Sunday, October 19, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The featured fly will be the Clouser Minnow. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. For those without tools, the club has tools available for use during these sessions. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion start at 6:00pm, meeting starts at 7:00pm. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. For October, guest speaker is Casey Brunning, 2013 Adventure Kayak Fishing World Champion. Casey will discuss what this very unique kayak tournament is all about, and how to fish it successfully (a regional qualifier will be held in Cocodrie in November). On Thursday, it's the annual CCA STAR Awards Banquet at Live Oak Arabians off Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Cocktails at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm, awards 7:30pm auction 8:00pm. Tickets are $50 per person, $30 spouse, $25 youth. For more info, go to www.ccastar.com. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at the Whitney Bank branch, 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, materials are provided. On Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly fly tying clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. There's no cost. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Instructor and patterns TBA. Also on Saturday and continuing Sunday, Three Rivers Fly Shop in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, will offer "Entomology for Fly Fishers" class. Instructor will be entomologist Rob Woodruff. The class will consist of 4 hours lecture and demo as well as a half-day field trip. Cost is $75 per student. For more info, or to reserve, go to www.threeriversflyshop.com.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
It's the Fly Fishing Edition! This month's Angler Magazine labels itself as the "fly fishing edition" with many of it's articles and columns dedicated to our sport. The Angler Magazine is a national publication with regional versions. Each region features columns, articles, and ads pertaining to local fishing and retailers, while the "national" columns by acclaimed outdoor writers Mark Sosin, Conway Bowman, Mike Ritz, Tracy Patterson, C. Boyd Pfeiffer and others. The Baton Rouge - Houma regional edition features columns by Capt. Danny Wray, Capt. Mike Gallo, and a fly fishing column "LA On The Fly" by Larry Offner of Green Trout Fly Shop and WarmFly.com. Here's just a few of the articles in the October edition pertaining to our favorite sport: Larry describes "The Perfect Afternoon" fishing with Roger Stouff on Roger's native waters; Mike Fandal of Old Town Fly Shop in Slidell writes about catching "The Bayou State's Big Bull Reds On The Fly" including several of his favorite crab flies; Mike Ritz writes about Cancun fly fishing; Conway Bowman describes the "Two Handed Strip"; the New Product section features fly fishing products for 2015. The Angler Magazine is available from various fly shops and retailers. Best of all, it's FREE.
Must read: Midcurrent interview of Micheal Keaton. The actor best known for his roles as Batman, in the comedies "Beetlejuice", "Mr. Mom", "Multiplicity" and "Toy Story 3", and in dramas "Jackie Brown" and "One Good Cop", is an avid flyrodder, a regular on the fishing series "Buccaneers and Bones". Marshall Cutchin of Midcurrent.com conducted the interview. The interview comes on the brim of the release of Keaton's latest film, "Birdman", a dark comedy which already has critics lauding his performance as Oscar-worthy. You can read the interview at MidCurrent.com.
Update on the Leeville Launch. The completion date for Phase I is looking like mid-November. This will also include a boat and a kayak launch, with access to Southwest Canal and the Lake Jesse area. The Phase II part is still in initiation stage. It will include a fishing pier with handicapped access and an artificial reef provided by CCA.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Our website was hacked this past weekend. This happens to a lot of websites these days, but the last week was the first time that our site - and many others - was invaded. Apparently we were the innocent victims of a cyber war between Chinese and US hackers over the Occupy Central protests taking place in Hong Kong. What silly, stupid games! I don't understand why they do such things... really!
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. The program will will be dedicated to the group's favorite saltwater flies they use for reds, specks and flounder, just in time for prime marsh fishing season. The meeting is open to the public. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Awards and Fundraising Banquet at Mandina's Restaurant in Shreveport. This is in lieu of their regular meeting. NLFF will have some great auction items, raffle items and door prizes. For more details, check out the October newsletter posted in our Forum or check the NLFF Forum on warmfly.com. Also on Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Burley Johnson will demonstrate tying Squirrel Tail nymphs. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 1st of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Frances Church at 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome! On Friday, and continuing Saturday, it's the 2014 IFA Kayak Tour National Championship, being held for the second straight year out of Houma. More on that later. On Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will conduct a "Deer Hair Tying Workshop" in Natchitoches featuring instructor Mike Hawkins. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the annual "Wild Things" celebration at Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe. This free event, sponsored by Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, routinely has over 4,000 visitors! Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm, and there is no cost! Wild Things features speakers, live animals, art, canoe tours, hands-on activities, various demos, and conservation groups. The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will again be demonstrating fly tying and teaching kids to tie flies! Food and drink sales at Wild Things help support refuge projects. For more info, call 985-882-2000.
Deer Hair Tying Techniques is the name of the workshop being conducted this Saturday in Natchitoches by the Cane Country Fly Casters. Instructor Mike Hawkins, whose demo tied at numerous conclaves and other events, will lead a hands-on session tying the Dave Whitlock Diving Frog and Deer Hair Bream Flies. The time is 8:30am to 1:00pm. The $20 fee includes instruction, tying material, beverages, breakfast snacks and lunch. This is a limited-seating workshop open to all tiers with some experience (in other words, if you've NEVER tied a fly, you might want to take a beginners course first). Bring your own tying equipment. There is limited seating for 30 tiers, and as of today, quite a few seats were still open. This promises to be a great workshop for all tiers of all skill levels. If you wish to participate, contact Burley Johnson at 318-471-5049, or Vic McClain at 318-228-9729. More info will be available tomorrow on the LFF and WarmFly Forums.
