RSSLiterature

Monday Afternoon Sidewalk Frozen Over

| February 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Time to Tie and Dye a Fly

Good Monday to you all! I always want to put an “!” in Monday, somewhere somehow, and this Monday, all things considered, needs a few of those exclamation points littered throughout!

The temperature is having a hard time breaking 30-degrees here “North of Normal,” and this weather really is good for one thing (fly fishing related), and that is undertaking a huge fly demand from people having trouble in big water that is clear, aka. “Texas Zebra Mussel Lakes.”

I gleaned the knowledge from watching multiple conventional fishing shows that emphasize natural colors for their hardbalts in clear / clearing lake waters. You are well versed on the successes of my “Black-on-Black” series of Clousers (for mongo bass), but you would be surprised to know that in my assault on other lakes last year? The Black-on-black ruffled a few scales, but very few, and my reaction to the slow bite? I went with brighter and brighter flies in an attempt to generate “attraction” to my fly. That, in retrospect, was probably exactly the wrong thing to do.

DYEING NATURAL FIBERS

Somewhere in this pile of books I overestimate to be a “fly fishing library” there’s a pamphlet-styled-book on “Dyeing Organic Fibers” as I recall it was named … I have no idea where that went. The plan is to tie and dye a fly made from border collie, and do it well – colorfast and realistic. It’s hard to believe I had to get my “own” dog to have free reign over my supply of dog hair, and this dog has a red-brown that lends itself more to shrimp and crayfish patterns … but Finn has enough white that it’s just begging to be “borrowed.” It is certainly time for him to start earning his kibble, and this is how it’s done around here.

What makes the effort different is the idea of cutting harvesting trimming ever so subtly, his hair, tying the fly AND THEN dyeing the fly. It means creating a single-tone fly, but we can certainly provide some contrast with flash. All I know for sure is; a fly tied with border collie is a killer that is supreme to bucktail of any flavor, as durable as synthetics and has an exponentially longer fiber than any upcountry winter bucktail grows.

We are supposed to have a break in the weather this week, but it is also supposed to be tweaked by wind, so we are in a wait-and-see mode for the week. It seems like it is about time to sit down and NOW (after all the early year shite) concentrate on all things fly. I just started on the book, “Bugwater,” and it is an incredible book for anyone who wants to take the journey to the microscopic level of bugs emulated in the fly fishing world. The photography is a showstopper (you remember I’m a “picture guy” right?), and the text is just as abundant as the photography content. I will write a review on this one once I can honestly say I have read (at least some of) the text.

Meanwhile, have a great week, don’t release any memos, don’t beat your spouse, and show up here on Valentine’s day – if not sooner!!!

 

“The Best Bass Flies – How to Tie and Fish Them” Jay Zimmerman – Book Review

| December 14, 2017

How to Tie Bass Flies That Work

Best Bass Flies by Shannon Drawe Photography

The new fly tying book, “The Best Bass Flies – How to Tie and Fish Them,” by Jay Zimmerman, is a great introduction to tying flies, and learning techniques for catching our dominant southern species – the largemouth bass.

One of the first questions Texas fly fishers typically get is, “You can fly fish for bass?”

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The answer is always “yes,” and many conventional tackle fishers probably have little idea how much time Texas fly fishers actually spend pursuing bass on the fly. To pursue a bass on a fly rod may seem like bringing a knife to a gunfight, but from the fly line, to the rod to the fly, the US fly fishing industry has heard the cash registers ring, and developed fast action 7’11” bass fly rods, fly lines, leaders and flies to more easily target our abundant warm water bass.

Once a fly tier and fly fisher gives in to the truth that a conventional fisher will out-fish them on a consistent basis, it’s up to the fly tier to adapt his fly tying materials and patterns to flies that often look and act like hard baits, frogs, soft plastics and whatever else he sees working in the conventional fishing world of his own waters.

Along with the conventional categories comes the conventional use for flies, including topwater, suspending and deep flies. These patterns are created using what most fly tiers call “recipes” that include all the materials used in creating the fly. The flies illustrated in “The Best Bass Flies” does a great job of representing each category without burying the fly tier in the dozens of variations and different flies in each category.

This book does a great service to beginning bass fly tiers by emphasizing the need for tough flies that will take abuse, and the photography of the different fly tying steps are very easy to follow. The range of difficulty in tying moves pretty quickly from simple to complex.

