Monday, October 5, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting begins at 6:30pm. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Metro New Orleans Chapters will host a Fall Fishing Seminar at Bryan Chevrolet at 8213 Airline Drive in Metairie. Time is 6:30pm. A $5 door donation is requested. Jambalaya dinner will be provided; there will also be beverages, raffles and door prizes. Among the speakers are charter captains CT Williams, Ahab Broadus, Mike Gallo, Dudley Vandenborre, Theophile Bourgeois, and Peace Marvel. Call 504-832-9903 for more info. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain club holds their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. For details, contact Colin McCormick 985-264-3448. Starting Friday and continuing thru the weekend, it's the 10th annual Kayak Boondoggle in Mandeville. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the 2nd weekend of Orvis Fall Days at Orvis-Baton Rouge located in Perkins-Rowe. It begins with "Fly Fishing 201" class. This is for anyone who has completed the Orvis Fly Fishing 101 class and wishes to take their skills to the next level. Students will meet at the store and head to a nearby pond for the class. It's free, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. Later that day, from 12:00 noon, is a free class at the store, "Adding Distance to Your Cast". If you wish to cast another 10 feet, or get the same distance in fewer false casts, or wish to double haul, bring your rod and sign up. For more info, call Orvis at 225-757-7286.
The Plastic Armada invades southeast Louisiana this weekend! Most of the world's supply of polyethylene could be on the water this weekend in the coastal areas of SELA. Here's a rundown of all that's happening: Kayak Fishing Boondoggle. This is the kayak fishing community's version of a fly fishing conclave. Not a tournament, but seminars, workshops, social activities, exhibitors, raffles, food, camping, and much more. Boondoggle is sponsored by YakAngler.com, and is held twice a year. Unlike most IFFF conclaves, the location of Boondoggle moves around so folks all across the country have an opportunity to attend and participate. This weekend's location will be Fountainbleu State Park in Mandeville. For complete info, go to the KFB portal at YakAngler.com. Also, the entire campground has been reserved for this event, so if you wish to camp at Fountainbleu, you need to do so thru the KFB portal at YakAngler.com. Another kayak event this weekend is the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour National Championship with activities out of Chalmette. Over 200 qualifiers from across the country will converge for the Captains meeting Friday evening, then fishing on Saturday and Sunday. Unlike most kayak fishing tournaments, the IFA-KT has open boundaries, so expect most of the participants to hit Grand Isle and Hopedale where bull reds have been running, and also Golden Meadow, Leeville, Port Sulphur and Shell Beach where good trout reports have been coming from. Highway 1 will see a LOT of kayak action this weekend because in addition to the IFA-KT, there's the Fish the Bayou Tournament out of LaRose Civic Center. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will be participating as one of their series tournaments. In addition, there's expected to be between 50 and 100 non-club puddlers participating in the Kayak Division. The FTB tournament had one of the largest kayak divisions of any "general" fishing tournament last year, and it's expected to be larger this year. FTB is a go-anywhere tournament, but most will fish along Highway 1 or Pointe-aux-Chenes or Montegut. Entry fee is $25. Categories include Slot Red Stringer (3 fish under 27"), Speckled Trout Pair (2 fish), and Trash Fish (heaviest any other species). In addition to the fishing, there's Cajun food, music, raffles and door prizes. All participants recieve a t-shirt and jambalaya dinner or shrimp fettuccini at the weigh-in. For more info, go to www.drmemorial.org. As if all this kayak activity isn't enough, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold another of it's free "Paddle Demo Days" at River Ridge in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats include models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, Dagger and YOLO. Yet another kayak activity... the Bayou Vermillion District is holding a "Beginners Canoe/Kayak Class" at Vermillionville in Lafayette this Saturday. Time is 8:30am to 11:30am. The cost is only $5 per person, but pre-registration is required at class size is limited to 24 persons. The class will cover the basics of safety, stability, paddle strokes and techniques for manuevering and propelling. For more info or to register, go to www.bayouvermiliondistrict.org.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Fish Louisiana portal now up. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has created a portal (website) for recreational fishing. The site is "Fish Louisiana" and the URL is www.fishla.org. For anglers, it's much easier to navigate than the current website and contains a lot more features. For example, The Fishing Professor can help you plan a fishing trip based on historical reports for freshwater, or for saltwater, the most recent reports from Louisiana Creel surveys, telling what species was being caught. The freshwater forecasts are broken down by area (we'd prefer to see something like what Mississippi has, but this is a good start). Among the dozens of other features are such things as Species Field Guide, Habitat Explorer, Seafood Recipes, LA License to Win Program, LA Tagging Program, Family and Youth Fishing Programs (including the LDWF Community Fishing Program known as "Get Out and Fish!"). One of my favorites in the new portal was the Species Field Guide. Click on any species on the initial page, it takes you to a page with info on that species, some quick facts about that fish in Louisiana, including the state record. There's tips on how to catch that species, where to find them, even videos and fishing methods (fly fishing is described). The list of species is quite comprehensive (even non-fish are identified) and for those who have lobbied for LDWF acknowledgement of the Rio Grande Cichlid, good news! The Rio is one of the species on the list. Now if only we can get LOWA to add Rios to the state record listing. Yet another feature of the portal - again there are dozens! - is an Event Calendar. Visitors can find out about upcoming tournaments and other activities (including fly fishing and kayak fishing events). The portal is still in development stage and may not work as well on some smartphones as it does on a PC. Also, the LDWF is welcoming any feedback on the site. Again, the portal site is www.fishla.org.
LDWF Get Out and Fish! Community Fishing Program continues to grow. The latest addition is Zemurray Park in Hammond. This week, 300 pounds of adult channel catfish will be stocked in the pond in advance of a fishing rodeo this coming Saturday, October 3rd. The rodeo this Saturday will have categories for Little Angler (8 and under), Junior Angler (ages 9-15), Adult Angler (16 and older). The first 100 registrants in attendance receive a free rod and reel and goody bag. Each participant will also be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Incidently, the GOAF program currently has one other location, Girard Park in Lafayette, and has a couple other locations under consideration including Alexandria. The ponds are stocked with catfish in warm months and with rainbow trout in winter.
We also missed this on week's happenings. Pack and Paddle will hold another of their "Kayaking 101 - Basic Skills for Flatwater Kayaking" workshops this Thursday afternoon at Lake Martin. Cost is $45 per person, and pre-registration is required. Normally these workshops book up a couple weeks in advance, but this one still has a few seats left. Speaking about Pack and Paddle, this Saturday is their annual "Outdoor Gear Garage Sale". If you've never been to one of these, it's amazing all the stuff that's for sale and some good bargains for puddlers too. Here's how it works... bring your gear (kayak, camping, fishing, etc) to PnP before Saturday. They'll tag it with a price you want to sell for consignment. If it sells, you get 75% amount in cash or 100% of in-store credit. The sale begins at Saturday at 8:00am. And there will be a line! So if you're looking to buy, better get there early.
Monday, September 28, 2015
The Governor's Race, Wildlife and Coastal Restoration. The October issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available statewide. And with the gubernatorial primary taking place October 24th, the four major candidates for the state's highest office - Scott Angelle, John Bell Edwards, Jay Dardenne and David Vitter - share their plans for LDWF, coastal restoration, and other issues of interest to sportsmen and conservationists. I urge LFF readers to pick up this issue, become informed, and most important, vote! In my "Fly Lines" column - entitled "End Your Crustacean Frustration" - we explore crab flies and how to fish them. A few redfish experts who routinely fish, and have designed crab patterns, share their opinions and advise. Learn what Bill Laminack, Tim Borski, Tristan Daire, and Mike LaFleur have success with. As with every issue, we also give the Monthly Fly Fishing Forecast and Upcoming Events. In his "Paddles 'N Puddles" column, Chris Holmes discusses what beginners to kayak fishing need to learn, and what avenues exist for getting the fast track to purchasing the right boat, and success on the water. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst tells why Knobbed Porgies may look funny, but they should be kept for the table. In their "Seafood Bible" column, Jerald and Glenda Horst give recipes for Greek Shrimp Salad and Trout Menuniere, courtesy of Collette Weaver and Ron Harris of Slidell. In his "Marine Electronics" column, Allan Tarvid tells us why despite high-tech developments in sonar, the basics remain the same. Feature articles of interest to anglers include: Top 5 sight-fishing tips for reds, South Louisiana fall bass, flounder opportunities in Pointe-aux-Chenes, keys to Fall speck fishing at Shell Beach and Hopedale, Monster trout this month around Lake Pontchartrain causeway, and fishing gifts for Christmas (it's not too early says author David Brown - and we agree!).