Steve Lessard of Geismar wins the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championship. What an accomplishment for my friend "Gnatless", who promised he would make proud our Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and the state of Louisiana, and he certainly did! He came into kayak fishing with great passion and a love of the plastic boat, and as anyone who knows him will say, there's not anyone who works harder to catch fish than Steve! He's like a sponge when it comes to learning about anything fishing. It's led to a very successful compilation of tournament victories and places over the last several years, including the IFA Kayak Tour National Championship last October and now, the HKFWC. The HKFWC took place over 3 days last week in The Netherlands on three lakes called the Vinkeveen Plassen. Gnatless competed against 47 other qualifiers who were trying to catch-photo-release (CPR) the largest pike, perch and zander for each day (a zander looks like a walleye and gets up to 40 pounds). No zanders were caught during the whole tournament, but Gnatless was the only angler to catch a pike and a perch each day. His winning total was 364 centimeters, 90 centimeters ahead of 2nd place finisher Kyle Moxon of Canada. Steve also became the first non-native contestant to win the HKFWC title (every winner before was fishing their home waters). Now the question is, will the "Pike Whisperer" - as he is being referred to - get back to being the "Redfish and Speck Whisperer" for another title here in Louisiana.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
It's almost here! 2015 that is. Judging from what I saw in every store yesterday, you'd think Christmas was just around the corner. Guess what? It is! Just 11 weeks away! And guess what comes just after Christmas? Yep... New Years. Before you know it, 2015 will be here. Long before then, many working folks will have to plan their vacation schedules for the coming year. Not to mention that December 1st is my deadline for submitting to annual publications. That's why we try and update the LFF Calendar with as many events for next year as early as possible. Currently, nearly all the usual major activities have been set. On a related note... Recently I was told "There's too many events on your calendar.". That's like when my wife says there's too many sports channels on our subscription. Somebody please tell me... how's that a problem? Having many choices is a very good thing. It might be bad if you're one of those who feels a need to attend every event. If so, let me warn you... Cormier's 11th Law of Fly Fishing states, "Thou shalt not spend more time at non-fishing events than on the water." It's a law, and anyone who breaks it will be sentenced to 8 hours of hard labor washing and waxing my car. Yep... attending too many conclaves and other events is not good. But not attending any is even worse. If you're one who avoids events, I'm not sure you're on our side. Events are great... they provide opportunities to learn, to meet, to share, and in some cases, to even fish. Take in events like you (should) drink beer - in moderation.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Correction: USFWS Wild Things is October 18th and not this coming Saturday as reported earlier. Apparently we copied the calendar date from a previous year (our calendar entry has been corrected also).
So here's a list of major events happening this month. And hopefully the dates are correct... on Tuesday, October 14 the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their annual Fundraising Banquet at Mandina's Restaurant on 830 Fannin in Shreveport. Time is 6:00pm. The event will have some great auction and raffle items. You do not need to be a member of NLFF to attend. For details, check out the NLFF October newsletter, posted in our Clubs Forum. On Saturday, October 18 is "Wild Things". This event is an annual celebration of National Wildlife Refuges in Southeast Louisiana. The event takes place at Big Branch Marsh NWR headquarters on Highway 343 in Lacombe. Time is 9:00am to 4:00pm. Admission, parking and all tours are free. Among the many activities will be fly fishing and fly tying conducted by the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers club. For more details, go to www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana. Also on Saturday, October 18 is a "Whitlock Flies Tying Workshop" hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters in Natchitoches. Renown tier Mike Hawkins will lead a hands-on clinic on tying two of Dave Whitlock's classic flies. Cost is just $20, but registration is required as class size limited to 30 seats. The session is open to members of any recognized fly fishing clubs. Bring your own tools, materials will be provided. For more info, contact Sunny at 471-6204 or Burley at 471-5049. Or go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. On Thursday, October 23 it's the annual CCA STAR Awards Banquet at Live Oaks Arabian in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $50, $25 for youth. CCA will be honoring the winners of the various STAR tournament divisions, including Fly East, Fly West, Kayak East, Kayak Southeast, Kayak Southwest, Kayak West. Should be a great time as always! Finally on Friday, October 30 and continuing on Saturday, it's the annual Southern Fly Fishers Rendezvous, a.k.a. Toledo Bend Rendezvous, at North Toledo Bend State Park in Zwolle. It's not an organized event, but a casual gathering of flyfishers from several states. The nominal fee includes 2 nights lodging and meals. About 50 or more outstanding fly tiers make this event and spend the weekend tying flies, making Rendezvous well worth the weekend for folks wanting to learn tying, or advance their tying skills, or learn new patterns. For more details, look for an Events Forum posting sometime later this week.
Monday, October 6, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana FlyRodders will hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior beginning at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Metro New Orleans Chapter will host a "Fall Fishing Seminar" at Bent Marine in Metairie. More on that later. On Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. For details, contact Colin McCormick at 985- 264-3448. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the 2014 Florida Fly Fishing Expo at The Plantation in Crystal River, Florida. Hosted by the Florida Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), this "conclave" offers workshops, programs, tying, retailers, company reps, youth activities and much more. Special guests are Bob Clouser and Wanda Taylor. Admission is $10, under 16 free. For more info, go to www.fedflyfishers.org and click on "Florida Council". On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. This free, 1-day, 2-hour clinic is designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Pre-registration is required, as spots are limited. For details or to register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Riverside Fly Shop in Jasper, Alabama will hold a free fly tying and casting workshop featuring IFFF Buz Buszek Tying Award Winner Bill Heckel. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the 4th annual Lil Mo Wall Hole Gathering at Riverside Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. More on that later. On Sunday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will be holding their annual "Family Day" at the St James boat launch in Gramercy. Backpacker will be on hand with several of their new kayaks, including the 2015 Hobie models, for on- the-water demos. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.
