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A Bloody Good Chum Line Bayou City Angler

| September 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

SALT IS SALT

 

Bayou City Angler Houston Fly FishingHot fly fishing was the main topic at Bayou City Angler (BCA) in Houston, Texas, yesterday afternoon. And the audience, employees and customers at BCA didn’t need any help whipping themselves into a frenzy over the coastal fly fishing scene with some duck hunting talk thrown in just to increase the volume. It was a chum slick of information, and we were all feeding.

Bayou City Angler Fly Fishing Houston

I did try to settle myself down a bit by looking at all the merchandise at BCA,  and I am very impressed with the inventory that has been built up at BCA since the last time I was in the store. Not only is there good inventory, they have a supply of discontinued Sage rods – right out front and CLEARLY marked down. BCA is also making room for their new fall clothing (out with the summer stuff), and an incredible series of markdowns on the reels we always want but never can afford – Abel and Hatch for example! It looks to me like BCA is establishing a name and place for itself in the fourth largest city in the Country. They also have the most extensive inventory of fly lines I have ever seen in one store, and smartly encourage buyers to try out any rod they are serious about purchasing – three reels per weight, with three different fly lines to help in decision making for line as well as rod.

CLYDE HAS A NEW GUIDE

I was there to pitch the next leg of the Clyde trip (Clyde – the car made famous in Drake magazine) to our old friend Danny Scarborough who now works at Bayou City Angler. Danny, being a wiser man that many I know, has sole possession and control of Clyde, and you can be sure it won’t get hung up sitting in Houston for six months of … let’s just say he won’t be wasting anybody’s time, or throwing me under the bus (still have Dallas tire tracks across my back) – unless I fall asleep in the middle of the road down south. That would be justified.

Clyde Drake Magazine

Danny couldn’t keep his redfish stories from Tuesday out of the Wednesday chum, and not only was that shared information great, so was the growing knowledge of snook showing up “everywhere” in Texas now. Put simply, the level of conversation and free trade of information was like a good shot of top-shelf. In my mind, I thought, “this is how it’s supposed to be.” Heck, when you’re as close to the action as these guys are – THIS IS HOW IT BETTER BE! Not a lot a talk, but talk backed by action – doing every chance they get to do it.

Of course there’s the bad with the good and ugly. Grass carp are being caught out in the bay. The number of commons in the bayous is a fraction of pre Harvey scale count. I am sure the guys that like to kill off these fish in the Houston Bayous are happy. We know they will be back. The mold is settling into the homes inundated by the Harvey floods.

I guess this means I will be forced to commute to Houston on a much more regular basis to get a shot of the real chum, and get back to the level of energy that started this adventure. God knows, I am having a hard time finding a good chum-line in North Texas. Salt is salt – it brings its own energy with it. It heals. Friends have heard me say this, but let me just tell all of you sitting at home – this is a great place for a fly fisher to LIVE.

IFTD Wrap Up of Retail Winners

| July 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

2017 IFTD Show Winners

We all know how these fly folks like to sell stuff, right? Well every year they get together and find new ways to entice the fly public into what are now called, “upgrades” to the great stuff they/we already have. By now, we would think a fly rod has reached the apex of quality and craftsmanship, BUT NO, there are always new improvements to be made! And here the show winners are …

 

A complete listing of the winners and categories is below:

Men’s Wading Boots: Orvis — Ultralight Wading Boot

Men’s Waders: Simms Fishing Products — G3 Wader

Men’s Outerwear: Simms Fishing Products – G3 Guide Tactical Jacket

Men’s General Apparel: Simms Fishing Products — SolarFlex Armor Shirt

Women’s Waders: Orvis — Women’s Ultralight Waders

Women’s Outerwear: Orvis — Pro Wading Jacket

Women’s General Apparel: Simms Fishing Products — Women’s BiComp LS Shirt

Women’s Wading Boots: Korkers, LLC — Women’s Dark Horse Boot

Accessories Under $100: Fishpond, Inc. — Quickshot Rod Holder

Gift Items Under $100: DeYoung Studios — DeYoung Gift Wrap

Fly Rod — Freshwater: Scott Fly Fishing — The G Series

Fly Rod — Saltwater: Sage Fly Fishing — Salt HD

Reel – Freshwater: Abel — SDF (Sealed Drag Fresh)

Reel – Saltwater: Nautilus Reels — GTx

Fly Line — Freshwater: RIO Products — IT Single-Handed Spey 3D

Fly Line — Saltwater: RIO Products — Direct Core Flats Pro

Leader / Tippet: RIO Products — Big Nasty

Fly Hooks: Stealth Fly Products — Stealth Hooks & System

Fly Tying Vices & Tying Tools: TMC Magnetic Bobbin, Fine — Umpqua Feather Merchants

Fly Tying Materials: Fair Flies — Composite Brushes

Youth Product: Redington — Minnow Outfit

Fly Pattern — Freshwater: Flymen Fishing Company — Double Barrell Bass Bug

Fly Pattern — Saltwater: Umpqua Feather Merchants — Chicone’s Tuscan Bunny

Fly Box / Storage System: Umpqua Feather Merchants — UPG HD Mag Midge Fly Box

Eco-friendly Product: Fishpond, Inc. — Submersible Backpack

Luggage (Bags, Backpacks): Fishpond, Inc. — Grand Teton Rolling Bag

Entertainment / Education: Stackpole Books / Lyons Press — Orvis Fly Fishing Guide

Chest Pack / Vest: Fishpond, Inc. — Submersible Lumbar Pack

Boat / Personal Watercraft: Creek Company — T. Rex 9.8 Mini Drifter

Fly Rod Choice For North Texas Carp and Largemouth Bass

| June 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

My Choices for boat rods fly fishing for carp and bass North Texas

Opinions on fly rods are, like opinions in general; you know … everybody has one. The reality is the best rod for you is the one that best matches your cast. If you cast enough, I mean a WHOLE LOT, the rod matters a lot less than the ability to change rods – from a mountain 2 weight to a saltwater 12 weight. If your cast is locked and loaded, you could do both rods (and anything in between) in the same day – and the action of the rod is inconsequential.