Sad news from the IFFF Southern Council. One of the headliners for this weekend's conclave, Lawrence Finney, will not be attending due to his current hospitalization and ongoing battle against esophageal and stomach cancer. Finney was in remission until recently. His workshops and seminars will be cancelled. I was especially looking forward to his program on "Fly Fishing in Ireland" being that I'm part Irish and fishing that country has been on my to-do list for some time. I'm even more disappointed about his situation... dealing with cancer is a beotch! We all join Larry Wegmann, SOC President, in praying for Lawrence to regain his health and get back soon to the water.
New book - Modern Terrestials. Just released from Headwater Books is a new publication, "Modern Terrestials: Tying & Fishing the World's Most Effective Patterns", co-written by Rick Takahaski and Jerry Hubka. The publication showcases many dozens of fly patterns for hoppers, ants, crickets and other terrestials that trout and other freshwater fish feed on. There's also some mention of tying techniques. While it's rated by reviewers as an excellent source for pattern reference with recipes for each pattern, with hundreds of high quality full color photos, it lacks other substantial information such as origin of the pattern, how to fish it, and so on. Since this is a fault with many fly tying books, it's unlikely to hurt sales. Still, count me among those tiers who like to know the background and history of a fly. One thing about fly books such as this - even if you're not a tier, the book comes in very handy for fly identification. There's been a lot of new terrestials created in the last decade that aren't referenced in other publications. A point to consider. Another consideration - being a reference book means sometimes needing quick access to certain fly patterns. The spiral bound format is a great help here. Even moreso considering the book is a whopping 856 pages long! If you download the Kindle version, it's 30 megabytes in size. The MSRP for Modern Terrestials is $39.95, but it's available from Amazon for $28.64 in spiral-bound book, or $9.99 as a Kindle book. It can also be ordered from Barnes and Nobles for $28.75.
Sunday, September 27, 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 1400 Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Meeting time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Casting begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. This month's guest speaker is renown bamboo rod maker Harry Boyd, who will talk about the history and construction of cane rods. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Orvis store in Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, if none the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Thursday, Gray Wolf Fly Shop will hold another of their fly tying workshops at their location at 5825 Southern Avenue in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Fly Fishing Fair (aka, conclave) at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. For more details, go to www.ifffsoc.org. Also starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers' annual Fall warmwater outing to Lake Concordia. For more details, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at BREC's Wampold Park near the LSU Campus. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Please call 225-925-2667 to confirm if weather issues arise. On Sunday, Backpacker of Lafayette will hold a free Paddle Demo Day at Sugar Mill Pond in Lafayette. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. At both demos, Backpacker will have boats from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception and YOLO for testing.
Watching the Gulf. We've enjoyed a Summer (and Fall) free of tropical activity off the Louisiana coast. In large part to a strong ridge of high pressure that's also been responsible for severe drought in western parishes, and above-average temperatures statewide the last part of September. However, we're still in hurricane season. It's not uncommon for storms to form in the southwest Gulf during late September and early October. As of 11:00pm last night, the National Hurricane Center was monitoring an area of low pressure over the Yucatan. Investigate 99L as it's called, is being given a 40% chance of tropical formation before making landfall in the northeastern Gulf coast by Tuesday. My guess is this will impact fishing plans for the coast. Let's hope that's the extent of 99L.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Summer holding on... barely. It may be the first day of Fall, but it doesn't feel like it. I got back late Monday from two weeks in Wyoming and what a shock! From freezing temperatures and snow on the tail end of our stay there, to 90 degrees. Yesterday a moderate north wind and low humidity made it somewhat comfortable despite the high temps again hitting near 90 degrees. The 7-day forecast calls for more of the same here in the Cenla area... highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid 60s. We're still a bit above average for this time of the month. But as I've said many times before, it's radiative cooling that counts. And the water temperatures continue to decline ever so slowly. I've been getting reports of trout catches improving on interior lakes such as Catfish, Prien, Chien, Sanbois, Borgne, etc. I still think we need that one big cool front - the one that usually comes the last week of September or first week of October - to accelerate the push of trout inside, the big reds back to the ponds, and of course, move those peskies (catfish, ladyfish, pinfish) offshore. As for freshwater, the crappie, redears and white bass are on schedule for the start of their Fall run.
Geirach and Gowdy among 2015 HOF inductees. On October 10th, the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Livingston Manor, New York, will hold it's annual induction ceremony. Each year, the Museum recognizes the lifetime achievements of individuals who have made major contributions to the sport of fly fishing. HOF members include Theodore Gordon, Lefty Kreh, Lee Wulff, Bob Clouser, Zane Grey, Dave Whitlock, Robert Redford and 67 others. The list of 2015 inductees includes: Bill Elliot, John Gierach, Curt Gowdy, and Charles Ritz. Elliot is an artist and illustrator whose works have appeared in 38 books and several magazines including Field and Stream. Ritz was one of the early 20th century flycasting wizards. Not only an instructor, he designed fly rods including a fiberglass rod called the LL/LF (Long Lift, Long Flex) and developed a casting technique for it. While Elliot and Ritz may not be well known, Gierach and Gowdy certainly are. Just about every longtime fly angler I know has one (or more) of John Gierach's books. Among the 20 titles are "Trout Bum", "Where the Fish Are As Long As Your Leg", "Sex, Death and Flyfishing". He's also written numerous columns for various magazines. The Wall Street Journal has called Gierach "the voice of the common angler". Curt Gowdy is one of the top sportcasters in broadcasting history - and an avid fly angler. But his contribution to our sport came as host of "The American Sportsman" on ABC which ran from 1965 to 1984. It was that program that introduced many of the legends of fly fishing - and the sport itself - to many millions of Americans, and remains the most popular outdoors show in TV history. Congratulations to all 2015 HOF inductees!
LDWF opens a new kayak launch site. For most kayak anglers, one of the joys of the sport is being able to launch at just about any public access to water. However, when such access is limited, or when parking is an issue, a dedicated kayak launch is a dream come true for puddlers! The growing popularity of kayak fishing has brought attention for the need for kayak-specific launches. In recent years, saltwater launches have been created at Grand Isle (next to LDWF facility), Leeville (end of road) and Lake Prien (LaFleur Park in Lake Charles). A few marinas including Topwater Marina (Leeville), Bridgeside (Grand Isle) and Sweetwater Marina (Delacroix) have kayak launches. Freshwater kayak launches are sparse but here in the Cenla area several lakes have areas for puddlers to launch. LDWF has been looking to add kayak launches whenever it adds, or upgrades, a boat launch. The latest is on their Ben Lilly Conservation Area which provides access to Bayou Bartholomew. While the bayou is popular with anglers, the majority of paddlers are recreational, enjoying the scenery and wildlife it has to offer. Regardless, expect puddlers to utilize this new launch immediately as "white perch" fishing is coming into season.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
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. Dan Fromme will lead the session demonstrating the Griffith's Gnat. Beginners are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 9:00am to 11:30am. Bring your tools, some can be provided. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome.
This Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Festivities are held in the majority of states across the country. For example, Mississippi Wildlife Federation will celebrate the day with it's annual "Outdooramra On The Rez" held at the Turcotte Lab off Highway 43 on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson. Here in Louisiana, NHF Day is hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, with celebrations at four venues: Waddill (Baton Rouge), Cenla (Woodworth), Bodcau (Minden), and Monroe. Each venue is free and open to the public. Waddill and Cenla have a few thousand attendees each year, mostly families with kids. There's numerous activities such as shooting, archery, paddling, fly casting, to name a few. Also exhibitors, and plenty food and refreshments. Some venues also hold a Kids Fishing Rodeo that morning. The Bodcau, Woodworth and Waddill venues feature fly casting, fly tying and fly fishing discussion courtesy of local clubs. For the clubs, it attracts a few new members, but mostly gets exposure. And even more important, exposes youth to fly fishing. For complete details on each venue, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
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. Casting practice at 6:30pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guest speaker will be Chester McDonald who will talk on "Preparation for Fly Fishing in Alaska". The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Hall off the LA1 bypass in Natchitoches. Casting at 6:00pm, food served at 6:30pm, and meeting at 7:00pm. Members of the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will be on hand to discuss the two clubs' "Red River Fishing Expo" set for March 5, 2016. Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Pauls Lutheran Church Commnity Center on Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: fall fishing trips, tackle tips, and "Fish the Bayou" tournament coming up October 10th. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the IFFF Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair in Ocean Springs. More on that later. On Saturday, the Backpacker in Lafayette will hold a free "Paddle Demo Day" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Dagger, YOLO and more. Call 337-406-8754 to confirm if weather becomes an issue.
The 2015 IFFF Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair is this weekend at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This "conclave" sponsored by the International Federation of Fly Fishers, Gulf Coast Council, offers a wide range of activities. In addition to programs, fly tying demonstrations, casting classes and workshops, there's also a Friday evening casual dinner at the beach with awards, drinks, food, and auction. On Saturday morning, there's a breakfast at the Gulf Coast Research Lab. Here's the best part - admission is FREE and most of the activities are FREE. Folks can still register online for some of the workshops, Friday night dinner, etc. by going to the IFFF-GCC website at www.gulfcoastfff.org. There's a link from the GCC website to their blog which contains detailed info, along with links for each activity that you can register for. Pretty neat! I will say this... if you attended the old GCC conclaves when the council was mostly Texas, this one has a more "Eastern Gulf" feel to it and you'll be surprised to see many tiers from Mississippi, Alabama, and northwest Florida that are very talented.
Monday, September 7, 2015
Early registration for three events ending soon. The IFFF Gulf Coast Fly Fair is coming soon, the 18th (Friday) and 19th (Saturday) of this month, at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, MS. While admission is free, there are several casting and tying workshops with limited seats availability. Pre-registration is advised since most of these workshops fill up prior to the event. Also, attendees for the GCC "conclave" can early register for the Friday night casual banquet (with awards, auction), a Saturday morning buffet breakfast, and a Saturday BBQ lunch. Earlier today I posted in the EVENTS FORUM links to GCC Fair schedule of activities. For those activities where registration is required, simply click on the links within the schedule. The IFFF Southern Council is holding their conclave the first full weekend of October (2nd and 3rd) in Mountain Home, AR. Early registration for that event ends September 15th. There's a registration form that can be printed and emailed or mailed in. In addition to getting in on workshops, there's a discount for admission and other activities by pre-registering. For more, go to www.ifffsoc.org and click on "FAIR". The Kayak Fishing Boondoggle - the kayak fishing world's version of a conclave - is coming up October 8th thru 12th at Fountainbleu State Park in Mandeville. Online registration is currently open. Admission is just $5 and includes nearly all activities. Registration is required for camping in the park. Folks can also buy raffle ticket bundles in advance that go to support Heroes On The Water (HOW), as well as event merchandise. For more, go to www.kayakfishingboondoggle.com.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Labor Day, and the last day of the CCA STAR tournament. All fish must be weighed in by 5:00pm Monday afternoon to qualify. Remember - in the Fly Division - your trout doesn't have to make the leaderboard to win a prize. So if you catch a 14-inch or larger trout these next two days, register it for a shot at the Fly Bonus Drawing to be held later this month. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. Guest speaker this month will be Rex Walker, an IFFF Certified Instructor and a member of TFO's Pro Staff. Rex will talk about "Fly Lines - Composition, Differences and Selection". Should be a great program! The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church Hall at 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the Ponchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. For directions or info, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448. On Saturday, it's the 6th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo at City Park in New Orleans. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual "Golden Meadow Smackdown" kayak tournament. It's open to the public, entry fee is just $20. Fishing time is 5:00am with weigh-in from 2:00pm to 3:00pm at Oak Ridge Community Park in Golden Meadow. It's a roadrunner event, with boundaries from the flood wall gates in town, north to Basons in Galliano. Payouts for the heaviest bag of 5 slot reds and 1 flounder. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org.
This Saturday's Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo will be held at New Orleans City Park for the fifth time in it's 6-year history. Sponsored by the New Orleans Fly Fishers club, it has established itself as the premier warmwater fly fishing tournament in the Gulf South. There are several reasons for this. First, registration is free and open to members of all recognized fly fishing clubs. Can't beat free! Second, food is provided. And if you're interested in something beyond barbecue burgers and hot dogs, there's several famous local establishments nearby including those world-famous Parkway Bakery po-boys. Third, you won't meet a friendlier bunch of folks. And fourth... and perhaps the biggest reason the Rio Rodeo gets so much interest is the species itself. The Rio Grande cichlid is identified as an "invasive species" that has established itself in most of the canals, bayous and lagoons in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes (although IT IS native to the USA). Rios are like bluegill on steroids in terms of size, but more like sheepshead when it comes to fight. They are quite wary, and whatever flies you choose, think s-l-o-w. This advise comes from last year's Rio Rodeo winner. Word is, he's out west most of this month, so a new tournament champion will be crowned this Saturday. Along with 2nd and 3rd places, all which have some nice prizes. For anyone interested in participating, here's the important details: fishing is from 8am to 12 noon, registration is available by email or onsite, onsite registration starts at 7:30am at the NOFF tent across from the Softball Complex on Diagonal Drive, donuts and coffee provided that morning, lunch and drinks during weigh-in and awards. Another suggestion: bring a cooler bag or small ice chest with ice for bottled water and fish as it will be warm (mid-80s). For more details, including registration info, check the Calendar Page or Events Forum.
The next Joan Wulff? History was made at the American Casting Association's annual National Casting Championships last month in Long Beach, California. Maxine McCormick had the highest score in history for Womens Fly Accuracy, with a combined 289 - out of a possible 300 - for all three events in fly accuracy. The previous record, set almost 20 years ago, was 286 by Brenda McSporran of Canada. Furthermore, Maxine's 289 score would've placed her 4th in the Men's Division. Even more amazing - Maxine is only 11 years old! You might recognize two of the men who bettered her score - flycasting legends Steve Rajeff and Chris Korich. The third was her dad, Glenn McCormick. Both McCormicks were named to the All-American Casting Team. Here are a few other highlights from the ACA Championships: in the 1-Hand Fly Distance, Pam Peters won the Womens with 131 feet, Henry Mittel edged out Steve Rajeff in the Mens (224 feet to 220 feet) with Larry Allen finishing 3rd with 182 feet, Per Brandin and Zack Willson both finished Seniors Men with 146 feet with Brandin winning the cast-off at 143 feet. In the 2-handed Fly Distance, Pam Peters finished 1st in Womens with 154 feet, Zack Willson finished 1st in Senior Men with 188 feet followed by John Serocznynski with 181 feet, and Steve Rajeff won Mens with 271 feet followed by Henry Mittel at 253 feet. In the Anglers Fly Division, Pam Peters again was 1st with 133 feet, Gail Donoghue-Gallo won Senior Women with 118 feet, Per Brandin won Senior Men with 136 feet, Henry Mittel won Mens Division with 170 feet, and Maxine McCormick won the Junior Division with 111 feet (a new national record for the Junior Division).
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Just added to the LFF Calendar this weekend the Orvis store in Baton Rouge, located in Perkins-Rowe, will conduct a "Fall Redfish Flies Tying Demo" on Saturday and Sunday led by store associate Bailey Short. Exact times and details are posted in our Fly Tying Forum. Also, in October, Rob Woodruff will be conducting another of his Entomology 101 workshops at Three Rivers Fly Shop in Broken Bow, with part of the workshop taking place on the Lower Mountain Fork River. Registration is limited and there's a cutoff date of October 16.
We are saddened of the passing of Chet Smith. He was 73. Chet and his wife Pat have been an institution in north Arkansas fly fishing, and heavily involved in both the Sowbug Roundup and the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair (conclave) over many years. Chet - a Life Member of the IFFF - was also involved with Friends of the Norfork Fish Hatchery. Chet was also an avid tyer and appeared at the tying tables at various events. He also served as president of the North Arkansas Fly Fishers. What I didn't know - in reading an article by his friend John Berry, that Chet had a long and distinguished career as a special agent for the FBI. What I do know - southern fly fishing has lost a great friend.