Wednesday's Metro CCA Fishing Seminar in Metairie promises to be interesting, to say the least! Normally the CCA fishing seminars are well worth attending, as the speakers - mostly captains - provide valuable updates as well as fishing tips. But the seminar being held this Wednesday at Bent Marine on 8001 Airline Drive in Metairie promises to be special. It starts at 5:30pm. Admission is $5 with free for women and children. Dinner is included. The guest speakers include some of the top experts on coastal fishing including: Don Dubuc, Andy LeBlanc, Mike Gallo, CT Williams, Ahab Broaddus and Greg Schlumbrecht. But it's Dudley Vandenborre who could steal the spotlight. As Todd Masson states, Dudley is the E.F. Hutton of coastal guides... when he speaks, folks listen! And at the recent CCA Northshore seminar, he spoke his mind about the state of trout fishing in southeast Louisiana, and what he believes are the reasons for continuing declines in trout catches, especially fish over four pounds. Days later, at the October meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, biologists gave the results of their speckled trout status study, concluding that the speck populations are currently in good shape, contrary to what Vandenborre and other captains have experienced. It'll be VERY interesting to see how Dudley and others respond to this study. One point that will be highly criticized: LDWF manages trout at an 11 percent margin for sustainable spawning recruitment (SSR). The study showed actual SSR ranging from 8 to 14 percent. Nearly every other coastal state manages trout at an SSR between 20 and 30 percent. I make this comparison: it's like LSU Football playing for a bowl game (6 wins) instead of aiming for the playoff (11-12 wins). In other words, if you can accept mediocrity, then you're happy with the LDWF report. If not, it's time for a change.
For coldwater trout enthusiasts, two events this Saturday. The Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas is less than 3 hours from Shreveport, and is a popular year-round trout fishery for Louisiana fly anglers. The rainbow trout are stocked from October thru June, and once the meat anglers have reduced their numbers, the remaining trout grow very fast both in length and girth. By this time of year, the Little Mo "footballs" have full color and put up a very spirited fight. Unfortunately as stocking season begins, catch-and-release restrictions are limited on some parts of the river, and those trout become targets once again for meat fishermen. Jeff Guerin, a full time guide on the river, established the Little Mo Wall Hole Gathering the 2nd weekend of October as a means to celebrate this last weekend of CR fishing on The Wall Hole section of the river. There's no fee, and food is provided (covered dishes are welcome) as well as refreshments (sorry, no alcohol allowed). The event kicks off at 11:00am. More info can be found at www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com.
The other event is in Jasper, Alabama. Jasper is home to the Sipsey River, Alabama's only year-round trout water, exactly 5 hours from Slidell. Thanks to the efforts of Riverside Fly Shop and the Sipsey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, trout fishing on the river has greatly improved over recent years and is now more favored by flycasters from the Greater New Orleans area. On Saturday, Riverside will continue it's series of bringing in highly recognized folks in our sport for their seminar series, by hosting Bill Heckel. Bill is an IFFF Buz Buszek Award Winner for lifetime achievement in fly tying. Bill will be conducting both a tying and a casting clinic. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. The event is free. More details can be found at the shop's website at www.riversideflyshop.com.
Return to warm weather. This week will see high temperatures in the high 80s and lows in the 60s, after the big chill of last week. Although air temps will be up, water temps are down. Here in the Cenla area, most of the lakes are in the 70-74 degree range! Needless to say, turnover has taken place on many lakes. Initially, fishing is sluggish after turnover. But from reports I got today, the bass and crappie have really turned on. Bass are chasing schools of shad, mostly in the afternoon. The crappie are holding deep... 10-15 feet... but enough are around structure in shallow water for floating lines and jighead / beadhead flies to do damage. The redears are still in the shallows and nailing a variety of beadhead flies, including the BHHERS under a tiny strike indicator. On the coast, limits of reds are being caught on a variety of flies, and finally... decent numbers of keeper-size trout! Of course, a weighted clouser under a VOSI will also catch LOTS of sand (white) trout right now. The sandies - which grow fast - are now in the 11-14 inch range. Put a dozen of those along with half-dozen 13 to 15 inch specks in your box and you've got a family fish fry with leftovers! If you decide to keep a few reds, remember to put the trout (sandies and specks) in a plastic bag and put the bag ON TOP the reds.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahr's Seafood Restaurant at the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. 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 Old Mandeville. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday evening and continuing thru Sunday, it's the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Southern Fly Fishing Fair at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Hosted by the IFFF Southern Council, the "Southern Conclave" has changed dates this year from it's historical Friday/Saturday event to a Saturday/Sunday event. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge on Perkins-Rowe will conduct a free "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. This clinic is a one-day, 2 hour session covering the basics of fly fishing, including 1-hour of casting instruction. There is no cost, but registration is required. To register, contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286.
We are saddened to hear that Donnie Schittone, a longtime fellow member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers, has passed away. Donnie was 61. He and his sons were fixtures at several of the club's annual events. He particularly enjoyed fishing bass, bream, and hybrid stripers. Services will be held Tuesday at 10:00am at Resthaven Funeral Home on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Donnie will be missed by his flyfishing friends!
Just announced - Diving Frog and Deerhair Bream Workshop. The Cane Country Fly Casters will host an Advanced Fly Tying Workshop on Saturday, October 18th in Natchitoches. Instructor Mike Hawkins will teach a couple of Dave Whitlock patterns, the Diving Frog and the Deerhair Bream. An "advanced" workshop is one recommended for those who have tied flies before. The session runs from 8:30am to 12 noon, with coffee and doughnuts starting at 7:30am and lunch following serving burgers and hot dogs. The session is limited to 30 tiers, so pre-registration is required. Details are posted in our Events Forum under "CCFC Tying Workshop".
