difficult to find clear water anywhere on the coast. That situation has changed drastically and now it's possible to find clear water all month - except when we get those 15-20 mile per hour winds from the southwest. Based on recent fishing reports, it looks like the bigger specks have moved to the lower bays and beaches. But there's enough keeper trout in the interior lakes to make a trip worthwhile. For CCA members looking to compete in the STAR Fly Rod Division, keep in mind that the largest trout entered in the tournament each year in that division come in the first four weeks.
The May issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out and available at sporting goods and convenience stores. In his new column, "First Light", new editor David Hunter Jones introduces himself to LAS readers. In the Fly Lines column, Catch Cormier talks about "A Contested Matter" - the growth of fly fishing tournaments and tips on what fly anglers will need to compete in CPR tournaments. In his Paddles-N-Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells the story of a group of visiting Texas kayak fishermen who came over to experience The Redfish Capital of the World. In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share recipes from Sheri Birk of Southern Exposure Charters, including crawfish etoufee. Feature articles include summertime crappie on Toledo Bend (by Chris Berzas), Delacroix Specks (by Joel Masson), northeast Louisiana bull bream (by Kinny Haddox), and Toledo Bend toads. And there are many other articles and columns, as well as Solunar Table and Tidal Charts for May.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time for the midweek tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers, kayak anglers, or anyone who enjoys fishing.
A very rough next few days. There's a couple of severe storm alerts for the mid-South, including north Louisiana, today and again for the weekend. That doesn't mean south Louisiana won't be affected... winds on the coast today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be anywhere from 20 to 30 miles per hour. Sunday could be brutal for the IFA Kayak Tournament out of Hopedale - there's a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms and heavy rain.
A big fly fishing tournament is coming in June. The Louisiana Fly Fishing Facebook Group - not affiliated with this website - is organizing a fly tournament out of Pointe aux Chenes on June 17. While it doesn't officially have a name yet (TBD this week), it'll be a two-person team event open to both boat and kayak. Kayak anglers can pair off, or fish single. Top prize will go to the heaviest 2 slot reds. This tournament will be open to the public, but just based on group interest, it promises to have a real good turnout. Complete details will be posted in the LFF Forum early next week.
Another fly tournament that's coming up and real soon is "Bass On The Fly". The 6th annual BOTF will be held at Lake Fork Marina in Quitman, Texas next Saturday, with some activities on Friday afternoon. Online registration is still available, and onsite registration will be accepted. This CPR tournament has separate divisions for boat, bank and kayak. Part of the proceeds go to benefit Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council For complete details, go to www.bassonthefly.org.
The Kisatchie Fly Fishers will again be holding their Summer Workshops for 2017. These are half-day or extended day workshops with a featured regional expert/tier. The first workshop will be on Saturday, July 29th at the LDWF Outdoor Education Center in Woodworth. Guest will be Chris Morris, nationally-recognized guide on the Little Red River in Arkansas. Seats are limited and go first to KFF members, but any seats left over will be available to members of other clubs.
On July 22nd, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Masters Series featuring George Daniels at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Tickets are currently $35 each and include admission, light breakfast and lunch. After May 31st, if any tickets are left, they go up to $40. And tickets are selling... Daniels - author of "Dynamic Nymphing" and other books - is a dynamic personality himself. I saw the young man at the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show where he packed the room. Better get tickets soon, this will sell out!
CCA Louisiana is doubling down on the number of tagged redfish for their 2017 STAR tournament which begins one month from today. In prior years, CCA released 50 tagged reds. But this year the number will be 100. As usual, the first entrant to catch a tagged red will win a Chevy Silverado pickup, the 2nd prize will be a Chevy Colorado, and the next eight tagged reds will win NauticStar boats. In addition, the first Louisiana Sportsman subscriber to catch a tagged red during the tournament will win $10,000.
A few other rule changes to STAR have been made to give better odds to regular anglers. This include exclusion of immediate family members of professional guides. However, registered anglers are still permitted to fish with a professional guide.
We're still 10 weeks away from ICAST/IFTD but a few new product announcements for 2018 are trickling in. This week Diamondback posted a teaser about their new View series rods. These rods will feature custom Diamondback hardware including the woven graphite seats with the now-famous Diamondback weave. There will be nine sizes ranging from a 7'6" 3-weight to a 9'0" 9-weight. All with medium-fast action. A divided tube will be included. Best of all, these rods will sell for $155 to $165 making them competitive with TFO, Echo, Redington and other great budget rods!