With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last week there's been much in the news about what the storm did to the lives of people in New Orleans and south Louisiana. Much has also been written, televised, or discussed about the storm's impact on our coast. The devastation of lives, property and wetlands has since led to the closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) and construction of a complex levee/gate system east of New Orleans, and the addition of more levees in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. While this has done much to protect lives and property, the task of rebuilding our marshes remains in limbo. The money is there, the plan is there. But questions about the plan keep arising. Here's what I do know... the Laurier-Palourde system I fish so often was once "Flyfishers Heaven" where 20+ reds per day on fly wasn't uncommon for us, either from boat or kayak. Hundreds of small ponds connected by twisting, narrow waterways has since been replaced by one vast open, very shallow lake. As for lakes Laurier and Palourde, these were 8+ feet deep with oyster bottoms and year-round home to speckled trout. It was almost a given to catch 10-20 trout on a decent tide day. The lakes are now silted in and trout fishing is fair at best. Another favorite spot of ours was Port Sulphur. That area too took a big hit from Katrina and is too a shadow of it's former self. But there is hope - Delacroix is an example of what can be done with river diversion. The numbers of redfish and bass that kayakers have been catching from this area the last couple years is staggering! Anti-diversion folks believe sediment pipelining is the answer. I believe BOTH diversions and pipelines are the answer... LET'S GET STARTED!
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
September is here, and that means transition. SweatFest ends this month, and weather persons can finally return from their 3-month vacation (even though they were on call for any Gulf storms). Take here in the Cenla area. The average for today is 92 high, 72 low. For September 30, the averages are 84 high, 62 low. But that's half the story, because the average humidity is lower in September as well. The combination of lower air temps and lower humidity and shorter days/longer nights means greater radiative cooling of waters. As mentioned a week ago, water temps are already on the decline. Okay... I do talk a LOT about cooling water this time of year. But it is VERY significant to fish. Already the crappie and white bass action has picked up, bass are starting to feed on schooling shad. Now there's some reports that speckled trout are beginning to move back into the upper bays and interior marsh. Again, "transition" is a slow development. Don't expect to hit some deadend canal in Chauvin this month and catch a bunch of trout. But at least it's starting.
Events of interest this month. On September 12, it's the annual Rio Grande Rodeo hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers club. Held at City Park Lake, it's a fly fishing only tournament open to all members of organized clubs, with the only eligible species being the Rio Grande cichlid that is ever so popular among warm fly enthusiasts. Details can be found on our LFF Forum. The weekend of September 18-19, it's the annual IFFF Gulf Coast Fly Fair at the Ocean Springs (MS) Civic Center. The largest "conclave" on the northern Gulf Coast is hosted by the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Gulf Coast Council. The Fair features programs, fly tying demos, casting clinics, exhibitors, a banquet with auction, an IFFF Bronze Skills Tying Program Class, and much more. Best of all, it's FREE! There's also special rates for IFFF members. For complete details, go to www.gulfcoastfff.org. On September 26, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day, the largest outdoors festival held in Louisiana each year. NHF Day is celebrated at four venues: Waddill (Baton Rouge), Bodcau (Minden), Cenla (Woodworth), and Monroe. Each venue is free and open to the public. There's numerous activities, exhibitors and plenty of food and refreshments. Some venues also hold a Kids Fishing Rodeo that morning. The Bodcau, Woodworth and Waddill venues feature fly casting, fly tying, and knots courtesy of local clubs. Woodworth and Waddill also have paddling activities. For more info, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov.
New for 2016 - Pescador Pro kayak. Previously we wrote about several new kayaks we examined at ICAST, including the "Best Boat" and "Overall Best of Show" winner, the Eddyline C135. There were two other boats that came pretty darn close to the Eddyline for best boat honors, and the Perception Pro 120 was one of them. Pescador is one of several brands of Confluence Sports, which also includes Wilderness Systems, Dagger, and Mad River Canoe. Perception has been around a long time... my first experience kayak fishing was in a Perception Keowee in 1988. More recently, Perception boats have been older molds of a few popular Wilderness boats, e.g., Perception Sport 120 is the old Tarpon 120. In effect, it's been the budget brand of Confluence. But times are a changin'... the new Pescador Pro is an entirely new mold. It's wider and stable, yet with enough speed, and tracks much like a longer boat. The boat has a new seat not found on the Wilderness models - a framed lawn chair type seat that quickly adjusts to a high or low position. The front hatch has been replaced with a mesh-covered tankwell - something those of us who use fish bags find highly useful. There's gear tracks on each side, a built-in tranducer scupper, and a rear skid plate that can be replaced when worn (from dragging the boat on concrete ramps). The color options include Sunset, Sea Spray, Red Tiger Camo and Moss Camo. Although no specifications were given in the press release, at ICAST I was told the length was 12'0" (and thus 120 name), 33 inches wide, and 64 pounds without the seat. Retail price will be under $800. If the PP120 lives up to it's hype - stability, tracking, speed, comfort, functionality, open cockpit, lightweight - at this price it will be a solid winner!
Sunday, August 30, 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. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior to the meeting at 6:00pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Social gathering at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm. On Thursday, Gray Wolf Fly Shop holds an informal fly tying session at their shop on 5825 Southern Avenue in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if any. If not, tools can be provided. Materials are provided. On Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Paddle Demo Day" at the BREC Wampold Park in Baton Rouge. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats include models from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, and YOLO. Folks may want to go early as the campus will be busy with LSU's home opener at 6:00pm against McNeese State. More on that later.
This is the last week for CCA STAR. In the Fly Divisions, currently Rudy Hall leads the East with a 3.72-pound speckled trout, while Ruston Logan leads the West with a 6.11-pounder. In the Kayak Divisions, Chris Weaver leads the East with 2.78 pounds, Doug Menefee the Southeast with 5.40 pounds, Paul Vondenstein the Southwest with 4.14 pounds, and Stephen Outten leads the West with 7.75 pounds. There have been very few bigger trout caught the last couple of weeks - with one notable exception. The Vermillion Bay area (Southwest) is turning on as is typical when the Atchafalaya River drops and higher salinities. In previous STAR tournaments, it's not been unusual for a new leader in the Southwest to emerge in the last two weeks. Regardless of who leads, anyone who entered a trout in the Fly Division - and who doesn't win - gets their name into the Bonus Drawing which will be announced later in September.
College football season kicks off this Thursday with a few games on TV, including Southeastern Louisiana at Northwestern in Natchitoches. On Saturday, LSU takes on McNeese State at home with Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette leading the Fighting Tigers. Louisiana Tech finished strong last year, going 9-4 and beating Illinois in the Heart of Texas bowl. They'll host Southern in Ruston. UL-Lafayette won their 3rd straight New Orleans Bowl last season. They'll travel to SEC school Kentucky which is expected to be improved from last year's 5-7 record. UL-Monroe has a bigger SEC foe and a daunting task - number 9-ranked George in Athens. The Warhawks have pulled big upsets over ranked teams before, so anything's possible! Grambling travels to California to play California.
The September issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out. In this month's Fly Lines column, "Rods of Future Past", I discuss several of the new fly rods featured at ICAST in July, including models from Diamondback, Powell and Thomas and Thomas. I tested 53 models in all, and give my rankings for premium, mid-price, and budget ranges. In his Paddles and Puddles column, Chris Holmes writes about "Boondoggle - Louisiana Style". Yes, Boondoggle is coming to our state the weekend of October 9 thru 12. It's the kayak fishing world's version of a conclave. With camping a large component as well. There are very few non-tournament kayak events. Boondoggle happens to be the one of the country's largest. Like most kayak anglers, I'm really forward to it. Chris gives all the details! In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst give recipes for crawfish etoufee, crawfish-stuffed boneless flounder, and instructions (with photos) on how to debone a flounder. Articles of interest to anglers include: fishing for the "persnickety" Mangrove Snappers, night fishing in Delacroix, hotspots in the Barataria area for transition trout during September, and tactics for offshore fishing. Also an article on how Toledo Bend became the state's number one bass fishery.
