TEXAS FLY FISHING NEWS & ADVENTURES

Monday Morning Sidewalk Shaping Hats Shaping Up July

| June 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

Monday Morning Sidewalk

As we stagger into another week, from wherever we are … to right here staring at your screens; I hope we are all taking the time this summer to fly fish somewhere that takes our minds off the trials and tribulations we may encounter in these days unlike any other.

It is worth reminding you that there is a ten year repository – a library if you will – of fly fishing information and wonderful getaways stored within this website. Amazing, ten full years the wheel has spun since the first words were written here.  Somehow, when I started this journey, I wanted to live it like there was no tomorrow – as if I knew I wasn’t going to make it to a natural end of the road.

Cancer could have fulfilled that prophecy, but I was evidently spared – unlike some friends that are now gone. It (cancer) turned out to be more of a pothole in the road, one that severely damaged my suspension, but a pothole instead of a dead end. I don’t know how many of my friends made from Reel Recovery bother to read the site – be they administrators, facilitators or the class I participated with, but one – ONE – of my class has kept in touch over the last 2-1/2 years.

When I met him he had no signs of sickness, but his was a ticking time bomb type of cancer. Next Monday I’ll be headed to Houston to visit him after a round of chemo at MD Anderson. So send your thoughts and prayers his way and keep them coming.

One of the things that has transpired over the last three years since being diagnosed (7/7/15) was taking on a manual labor job that ate my weekends whole for the last twelve months. The only real upside was boosting my endurance and conditioning to a level (better than years before cancer), that I assume, gets me ready for the next road that I take as I reach the intersection in July. You see, my conditioning peaked about two months ago, and the body says it’s time to do something different before real injury results. That little/long road is about over now, and I’ll need your feedback to figure out where the road goes … the physical clock is ticking, and I am turning off this one-year road at the last possible second, two wheels in the air  …

Speaking of July

July has always been my most sentimental month – bar none. And like it or not, I am a pretty darn sentimental sod of a person and fly fisher. July was the “Family Reunion” time of year, which meant South Padre Island (SPI), Texas, for at least a week that included the 4th., and sometimes another week just for good measure. If I had to identify geography for coming of age, South Padre Island would be one of the top two places. It is no different now. If there were a choice, I would find the full moon and put SPI on my calendar every single year.

But sometimes other more pressing needs take undeniable precedent. A huge part of the coming July will be an adventure along a road I have never traveled to a place I’ve never been. I’ll be riding and driving along with a friend of mine from here in North Texas – all the way to New England – to fulfill his late wife’s last wish.

FLY FISHING

We now have a week of cooler and unstable weather to look forward to! What a relief. As I said in last Friday’s report – the variables here in North Texas are many, and fish few. Maybe some rain and cooler temperatures are just what the fly doctor ordered? Something has to give …

So I soaked my next straw hat – from www.sunbodyhats.com in Houston – in the trough this morning, and am reshaping it to be “The Hat” for the rest of this year – if I can get it to fatten up around my fattening head! I guess you could call it shaping my anticipation for future roads?

NOTE: I did become aware of some glitches in videos deposited here (never on YouTube) last week, and will work to remedy those – and repost them, as new, very soon!

Texas Fly Fishing Report 061518

| June 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Here’s the Deal! Texas Fly Fishing Report

Hello, and thanks again for tuning in to the Texas Fly Caster YouTube Channel, and checking out this new video report on fly fishing opportunities in Texas. Make sure you contact me if you are in Houston the week of June 25! I’ll be there too, and spending time with a friend as he goes through a round of chemo at MD Anderson, but there’s always some time to sneak off and go to Bayou City Angler or maybe a long delayed trip to Fishing Tackle Unlimited.

All I know for sure is – the wind and heat are draining the lake pretty quickly now, and the fish are dazed and confused by the rapid decline. Saltwater fly fishing is also subject to heat now – your best shallow bet is early and late on moving tides (always on moving tides!).

Monday Afternoon Sidewalk

| June 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Good Monday afternoon! Welcome to the Sidewalk of life.

This is the day and place where any and all topics are fair game, but the fairest of all if fly fishing. If you are only here on Mondays, you may have missed the fact I got blown off the water last week, and also got sent home with my tail between – from Lake Texoma. So much rejection in a single week … makes me wonder … what the heck is the deal!

I always relish the excuses when out fly fishing with someone else, or even the excuses I make to myself when no one else is there to tell. It’s too hot, cold, early, late, windy, calm, clear, cloudy, wrong fly, wrong line … the list is as extravagant as needed to put my spin on missing the target completely with a shotgun.

Yes, we got to put eyes on some carp Thursday before being blown completely off the lake, BUT, we couldn’t get them interested. The VARIABLES were too great, and the actual number of fish too few – I was back on the trailer by 1-pm. The day before on Texoma? I had all kinds of proof positive that Texoma was in the FULL-ON position, including a small armada of boats sitting just off the riverbed … sitting and sitting … with a bunch of perfectly straight rods on board. I was (here comes the excuse) too late perhaps, as that armada was staked out  when I got there just as the 7-am chime rang.