There is growing concern that some state parks will close come July 1st due to deficits in the Office of State Parks funding. Two that are of great interest to fly anglers that have been mentioned are North Toledo Bend State Park - home to the annual Southern Flyfishers Rendezvous (simply known as "Rendezvous") - and Hodges Gardens State Park near Florien. About 170 concerned citizens recently met for a disussion on Hodges and there are several ideas being pursued to keep this gem of a park open. In addition to the beautiful gardens, Hodges Lake is one of the best fly fishing waters in central Louisiana.
LDWF has graduated 23 new agents to the Enforcement Division. The graduation ceremonies take place today at 10:00am at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. The new agents will be assigned to various parishes to enforce hunting, fishing and boating regulations.
Monday, April 24, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The club will do their annual casting games this month, weather permitting. Guests are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fourth Tuesday Tying Clinic" in the White River Fly Shop. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, they have a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Tuesday, the CCA Acadiana Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel (across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA Shreveport Chapter holds their annual banquet at Riverview Hall on 600 Clyde Fant Parkway. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person, $35 spouse, $25 youth and include admission, 1-year membership, dinner, open bar, door prizes. Starting Friday evening and continuing Saturday, it's the 14th annual Paddlepalooza kayak fishing tournament. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament. More on that later.
There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! This weekend is the state's oldest and 2nd largest (3rd largest in the country) kayak fishing tournament. Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, Paddlepalooza XIV is expected to draw another crowd between 250 and 300. Because of the size of this tournament, organizers have moved activities this year to Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle, which also hosts the world's largest kayak tournament (Ride the Bull). And while the early weather forecast may not be conducive to many, folks won't shy away. Why not? Because of the good food (jambalaya on Friday evening, fish fry on Saturday), the big raffle (over 200 terrific prizes), the comradery, and the fact that the categories favor anyone a chance to win. The big category is "Cajun Slam" - that heaviest combination of 1 slot red, 1 speckled trout and 1 flounder. But there's also a Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, Senior Slam (trolling motors allowed), Leopard Red and 4 individual species categories. Best of all, the format is such that only one puddler can win over the entire board. So it maximizes winners. While only a handful of us will be using fly rods, it doesn't mean fly rods can't be competitive. I've had some very good finishes, just that catching flounder on fly has been very difficult for us fly folks. In fact, it's been tough for everyone... the numbers of slams is often between 10 and 20. Regardless of your tackle, if you still wish to register, onsite registration is available on Friday evening at the Captain's meeting at Bridgeside. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
The annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament is also Saturday. Hosted by the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers of Houma, this tournament is held at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. It's open to all members of any recognized Louisiana fly fishing club. If you're not a member of any club, you can signup for membership in FAFF at the event and participate. There is NO entry fee for the 2FBT. This year, the fishing site has moved from the large 7-acre pond to the smaller 3-acre pond that holds bigger bream (or so we're told). Onsite registration is 8:00am, fishing begins at 8:30am, fishing ends at 1:00pm. The format is simple: you start with 2 flies. All your fishing must be done with those flies. If you lose both flies, you're done for the day! Scoring will be based on total centimeters of 3 largest bluegill. Bring a bucket if you plan to live release, or ice chest or fish bag if you plan to keep. This is a great, fun event and one I hope many of you will consider participating in.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Time for the mid-week tidbits. Those bits of news that trickle in over the last week and are of interest to fly fishers and kayak anglers or others.
Tough choices for Louisiana fly anglers. Spring 2017 is turning out to be one of the best in many years for marsh speckled trout. While most of the reports are conventional tackle, fly anglers are having success on topwater poppers and shrimp patterns under a VOSI. However, soon these trout will be heading to the bays and surf, so time is limited! Meanwhile, central and northeast Louisiana waters that were flooded and muddied by the big storm of two weeks ago have now cleared up. Fly anglers are having good success this week on popping bugs and jitterbees for bream, and poppers and Bass Bullies for bass. Seaducers are also catching bass as well as chain pickeral in grassy areas.