Just as important as the fly, a fly fisher has to adopt the hard driving techniques employed by conventional bass fishermen. The how to “Fish Them” part of this book is what gives a new bass fly fisher a good start at recognizing and fishing the rough-and-tumble habitat notorious for holding big Texas bass.

In a day-and-age where most of the fundamentals of fly tying and fly fishing are found on YouTube internet videos, it is always reassuring to have a hard copy, once called books, of fly tying recipes that sit on a page without having to be paused or rewound again and again. Zimmerman also does a good job of weaving in some storytelling that keeps the reader interested.

“The Best Bass Flies” is a great beginning book that covers the bases. If you have never tied a fly before, there’s plenty of information about the tools and materials needed for fly tying. In addition, you will learn fly patterns and techniques fishing your fresh flies. This book is certain to get a lot of use by someone wanting to tie the flies and learn the techniques needed to catch bass on a fly rod.

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Who’s Your Daddy? Here’s What Dad Really Wants Father’s Day

| June 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

WHO’S YOUR DADDY? Fly Fishing Father’s Day Gifts 2017

We’re getting down to brass tacks. Have you done your Daddy right for this FFFD – that’s Fly Fishing Father’s Day? Those of you lucky enough to be Dads, thank your god for your good luck, and pass this story along to the people that matter.

I bet Dad already has all the fly fishing gear, dangling jangling trinkets, pants, shirts, boots and trout suspenders he will ever need. And, he looks a little funny in some of the hipster fly clothing – you might like; bright colors he’s never seen before, designs that are a little slim in the midsection and prices that will take away a few cases of your favorite hipster beer from this weekend’s event. So let’s keep Dad grounded with a list of gifts that keep on giving, from this Dad’s Day onto the next.

KEEP IT SIMPLE
You can keep it simple for good old Dad, and just book a guided carp trip right here, right? Look no further, give that big extra gift to Dad today – by clicking the PayPal button in the side bar, and simply look no further. You really love your Dad, right?

And it’s still simple to give a subscription to the Pay-Per-View content on this site! Last week had a timely post on where / what / how of the current technical aspects of fly fishing for carp here in North Texas! This is the kind of information that saves a lot of time for dear old Dad, so that he can take you out to eat, buy you new stuff and keep your hipster lifestyle in tact. Read more about subscription benefits at Subscribe to Texas Fly Caster.

TPWD
How about a subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine? I was published there last year, so of course that magazine is in favor with me right now. And it was a favorite as a kid as well. Anything that makes Dad smarter can’t be all that bad can it?

THE DRAKE MAGAZINE
How about a subscription to the edgy Drake Magazine? Another of those magazines I am currently published in, and one I look forward to writing and photographing for in the future; Drake covers a lot of ground, sometimes with reverence and at times irreverent, but typically with great images and creative text.

THEME? FREE DAD’S MIND – THE REST WILL FOLLOW

As you can read, this year’s gift giving theme is EXPAND DAD’S KNOWLEDGE. Besides the reading material, the music below will free his mind, lift or sober Dad’s spirits and provide the escape from reality – an escape that is much needed these days. Some of it harkens back to his youth, with the taste of Pink Floyd (from Roger Waters), new Beatles remaster “Sargent Pepper’s … ” ,  to the way way back sounds brought to us by ultra-cool and modern artists featured on the fantastic release – “American Epic,” which is destined to be a Top 10 for 2017 (zero doubt about that!).

Weekend Of Thought Gathering Perhaps

| June 3, 2017 | 0 Comments

Which is Worse

I am still deciding which is worse; blunt force trauma to the head, or 35 rounds of radiation to the head-and-neck. But since I never suffered blunt force head trauma, that I remember, I guess I will have to go with radiation.

Needless to say, the weather has smashed an otherwise fabulous weekend to smithereens – not good enough, not bad enough to make me challenge or retreat … just enough to stop outdoor life, and send me to the sound room where I am spinning the new Roger Waters while contemplating.


