Louisiana Fly Fishing

Seasons of the sacalait. In case you don't keep up with reports, the "white perch" (crappie) are starting their pre-spawn gathering along the edges of deadend bayous and canals, reservoir tributaries, submerged creek beds, bridges and other structure. For fly anglers, there are three approaches, all using weighted flies such as woolybuggers, crappie candies, mini-clousers, mini-charlies and fluff butts. Those approaches are (1) fly set 3-5 feet under a strike indicator for shallow fish, (2) fly on a long leader "jigged" - a.k.a., the "vertical drop method" or (3) fly on a sinking or intermediate fly line for fish over 12 feet deep.


Fly Of The Month

Crappie Candy. At Southern Conclave years ago, our friends Terry and Roxanne Wilson - authors of the book "Crappie Fly Fishing: A Seasonal Approach" - told me about the Crappie Candy. Created by Al Campbell, Terry describes it as "a Clouser and a Fluff Butt got married, and had a child". Forum member Stephen Robert, who ties these flies commercially for Green Trout Fly Shop, ties his version on streamer hooks sizes 8 to 14, using 7/64 dumbbell eyes down to size 12, and a very small beadchain eye on size 14. The tail is marabou the length of the hook shank, the body consists of ice chenille, and the wing a small amount of bucktail, with a few strands of crystal flash. Adding a strip of flashabou or krystal flash to the sides of the tail draw more attention on sunny days. It may be called a Crappie Candy, but this fly has caught many bream, bass, and even rainbow trout. We're told by one innovative flycaster that this fly tied on a saltwater hook also works well for speckled trout under lights! For more on this fly, google "Crappie Candy Campbell." You'll find a few websites where Al Campbell has instructions or tips on how to fish this fly.


Featured Tackle

Echo Base fly rod. NEW for 2015, the Echo Base utilizes the latest materials and technology, along with progressive tapers, such that novice casters can more easily toss tight loops. For intermediate or advanced casters, the medium-fast action makes for a solid backup or second trip rod. LFF readers know that we like more moderate action rods for popper-dropper or VOSI-dropper rigging, and this rod fits that mold. Best of all, the Echo Base offers quality and performance for a VERY reasonable amount of dough - and with a warranty! Prices run only $89 for freshwater models, and $99 for the 8-weight saltwater rod. BASE Rods feature:
- Four piece travel design
- Alignment dots for quick assembly
- Translucent Deep Blue finish
- Half Wells handle on 4-6wt models
- Full Wells handle, fighting butt on 8wt model
- Maintenance free Reel Seat
- Cordura covered rod case and rod sock
- ECHO lifetime warranty



 TIPPETS
Sunday, March 1, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold a rescheduled meeting from February 23rd. That meeting was cancelled due to icy conditions. Location will be the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Club member Roger Breedlove will do a presentation on "Custom Rod Building". The public is invited. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. Starting Friday evening, and continuing Saturday, Pack and Paddle in Lafayette kicks off their annual Spring Demo weekend. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual conclave, "Red Stick Day", in Baton Rouge. More on that later. On Sunday, it's the start of Daylight Savings Time. Don't forget to set your clocks one hour later.

This Saturday is Red Stick Day in Baton Rouge. The Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their 23rd annual fly fishing festival at the LDWF Waddill Outdoors Center on 4141 North Flannery Road. Admission is free, and there's free refreshments. A jambalaya lunch is also available for $7. There are several reasons why Red Stick Day is a very popular event. One is a greater emphasis towards saltwater programs. That's true again this year with presentations by Chuck Fisk of Fairhope, Alabama ("Wade Fishing the Northern Gulf Coast for Pompano, Specks and Reds") and Captain Ron Ratliff of Houma ("Springtime Redfishing"). For those interested in coldwater and warmwater, there's programs by Larry Offner ("Rios Revisited") and Jim Wright ("Coldwater Fishing the Lower Mountain Fork"). A second reason for strong attendance is the presence of fly tiers not seen at other state conclaves - from Southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. A third reason? Kayak demos on the premises. Backpacker will be there from 11:00am to 2:00pm with the most popular boats from Hobie, Wilderness Systems and others. A fourth reason - fishing on the premises. It's not unusual for attendees to catch a bass or bull bream. And if that's not enough reasons, there's the raffle. It's big, often over 80 items! For those new to the sport, Roger del Rio, an IFFF certified casting instructor, will be doing "Casting Basics" in the morning and "Advanced Casting" in the afternoon. For a complete schedule of all activities, along with list of fly tiers and speakers, go to www.rsff.org and click on "Red Stick Fly Fest".

Pack and Paddle's annual Spring Demo weekend kicks off this Friday evening with "Beer and Gear Social Night" at their store on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Festivities begin at 5:00pm and continue to 8:00pm. Local brews provided by paddlesports reps, with reps talking about their products. At 7:00pm, PnP will draw among attendees (ages 21 or older) for a Jackson Coosa HD kayak to be given away. On Saturday, the big on-the-water demo takes place at Vermillionville Pond off Surrey Street. Time is 9:00am to 2:00pm. There's no cost. Folks can try new models from Jackson, Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, NuCanoe, Diablo, Hurricane, BOTE and more. Finally, on Saturday evening at 6:00pm, Pack and Paddle will host the annual "Reel Paddling Film Festival". Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Price includes entrance to festival, snacks, drinks, and free subscription to Rapid Media magazines. The festival showcases some of the world's best paddling films, exploring rivers, lakes and oceans. For more info about any of these activities, go to www.packpaddle.com.

