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TEXAS FLY FISHING NEWS & ADVENTURES

New Mexico Fly Rod Reel Outfitting

| January 17, 2018

Choosing the Right Rod and Reel For New Mexico Small Streams

I have a friend, this old codger who is about to retire from a cushy professor job that he’s had so long … he actually knew what he was teaching, and got paid for it! You know, the days before universities became bottom-line corporations.

Besides his great spot on Lake Kiowa, he has a second casita on a hill overlooking Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. And it’s that home that comes with some fantastic trout fly fishing opportunities. He made some contact there, at one of the fly shops, and whoever he met filled his head with the idea he was in valhalla for brown trout. I would never deny my limited knowledge of that part of New Mexico, so what am I to do, but get him ready for retirement.

He is ready for something small, and matched to the fish he’s going to find in that part of New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

FLY RODS FROM MY QUIVER

From my quiver, I pulled three rods to show him, rods I have had a long time, caught a lot of trout on, and rods that travel well. They’re versatile, and they are sized for the potential small stream, tight overhanging trees and shrubs that can foul a day pretty quickly.

That’s another thing. Although this guy is considerably older, he still has a signifiant case of ADD. If he doesn’t catch, it’s time to go. If he has to go too much? It really IS TIME TO GO NOW. So, we don’t want him to get frustrated in this new habitat.

THREE RODS

The three rods I would go mountain man with are:

  • TFO BVK 8-foot 3 weight
  • TFO BVK 7-foot 9-inch 4 weight
  • TFO Finesse Glass 7-foot 3-4

I have had, and sold all of my rods – below five weight – that are 9-foot rods. And I can never imagine going back. It’s hard to figure out why the dice landed on 9 when it comes to modern fly rod length, but we are going through some blow-back in recent years, as it dawns on fly fishers; why the heck do I need a 9-foot crack pipe? Couple that enlightenment with the advent of legal bass rods, and the door was blown wide open when it comes to rod length.

Of the three rods listed above, the TFO 4 weight is now available in 8 feet only. Three inches really don’t do a lot to the overall performance of this rod. That’s because, in general, when we are dealing with these ultralight small rods – the differences between those of the same family, and the differences with other families, like Sage or Winston, are so minute as to be completely negotiable. Sure, you will get the latest generation whiz bang from the high end rods, but can you feel it? Does it matter that much? The TFO warranty trumps any minute chills that a Sage runs up your pant leg anyway.

Whenever you get to five, then a rod can speak to you more clearly – in its own language that you either understand, or you don’t. I would stand by my Winston BII five weight in case the old codger invited me to a place, like the San Juan River Navajo Quality Waters. That’s a place that has some fantastic trophy fish that would break one of these small rods like Bo Jackson breaks bats.

Now this education is a “ground-up” outfitting for this old gentleman, so we also need to look at reels and lines.

Best Small Fly Fishing Reels Under 200 Dollars

This is another great reason to pull the trigger on a small fly rod – reels at this size are also extremely affordable as well! There is no good reason to spend a lot of money on reels at this size because drag is rarely an issue, rust is no issue, and the reel often amounts exactly to what it has been so often called – A LINE HOLDER.

If I were buying new small reels today? I would honestly have a hard time deciding which reel to buy. Many of today’s reel makers realize the function of their reels has never been better – advanced drag systems, computer controlled production machining or casting. The average reel today is mechanically light years ahead of the best reel of fifteen years ago. Some of the old technology has survived, but that reel technology has also been upgraded by the technological revolution.

So how are today’s small fly reels different? The drag systems ARE different for different brands, and different models with in a brandname, and the materials can be cast or machined aluminum. But the big differences are in the sexiness being designed into fly fishing reels these days. These designers are learning from sports car design; creating reels that look like they are moving even when they are standing still. New anodized colors, machined textures and mixing of materials for knobs – all can make a reel look like spinner rims on a low rider.

My small reels are the same as they were ten years ago – with one new addition this year, as I evolve away from my originals.

