Louisiana Fly Fishing

A STAR is born. That's the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Louisiana Statewide Tournament and Anglers Rodeo (STAR). Now entering it's 21st year, the tournament kicks off on Memorial Day at 12:01am and ends at midnight on Labor Day. There are multiple ways for flycasters and kayak anglers to win, including 2 Fly Fish Divisions (East, West), 4 Kayak Divisions (East, Southeast, Southwest, West), tagged reds and tagged specks and more. Jonathan Craft - LFF Forum member JCraft - won the 2013 Fly Fish East Division with this trout in photo but topped that honor big time last year, landing the first tagged redfish. That lucky red won him a brand new Chevy Silverado pickup (a great vehicle to carry his fly rods and kayak). 2013 West Fly Fish Division winner Steve Lee advises that fly anglers hit the trout in the first weeks of the tournament, when bigger trout are more willing to eat flies. Steve should know... his 5-pound winning trout came on the first day of the 2013 STAR.


Fly Of The Month

Skipping Bug. CCA STAR contestants in the Fly Fish Divisions - as well as any fly angler looking to catch big trout in late May or June - the advise is simple: go topwater. While several poppers can catch trout, none catch more bigger specks than the Skipping Bug. Once quite popular, it's becoming a rarity these days. Fly shops have found that customers prefer Crease Flies because they're easier to cast. But make no mistake: when it comes to big specks on top, Skipping Bugs rule. They can make a big pop, or a soft pop, but they push water and give a large profile. If you can't tie one yourself, check out Orvis. They carry them in only one color, red/white. But that's why God made permanent markers, so you could color them yourself! I usually make the head black and the body green or chartreuse to add variety.


Featured Tackle

Sunsect. Mosquito season is here... and so is sunburn season. Now one product fights both. Last year at ICAST, I visited vendors who were at the "On the Water Demo" the first day. One of those was the makers of Sunsect, a combination sunscreen and insect repellant that was developed for the military and had been in use for 15 years. It only came to the consumer market in 2015. Sunsect eliminates the need to carry both sunscreen and repellant, but more importantly, studies have shown that using separate products together deactivate each other by up to 50 percent! Sunsect has been shown to repel mosquitos, ticks, no-see-ums, sand gnats, and other disease-carrying insects. Even more important than ever with concern over the Zika Virus. It's SPF 15 rated, non-greasy, water-resistant, dries clear and is safe for children. And it's made in the USA. A 4-ounce tube runs about $10.



 TIPPETS

Sunday, May 29, 2016
What's happening this week. Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday for most, but more importantly a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.finaddictflyfishers.blogspot.com. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 101" clinic. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. Orvis FF101 is a 1-day, 2-hour session that covers the basic of fly fishing and fly casting. There is no cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also this Saturday and Sunday, it's "Free Fishing Days" in Louisiana and Mississippi. In Louisiana, this applies to recreational fishing in all waters. In Mississippi, this applies to freshwater only. There's a separate free saltwater fishing day on July 4th.

Summer has begun - climatologically speaking. The summer soltice may not be until June 22nd, but seasons in Louisiana are always a few weeks early. I call this the start of "90-90-90"... 90 days of 90 degrees high temps in the day and 90 percent humidity in the morning. Enjoy the June breezes because come July, they go away and "SweatFest 2016" begins! Of course, with the start of "summer" comes the start of tropical activity. Already we're on the 2nd tropical storm of the year. TS Bonnie appears to be headed toward South Carolina, so we're good for now. The bad news is that forecasters are predicting 2016 to be a very active year, with the most named storms since 2012. They've missed their forecast - on the good side - the last two years, let's hope it extends to three!

The summer season brings increased emphasis on safety. With school out, Louisiana waters can often get crazy with boaters, especially on weekends. Most of the boating fatalities occur during the summer months. The good news in that regard is that - thanks in large part to the LDWF's Boater Safety Program - the number of fatalities has declined significantly in the last three decades, from an average of 52 per year in the 1980s down to single digits. In most cases, on-the-water fatalities are either alcohol-related and/or not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD). I know it's hot, but wear that PFD all the time if possible. It costs a bit more, but an inflatable PFD will save your life and keep you cooler.

Keeping your cool can save your life! Summer sun and heat brings many dangers. For example, heat stroke. Bring an ice chest or cooler tote bag with water and/or sports drinks to stay hydrated. The sun does it's damage over time - skin exposed to the high UV radiation during summer months can lead to cancer. Protect your skin by putting on a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen (30 or higher) BEFORE you get on the water. Wear long sleeve breathable shirts, a rim cap, or a bill cap in conjunction with a buff. Wear some type of cover for your feet. Also be aware of the daily thunderstoms that can pop up very quickly. At the first sign of dark clouds in the horizon, start making your way back to launch (especially in a kayak).

A brief look at Summer 2016. Not many fly fishing and kayak fishing events, but those few are pretty big events! The weekend of June 24-26, we have the annual Grand Isle Fly Fishing Weekend. This event is a gathering of members of clubs from Louisiana, Mississippi, and a couple other states with the focus on surf fishing and marsh fishing for reds, specks, flounder, and other salt species. On July 23, it's the 4th annual "Masters Series" hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers at the Red River National Refuge in Bossier City. This year's headliner is Bob Clouser. A few tickets of the 75 original tickets were still available as of last week, but they're going fast! Then on August 20, it's the annual Contraband Conclave at Moss Bluff United Methodist Church Center. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters, there's seminars, fly tying demos, casting instructions, vendors, exhibitors, raffles and more. Admission is free. On the kayak fishing side, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club has two big tournaments, their annual "Highway 1 Slamboree" on July 30 and their "Cajun Castaway" at Calcasieu Point on August 20. And then there's the world's largest kayak fishing tournament - Ride the Bull - August 26-27 out of Bridgeside Marina on Grand Isle. RTB7 promises to set another record, as many past attendees have confirmed to me that they'll be returning this year in rememberance of organizer and Louisiana kayak fishing pioneer Kristen Wray, who passed away earlier this year following a courageous battle against cancer.

For those who follow competitive fly fishing the U.S. National Championships will be held this week in Lake Placid, New York. The top finishers will have the opportunity to compete for Team USA when the World Championships are held in August in Vail, Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Super Bowl of competitive casting takes place July 25-30 in Wilmore, Kentucky when the American Casting Association hosts it's 108th National Tournament. The categories include spinning and fly casting. The fly casting categories include 1-Hand Distance, Dry Fly Accuracy, Trout Fly Accuracy, Bass Bug Accuracy, 2-Hand Distance, and more. Within each category, there's divisions for Men, Women, Senior Men, Senior Women, Intermediate, Juniors and Youth. Much of the attention is given to the 1-Hand Distance and Overall winners, two titles that have pretty much been dominated by Steve Rajeff and Henry Mittel. Steve's 1-Hand Distance record of 243-feet remains unfathomable, while brother Tim's record for Men's Accuracy Flies with 300 points is equally jaw-dropping! But last year, it was 11-year old Maxine McCormick that got all the buzz after she set new records for Women's Fly Accuracy and Juniors Fly Distance (111 feet).

Sunday, May 22, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Guest speaker will be Kenny Robertson, LDWF wildlife agent and also president of the Cotile Lake Environmental Association. Kenny will talk about fishing regs, water safety and about Cotile Lake. Also on the agenda: Roger Breedlove's rods for sale to benefit the club, tickets for the CCA Cenla Banquet (June 9) and tickets for the NLFF Masters Series featuring Bob Clouser (July 23). Visitors are welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs holds their monthly fly tying session. Time is 6:00pm. Bring your own tying tools, but if none, a few sets available for use. Materials are provided. On Wednesday, the CCA Tangi Chapter holds their annual banquet at Twelve Oaks on the SLU Campus in Hammond. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($30 spouse/$25 youth) and includes admission, membership, dinner, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel across the parking lot from Blue Crab Restaurant. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the start of the 2016 CCA STAR Tournament, which runs through Labor Day. Of the 16 divisions, five of most interest to LFF readers are Fly (East and West), Kayak (East, Southeast, Southwest, West), Youth, Tagged Redfish, Tagged Speck. New this year is the Bank Division. For more details or to register, go to www.ccastar.com. Also on Saturday, the Camp Fly Fishing School in Breaux Bridge will hold an "Advanced Fly Fishing Workshop". Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost of $150 includes instruction, handouts, lunch, refreshments. This workshop goes beyond introductory topics and deals with getting more casting distance with more efficiency and also specialty casts that cover a wide range of fishing situations. For more info, go to www.thecampflyfishingschool.com. Also on Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Speck-N-Redfish Cup. This is a fish-anywhere in Louisiana kayak tournament, with weigh-in from 4:00pm to 5:00pm at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Heaviest stringer of 2 slot reds and 2 specks wins. Entry fee is $25 and it's open to the public. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com.

The IFFF Texas Council has updated their Expo website. The Texas Council of the International Federation of Fly Fishers has held their annual conclave, aka "Destination Texas Fly Fishing Expo" at New Braunfels in June. This year, they moved to a new date and a new location - Grapevine Convention Center on Thursday-Saturday, September 8th thru 10th. Thursday will be for CCI and MCI Continuing Education and possibly other day-long workshops, with Thursday evening a showing of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival. On Friday, and continuing Saturday, the event begins in earnest with programs, exhibitors, fly tiers, casting workshops, and more. The headliner list looks quite impressive - including Pat Cohen, Kelly Galloup, Jen Ripple, and our own Fred Hannie. More info and registration will be coming. The website is www.txflyfishexpo.com.

The IFFF Southern Council also updated their expo info. The Southern Fly Fishing Fair, aka Southern Conclave, is held every year the first full weekend of October in Mountain Home, Arkansas. For the last 14 years, the event has been held at Baxter County Fairgrounds. Previously it was held inside the banquet room at the Ramada Inn - which the conclave had long outgrowned (and by a lot!. The one good thing that many of us who have tied or given presentations at the Fairgrounds conclaves could say was that it had plenty room. And that was about it! However, several of us were very excited to learn that for 2016, the event will be held at The Sheid Convention Center on the campus of Arkansas State University - Mountain Home. It's a very impressive facility, and I expect many of the vendors and fly tiers to be pleased with the new location as well. The Convention Room also has a large auditorium which will be used for showing of the Fly Fishing Film Tour. More show info details will be coming in the next couple of months.

