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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!!

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.

Monday Memorial Day Sidewalking

| May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Thanks again for checking in at Texas Fly Caster. After ten years, I have to remember that many most of you are here for the very first time … sidewalk virgins so to speak. Forget the Monday Sidewalk, and remember you are Texas Fly Casters. I just bring the message to the masses, and try to get you to do the same – bringing your knowledge and MESSAGE to me to share.

Today we remember with respect and reverence those who have died in active military service. That is so heavy to even consider – our debt to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

As I have aged, my perspective on time has changed greatly. Do I remember what I was up to fifteen years ago? Yes I do. When I was born, my grandparents, and the vast majority of the adult population was only fifteen years removed from World War II. Even twenty or twenty-five years later, were they still feeling the pains of loss, elation of surviving, scars and emotional turmoil? I bet they were. But, from my experiences, it wasn’t exactly “discussed.” That’s just another ingredient that made them, I believe, the “Greatest Generation” wasn’t it.

Of course we’ve had too man wars sense WWII, and the sacrifices were equally sad and heroic, unequally recognized and vilified, but time is the greatest variable that balances historical perspectives, gives nuance to our American condition in wartime. Some will not live long enough to rest in the peace and public knowledge of a truly just campaign, and some will. Many of those who served know, whether we know or not, that what they did was for the greater good of the world. I trust that to be an absolute truth.

If I never meet you in this life

let me feel the lack.

A glance from your eyes

and my life will be yours.

– James Jones “The Thin Red Line”

 

Your Skin Is In This Monday’s Game

| May 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

Save Your Own Skin Game Skin Protection For Fly Fishing

What’s the two letter word I’m looking for this morning? Funny, there’s never a shortage of words … reminds me of a line in the fantastic film “The Post,” when Tom Hanks says, “Write like a poet, not a novelist.” Oh yeah, I remember the two letters: O and N, it is ON. The game is afoot.

Good Monday morning and welcome to the sidewalk. This is the day we leave our front porches, stagger like the 1960’s Kris Kristofferson version – to the sidewalk, and put one foot in front of another, staring down to make sure we really are walking with both feet forward. Forward, always forward.

My Mondays have evolved in the last year to be a day of simple physical recovery from weekly three-day epic workouts – going on nearly a year now. Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and if you believe that …

BODY – MIND – SOUL

Today is the official melanoma Monday, and time to recall the ways we can take care of our skin – and our eyes as well!

I have written many stories over the years on how to take care of different body parts by protecting them from the sun. Rather than send you to those stories, let me take a minute and do a brief rundown.

  • Wear a wide brim hat. I like the hats offered at a company called, Sun Body Hats out of Houston, Texas. They are importers, not actual makers of straw hats. Don’t get too sentimental over your hat. Pull out a can of black paint, stuff the crown area with paper and paint the underside of the brim black.
  • Wear polarized UV blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light.
  • Buff neckwear may look funny, and it may be unappealing to some, but it will protect your neck, and pull it up to go around your face / ears / jawline and mouth. Consider buying a straw big enough sized to actually allow your Buff to go under the hat! Neckwear also does a fantastic job of regulating body temps as well.
  • Long sleeves and long pants with UV ratings are a must for our tropical exposure.
  • If you choose to expose anything to the sun, I firmly believe in Smart Shield products, which are proven to be effective and do not harm fly lines or live bait! I was introduced to Smart Shield on a photography trip to Tulum, Mexico, in 2006 – by a Smart Shield executive, used it on that trip, and never ever considered any other sunscreen since then.
  • COVER YOUR FEET too, or be willing to slather them with sunscreen. Feet are as sensitive as any part of your body that never sees the sun (know what I mean?).

Consider post exposure maintenance with your own formula of oils. Sun or no sun, because of my cancer experience, I use a concoction that includes a base of coconut oil with helichrysum, frankincense, CBD rich cannabis oil (no THC) and a dose of vitamin E just for good measure. This stuff is pretty easy to find, with the exception of the most vital ingredient in my personal formula – helichrysum. That one is expensive and not easy to find. Here’s the deal: In the long run, considering insurance deductibles, missing work, and the cost of formulated moisturizers – YOU WILL SAVE MONEY!


ON – Winds are a paltry 5-10 today, so make sure you get some sunset action at the very least, and if you are looking to pull the trigger on a guided skiff outing – time to start working on YOUR calendar. Be sure to request the new Guide Pricing brochure today. The format has changed this year – after years, to make more numerical sense of how and when we fly fish for carp.

Monday Morning Sidewalk – Big Changes in the Local Fly Force

| April 30, 2018 | 2 Comments

Woodruffs Blue Damsel Lodge Hollensed All Over the Globe

We have ourselves a THREE F day to start the week that leads us from April into the promised land of May this year. Fly Fishing Frustration rules the day, and according to the weatherman – most of the week ahead in North Texas. What else is new? If you watched last Friday’s Texas Fly Fishing Report, then you know I told it like it is when it comes to April 2018. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t chamber of commerce either. I can’t wait for April to be OVER! PS – I will leave the simulcast on FakeBook the rest of today at Facebook Texas Fly Caster.

Rob & Jenny Woodruff Missoula Montana Bound

Speaking of chamber of commerce … I guess the power fly duo – Mr. & Mrs. Woodruff – are headed toward greener pastures than those of Beaver’s Bend, Oklahoma! Reports from BendBow, would have you would think they were catching big honey browns two at a time all winter long, but word is they are officially timesharing between BendBow and running a fly fishing lodge in Montana. The move makes perfect sense on every level.

They’ll be the new lodge managers at Blue Damsel on Rock Creek, not far from Missoula. There won’t be any more guiding for bass in East Texas according to Woodruff, BUT they will be in Oklahoma from November to February, then hitching up the wagons and heading for Missoula for March – October season. If you are a trout lover, this sounds like a dream come true. Rob’s experience with trout, some very difficult trout and conditions, instantly make him (and her of course) into a real force where fish and water flow freely – in my humble opinion. Add his entomological knowledge? I can’t wait to see the reports!

Flywater Angling Steve Hollensed

So, I would guess that the water that the Woodruffs leave behind is water that our other regional Orvis Guide Workforce – Steve Hollensed – picks up full-time. Steve, as you will recall, also has the fly striper business on Texoma. However, if you take a look at his website; it looks a lot like he’s heading for fishier pastures as well — fly fishing in Argentina, fly fishing in British Columbia and the well worn fly fishing from El Pescador Lodge in Belize. Somebody’s got to pick up that East Texas bass slack, don’t you think?

I will have another of the subscriber only video insiders coming out this week. I don’t even know what it will contain, but I know you are itching for some GOOD information, and I’m here to scratch.

END NOTE – If you know any of these three guides, Steve / Jenny / Rob, we would love to hear more about your experiences with them over the years. Feel free to COMMENT, if you, ANY OF you, would like to do so. Don’t worry, this isn’t Facebook, and this site does not harbor any of your information for simply commenting on a story – NOTHING – ZIP – ZILCH – NADA.

GOT NEWS? If you have any news, feel free to send it along. You know we’re more news than fluff, or chamber of commerce around here, right? I am also running still photographs you send in – on the Texas Fly Fishing Report whenever those hit the airwaves, so text me your photographs with – date / general location / names / descriptions.