Those two are the Orvis Battenkill BBS II reels. They are simple, small, reliable, warrantied, affordable and they never miss a beat. The third reel that is moving into my trout driver is a Lamson Guru 1.5.

The Lamson lacks the screaming drag and reeling sound of the Battenkill, but I have come to appreciate that silence.

But since I was doing my due diligence for the old guy … I started looking around at reels, and was extremely impressed with today’s choices.

Orvis Courtesy Photo

ORVIS BATTENKILL II

Strangely, as a brand, Orvis seems to be less sexy than a lot of other brands, but still an affordable choice.They run about $160-dollars, and have recently been updated.

REDDINGTON ZERO

I looked at the Reddington line of reels, and really like the price and look of the ZERO reel. I am not sure what they are made of, but they are a cast reel, and lightweight.

Reddington Zero reel courtesy photo Reddington

  • Lightest reel in its class
  • Unmachinable, unique die-cast construction
  • Super-lightweight design with quick-change spool
  • Spring loaded, clicker drag system
  • Easily converts to left or right hand retrieve
  • Twin molded, soft-touch ergonomic handles
  • Large arbor design speeds retrieve and reduces line memory
  • Nylon reel case included
  • Lifetime warranty

SAGE 2200

The Sage 2200 is at the bottom of the Sage fly reel line, at $170-dollars, but doesn’t look like the bottom of anything. This is a great looking reel, and has a good deal of technology under the hood. It’s twice the price of the ZERO, but looks like it too.

Courtesy Sage Fly Fishing Sage 2200

  • SCS drag design
  • Large arbor for fast line pick up; Concave arbor for greater strength and capacity
  • Large machined one revolution drag knob with numbered and detented settings
  • Ergonomic machined aluminum handle
  • Easy conversion from left- to right-hand retrieve
  • Neoprene and embroidered ballistic nylon reel case

ALLEN FLY FISHING Trout II Reel Series

These are good looking reels, and at a good price. Cork drag gets my attention every time.The price point is right in line with the competition here at $140-dollars. Seeing as he’s retiring from UNT, the green anodizing should be the cat’s meow.

Courtesy Allen Fly Fishing

  • Fully machined aluminum spool and frame
  • Cork disc drag system
  • large arbor spool
  • Click retrieve and click drag
  • Bearing-less disc drag system
  • Easily converts from left to right hand retrieve

WATERWORKS LAMSON

Probably the lowest on the totem pole is the Waterworks Lamson Remix model. It is the bottom line Lamson, and I guess I have just been spoiled by my Gurus look and feel. The Remix just looks chunky, but if you need a big, easy to find drag knob – think about this one at $180-dollars.

It’s their cast reel, and I had problems with the finish on one of these — they show punishment very quickly.

Lamson Courtesy Photo

  • format: Large Arbor
  • materials: Machined 6061 Aluminum Case, Pressure Cast Aluminum Spool
  • finish: Type II Anodize Case, Polyurethane Spool
  • drag: Sealed Conical Drag
  • 80% US Manufactured, 100% Idaho Built

CONCLUSION – For a classic size, look and sound – it’s the Orvis Battenkill. For a modern looking reel, I like the Reddington ZERO, but wonder what it is actually cast from? Next to that, it is hard to go wrong with the Sage 2200 series. The Allen Fly Fishing reel is probably the toughest reel – it’s machined, while all the others are cast, but that does make it hefty. If you want a splash of sentimental color, don’t hesitate to do the Allen Reel.

TUNE IN FOR PART 2 – Fly Line and accessorizing for safety.

Texas Fly Fishing Events Piling On Again This Year

| January 16, 2018

Let the good lines roll!

Announcements are flowing like sand through the hourglass now, and as is normal for the Texas Fly crowd, there is another scheduling overlap again this year. Now that they’ve shot themselves in THE OTHER foot, I can’t help but wonder how it is these things happen?