New in fly tying - Peak Jurassic Vise. One of the few new fly tying gadgets at ICAST was Peak's new Jurassic Vise. It was developed in particular for saltwater flies, deer hair flies, large streamers and other flies that require large hooks. The Jurassic uses a whole new approach to holding hooks, called the "Large Iron Retention System". Unlike most vises which depend on friction to grip the hook, the LIRS locks itself around the hook wire. With a regular vise, a heavy force on the winding thread can displace the hook. Not with this vise. Peak was giving a demonstration at their booth and I got the chance to test it myself - not with thread, but with a pair of pliers. A size 6/0 hook would bend and never displace, no matter how hard I pushed down. Even if you don't require such a titanic grip on your hook, the Jurassic's easy-to-use knob, rotary feature, and lifetime warranty make it worth strong consideration. MSRP is $319.
New for 2016 - Orvis Hydros SL reel. One of several new fly reels at ICAST was the Hydros SL from Orvis. It didn't get nearly as much attention as the new reel from Nautilus, but it should have! The SL stands for "Super Large" arbor. Like the popular Hydros reel, the SL version is fully machined frame and spool, and features a sealed carbon drag system. However, the SL boasts 8.2 inches per retreive, while maintaining high backing capacity. The SL has negligble startup inertia and a maximum drag of 14 pounds. It'll come in four sizes to accomodate lines and backing from 3-weight to 12-weight. One feature that I particularly liked was the narrow spool width. Often spool width is widened considerably in order to accomodate backing on very large arbor reels. As Lefty Kreh often says, The wider the spool, the more troubles that can accumulate, especially if a large fish is hooked. Another feature I really liked was the price - suggested retail will be $198.
Drawdowns begin this week for several lakes. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced sometime back that four lakes - including 3 in the Cenla area - will be drawn down this fall to combat nuisance vegetation. Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish will be lowered 3 feet below pool. The control structure will be closed no later than January 15. The lake will not be closed to fishing. Most of the vegetation is hydrilla. Iatt Lake in Grant Parish will be lowered 6 feet below pool. The control structure will be closed November 5th. The major issue with Iatt is giant salvania. Cotile Lake in Rapides Parish - my home water - will be lowered 8 feet below pool. Already, it's down about 2 feet, and there's talk the lake could be drawn down to 9 feet upon request of the residents (most of the lake is 15-25 feet deep). At low water level, herbicide sprays will be conducted. While salvania exists on Cotile - mostly in the swamp areas on the south end around Hemphill bayou - it's minor. The open waters force salvania to concentrate in small coves where spraying (twice a year) has been very effective. The big problem on Cotile is hydrilla. Nearly all of the hundreds of bream spawning beds in the "islands" area was covered up last year and this year, and bream fishing has been way below par this year. The last of the four lakes to be drawn down is Bistineau. According to the LDWF report, the drawdown began on August 3rd, and will continue no later than January 15th. LDWF estimates that nearly 1,800 acres of giant salvania cover the 17,000 acre lake. Bistineau will be lowered to 7 feet below pool. At low stage, an estimated 10,000 acres of water will remain and fishing will still be allowed.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
A taste of Fall. A cool front passed thru the state on Monday, giving us a refreshing relief from SweatFest. The last three mornings, temps here in the Cenla area have been in the lower 60s. And even though the high temps have been around 90, the low humidity and nice breeze have finally made it nice to be outdoors without sweating up a small river. As I've said before, it's still too early for any front to have a lasting effect... a couple more weeks and that'll change. This cooler weather has had a big impact on water temperature. Just two weeks ago, Cotile Lake was measuring 90 degrees surface. That dropped to 88 last week due to the start of radiative cooling. This morning it was down to 81 degrees! The fish are definitely feeling it... yesterday afternoon was the best fishing day on the lake since June - almost 40 sacalait on the fluff butt, in fairly shallow water! While most were small (6-7 inches), five were in the 10-inch range. Looks like the bass are also starting to blow up on schools of shad. We have a few more weeks before saltwater gets into the game, but it's coming!
We were saddened to learn that Jimmy Carter has melanoma on the brain. At a press conference last week, the 90-year old former president stated that he'll be undergoing intravenous drug doses and radiation treatment. Regardless of your political affiliation or preference, or opinion of Carter during his term as president, there's no argument about his character, or about his love of fly fishing. No president in the modern era, other than Dwight Eisenhower, has been so dedicated to the sport. Or had as much expertise. He's written articles and even a book "An Outdoor Journal" and just last year took a trip to Mongolia to fly fish for the taimen, a coldwater trout on steroids. We certainly wish the best for President Carter and a quick and full recovery.
New for 2016 - St. Croix Mojo Fly Rods. Fanatical fly rod bassers like myself were disappointed to hear that Ross is discontinuing their FlyStik series (all fly rods in fact). Take solace my furry friends! St. Croix has a new "bass fly rod" based on their very popular - and highly rated - Mojo spinning and casting series. The three rods in the Mojo Fly are 7, 8 and 9 weight, all 7-foot, 11-inches. That length supposedly makes them tournament legal, although we've yet to see any fly rods used in the BassMasters Classic. But the shorter length comes in very handy, thank you! Not just with accuracy, but getting that popper, streamer, or worm imitation under docks and hanging branches. It's also great for kayak anglers as the rod tip is less likely to snag or impact. I didn't get to cast the Mojo much, just a few casts. But it was quite impressive, enough to earn my accolades (see the September issue of Louisiana Sportsman for a complete listing). The moderate-fast action loaded well at all casting ranges, topping out at around 80-90 feet. Best of all, the Mojo is very affordable at $150, and comes with a 5-year warranty.
New for 2016 - Chums Downstream Waist Pack. Frequent readers of Louisiana Fly Fishing recognize my fondness for waist packs. They're certainly more comfortable during hot summer months than traditional vests, and slightly moreso than shoulder packs. While there are several on the market, the Downstream by Chums offers waterproof main pocket, waterproof welded seams, waterproof zipper, and water resistant front pocket. Get the feeling this is a pack that can be used in inclement weather? It's big enough to hold 2-4 fly boxes plus tippets, strike indicators, etc. yet at 10 inches wide not too big. The $45 suggested retail price is just right as well.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Chris Patterson, director of Alexandria Parks and Recreation. Guests are welcome. 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. Mike LaFleur will be instructing on tying some of his famous charlies. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold their monthly general meeting, location TBA. Time is 7:00pm. On Saturday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their 6th annual Cajun Castaway tournament at Calcasieu Point Landing in Lake Charles. Fishing time begins at 6:00am, with weigh-in deadline at 3:00pm. Entry fee is $25. Fishing is anywhere in Cameron or Calcasieu parishes, artificial tackle only. Heaviest Cajun Slam (slot red, speck, flounder) places awarded. For more info, or to register, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters will hold a Kayak Demo on Bayou St. John in New Orleans, 1405 Moss Street. No cost. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Native, Wilderness Systems, Jackson, Perception, and Bote. Call 800-754-7467 to confirm weather, or to request a certain model.
Changes on the Little Missouri River. One of the most popular year-round coldwater fisheries for Louisiana fly anglers, the Little Mo is located just 2.5 hours north of Shreveport. According to Jeff Guerin's website, www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com, Arkansas Fish and Game has been doing construction work on the banks and trails of the river. The changes are minor, but should be beneficial to the river and to anglers. Rocks have been added to the Riverside park area, and to Hinds Bluff area, to impede bank erosion. One benefit may be to increase river flow near the rocks and create better cover and habitat for trout. But perhaps the biggest modification - as evidenced by the photo shown taken by Jeff - is that the Hinds Bluff access is now paved (both access road and parking area). This will be greatly appreciated by those of us who felt we sometimes needed four-wheel drive to get in during the monsoon season!
