FLY FISHING NEWS & ADVENTURES

Texas Fly Fishing on the Monday Morning Sidewalk

| August 3, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Good Monday morning to the Texas fly fishing community from right here in the middle of another ozone alert day for North Central Texas — thank you so much Dallas the DFW Metroplex

COAL IS GODZILLA

We live at a crucial moment in the battle for clean Texas air, and cleaner Texas lake waters, with President Obama about to formally roll out clean air standards that will change our lives, and our waters for the better. If you are against the downsizing, the emasculation of the monster coal industry, then you are against cleaner water and cleaner air in the State of Texas. The demise of coal is inevitable, just as autos replaced buggies, just as coal replaced wood, just as electricity will replace the combustion engine – INEVITABLE. If you are pro-coal, you are on the wrong side of world history. Do not mistake this as a blanket endorsement of the President’s specific plan, but change has to happen sooner rather than later.

TIME FOR A LAKE BREAK

If you are local to Lake Ray Roberts, Texas, then you will be a surprised boater if you head for the Ray Roberts Marina to launch this week. The only ramp serving the entire lake is closed through Thursday for “repairs.” I take that to mean they are stopping to count their cash (funny things happen cash counting), and reinvest in much needed infrastructure at that overrun ramp. The long-and-short of it is that that marina is becoming highly polluted by all the boats launching and landing there. The boat motor oil slick has soaked into the debris on the shoreline which will leave (almost impossible to remove) footprints on your boat decks.

What will they actually be doing at the RR Marina Ramp? Judging by the (outdoor) management I have encountered there, they’ll put a few more new “DO NOT” signs up, and maybe something that divides the huge concrete ramp into slots, but I certainly wouldn’t expect much more than that – even if they are pulling in multi-thousands of dollars a week.

FLY FISHING ELSEWHERE AROUND TEXAS

I was surprised to hear yesterday that the LBJ Grasslands are still closed because of the late spring early summer flooding. One would have assumed the closures will end soon, but since we dove right back into drought, the fire danger must be going up on the Grasslands, and keeping the park closed could actually preempt grass fires north and west of Decatur, Texas. Imagine all the fuel from those rains …

A good bet now, is to go a little further and hit three different spots out west: Continue Reading

Body-Mind-Soul Fly Fishing For New Converts This Fall

| August 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

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It seems like it was a long time ago that I decided to dedicate Sundays to the “Body-Mind-Soul” aspects of fly fishing. Nowadays, the Body-Mind-Soul mantra is my entire life outside of fly fishing – as it probably should have been all along.

I had the opportunity to talk to two old friends about fly fishing last night over mountains of sushi at a restaurant in nearby Frisco, Texas. It was an interesting monologue because I knew the male half of the couple, celebrating their anniversary, was and is, extremely susceptible to passionate digressions that have most recently taken him into, of all things, chainsaws and welders; buying, repairing and selling them as a hobby. He was the source of my passion for Toyota Land Cruisers when I purchased my FJ-60 way back in 1997, long before fly fishing (BFF), and he still runs his rock crawling FJ40 on organized outings a couple of times a year – all across the USA.

I began to talk about fly fishing with a higher emphasis on my usual warning: “This sport is extremely addictive.” I tried to explain the art of the cast, and how important it is to learn good form and habits early – much like a golf swing. And I described the new skiff, and how it is basically like nothing they have seen, or probably would see on any local North Texas waters. Some things about a saltwater boat on fresh water are hard to explain, like a poling platform, or gunnels that are walkable around the entirety of the boat (making it a “technical” poling skiff, I explained).

In the explaining of this addiction, I realized just how far gone I was in assuming “everyone probably knew this stuff.” It took a moment, or two, to roll back the vocabulary and take nothing for granted. How refreshing to be able to imprint a few words, a few images on new tabula rasa.

This morning it occurrs to me that I will be coming across a lot more people in coming days, weeks and months – who could possibly be indoctrinated into this world we already, sometimes too quietly, love. While these people work on my body, little do they know I’ll be looking for a crack in their door – to capture a fragment of their mind, maybe a little peace of their soul.

Two For Tuesday

| July 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Welcome to your “Two for Tuesday” where we try and wrap two days into one single story. Actually, we’re going to wrap a few days into this one, and tie it up nice and tidy-like.

ON THE SKIFF

The Lagoon Skiff is running great, and has been on the water four of the past five days. It’s a bit of putzing around as the motor requires a “break-in” period of slower going. That said, weekdays on Lake Ray Roberts are … well, it’s like a ghost town mostly out there. There were a few boats out yesterday chasing sand bass slicks, and there were a few topwater blitzes that popped as well.

The skiff is performing quite well, and according to a friend I had out on the water Sunday (who’s been on, and owned a number of skiffs) – it works well. Good dry ride, shallow, silent approach, tracks on the pole and doesn’t beat you to death in the chop. That’s what I thought, but it is good to hear it from an independent source. If you are thinking about a Lagoon Skiff, feel free to contact me. I will say that this boat must have trim tabs to control the ride. They make the difference.