Fly Fishers International has an updated website. The organization formerly known as Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has updated their site in conjunction with their name change. It's better organized and easier to navigate. If you're looking for videos on fly tying by Mike Verduin or other past tiers, check out the FFI fly tying page.
More evidence of the growth of fly fishing. Last week's 2017 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) indicated that most Americans are diversifying their sports participation. Some of the beneficiaries of that trend are fitness sports, camping, hiking and fly fishing. In fact, fly fishing topped all fishing and hunting sports with an increase of 6.0 percent year-over-year. In conventional fishing, Freshwater was ahead 1.2 percent, while Saltwater was ahead 2.4 percent. Another interesting trend - Standup Paddle Boarding is up 23.3 percent over the last five years, and 6.6 percent over last year.
Sunday is the last day to early register for the upcoming Paddlepalooza XIV kayak fishing tournament taking place along Highway 1 corridor on April 29th. After Sunday, onsite registration is available at the tournament headquarters - Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. But there is an extra cost, and the possibility that tournament shirts may not be available.
The 2017 Hurricane Season is expected to be average with 12 named storms predicted. This forecast calls for less storms than last year, even though none impacted Louisiana. However, it was a tropical depression in August that resulted in one of the worst flood events in state history, rivaling that of Hurricane Katrina. Much of this forecast is dependent on the strength of an El Nino event. If it strengthens, then the forecasted number of storms would diminish.
Already the 2018 Calendar is getting busy. A number of regional fly fishing events for Spring 2018 have been announced, but most are long-standing traditional events such as the Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival, Sowbug Roundup and Louisiana Sportsman Show. One new show that will return is the Atlanta Fly Fishing Show the first weekend of February. Apparently it was a huge success and will remain part of The Fly Fishing Show tour. Most kayak fishing events are not announced until late in the year.
The ACA National Casting Championships set for July 27-30. The American Casting Association will hold their 109th event in San Jose, California. While the championships entail both conventional and fly casting, it's the fly casting results that often get the most attention. And rightfully so... some of the most impressive stories come from this competition. Among the events are Trout Fly Accuracy, Dry Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, Anglers Fly Distance, One-Hand Fly Distance, and Two-Hand Fly Distance. Expect two of the world's best casters - Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel - to once again battle it out in Mens categories, while reigning Junior Champion Maxine McCormick could set new records once again.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
What's happening this week. 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 these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. 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. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda are location of the month and fishing product spotlight. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA East Jefferson Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers holds their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Also on Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, and 1-year CCA membership. Starting Friday and continuing to Sunday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual "Spring Concordia Weekend" trip to Lake Concordia. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, Ship to Shore of Lake Charles will hold a "Kayak Demo Day" at the Prien Lake Park Launch off I-210. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Nucanoe, Wilderness, KC Kayak, and more. Weather permitting, call 337-474-0730 for more info.
Orvis has scheduled several fly fishing classes for the month of May at their Baton Rouge store. These free classes are 1-day, 2-hour sessions. Registration is required in advance. The classes include Fly Fishing 101 on May 6, May 20, and May 27, and Fly Fishing 201 for May 13, May 20, and May 27. Again, check our LFF Calendar for times and more details on these classes.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The IFFF is now Fly Fishers International. The largest organization dedicated to the sport of fly fishing underwent a name change on April 1st. The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), which began in 1964 and for decades after was known as the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), is now Fly Fishers International (FFI). The name change came after a marketing study in which "brand identification" was tagged as one of the issues in reaching out to the growing number of young fly casters. To put it simply, organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association all have their primary focus (ducks, trout, coast) identified in the first words. For IFFF, that was in the 3rd and 4th words. While a name change is only a small part of the overall marketing effort, it's one that has made the most news - and favorably at that. A logo change also has been made. One of the two new logos is shown on left. Currently, if you click on their old website domain name, www.fedflyfishers.org, it will take you to www.flyfishersinternational.org. Also, a couple of councils and a few club websites have made the change from the IFFF name to the FFI name. Making name changes, changing websites, changing club leaflets, etc. isn't a minor task! I expect it'll be a few months - at least - before all IFFF references are modified to FFI.