Keeping an eye on Danny. As of this writing, the former hurricane is continuing to weaken as a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. It's location is just east of the Lesser Antilles, and it continues to move westward at 16 mph. Just a couple days ago, all of the models were projecting Danny to take a northwest and then northern turn as it approached the Dominican Republic, then moving into the Atlantic coast east of Florida. However, as of this writing, half the models now project movement into the Gulf of Mexico. No matter how weak this storm becomes, if it enters Gulf waters, conditions are favorable for rapid redevelopment. We've now entered prime storm season (August 15 to October 15) when on average, every day there's at least one hurricane in the Atlantic basin.
Speaking of weather, yesterday was an annual milestone. In Louisiana, August 22nd is equivalent in solar radiation to April 21st. Yes, the days are getting shorter and nights longer. And even though we're still a full month away from the Fall equinox, any day now radiation cooling will begin in the northern parishes of the state. What does that mean? Last week's area lake surface temperatures were in the low 90s. Over the next four weeks, water temps will drop a few degrees even if air temperatures stay warm. If we get a cool front, the drop will be more significant. What's critical is the nightly low temperature and the humidity. Last year, a cool front the 2nd week in September and here in the Cenla area, we reached 58 and 60 degrees consecutive nights. The water temp on Cotile Lake fell from 86 to 80... and never came back up! When lake temps fall, two things can happen, one good, one bad. The bad - inversion and low oxygen. Sluggish fishing at best, mild fish kills at worst. The good - cooler water holds more oxygen, fish get more active. Even when the "bad" happens, it's often followed by the "good" within a couple weeks.
New for 2016 - Sage Bolt and Pulse fly rods. At ICAST, Sage introduced two new rod series, the Bolt and the Pulse. The Bolt was created to complement their Accel series. Like the Accel, it features Sage's Generation 5 technology. However, as the Accel is a medium-fast rod, the Bolt is being described as "ultra fast" action. At ICAST, we found the Bolt to be a very powerful rod... perhaps too powerful for my moderate tastes. Nevertheless, for salty anglers looking for distance or to cast flies into the teeth of a stiff wind, the Bolt delivers. The blank color is described as "salmonfly"... that's "copper" to most of us. Retail price is $650. The Pulse rod (photo shown) was more my cup of tea. It's built using Sage's Graphite IIIe technology. What does that mean? Supposedly, power and durability with fast action. The Pulse may be fast, but it's not nearly as fast as the Bolt, and loads over shorter distances more easily. It's also more affordable, with single-hand models $450 ($550 switch, $650 Spey). Freshwater models have a rosewood insert, saltwater models with machined aluminum reel seats and fighting butts. Both models are made in the USA and feature lifetime warranties.
New for 2016 - Scientific Anglers Electron Reel. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Scientific Anglers was considered one of the top manufacturers of affordable performance fly reels. Made of diecast, anodized aluminum, the System 2 reels were the choice of many Louisiana marsh flyrodders. Over the years, other companies emerged, and others like Orvis, Redington, Sage, Lamson, Ross, etc., improved their product line while holding down cost. The new norm for value saltwater reels was "large arbor, machined barstock aluminum, centerline disc drag". Well, the new Electron meets that criteria. In addition, the carbon fiber, stainless steel washer drag system is fully sealed - something not found on reels under $200. Yet the Electron will retail in the range of $165 to $185, depending on size. Three sizes will be offered, II (3-5 weight), III (5-7 weight) and IV (8-9 weight). Notice there isn't a size I... we're told that a future 1-3 weight reel is a possibility to fill that gap. In addition to the Electron, the Voltage reel has a more powerful drag and will sell for $205 to $235. A cast aluminum version of the Electron, the Ampere will sell for $89 to $99.
New for 2016 - Fly Fishing for Redfish book. At ICAST, one of the more intriguing entries in the New Product Showcase was a book by Chico Fernandez, "Fly Fishing for Redfish". The "book" was in a binder... according to the publisher the book was in the process of being printed at the time. Regardless, it got my vote for "Best New Book or DVD". It's quite impressive, even if it doesn't cover all the bases. But then again, what book could? Everyone associates Chico with bonefish, perhaps because the Miami resident was one of the pioneers of that species. But make no mistake - Chico knows a LOT about redfish, having fished for them since 1952. He's held several world records, and his geographical range of pursuit has included all along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (including Louisiana). The book covers tackle, casting techniques, flies - all the stuff you'd expect. In addition, there's science on the species, including habitat and food sources. I did a check on Amazon today and the availability date is September 15th. Hardcover price will be $36.95. No option given for Kindle version, but I would expect that might be available later.
Another favorite at ICAST - Sunsect. At the Outdoor Demo Day of ICAST, one of the tent exhibitors was a company called Sunsect. They make a product that is a combination of insect repellent and sunscreen. The company originally developed this product for the US military, where it was used at home and abroad. Last year, the product went public. Now some readers may be thinking - why not just apply sunscreen, then apply repellent. In other words, what's special about a combination product? According to their literature, repellent and suncreen together deactivate each other by up to 50 percent. Sunsect is a patented combination product that has been proven to repel mosquitos, ticks, no-see-ums, gnats, and other disease-carrying, biting insects. It also has an SPF 15 rating. I was given three tubes of Sunsect and one of them is "undergoing testing" and another one will be tested by myself shortly. I would've like to see a slightly higher SPF rating, but 15 is certainly good enough. Besides, if it really does keep gnats off, then winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Sunday, August 16, 2015
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month's fly will be the Coma Spoon. Beginners are welcome. Bring tools if any, if not, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials provided. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters holds their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begin at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church on 444 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. Beginners are welcome. On Saturday, it's the annual Contraband Fly Fishing Expo at PPG Porter Hall on 2250 Prater Road in Westlake. Time is 8:30am to 4:00pm. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters, Tom Nixon Chapter, of Lake Charles, this conclave features seminars, fly tying demos, casting clinics, kayak demos, auctions and raffles, food and refreshments, and more. Admission is free. Also, the club will draw for their year-long kayak raffle. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net or check the LFF Events Forum. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying session. Time is 9:00am. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, otherwise tools and materials are provided. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of Baton Rouge will hold a free Kayak Demo Day at BREC's Wampold Park on University Lake in Baton Rouge. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boat models include Hobie, Native, Wilderness, Jackson, Perception, and BOTE. For specific models or to confirm (due to weather, etc) call 225-246-7100.
Last weekend, the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association held their annual convention and awards banquet at the Holiday Inn in Morgan City. In addition to youth journalism and professional awards, LOWA each year recognizes the top catches submitted to their state fish records. The records maintained by LOWA are in 3 divisions: Rod and Reel, Fly Rod, Private Waters. Each division has the top 10 weights for each species. For 2014, the "Fish of the Year" recognition in the Fly Rod Division was shared between Ben "Fishtaco" Roussel of Baton Rouge and Charles Johnson of Tualatin, Oregon. Ben was recognized for a 4.07 bowfin (choupique) caught at Kellers Lake in Pointe Coupee Parish in April, 2014. That fish took 1st place in the bowfin listings. Johnson landed a 9.25 pound sheepshead in Bay Eloi in January, 2014. In the Rod and Reel Division, the "Fish of the Year" award went to Lawson Boyte of Oak Grove, who landed a new 1st place record blue catfish - 114 pounds - fishing the Mississippi River out of East Carroll Parish. Congratulations to all the winners!