It's March. Prime fishing begins this month. It may start a bit later than usual, though. Water temperatures are still way below normal. And while we're in for a few days of mild weather - high temps in the 60s - yet ANOTHER polar vortex moves in on Wednesday. Here in the Alexandria area, there's a forecast for sleet and freezing rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning. I keep saying that every week it seems, but as long as "global cooling" continues, we're in for bad times. Someday it will get warmer. I promise. And when it does - hopefully this month - we'll see the opportunities for the biggest bass of the year, some sacalait spawning in lakes and reservoirs, the start of redear activity, and more consistency on redfish as bait moves back into the ponds.

Sunday, February 22, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. This meeting will be a fly tying tutorial session, with the fly du jour being the Panther Branch Hopper. Bring your vise, materials if you have some (some will be provided). Beginners are welcome. For more details, go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria - weather permitting. Time is 6:30pm. For the program, Roger Breedlove will discuss the many aspects of custom rod building and show off some of his creations. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.KisatchieFly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. For those without tools, the club has a few tool sets for use during these sessions. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 E. Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. For this meeting, Brendan "Choupique" Bayard and Steve "Gnatless" Lessard will be giving "Secrets of a Tournament Kayak Fisherman" program. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at location TBA (due to construction work at the Whitney bank branch). Time is 7:00pm. Check the forum for details. On Friday, the Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the 29th annual Acadiana Conclave. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "Fly Tying" clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There is no cost. Please bring your fly tying tools, materials provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold another of their free "Fly Tying 101" clinics. This one-day, 2-hour workshop covers the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Class size is very limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, or to register, call Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge in conjunction with Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation (BREC) will hold an "Intro to Kayak Fishing" clinic at Wampold Park. Time is 8:30am to 2:00pm. Cost is $10. Members of Team Hobie will instruct on kayak fishing techniques, rigging, safety, and more. Also, an on-the-water session for students. Registration is required. For more info, or to register, call 225-272-9200 ext. 435 or email outdooradventure@brec.org.

This Friday the F3T comes to Baton Rouge. The Fly Fishing Film Tour is a collection of independent short films highlighting the adventure and conservation aspects of our sport. It will be shown at the Orvis store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Doors open at 6:30pm, movies start at 7:00pm. A limit of 150 are being sold, and last year the event sold out. As of this writing, there were still some tickets left - so don't procrastinate! In addition to a very affordable cash bar, there are some great door prizes as well. The films are enjoyable, but in the past couple years this event has become a great social gathering for south Louisiana fly anglers. For more info, or tickets, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

The Granddaddy of Louisiana fly fishing events takes place this Saturday with the 29th annual Acadiana Conclave in Lafayette. Hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders, this celebration of fly fishing features seminars, fly tying demos, casting instruction, exhibitors, raffles, silent auction, and more. Location is Grace Presbyterian Church Hall at 518 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Doors open at 8:30am and the event continues until 3:00pm. A schedule of programs, and list of speakers and presentors can be found in our Events Forum or at the AFR website. The Acadiana Conclave was the first of it's kind in Louisiana, and it's success spawned similiar events now held by clubs in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Shreveport, Natchitoches and Alexandria. However, the AFR event still stands out, due in large part to it's casting programs. No other club has as many IFFF Master Certified Casting Instructors as does the Lafayette club. For more details, go to www.acadianaflyrodders.com.

No rest for the weary! Weary of winter weather, that is. Yes... here we go again... another polar vortex. There's a winter storm watch for most of north and central Louisiana beginning tonight, and continuing thru Tuesday. Freezing rain and sleet seem most likely, with a slight chance of sneaux. Areas west of Natchitoches could see some accumulation of the white stuff. Regardless of what parish you live in, it's going to be a cold week. And windy on the coast. Just as water temps were starting to climb into the mid to upper 50s, this front will likely knock them back down again. Normally the last week of February I'm preparing the garden for summer veggies, fishing for early spawn bass or chiquapin. Then again, the water temperature is usually 60 degrees. May be a few more weeks before "normal" makes it's return.

The Super Bowl of Bass Fishing was held this weekend with the BassMasters Classic at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. Record low temperatures marred what should've been great fishing at one of the nation's top-rated bass waters. As of this writing, the final day competition among the top 25 finishers of the 2nd day was taking place with Yakahiro Omori holding on to first place. Louisiana had 3 representatives in the Classic: Greg Hackney of Gonzales, the reigning B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, Cliff "Cajun Baby" Crochet of Pierre Part, and Brett Pruett of Monroe. Hackney came the closest of the three to making the final day cut, missing out by 5 ounces. I didn't expect our guys to do well in sub-freezing weather. As you might guess, this is -NOT- the typical late February weather for Lake Hartwell. Regardless, this weather may help propel BassMaster directors towards bringing back the Classic to northwest Louisiana for 2017.

Drawdown for Cotile Lake approved. Last week, the Rapides Parish Police Jury approved a proposal by LDWF for a drawdown of Cotile Lake west of Alexandria starting in September and ending on January 1st. The lake would be drawned down a total of 8 feet in an effort to control hydrilla and other nuisance aquatic vegetation. At a meeting on Thursday night at the Cotile Volunteer Fire Department, about 50 residents and concerned anglers gathered to hear Rickey Moses, LDWF Inland Biologist, detail the proposal and give reasons why the drawdown was necessary. There was near unanimity in support of the drawdown, and even strong support for doing this every 3-4 years. As a resident of the lake, I testified how last year's bream fishing was the worst I'd ever seen... almost all the beds on the south end of the lake - and even around the "islands" famous for big redears - were all covered with hydrilla. Somewhat of a surprise, many of the attending anglers said the exact same thing. I've heard drawdowns - despite the many great things they do for weed control and to rejuvenate fisheries - are often contentious. It was great to see such overwhelming support for this one!