Stay thirsty, my friends! Sharks have a week dedicated to him. He once taught a German Shepherd how to bark in Spanish. Even his tree houses have fully furnished basements. His cereal never gets soggy, it sits there staying crispy, waiting for him. He's Jonathon Goldsmith, a.k.a., the actor who portrays "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in the Dos Equis commercials. Goldsmith, who has appeared in over 350 television shows as a guest actor, is almost as adventurous in real life as the character he's portrayed for the last 9 years. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, off-roading, sailing, falconry, and even fine cigars. He's also been heavily involved with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), an organization dedicated helping remove ghost landmines. Now Goldsmith is raffling off "A Day With Jonathon Goldsmith" to help raise monies for MAG. The contest ends October 8. Contestants can enter by making a $5 donation or more online to MAG. The winner will be flown to Vermont to join Goldsmith and share on his personal adventures. There are runnerup prizes as well, including a signed box of his premium cigars.For details, go to www.maginternational.org.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers will hold their monthly fly tying session at Orvis in Perkins-Rowe off Bluebonnet. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. The club has tools for use during the session, if you have none. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting. For this month, the club will meet at Buhlow Lake in Pineville starting at 6:00pm. Please note the change in location and time, as the program will be casting practice and instruction. Beginners and visitors are welcome. On Tuesday, the CCA Slidell Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Slidell Auditorium in Old Town. Doors open at 6:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include 1-year membership, dinner and drinks. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's National Hunting and Fishing Day. More on that later. Also on Saturday, it's the 10th annual "Texoma On The Fly" at Eisenhower State Park in Texas. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will be conducting a "Fly Fishing 201" class. The Orvis FF201 is a one-day, 2 hour clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills learned in Fly Fishing 101 to on-the-water situations. Also, to learn a few casting techniques. The class is free, but pre-registration is required as spots are limited. Contact Alex Beane at 225-757-7286 for more. Also on Saturday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly "4th Saturday Tying Clinic". Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Please bring your own tools, materials are provided. For more info, contact Ron at (225) 271-3100. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will hold a "2015 Hobie Mini-Demo Day" at Vermillionville Pond in Lafayette. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am. All the new 2015 Hobie models will be available to test paddle, many of which have the new frame seat. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is the largest outdoors celebration in the country, held on the 4th Saturday of September, with activities in all 50 states. Here in Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has held "Outdoor Festivals" for over 30 years with venues at Waddill Outdoors Center in Baton Rouge, the LDWF office in Monroe, the Woodworth Outdoors Center just south of Alexandria, and at Bodcau Refuge near Minden. Each venue has a wide variety of exhibitors and activities for all ages, as well as food and refreshments. There's even fishing rodeos at some of these venues, and wild game cooking or barbecue cookoffs. Best of all, it's free! For those with interest in fly fishing or kayak fishing, the Bodcau, Waddill and Woodworth venues will have fly fishing clubs on hand. Folks can even do hands-on fly casting and fly tying. The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will also be on hand at Waddill to discuss kayak fishing and rigging.
Texoma On The Fly will celebrate it's 10th anniversary this Saturday. Hosted by Red River Fly Fishers of Denton, Texas, and Eisenhower State Park (where it's held), this event has gone through a couple changes in format over the years. It started as a "conclave", later became more like a "fly fishing 101", and now has reverted back to conclave format. When we say "conclave", we mean an event featuring speakers, demonstration fly tying, fly casting and/or tying instruction, exhibitors, in some cases kayak demos, food, refreshments, and more. Like so many club conclaves, TOTF is open to the public and FREE admission! Previously TOTF was held earlier in the year, and had good attendance from Louisiana fly anglers, with even a few tiers from our state on hand. That may not be the case this year, as TOTF comes just one week before the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair.
Fly Fishing with the Stars. The number 2 movie in America this weekend is "A Walk Among the Tombstones" starring Liam Neeson. Neeson is just one of many actors and musicians who love to fly fish. Add Hugh Jackman to that growing list. The multi-talented film and Broadway actor, best known for his role as "Wolverine" in the X-Men series movies, is preparing for his latest stage production, "The River", by taking his castmates on a fishing trip. According to an article in the New York Daily News by writer Joe Dzemianowicz, Jackman describes fly fishing as "becoming one with the fish, understanding the fish, and seducing them to the end of your line" and "a form of meditation".
Piranhas in Louisiana? Well, sort of. Last week, LDWF enforcement agents cited a Jefferson Parish man with possession of five piranhas in a fish tank in his apartment. Illegal exotic fish possession of certain species - of which piranhas tops the list - brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail plus court costs. The fish were seized (and hopefully destroyed).
Monday, September 15, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins 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 on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: tackle tips, fishing reports, upcoming tournaments. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, materials are provided. On Friday, the Union Parish Library on 202 Jackson Street in Farmerville will be holding a “Fly Fishing Instructional Class”. Time is 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Veteran fly angler and fly tierTom Cathey of Monroe, also the fly fishing instructor for the LDWF Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, will lead the session. For more info, contact the Union Parish Library at (318) 368-9226. Also starting Friday and continuing thru Sunday, it’s the Red Stick Fly Fishers’ annual Lake Concordia Fall Outing. This event culminates with the fish fry on Saturday evening. RSFF members, as well as members of other recognized fly fishing clubs, can participate. For details and contact info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of their “Fly Fishing 101” clinics. The Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course is a one-day, 2-hour clinic designed to introduce the basics of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost. In addition, once instruction is completed, each attendee receives gift coupons and free electronic membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers. To register, contact Alex Beane (225) 757-7286.
Today is the last day for Southern Conclave pre-registration. The FFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair, aka “conclave”, will be held the first weekend of October at Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The largest annual fly fishing event in the South, it’s well attended by folks from north Louisiana, and even a few from south Louisiana. If you’re one of those folks planning to attend the Southern Conclave, and want to pre-register, then today is the final day to do so. You can always register on-site during the event, but pre-registration has it’s rewards. First, a discount on the admission fee. Second, only persons who are pre-registered will be in the drawing for a Sage One Rod worth $750. Third, most of the hands-on workshops – which have limited seats – have only a few seats open at this time. It’s very difficult to get into a workshop if you don’t pre-register. To pre-register, your snail mail form must be postmarked with today’s date (September 15), or the electronic registration must be received in their inbox with a September 15 date. For registration forms, as well as all other details about this conclave, go to www.southerncouncilfff.org.