Fly Rod and Reel is no more. I read on Dan Blanton's website that the popular magazine is now defunct, but I'm not completely certain after reading former editor Greg Thomas' blog. On March 26th, he posted that he'd been terminated by the owner of Down East Publications. Not because the owner or the board of directors was unhappy with Thomas' work, but because the fly fishing industry's support of the magazine was lacking. In this web-centric world we live in circa 2017, print media has taken a severe beating. But there continues to be strong exceptions (e.g., Louisiana Sportsman). I still believe that strong and diverse content can revive print media. As for FFR, I'll certainly miss the reviews and articles by the best anglers in our sport.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time for our mid-week updates. Several tidbits of news of interest to flyfishers and kayak fishers in a quick-hitting format.
Nominations will soon end for Best of Louisiana Outdoors. Started three years ago by the Louisiana Charter Boat Association in conjunction with outdoors radio personality Don Dubuc, BOLO recognizes the professionals, businesses, and others who make Louisiana outdoors great. Nominations and voting are open to the public. The nomination period ends this Friday, April 14th. Folks who make nominations are eligible for several great prizes, including fishing trips.
Of all the categories in Best of Louisiana the ones of most interest to LFF readers are the following: Best Guides (flyfishing and kayak fishing guides are eligible), Best Fishing Forum, Best Outdoor Writer (hey, I'm just mentioning this), Best Outdoor Photography, Best Louisiana-born lure (fly is eligible), Best Marina (my nominee is Eddie's Kayak Rentals), Best Kayak Tournament, Best Fishing Blog, and many more.
Congratulations to Josh Reppel. Josh won the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Redfish Rumble" out of St. Bernard Parish this past Saturday. One of BCKFC's smaller "Series Tournaments" - which are also open to the public - The Rumble had a strong turnout of almost a hundred puddlers. Nearly half of which didn't weigh in a single red! Josh weighed in 3 reds and 1 bass totaling 28.88 pounds, followed by Bill Crawford with 26.82 pounds and Shawn Rogers with 26.55 pounds. BTW, Josh won last year's BCKFC / Masseys Fish Pix Fly Rod Slam Division. But in this case he caught his fish on conventional tackle.
Of course, Paddlepalooza is next up for the Bayou Coast club. The state's 2nd largest kayak tournament, and 4th largest in the country, will be stationed at Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle the last weekend of this month. Online registration continues, as of this morning 101 had signed up. It's still early though, and typically 100 to 150 sign up in the last couple weeks.
Congrats to the Kisatchie Fly Fishers on a successful "Fly Fishing 101" this past Saturday. The Alexandria-based club held it's 3rd annual half-day event covering the basics of the sport including hands-on fly casting, hands-on knots and leaders, equipment, flies and fishing locations. With 18 participants, it was their largest FF101 turnout to date, edging out last year's class.
The Contraband Fly Fishing Expo scheduled for August 19th has had a change in location. The new location will be the VFW building (Post 7321) at 2668 Highway 1 in Lake Charles. This is north of Moss Bluff, and just south of the small community of Gillis.
Temple Fork Outfitters has a new logo (again). A few weeks back, TFO introduced a new logo that spelled out "Temple Fork Outfitters" with no imagery. Apparently it didn't get well received based on Facebook responses. Of course, Facebook alone shouldn't be the judge of a marketing logo, but it certainly is a barometer. I think one response that summed up my feelings as well was that the popularity of window stickers and most of them are small to medium size. The full text logo would've been somewhat large. TFO went back to the drawing board, and what you see is their latest effort. IMO, it's a much better logo. Based on early Facebook responses, they apparently have a winner.
Sabine Skiffs is coming to Orvis BR on June 3rd. Based out of Bayou Vista, Texas, Sabine Skiffs manufactures an aluminum flats skiff known as The Versatile. It's 17 1/2 feet in length, with a maximum 78 inch beam, and horsepower rating between 30 and 50. Designed by Brian Little, The Versatile looks much like it's fiberglass counterparts and supposedly has no hull slap. It boasts features like zero dead rise hull and walk-around gunnels. On June 3rd, the boat will make it's appearance at the Orvis store on Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Later that week, on June 6th, Sabine will be at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club where a "Demo Day" will take place.