Sunday, May 15, 2016
What's happening this week. A busy one, with three fishing events this Saturday. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library on 5416 Provine in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. This month, Gene Taylor will be demonstrating the Chernobyl Ant. Attendees can tie along. Beginners and guests are welcome. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at 1620 East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begin at 6:00pm with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: the upcoming Speck-and-Redfish Cup tournament, tackle tips, fishing reports, product spotlight and yak fishing location. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. On Wednesday, the CCA Delta Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $100 per person ($50 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Tom Bullock will be tying a streamer and discussing George Daniels' new book, "Strip Set". Beginners and visitors are welcome! Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the 2nd of their twice monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the CCA Pointe Coupee Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Scott Civic Center in New Roads. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. Starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual "Spring Catch-n-Eat" marsh fishing outing open to members and members of other recognized clubs. The fishing takes place along Highway 1 corridor, culminating with a fish and shrimp fry Saturday evening. For details, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's the 3rd annual "2-Fly Tournament" hosted by the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers. It's open to members of any recognized fly fishing club. There is no cost. Registration begins at 8:00am with fishing from 8:30am to 1:00pm. Rules are fly fishing with only 2 flies allowed at start, and thru duration of the tournament. Longest cumulative total of 3 bream wins. For details, check out Stephen Robert's post in our Events forum. Also on Saturday, it's the annual BREAMFEST at Providence Hill Farm in Jackson, MS. This charitable event is open to the public with over $4,000 in prizes. Fishing times are 8:30am to 10:30am with lunch at noon. Entry fee is $150 adult, $50 youth. Divisions are Adult and Youth. For more info, call Chris at 601-497-2471 or email breamfest@icloud.com. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" clinic. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour hands-on, on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. Fishing will take place on a stocked pond. To register, call 225-757-7286. Also this Saturday, Masseys Outfitters in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on University Lake off Stanford Avenue. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models include Hobie, Jackson, Native Watercraft, Perception, Wilderness, and Feel Free.

Tickets for the NLFF Masters Series going fast! Even though we're still 2 months away from the North Louisiana Fly Fishers 4th annual "Masters Series" on Saturday, July 23rd, the number of available tickets is shrinking for "A Day with Bob Clouser". One of the legends of our sport - with WAY too many accolades to list (I'd have to sit at the keyboard all day) - Clouser will be giving presentations, casting clinic, and hands on fly tying. The club is hoping to sell what few tickets remain of the original 75 tickets over the next couple of weeks, so they can finish with that part of the event. Tickets are $40 each and include admission, lunch, and refreshments. One reason why tickets have gone so fast is that a number of clubs signed on as sponsors, buying up blocks of 10 tickets. Those clubs include: Magnolia Fly Fishers, East Texas Fly Fishers, Kisatchie Fly Fishers, Contraband Fly Casters and Gray Wolf Fly Shop. If you're interested in attending this great event, give Scott Irwin a call at 318-469-0854... but hurry!

Updates on Orvis Fly Fishing 101. Alex Beane, manager of the Orvis store in Baton Rouge, sent me an email this week stating that additional "Fly Fishing 101" classes are coming up on June 4th and July 2nd (they were not on our LFF Calendar). FYI, the FF101 sessions are free, 1-day, 2-hour clinics that cover the basics of casting and rigging, along with casting instruction and actual hands-on casting by the students with evaluation by the instructor. Each FF101 session is followed the next week by "Fly Fishing 201" where students fish a stocked pond, and put the learnings of FF101 to actual use. It's a very innovative approach and one that has worked very well for both Orvis and the fly fishing community. In fact, Alex says that over 400 students last year took FF101. This is a nationwide program so do the math and you can see why, according to AFFTA surveys, the numbers of people in our sport continue to grow to all-time highs. But that's just half the story because anyone can teach fly fishing, but the question is, does anybody learn? As an instructor, I've had many former Orvis FF101 students and they almost always show good skills from the start. That enables instructors to move quickly to "advanced beginner" and even intermediate level material. If you know someone with an interest, please share and tell them to contact the Orvis store at 225-757-7286.

The 2016 Hobie World Championship is coming to Louisiana was announced this past week. The dates are December 4th thru 10th, with the location being Leeville and the now-famous Highway 1 corridor. The Hobie Worlds Championship is to kayak fishing what the Superbowl is to football or the World Series to baseball. Except that it's international... over 50 qualified anglers from around the globe will be contesting using identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayaks. This is the 6th Worlds Championship, with the last 3 being held in Australia, Netherlands, and China. The contest held in the Netherlands was won by Louisiana's own Steve Lessard of Geismar, and many are hoping that a Louisiana native qualifies for the 6-man USA team. If not, the most likely "home representative" would be Benton Parrot of Spanish Fort, Alabama. Benton is among a handful of puddlers whose already qualified on the merit of winning last year's IFA Kayak Tour Championship out of Chalmette. Parrot, who frequently fishes Louisiana waters, is Team USA Captain, and guarantees a lot of good fish will be caught. But defending World Champion Ma Xiaohong of China plans isn't planning to give up his crown simply because four of the 5 champions have been from the host country. Besides, he's heard about "Cajun Sleigh Rides" and says he's looking forward to having several. This should be a great event for our state come December.

Monday, May 9, 2016
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, with casting outside prior to the meeting. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. The group will be tying bream flies for their outing this Saturday on Cane River. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting and socializing starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month, guest speaker will be renown mussel biologist Tony Brady. Tony will speak on mussel biology and propogation and even on tying a mussel fly. The public is invited. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, Masseys Outfitters in Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Fishing Seminar" at their store in Town Center. Time is 7:00pm. Jackson Fishing Team member Ben "Fishtaco" Roussel will give tips and tricks for fishing out of a kayak, as well as methods on fly fishing from a kayak. The public is welcome. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors (Hook 1 Louisiana) on 1914 E. 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA River Parishes Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Jerusalem Shrine Center in Destrehan. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge holds another Fly Fishing 101 clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with an hour of tackle and rigging and one hour of casting instruction. It's FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Backpacker of Baton Rouge will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at BREC Wampold Park on Stanford at University Lake. Time is 10:00am to 2:00pm. Models include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River Canoe, Dagger, Yolo. Also on Saturday, Masseys Outfitters of New Orleans will hold a free "Kayak Demo Day" at Bayou St. John near the Cabrini Bridge. Time is 10:00am to 3:00pm. Models include Hobie, Jackson, Native Watercraft, Wilderness, Feel Free. Also on Saturday, the Cane Country Fly Casters will hold a fishing outing on Cane River. For more details, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com.

Finding Trout in All Conditions. That's the title of a new book by Boots Allen. According to the press release, "Finding Trout in All Conditions: A Guide to Understanding Nature's Forces for Better Production on the Water" is a comprehensive examination of those parts of the natural world that impact trout, trout food and forage. It examines how trout react and feed under the influence of barometric pressure, rain, snow, air and water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and much more. Research on the book was based on the author's 30-plus years of guiding and fishing around the world, and conversations with other guides and experienced anglers. It's available starting tomorrow at Amazon.com. Price is $18.99 for Kindle, $34.99 for Hardcover.

Friday, May 6, 2016
The May issue of Louisiana Sportsman is now available at sporting goods stands and convenience stores across Louisiana. In this issue, my Fly Lines column - "Green, Green Grass of Houma" - tells why early summer reds love weedy ponds , what types of grass to look for, and what tactics and flies are effective. As always, we have the fishing forecast (Tippets) and list of upcoming events for the month ahead. In other columns, Andy Crawford writes about the slip cork rig for panfish; Chris Holmes in his "Paddles 'n Puddles" kayak fishing column tells why trolling for trout can more fish in the yak; Jerald Horst in his "Creature Feature" tells about Spots - no not the redfish ones, but the small member of the croaker family; Jerald and Glenda Horst share the Broussard family of Lafayette recipes including Oyster and Andouille Pasta. In feature articles, Jerald Horst tells us about secret spots for trout out of Grand Isle, and Kinny Haddox tells about creek fishing with Scott Long of DandyDon.com LSU sports website - yes, the son of LSU superfan "Dandy Don" Long. Incidently, it was Scott who helped me with formation of this website 20 years ago.

We're closing in on the start of 2016 CCA STAR. This year, the Fly Fishing Division remains the same, with heaviest speckled trout in the Eastern Region winning a $1,500 gift card to Academy Sports, and likewise for the Western Region winner. Once again, kudos to Costa del Mar for sponsoring the Fly Fishing Division. As far as I know, Louisiana is only other CCA state besides Florida to have this division. In the Kayak Division, there's been a change regarding top prizes. In the past, each of the four division winners took home a Hobie Outback with Mirage Drive. For 2016, the angler registering the heaviest overall speckled trout in any of the four divisions will win a Hobie Pro Angler, which is an upgrade from the Outback. However, the other three division winners will take a Hobie Quest (which is a paddle kayak). I've read some mixed reactions to this on some of the kayak forums, so we'll see. This year, there's a new division - "Bank Fishing" with the winner no longer being confined to the bank as they'll be awarded a 16-foot Weldbilt boat with 40 horsepower Mercury 4-stroke, donated by Bent Marine. Fly anglers and kayak anglers aren't just limited to their divisions... they can win in other divisions as well - including Tagged Redfish and Tagged Speckled Trout. Last year, two kayak anglers registered the first 2 tagged reds, one of those being our own forum member JCraft (he took home a Chevy Silverado). So the possibilities are endless. If you haven't registered for STAR, do so today by going to www.ccastar.com.

The Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers club now has a new meeting location. The club will continue to meet on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm, but the location will be Abita Brew Pub on 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs. If you live in the Northshore area, this is a great club with lots of experienced fly anglers and fly tiers and terrific comradery. Guests are welcome. They also do a fly tying session on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30pm at Olde Towne Fly Shop at 3675 Ponchartrain Drive in Slidell. Beginners are welcome. To learn more about the club, visit their website at www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
What's happening this week. An active weekend culminating with Mothers Day on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting. This month will be an on-the-water meeting at Buhlow Lake in Pineville. Time is 6:00pm. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Ward 3 Recreation Complex on 7903 Lake Street in Lake Charles. 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 on 124 Girod St. in Old Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Wednesday, the Vermillion Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at the VN Hall on 1201 North Lafitte Road in Abbeville. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, live auction, raffles. For info, contact Rad at rad@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the Lake Charles Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, live auction, raffles. For info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, Backpacker and Pack and Paddle will hold major kayak demos in the Lafayette area. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. FF201 is a free, 1-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to practical fishing situations. Seats are limited, so reservations are required. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's the 7th annual "Bass on the Fly" CPR tournament out of Lake Fork Marina in Texas. Time is 6:00am to 2:00pm. Cost is $60 per person, with optional $5 big bass pot and optinal $5 big sunfish pot. Categories include Boaters, Kayak, and Club. Activities begin on Friday and include free casting clinics 10am-4pm, product booths, kayak demos, and a guide report at 6:00pm. Casting and kayak demos continue on Saturday. Onsite registration can be done Friday or Saturday morning before 6:00am. For more info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.

For folks in the Lafayette area who are looking to get into kayak fishing, or wanting to upgrade their existing kayak, or add to their "plastic navy", this Saturday provides a great opportunity to "try before you buy". Both Backpacker (Lafayette store) and Pack and Paddle will be holding major kayak demos... and it's free! Backpacker will be at Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Brands to test will include Hobie, Wilderness Systems, KC Kayak, Perception, Mad River, Yolo and others. Pack and Paddle will hold their demo at Vermillionville Pond at 300 Fisher Road (near the airport) from 10:00am to 2:00pm. PnP carries Hobie, Jackson, Wilderness, Native, NuCanoe, Hurricane, Bote and others. Next weekend, Backpacker of Baton Rouge and Masseys of New Orleans will hold demos at University Lake (Wampold Park in BR) and Bayou St. John in NO, respectively. Each year, the early May demos stand out from the March major demos in that there are always a few new boats that come to dealers between March and May. This year, those models include the Jackson Kraken 13, Wilderness Tarpon T130X, and the Perception Pescador Pro 120. The three boats I've mentioned have all received high accolades. The Kraken and Tarpon are built for speed, but with enough stability for high seating and even some standup in calm conditions (and the right body type). The Pescador Pro offers a great value in a frame seat kayak, lightweight and great combination of speed, stability, tracking and manuverability. Realize that all these are claims based on initial test reports. I like many others hope to draw my own conclusions after this weekend!

Just announced - The Fly Fishing Show is coming to Atlanta on February 3rd and 4th of 2017. This will be the first time the expo has come to the Atlanta area, and the first time in almost a decade since the city had a major fly fishing show. Longtime readers may recall the "Atlanta Fly Fishing Show" which was part of the Shallow Water Expo events produced by Mark Castlow. The show coming in 2017 is produced by FFS President and CEO Ben Furimsky, and previously by his dad, Chuck Furimsky, with several venues across the country - mostly in the northeast and west. The furthest south that FFS has ever been was two years in Arlington (Dallas-Fort Worth area) and North Carolina. For 2017, the Atlanta show will replace the North Carolina show due to lack of available dates to do both shows. Since a few folks from southeast Louisiana regularly attended the Castlow show in Atlanta, I'm assuming they'll look forward to FFS there. For me, the date conflicts with the Texas Fly Fishers conclave (Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival) otherwise it's always worth the trip.

With the NFL draft just completed and football recruits visiting college campuses over the next few weeks, I found it interesting that Lee University in Tennessee landed a major commitment this past week. Mason Sims is a 5-star recruit... in fly fishing! That's right, Lee University has a fly fishing team and Sims, a member of the 2015 World Champion USA Youth Fly Fishing Team and silver medalist, is their latest addition. Dr. Guy DeLoach, associate professor of business at the university - and coach of the fly fishing team - stated that several Lee University team members will be competing in world competitions. I wasn't able to get feedback from Mike Detillier on this news... he's probably still busy analyzing the Saints' draft picks. However, this signing probably elevates Lee to a top five recruiting class. Now LSU, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette need to get on the ball... or "fly".

Sunday, April 17, 2016
What's happening this week. It culminates with a weekend of big events. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying at the Rapides Westside Library on Provine Place in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Brent Humphries will lead the group in tying the Cap Spider, one of the late Mike Verduin's most popular bream flies. The public is welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none the club has a few sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church Community Center on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begins at 6:00pm, general meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on 601 East Pinhook. Time is 6:00pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Acadiana Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at The Boustany Center in Lafayette. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, live auction. For more info, contact julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Wednesday, the CCA Baton Rouge Chapter holds their annual banquet at the Baton Rouge River Center. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. On Thursday, the CCA Northshore Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Castine Center in Mandeville. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the 2nd of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Scott Irwin will be tying one of Dirk Burton's creations, the "Cajun Tickler", a woven fly. Guests are welcome! On Friday, it's the kickoff to Paddlepalooza XIII to be held on Saturday. More on that later. Also starting Friday and continuing Sunday it's the Red Stick Fly Fishers annual spring outing to Lake Concordia to flyfish for bream, bass, stripers and catfish. It culminates with the Saturday night fish fry. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Saturday, it's The Camp Fly Fishing School Beginners Workshop. More on that later. Also on Saturday, The Lower Mountain Fork Foundation will hold their annual "Mystery Fly Tournament". More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge holds another Fly Fishing 101 clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with an hour of tackle and rigging and one hour of casting instruction. It's FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Why is there never a loser at Paddlepalooza? I'll tell you why - great food, great comradery and many great ways to come home with prizes. In addition to the Cajun Slam category (slot red, speck, flounder) that offers the top prizes, there's individual species categories, Youth Division, Ladies Division, the Leopard Red and Trash Bash Divisions. The latter two offer the chance for any skill level to win. The Leopard Red - a slot red (18" to 27") with the most spots wins a Kajun kayak. In the Trash Bash Division, bags will be handed out to willing participants to collect trash in the marsh. Bring back a bag of trash and be eligible to win. Then there's the raffle - a chance at $15,000 in prizes which helps to raise money for two charities. Registration for the state's oldest kayak tournament is open thru the Captains Meeting Friday night. The Captains Meeting - and all other activities - will be held at Topwater Marina in Leeville (formerly Bobby Lynns). Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, P-Palooza is Louisiana's oldest kayak fishing tournament, the state's 2nd largest annual tournament (after Ride the Bull), and the 4th largest tournament in the country. As of last week, over 200 had signed up and it's very possible that last year's record 271 attendance will be broken - especially if the wind lays down. Wind has been a HUGE problem the past week, but many guides are reporting that the marsh is full of fish. Entry fee is $56 and includes Friday night dinner, Saturday night fish fry and a chance at $15,000 in cash and prizes. For more on Paddlepalooza, or to register, go to www.bckfc.org.

For fans of the Lower Mountain Fork in southeast Oklahoma, this weekend is your chance to make a difference for this year-round coldwater trout fishery. Located less than 3 hours north of Shreveport near Broken Bow in the Ouachita Mountains, "Beavers Bend" holds 12 miles of trout water, but the upper section known as Spillway Creek - which is fishable regardless of generation - has been ravaged by two major floods, one last May and again this January. The May 2015 flood release of water thru the Spillway was roughly 200 times the normal flow and wiped out many of the stream improvements on the river. The January release was similiar and wiped out some restoration as well as the fly shop. It also caused the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation to reschedule their annual "Mystery Fly Tournament" from late February to this Saturday. The premise is simple. Every participant gets the same fly, unknown to all in advance. Lose the fly, and you're done. As this is a fundraiser, you can buy an identical "Mulligan" in advance. The tournament starts at 7:00am and concludes around noon. It's a catch-release partner event, where teams keep each other's length (score). The entry fee also includes dinner that evening at 5:00pm at the Forest Heritage Center. All of the monies raised go to the LMFRF to help pay for projects to improve or restore the Fork, as well as various fly fishing causes the group supports such as Project Healing Waters and Reel Recovery. For more info, go to www.lmfrfoundation.org.

This Saturday, School is in session. The Camp Fly Fishing School, that is. Keith Richard, owner and operator of the TCFFS in Breaux Bridge, annually offers 3 day-long workshops (Beginners, Advanced, Advanced / Instructors Training). The Beginners session will be this Saturday, and covers the basics of the sport with emphasis on casting. Time is 8:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is $150 and includes lunch, handouts, and instruction. I often encourage newbies to enroll in as many beginner clinics as possible. But The Camp clinics are special... Keith is a nationally renown casting instructor; he and his other instructors are IFFF Master Certified. The class is heavy on casting, and I've seen great improvement in the casting of friends who've attended the School. Pre-registration is required, as seats are limited. So please call Keith Richard at 337-344-0908 for details and availability. Or go to his website at www.thecampflyfishingschool.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
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, with casting outside prior to the meeting. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at the Westside Baptist Church Center on the Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Time is 6:30pm. This month, the club welcomes guests Howard Malpass of Gray Wolf Fly Shop in Shreveport, along with John and Mary Scarborough. Bring your tying equipment and supplies. If you don't have any, the club has some for use during the meeting. Guests are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting and socializing starts at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. This month, Dick Burton will present a program on fly fishing the Atchafalaya Basin for bass and bream. This waterway is one of the nation's greatest water wilderness areas, and is truly a Louisiana treasure. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Lake Charles Chapter will host a "Calcasieu - State of the Lake" meeting at The Calcasieu Room on 3700 W. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. Time is 6:00pm. Admission is free, and open to the public. Light snacks and soft drinks will be provided. Featured speakers include Austin Feldbaum of CPRA, Randy Pausina and Patrick Banks of LDWF, and CCA Executive Director David Cresson. Starting Thursday and running thru Saturday, it's the annual Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home, Arkansas. More on that later. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tools if you have some, otherwise the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Harbuck Outdoors (Hook 1 Louisiana) on 1914 E. 70th in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA Plaquemines Parish Chapter holds it's annual banquet at Belle Chasse Auditorium on 8398 Highway 23 in Belle Chasse. Doors open 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, membership. Raffles and silent auction items. On Saturday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their annual "Fly Fishing 101" clinic at Booker-Fowler Hatchery in Forest Hill. Time is 8:30am to 12:30pm. The clinic will cover the basics of fly fishing including tackle and terminology, hands-on casting, knots and leaders, and flies. It's free and open to the public, but pre-registration is advised. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org.