Monday, September 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 6:30pm. Note the earlier time, as this month's program will begin outside with casting games. The business portion of the meeting will be held afterwards inside. The public is welcome. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. Burley Johnson and Vic McClain will teach weaving of flies. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials provided. 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, with casting prior starting at 6:00pm. For the program, Ben Dupree will talk about Black Lake and Saline Bayou National Wild and Scenic River. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the first of their twice-monthly tying sessions at St. Frances Church, 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools, materials are provided. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair in Ocean Springs. More on this later. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club will hold their first-ever Golden Meadow Smackdown kayak tournament. Entry fee is only $20, and it's open to the public. Fishing boundary is all waters in Lafourche Parish west of Highway 1 and north of the Golden Meadow levee. For more details, go to www.bckfc.org.
This weekend is the Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair. Sponsored by the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Gulf Coast Council (GCC), it's the first-ever "conclave" of the GCC since it's reformation early last year. The event will be held at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Friday is mostly workshops, followed that evening by an Awards Dinner and Auction. A portion of the proceeds of that auction will go to the Gulf Coast Research Lab. Saturday is the main event, with seminars, casting instruction, fly tying demos, exhbitors, vendors, and more workshops. The show is free, and so are the classes. However, the workshops have limited seats, so registration is required. Online registration is still available. Looking over the agenda for the GCC Fly Fishing Fair, the thing that stood out to me was the number of casting classes and the impressive number of Certified Casting Instructors (CCIs) including Master Certified Instructors (MCIs). Anyone looking to improve their casting - or even learn some new tying techniques - should definitely make it over to Ocean Springs! There are a number of beginner sessions as well. This is one aspect that IFFF conclaves have over club conclaves: the workshops. Incidently, bring your fly rod to Ocean Springs. Unlike Louisiana, it's been an above average summer for specks and white trout in the area.
The end of SweatFest 2014? We know that September brings relief from summer heat and humidity, but so far this month it's been nothing but steamy. Heat indices this past week were in the 100 to 105 range. Good news... a cool front is expected to move thru the state on Friday. At least for folks in the northern and central parishes, it'll be a cool front. Highs here in the Alexandria area are expected to be in the mid-80s thru the weekend, with lows in the mid-60s. Let's see if this pushes the water temps down a few degrees, and gets those bass, redears, and crappie excited.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Damnation is showing tonight at the Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge. This is a free event presented by The Backpacker. Doors open at 6:30pm, the film starts at 7:00pm. DamNation is a documentary that explores the changing attitude towards dams, from engineering wonders to obstructions that harm the health of our rivers. Dam removal has been instrumental in giving salmon and other migratory species a chance to return to primeval spawning grounds, and rebounds in populations. Dams can provide clean hydroelectric power, and world-class rainbow and brown trout, especially on southern rivers where trout would not otherwise exist. It's a difficult balance, and it should be interesting to see how this documentary addresses that.
It's September... a month of transition as we head towards the equinox. Here in the Alexandria area, the average high and low for the 1st day of this month is 92/72, but for the last day of this month those averages drop to a comfortable 84/62. Radiative cooling has already begun to equalize radiative heating. What that means is that water temperatures will begin to drop any day now. Slowly at first, but if we get a cool front with dry air, we could see a drop of a several degrees. When water temperatures go below 80 degrees, lookout! It's like 5-hour energy for fish (but longer). Lakes in the northern and central parishes will benefit early on, and the result will be increased activity for bass, crappie, and redear. My dad used to say that the one thing that could keep him from dove or teal hunting in September was a trip to Toledo Bend for schooling bass busting shad. Got my shad flies ready for action! Because the Gulf of Mexico is such a large heat reservoir (as is Pontchartrain and Big Lake), don't expect water temps to drop much until the last days of this month. But speckled trout detect the changes, and will make their inside migration. Meanwhile, it's a great month for sand (white) trout, and the last really good month for nearshore species like mangroves, cobia, kings, and spanish.
It's September, and fishing events are in full force. Orvis in Baton Rouge restarts their "Fly Fishing 101" and "Fly Fishing 201" workshops. Check the calendar for dates. The Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo is this Saturday, September 6th in New Orleans. The Federation of Fly Fishers Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair is Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The weekend of September 19th and 20th, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their annual Fall outing to Lake Concordia. On Saturday, September 27th, it's the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, with LDWF hosting outdoors festivals in Monroe, Minden, Woodworth and Baton Rouge. On the Kayak Fishing calendar, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation holds their annual "Save the Coast" Fishing rodeo Friday and Saturday, September 5-6 out of New Orleans. Entry fee is $40. On Saturday, September 13th, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club hosts their first-ever "Golden Meadow Smackdown" out of the Community Park in Golden Meadow. Entry fee is $20 and it's open to the public. For all these events - and more - go to our Calendar page, or check the Events section of our forum.
It's September, and football fever is back. The first full month of pro, college, and high school games. You know when LSU or the Saints have a big afternoon televised game. The boat launches are full in the morning, then empty by noon. If you're one of the few non-football fanatics in Louisiana, you might use that to your advantage!
Sunday, August 31, 2014
What's happening this week. On Monday, it's Labor Day and the last day of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament. For those registered in STAR, any trout over 14 inches caught on fly or from kayak gets you into the bonus drawing... unless of course you catch a first-place fish. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at 512 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm, with casting prior starting at 6:00pm. 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. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the 6th annual Rio Grande Fly Fishing Rodeo, hosted by the New Orleans Fly Fishers club. Location is New Orleans CIty Park and Bayou St. John. Fishing time is 8:00am to 12:30pm (weigh-in deadline). There is no entry fee, but you must be a member of a recognized fly fishing club. For complete details, check the posting under the Events section in the LFF Forum.