Unfortunately, there was a flaw in the placement of the pushpole holders, and the pole (borrowed from the same friend) — a Stiffy Hybrid — broke, nay exploded, in the holders while I was sitting in the marina waiting to load. Let’s just say all eyes (there were dozens) turned when they heard the sound, and I was fumbling around trying to keep both pieces afloat. To add insult to injury … I was sliding the pieces into the car to travel, and one of the broken ends literally “grazed” the dashboard and cut the dash wide open, okay about an inch wide cut. It looks like I’ll be owning this Stiffy Pushpole, but they are reparable – http://stiffypushpoles.com/stiffy-accessories/ferrule-kit-standard .

ON THE WATER

We did find some carp on Ray Roberts during the past few days, and largemouth bass after largemouth bass after largemouth bass … Ray Roberts is headed toward prominence in the bubba bass world in about three years, and I will be guiding you to them sooner and later …

The carp are acting kind of funny, lethargic, extremely happy (barrel rolls witnessed the last two days!), in big schools, big fish (8-pound class) and not eating a darn fly to save my life. They are so docile that I have rolled right over, by and past them on the skiff, and they act like locals watching the tourists – just hanging there and laughing all the way. Needless to say, I am calling in the Guru, and putting him on the platform this Friday. It is time to unravel this mystery.

Lake Ray Roberts looks like a scene from the original “Planet of the Apes” when you see the parks from the water – abandoned, submerged and beaten hard by the floods this summer. Places like Isle DuBois Park, are especially erie. And while there is a lot of water still up in the park, on the grass and vegetation, places I would expect carp to be, there are none. There are bass though, bass after bass, after bass, after bass … all sizes – from millions of fry, to some early and late fatties. (I haven’t been able to time out a fatty bass due to launching too late or needing to get back before dark, but it’s obvious they are there)

Along with the bass, after bass, after bass; there are bait balls the size of the skiff that seek the shade of the boat – in virtually every cove near Isle DuBois State Park. The small bass I’ve caught (while dangling a carp fly) have distended bellies on them. We’re talking epidemic childhood obesity here!

TALKING ABOUT “IT”

As many of the regular readers know, I am dealing with medical problems (I despise the word “issues”) these days, and we really haven’t reached the final verdict on how or when the entire surgery and treatment process will be undertaken. My lovely wife has taken it upon herself to do so much of the heavy lifting of research and gaining knowledge, and most importantly rallying my friends and family around for this upcoming war. The latest news came last Friday, once my ear-nose-throat doctor got a look at the spot that got lit by the PET Scan. Bottom line (which I like to cut to as quick as is practical) is that he said this form of cancer (in my throat) is in his words, “highly curable,” but I am also looking at the vaunted trifecta – surgery, radiation and chemo. 

As I have said, I believe that a site like Texas Fly Caster should never be burdened with the heavy lifting of something so frail as a person’s specific health. And that dovetails with a thoughtful surprise of my wife (cancer coach) creating a website for talking about this at – http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/shannondrawe . Meanwhile, I sincerely appreciate my fly friends who have reached out to me (the invisible guy behind the curtain) to express their support and concerns about this. I guess I have not quite figured out how to NOT talk about something that could be helpful to someone down the line. So I should apologize if the “C” word offends you as I talk about it with the candidness of learning as I go. I am old enough to remember when “cancer” was only a whispered word in conversation – how times have changed.

If you DO want to read about this new adventure, feel free to check in at that website. I know the feeling of being out on the water is health giving for me, so you can count on more from the skiff – until somebody or my body says NO.

Crack in the Door – Ray Roberts Marina Has Ramp Open

| July 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

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For the vast majority of fly fishers, a boat ramp is something we never needed around North Texas. We’ve been on foot for, in my case, ten years, and on easy launch-anywhere kayaks for almost all of those years as well. All the wrangling about where to launch to chase carp this season is precipitated by the fact that a walk-and-wade pursuit of carp or any other fish on Lake Ray Roberts (right now) is all but impossible. And the ramps at all TPWD parks have been closed since May, and are promised to be closed until at least September.

Well, there’s a crack in the door – a convenient place to launch kayaks and boats on Ray Roberts. Apparently the privately managed Ray Roberts Marina (USACE owns the property), is allowing a limited number of launches daily from their ramp tucked back in a cove behind the marina’s boat slips. Capitalists that they are (and always have been), there’s a $5-dollar fee for the launch, and although I have parked there a lot, for some unknown reason I am a little less trusting of the security in this area.

This opening would explain the huge amount of boat traffic on Lake Ray Roberts last Sunday. I will get out there later today to confirm this report, and see just how crowded it is during the middle of the week – all this in an effort to get a clean launch of the skiff later on this week. If you are a boater, be sure to put safety first, and watch for significant amounts of floating debris – debris that may have significant amounts of submerged danger attached to it. It’s far from the “safest” time to be on Lake Ray Roberts, but maybe you’re like me, and hear the fish calling.

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