Monday, February 15, 2015
What's happening this week. A double holiday week. On Monday, it's President's Day. Tuesday is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, chic-a-la-pas, run away, ha-ha-ha! Last chance to enjoy king cake this year (if you haven't had enough already). Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Dan Fromme will demonstrate the Christmas Tree, a popular fly for trout on the Little Missouri. Bring your tools, materials provided. For those without tools, the club has some for use during the session. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the St Paul Lutheran Community Center on 1620 East Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begin at 6:00pm, general meeting at 7:00pm. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions. Location to be announced. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will be holding their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. Tom Bullock will be demonstrating woolybuggers for larger species. The public is welcome. Starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited's annual "TroutFest" at Rio Raft Resort near New Braunfels, Texas. The banquet and auction are Friday night, with the Expo on Saturday and Sunday. Headliners this year are Frank Smethurst, Wanda Taylor, Kelly Galloup and Pat Dorsey. Tickets for the Expo are $15 adult, $12 children. For more details, go to www.grtutroutfest.org. On Saturday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their annual "Fly Fishing 101" clinic at Booker-Fowler Hatchery in Forest Hill. Time is 8:30am to 12:30pm. There is no cost, but class size is limited, so registration is required. The workshop topics include equipment, knots, flies, and hands-on casting. For more info, go to www.KisatchieFly.org. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will conduct another of their "Fly Fishing 201" clinics. This free, one-day, 2-hour session applies casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Also a few more casting techniques are taught (beyond FF101). Pre-registration is required as spots are limited. To register, call Alex at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Orvis in Baton Rouge will conduct another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. This free, one-day, 2-hour session covers the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Class size is very limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info or to register, call Alex at 225-757-7286.

It's not over 'til the fat mammal says so. Whether you follow Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog, or locally, Naquin the Nutria, you know that on February 2nd both forecasted 6 more weeks of winter. This spring-like weather of the past week may have dazed us into believing those fat mammals were wrong. But here comes Ol' Man Winter with a vengeance! A Siberian front will move through the state on Monday, bringing strong north winds, and dropping temperatures back to below or near freezing over most parishes. Now here's where it gets interesting... the jetstream is dipping further to the east than usual. That means areas west and south of Alexandria may have low temperatures in the upper 30s and 40s thru Thursday. However, Monroe and Vidalia are forecast for sleet and snow on Monday night and Tuesday. Further northeast, the coldest weather of the year is forecast for Tennessee and North Carolina. If the jetstream dips further south and west - as one forecaster predicts - most of Louisiana could experience a winter wonderland this week! Regardless of whether we get "sneaux" or not, it's going to be a miserable week for fishing.

Orvis Recon Series expanding. For 2015, Orvis replaced it's very popular Access series rods with a new series, the Recon. This mid-priced rod has received numerous accolades and very positive reviews since first making the rounds at the IFTD Show last summer. The Recon is different than it's predecessor in that it comes in only "action", as opposed to "mid flex" or "tip flex" of the Access. The Recon uses similiar tapers to their premium Helios 2 rod, but with different materials and components to keep it in the mid-priced range of rods ($420 freshwater, $450 saltwater). While not quite as light as the Helios 2, it's certainly lighter than most fly rods on the market. It also has one improvement over the Access - it's much easier to load in close. Yet it has enough reserve power to boom a long cast if needed. Now Orvis has pulled somewhat of a surprise - they're already expanding the Recon lineup. In May they will add 9 new models. And if you love fly rodding for bass and/or kayak fishing - like I do - then the good news is among those new models are three 7-foot, 11-inch "brush rods" in weights 8, 9 and 10. These rods give bass anglers - as well as backcountry saltwater anglers - the leverage they need to pull bass, snook, baby tarpon out of cover. I also love these lengths for kayak fishing because there's less exposure to tips when the rod is seated alongside the yak.

Tuesday, February 12, 2015
Sacalait spawning. But it depends on where. Several of the fish I caught this past week here on the bayou had eggs. But at Toledo Bend, Sibley Lake, Caney Lake, and a few other waters in the Cenla area, there's been no movement to the shallows yet. On the other hand, waters just south of here - Chicot and Millers Lake - are starting to turn on. The best crappie reports are coming from the Houma-Thibodaux area, mostly around Bayou Black and in the Bayou Sherman and Crackerhead area. As for bass, the pre-spawn activity is still on hold in most places. Looking at the extended forecast - there's a chance of snow next Tuesday night here in Alexandria - it's doubtful that will change a lot over the next week. Still, all it takes is that one big bass to think Spring is here - and for the right fly to land in it's vicinity - to make for a great beginning to the 2015 season!

The American Casting Association has announced that it's 107th annual National Casting Championships will be hosted by the Long Beach Casting Club this July 28th thru August 1st. This also marks the 90th anniversary of the LBCC. The ACA Nationals is the premier event for both fly casting and spincasting competition in the United States. Among the categories are Fly Distance, Dry Fly Accuracy, Trout Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, Plug Distance and Plug Accuracy. There are divisions for men, women and youth. Steve Rajeff has long dominated both fly and spin categories, but last year's competition saw longtime competitor Henry Mittel score a double upset. Mittel edged Rajeff in the 1-Hand Fly Distance with 185 feet to 180 feet for Rajeff. Mittel also won a castoff with Rajeff in the 2-Hand Fly Distance after both tied with 247 feet. The other big story from last year's event was Junior competitor Maxine McCormick, who won the Angler's Fly Distance with 94 feet! For more info, go to www.americancastingassoc.org.

Jimmy Kimmel, Jim Belushi, Huey Lewis join the cast for Season 5 of "Buccaneers and Bones", popular fly fishing TV series. Veteran cast members include newsman Tom Brokaw (narrator), fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh, award-winning author Tom McGuane, and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust board member Bill Klyn. Buccaneer and Bones is featured on the Outdoor Channel as part of their winter/spring programming lineup. The season premiere is Saturday, February 21 at 4:00pm CST. The show is an unscripted travelogue about the fly fishing pursuits of it's cast as they fish some specific destination. For the 2015 season, the cast will head to South Andros Island in the Bahamas to explore the area's famed saltwater flats. The diverse group of cast members lends itself to highly entertaining and often insightful aspects of our sport, and to a mutual concern for conservation of marine resources.