TEXOMA WAS so slow in fact, I decided to pound some rocks for smallmouth bass, but again (here comes the excuse) the water was pretty warm for that kind of action. Once I realized the clock had struck and I was a fat pumpkin, I headed for the park on the Oklahoma side, and low-and-behold there were hundreds and hundreds of buffalo, drum, common and grass carp (huge) up shallow rooting around, and scaring out in huge groups pushing huge wakes. Not a fly was eaten, I assume (here comes the excuse) because they were in some kind of spawn mode — at least that’s what all the play looked like. IF YOU want to go after them, contact me and I will give the exact coordinates for that location. Texoma is a big lake.

RAY ROBERTS was harder to believe. All I can honestly say is; where there was recently water, there is no more. It APPEARS THAT the lake is dropping quickly – due to heat evaporation or consumption. And the water that’s left? Boiling temperature can’t be far off. We had two storms that went right over the lake – early Wednesday and later Thursday, but really? Winds are a problem once again this week, but if I can get out early enough, I will do that OR hit the road for some small pond action somewhere.

I FEEL THE NEED, THE NEED FOR TUG! And I want to get that story on my new Axiom II TFO Fly Rod done and in the queue as well.

Thanks for reading. I am driving straight toward major changes in my schedule coming in July, changes you will appreciate as opportunities and avenues for information will be blown wide open. More on that news as the countdown begins on about the fifteenth of this month. Needless to say, life changing events forthcoming (once again). Let me predict: I’ll be bothering you more than ever!!

Friday Texas Fly Fishing Report

| June 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

Weather a Big Variable This Week

Folks in Dallas are still picking up the pieces after a severe storm pelted the area with huge hail and damaging winds early Wednesday morning. I believe they estimated the damage at $400-million, with 25-thousand cars and 40-thousand homes taking the brunt of golf ball to baseball sized hail.

The strangeness doesn’t end there. Following my own advice, I skipped past the edge of that Wednesday storm that rained on Lake Ray Roberts, and went on to Texoma to try and find the striper action. All I found was an armada of boats, tightly packed, and from what I could tell – a lot of straight rods. And all my electronics showed was a vast underwater nothingness, from the dam outward. I was doing a submarine dodging zig-zag to try and locate fish wherever they were, but their hide-and-seek was better than me. Water temperatures were hovering around 80-degrees, so there wasn’t much that I could find along the rocky shores either. It was just plain slow. I did find a huge school of buffalo grazing on the Oklahoma side in a strange mode I have never seen before – shallow on the shore much like common carp do during spawn. In fact, they had every characteristic of spawning carp – especially the NOT EATING characteristic.

Thursday on Lake Ray Roberts, I wasn’t even allowed to take out my frustration on carp. All my searching on the west side only showed me that the lake has been dropping like a rock. And that is the only explanation I can come up with for the lack of carp – at least on the west side. The wind kicked up huge, so we were not even able to run to the east side, and by the end of Thursday? Another damaging storm cell made its way right down the middle of Denton, Texas, and on south to Dallas once again. Strange days indeed. Fortunately we had given up the ghost around 1-pm, so that serious weather was never a factor on the water. Otherwise, there would be a much different story to tell …

There’s no time for a YouTube video report today, and with all the construction noise around the house, it would be next to impossible to create the show – without major interruptions. So we will come back at you next week, with a full report, and maybe finally a chance to get the TFO Axiom II on the water and onto fish. That is a taller order than I ever expected!

FLY FISHING ACROSS TEXAS

From what I can glean, the saltwater picture is becoming more dispersed, and difficult since the heat kicked in with force along the coast. The main idea is now to know your tides and tidal movements. Fish the usual areas on the incoming, and hit the constrictions (guts and drainages) on the outgoing. Tides are running at night, so that’s your main problem now.

It seems like Falcon Lake is right on track with plenty of big fish being caught, and tons of sand bass as well. The other highlight is over in Southeast Texas (near Houston), and that is a lake I have heard a lot about for awhile – Somerville near Brenham, Texas. I have not heard anyone stop talking about that lake for several months now. It MUST BE on. Generally, you are looking at a summer pattern locking in on Texas lakes.

Have another great weekend! And we will see you bright and early Monday Morning on the Sidewalk of Fly Life.

Rain on the Sidewalk Plus Lake Texoma Striper Blitz

| June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

FRESHWATER STRIPER ON FLY LAKE TEXOMA TEXAS

Thunder rolls around North Texas this fine Monday Morning, giving me cover to put out a “Sidewalk Column” that has a little more meat on the bone …

I have multiple confirmations that it is once again one of “those times” on Lake Texoma, Texas. For those of you who fly fish: Just because Texoma has all the character of an ocean, it doesn’t mean you can’t drop a fly line and catch magnificent freshwater striper as long as your arm. And I’m talking about full-length arms when I say that! The word is they are running top-to-bottom, and even in close (see my archives for nearshore kayak spots).