John Geirach has a new book. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is the latest from fly fishing's favorite author. Geirach, part humorist and part commentator, is a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. In his latest book, he brings his usual sharp sense of humor to the fishing life and life in general. "A Fly Rod of Your Own" is available thru bookstores and online for $25.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
What's happening this week. It's Easter Week, so lots of folks will be on the water. Be safe! On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting practice at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Monday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Community Center off Old Highway 1 in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. 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 John Williams of Pack and Paddle in Lafayette who will talk about kayak fishing and rigging. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will host a public meeting on Lake Bistineau at the LDWF Region 1 Office on 9961 Highway 80 in Minden. Time is 6:30pm. The meeting will update on current status of the lake, including efforts to control giant salvania. Everyone interested is encouraged to attend. On Wednesday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at The Backpacker on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: presentation by Brendan Bayard and the upcoming Paddlepalooza on April 29th. The meeting is open to the public. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Old Towne Fly Shop on 3675 Pontchartrain Drive in Slidell. Time is 6:30pm. Beginners are welcome! Bring your tools, if none, sets are available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Bring your tools, in none, the club has sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 101" in the morning, and a "Fly Fishing 201" later in the day. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of our sport with emphasis on rigging and hands-on casting. FF201 is a one-day, 2-hour "on the water" clinic applying the basics of our sport to actual fishing situations. For more info, or to register for either or both, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will host a "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. New 2017 models from Hobie, Wilderness, KC Kayaks, Perception, YOLO and more. Sunday is Easter.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Another mid-week update in quick hitting format. But since we didn't do a Sunday report, let's begin with what's happening this week. It's not too late, as activities begin tonight.
The Acadiana Fly Rodders meet tonight at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. Casting starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. The public is invited.
One topic of discussion at the AFR meeting will be a recap of this past Saturday's conclave. It was a well-planned event, and the programs were terrific. But the attendance was below average. The club opted this year to move from their traditional last Saturday in February to April 1st. IMO, Lafayette in April has just way too many things to compete against. Judging from the list of local events and activities in the Times Magazine, it has to be the Events Capital of the World!
Other meetings this week. The Pontchartrain Basin meets Wednesday night at Abita Brew Pub on Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Thursday night, the CCA Monroe Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Monroe Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth). Go to www.ccalouisiana.com for more info.
Cenla Fly Fishing 101 is this Saturday. Sponsored by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, CFF101 is a one-day, 3-hour workshop covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with more emphasis on casting than most FF101 courses. Location is the LDWF Booker-Fowler Fish Hatchery in Forest Hill. Onsite registration begins at 8:30am, with class starting at 9:00am sharp. For complete details, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.
The 3rd annual Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival kicks off Friday at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. This event features exhibitors, fly tying, and on Saturday, a fishing tournament. The "festival" is free, the tournament has a $40 entry fee. All proceeds benefit Project Healing Waters. The event - organized by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez - is growing in popularity thanks to the lake's reputation for big bass on fly. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.
For kayak anglers, a busy weekend. Saturday will be the Bayou Coast club's annual Redfish Rumble out of St. Bernard Parish. Registration is still open at www.bckfc.org. Meanwhile for those interested in getting into kayak fishing or upgrading their current boat, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free Kayak Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Also on Saturday, Masseys of New Orleans will hold a free Kayak Demo at Bayou St. John near Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm.
The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club quarterly meeting will be next Wednesday, March 12, at the Backpacker in Baton Rouge. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda will be their upcoming Paddlepalooza tournament on April 29th. This is the club's largest tournament of the year, and one of the top 5 tournaments in the country. This year, the activities location has changed from Leeville to Bridgeside Marina at Grand Isle to better serve the growing participation.
The Fin-Addict Fly Fishers have announced a date for their annual 2-Fly Bluegill Tournament. It's Saturday, April 29th. The location will again be at Lamar-Dixon in Gonzales, but the pond will be different. It'll be the smaller pond behind the last expo building. The contest is free and open to any member of an organized Louisiana fly fishing club. This is a really fun tournament and one I look forward to each year! Complete details - including rules - have been posted in our Events Forum.
Louisiana Sportsman reports that a 10-pound speck was caught on Friday - out of all places Pointe-aux-Chenes! The angler, Ted Samanie of Schreiver, is a longtime speckled trout veteran. PAC is not known for producing big trout, but this 29-inch behemoth fell for a green-sparkle soft plastic tightlined within sight of the boat ramp.