Garmin introduces a new kayak mount for it's fishfinder and sonar transducers. With the In-Hull Kayak Mount, puddlers can mount a transducer for inside the hull of a kayak. This as opposed to traditional kayak mounts which expose the transducer to scrapping against obstructions in shallow water. Or as opposed to DIY in-hull installations where selection of the wrong epoxy can result in a complete mess. The installation of the In-Hull Kayak Mount is quick and easy and doesn't require tools. Simply attach the adhesive backing to the hull, fill the pocket created between the pad and the hull with water, and place the transducer in the pocket to remove the air. Once installed, the mount has the ability to withstand continuous water submersion without releasing. The In-Hull Kayak Mount will be available in April, 2015 for an MSRP of $19.99.

Monday, February 9, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the LDWF building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Michelle Maloney, Coastal Outreach Coordinator for the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, will talk about the current status of the BP settlement and coastal restoration plans. Also, an Orvis representative will be present to discuss, and sell tickets for, the F3T Film Tour set for February 27th at the Orvis store. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This month's speaker will be Phil Rispin, owner of Dutch Creek Fly Fishing, who will talk about fishing Alberta, Canada. Also, details on the NLFF club's upcoming "Dinner and A Movie" set for February 28. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church Life Center in Natchitoches. Casting practice begins at 5:30pm, followed by pot luck dinner at 6:30, meeting at 7:00pm. For the program, the club will tie a couple of Little Mo favorites, the Christmas Tree and the Pink Weenie. Also on the agenda, next month's CPPR tournament with the Kisatchie Fly Fishers club on Cane River. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church on Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your own tools, materials are provided. Friday afternoon kicks off the annual Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival, which runs thru Sunday. More on that later. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. This one-day, 2-hour workshop covers the basics of tying. Tools and materials are provided. Class size is very limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, or to register, call Alex Beane at (225)757-7286.

The 13th-ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival is this weekend at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This annual event celebrates fly fishing in general, with emphasis on the Little Missouri River, the premier tailwater trout fisheries in southern Arkansas. Organizer Jeff Guerin, owner of the Little Missouri Fly Fishing website, does an outstanding job with this event. Doors open Friday afternoon with fly tying on the agenda. Saturday is the main event... doors open at 8:00am, with fly tying and several programs. The highlight of the event is always the biologists' "State of the River" presentation, which this year will be at 1:00pm. A recent tradition to the Little Mo Fest - and one that has become extremely popular - is the "Little Mo Fantasy Fly Draft". Admission is just $5 per person or $10 per family, and that includes lunch. For complete details, go to Jeff's website at www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.

How soon is now? That's the title of a popular song by the 80s group, The Smiths. It's also the question many Louisiana anglers are asking in regards to fishing. Seems like a little warmth and lots of sunshine have anglers anxious to wet a line. So how soon will the fish start biting? Maybe "now" is correct. It's been a persistently cold winter as evidenced by water temperatures last week in the 40s and 50s (depending on which part of the state). That's way below what the ideal temps are for crappie and spawning bass. But often it's not the actual temp that counts, but the temperature trend. As the water has warmed just a few degrees over the last week, there's been increasing reports of crappie and BIG bass catches. The next 7 days will see low temperatures in the 30s and 40s, but will be moderated by high temps in the 60s and lots of sunshine. Every reason to believe that now is the time to tie up those bass and crappie flies, have them ready for the Mardi Gras weekend coming up!

Monday, February 2, 2015
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 hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. On Saturday, it's the 23rd annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" sessions. This free, one-day, 2 hour clinic covers the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. Limited seats, so reservations are required. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Orvis will do one of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. This free, one-day, 2 hour session covers the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Class size is very limited, so registration is required. For more info or to register, call 225-757-7286.

The Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival this Saturday typically features the largest group of tiers of any event on the Gulf Coast. This event, hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers club, is held at Bethany Christian Church on Westheimer in Houston. There's always a well-known guest, and this year's headliner is author and fly creator Drew Chicone. Like most club "conclaves", this event also features vendors, company reps, food and raffles. More details on the Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival can be found in our Events forum.

February means festivals, films, spawning crappie, pre-spawn bass. In addition to this Saturday's tying fest, there's also the 10th annual Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest in Murfreesboro, Arkansas (February 13-15), and the Acadiana Conclave in Lafayette hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders (February 28). Also, the Fly Fishing Film Tour comes to Louisiana on February 27, at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge. Tickets are available thru the store, but there are a limited number available and they're going fast. As for fishing this month... In many waters, the crappie have already moved into the shallows for spawning. The last week has produced good reports from Chicot Lake, Lake Martin near Breaux Bridge, and the Bayou Black marshes. Shortly we'll see the white perch doing likewise here in the "hill country". Within the next couple of weeks, bass will start looking for spawning areas. Like the crappie, much depends on location (southeast=warmer, northwest=cooler), depth of water (shallow=warmer) and whether there is heavy runoff (less runoff=warmer).

How to Sea-duce a Predator. That's the title of the Fly Lines column in the February issue of Louisiana Sportsman. The chain pickerel, aka jackfish, aka grass pike, doesn't get much respect, but it should. What a great fly rod species! I also mention how one of my favorite classic flies has played a huge part in my success with "Louisiana's pike". Also in this issue - kayak fishing columnist Chris Holmes explains why February is for fishing (when weather's good) and rigging (when it's not), and offers some yak rigging tips. Seafood Bible authors Jerald and Glenda Horst give recipes for crawfish fettuccini and crawfish corn soup. Jerald also writes on barracuda in the Creature Feature column. Humberto Fontova tells us where to find easy limits of sheepshead. And the monthly Fishing Forecast. One of the featured waters of the month is Saline Lake east of Alexandria, part of the Saline-Larto complex... and rated one of the best crappie fisheries in the country. LAS is available at most fishing retailers and convenience stores.