The Sowbug Roundup is this week. Those of you familiar with Sowbug are probably thinking I have the date wrong since this event has always been held in March. A scheduling snafu this year resulted in Sowbug being held a month later than usual. However I'm told that has been corrected for the next four years and in 2017 the event will return to March. For those unfamiliar with Sowbug... well, it's the largest club conclave in the country! Sponsored by the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, it runs Thursday thru Saturday at the Baxter County Fairgrounds in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Admission is only $5 and covers all 3 days, under 12 is free with parent or guardian. Sowbug typically draws a thousand attendees or more, including many from Louisiana. What makes it so popular? Well, having world-class trout fishing is always a draw. But also, for years it's had the largest collection of fly tiers from across the country, a few even from Europe, than any other event in the USA with possible exception of the International Fly Tiers Symposium. In addition to the demonstration tiers, there's seminars, vendors, casting clinics, and much more. Proceeds go to the club's scholarship fund. For more details, go to www.northarkansasflyfisher.org.

We're saddened to hear that John Grantham has passed. John, a resident of Denham Springs, was a longtime member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers club, and served on the club's board. But more significant, John was a co-sponsor for the Pelican State Junior Fly Fishers club, one of only six Federation of Fly Fishers junior clubs in the country during the late 90s and early 2000s. Even after the club dissolved, John continued to teach fly tying to youngsters. He was 61.

As today's final of the Masters PGA golf tournament and pull for former LSU golfer Smylie Kaufmann (currently in 2nd place as we start today) to win the green jacket, up in the studio will be 3-time champion Nick Faldo giving analysis. Don't be surprised if "Sir Nick" blurps out a reference to his other favorite sport, fly fishing. I've heard him mention it before, but an article in the New Zealand site Stuff.com he's quoted as saying that fly fishing is like golf, you don't get a second chance - especially when casting to wary species like bonefish.

Monday, April 4, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Casting practice begins at 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Guests are welcome! Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: updates on the new forum, the CPR Challenge tournament, and upcoming Paddlepalooza XIII, and more. For details, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.org. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at the Ward 3 Recreation Complex on 7903 Lake St in Lake Charles. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill on 124 Girod St. in Old Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm, followed by the meeting. For more info, go to www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Also on Wednesday, the East Jefferson CCA Chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Landmark Hotel on 2601 Severn in Metairie. Doors open at 5:30, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 adults ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes dinner, membership, open bar, raffles, auction. For details, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Thursday, the Bayou Chapter of CCA holds it's annual banquet at the Houma Civic Center. Tickets are $65 adult ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, open bar, dinner, raffles, more. Contact Tony at tony@ccalouisiana.com. On Friday evening it's the kickoff for the 7th annual Caddo Conclave on Saturday. More on that later. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another of it's "Fly Fishing 201" sessions. FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour on-the-water clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to actual fishing situations. Pre-registration is required, as spots are limited. To register call 225-757-7286.

This weekend is the Caddo Conclave. Celebrating it's 7th anniversary, this fly fishing festival is co-hosted by the North Louisiana Fly Fishers and East Texas Fly Fishers and held at beautiful Caddo State Park in Karnack, Texas on the edges of Caddo Lake. Because it's border water, Louisiana residents need only have their resident licenses to fish in the park. And at times the fishing can be quite good for bass and large bream. But we digress... the conclave kicks off on Friday evening with a pot-luck dinner at the lodge. And some fly tying. Saturday is the main event day with breakfast, followed by seminars, fly tying, exhibitors, casting, and kayak demos. The $10 admission fee ($20 for family) includes breakfast, lunch, and all activities. The lunch alone is worth the price of admission, trust me! Incidently, this will be the last conclave in our state until the Contraband Fly Casters event in August. In fact, the only other regional fly fishing event until Contraband is Sowbug Roundup April 14-16 in Mountain Home, Arkansas. And then, it's the end of "Spring Conclave Season" until next year!

This past Saturday was rough especially for the various fishing events that took place statewide. The "Boats on the Bayou" tournament held at Bayou St. John in New Orleans as part of the NO City Park Big Bass Rodeo had some interesting results. No redfish were caught, but Chris Holmes entered a 1.84-pound speckled trout, followed by Sam McCarrol with a .77-pounder speck. Kevin Metz won the bass division with a 3.04 lbs, followed by Chase Crawford with 2.17 lbs, and Luke Beslin with .86 lbs. As for the Fly Fishing Division of the NOCP Rodeo, we saw no results published (were any fish caught?). The largest bass caught during the event was by Darryl Delerno Jr. whose 4-pound, 1.3-ounce bass won him the Bass Adult Division. His fish was caught just after the start using a white/chartreuse buzzbait.

Friday will be the last day for Joe Macaluso as Outdoors Editor of The Advocate newspaper. After 45 years, Joe is retiring and doing what all retired folks do - fish more and spend more time with family. This coming Saturday, Joe will be the special guest for the second hour (6:00am - 7:00am) of the "Outdoors with Don Dubuc" radio show heard on WWL and various other stations across the northern Gulf Coast. Don will be taking calls, emails, texts, for Joe. I for one wish to express my congratulations and sincere gratitude to Joe, who has done so much to promote fly fishing and kayak fishing in south Louisiana over the last two decades. He's also been an outspoken advocate (pardon the pun) for conservation and public access. In this age of "chain papers", the outdoors sections in many have disappeared. Naturally the news of Joe's retirement has many concerned as few papers still have an outdoors section, much less one that runs twice a week (Advocate is on Thursday and Sunday). In his column yesterday, Joe assured readers that the Advocate Outdoors is not going away. There will be changes, but it sounds like there will be several younger writers contributing to the section. Again, best of luck Joe in your future endeavors!

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Hope everyone had a great Easter! The weather was gloomy this morning but improved as the day went on. Enough so that many families here in the Cenla area were able to enjoy their ritual Easter Egg hunt. Here at the Cormier homestead we had lots of family over and lots of great food provided by local farms and farmer markets vendors. And we even got some fishing in this afternoon with mixed results.

What's happening this week. Well, a lot if you're a kayak angler. There's no less than four tournaments this Saturday! On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly general meeting. For March, this will be an On-The-Water meeting, with the club gathering at Cotile Lake Recreation Area for fishing and food. 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. 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 hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel on 7840 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans. Time is 7:00pm. Guests are welcome. On Saturday, it's the New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their annual Redfish Rumble at Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix. Entry fee is $20 and it's open to the public. Heaviest bag of 3 slot redfish and 1 bass (11" minimum) wins. It's a roadrunner tournament with boundaries St. Bernard and East Plaquemine Parish. Check in time 3:00pm. For more info or to register, go to www.bckfc.org. Also on Saturday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club hold a bass tournament at Lake Bistineau. This is a CPR tournament and road runner. Anglers can launch at any public launch on the lake. Check in time is 2:30. Entry fee is $50 and open to the public. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Also on Saturday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their "Bass-A-Yak" tournament out of Black Lake near Campti. This is a CPR tournament with total inches of longest 3 bass wins. It's also a roadrunner. Check in time is 1:30pm. Entry fee is $20. For more info, go to www.cenlakayakanglers.org.

The New Orleans City Park Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival celebrates it's 69th anniversary this coming Saturday. The nation's oldest fishing tournament will again take place on the various waters of the Crescent City's famed park. If you're a flyfisher or kayak angler, there's something for you. The Fly Fishing Division is awarded to heaviest bass or cichlid, and is open to any age. For kayak anglers, the "Boats on the Bayou" competition on Bayou St. John offers categories for redfish, trout, bass and "trash bash" with a drawing for a 2015 Hobie Outback among ALL registrants as bonus. There's also categories for Junior Anglers, Cichlid Team, Adult Bass, and Champions Challenge. Fishing hours are 6:30am to 11am. In addition, the "Fishtival" features exhibitors, including LDWF, Uptown Angler, New Orleans Fly Fishers, Masseys Outfitters, Coastal Restoration, CCA, and many others. Entry is $10 adult, $5 youth, $15 for Boats on the Bayou, and can be done online at www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Our forum is down today. We've contacted the host and entered a support ticket. Hopefully this will be resolved shortly.

Catch. Photo. Release. Currently three of Louisiana's six kayak fishing clubs - Bayou Coast KFC, Lafayette KFC and Cenla Kayak Anglers - are running season-long CPR tournaments. These begin in January or March and continue thru October or November. The CPR tournaments are free to club members. They allow members to fish at their leisure, yet still compete for prizes. It's simple - catch one of the target species, place it on an approved measuring board, take a photograph showing the fish, the board, and a tournament token in the photo. Anglers are then encouraged to release the fish (although not required). The photo and a CPR form must be emailed to the tournament director within 1-2 weeks. At the end of the Challenge, prizes will be awarded based on longest length, or points based on total length. Each of the three clubs have both conventional and fly fishing categories. BCKFC awards Slams (total points of several species), one for conventional, one for fly fishing. Their conventional slam consists of red, speck, flounder, bass. Their fly fishing slam consists of red, speck, bass. LKFC also awards Slams, one for conventional, one for fly fishing for same species as BCKFC. However, anglers who tag their fish get bonus inches (or fraction of an inch). Also, LKFC recognizes individual species winners. CKA has a somewhat different format - no slams, but individual species only. Their categories are Bass, Crappie, Redfish and Fly Rod Bass. Also, they will award a "Bonus Drawing" among all non-winning entries at the end of the tournament, a measure to help encourage members that may not catch a really big fish to participate. The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club has added a new feature for 2016 in their CPR tournament. Rather than email the photo and CPR entry form, members go to the kayakfishingseries.com website, click on the LKFC tournament button, enter their catch info and upload their photo. The tournament director goes to the website, reviews recent entries, then submits them for approval. Members can see the standings near real-time. For more info on each of these tournaments, go to www.bckfc.org (Bayou Coast), www.lafayettekayakfishing.com (LKFC), or www.cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com (CKA).

