Black Friday Falls to Sooner Saturday

| November 28, 2010

Traditions are hard to keep. Maybe it’s turkey with a certain dressing, or a light karo pecan pie with chocolate. Suddenly they’re out of the most important ingredient, and poof, your tradition goes up in so much smoke – like a dry Arturo Fuente Curly Head you rolled on your own hairy thigh.

Black Friday wasn’t so deep a tradition that it became desperate to defend. It had been a day to shed the bonds of bonding, and come up for air, walk off the previous day’s excesses, and seek the blessings of the Fish Gods. And it had been going pretty good – Black on Blue was a resonating success, and last year’s fantastic flounder foray within eyesight of the South Jetties at Galveston, Texas, was a case of right fly, right time right place … mostly.

The handwriting was already on the wall when we left Denton headed for Oklahoma City Friday about noon. I am no wild driver, and actually dwelled for several miles, on the preposterous comments I have read about people driving from Dallas to Broken Bow in one-and-a-half hours. I was trying to make those claims add up for about thirty mental minutes, but all equations defy gravity. The shadows were too long when we left, so I knew the Black Friday tradition was already over – the string broken and the newborn tradition snuffed.

I held my cards close, feigning disappointment, but the reality is there is a bit of pressure that puts a little sidewind into what should always be a simple pleasure. The Black Friday Fish Fest spell is broken, and now gives way to:


If you think it’s hard being a fly fisher in Texas, try googling “fly fishing Oklahoma City,” and see what you get! My search turned up a Backwoods outdoor store I didn’t know existed, and that’s about it. On the map and out the car window, there’s no shortage of water in and around Oklahoma City. That it’s not readily identified with signage should be disturbing for anyone looking at water anywhere and wanting to know what water they are looking at. I always deduce that it’s water they would just as soon no one know about for some toxic reason, or a complete lack of recreational value.

There was nothing to do but consult the google-eye-in-the-sky and find water that way. I zeroed in on a reservoir toward the northwest side of town called Lake Hefner. I zoomed in on an area on the southwest side, saw parking, cars, and what look to be actual fishermen just off West Lakeshore Drive.

Grim Reality Sets In
Once I made it to Hefner lake, I strained to see the water from the shoreline. Off in the distance, about 150 yards, I saw some calm shallow water laying on top of endless lake bottom. Not good. In a latitude that cooled off a few weeks ago, the water slapping the bottom of the mud flat bottom, the water level a football field and a half from normal shoreline … not good.

Low Water Level at Hefner Lake in Oklahoma CIty

I asked a dog walker and he said that they were about to refill the reservoir – apparently the water comes via canal from a Lake Overholser which is filled by the Oklahoma River or is it the Canadian? I could imagine water flowing into Lake Overholser, and potential there, so it was off to that lake. It’s an interesting setup with the river making a long run parallel to the lake and to a beautiful old dam on the south end. Oklahoma City really does know how to do their town lakes, with great bicycle paths, concessions, parks and kayak access. The habitat for fish would be spectacular … in spring and summer, and I can imagine some huge crowds taking advantage of such great access. It doesn’t hurt that the east-west road just above Overhoser is Route 66 if you’re the sentimental Americana type either.

Overholser lake Dam Oklahoma City

However, other than some very much needed casting practice, not a fish was interested in my offerings. Overholser should be hopping in the spring and summer – with walleye, largemouth, smallmouth and plenty of other fish as possibilities. Sooner Saturday wound up with a strange phenomenon called “Bedlam.” Bedlam is the all encompassing title for the OU vs. OSU football game, and apparently this year the game mattered. Be sure to stay out of harm’s way during this weekend, and avoid wearing Texas burnt orange.

Overholser Lake Fish Catch Limits

Sunday, I did manage to find the Backwoods on the North side (12325 North May Ave.) of Oklahoma City, and was pleased to find some unusual fly tying materials – not available in Fort Worth, or at other stores in the North Texas area. There was also a helpful sales person there, and she tipped me that there is great carp action on Arcadia Lake. The carp apparently roam shallow muddy flats that are only accessible by kayak due to the sticky bottom. I liked the sound of that. And right next door to Backwoods is a cigar shop that has the nearly impossible to find Arturo Fuente “Short Story” cigar, one that I have been searching a very long time to find.

Be sure to check out Bricktown, which is a gem of a place in Downtown Oklahoma City. The street construction and detours around I40 are especially problematic on the south side between Bricktown and I40, but well worth the effort. There are other areas of construction related to I40 that are real head scratchers, so you will just have to go with the flow while navigating Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Convention Center is also located in the same area, as well as the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. Almost every bar has Rogue Dead Guy Ale on tap. Do yourself a favor and try one. For a real beer experience, visit Tapwerks, and for a surprisingly good cajun feast, try Bourbon Street Cafe. (Remember your history – Part of Oklahoma was included in the Louisiana Purchase!)

For a more somber experience, of course you should visit the Murrah Federal Building Memorial at 620 N. Harvey Avenue.

There will probably not be much reason to be back this way during the warmer months, but if you do find yourself in Oklahoma City, be sure to check those lakes out and let us know if they are as good as they look. As for Black Friday? As long as Thanksgiving is on Thursday, there will always be Black Fridays, so maybe next year. What about you … what happened on your Black Friday?

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Fishing Reports, Life Observed, Oklahoma Report

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