Sunday, January 25, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Instructor will be Jeff Denig, one of the club's fly tying co-chairs, who will tie the EP Fiber Floating Injured Minnow and a Mystery Fly. Jeff says, "The Mystery Fly is so secret, it's still a mystery to me!". Bring either white or clear mono thread. Bring your tools, materials provided. If you don't have tools, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. The public is welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will conduct another of it's free "Fly Fishing 101" clinics. This one-day, 2 hour session covers tackle, knots and basic casting. There is no cost, but reservations are required as seats are limited. Later on Saturday, Orvis BR will conduct a "Fly Tying 101" class. This one-day, 2-hour sessions covers the basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided. Like FF101, class size is very limited, so registration is required. To register for FF101 or FT101, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

A great start to the conclave season. Yesterday's first-ever Cenla Fly Fishing Festival in Pineville proved to be a great success for the Kisatchie Fly Fishers. Attendance was right near the 120 mark, the club picked up a bunch of new members, and raised more than enough money for their conservation and educational wish-list. Most important - everyone had a great time! The event made the local television news and Sunday's newspaper. Even the mayor of Pineville, Clarence Fields - who admits to being an obsessed fisherman - made a showing and was quite impressed. Of course much of the credit goes to the fly tiers, speakers, and exhibitors in attendance, as well as members of the KFF "Conclave Team". The club also had special thanks to Jeff Robinson, an IFFF Casting Certified Instructor from Lake Charles who spent the entire day out on the park knoll, first with a basics of fly fishing seminar and then following with casting coaching the rest of the day. Incidently, there will be a 2nd-annual Cenla Fly Fest in 2016.

Next up: the Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival on Saturday, February 7th at Bethany Christian Church at 3223 Westheimer in Houston. Sponsored by the Texas Fly Fishers of Houston, this is the premier fly tying showcase on the northern Gulf Coast, with anywhere from 60 to 100 tiers each year. Most hail from Texas, but also tiers from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and elsewhere. There's also 6 one-hour classroom presentations. Each year, the Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival features one of the top names in our sport. This year's special guest is Drew Chicone, a fly designer and author of the books "Feather Brain", "Snook Flies", "Essential Bonefish Flies", and his latest, "Redfish Flies". The young man has a big following on his blog "Salty Fly Tying". Larry Offner and I always look forward to this event, both as demo tyers and catching up with many friends from the Lone Star state.

Registration opens this Friday for BOW. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wll open registration January 30 for it's 27th annual "Becoming An Outdoors Woman" workshop. BOW is a national program founded in 1991. The program focuses on teaching women skills to participate in a wide range of outdoors activities. In Louisiana, 2015 Becoming An Outdoors Woman will be held March 27-29 at Camp Grant Walker in Pollock. The workshop is limited to 125 participants, and often that limit is reached within 3 days after registration begins. The cost is $200 and includes the following: lodging (bunk beds), all meals from Friday lunch to Sunday lunch, four hands-on educational sessions 3.5 hours each. Attendees must be 18 years of age or older to attend. Among the long list of courses are fly fishing and kayaking. For more info, go to LDWF BOW Website..

The new Wilderness Systems ATAK kayak will be one of the top prizes for the Kayak Bass Fishing Open 2015 on Kentucky Lake the weekend of March 13-15. This CPR tournament is open to puddlers from everywhere, and so far, there's a small contingent from Louisiana committed to the event. While I like the fact that the new ATAK boat is a prize, it's too bad none of us know what the final version of this kayak will look like. We've seen quite a few "glimmer shots" on the internet, and even been told a few specs of a prototype. But as to what the FINAL layout and specs of the boat will be, no one really knows for sure. It's turning out to be the most hyped pre-release boats since the Jackson Cuda. I'm sure Wildy is hoping it turns out as successful as the Cuda was.

Sunday, January 18, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Martin Luther King Day, a holiday for many and a fishing opportunity. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Church on 1620 East Lake Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins at 6:00pm, meeting begins at 7:00pm. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda is their upcoming Festival this Saturday, upcoming club activities and local crappie fishing reports. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their first meeting of 2015 at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guest speaker will be Jesh Smith who will talk about creek fishing from a kayak, including places to go and put in and take out. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the second of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your own tools, materials are provided. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the "Red River Rendezvous" at Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow. Hosted by the Red River Fly Fishers of Sherman, TX, this event is similiar to the Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous held each November at Toledo Bend. For details, go to www.rrff.org. On Saturday, it's the "Cenla Fly Fishing Festival" in Pineville. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. These one-day, 2-hour clinic cover the basics of tying flies. Tools and materials are provided. Class size is very limited, so registration is required. Call Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying workshop from 9:30am to 12 noon. Bring your own tools, materials provided.

Conclave season kicks off this Saturday with the first-ever Cenla Fly Fishing Festival at Kees Park Community Center in Pineville. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is free. Hosted by the Kisatchie Fly Fishers, this event features many of common aspects of conclaves: seminars, fly tying demonstrations, casting demos, basic instruction, exhibitors, raffles and/or silent auction, food and more. A schedule of activities, list of speakers, fly tiers and exhibitors, and other details of the Cenla Fly Fest can be found at the club's website at www.kisatchiefly.org.