There's never a loser at Paddlepalooza! Registration is now open for Paddlepalooza XIII taking place Saturday, April 23rd out of Topwater Marina in Leeville (formerly Bobby Lynns). Hosted by the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, P-Palooza is Louisiana's oldest kayak fishing tournament, the state's 2nd largest annual tournament (after Ride the Bull), and the 4th largest tournament in the country. It's a roadrunner tournament with launching and fishing anywhere along the Highway 1 corridor south of the Intracoastal Canal. The event is open to the public. Cost is $56 (free for kids with paid adult entry) and includes entry into tournament, t-shirt, Captains bag, Friday night dinner (Captains meeting), Saturday night dinner and a chance at $15,000 in cash and prizes. The main objective is a Cajun Slam (largest combo of slot red, speck, flounder) with grand prize a 2016 Hobie Pro Angler, and 2nd place a 2016 Hobie Outback. Other award categories are individual species, Ladies Cajun Slam, Kids Cajun Slam and Leopard Red. For the less-than-average or outright novice kayak angler, the Leopard Red Category offers the best shot at winning a kayak. But even those anglers who get skunked come away winners - the great food, the great comradery, and a chance at the HUGE raffle drawing of hundreds of prizes that benefit the BCKFC club's charities. For more on Paddlepalooza, or to register, go to www.bckfc.org.

Registration has also begun for CCA STAR. We're now in Week 3 of their 12-week Early Bird registration awards, so there's still plenty time to register and get a shot at the early bird prizes. Hosted by the Louisiana Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, the STAR (State Tournament and Anglers Rodeo) runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It has numerous divisions for various species, but also offers a Kayak and a Fly Fishing divisions. The Kayak division awards for each of four regions - East, Southeast, Southwest, West for heaviest speckled trout. The Fly Fishing Division awards for East and West regions for heaviest speckled trout. Fly anglers and kayak anglers also have a shot at the Tagged Redfish and Tagged Speckled Trout divisions, and last year two of the tagged reds were caught by kayak anglers! There's also a Mississippi Division for heaviest speckled trout. While the 2016 divisions and prizes page hasn't been released yet, word is that a new "Bank Fishing Division" has been added.

Still time to enter the NLFF Raffle. The North Louisiana Fly Fishers are raffling off a Fly Tying Masters Set complete with a Peak Rotary vise, all the tools needed, a Tool Stadium Caddy, a collection of materials and accessories - all worth over $400. The raffle is sponsored by Gray Wolf Fly Shop. Tickets are just $20 and the winner will be pulled at the club's annual "Caddo Conclave" on April 9th. Winner need not be present. The raffle is being used to help pay for their conclave expenses as well as some of the club's conservation and education projects. Speaking of the Caddo Conclave, it'll once again be held at Caddo Lake State Park in Karnac, Texas. The cost is $10 per person ($20 per family) and includes admission, Saturday morning breakfast and lunch. Co-sponsored with the East Texas Fly Fishers club, there are seminars, fly tying demos, casting demos, and kayak demos. On site fishing can be pretty good too, and because it's a border water, Louisiana license holders do not need a Texas fishing license to fish within the park or the lake. For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org or check the Events section of our forum.

Monday, March 21, 2016
What's happening this week. A light one with the Easter weekend. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Bring your tying tools if any, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs hold their monthly fly tying clinics. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. Please bring your tying tools. If none, a few sets are available. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! On Thursday, the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds their quarterly meeting at the Backpacker on 7656 Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge. Time is 7:00pm. On the agenda are their upcoming tournaments - Redfish Rumble and Paddlepalooza, as well as a guest speaker. For more info, go to www.bckfc.org. Also on Thursday, the CCA Felicianas Chapter will hold their annual banquet at the American Legion Hall in Clinton. Doors open at 5:30pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, dinner, open bar, auction, raffles. For more info, contact Kate at katie@cccalouisiana.com. Also on Thursday, the Monroe CCA chapter holds it's annual banquet at the Civic Center Conference Hall on Lea Joyner Expressway in Monroe. Doors open at 6:00pm. Tickets are $65 per person ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and includes 1-year membership, admission, dinner, open bar, raffles, auction. For more info, contact Julie at julie@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge holds another Fly Fishing 101 clinic at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Perkins Rowe. FF101 is a one-day, 2-hour clinic covering the basics of fly fishing and fly casting, with an hour of tackle and rigging and one hour of casting instruction. It's FREE, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, contact 225-757-7286.

Congratulations to Kalon Johnson. Kalon won the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's first tournament of 2016, the annual Marsh Madness out of Cocodrie. Randy Robichaux finished 2nd and Shane Curole finished 3rd. For Kalon, it was another top 3 finish after placing 2nd at the recent Redbone Kayak Fishing Club's PAC-Man tournament. A lot of nice reds and specks were caught, mostly prior to the front moving through and the wind picking up. What is encouraging is that there were many reports of specks being caught in marsh ponds. Reports of migration of trout to the beaches may have begun, but it's a slow process, not a rush.

New Kindle book on tying Caddis flies. Folks who attended the recent Natchitoches Fishing Expo may have met Dale Darling of Colorado. Dale had a booth as well as gave a presentation on dry flies. Dale is a man of many talents - a fly fisher, outdoor writer, teacher, composer and now author. The former fly shop owner and professional fly tier has written a set of e-books under the listing of "Fly Fishing Solutions" and which Dale has self published under River Fork Press. These are Kindle books, which means convenience for reading on your tablet as well as savings in your pocket! The latest is Caddis: Tying and is available from Amazon for only $3.99. Or free, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. Caddis: Tying has hundreds of photos that illustrate numerous tying techniques, patterns and recipes. Emphasis is given to skills, proportions, materials and other seldom explained techniques. All the stages of this prolific aquatic insect are covered: larvae, pupae, and adults. Overall, there are 323 pages so it's a lot to take in. But in the Kindle format, use as a reference guide is a bit easier to deal with than with paper books.

Sunday, March 13, 2016
What's happening this week. With the advent of Daylight Savings Time, it's important to note that most fly fishing clubs will now have casting practice and instruction prior to the official start of their monthly general meeting. On Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Wildlife and Fisheries building on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. Casting starts at 6:30pm, meeting at 7:00pm. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their rescheduled meeting from last week (postponed due to weather). Location is the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Casting at 6:00pm, meeting at 7:00pm. Don Lawler will present on "Dollar Store Flies", finding materials of opportunity to make unique flies. The public is welcome! Also on Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St Paul's Lutheran Community Center on 1620 East Prien Road in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion start at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. The public is invited. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club will hold their monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle on Pinhook Road in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. Tuesday is the start of the club's months-long CPR tournament for members only, with divisions for bass, redfish, speckled trout and flounder along with Fly Rod divisions for bass, redfish and speckled trout. Also on the meeting agenda: tackle tips and upcoming Marsh Madness tournament. The public is welcome. On Wednesday, the CCA Westbank Chapter holds their annual banquet at NOLA Motorsports on 11075 Nicolle Boulevard in Avondale. Doors open at 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm, auction at 8:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, one year membership, dinner, open bar, raffles. For more info, contact Ryan at ryan@ccalouisiana.com. Thursday is the start of the annual Louisiana Sportsmens Show. More on that later. Also on Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers will hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Steve Oliver will be tying "Todd's Wiggle Minnow". Beginners are welcome! Bring your tying tools, if none, sets are available for use during the session. Materials are provided. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Beginners are welcome. Bring your tying tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Alson on Thursday,the CCA Livingston Chapter holds their annual banquet at Forest Grove Plantation in Denham Springs. Doors open 6:00pm, dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $65 ($35 spouse, $25 youth) and include admission, one year membership, dinner, open bar, raffles. For more info, contact Nolan at nolan@ccalouisiana.com. Friday and thru Sunday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers will hold their annual "March Brown" trip to the Little Missouri River for members only. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Saturday, it's the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's annual Marsh Madness Top Bag tournament out of Coco Marina in Cocodrie. Entry fee is $25 and it's open to the public. The format is everyone brings a bag of lures and exchanges it with another angler. Both winning angler and the one who provided lures share the rewards. For more info, go to www.lafayettekayakfishing.com. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" clinic. FF201 is a free one-day, 2-hour on-the-water session designed to apply casting and rigging skills to fishing situations. There's no cost, but pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, call 225-757-7286.

The 37th annual Louisiana Sportsmens Show takes place this week starting Thursday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The state's largest outdoors show was founded and produced by WWL radio personality Bob Delgiorno who retired and sold the rights to Louisiana Sportsman magazine a few years back. The magazine has brought new life to the show and expanded on many of the activities. In addition to the usual array of boats, ATVs, off-road vehicles, loads of vendors, there's fishing and hunting outfitters from across the country, a bass tank where pros will be giving hourly seminars, and the always-entertaining Splash Dogs which kids love. There's lots of food options on premises as well. Show hours are 12 noon to 7:00pm on Thursday and Friday, 9:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday and 9:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per day adults, $5 kids but are cheaper if you purchase online. For more info or tickets, go to www.louisianasportsmanshow.com.

The Great Flood of March 2016. I remember a time when we spoke of a great catastrophe with reference to the year, e.g., "The Great Hurricane of 1983", "The Freeze of 1989". Now it seems we're having these weather disasters in the same year or as in the case of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, just weeks apart. The deluge of the past week got much more news than the one that took place back in early November because it impacted more heavily populated southeast Louisiana to a much larger degree. But for those of us living in west-central part of the state, twenty inches of rain is very bad regardless of whether it falls in November or in March. Yes, this was the second time in five months that floods ravaged a part of our state. And it offers a glimpse of what to expect now. Back in late October, the Calcasieu estuary was on fire for speckled trout, including fly rod catches. The flood of November 2015 sent a wall of fresh, dirty water pouring into Lakes Charles and Prien, down to Turners Bay and surrounding marshes. It took several weeks for good fishing to return. I expect a similiar reoccurence. The marshes in southeast Louisiana will be less impacted, mostly because (unfortunately) there's too much saltwater buffer. But freshwater is a different story. For the next couple of weeks the best - and perhaps only - options will be ponds, small lakes with little runoff input and deadend canals or coves isolated from main water bodies. As Cormier's 2nd Law states, "Clear water favors the fly angler" and finding clear water will be the challenge!