Also, while I was gone... we had a change in weather. For drought-stricken portions of western Louisiana, it wasn't much relief in either precipitation or cooler weather. Although the 100+ degree days are now in the mid-90s. Some relief, right? But it did produce a break in the coastal fishing. Those evil west winds were replaced by easterly and southeasterly winds, and the speckled trout reacted favorably. I heard of many good trout catches around Grand Isle and Elmers Isle from folks fishing prior to Ride The Bull. Also, Calcasieu Lake got a nice bump in trout catches, including a new 1st place in the CCA STAR Fly Rod Division. Ruston Logan, a member of the McNeese State football team, caught a 6.11 pound trout. If it holds up, it'll be the largest speck ever registered in the history in the Fly Rod Division of CCA STAR.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is September 26. Established in 1972, NHF Day recognizes the contributions of America's hunters, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts. National honorary chairpersons have come from a diverse group of well-known outdoors persons, such as Arnold Palmer, Jeff Foxworthy, Tom Seaver, Louise Mandrell, Terry Bradshaw, Bert Jones, John Havlichek, T. Boone Pickens, George Bush Sr, Luke Bryan and others. This year's chairpersons are outdoor TV personalities Jim and Eva Shockey. Held on the last Saturday of September each year, Louisiana's National Hunting and Fishing Day Festival is celebrated at four venues - Bodcau, Monroe, Baton Rouge, Woodworth. Admission to each venue is free for all ages. Each venue has a long list of activities and exhibitors, with several thousand attendees. The Bodcau, Baton Rouge and Woodworth venues have fly fishing - represented by exhbits from the North Louisiana Fly Fishers, Red Stick Fly Fishers, and Kisatchie Fly Fishers / Cane Country Fly Casters, respectively. The fly clubs offer hands-on fly tying, fly casting, knots for attendees of all ages. Although under-18 years of age make up most of the attendance. For those clubs that participate, LDWF is currently accepting exhibitor registration. Although clubs can register up to the week of the event, it's strongly advised to register before September 11th in order to insure volunteer t-shirts and/or exhbitor space and space to have casting.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Tomorrow night the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Mariners Plaza Office Park, Suite 200, in Mandeville. Bring your tools, materials provided. The PBFF club holds their tying session the 2nd Tuesday of each month, but check our calendar for any changes. Now is a good time for tying flies as cooler weather and good fishing are soon ahead! For more info, contact Colin McCormick at 985-264-3448.
Sunday, August 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. Guest speaker will be Dr. Vic Tedesco, noted saltwater fly angler who has held or holds several IGFA and Louisiana state fly rod records for offshore and inshore species. Vic is also one of the top speckled trout fly anglers in the state, having won or placed in CCA STAR the last 3 years. 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. Guest speaker will be Jerry Driskell, who will speak on fishing the Current River in Missouri. On Wednesday, it's the start of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Fly Fishing Fair in Bend, Oregon. The show continues thru Saturday. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. On Friday, it's the Captains' meeting for Ride The Bull kayak fishing tournament, with onsite registration beginning at noon (online registration ends today) at Bridgeside Marina. Boiled shrimp will be served from noon to 7:00pm, followed by the meeting and then the annual "Calmwater Film Festival". On Saturday, it's the main event itself for Ride The Bull. Details can be found at www.calmwatercharters.net.
The worst week of SweatFest 2015. Typically mid-August tends to be the hottest time of the year in Louisiana, and this week will be no different. We've already had several days of 100+ degree weather in north and central parishes, with little relief from precipitation. The forecast for the next several days calls for excessive heat warning for the eastern part of the state, and heat advisories for the west. Temperatures in the northern parishes will reach 103 to 105, with heat indices of 110 to 115. Southeast Louisiana will have slightly cooler temperatures - still around 100 degrees - but the added humidity will put the indices also in the 110 to 115. A strong ridge of high pressure over east Texas is responsible for this heat wave... and for keeping tropical systems from forming in the western Gulf. Pick your poisin! With regards to fishing, it means the following: avoid being on the water if possible, if you do, bring lots of water or sports drinks and stay hydrated, keep your fish in a bag or cooler and not on a stringer, wear cool clothing. Paddlers should make short trips. As for the fish, all reports are that the bite is very early and ending around mid-morning.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting practice starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on Girod Street in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the Gray Wolf Fly Shop on Southern Avenue in Shreveport will hold their monthly fly tying session led by instructor Jamie Franklin. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Bring your tools, materials provided. If no tools, the shop has some for use during these sessions. Beginners are welcome! On Saturday, the Backpacker Baton Rouge store will hold another of their "Demo Days" at Wampold Park on University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. No cost. Boats for trying out will include Hobie, Dagger, Perception, Mad River, YOLO, and Wilderness Systems including the new Wildy ATAK fishing kayak. Next Sunday is the last day to register online for Ride The Bull 6 taking place August 14-15. After Sunday, folks can register onsite during the event, but for a slightly higher fee, and without guarantee of a t-shirt.
August is here. That means... (1) The last full month of SweatFest. Hold on, folks, the days are getting shorter and fall is only weeks away. Until then, we'll have heat and humidity - and the first good chance for tropical activity. Remember, I'm just the messenger. (2) The start of football. Saints training camp began yesterday. The first preseason game is on August 13 at Baltimore against the Ravens. Most of the state colleges begin fall camp this week, including LSU on Wednesday. The same for most high schools. (3) The world's largest kayak fishing tournament. In two weeks, Grand Isle will host Ride The Bull 6 (August 14-15). Last year, RTB5 broke it's own record for the largest number of participants in a kayak tournament with 732. As of now there are over 460 registered. (4) Contraband Fly Fishing Expo, set for the August 22nd at PPG Porter Hall in Lake Charles. This conclave - hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters - typically has one of the largest contingent of fly tiers. (5) Cajun Castaway. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their late summer tournament at Calcasieu Point Landing on August 29th. It's open to the public. That tournament is open to the public. (6) Last full month for CCA STAR. The summer-long tournament ends on Labor Day. Typically, August is a tough month to catch big trout on fly or from kayak, but with conditions around Vermillion Bay and Calcasieu actually improving from heavy freshwater influence this Spring, the Southwest and West Divisions are starting to produce big trout. There's also 8 more prize eligible tagged reds swimming around.
Also this month, the IFFF Fly Fishing Fair. The International Federation of Fly Fishers celebrates their 50th annual conclave August 11th thru the 15th in Bend, Oregon. The actual "show" dates and times are 12th thru 15th, 9:00am to 5:00pm each day. In addition to seminars, dozens of fly tying demos, exhibitors and workshops, there's also special activities for youth and women, as well as awards banquet and other social events. I won't be able to attend this year, but it should be a great time. Congrats to the IFFF on this significant milestone!
The Bug Book is a new complete guide to aquatic entomology for fly fishers, covering all the important insects and their imitations for the United States. Author Paul Weamer is a Fly Fisherman magazine contributing editor who specializes in aquatic insect macro photography and has contributed photos for several publications. In his new book he has included hatch charts, fly recommendations and fishing strategies. An ideal reference for those beginning into coldwater trout fishing. Currently the book is only available on Kindle from Amazon. Price is $9.99. Be aware that this is 152 pages... the 18 megabyte file size may take long to download.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The August issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out. In my Fly Lines column - "The Fly Fishing Answer Man Awakens" - I answer reader questions regarding leaders, knots, species-specific fly lines, American-made flies, and the upcoming Star Wars Episode 7 ("The Force Awakens"). This month's reader-submitted article is from Tommy Granger of Broussard, "Bucket-list fly-fishing trip". Granger tells of fly fishing Christmas Island in the Pacific for golden trevally, bluefin trevally, tuna, and other species. In his Paddles N' Puddles column, Chris Holmes presents the arguments for fishing from a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with input from YOLO Fishing Team members Jared and Kalley LeRoy from Denham Springs (Kalley won last year's Ride The Bull tournament, she was fishing from a YOLO). In their Seafood Bible column, Jerald and Glenda Horst share frog leg recipes from Rick Barrios of Jarreau. Articles include David Brown on tactics for fishing cypress swamps, Jerald Horst on fishing for redeye bass on the Whiskey Chitto (that's not really how it's spelled, but readers wouldn't pronounce it right so that's okay). Kinny Haddox tells us why Catalpa worms are the weakness of bream on Lake D'Arbonne. Jonathon Oliver shares the story of Anna Olinde, who almost lost her life to leukemia, and now lives to fish and hunt as part of her recovery. There are many other articles as well as regional fishing forecasts, tidal forecasts, and outdoors news.
North Louisiana Fly Fishers member Jamie Franklin will be hosting a new informal fly tying session at Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport starting in August. The date will be the first Thursday of each month. Time will be 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Jamie is one of the most accomplished tiers in the NLFF club and is wanting to help others improve their tying skills. The sessions have been added to our LFF Calendar page thru December (will extend to 2016 shortly). If you haven't been to Gray Wolf Fly Shop, it's located on 5825 Southern Avenue. For anyone going to these sessions in need of tying materials, owner Howard Malpass carries the largest stock of fly tying materials of any retailer in Louisiana.