This monster trout means big specks are still in the marsh. In fact, trout fishing in the interior marshes remains good usually until about the middle of April. But already the migration to the lower bays and coast has begun. If you want to get into good marsh speck fishing, better do it real soon!
One place where speck fishing won't be good this weekend is the Calcasieu estuary. The upper Calcasieu (here in western Cenla) received up to 11 inches of rain on Sunday alone! The two creeks - East Calcasieu and West Calcasieu - join to form the single river near Hineston. As of yesterday, each branch was a small lake a half-mile wide! All this "chocolate milk" was rushing south in a fury!
Even in the normally clear freshwater lakes of central Louisiana, there's dirty water just about everywhere following Sunday's deluge. Cane River Lake is a 35-mile winding oxbow that is a bream fisherman's paradise in April. Unfortunately the heavy rain has forced closure of the two of the three launches. Leaving only the downtown launch - where the dirtiest water is found. Hopefully, no more rain and things will clear up soon!
Orvis has a promotion for a limited time. When you purchase a Helios 2, Recon, Superfine Glass or Superfine Carbon fly rod, you'll recieve a free fly line of your choice.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time for those quick-hitting mid-week reports. A lot of small things we cover that are of interest to fly anglers, kayak anglers, or both.
First some breaking news. The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has announced that in 2019 they will move the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show to Denver. Also, to increase industry participation, the show will move from July to mid-October. Currently IFTD is joined with ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades show. It's been held in Orlando in mid-July the last 3 years and will continue for this year and 2018. After 2018, the two organizations will again operate separate trade shows at different times and locations.
This announcement is somewhat disappointing. Although the majority of AFFTA members felt that IFTD should move back west, and be separate from ICAST, that doesn't change several facts. First, growth in fly fishing is taking place more rapidly along the mid-Atlantic and Southeast and Sun Belt areas. Second, for many dealers who carry mixed tackle, this means having to attend two shows. Even moreso for those who carry kayaks, where a third show (Outdoor Retailer) is in play. Third, having the show in October presents a change in the industry itself. What will happen when dealer orders for new year products are taken in September? It'll be interesting to see what happens.
Looking to buy a kayak or upgrade to a new one? April is the most prolific month for those ever-popular "demo days". As my friend Don Dubuc likes to say, "Always try before you buy!". Coming up next month, we have demos on April 8th (Backpacker, Youngsville and Masseys Outfitters, New Orleans), April 16th (Backpacker, Baton Rouge) and April 22nd (Ship to Shore, Lake Charles).
Harbuck Outdoor Sports in Shreveport may also be doing a demo next month or in May. At the Cane Country Fly Casters meeting earlier this month, Adam did a demo for the club. He mentioned that, with the addition of his new 8-yak trailer, he'll start doing more. Also, Harbuck Outdoors will soon be carrying the NuCanoe line of kayaks.
Registration has begun for Paddlepalooza XIV which will be held on April 29th. Palooza is the 2nd largest kayak tournament in Louisiana, and 4th largest in the country. While fishing boundary is still the Highway 1 Corridor, the "headquarters" has moved this year to Bridgeside Marina to better accomodate crowds and parking. Entry fee is $60 and includes tournament entry, Friday night dinner (Captains meeting), Saturday night fish fry, t-shirt, goodies bag, and a chance at hundreds of raffle prizes. In addition to the Cajun Slam and four species categories, there's also a Ladies Slam, Youth Slam, and new for this year, Seniors Slam (age 65 or older). For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
Registration has begun for Lake Athens Fly Fishing Festival to be held April 8th and 9th at Lake Athens Marina in Athens, Texas. Originated by local fly fishing guide Johnny Martinez three years ago, this event is part conclave, part fishing tournament. Registration is only needed for the contest, and can be done in advance or on-site. Categories are Boat and Kayak. For more info, go to www.johnnyonthefly.com.
Registration has begun for 8th annual Bass On The Fly which will be held on May 6th. Location will be Lake Fork Marina on Lake Fork, Texas. This CPR tournament awards based on total length of 5-fish photos. Categories include Boat, Kayak/Bank, Club, and Big Bass. Entry fee is $60. There's also an optional Sunfish Tourney on Friday afternoon with entry fee of $10. Registration prior to April 16th will be eligible for a drawing for a Sage Bass II Fly Rod. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.
