Tag: Fly Rods

Leap Day Number Three is a Monday Morning Sidewalk Day!

| February 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

texas fly fishing marsh fly pops fly shop texas weather


Welcome to the leap day on the Monday Morning Sidewalk. This is our third leap day since the site kicked off in 2007, which should give anyone a minute of pause, if for no other reason than to wonder just how long someone can keep writing about something like fly fishing for so long. It still hasn’t occurred to me to quit the quill here, but it would be nice to hear from the hundreds that show up here daily – not all “hundreds” of course, just one would do.

A funny thing happened a couple days ago. I was out somewhere fishing, and my phone rang – something that wouldn’t have happened (where I was geographically) nine years ago, and this guy is wondering where PoPs Fly Shop is located. A conversation ensued where I let him know that was an online store (thanks any Google for mapping it so well to my home!), and it has flies I tie for people wanting a unique advantage fly fishing around here and on Texas saltwater (to a lesser extent).

This young man is headed to (God’s Great) Asheville, North Carolina, in July, and wanted flies for that trip. I put in my 2-cents-worth on swinging more abstract patterns, but didn’t have the chance to let him know he’d be better off waiting until right before leaving, and gather fresh information about conditions and flies right then. Maybe he will follow up.

We’ve had some fantastic, but windy, weather the last several days. It’s almost impossible to imagine that a year ago yesterday, there was about four inches of snow on the ground and we were struggling to save the buds on a prematurely budding Ranger Peach tree. We had peaches, and we’re looking at 75-degrees today with a 5-10 south wind. You know what today’s workout is going to be for this dog, don’t you?

I heard from Texas fly rod company Marsh Fly last week. In case you don’t know, Marsh Fly is a young, progressive fly rod builder on the Texas Coast, I think somewhere around Texas City. Anyway, there was a lot of talk, and I listened some too; a lot of talk about fly rods, glass, shorter rods, one piece fly rods and much more. My big takeaway from the conversation is that their success, in the last year, (no surprise to me) came from states other than Texas.

Forty and a Mule

There’s a lot of rearranging around the homestead these days, as my life has been dually rejiggered – a move more toward artistic expressions in my “daily work,” and a forced attention to a physical workout routine – in an attempt to regain control of my weight, and put it back on the right way. There’s a also one of those short e-books coming out in time for this season – on the basics of lake carp on the fly, and bigger projects in the conceptual phase as well.

Last week also marked the return to the video airwaves for the Texas Fly Caster YouTube Channel, even though it was, and I am, very rusty in that department. With the fly fishing conditions we have, I couldn’t wait to take to the airwaves any longer. The weekly Texas Fly Fishing reports are currently homeless, out of the Fly Bar for now. The Fly Bar has been converted into the Try Bar, an outdoor weight room – until further notice.

Be sure to check your local listings for Texas fly fishing club meetings! And be sure to remember to check out fly tying gatherings all across Texas as well. I am currently working on a story for publication (not here, a paid gig) on the amazing number of regularly scheduled fly tying opportunities from one end of Texas to the other. There’s even a rod building “convention” coming to North Texas very soon. Check back here, and I will break this all down for your benefit.

My request from you for the week? Go take a look at the Marsh Fly USA website and hit their “Contact” page. Let them know you’re interested in their work, getting your hands on their rods, and where you heard about them. It’s the only request I have of you this entire week. Let me know what you want from me …

Have a fantastic week, and arrive safely to your destinations wherever they may be.

Shadows Getting Short on The Monday Morning Sidewalk

| October 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

fly fishing in texas


We spent the weekend in San Angelo, Texas, and there was not enough time to fish between working hours for the Cimarrona show there. I met some fantastic people, saw how incredible an isolated West Texas town can be – vibrant, high respect for the arts, individualistic, progressive, community oriented, fantastic infrastructure, art patronage … I could go on and on about San Angelo, Texas. Now, the water is a different shade of a topic. You may think dry dusty streets with the newspaper blowing down main, but we had more than an inch of rain out there Saturday! I mostly just stared at it, wondering what it was. It looks like there was some rain here in North Texas as well? All I know is my 48 kale plants are doing nicely.


Obviously with temperatures dipping down into the upper 40’s and low 50’s, we find ourselves square in the fall doldrums. As much as I like to pout and examine my navel about it, that’s the signal for shifting gears. Strangely, the gears are a number one GRANNY GEAR and FIFTH WITH OVERDRIVE. On the one hand, it’s obviously time to pay due respect to Broken Bow, Beaver’s Bend, Oklahoma, and the trout living there. On the other hand, I find myself all over the salt at the end of October – from Galveston to who knows where? I am in Houston again next week for a photo shoot, then backtracking to Edom, Texas, for a Cimarrona show in that East Texas town (fly rod in hand). At the end of the month – again working for Cimarrona at the Houston International Quilt Show (on and off).