Feeling tropically depressed? For folks in western Louisiana, that feeling is understood after the easterly wave in the northern Gulf that brought as much as 7 inches of rain yesterday. At least it didn't have a name. Midway thru the peak of tropical storm season, we've been fortunate to have no named storms in the Gulf. That could change by next weekend. A large disturbance in the Caribbean, code name Invest 99-L, is expected to move westward into the southern Gulf by Thursday. At this time, there's only a 40 percent chance it will develop into a named (tropical) storm. But if it reaches the Gulf intact, anything is possible.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The September issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine features an article on fly fishing for reds with Keith Richard of the The Camp Fly Fishing School and Captain Steve Smith of Stillwater Charters. In "The Fly Guy", writer Jerald Horst tells of a trip they made around Marsh Island south of Cypremont Point, with Richard sightcasting flies to the wary poisson rouge. Keith also comments on tackle for saltwater, the importance of a good fly line, and the Federation of Fly Fishers and the IFFF Casting Certification Instructor program (Keith is a Master CCI). A must read for anyone interested in taking up reds on the fly! Elsewhere in this month's LAS... my Fly Lines column ("Lessons from a Legend") gives tips and strategies from bass guru Dave Whitlock, some from the sesson he gave at the North Louisiana Fly Fishers "Masters Series" back in July. Chris Holmes "Puddles and Paddles" column deals with fishing for sharks from a kayak. Yowza! The News Breaker section features articles on the recent Ride the Bull 5, including an interview with Teamed Hook on Yak about the making of their winning video at the RTB Calmwater Film Festival ("Business as Usual"). And of course, lots of other great stuff (Seafood Bible, Fishing Forecast, etc).
Belle update. Several of you have asked about the latest on Belle, our faithful collie and often fishing companion. FYI, we returned home late Sunday night to discover her lying in a corner of the garage, her leg badly maimed and blood on the floor. We treated the wound and covered it up. The next morning 6:00am we took her to the nearest animal hospital here in Alex. We were very concerned she would lose the leg, but it appears likely that the leg will recover, barring infection. The vet believes that she was the victim of a steel jaw trap. Last two weeks they have cleared a large section of property adjacent to ours that one of the locals used to hunt and trap on. Belle and the neighbors dog have been trekking through this property, so this scenario is probably correct. Anywho, Belle is doing fine but she has a long recovery ahead. I'm hoping my BFFF is back in full form for when the crappie start biting this fall.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
What's happening this week. An exciting one... the start of high school and college football, the Labor Day weekend, and the last days of the summer-long CCA STAR tournament. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Blvd in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome, public is invited. Bring your own tools, the club has some to use. Materials are provided. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Whitney Bank branch at 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, in conjunction with LDWF and Cabelas, will hold a "Kayak Fishing 101" workshop at Cabelas in Gonzales. Time is 9:30am to 3:30pm. There is no cost, but class size is limited to 35 students. For details, check out the post in the Puddlers Forum, or go to bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, Pack and Paddle will host a "Kayak Fishing Mothership Trip" along Highway 1 in Lafourche Parish. The trip will be guided by Shane Curole of Team Hooked on Yak. Cost is $250 per person and includes use of a kayak, PFD, marsh anchor, lunch and guide. There's a limit of 4 seats for this trip, so reservations are required. For more info, or to register, go to www.packpaddle.com.
CCA STAR concludes next Monday. The Fly and Kayak Divisions in the summer-long tournament got off to a slow start this year. The Fly West Division leaderboard remained vacant for several weeks, but eventually filled up and since, has undergone a few turnovers as well. There's no question - numerous charter captains have confirmed this as well - that speckled trout fishing across Louisiana this year has been very much below average. So fly and kayak anglers have had to put in extra effort to register fish. There are several familiar names on the leaderboard as we enter the final leg, proving you can't keep good flyfishers down. But it's not over yet... in the last week, big trout have moved onto the beaches at Elmers Isle, Holly Beach, and the reefs off Cypremont Point. It could very well be that the winners of the Fly East and West are decided on this the last week of STAR 2014.
A big week for college football in Louisiana as the season kicks off for several schools, beginning Thursday. Everyone is excited about their favorite team, as at this point every team is undefeated, right? On Thursday, UL-Monroe entertains Wake Forest and Northwestern State hosts Missouri State, while Tulane travels to Tulsa. On Saturday, three big games of note... as everyone knows (or should know) LSU faces Wisconsin at Reliant Stadium in Houston in a clash of nationally-ranked teams that play similiar style offense. LSU has a number of exciting freshmen who could play a big role including quarterback Brandon Harris, running back Leonard Fournette, safety Jamal Adams and receivers Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre. LSU's chances may depend on how well those freshmen respond. Another big game has Louisiana Tech traveling to Oklahoma. The Sooners - which dismantled the Gumps in the Sugar Bowl - are my pick to win the national championship. In Lafayette, UL faces Southern in a game that should be a shootout. Also on Saturday, Nicholls travels to Air Force, Grambling travels to Lamar, and Southeastern hosts Jacksonville.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is September 27th. Established by Congress in 1972, NHFD is always the 4th Saturday of September, and recognizes the importance of traditional outdoors sports. This year's honorary chairman, country music star Craig Morgan - who also hosts All Access Outdoors television series - joins a long list of celebrities who have served as spokepersons for this nationwide celebration. Here in Louisiana, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hosts NHF Day Outdoors Festival at four venues: Monroe, Minden (Bodcau), Baton Rouge (Waddill), and Woodworth. Over 10,000 adults and youth attend these four events each year. Fly fishing clubs have long been part of the many organizations and agencies that exhibit at NHF Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers will be celebrating their 25th year at the Waddill venue, once again doing hands-on fly tying, fly casting and knots. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers will be doing likewise at Bodcau, while the Kisatchie Fly Fishers and Cane Country Fly Casters will be teaming up at the Woodworth venue. For the clubs, it's more than just picking up a few new members. It's exposing our sport to the many youth that attend. Most have never seen or cast a fly rod. Or even seen a fly, much less tied one. How important is National Hunting and Fishing Day? It's been cited as one of the reasons for the resurgence in outdoors participation in the pivotal 18 to 35 age group.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The 106th American Casting Association National Championships was held August 5th thru 9th on the campus of Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Hosted by the Southern Brothers Anglers ACA club, it featured some remarkable casting performances including Maxine McCormick of San Francisco, who in only her second ACA championships, set 8 new records in the Junior Division! Henry Mittel won all three fly distance events, edging out longtime distance king Steve Rajeff. However, Rajeff won several of the spin events, and once again was named Anglers All Round Championship as he claimed 5 gold and 7 silver medals. Here's a rundown on some of the fly category winners: In 2-Hand Fly Distance, Pam Peters - Womens 165 feet, Zack Willson - Senior Men 181 feet, Henry Mittel - Mens 247 feet. In 1-Hand Fly Distance, Pam Peters - Womens 131 feet, Chuck Phillips - Senior Men 150 feet, Henry Mittel - Mens 185 feet. In Anglers Fly Distance, Maxine McCormick - Juniors 94 feet (new national record), Pam Peters - Womens 113 feet, Alice Gillibert - Senior Womens 114 feet, John Seroczynski - Seniors Men 132 feet, Henry Mittel - 169 feet. Bass Bug Accuracy (100 points perfect score): Peg VanNatter Senior Women 85 points, Pam Peters - Women 87 points, Bill Burke - Senior Men 92 points, Maxine McCormick - Juniors 88 points (new national record), Steve Rajeff, Chris Korich - 99 points (Rajeff won castoff tiebreaker 99-98).
