When Mary Rohrer invited me to attend the 2nd Annual FFF Gulf Coast
Expo in Lake Charles with her and two other Texas Women Fly Fishers’
(TWFF) members Frances Hamm and Lavene Jones, I wasn’t sure what to
expect. TWFF had a booth at the expo last year where they
successfully raised funds for the club and Casting for Recovery (CFR).
When it was decided to have a booth this year we discussed a booth
that was more self sustaining so each of us could attend selected
clinics and workshops without worrying about wo’manning the booth.
The expo offered an abundance of activities from fl y tying
workshops to casting clinics. My husband is the fl y tier in the
family so I decided to concentrate on improving my cast. I pretty
much have the basic cast down with the 5wt I normally use. However,
I have trouble achieving distance with the larger (7-10wt) rods and
bigger flies used for saltwater fishing, especially in the wind that
you always find at the coast. My husband and I purchased kayaks
about 3 years ago and have spent a many fruitless weekends fishing
the bays at Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, and Galveston. Because
casting while seated in a kayak is very different from casting while
standing in a river I was also hoping to pickup some techniques to
become more successful.
Jay Clark’s “Intermediate Casting” clinic was great. I honestly
didn’t hear anything new but he definitely reinforced many of the
concepts I’ve heard before; line speed, small loops, and “the stop”.
As I feared he also encouraged the use of the dreaded double-haul. I
have been avoiding it to this point because of my lack of
coordination. I decided that I have to put aside my fears and
realized the only way I am going to increase my line speed which
will improve my distance is to perfect the double-haul.
All-in-all Dave Lemke’s “Coping with the Wind” helped me to understand why I
constantly hit myself in the back of the head when fishing at the
coast. With the constant wind and the size of flies used for bay
fishing, I’m surprised I haven’t knocked myself out yet. The concept
of changing my casting angle depending on the direction of the wind
is something I had heard about but not actually practiced. Dave
showed us several drills which helped me to better understand the
effect the wind has on my fl y and fl y line. I’m looking forward to
using what I learned the next time I’m fishing the bay and hopefully
return home with fewer head contusions. My last casting clinic was
Mark Marmon’s “Specialty Casts for Saltwater”. Mark is an old
Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited (GRTU) friend. I was happy for
another opportunity to have him scrutinize my cast and offer tips
and techniques for improvement.
All-in-all The quality I like most about all the Certified Casting Instructors
(CCI) I’ve had the pleasure to work with is that they all speak the
same language. I was able to go from the expertise of Jay to Dave to
Mark without the need to learn a new casting vocabulary. It was a
real pleasure to work with each of them. Friday night’s crawfish
boil was a lot of fun! Even though I’m not a fan of crawfish, I
enjoyed watching others gorge themselves and get covered in crawfish
juice. I DID eat two token crawfish in hopes of avoiding the wrath
of crawfish lovers everywhere. Afterwards, I went to dinner with
good friends Mary Rohrer and Stacy Trimble at Steamboat Bill’s. They
have delicious Banana’s Foster pie.
All-in-all Saturday lunch was spent at the Women’s Outreach Luncheon at Pujo’s
Street Café with guest speaker Kathy Sparrow. Capt Kathy is an
award-winning magazine writer, author, and workshop leader. She
writes and speaks on the topics of women’s issues, fl y fishing, and
spirituality. The luncheon was attended by a combination of women
some who fly fish and others who do not. Kathy is a wonderfully
inspiring speaker. We all enjoyed hearing many of her fl y fishing
experiences and having the opportunity to share some of our own. Due
to a myriad of very generous donations we raised nearly $400 at the
luncheon’s silent auction.
The expo concluded with a very lively auction following the banquet.
Auctioneer Jonny Chamness kept the audience engaged and entertained
throughout the evening. There were many exceptional items donated
for the auction from fly rods and reels to waders and wading boots
to fly fishing art to guided fishing trips. I bid on and won a
guided trip on the Bighole River in Montana. I can wait. I may even
invite my husband. The last auction item was a beautifully crafted
wooden plate made for TWFF by Gary Armitage and laser engraved by
One Foot Engrave and signed by numerous renowned fl y tiers and
fishers. The platter fetched $500 for CFR. This money will go
towards sponsoring a woman at Texas’ next CFR retreat.
Beautifully hand-crafted plate by Gary Armitage
I had a great weekend. I was able to reconnect with old friends and
meet loads of new ones. I hope to share some exaggerated fishing
stories with all of them in the very near future. May the wind
always be at your back and your fl y line always be tight with the
catch of your life.