Congratulations to Terry and Roxanne Wilson. The Missouri-based outdoor writers are well known to many Louisiana fly anglers, whether it's from their presentations at club events, or from regional conclaves, or as authors of several warmwater fly fishing books. Yesterday, Southern Unlimited of Montevallo, Alabama, publishers of various outdoors magazines, announced the couple as new co-editors of Southern Trout Ozark Edition Magazine. They will take over with the upcoming May issue. STOE is an offshoot of Southern Trout Magazine that focuses on fishing in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Louisiana Boating Education "Lagniappe Day" will take place at nine locations across the state on April 22nd. Each location will have instructors for the boating education course, along with food and refreshements, door prizes, all for free. However, pre-registration is required. Sign up quickly as these classes fill up fast. Louisiana law requires anyone born after January 1, 1984 must complete an approved boating education course and carry proof of the completion in order to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower. For a list of class locations, go to www.wlf.la.gov.
For anyone visiting Florida this weekend it's "Freshwater Free Fishing Weekend" Saturday and Sunday. The requirement for having a fishing license is waived for all recreational anglers - residents and non-residents - for those fishing freshwater only. Another freshwater license-free weekend will take place on June 10-11. The saltwater license-free weekend takes place June 3-4.
A study on tarpon genetics has concluded with interesting results. The 2-year study was done by Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to determine how many distinct populations of Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) existed. The answer is one! Fish from Virginia to Mexico to Brazil and even the African coast were found to share high levels of genetic flow, indicating interbreeding. What this means is that migrations and/or larvae dispersal takes place over great distances and that conservation measures need to be applied to all areas where tarpon are found.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. For March, it's their annual "on the water" gathering at Cotile Lake with fishing followed by grilled burgers, dogs, chips, etc. at one of the pavilions. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Sydney Dobson will be leading the group in tying the Carrot Nymph. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners and others are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. 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 available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive (across the parking lot from the Blue Crab Restaurant). Time is 7:00pm. The public is welcome. On Saturday, it's the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will conduct both a "Fly Fishing 101" and a "Fly Fishing 201". Both are free of charge, but pre-registration is required. FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour clinic designed to introduce basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Time is 8:00am. FF201 is a 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic where casting and other skills are applied to actual fishing situation. Time is 12 noon. To register for either, call 225-757-7286.
This Saturday is the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave. Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders of Lafayette, this festival is the oldest - and longest running - fly fishing event in the state of Louisiana. Once again it'll be held at the Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 8:30am to 3:00pm. As with all conclaves, it's a public event where families are invited, with seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting clinics and coaching, and vendors. There's also raffle items and silent auction items that offset the costs of the event and that raise money for the club's charitable activities. Many of the raffle items are one-of-a-kind or difficult to find items, including donated fly boxes with flies never or seldom seen in fly shops. A couple popular speakers from past conclaves will be returning to help celebrate 30 years - Dr. Norm Crisp of Missouri and Lee Davidson from Idaho. In addition, Tom Bertuccini will do a presentation on "Western Fishing" and Jeff Ferguson will talk about "Finding Your Way Around Calcasieu Lake" which should be really popular. Tiers include Ray Boudreaux, Barry Dauphin, Beverly Vidrine, Lance Renoux, Ron Foreman, Kyle Moppert, Fred Hannie, Catch Cormier, and Bill Heugel. Other activities include a casting clinic on correcting errors by Keith Richard and Bob Tabbert, both master certified instructors. Doug Blair will also do a talk-through on Bamboo Rod Making. So as you can see, lots of activities and something for everyone! That evening, AFR will hold their annual banquet at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette and tickets are available for that event also. One more tidbit - this is the last regional "conclave" or other fly fishing show until September. So if you wanted to make one of these events this Spring, this is it! More details on the Acadiana Conclave - including scheduled times - can be found in the LFF Forum (Events Forum) or by going to their club website at www.acadianaflyrodders.com.