Sunday, March 6, 2016
What's happening this week. On Tuesday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at the Red River Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Time is 7:00pm. This month Don Lawler will present on "Dollar Store Fly Tying" on how to find materials of opportunity at unlikely locations to create unique but fishable flies. The public is welcome. On Thursday, the Bayou Pirates kayak fishing club holds their monthly meeting at Hook1 Louisiana on East 70th Street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has sets for use during these sessions. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the Lafourche Chapter of CCA holds their annual banquet at the Thibodaux Civic Center. Doors open at 5:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $60 per person ($30 spouse, $25 youth) and includes membership, admission, dinner, open bar, live auction, raffles. For info, contact Ryan Guerin at ryan@ccalouisiana.com. On Saturday, it's the 24th annual Red Stick Day. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis of Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Fishing 101" clinics from 8:00am to 10:00am at their store on 7601 Bluebonnet. FF101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour clinic that covers the basics of our sport, one hour devoted to tackle and rigging, another to casting. There's no cost, but pre-registration is required as class size limited. For more info, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, it's "Fly Fish Texas" at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. There's seminars, fly tying, and fishing on premises. This event is hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife. For more info, go to tpwd.texas.gov.

Saturday is Red Stick Day. The Red Stick Fly Fishers of Baton Rouge hold one of the state's largest conclaves each year. This one-day celebration of fly fishing will be held at the LDWF Waddill Outdoors Education Center on North Flannery Road in Baton Rouge, the same location it's been for 16 years. The site offers two ponds, both with excellent fishing. One will be utilized for kayak demos from 11am to 1pm courtesy of Backpacker. This year's special guest is Bill Laminack from Panama City, Florida. Bill is a nationally-recognized fly tier and will also do a presentation on fly fishing the northern Florida Gulf Coast. This event usually showcases tiers from "east of the river" and that tradition continues with over a dozen tiers from southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. The event is free, and refreshments are free. A jambalaya lunch is available for $8, prepared by jamb-champ J.D. Sciortino. If you've been to RSD in the last several years, you know how tasty his jamb is! To help defray costs of the event, as well as fund some of the club's Boy Scout and conservation projects, there's a raffle and Gamblers Draw. Again, if you've been to this event, you know it's one of the biggest raffles you'll see at ANY fly fishing event, anywhere! For complete details and schedule, check out our Events Forum or go to www.rsff.org and click on Red Stick Day.

Weather and fishing have been terrific! And that's despite not having quite the right tides and with the water temps still a bit low. This coming week would've been awesome, but the weather pundits are telling us to expect rain starting Monday night and continuing thru Friday. Most of the state could get up to a foot of precipitation! That will definitely shut down a good speck run on Prien Lake near Lake Charles, and put the hiatus on stream and river fishing. Many of the lakes will be high and dirty after that much rain. I spoke to Jeff Guerin yesterday at the Natchitoches Fishing Expo and he told me they're expecting a lot of rain around Murfreesboro and that could put the daily generation schedule back on. Whether it'll result in weekend generation is doubtful. But overall this much rain is never good for fresh or inland salt. Realize we're still not officially in Spring, and wild swings in the weather are to be expected.

The March issue of Louisiana Sportsman is out in sporting goods and convenience stores statewide. This month, there's a lot of information on the upcoming Louisiana Sportsmens Show coming up March 17-19 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. It's the state's largest outdoors show with hundreds of exhibitors and other attractions. Also in this month's issue, my Fly Lines column talks about "Short Sticks", in particular fly rods designed for bass fishing. Also known as 7-11 rods, pundits considered them a fad when Sage introduced their Bass Series years ago. But the number of companies offering 7-11 rods continues to grow and I explain why. In his "Creature Feature" column, Jerald Horst explains the difference of the four species of gars found in Louisiana. In Marine Electronics column, Allen Tarvid tells about controlling your boat using your smartphone! In his Paddles and Puddles column, Chris Holmes tells about the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's annual Minimalist Challenge and how kayakers were able to catch loads of fish using just five lures. Feature articles include "Toledo's Top Lures" where top pros share lure selections for the lake's trophy bass. Rusty Tardo tells us why foggy days on Catfish Lake are prime for throwing topwater lures - and the same applies to fly rod poppers - for speckled trout. Kinny Haddox tells why Lake D'arbonne anglers will be chasing crappie this month, and where to find them on this northeast Louisiana jewel. Jerald Horst writes about great Breton Sound fishing this month for reds and heads!

Sunday, February 28, 2016
What's happening this week. On Monday, the Fin-Addict Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant inside the Ramada Inn on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma. Time is 6:30pm. On the agenda: a DVD by Pat Cohen on tying the Deer Hair Diver. If you've never seen Pat Cohen, he's truly an amazing tier, so this should be fun to watch. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Acadiana Fly Rodders hold their monthly meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall on Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette. Time is 6:30pm. Visitors are welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:00pm. On the agenda: a recap of yesterday's "Sac-A-Yak" outing at Cotile Lake, presentation by Morris Houck on light tackle for yak fishing, and Tackle Tip of the Month (uni-knot with hands-on instruction). Guests are welcome. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Old Mandeville. Gathering starts at 6:00pm, with meeting at 6:30pm. Get there early and order one of the awesome entrees off the menu. Guests are welcome. Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the 2016 BassMasters Classic and Outdoors Expo at the Cox Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Super Bowl of bass fishing is always interesting to follow. Also starting Friday and continuing Saturday, it's Pack and Paddle's annual Spring Demo weekend in Lafayette. Friday evening, PnP holds their annual "Beer and Gear" Social Night at their store on Pinhook, where reps from many manufacturers gather and bring their favorite brew. It's a chance to learn more about products for kayak fishing - and sample some unique beers. On Saturday, PnP will hold a free Kayak Demo at Vermillionville Pond with most of the new 2016 models from Hobie, Jackson, NuCanoe, Native, Wilderness, Yolo, Bote and others. For more info, go to www.packpaddle.com. On Saturday, it's the Natchitoches Fishing Expo. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Fishing 201" clinic. Time is 8:00am to 10:00am. No fee, but advanced registration is required. Orvis FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to on-the-water situations. To register, call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday is the Natchitoches Fishing Expo. Hosted by the Cane Country Fly Casters, this biennial event (every even year) will be held at the Events Center in downtown Natchitoches. Time is 8:30am to 4:30pm. Admission is free to all ages. Some have asked me about the scope of this event, and an explanation is in order. This isn't a "conclave" per our definition since it encompasses all types of light tackle fishing. Years ago, the CCFC club held an annual conclave in conjunction with the Green Market on the banks of Cane River downtown. While quite successful, it was suggested to the club that they consider expanding to all types of fishing. Reason is because there were no other fishing events of any type in the central Louisiana and Red River areas. Such an undertaking is daunting, especially considering the CCFC club has only about 20 members. But they pulled it off, with nearly a thousand attendees the first year. The first two events were held at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum. While a good facility for this event, it nowhere approaches the new Events Center. The location in downtown, close to many unique shops and great restaurants will certainly be a big draw. Not to mention fine fishing off the riverfront.

Some of the activities at the NFE will include seminars covering crappie on spinning and light tackle, bass, fly fishing the coast, fly fishing the Little Missouri River, and dry flies. The list of speakers may be the best of any outdoors show this Spring. Add to that nearly 60 exhibitors, dozens of fly tiers, and a world of raffle prizes that go to help pay for this event and contribute to the club's conservation fund. But there's also a couple of fee workshops that LFF readers - and others - need to be aware of. Mike Hawkins will be doing a "Fly Fishing 101" session that morning. There's a nominal fee of only $15. Much of the emphasis will be on basic fly casting. That afternoon, Keith Richard - a Master Certified Casting Instructor and owner of The Camp Fly Fishing School - will do a workshop on advanced casting skills with emphasis on topics required for the IFFF Casting Certification badge. There's a fee of $35, again a bargain for this type of instruction. Even if folks have no intention of becoming "certified", anyone who any desire to teach others should make every effort to sign up for this workshop.

Cabelas Three Forks outfits on sale! I don't usually post news about tackle sales, but the Cabelas 3 Forks Combo (3FC) is an exception and here's why: over many years I've stated it's the best value in a startup combo for the beginner fly fisher. In fact, it's so good that I do a lot of my freshwater fly fishing with a couple of these I own myself. The 3FC includes rod, reel, fly line and backing. It doesn't carry a warranty, but Cabelas does offer a 2-year replacement for a nominal extra charge. At $100, it's a great value. But right now it's on sale for $54 to $64 depending on rod weight and length, and that in my opinion is an AWESOME value! Don't get me wrong... this rod won't cast as well as a TFO, Redington, Echo or Clearwater rod that sells for $100 more. And the fly line won't last but 2-3 years at best. If the target is saltwater, you might want to consider putting in a bit more money on the investment. But for freshwater, this is an outfit any beginner or beyond should strongly consider. What's more, this is an outfit that anyone getting youngsters involved should consider. Whenever these outfits go on sale, I usually buy 3 or more and give them out to kids who have strong interest in our sport but probably wouldn't get one otherwise. Perhaps all fly fishing clubs in our state (even kayak fishing clubs) should consider doing this as well... a great project to pass on a great sport!