“Will you ever have enough fly rods,” she said. “Yes,” I said, if they ever stop making them I thought to myself. “How much was that one?” she said. “Cheap,” I said. “Oh. Like all your handguns are a hundred dollars?” she said incredulously. “Oh, no! Cheaper than that,” I said.

The fly rod in question is a TFO BVK short trout rod that I had been waiting to pull the trigger for, and with the weather change … well, I dropped the hammer on the 8′ three weight. How much better can an Oklahoma rod get?

This summer just passed saw us wage a “War of the 8’s,” where there is clearly a winner at one price-point and a lack of even competition at the higher price-point (due to lack of funds, we will whistle that an incomplete pass). We saw the crazy 8’s play out in true fishing conditions – on the saltwater flats, and the judgement is in on that.

Now, just in time for me to be headed into the fineries of small trout rods, Sage has a new saltwater offering sure to trigger a response from other top shelf manufacturers – the Sage Motive. It’s a little disturbing that I am not hearing more about a $425-dollar big stick by Sage. Maybe everyone else has shifted gear(s) as well? Timing is everything. I know I’ll have to give it a throw.

FOR SALE – I do have a couple of rods that I need to move out of the quiver, so feel free to contact me for that list.


You may have noticed in most recent posts that I am being forced to throw some random phrases at the top of posts now? Well, the idiot savants at Google don’t seem to know how to respond to the fact that their new emphasis on “content over links” continues to leave some stale, old websites entrenched at the top of searches that I assume would put Texas Fly Caster at the top (permanently) – if google ranking was working properly. They’re not, and there’s no way to move into this site’s rightful position, except with experimental search engine voodoo words. I have also been advised to do away with my famous links in the left column (which no vendor was compensating me for anyway!). I will put those back on somewhere if it proves not to have an effect on rankings.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week! I hope you arrive safely to and from wherever you go this week. Please check back in for some multi-media shows of San Angelo, Texas, and the Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo.

Somebody Tell the Weather Gods Enough Already

| May 22, 2013 | 1 Comment

common carp underwater

Is the weather freaked out or what? I’ve been focused on weather and patterns for years now, but this spring defies the logic I have distilled, and makes me wonder what season will replace summer and what phenomena will replace fall. If we are left scratching our heads, can you imagine what the fish are feeling?

Carp on the Fly

I am seeing spawning action of carp way offshore, and it looks downright pathetic – with carp looking for sprigs of vegetation to leave their progeny, instead of the insane shallow splashing in the splendor of grass that they usually do. Little male carp are hanging around together, suspended, like middle teenage boys on tailgates across from Sonic. They can’t figure out who, what, when, where, why or how.

I am going to wrap up a lot of photo production work today, and try to get out to see what the rains from yesterday have delivered to Ray Roberts today, all in preparation for a guided trip there tomorrow. In my dreams, the water has come up into the grass, and the carp are barrel rolling through it in mad ecstasy. That happened so many years ago, it seems dangerously close to becoming, “The Good Old Days.” Who knows though? These weather patterns could raise the lakes in the dead of summer, or we could see something else …


The first contestant in the Great 8 fly rod shootout – from Rise Fishing, is the LEVEL fly rod. It comes from the East Coast, and I just had to give these guys a shot as the unknown dark horse (much like the Ross Flystik). Be sure to visit Rise Fishing, and thank Steve for donating a rod to the Lydia Ann Fly Masters Tournament as well.

There’s no telling when the TFO Mangrove 8 will be in hand, as production is being ramped to meet demand. We’ve talked here in the past about sweet spots in rod lines, and apparently the TFO Mangrove 8 weight is one of those.

We will just have to see what the rest of the field looks like as we go along. Contenders are still: Scott S4s, Winston B3SX and the G.Loomis NRX Saltwater. (Donations Accepted Here)



I am hot on the trail of the new (to me) Lamson Waterworks Guru HD reel. I always wanted something a bit heavier for the torture that saltwater jetties delivers, and the Heavy Duty Guru may be the fly reel that can take the punishment.


I will be closing my FLY SHOP STORE for the summer starting Friday night. If you want to order anything, like the classic book Fly Fishing the Texas Hill Country, or rod socks, or the Coyote Carp Fly, you need to get your orders in by Saturday morning at the latest. This summer is going to be way too wet and wild, and the instability of the store’s software, make this a no brainer decision. The FLY SHOP will return in the fall.

8 Weight Fly Rod Shootout Taking Shape – Let the Games Begin

| May 2, 2013 | 2 Comments

There’s a sizable buzz about the newest rod offering by none other than Temple Forks Outfitters – who seem have taken their game to a higher level following the introduction of the BVK two years ago – with the Mangrove fly rod designed with the help of Flip Pallot.