It's the final Day 3 at the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe in southeast Texas. The "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing" is proving to be just as exciting as it's football counterpart with a dramatic switch in the leaderboard after yesterday. Later today at the weigh-in at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, we'll find out if the two Louisiana anglers still in contention - Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part and Ryan Lavigne of Gonzales - can bring in some hefty fish to catapult them to their first championship. It'll take quite an effort... right now both are 12 pounds out of the lead. And even worse, ahead of them are some very seasoned competitors. Brent Ehrler of California and Dave Lefebre of Pennsylvania are in the top two spots, but lurking now in 7th place is Kevin Van Dam. NEVER, EVER count KVD out! And the first day leader, Mike Iaconnelli, had a tough day but is still in the top 10 and always has a strong close.
Speaking of tournaments, yesterday was the 70th annual New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival. Weather was a big factor, both in limiting attendance and in success on the water. In the Fly Fishing Divisions, Josh Macaluso caught the only bass and it weighed a whopping 0.1 pounds! Oddly, in the Cichlid Fly Fish Division, Josh Marcadal brought in a really nice Rio that weighed 1.32 pounds to win that division. In fact, it was the largest rio of any division caught. It wasn't just a tough day for fly anglers, many anglers had a difficult time finding fish or catching any of size. However, Tim Zissis brought in a 5.31-pounder to win the prestigous Adult Bass Division, followed closely by Mike Laviolette at 4.44 pounds.
There were also results from Boats on the Bayou. This is the kayak fishing tournament held in conjunction with the NOCP Rodeo. It took place on Bayou St. John which is brackish water and which contains a variety of freshwater and saltwater species. It was a very tough day for the puddlers as well, with few fish weighed in. Most of those were bass. Raye Christensen won the Bass Division with a very impressive 5.11 pounder. Followed closely by Joseph Rigsby with a 4.55 pound fish. The only saltwater fish entered was a 6.39 pound redfish taken by Micheal Misshore. Ty Hibbs won the Trashbash Division with a 0.36 pound perch(?).
Someone told me about a new fly fishing book out. But not what you might think - this is fictional and it's part of the "Murder She Wrote" mystery series of novels. Titled "Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line, and Murder", the storyline has our intrepid novelist/sleuth Jessica Fletcher entering a fly fishing competition at a lake near Cabot Cove. It's a nice day on the water but as always happens with Jessica, things go south in a hurry! I've never read the novels, but loved the TV shows (they are now in syndication on Hallmark Mystery Channel). It occured to me that on a per capita basis, Cabot Cove must be the Homicide Capital of America. It's a wonder there's anybody left! Regardless, if you can ignore the paradox of population dynamics in a small town, the book is available on Amazon for $10.43 (or $9.99 on Kindle).
News from IFTD. In mid-July, Orlando will again host ICAST, the world's largest fishing trades dealer show. Once again, the International Fly Tackle Dealers (IFTD) Show will be running concurrently and sharing the same facilities. Last week, IFTD announced they will again hold a Demo Day on Tuesday prior to the start of the main exhibition on Wednesday. At their inaugural Demo Day last year, the event garnered loads of interest from dealers and media, especially since there were LOTS of new fly rods set for introduction. Common sense dictates that this would be a down year, at least for rods. But we may see something with fly lines. Several companies are working on lines that are smaller in diameter per weight (denser) but still have high floatability. Such lines are more wind-resistant and would cast quite a bit farther than today's conventional lines.
Friday, March 24, 2017
We were saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of Billy Munn after a long battle with cancer. Munn was considered one of the best - if not THE best - deer hair spinners in modern fly tying. The Bridgeport, Texas resident was a longtime member of the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and a fixture at the FFF Southern Conclave, Sowbug Roundup, and several other events. In 1986, Munn was awarded the Federation of Fly Fishers' Buz Buszek Award, for lifetime achievement in fly tying. In 2006, he put out a 2-hour DVD tutorial "Tying Hairbugs with Billy Munn" that has become a cult video. Ed Jaworoski, one of the biggest names in fly fishing, commented on the video saying "During my 50 years in fly fishing, I've seen the work of the best tiers in the business. When it comes to working with deer hair and similiar materials, Billy Munn is the standard by which all other tiers are gauged.". My late friend Chris Helm, himself a master of deer hair and a Buszek Award winner, told me that most of what he had learned came from Billy Munn. The fly tying world owes a great debt to this gentle man, and hopefully we can repay by passing on his legacy.