The IFFF 2014 Awards winners have been announced. At the recent International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) National Fly Fishing Fair held in Livingston, Montana, certain clubs and members of the organization were recognized for their contributions to the sport of fly fishing. Some of the winners are familiar to many Louisiana fly anglers. They included: Russel Husted, president of the IFFF Texas Council, as Federator of the Year; Fort Worth Fly Fishers and Southern Sierra Fly Fishers for McKenzie Cup (Club of the Year); Oscar Feliu for Buz Buszek Award (lifetime achievement in fly tying); University of Southern Mississippi and Gulf Coast Council for Conservation Award. Congratulations to these clubs, organizations and individuals as well as all others recognized by the IFFF.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Another event this Saturday in Lake Charles besides the Contraband Fly Fishing Expo, is the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's 6th annual "Cajun Castaway". Time is 6:00am to 3:00pm. This tournament is open to the public, with weigh-in at Calcasieu Point Landing. Entry fee is $25. It's a roadrunner tournament, with boundaries anywhere in Cameron or Calcasieu parishes. Top prizes go to heaviest Slam (slot red, trout, flounder). For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.
Drawdown scheduled for Chicot Lake near Ville Platte starting September 2nd, according to a press release from Wildlife and Fisheries. The lake level will be lowered 3 feet, and remain so for a period of several weeks. Drawdowns help to control aquatic vegetation but also oxidize shoreline muds, thereby improving spawning areas. The lake will open to fishing and boating, but boaters are advised to exercise caution as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance from underwater structures.
Another weapon in the fight against salvania. Today is the opening of the Morley Hudson Weevil Greenhouse on Caddo Lake, in Uncertain, Texas. The facility will enable year-round high production of salvinia weevils to control the fast-growing aquatic weed. The project was fundeded by grants from individuals and organizations, and the facility named after the late Morley Hudson, a Caddo Lake resident and lake caretaker. The immediate goal is to seed as many areas of the lake with weevils as soon as possible. Longer range will be to stock weevils on other waters infested with salvinia.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul Lutheran Church Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying begins at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The fly this month will be the Foam Spider. Beginners are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: review of last month's LA 1 Slamboree, details on the upcoming Cajun Castaway in Lake Charles, and other fishing topics. Guests are welcome. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month's workshop will be a "Beginners Fly Tying Class". Bud Bethea will teach the Wooly Bugger. The workshop is open to the public. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at Whitney Bank branch on 1441 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, materials are provided. On Saturday, it's the 10th Contraband Conclave in Westlake. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Tom Jindra will be conducting an "Intermediate Casting Class" in New Orleans. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. The class will begin with a review of the roll and standard overhead casts and proceed to the double-haul and other techniques for coping with the wind. Cost is $50 per person, seats are limited to 6. To sign up, drop Tom an email at tomjindra at cox.net or call 504-392-7511. Also on Saturday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs will hold their monthly 4th Saturday Tying Clinic. Time is 9:30am to 12 noon. Please bring your tools, materials are provided.
The 10th Contraband Fly Fishing Expo is this Saturday. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters / Tom Nixon Chapter of Lake Charles, the event will take place at PPG Porter Hall on 2250 Prater Road in Westlake. Time is 8:30am to 4:00pm, and admission is free. Like most conclaves, the event will have fly tying demos, casting demos, programs, exhibitors, auction/raffles, food, refreshments, and more. As for tiers... since moving from the Southwest Fishing Club as it's venue a few years back, the Contraband Expo has been able to accomodate a lot more tiers. Just about every style of fly, from tiny midges to hair bugs to realistic, can be observed. The Contraband conclave has always been one of the more popular events in Louisiana. In part because it segways into the fall fishing season, and in part because it often features a nationally-recognized tier or speaker. Even when the speakers are all regional - as this year - it's a captivating mix of topics.
Online registration is now open for Southern Conclave to be held October 3rd thru 5th in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Or as it's properly named, the IFFF Southern Fly Fishing Fair. Hosted by the International Federation of Fly Fishers Southern Council, it's annually the largest fly fishing event in the South, and one attended by a significant number of Louisiana fly anglers. This year there's been a change in the days. Traditionally, Thursday was a workshops day, with Friday and Saturday as the Expo days (tying demos, exhibitors, vendors). This year, Friday will be the workshops day, with Saturday and Sunday (until 2pm) as the Expo days. While the dates may be unsettling to some, other more traditional aspects of the conclave have returned for 2014, as well as a few new wrinkles that could have appeal. For more info, including registration, go to www.southerncouncilfff.org.