Speaking of guides, and stories, photography and such …

What do we say of the new cover of local magazine “D” (as in Dallas)? Rob Woodruff, Orvis Endorsed Guide (lest we forget to mention) graces the cover this month! Is that amazing, or what? Rob has obviously worked very hard to get where he is, and this is about as close* to the pinnacle of free advertising that any Texas (spelled Oklahoma) guide could ever hope for – in an entire career. Since Rob has apparently made lemonade out of the lemon that became of Beaver’s Bend after the floods, this marketing feat is even more impressive to little old me. I’d sure like someone to tell me my name rolled off his lips – even oncemuch less the 231 times he’s been mentioned here over the years.

For those readers (and haters at the extreme fringe of readers) who think this writer is about his own journey? I only wish you were right. Because if you were right, I would have written about myself in the Summer edition of Drake Magazine. Instead, you will find an article on Danny Scarborough** in the magazines “urban fly fishing” department for the, yet to be released, Summer of 2017. I certainly enjoy working with Danny to expose what he’s doing in Houston to a larger audience, a MUCH larger audience. What will it do for me?

I am hopeful that with a little luck and divine intervention, the new article will finally attest to the fact I am about writing about and photographing OTHER fly fishers and guides for publications – more than myself. And perhaps, just perhaps a few guides and readers (anywhere and everywhere) will get the idea (finally) that maybe what they do is worthy of print and photography. Stories need to come to me now, and in volume …

And believe it or not, my writing is not limited to knowledge of the subjects you find here! Test me if you like, about anything but math of course. For example, if you pick up the latest issue of Lone Star Outdoor News, you will find a story on artist Mike Quinn out of Santa Fe, Texas. So besides all the other subjects I write about, add art and history to the list (yeah, the art minor and the economic history minor may help a little bit).

***So who really hits the pinnacle of free press for Texas fly fishing guides this month / this first half of the Texas year? You tell me. I would love to hear from you. And if you know of other publications I should be begging at the door of, let me know about that too – for goodness sake!

Thanks for reading. Stay dry. Have a great first weekend in June, and maybe I will have something interesting to say by Monday Morning! Shine on you crazy diamonds!

 

“Back Seat With Fish” by Henry Hughes – Fly Fishing Book Review

| May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Poet Henry Hughes’ book, “Back Seat with Fish – A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance,” is a far ranging autobiography that documents Hughes earliest fishing experiences and memories on Long Island through growing up and into a life as an observer writer of his observations.

I asked Dr.Hughes about his memories of his early fishing years, and how he documented them. “I’ve kept a journal off and on, and wrote and received lots of letters since high school … I kept detailed journals in college and during my time in Asia. The early years on Long Island were retrieved through memory and in revisiting all those places and talking to lots of people.”

henry hughes back seat with fish

As the book unfolds, and Hughes matures through life, his writing also matures and the horizons of his fishing adventures take him across oceans to Japan, China, Malaysia and Alaska are all penned on his map. Not only does he fish these faraway places, Hughes also drinks in the culture, eats fish we would never imagine.[ppw id=”163402188″ description=”Book Review Back Seat With Fish” price=”.25″]

Hughes’ awareness of how the environment effects fish; catching certain fish because of new conservation efforts, and finding none when a favorite place is fished out – also becomes more sharp and important as his fishing life continues.

“We all know conservation is key, and when I saw the human degraded waters of East Asia, I became especially worried about what could happen to America. We can’t let industry and land development get out of control. I lobby and vote in favor of environmental protection. I’m not against growth and industry, but we can’t go the way of China with polluted air and water,” Dr. Hughes said.

There’s a heavy dose of his personal relationships that certainly add a dimension to the journey, and some may say this is a “guy’s book” because of his attention to detail, and willingness to use a woman’s fishing IQ as a primary measure of compatibility.

This book does have mature subject matter. I asked Dr. Hughes how he would rate the age appropriateness of “Back Seat With Fish,” and he said, “I asked my wife’s opinion because she teaches young adult fiction and has a good sense of appropriate material. She says that Back Seat with Fish is okay for readers over 16. As you know, there are references to sex, alcohol and marijuana.”

Along the way Hughes contemplates the deeper questions we long-time anglers think about in slower moments. Do the fish feel pain? Why is there such joy in feeling a fish struggle? Hughes looks fish in the eye, and knows that he must kill and eat some of them. He also gave me an interesting recipe for cooking one of his favorite fish, the common carp.

You can find Henry Hughes writing for magazines, like Gray’s Sporting Journal, and The Flyfishing and Tying Journal. “Back Seat with Fish” is available from Skyhorse Publishing at www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

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