After the Cenla Fly Fest conclave season continues with the Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston on February 7th hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers, the Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival in Murfreesboro, AR, on February 13-14, the Acadiana Conclave in Lafayette on February 28 hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders, the Red Stick Day fly festival in Baton Rouge on March 7 hosted by the Red Stick Fly Fishers, Fly Fish Texas at the TPWD Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX, on March 14, the Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home, AR, on March 26-28 hosted by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, the Caddo Conclave co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and the East Texas Fly Fishers at Caddo Lake State Park in Karnack, TX on April 10-11.

Allen Fly Fishing has launched their Exterus line of soft packs for 2015. These include two soft backpacks, a sling pack, and a lumbar pack (pictured). The lumbar pack has great versatility: it could be a lumbar pack, hip pack, chest pack, or go-bag for a kayak or boat. The Exterus bags feature nylon webbings, zinger attachment points with integrated magnets. The lumbar pack shown also has adjustable bottle holders. The price of the bags ranges from $79 to $129 (the lumbar pack shown is $89). Of course, signing up for the Allen email list entitles would-be buyers to a 15-percent discount which could applied towards purchase of bags or other Allen products.

Sunday, January 11, 2015
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. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Janet Rhoadus of Launch Leeville. Janet will discuss the new public landing in Leeville, history and future, as well as fishing in the Leeville area. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Hall in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Come early about 6:00pm if you wish to tie flies (bring your vise). Guest speaker will be Jane and Tom Gallenbach of River Ridge Guide Service on the Sabine River. Jane and Tom will discuss the soon-to-happen white bass run. The public is invited. On Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold their quarterly meeting at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda: presentations as well as the club's annual awards for 2014 (Angler of the Year and Fish Pics Tourney). Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. Starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show at the State Fairgrounds in Shreveport. Admission is $5, with under 12 free. For more info, go to www.statefairoflouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Minimalist Challenge" at the Leeville public launch. Registration is closed for this event, but with 100 kayakers working the area, the results should provide lots of reports for next week. Also on Saturday, Orvis will be holding another of their "Fly Tying 101" classes. This one-day, 2-hour free hands-on clinic will cover the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided. Class size is very limited, so registration is required in advance. For more info, or to register, call Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.

The Red Stick Fly Fishers have postponed their annual "Fly Fishing 101" day-long clinic. Normally held in February, the club is instead working with the local Orvis store which has been holding their own twice-monthly "Fly Fishing 101" clinics. In addition, Orvis is holding "Fly Fishing 201" this winter and spring, and will hold "Fly Tying 101" starting this Saturday, and repeating on Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, and Feb. 28. All these sessions are one-day, 2-hours in length. And free of charge! Last year, over 200 participants took part in the Orvis of Baton Rouge classes! The RSFF club is considering holding an alternative to FF101 that would complement the Orvis basic classes. While I was somewhat disappointed to hear about the club's FF101 session, I must say I was ecstatic to learn of their reasons why. Orvis Baton Rouge and it's manager, Alex Beane, is doing a tremendous job of promoting and growing our sport in Louisiana. Introducing that many new folks to the sport is great news!

Speaking of Orvis, this week they released a new line of Safe Passage products. I own several of the older Safe Passage bags and slings and find them of excellent quality. So now they're improved - several like the Orvis Sling Pack have water-resistant material on the bottom or other areas of vulnerability. And a few are new, also. One of those is their new "Carry it All" bag. The top half can carry 4-piece rods, while the bottom half has adjustable dividers and nets to carry reels, lines, fly boxes, sunglasses, tippets, pliers, terminal tackle and more. It includes a shoulder strap and a hand strap. The nylon is coated for water resistance. Price is $179. Extra dividers are also available.

Another new product revealed this week was the Allen Omega fly reel. Allen Fly Fishing - based out of Southlake, Texas - has been a leader in value-priced tackle, offering very good quality and using the internet and user testing to successfully develop and market their products. They're also expanding beyond their internet-direct sales and showing up in a few fly shops. Now Allen has decided to play with the big boys, offering a premium American-made fly reel. The Omega is machined and anodized in Michigan, and assembled in Texas. It features their strongest drag ever - 5 stacked carbon discs inside a totally sealed housing. Allen claims the highest tolerances of any reel in the industry. Some may argue that claim, but there's no arguing the colors of the Omega. They come in several color combinations from blue/red to gold/blue to silver/red and more. The price will range from $575 for the 8-weight to $675 for the 12-weight.

Also new - the Lamson Liquid fly reel. For those who find the Allen Omega way beyond their budget - and don't need all that dragpower - the Lamson Liquid seems like a great bargain at just $99. The cast aluminum reel has a fully-sealed conical drag - something found on more expensive reels. The reel is also made in the USA, a factor which will sway many potential buyers. While it's not suitable for saltwater (not anodized), it should be popular for trout and warmwater anglers. I like the fact that the 3/4-weight and 5/6 models have a narrow spool width (1 inch). Most inexpensive fly reels are small in diameter and wide in width which leads to line tangling. The Lamson Liquid will compete with the Sage 1800 series and the TFO Prism for a freshwater value reel.