In the first place, the general events (non-trout related) occur at what is typically, and selfishly slow time of the fly fishing year – a slack tide of slow if you know what I mean? People around here may be talking fly, but they certainly aren’t throwing fly.

Here’s what I have so far, and if I miss your event, be sure to holler in my face as soon as possible. I am always glad to share information about this sport you live and love, and if you are so bold and focused as to want to ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT here, we can talk about that as well.

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE

The first event on the 2018 fly fishing calendar is right around the proverbial corner. Whoever comes up with a descriptive name that isn’t “fest.” or “festival” gets a prize! First, we retired “Conclave,” and now we work to retire “festival,” and the word “ambassador” from all fly lexicon forever and ever amen.

Texas Fly Fishing Expo

Based on the dead website http://txflyfishexpo.com/ – it appears that event is now dead in the water. So long. We hardly knew ya’.

TroutFest 2018

February 16-18, 2018

http://www.grtu.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/GRTU_SDE_2018.pdf

Sometimes a “sleeper” event – one loaded with great stuff and great information. That speaker list looks a little worn thin, except for Chris Wood, who I have traveled with in the past. His perspective, and speaking ability, and knowledge make for a good lecture.

Texas Freshwater Fisheries – Fly Fish Texas

https://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/visit/specialevents/flyfishtx/

February 24, 2018

This event was hurting for attendance and vendors last year – in my humble opinion. And without any kind of celebrity of note to draw crowds, it may be a little of an underdog this year as well. The February 24 date is questionable as well – with the winter we are having right now.

NOTE: Unfortunately, this event uses synthetic trout as their main attraction – setting up kids to fish for these little fish, and not really pairing up adults with walk-in kids to get their hands on fly rods. A lot more catching and hooking of kids would be accomplished with sunfish as the attraction, instead of those poor seasonal trout. This event feels like it is about ready for an overhaul.

Trinity River Water District – Flyfest 2018

March 10, 2018

http://trwdflyfest.com/

Along the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas.

This event has size and gearth to it. The location is eye-opening, and if you are local to North Texas, you are sure to run into someone you know.

Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Expo

March 10-11, 2018

http://txflyfishingfestival.org/

This event a couple of heavy hitters, and it costs heavy as well. I like that. I think in the microbrewery rich region of North Texas, they attracted three different beer makers last year. Pretty pathetic. But then, micro brews are so 2013 anyway, aren’t they? There are some speakers of note this year, and although I have never fished with any of them (you know who you are), I bet we can learn a little something new from some of these folks.

When it comes to talking, I would have expected to hear from Stephen Woodcock out of Fort Worth, but obviously he’s tied up at the TRWD Flyfest going on at the same time in Fort Worth.

NOTE: This goes on over two days, so you can do both this one and the Forth Worth event while you are not hanging out in Denton. You can bet the locals won’t be promoting ANYTHING local to local fly fishers.

Ladyfish 2018 Women’s Fly Fishing Festival

March 24, 2018

http://livingwatersflyfishing.com/ladyfish/

Round Rock Texas

Sponsored by City of Round Rock, and Living Waters Fly Fishing in Round Rock, Texas. This is the first ever of this particular event, and guess what? it’s calling itself a “festival” too.

It looks like your best contact is Living Waters Fly Fishing.


LATER THIS WEEK, I will publish the current rundown of fly fishing tournaments. It is always a short list, and with my working weekends, I won’t be the backbone of any Lake Ray Ray Roberts tournament anytime soon. Maybe in my next decade, I will have that freedom once again.

Or maybe I will just start an event called “Festival! Festival!” and retire now!

 

Free Per View – The Answer Just Blew In

| January 10, 2018

Just when I though I won the lottery!

READING IS FREE – JOIN THE YOUTUBE NATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY CONTENT!

It looks like the Pay-Per-View option no longer works for those of you who show up to this website frothing at the mouth for great new content – think toll booth in Blazing Saddles.