There are tricks to the trade of a fly for the bite of a big striper on Lake Texoma. Sure, topwater is topwater, and if that is on? we have to whack-a-mole on that all day long. If not on top, we have to open the drawstring on the bag of voodoo that catches striper on fly – AT DEPTH.

MULTIPLE RODS

Like it or not, Texoma is a place that calls for multiple fly rods – multiple heavy fly rods. If you want to bring a knife to a gun fight, I can’t help you. We’re talking about getting a full sink line out and away from the boat with a big bait pattern on it. AND we’re talking about having a rod (ready to go) that can launch a topwater fly into the middle of a blitz – WITHOUT blowing the school out. So dust off yer’ 8’s, 9’s and 10’s. This is why you have them, right?

So we have heavy rods for:

  • full sink line
  • topwater
  • pounding the rocks for smallmouth in between

SINKERS

The hardest part of using a sink line (for me) is learning to be patient with the sink. The water is deep, and the sink is slow, slower than you think. I want to feel my fly scratching the bottom before I even think about starting a retrieve. Snags? Oh, hell yes. That just tells me I am in the zone.

Remember YOUR LEADER needs to be solid fluorocarbon and at least a fifteen tip. That is part of the rub – bigger diameter leaders sink slower and ark sooner than small ones. That weight also allows you to pull hooks free from most rocks (check your points after a snag!).

FLOATERS

Presentation? We don’t need no stinkin’ presentation during a striper blitz. We need some distance and very little accuracy. I mean … can you hit a fifty-yard square target at fifty feet? Still, you have to launch a lunch worthy of an eight-pound striper. Saltwater lines with a heavy tip and true float means switching to monofilament leaders. And you might have to dial down to an eight or ten pound tip to keep the floating character of the fly, although does it really matter that much during a blitz? Nope.

SMALLIE STALKING

If you can’t get a grip on the striper action, or it takes a break? Chase those huge smallmouth bass along the rocks of Texoma. You’ll find them just about anywhere there are rocks, and rocky points jutting out (dam turnarounds). I still think you’ll need to be deeper than you want, but dialing down to a six or seven weight can give your arm a break while you watch for the next blitz on the horizon. MAKE THE MOST USE OF YOUR TIME AND EFFORTS ON Lake Texoma, Texas! It takes so very much time and effort to do this lake properly and safely.

FLIES

I knew you’d ask about flies eventually. Meat, bring the meat. These fish are used to big gorging meals of bait. So much so, in fact, I wonder why more people don’t saltwater chum for striper on Texoma. Imagine a frozen chum-ball putting out the dinner bell? If you can call them up by slapping a paddle on the water? Chumming could fill a boat, couldn’t it? Bring the meat, BIG meat.

TIE YOUR OWN flies! My thinking on deep striper fly fishing has evolved when it comes to my hook selection. My first years were marked by expensive saltwater hooks that had devastating penetration – Tiemco 600SP’s. Nowadays, I like the circle hook option. Why? They are still sharp, although they do not penetrate skull bone – THEY DO hang the lip and THEY DON’T let go. It allows for the delayed recognition of a take that we often experience with deep flies and heavy sinking lines. They hit to stun (we miss that feeling), then they bite and are on – and we feel that!

RETRIEVE

Another complication of the sinking line stalk of striper on Texoma is that these fish are rapacious. If they see a fly lallygagging by them? Nope. They want the chase and a head-on stun kill and then eat. Fast retrieve – as in two-handed-rod butt-tucked-under-your-arm retrieve. This is a “complication” because it quickly takes a fly out of the striking depth (check your electronics often).


Thanks for reading today. The rain kicked on during this writing this morning – pretty sorry weather-heads we have on TV in North Texas! So my morning photo shoot is cancelled, and I guess I have to actually extinguish one end of my candle for the day. Have a fantastic week!

texoma striper

Conventional caught striper – Lake Texoma Texas – thanks to CS Keating! Who’s that fat boy in the picture?

A special thanks to Mr. Keating for being the boots-on-the-ground for that Texoma inspiration. I am going to have to get me some of that this week (if nothing else gets in my way!).


DESTINATION SOUTH PADRE ISLAND TEXAS OCTOBER 2018

I am zeroing in on dates for a South Padre Island, Texas, week(s) in the fall, and there are spaces for other fly fishers who want to hit the best saltwater habitat and action in Texas – on a budget! I am not guiding on this trip, but simply hosting a home base for DIY’ers to come-and-go fish as they please and pay for lodging by the day. Yes, I will gladly show-and-tell you what the action is and where it is – a boat is not absolutely necessary!!!

Look for this to develop on a new page of this site called, “DESTINATIONS” – coming this week.

DESTINATION PILOT POINT TEXAS

Pilot Point, Texas, is another Texas destination that is going to be featured on this new page as well. Here’s a link to the Western Son Distillery story that ran recently in the Denton Record Chronicle – Western Son courtesy DRC. Unfortunately, for my tastebuds, Whistle Post Brewery has brewed it’s last beer.