Introducing the Wilderness Systems ATAK. Well, sort of. This week Wilderness Systems announced their new "Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak" or ATAK scheduled for release this spring. With it, they gave very few details and only a couple of pics, none of which gave much detail. Was it developed at Area 51 by alien technology? If so, the few glimpses indicate some rather old technology - a possible tri-hull yak. Not unlike the highly-proven Ocean Kayak Caper and Prowler models. Here's what we do know (from what WS tells us) - the deck is low-profile to shed wind. It is very stable, walkable, tracks well for it's length, has excellent speed and manuverability. Sounds exactly like the attributes of a tri-hull design. Of course, as Cormier's 1st Law of Puddling states, "Selecting a kayak for fishing is an exercise in compromise". In the case of the tri-hull, that compromise is hull slap. Which IMO is not a major issue. Nearly a thousand redfish caught from Caper would agree! If this boat can perform as Wilderness says, and comes equipped with their AirPro Max (frame) seat, then it should be a winner. We can't say how much it'll cost because even that's secret.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Is sneaux headed our way? The coldest air of the season has descended upon the Bayou State. Tonight's temps will go down into the teens across Louisiana north of I-10. That cold air will remain in place as a low pressure system over the Gulf moves northeast tomorrow and thru the weekend. Starting Thursday night, a chance of the white stuff over west, central and north Louisiana begins, with greater chances on Friday. Althought the precipitation chances are less than 50 percent, a "wintry mix" is still a possibility in some parishes thru Saturday. Sunday brings the greatest chance of rain, but it will be very cold rain (not the kind you want to fish in). Like I said on Sunday, it's a great time to tie flies!

LDWF to hold Caney Lake status meeting. On Tuesday, January 20, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public hearing on Caney Creek Reservoir issues, including an overview of aquatic vegetation issues and the results of recent fish population sampling. Time will be 7:00pm. Location will be Jimmie Davis State Park Conference Center in Chatham. Caney was once the premier bass and redear lakes in the state, prior to being (way) overstocked with grass carp. After which, the numbers of trophy bass and trophy redears greatly declined. According to biologists, larger gamefish need complex structure, which hydrilla and other grasses provide. Now that the carp have begun to die off, and grass is returning, bigger fish of all game species are showing up. In fact, it provided some of my best trips this year for bass, bream and crappie - on fly rod.

Sunday, January 4, 2015
What's happening this week. Welcome to the first full week of 2015! Let's hope it's a great start to a great year for all. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Blvd in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. The public is invited. On Wednesday the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Time is 6:00pm. Thursday thru Sunday, it's the 17th annual Southern Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show at the Houma Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma. For info, go to www.southernlouisianaboatrvshow.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will conduct a "Fly Fishing 201" course. This free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic is designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water applications. As well as learn a few more techniques. Pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact Alex Beane at (225)757-7286.

Now is the time for all good tiers to come to the aid of their clubs. Yes, January is the start of "conclave season", those one-day fly fishing festivals that feature seminars, fly tying demos, casting demos and clinics, exhibitors, and sometimes even kayak demos. Fly tiers are an invaluable resource to these events... it's well established that most seminar attendees spend a great deal of time watching the tiers. Tiers also often provide small donations of flies to help the conclaves raise money such that these events can be held without any cost to the public. If you're a tier, please consider making at least one, if not 2 or 3 of the state or regional events this spring. It's a small sacrifice to help grow our sport and pass it on to the next generation.

Speaking of tying, this will be a good week to tie flies for the season ahead (and putting a few aside for donations). Since that first "polar vortex" in November, we've been lucky to miss out on really cold weather. It's allowed some successful marsh trips for reds and even specks in typical late fall locations - not just the winter holes. That's about to change. The 2nd vortex arrives this Tuesday evening. Highs for Wednesday and Thursday will be in the upper 30s for most of north Louisiana, with 40s elsewhere. Lows statewide will dip into the 20s, perhaps even teens in some areas. Even worse, this cold brings 20 to 25 knot winds. The freeze will moderate a tad by the weekend, but only because more rain is expected. As I said, it's going to be a good week to tie flies.

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Merry Christmas! No organizational activities this week as Christmas is on Thursday. We'll also be taking a break from reporting any news, but will continue to post in the forum if warranted. That includes results of any fishing excursions. So... here's wishing a most blessed Christmas for all our friends! Hope everyone finds something under the Christmas tree they can use for their piscatorial pursuits in the coming year. And let's not forget the reason for the season: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.".

A new policy for 2015. Actually starting now, we will no longer accept Facebook pages as a representative site for organizations, outfitters, or other entities. Nothing against Facebook... in fact, we have a FB page and use it quite often. It's great tool for connecting with subscribed readers (via "likes") and pushing information to those readers. However, as "pull communication" it's much worse than a standard site and there's a few security concerns as well.

The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club has announced dates and details for their annual Series tournaments. These are five smaller tournaments (exclusive of Paddlepalooza and Fall-n-Tide) that have low entry fees ($20) and for which BCKFC members can compete for Angler of the Year. The tournaments are open to the public. The Series is sponsored by Pack and Paddle of Lafayette. Each tournament has a different "bag" for weigh-in. For 2015, one of those tournaments will be a Catch-Photo-Release (CPR) event for bass at Chicot Lake near Ville Platte. This marks the first freshwater series tournament in their 11-year history. Here are the events and dates: Minimalist Challenge, Leeville, Jan. 17; Yak-A-Bass, Chicot Lake, Mar. 21; Trout Challenge, Lafayette, June 13; Golden Meadow Smackdown, Sept. 12; Where Y'at Throwdown, Chalmette, Nov. 14. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.

Boondoggle coming to Louisiana. In other kayak fishing news this week, it was announced that the Kayak Fishing Boondoggle will be coming to Fountainbleu State Park in Mandeville the weekend of October 9-11, 2015. What's Boondoggle? It's the kayak fishing equivalent of a fly fishing conclave mixed in with some camping. There's seminars, kayak rigging workshops, kayak demos, manufacturer reps, kayak races, youth activities and more. Even fly casting and fly tying demos. There's a Friday night meet-and-greet and a Saturday night dinner. Admission is free, but camping, workshops and Saturday night dinner are extra. The entire campground and pavilion at Fountainbleu State Park has been reserved for this event. If you wish to reserve one of the 135 camping areas, tent or RV, you need to register thru the KFB portal at Yakangler.com.