I had heard the new Mangrove Fly Rod is a soft tipped saltwater oriented rod that addresses the short loading needs when fly fishing for redfish and other saltwater species that can require a fast load, close cast, reduce false cast and good presentation. That’s a lot to ask of a saltwater stick, but it only took a couple of swings (literally) into the wind this afternoon at the TFO warehouse to add my name to the wait list for my TFO Mangrove 8 weight coming in next week.

I’ve been back-and-forth about “buying American” in years past, but I can’t debate the logic of hiring Americans to receive, inventory, stock, sell, fill orders, and ship out and deliver foreign rods to fly fishers all over the United States and world – from right here in Dallas, Texas.

This is the first rod to be thrown into the ring for the 8 weight shootout, a shootout intended to determine a good daily saltwater stick for the Texas Gulf Coast.


More to come …

Big Fly Rod Maker Finally Blinks – Winston at Cabela’s

| October 17, 2010 | 2 Comments

Say it ain’t so Joe! I visited Cabela’s Fort Worth, Texas, last week, and took my usual round in the fly fishing garage, looking for the simple things – brass eyes for saltwater flies, and looking for anything new and exciting to report to readers. I think I may have found something, just not what I was looking for.

If you watch the fly fishing industry you know there are a couple of shows that happen every year, where manufacturers of everything fly float new products designed to make us hate our worthless new gear, and upgrade to the latest, greatest and newest. Reams have been written on the state of these trade shows, one is on the ropes, and eyewitness descriptions say things like “miles of carpet” to describe the lack of attendance.

There’s so much written about the industry, the two competing shows, and the state of retail fly fishing, that I myself blinked, and decided to send you, the faithful, outward to read for yourself. (There are several more links on this topic at the bottom of the post, so for a complete overdose – check those out.) It seems, these days, when any industry is widely effected, shaken, and stirred, the first reaction is; What? Us? We’re way too good for that. We are fine, and we have our “Core Business” that will never go away. Why? Well, because we’re good, that’s why.
Then, reality begins to set in, and press releases begin to mention “challenges,” and “going forward,” and “unexpected,” and the dreaded “leaner more efficient.” Very quickly, what I call super reality sets in; “combining operations, closing, trimming the workforce, acquisition, austerity measures,” and now we have a new one – “going big box.” Companies with nearly one-hundred years of experience now find themselves thrust into 21st. century paradigms.

How could anyone connected to reality not see this coming? Sure, Winston held out the longest, but did anyone really think the road would go on forever, and the party never ends? The word from inside Cabela’s is that this may be the tip of the Winston iceberg, and that Cabela’s will carry the BIIx, BIImx and yet to be released BIII.

What are the mom-and-pops (MAP’s) to do? Reams have been written about this as well, but I still contend the number one thing MAP’s offer is knowledge. They can and should be counted on to give us something to go on, and we should always return the favor by paying their price on something, anything, every time we darken their doorsteps. That may be a tall order, but what is good information worth to you?

Sure, there are plenty of knowledgeable sales people at the big boxes, and they are plenty friendly (at least locally). Given the choice of a fly rod for $700. at Cabela’s or Tailwaters Dallas, where do we go? I think it’s a simple to answer the question with another question; who needs us the most? If we think Cabela’s (Symbol CAB on the NYSE) needs all our cereal box-tops, then by all means – meet them at the register with your new rod in a fresh new tube. If we think our MAP is more appreciative of our business, more in need of our patronage, then by all means tell them I sent you!

What about ordering online? To say things are “fierce” in retail is a bit of an understatement. There is little doubt that big boxes have the manpower, technology and buying power to fill our orders with no delay. On the other hand, do we go out of state to MAP’s to save sales tax and deal with the shipping? Sales tax on a $700. fly rod is about $55. Shipping could run as much as $15., so the math will almost always favor interstate commerce – at least until Obama taps into a new revenue stream. Personally, I live 45-miles from my nearest MAP, and the near death experiences in Dallas traffic, the gas cost, are factors that completely stop me from purchasing things like fly tying supplies locally (big box or MAP). It gets even more complicated when our local MAP’s go online with new stores, entering the blood sport of online fly fishing gear sales. People are ordering from them out-of-state (to avoid sales tax), so why shouldn’t we return the “favor?” And it’s tempting, for even a small-ish startup site like Texas Fly Caster to dabble in online sales of hard to find fly related items.

What are we to do? The final answer lies with each individual, and an old quaint concept, one that seems to be completely exhausted and on the brink of extinction. That concept would be wrapped in a word called “loyalty.” We all have our bargains to seek, be it Craigslist, E-Bay or elsewhere. When all things are equal, where does your loyalty lie?

Fly Fishing Show Denver, CO
American Fly Fishing Trade Association Show
Angling Trade Magazine
Trout Underground Article
Cabela’s To Carry Winston Rods

We now return you to our regularly scheduled fly fishing extravaganzas. Please forgive us for the interruption!