I am on the water Tuesday morning, so enjoy this and I will get the continuation of this video out (the 360 Nikon maybe) later this week. I apparently had two cameras going (double live GONZO!), and may just run both for your comparisons sake. This Nikon 360 software is nothing short of a nightmare!

Wednesday Fly Fishing Video to Watch

| April 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

YETI Fly Fishing Video to Stoke your Spring Excitement

Hello watchers! Here’s a hot video that is being passed around these days. It’s amazing how high the production values in fly fishing videos have gotten in the last ten years. It has a lot to do with the quality of affordable cameras, less to do with the quantity of talented camera operators, and it serves to do what is needed most in jin the sport of fly fishing – attract youth to the waning sport.

Follow-Up Shots Fired Big Box Retailers on Life Support

| April 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fort Worth Backwoods in New Location with new outlook on the fly fishing life.

Backwoods Fort Worth New Location

Having been informed that Backwoods Fort Worth had indeed been reborn, I did my duty and went in to apologize at the rumors I spread of their demise. Of course, who could have known the store has reopened under new ownership IF IT WAS NEVER EVEN ANNOUNCED?

I found the new Backwoods digs (1013 Foch St, Fort Worth, TX 76107) to be a bit cozy, but I was encouraged by the move of the fly fishing area to near the front of the store, and much of that pricey clothing shifted to the back.

“The only stores that survived were those with fly fishing (departments) that were doing business, so that means something,” Stephen Woodcock said, last Saturday, April 1st. And that’s why the new management group decided to give fly fishing a more prominent role in the surviving Backwoods stores. Woodcock added that he was still a bit unsure as to who the new owners are, other than (possibly) a real estate group. NOTE – Rumors spreading that a group of fly fishers have purchased the stores appear to be false.

The staff has thinned with few full-timers and a helping handful of part-time workers that maintain a diverse knowledge base. The kayaks are gone, but stand-up paddle boards are in the font window. Kayak rentals are still going down on the Trinity as well.

Fly Tying Fort Worth Backwoods 2017

And Stephen’s forte, fly tying, still occupies a chunk of real estate, but the shelves are certainly thin when it comes to materials. I counted something like five bucktails, which gives any fly tier a pretty good idea of supply. Nevertheless, Stephen didn’t hesitate to sit down at the vise and demonstrate a quick topwater fly to a couple of customers at a moment’s notice.

“We only missed one fly tying Wednesday, and we were closed for three weeks,” he said. “I told the guys to show up, and I opened the doors,” so they could gather on Wednesday nights to tie flies, Woodcock said.

When we were talking about the crowded floors, Stephen looked at the new location as something of an interim step on the way to a larger location. For now, I think they could do with fewer rolling clothing displays, and maybe that would get rid of some dead-end traffic patterns. It’s not exactly a “minimalist” look they have going.

Fly Tying Fort Worth Backwoods 2017

The store’s supply of Simms seems to be holding up, but it’s a bit difficult to know just what they’ll do to replenish their fly rods; another costly inventory item, and one that needs to move to be viable. Later that evening, I heard that keeping the “Backwoods” name was debated because some problematic vendor (credit) history (you can imagine!) came with their recent past.

“Your story hit the nail on the head. Sears. J.C. Penney. The big boxes are in trouble. The fly shops in the big box stores want the fly tying merchandise to move, and that’s not how it works,” Woodcock said, adding, “You can sell certain flies one season a year (and their ingredients), when they are in season. The rest of the time it sits there. Big box stores see that, and mark it down to move it … they just don’t get it.”

Fly Tying Fort Worth Backwoods 2017

CONCLUSION

All-in-all, we would want any fly shop to succeed to the best of its abilities. I find it hard to imagine that doing the same thing, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, will now produce different results. I would (once again) encourage all fly shops, but specifically Backwoods Fort Worth, to do a better job of professional industry outreach – as I described in the previous article.

The Fort Worth location of Backwoods is pretty tight, but at a party (with a lot of fly fishers) later that evening in Fort Worth; we pretty much agreed the general business area is “interesting,” if a bit “frat-ish.” But we fly fishers know we’ll go just about anywhere to talk fly, listen for fly knowledge, make fly friends and buy what we need while we’re there. In general, I sometimes think some shops can get so busy in the day-to-day that they forget to change dance partners, and “dance with the ones that brung ‘em” every once in awhile.

Backwoods is one of the sponsors for the Fly Fishing Film Tour in Fort Worth this year. That event is at the same location, and the same events are happening on the pond as they always have in the past. I will have a story on that in the next few days. Click to enlarge map –

Fly Tying Fort Worth Backwoods 2017