Shrimp season closes tomorrow and according to a couple articles I've read, this year was described as "average". The brown shrimp season (spring-summer) started off very slow possibly due to the record cold winter. Prices were higher than I'd seen since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. By June, prices had come down substantially but never did approach that of 2013, despite lower fuel prices. The white shrimp season kicked off in August, and big numbers were caught in the Terrebonne estuary, but lower than normal in the Barataria estuary. Why is the shrimp harvest important to anglers? First, most of us love to eat the small crusteceans. But there's an old saying on the coast, "As the shrimp go, so do the speckled trout.". And it proved true in 2014. The trout never really showed up in numbers until the fall. And when they did, the Terrebonne waters (Cocodrie, Pointe-aux-Chenes, Golden Meadow, Sulphur Mine, Dularge, Dulac, Leeville west) had the best action.

Sunday, December 14, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Orvis in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The public is invited. Bring your tools, materials provided. If no tools, the club has a set of tools for use during these sessions. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their Christmas Gathering at Copelands in Alexandria. RSVP is required no later than 10pm today, contact Glen Cormier at 504-793-5855. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Church on 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their annual Christmas Party and December meeting at Pack and Paddle. The club will also hand out awards for it's annual tournament series. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their monthly fly tying series at the Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. The public is invited. For more info, go to their website at www.northlaflyfishers.org.

The December issue of The Angler magazine is available at most fishing stores in south Louisiana. It's a national magazine with national writers and columnists for the most part, but with local content added in by local writers. This month's edition of The Angler features include a gift guide for the fisherman on your Christmas list. In addition, there's several fly and kayak columns, highlighted by Conway Bowman's advise on "Adding Depth to a Sinking Fly", Andy Bowen's "Swinging for Steelhead" and Bruce Butler on sharing a kayak fishing experience with a veteran. For folks in Southeast Louisiana, the Greater Baton Rouge - Houma edition also features a monthly column by Larry Offner of WarmFly.com and Green Trout Fly Shop in Baton Rouge, titled "LA On The Fly". This month, Uncle Larry gives us his now-famous "The Fly Fisher's Twelve Days of Christmas". If I got even a tiny fraction of what's on his list, my days of Christmas would be happy, happy, happy! Pick up a copy and check it out (it's free).

Nucanoe introduces their new Pursuit. When Nucanoe hit the kayak fishing market with their Frontier series, it joined the Diablo Adios, Freedom Hawk, and Hobie Pro Angler as the most stand-up capable, fly fishing friendly, self-bailing (SOT) paddlecraft available. At 41 inches wide and a max weight capacity of 650 pounds, big men could join the puddling craze and not have to spend a fortune doing so (as opposed to the Hobie PA series). What's more, the simple configuration made for allowing 2 persons to fish, and for DIY setups. But as Cormier's 1st Law of Puddling states, "Choosing a paddlecraft for fishing is an exercise in compromise.". In the case of the Frontier, the compromise was speed... at 41 inches wide, it's going to be a somewhat-slow paddle compared to say, a Jackson Cruise at 31 inches wide. Now Nucanoe has responded to those who don't need that much capacity and want a little more speed. Available starting April, 2015, their new Pursuit fills that void. At 13.5 feet long and 35 inches wide, it's more than stable enough for stand-up fishing, yet quite faster (and consequently, longer range). Like the Frontier, it's clean deck is ideal for flycasting. There's also a motor mount for a trolling motor, along with fore and aft crate space, stern hatch and 2 internal rod tubes. The capacity is lower, but not much - 550 pounds. And unlike the PA series, the Pursuit is car-toppable weighing in at 79 pounds. One other note... the seat being shown in photos is NOT the final seat. Apparently NuCanoe is working on a seat that will have high/low settings much like the Jackson, Native, Feelfree and Old Town kayaks now have. The MSRP has not been set, but estimated to be around $1200.

Monday, December 8, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. 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. Dave Ellzey, author of "Texas River Bum" will present a program outlining the many fishing opportunities on Texas rivers. The public is welcome. For more info, email Bud. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Club member Catch Cormier will tie a couple of effective wintertime saltwater patterns. Beginners are welcome. For those wanting to tie along, bring your tools, materials provided. If no tools, CCFC has a few for use during the session. For more info, email Sunny. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. For more info, contact Colin at 985-264-3448. On Saturday, Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston will host their 8th annual Inshore Fly and Tackle Expo at their store on 8723 Katy Freeway. Time is 10:00am to 5:00pm. The FTU Expo will feature seminars by coastal anglers and captains, as well as casting demos and fly tying demos by the Texas Fly Fishers club. There is no cost.

Congratulations to the New Orleans Fly Fishers who will celebrate 30 years as a club starting next month. Their banquet Saturday night was well attended. Lisa and I were honored to be guest speakers, and we had a great time. The club had a successful fundraiser thanks to many sponsors and individuals who donated kindly, including Uptown Angler, Old Town Fly Shop, Green Trout Fly Shop, TFO, to name a few. The highlight of the evening was when club president Sean Gilthorpe recognized the contributions made by longtime member Joe Bandera. Joe has been instrumental in leading and teaching fly tying sessions, especially getting beginners into the art of the sport. In recognition, Joe was awarded Member Emeritus of NOFF. Truly well deserved!

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Some sad news from two clubs. First, the Red Stick Fly Fishers informed us that longtime member Tony Pounders passed away last Tuesday at the age of 70. Tony, a resident of Baton Rouge, was very active in the club's warmwater activities. Then yesterday evening, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers announced that one of their longtime members, Barry Bauer, had passed after a bout with cancer. Barry was a nationally-recognized bamboo rod maker, one of the best craftsmen to convert reed to rod. He was also an avid trout and small stream angler, and enjoyed fishing Kisatchie Bayou. Barry was also a regular at many events. Both Tony and Barry will be greatly missed.

> > > > >

  QUICK LINKS

LAFlyFish.com