Monday, February 22, 2016
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 Ricky Yeldell, retired LDWF inland fisheries biologist and manager for Toledo Bend. Ricky will talk about the state of the fisheries at T-Bend. The public is invited. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. Also on Monday, the Red Stick Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.rsff.org. On Tuesday, the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs hold their monthly tying clinic. Time is 6:00pm. There is no cost. Beginner and intermediate tiers are welcome. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at Lakeshore Marina and Fuel (bait shop across from the Blue Crab Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive). Time is 7:00pm. This month Tom Jindra, sales rep for TFO and other fine fly fishing products, will speak on tackle care and tips and getting your gear ready for the fishing season. Guests are welcome! Also on Thursday, the CCA Westbank Chapter will hold a Spring Fishing Seminar at NOLA Motorsports in Avondale. Time is 6:00pm. Food and beverages provided. Admission is $5 for CCA members, $10 for non-members, free for ladies and kids. Guest speakers are Captains Chris Moran, Ron Price, Austin Plaisance, C.T. Williams, Peace Marvel, and Sam Barbera of LDWF. Starting Friday and running through Saturday, it's the 2016 CCA Louisiana State Convention at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. More on that later. On Saturday, the Orvis store at Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge will hold another free "Fly Tying 101" clinic. Time is 2:00pm. Orvis FT101 is a a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided. Class size is limited, so pre-registration is required. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their first outing, "Sac-A-Yak", at Cotile Lake Recreation Area near Boyce. Registration begins at 6:30am. Weigh-in at 12:00 noon. For liability reasons, this is an "outcast" type event (friendly get together with flavor of a tournament). No entry fee, but there's an optional $10 calcutta for heaviest bag of 5 crappie (aka, sacalait). For more info, go to cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com. Also on Saturday, the Redbone Fishing Club (kayak fishing club) will hold their annual PAC-Man tournament out of Pointe-aux-Chenes Marina. This is a members-only event. To join RFC and participate, go to the Redbone Fishing Facebook page for details.

The annual CCA Louisiana State Convention is this weekend. The state's largest conservation group, the Coastal Conservation Association is comprised of nearly 60,000 saltwater anglers and other conservationists. The event will be held at the Baton Rouge Hilton Convention Center. Cost is $100 per person, $150 per couple. Things kick off Friday with a leadership luncheon, seminars, and the Hall of Fame inductions that evening. Saturday brings the state board meeting, followed by the Chapter Cook-Off and Tailgate Party. Getting back to the Hall of Fame ceremony, the inductees this year will be Rich Donaldson of Baton Rouge, Scott Foster of Lafayette and Camp Matens of Baton Rouge. Camp Matens is a recognized name in the fly fishing community... in addition to being a CCA National Board member, a member of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, he's been a longtime member of the Red Stick Fly Fishers and former board member for RSFF. At the banquet, other conservation leaders will be recognized - Congressman Garret Graves will receive the 2016 Jerry Stone Conservationist of the Year award, former LDWF Secretary Robert Barham will receive the Louisiana Board of Directors Award, and Advocate newspaper Outdoor Writer Joe Macaluso will be honored for his 43 years of conservation leadership as a member of the media. For more info on the CCA-L Convention, go to www.ccalouisiana.com or call 225-952-9200.

Summary of last week's events. It was a busy week for me, as I attended several meetings and events. Most notable were the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club's monthly meeting, the Fly Fishing Film Tour, and the Acadiana Conclave. At the LKFC meeting, kayak fishing national champion Brendan Bayard and former national and world champion Steve Lessard gave a program on "Secrets of a Successful Tournament Anglers". Nearly 120 attendees crowded into Pack and Paddle, and the LKFC club picked up 14 new members! On Friday night, it was another packed house at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge for the annual Fly Fishing Film Tours. Alex Beane and his crew at Orvis put on an absolutely great evening, with fine brews and awesome food from chef Peter Sclafani of Ruffinos. The event sold out and there was even a waiting list. One thing I noticed was that most of the crowd was under 40 and there were a lot of women - a good sign that these type of events are "bridging the gap". As for the films themselves, this was the best F3T I've seen... production quality of the films and the themes / storylines are greatly improved from prior years. On Saturday, I attended the Acadiana Fly Rodders conclave in Lafayette. While the attendance was way down from years past - perhaps in part to Spring-like weather - it was a good event just the same. And a chance to meet up with many of the "usual suspects" from the LFF Community. Getting back to the weather... on Sunday afternoon I saw LOTS of fisherman at lakes Dubisson, Chicot, Kincaid and Cotile. As well as bank fisherman along ponds and small bayous.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
A calendar correction. It's still months away, but the annual Contraband Conclave is already in planning stages. Hosted by the Contraband Fly Casters, their fly fishing expo will again be held in August. However, the date is August 20th, not 27th as we had identified on our calendar. Also, the location for 2016 has changed. According to Warren Landry, the location used the last couple years - Porter Hall in Westlake - is no longer available. So the new location will be the old location - Moss Bluff United Methodist Church in Moss Bluff. MBUMC was a popular venue, but the relocation to Porter Hall was made necessary due to air conditioning issues. That's a major problem for an August activity! Good news is that the AC has been replaced. There's a lot of casting area and if rain comes, or it gets too hot, space inside the gym for casting.

Another calendar correction, sort of. In our Sunday posting of what's happening this week, we left out "BCKFC Appreciation Day". This Saturday, the Backpacker in Baton Rouge will hold an in-store celebration for members of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club from 1:00pm to store closing. BCKFC members can get serious discounts on various kayak accessories, as well as discounts on some lines of kayaks. Club members can also bring their kayaks and get accessories installed. There's also food and beverages. Backpacker is asking Bayou Coast members to RSVP by calling 1-800-414-4685.

It's back! The Yellowstone Angler rod shootout. The Winter 2016 Edition reviewed 28 models of 8-weight rods. You can read the review by clicking on this link. The testing was done by the team of George Anderson, Capt. Jamie Allen, Capt. Skip Zink and Dusty Sprague. These "rod shootouts" have become very popular, if only because they stir up as much heated discussion than a GOP presidential debate. Well, almost! What concerns a lot of folks is that, being a fly shop, the winners and losers may be heavily opiniated. What concerns me is that a lot of folks take such reviews as gospel truth. Remember Cormier's 7th Law of Fly Fishing, "When it comes to rods, always try before you buy!". For example, if I went by their reviews, I'd never have bought a Redington Predator (finished 3rd from last). For me, it's a fantastic rod! I'll agree with YA that it's not as fun to cast as the Scott Meridian (1st place) or the Orvis Recon (4th place). But certainly better than most. Another concern from the list was how certain rods were chosen, while others omitted. For example, the $99 Echo Base was the only Echo tested. It finished near the bottom. However, the new $159 Echo Ion XL was one of the best 8-weights I tested at ICAST and it's not listed. Another example... the new TFO Impact rod finished last. I must confess, I've demoed this rod a couple times now and I'm not impressed either. However, the updated and improved TFO Clouser wasn't in their tests and like the Echo Ion XL, it's a great value! Yet I know someone who absolutely loves their TFO Impact. Just proves that Cormier's 7th Law should be obeyed... ALWAYS!

Sunday, February 14, 2016
What's happening this week. A very busy week, culminating with the Granddaddy of Louisiana Conclaves. On Monday, the Kisatchie Fly Fishers hold their monthly fly tying session at the Rapides Westside Library in Alexandria. Time is 6:30pm. Gene Taylor will lead the session in tying the March Brown, a prolific springtime hatch on the Little Missouri River. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. For more info, go to www.kisatchiefly.org. On Tuesday, the Contraband Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Community Center in Lake Charles. Fly tying and discussion begin at 6:00pm, with meeting at 7:00pm. Guests are welcome! For more info, go to www.contrabandflycasters.net. Also on Tuesday, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds it's monthly meeting at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Time is 6:00pm. This month, Brendan "Choupique" Bayard and Steve "Gnatless" Lessard will give their seminar "Secrets of a Tournament Kayak Fisherman" presented by Hobie. Brendan and Steve will share their lures, techniques, strategies and more for marsh fishing, which has been their success in winning national and world titles. This seminar is open to the public. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Bayou Chapter holds a fishing seminar at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant in Houma. Time is 6:00pm. Food and beverages provided. Cost is $5 for CCA members, non-members is $10, and ladies and kids are free. Guest speakers will be David Cresson of CCA, Dan Davis with the LDWF Commission, and Camp Matens with CCA Government Relations. Also on Tuesday, the CCA Livingston Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Time is 6:00pm. Cost is $5 for CCA members, $10 for non-members, ladies and kids free. Guest speakers include Captains Owen Landridge, Greg Schulmbrecht, and Scott Ayers, as well as Sam Barbera of LDWF. On Thursday, the North Louisiana Fly Fishers hold their monthly workshop at the Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City. Time is 6:00pm. This month Steve Oliver will be tying "Todd's Wiggle Minnow". Bring your tools, if none, sets are available for use during session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers will hold the second of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, sets available for use during session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome. Also on Thursday, the CCA Comite Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Kristenwood in Greenwell Springs. Time is 6:00pm. Food and beverage is provided. Cost is $5 for CCA members, non-members $10, ladies and kids free. Guest speakers include Captains Owen Landridge and Greg Schlumbrecht, kayak angler Elliot "Fishfinder" Stevens, Derek Hudnall of DBH Fishing, and Sam Barbera of LDWF. Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the 18th annual Southern Boat and Sport Show at the Terrebonne Civic Center in Houma. For details, go to www.southernlouisianaboatrvshow.com. Also on Friday, it's the 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour at Orvis in Baton Rouge. More on that later. On Saturday, it's the 30th annual Acadiana Conclave in Lafayette. More on that later. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store on Perkins-Rowe in Baton Rouge will hold another of their "Fly Tying 101" clinics. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. There's no cost, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. FT101 is a one-day, 2-hour, free hands-on clinic covering the basics of fly tying. Materials and tools are provided, but bring your own tools if you desire. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday is the 29th annual Acadiana Conclave at Grace Presbyterian Church Hall at 415 Roselawn Boulevard in Lafayette, hosted by the Acadiana Fly Rodders. Time is 8:30am to 3:30pm. It's considered the "Granddaddy of Louisiana conclaves" in large part because it's the oldest fly fishing festival (aka conclave, fair, expo) in our state. But also because it has innovated many of the standards for the other club-sponsored events. A large part of it's success was owed to the late Dennis Vidrine. While other clubs now have bigger events (e.g., Red Stick Day), or more encompassing events (e.g., Natchitoches Fishing Expo), or events adjacent to good fishing (Contraband Conclave, Caddo Conclave), there's one aspect of the Acadiana Conclave that makes it still very special. AFR has the distinction of having three International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF) Master Certified Casting Instructors. Two other Louisiana clubs have one MCI, the rest none. In addition, there are usually 2-3 regular CCIs present at this event (I'm one). What does this mean? That the Acadiana Conclave is THE place to be for beginners, novices, and intermediate casters looking to get tips and help in improving their casting skills. Of course, there are also some great programs and fly tiers demonstrating their favorite patterns as well. A lunch is served and refreshments are available. Complete details, including the conclave leaflet with list of programs, speaker bios, tier bios, and more, is posted in our Events Forum.