So, there’s my answer in a nutshell. I am going to disable the Pay-Per-View function on this website. For those of you who have had paid memberships, and still do have paid memberships, you will be privy to exclusive members-only YouTube videos for the calendar year 2018.

And if you want to get exclusive limited YouTube Content, that’s what you can do – pay your $!1 usd and I will make a member out of you. Thanks for reading, and now THANKS FOR WATCHING.

Monday Morning Sidewalk New TEMPORARY Lower Rates Pay Per View 2018

| January 8, 2018

Good morning and welcome to the second Monday in 2018!

The Texas weather rollercoaster continues this week, with shallower dives and lower mountains, but check back tomorrow. Anything can change in this country.

I had a meeting with my board of directors this morning, and the blowback, related to subscription reading here, has begun. It is one of those questions without anyone apparently brave enough, or time enough to answer. Continue Reading

Oklahoma Report: Blue River A Frozen Mystery

| January 5, 2018

Fish Jumping on the Blue River This Weekend

Conditions & Flies That Surprise – The Tequeely

For those of you looking for a crack in this weekend weather, it’s here. I do have some new information on the Blue River and Beaver’s Bend Oklahoma.

I’m a writer and not mathematician, but I am okay at addition and subtraction. It looks like to me Beaver’s Bend is getting about half the trout stockings

that the Blue River is getting as of the last official numbers on the last stocking date. I never thought I would see that! Maybe it’s always that way during certain times of the season, and I will leave it to you to correct me if this is normal. If stocked fish are your illness, then a short trip to the Blue River seems to be your cure.

AND I have heard that the Blue River fish are eating big flies! So throw your 16’s and 18’s if you like, but word out is that small fish imitations are the ticket to paradise. This means a #6 white Clouser and better yet have a look at the TeQueely Streamer fly for your solution to these fish.

 

NOW THE BAD NEWS

The flies, and the stocking information is yours to do with as you see fit. The bad news is – reports say the Blue River is virtually frozen over.

So there’s that to deal with.


HERE IS THE LATEST PRESS RELEASE from Barry Shrader

Blue River Fly Classic 2018

General Information

Date Of Event: March 3rd, 2018

  • Place: Blue River Public Fishing And Hunting Area
  • Time Of Event: 7:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m.
  • Starting Point: Main Parking Lot Campground Area Blue River
  • Blind Pairings Will Be Prior To Start Of Event
  • Entry Fee: $35.00 Per Contestant

Purpose:

The purpose of the Blue River Fly Classic is two-fold. First, the mission of this event is create a day of greater fellowship among the fly fishing community on Blue River. Secondly, this event is designed as a fund raising event with the totality of monies raised by entries fees going directly to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife in support of the Catch and Release section at Blue River. Funds will be monitored by and through the Blue River Association.

Rules:

*A same pattern will only be used. NOTE: Contestants will be given one fly. An additional fly can be purchased (see below).

*All contestants will receive the same pattern and the pattern will remain a mystery until the start of the event. When a contestant loses the fly (or flies) then that contestant is out. If the contestant loses the fly (or flies) and wishes to continue fishing for the sake of fishing, then that contestant must turn their score card over to the person they are paired with. One additional fly can be purchased and used for this event for $10.00.

*Contestants will be allowed to retie their fly, but must notify their partner they are doing so.

*Dry flies as strike indicators will not be allowed.

*Scored fish are fish brought to hand. Each contestant must alert their partner when a fish is brought to hand.

*Each contestant is responsible for keeping their own score card.

*Each contestant should devise a way for measuring fish that are caught. Length of each fish scores additional points.

*This entire event is based on the honor system.

*Deadline for entering is February 10th 2018.

A copy of the general information, rules, and entry form will be available January 1st, 2018. To obtain an entry form contact [email protected] An entry form will be sent to you as an attachment. Print the entry form, fill it out, include payment and mail both in. You will receive a confirmation email once your entry is received.

Prizes:

Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers. Prizes will be announced at a later date.

There will be a number of give-away prizes also in a random drawing.

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