You may want to delay any trips to the north Arkansas for now. Earlier today I received a report from Arkansas Game and Fish trout biologist Christy Graham on the status of the Norfork River, including Bull Shoals (White River). Here's the 4-1-1: One of the gates on the Norfork dam was blocked to allow maintenance on the gate and seals. With all the rain in the drainage area this spring, the lake came up too high, and work was postponed. The gate continues to leak. That water comes from near the surface where water temps are much warmer. AGFC measured the water temps in the Norfork yesterday at 60.2 F to 67.5 F. There were no dead signs of trout, but several anglers reported that released fish looked stressed. This is not unusual for warmer temperatures in tailwaters (in moving streams at those temps, trout are still in good shape). The good news is that during generation, river temps drop down to the 40s. The bad news is that there's a limited amount of generation going on the Norfork. That's because there's LOTS of generation taking place on Bull Shoals - Bull Shoals Lake is 90 percent full. It won't go down soon either - the 3 lakes upstream on the White River are at 80 percent full.
Fishing participation in America holding steady according to a report released at ICAST by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF). According to the survey, roughly 46 million Americans, or 15.8 percent of the U.S. population ages 6 and older, participated in fishing in 2014. While there were declines in certain areas of the country and among certain age groups, those reductions were offset by 2.4 million newcomers mostly among youth, women and Hispanics. Women comprised 47 percent of the newcomers. Another key statistic pointed out the value of youth fishing events - including National Hunting and Fishing Day and Community Fishing Programs. Over 85 percent of adult anglers fished as a child under the age of 13. The survey also inquired of those who have never fished and found that 11 percent of youth would like to try fishing. Another interesting stat: the largest percentage of anglers is in the East North Central (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) followed by the South Atlantic and West South Central (Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma).
As for fly fishing, it continues to remain steady. In 2006, there were 6.1 million participants. Over the next 6 years it fell slightly, then increased in 2012 and remained pretty much the same for 2013. Over 14 percent of fly fishing participants in 2013 were new to the sport. It also is the most educated... more than 42 percent of flycasters have a college degree. And while some folks have told me that our sport is getting "gray" and we're in trouble unless we recruit a lot more youth, the RBFF stats tell a different story. While ages 45+ made up 42 percent of our sport, ages 25-44 made up 34 percent. Given that most don't take up our sport until college or post-college, it looks like that age group is important to recruitment and the numbers are good (but could be better... that's always the case!). One other interesting stat: there are now almost as many Hispanic flyfishers as there are African-American flyfishers.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
We are saddened to hear that J.B. Salter passed away last Thursday. The Erwinville resident was best known as owner of Salter's Jiggin' Pole and Tackle Company, from which he became one of the nation's largest advocates of the use of jigging poles for crappie and bream. He even taught a leisure course thru LSU on using the jigging pole... a class that always booked up. He was a fixture at many outdoors shows from the 1970s to the 2000s, and an annual exhibitor at the LDWF National Hunting and Fishing Day Festival in Baton Rouge. JB made many television appearances, either with his good buddy Bob "The Ol' Beachcomber" Scearce or with Mike Rabalais, host of the popular Cajun Quest TV Show. While Salter was an expert with the jigging pole, he was first and foremost a dedicated and highly knowledgable angler. For that reason, he made presentations to groups as diverse as the Red Stick Fly Fishers. During the 35 years I lived in Baton Rouge, I got to know Mr. Salter, and have a bunch of "JB" stories I love to tell. One of my favorites: Cosmos and I had gone to False River for a late afternoon trip and met up with JB and Bob coming off the water. They had a nice mess of bream, and JB was kind enough to tell us exactly where to catch them. Another time, Mike Causey and I were at Old River - along with 75 other boats - looking for an entrance to the "Ball Park" area where Bob Scearce had written in the Advocate Outdoors section that JB was "tearing them up". We wandered around until about 7:30am, when JB and Bob came by in a boat and went thru the trees... followed by 75 boats! We decided to avoid the crowds and fish elsewhere. It was a great decision as we ended up with a 30-quart box of sacalait! Those who took a trip with him will know that he was like a drill sargeant on the water. But you caught fish! And nice ones too. JB was 86.
License to Win! winners announced. When Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries established it's LA Creel survey, it required more accurate contact information to help manage saltwater fisheries. In particular, email addresses. To get that info, LDWF created "License to Win!" as a means of encouraging anglers to participate when they purchased their annual saltwater licenses. Five winners are drawn on a monthly basis, with an annual winner to take home the Grand Prize - a 22-foot bay boat, trailer, and motor donated by Venice Marina, Mercury Outboards and Mike Gerald's Trailer Depot. Winners drawn on July 1st were Clarence Cobbs, Chad Hartman, James Odom, Stephen Smith, and Martin Randall. Another five winners will be drawn on August 1st. Monthly winners receive YETI coolers, Shimano reels, gift cards to Academy, Texaco and Whole Foods.
My overview of ICAST fly fishing and kayak fishing products continues on my blog at www.nonewtailstotell.blogspot.com. I had to sample thru some 400 photographs and countless notes covering kayaks, kayak accessories, fly rods, reels, accessories, clothing, footwear, eyewear and more. I didn't cover or test everything I wanted to at the trade show - just too much stuff and way too little time. In addition, I've got a limited amount of time to write up, so not everything will be covered. For example, I suspect most folks already know what a Jackson Cuda 14 or TFO Finesse rod is, and can test these products out personally at their local fly shop or kayak store. Rather I'm trying to focus on new products, or seldom-seen products. Keep checking my post in the Tackle Talk section of the forum as new links will be posted as they come.
Got $18 million handy? If so, the Walter family in Houston has a 785-acre fly fishing ranch in western Colorado for sale. Table Rock Ranch is located in McCoy, about 45 minutes from Vail, and features multiple streams in a lush meadow, including Rock Creek. In addition to wildlife and nature, the property contains a 3,400 square foot main lodge and several smaller buildings with bedrooms and kitchens, as well as covered relaxation areas, vehicle storage, and a fly shop! This might be the opportunity for someone looking to start a guided fishing business.
Sunday, July 26, 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. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Beginners are welcome, as the club has a few tool sets to use during these sessions. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. Time is 7:00pm. On Saturday, the Association of Louisiana Bass Clubs holds their annual Youth Fishing Tournament at Cotile Lake Recreation Area. Entry fee is $5 per child. Age groups are 3-8 and 9-14. In each age group, there are categories for Bass, Bream, and Crappie. The first 600 entries get free Zebco rods and reels, and all participants get t-shirts, free hamburgers from Burger King, and soft drinks from RC Cola. For more info, call 318-448-4225 or 318-613-6886. Also on Saturday, The Backpacker of Lafayette will hold another of their "Paddle Demo Days" at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Boats represented will be Hobie, Wilderness Systems (including the new ATAK), KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River and YOLO. Call if weather threatens to confirm 337-406-8754. On Sunday, the IFA Kayak Tour - Louisiana Division holds their 2nd and final series tournament out of Houma. Entry fee is $75. Attendance at the Captains meeting on Saturday 6:00pm is mandatory. Qualifies for the IFA-K National Championship. For more info, go to www.ifakayakfishingtour.com.
Congrats to the North Louisiana Fly Fishers for another outstanding "Master Series" seminar. The event was held at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. International fly angler Davy Wotton, who now makes his living guiding on the blue ribbon trout waters of northern Arkansas, did a day-long presentation on midge fishing, with emphasis on application of nymphing techniques including tackle, gear, lines, leaders, knots, flies, presentation, casting and much more. Even some of us old pros learned a few new tricks! For the NLFF club, this was their 3rd annual event of this type, and within the next month, plans will be made for the 4th Master Series next summer.
North Louisiana now has a kayak fishing shop. Our friend Adam Harbuck has opened a kayak fishing store on 1914 East 70th Street in Shreveport. Among the boats that are currently in store are models from Feelfree, Native, Kajun Custom (KC) Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, and others. That includes the new ATAK kayak from Wildy. In addition, Adam is carrying products from Bending Branches, YakAttack, Lews, ConSeal and others. Affiliated with the Hook1 franchise, Harbuck Outdoor Sports is open 9:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday thru Friday, and 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday. It's closed on Sunday and Monday. There's no immediate plans for one of those popular paddle demo days, but Adam has stated that there will be some in the future.