This Friday night, the 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour makes it's only Louisiana stop at the Orvis store in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $15 and only available at the store (cash or check only). The proceeds benefit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. There were a limited number of tickets to sell for the F3T, and as of this writing I'm aware that only a handful remain. In other words, it will sell out. If you want one (some), better get to it! In addition to great short films from across the globe celebrating our sport, the store will also be giving away some great prizes, will have food and beverages on hand as well. You can get more info by calling 225-757-7286.

Taylor has released the Enigma ESD series fly reels. It's their new low-price offering that replaces the Type 1 series. At $169 to $179, it's quite a value: the machined, anodized aluminum reel features a carbon fiber disc drag and large arbor. While many reels offer these features - even a few in this price range - the Enigma has two other characteristics which stand out among competitors. First, their new ESD technology. ESD stands for Exterior Sealed Drag, which seals both the clutch and the bearings while leaving the disc drag unsealed. Second, is the color options. Four color spools to choose from - black, teal, olive green, red. Another thing I like about the Enigma is the narrow V-shape spool. Being narrow prevents line wrapping inside the reel, and the V-shape maximizes the backing capacity while keeping weight down. At ICAST, Taylor impressed me with the quality of their product and the knowledge which their staff - including owner Matt Taylor - exhibited in discussions. To learn more, go to www.taylorflyfishing.com.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
CCA sets fishing seminars this month. Those ever-popular fishing seminars hosted by local chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association begin next week. On Tuesday, February 16, the Bayou Chapter will hold a general meeting at Spahrs Seafood Restaurant in Houma. Guest speakers will include CCA-Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson, LDWF Commission member Dan Davis, and CCA-Louisiana VP of Governmental Relations, Camp Matens. Also on Tuesday, the Livingston Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs. Guest speakers will be Captains Owen Langridge, Greg Schlumbrecht, and Scott Ayers. Also, Sam Barbera of LDWF. On Thursday, the Comite Chapter will hold a fishing seminar at Kristenwood in Greenwell Springs. Speakers will be Captains Owen Langridge, Greg Schlumbrecht, Derek Hudnall, Sam Barbera, and kayak angler Elliot Stevens. All of these seminars are $5 for members, $10 for non-members, with ladies and kids free, and include food and beverages.

Sunday, February 7, 2016
What's happening this week. It's Mardi Gras week. Mardi Gras, chic a la pas, run away, tra la la! 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. The public is invited. On Tuesday, the Cane Country Fly Casters hold their monthly meeting at Westside Baptist Church off Highway 1 bypass in Natchitoches. Setup for tying is 6:00pm, meeting at 6:30pm. Special guest will be Dale Darling, member of the Rainy Flies design team and author of five books on fly tying. Dale will tie a few of his favorite flies. Guests are welcome! For more info, go to www.canecountry.blogspot.com. Also on Tuesday, it's the North Louisiana Fly Fishers annual "Chili and Flies" meeting at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City. Members will compete - and eat - chili, and later, a fly tying contest using materials provided (sort of Iron Fly competition). For more info, go to www.northlaflyfishers.org. On Thursday, the New Orleans Fly Fishers hold the first of their twice-monthly fly tying sessions at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on 444 Metairie Road. Time is 7:00pm. Bring your tools, if none, the club has a few sets for use during the session. Materials are provided. Beginners are welcome! Also on Thursday, the Bayou Pirates hold their monthly meeting at Hook1 Louisiana on East 70th street in Shreveport. Time is 6:30pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to www.bayoupirates.com. Starting Friday and continuing Sunday, it's the 14th-ever Little Mo Fly Fishing Festival at the Community Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Cost is $5. It begins Friday evening with tying, Saturday is the main event with programs, fly tying demos, exhibitors, vendors. Sunday is the "Can You Take It" casting session. For more info, go to www.littlemissouriflyfishing.com. Also starting on Friday, and continuing thru Sunday, it's the 31st annual Central Gulf Boat Show at the Civic Center in Lake Charles. Hours are 1pm to 8pm on Friday, 10am to 8pm on Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Admission is $7 adults, ages 6-15 $2 and under 6 free. On Saturday, the Ascension Parish Library on Irma Boulevard will host another fly tying clinic. Time is 9:00am to 12 noon. There's no cost. Bring your tools, materials provided. Basics of tying fresh and saltwater flies. For more info, contact instructor Darrell Crawford at 225-644-7989. Also on Saturday, the Orvis store on 7601 Bluebonnet in Baton Rouge will hold another "Fly Tying 101" clinic. Time is 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Cost is free, but pre-registration is required as seats are limited. Orvis FT101 is a one-day, 2-hour, free hands-on clinic on basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided. For more info, call 225-757-7286.

Sunday, January 31, 2016
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. Time is 6:30pm. The public is welcome. Also on Tuesday, the Cenla Kayak Anglers hold their monthly meeting in Alexandria. Time is 6:00pm. Location TBA tomorrow, check their website at www.cenlakayakanglers.blogspot.com. On the agenda: their upcoming "Sac-A-Yak" on February 27th. The public is invited. On Wednesday, the Pontchartrain Basin Fly Fishers hold their monthly meeting at The Beach House Bar and Grill in Mandeville. Gathering begins at 6:00pm. Guests are welcome. For more info, go to their website at www.pbasinflyfishers.blogspot.com. Saturday is the 24th annual Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival in Houston. More on that later. Also on Saturday, Orvis in Baton Rouge will hold a "Fly Fishing 201" workshop. Time is 9:00am to 11:00am at a location TBA. There's no cost, but registration is required as class size is limited. Orvis FF201 is a free, one-day, 2-hour clinic designed to apply casting and rigging skills to actual fishing. Some additional casting techniques are introduced. For more info, or to register, call 225-757-7286. Also on Saturday, Orvis will hold another "Fly Tying 101" at their BR store. FT101 is a free, one-day, 2-hour hands-on clinic covering basics of fly tying. Tools and materials are provided, but bring tools if you have some. Class size limited so registration required. Call 225-757-7286.

This Saturday kicks off "Conclave Season" across the deep South. A conclave is a public event where there are programs, fly tying demos and sometimes clinics, casting demos and clinics, exhibitors and vendors, and various other activities related to our sport. In most cases, food and refreshments are available. Admission is usually free or a nominal fee that includes the entire family. To offset the costs, there are typically raffles or silent auctions. In some cases, there might be additional activities, for example, kayak demos. While most flyrodders use the lexicon "conclave", these events usually are named "expo", "festival", or "fair". Coming up in February, we have several conclaves - the Ed Rizzolo Tying Festival (Feb. 6 in Houston, TX), Little Mo Fly Fishing Fest (Feb. 13 in Murfreesboro, AR), Acadiana Conclave (Feb. 20 in Lafayette, LA). One event that usually is on the list is the Guadalupe River Trout Fest in New Braunfels which was cancelled this year.

Of all the conclaves, the Ed Rizzolo Tying Festival boasts one of the largest number of demo fly tiers, averaging between 60 and 100. Hosted by the Texas Fly Fishers of Houston, it was formerly known as the "Texas Fly Tying Festival" and renamed in honor of club member Dr. Ed Rizzolo, a widely-respected tier and teacher who conducted clinics for the club and who started this great event. Sadly, Ed is no longer with us, having passed away a couple years ago. But forum member "Animal Chris" Sumers continues with the organization of one of my favorite events each year. One can sit and watch tiers from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas or elsewhere. Or cast one of the new rods from TFO or other vendors. There's always a celebrity tier and this year that person is Drew Chicone. Drew is an author, writer, fly designer, and photographer. His book credits include his latest "Redfish Flies", and his many flies include the GT Pinfish, Disco Shrimp, Drew's Redfish Fly, and my favorite, the Gummy Minnow. The Festival will be held at it's usual place, Bethany Christian Church Hall at 3223 Westheimer in Houston. Time is 8:30am to 4:30pm. Admission is $10 adults, $15 family, children under 12 free. Lunch and refreshments are available. For more info, check out the post in our forum or go to www.texasflyfishers.org.

Euro-nymphing for bream? Czech it out! It's the topic of my Fly Lines column in the February issue of Louisiana Sportsman magazine, now available at sporting goods and convenience stores statewide. Euro-nymphing in all it's various forms is quite the craze for coldwater trout, especially on large tailwaters. But by adapting a few of the concepts, it's a proven killer on early season redears. Particularly those that spawn deep or pre-stage in 3 to 8 feet of water. Other columns - Chris Holmes talks about the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club's year-long catch and photo tournament and how it benefits folks whose schedule can't accomodate tournaments. He also gives tips for measuring and photographing your fish. Jerald Horst tells us why "croakers are croaking" and the good ol' days of bull croaker catches. Jerald and his wife Glenda give us some recipes for "Shrimp and Corn Soup" in their Seafood Bible column. Feature articles include "Slow Hand" by Rusty Tardo on why working lures slow this month in Dularge can produce trout and reds (flies would apply as well). Jerald Horst tells why Millers Lake is a black crappie mecca - and it's currently back open after duck season. I'll probably be headed there soon. Another hot spot for February is going to be Toledo Bend - and you can guess why! Chris Berzas gives tips on where to look for the lunkers. It's not just here in central Louisiana that the fishing is hot, the Pearl River can be good as well and Joel Masson tells where to target bass even if the weather turns cold.

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