RSSEquipment

Fly Fishing Texas Report 032318 – Weather Says Spring Fish Say Wait a Minute

| March 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

Texas Fly Fishing Report

This is your fresh Texas Fly Fishing Report for the weekend. Remember that you can find more words here than on these videos — I know, that’s a scary thought!

Things are aligning nicely for next week, if we don’t get too much of a good thing (rain forecast). Alas, it is Texas, so bigger, more and too much is probably what we’re in store for. Watch the video, and I will break down the effect massive spring rains have on our fly fishing opportunities – specifically for lakes and ponds. Of course we all know our rivers eventually lead to the Gulf of Mexico, and I will tell you what I have been seeing down on the coast at Port Aransas lately (seeing online).

TEXAS SKIFF LIFE

I finished up wiring in the head unit for the skiff today, and for no good reason, I recorded the video of that final install, and firing up of the tunes. It sounds very good, and does not rattle the boat (if you are worried about crushing bass or too much power to the speakers). When the people who know me best, and who have been on my skiff, say, “YOU NEED! a STEREO!” I was happy to oblige. If it ever gets too loud, let me know!

 

Texas Fly Fishing Report 030918 – Spring Has Sprung as Dams Draw Down

| March 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

TEXAS FLY FISHING REPORT 030918

 

The Texas Fly Fishing Report is back from the winter break, rightfully so and ready to go! We have plenty of fishing, fly fishing action, to report today. The report’s home base is in North Texas, so in such a large state conditions will vary wildly.

What we are experiencing in this part of Texas is a fantastic pattern for fly fishers that starts below a lot of the lake dams. Numerous lakes are beyond conservation pool as this report goes out, and authorities are releasing water to bring those lake levels down. I have documented those releases, and the fish caught during those releases, over several years (beginning in 2010).

This phenomenon never happened during the drought years (about 4 years) as you may recall, and I expected us to continue along the downward drought spiral going into the Texas fishing season in 2018. But we have had surprisingly good slow rains that have saturated the ground, pushed back the drought map (away from North Texas), filled the lakes and now come the lake releases in advance of the real rain during the “rainy months.”

Right now, the fly fishing is absolutely fantastic on these releases – for the most part. All we have to do is find a releases, like the one at Ray Roberts Dam, and go throw a few good tight loops. Sure, these places (especially the Ray Roberts Dam) are overrun with conventional fishermen who finally found their pot of gold, and you will see them there day-after-day, in the same spot, slaughtering fish day-after-day. And they leave behind a mountain of trash and submerged lines in the water to tangle and lose flies on, but if you can handle the crowds and the carnage? Well, like you see in the video; these releases can be one big box of chocolates. The big bass are coming in, the sand bass are up and full-on running, and if you sprinkle in some hybrid action … what’s so hard about that?

DETAILS

You will want a 7 or 8 weight rod to be able to fight these fish in huge current, and be able to turn them toward you.

I like a reel I can count on – with good drag and a big enough spool to manage line to ALWAYS go to reel. Going to the reel is very important in these situations, and that is because line gets caught on everything in riprap fly fishing – rocks, fences, bushes and everything else we find in these dirty situations.

I am using a fluorocarbon leader with either an 8 or 10 pound tip – remember you can control depth by what your tip is – bigger is shallower.

Year after year, the red over white Clouser catches these fish. But your hook needs to be something extreme, like a Tiemco 600SP, or a circle hook, which I have gone to to allow fish to hook themselves on a slack drift. The circle hooks are great, and do exactly what they are designed to do – and cost a fraction of what super-sharp normal hooks cost.

Where I am fishing, the fish are in very tight bunches, so you will have to search and fan cast until you find them. Once you find them, don’t go looking elsewhere – keep going back to the spot you found. The spot you see in the video, for example, was about 10 feet across!

Yeti Bucket: Why Buy a $40-dollar Bucket

| February 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

Texas Skiff Video – The Yeti Bucket for a deck stripping bucket

 

Yeti is one business that is now imitated on a grand and global scale. I know somebody will come out with a copy of this bucket – GUARANTEED. But for now, watch this video on Yeti’s Bucket to see why I bought one at full retail.

New Mexico Fly Rod Reel Outfitting

| January 17, 2018 | 1 Comment

Choosing the Right Rod and Reel For New Mexico Small Streams

New Mexico FlagI 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!

 

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