Stopped by the Orvis store in BR yesterday to pick up a few tying materials. Some of the crew had just come back from a trip to the Lower Mountain Fork in southeast Oklahoma (2.5 hours from Shreveport) and shot some excellent video. Which led me to suggest that, as part of their annual Fly Fishing Film Tour showing each spring, they precede it with a mini-film festival of clips shot by local and regional anglers. Yes, it was inspired by Friday's Calmwater Film Festival at Ride the Bull. The idea was liked, we'll see if it takes root. Meanwhile, folks interested in their best-selling Access rods might take note that these rods are on sale for $100 off. Also, I noticed in their new catalog (just received Friday) that the Frequent Flyer 6-piece rods are now upgraded for 2014/2015 and now carry the 25-year warranty. These are the best 6-piece rods I've ever cast, which make them a great value at $235 to $255. One other note from the visit: Orvis BR has set fall dates for their popular Fly Fishing 101 and 201 classes. The dates are September 20 and October 4 (FF101) and September 27 and October 11 (FF201).
Sunday, August 10, 2014
What's happening this week. First and foremost, it's "Shark Week" on Discovery Channel starting tonight. 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. Special guest speaker will be RSFF member-emeritus and former BR resident, Dave McDougal, who will present on fly fishing for trout near his new home in Arizona. Guests are welcome. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge, 150 Eagle Point Road, in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm, with casting prior to the meeting. Speaker will be Erik Jackson, who will talk on the Lower Mountain Fork River. The LMF is a year-round trout water about 2.5 hours north of Shreveport near Broken Bow, Oklahaoma. Guests are welcome. 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. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at 200 Mariners Plaza in Mandeville. Time is 7:00pm. Friday is the start of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation convention to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in West Monroe. It concludes on Saturday evening with the 50th annual Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet. Also starting Friday evening with the Captain's Dinner, with the main event on Saturday, it's the 5th-ever "Ride the Bull" extreme kayak fishing rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport will hold a fly tying clinic on "The Bass Popper". Cost is $20 and covers all supplies. Seats are limited, so call or email ahead. For details, go to www.graywolfflyshop.com.
The world's largest kayak fishing tournament takes place this coming weekend at Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. It's the 5th-ever "Ride the Bull". Conceived by Captain Danny Wray, who does kayak and fly fishing guiding around the island, the concept is for kayakers to land, live-weigh (via patrol boats) and release bull reds. Largest bull red wins, with 10 places recognized. There's also a prize (TFO rod) for largest bull caught on fly tackle, as well as $500 for anyone who catches a specially tagged red during the tournament. RTB started 6 years ago and has grown each time until last year when it set the record for the world's largest kayak tournament, both registered (523) and actual participants (488). And it could possibly have been larger were it not for forecasts of thunderstorms (the kickoff was rain-delayed, but no rain afterwards). It looks like the 2014 version of RTB has already broken it's own record... as of yesterday, 557 were registered. And some involved in the event predict another 100 anglers by Saturday morning's shotgun start. So what makes RTB so popular? For starters, the bull reds are thick in Caminada Pass this time of year. Hooking onto one for a Cajun Sleigh Ride, for sure. But even just watching someone else hook into a bull is fun. With so many anglers packed into a 1/2 mile by 1 mile fishing zone, it's pretty common for groups to gather and hold conversations. Add into it the Friday night's Captains Dinner, the "Calmwater Film Festival" and it's obvious that camradery is a huge part of this event. The $65 entry fee - $75 onsite - covers Friday night dinner, film festival, t-shirt, tournament entry. If you just want to come down Saturday and watch, that's okay too. RTB is a spectator sport with folks lining up on the old Caminada bridge (fishing pier) to watch the action. For more details, or to register, go to www.calmwatercharters.net and click on "Ride the Bull".
It's Shark Week. No wading, no feet overboard. Late summer finds the toothy critters at their most active. It's not uncommon to find them in inland waters, or at the mouths of estuary rivers like the Blind and Tickfaw. It's something to be concerned about. At the least, I and others have had stringers attacked by sharks. At the worst, there can be human attacks like this one that occured on Lake Pontchartrain this week. The boy's foot was injured, but not too seriously. A stark reminder to kayakers to leave the stringer at home, bring a fish bag or ice chest instead, and keep those feet in the boat!
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Correction on the Louisiana Wildlife Federation convention. It's next weekend, August 15-16. The comments below have been modified to reflect the correct dates. Thank you, LFF readers, for keeping me straight!
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The IFFF Gulf Coast Council's first conclave since their realignment will take place next month. The "Gulf Coast Fly Fishing Fair" will be held on September 12th and 13th at the Civic Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The GCC currently represents International Federation of Fly Fishers charter clubs, affiliated clubs, and individual IFFF members in Louisiana, Mississippi, and south Alabama. Prior to the realignment, the GCC also included clubs and members from south Texas, while clubs from north Texas were part of the IFFF Southern Council. The realignment in January, 2013 grouped all IFFF clubs and members from Texas into a new Texas Council. Since then, there's been rumors of the new GCC having an event, and now it's come to fruition. Best of all, it's free to the public, a rarity among IFFF events. The GCC Fly Fair is being held at a time that coincides with the start of great fall fishing in the area. Bring your saltwater fly tackle if you go. For more details, check out the post in the Events Forum, which also includes a link to the full-size Fly Fair poster.
Congrats to Casey Brunning. Casey, a fellow member of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, won this Sunday's IFA Kayak Fishing Tour event in Lafitte with a combined limit of 66.63 inches. Casey, a resident of Madisonville, fished the Grand Isle area using topwater lures and jigs. He reported calm, slack tide with clear water. While it impacted the trout negatively, it was a big positive for reds, especially for the bulls. IFA Kayak Tour events are CPR - catch, photo, release - using a token provided at the Captains Meeting the night before. As such, bull reds are okay for entry. In addition, the IFAKT is a "roadrunner" tournament, i.e., it allows launching anywhere within the tournament-specified fishing area. With bull reds and larger trout running in the Grand Isle area the past week, most of the participants concentrated their efforts there. Coming in 2nd was Benton Parrot of Spanish Fort, Alabama, with 3rd place to Clayton Shilling of Prarieville. Benton contributed his success to help from Brendan "Choupique" Bayard. Since this was the last IFAKT event in the Louisiana Division, the next event will be the National Championship on October 16-18 which returns again this year to Houma.