March 3, 2006
By Sheila Anderson
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
As coordinator of this outing I had two objectives in mind. First, I wanted to learn about Fly Fish Texas, see what it offered, and find a way for TWFF to participate more fully in future Fly Fish Texas programs. Second, I wanted to raise funds for CFR by selling flies that were tied by or donated to TWFF. I believe we were successful on both objectives.
I asked each of our members to contribute a paragraph or two about their experience at Fly Fish Texas. From my perspective it seemed a bit like EXPO except it is devoted only to fly fishing. The attendance at this show seemed much smaller than EXPO; one reason may be the Arlington Fly Fish Show scheduled for the same weekend. The TPWD fresh water fishery is a beautiful facility, one I recommend each of you visit in the future. We had a prime location for our table just inside the main door where we sold our flies and recruited three new members. We raised a whopping $438 selling flies for CFR– well above my expectations. The thoughts of other members follow.
From Annette Blythe:
Fly Fish Texas what an experience! Wish all of you could have been there. Besides the wonderful presentations, fly tying and fishing, I was able to participate in an intermediate fly casting class. The instructors were so knowledgeable, and what patience.
Al Crise is in charge of Education for the Federation of Fly Fishers™. I met Al on a TWFF outing a few years ago. As I was ready to complete my casting lesson and give someone else the opportunity, Al asked me to cast as far as I could. HMM. I knew my distance casting needs much improvement. Al proceeded to work with me and much to my amazement I was double hauling. I couldn’t believe it and he just chuckled and told me to continue doing it as he observed. I guess that was to reinforce my new skill. I left Fly Fish Texas with such an awesome feeling and know I want to make this outing again next year.
From Donna Endsley:
Ed and I spent a very informative time with the “Fly Fishing from your Kayak” demo.
The emphasis was on:
- how to fit your kayak with things like tubes for holding fly rod tips at the bow of your boat,
- set ups for umbrellas to keep a little sun off your back in the those hotter months,
- using a tool like a 5′ piece of pipe with a float attached to place in the scupper hole to hold you in place and keep you from drifting,
- safety tips that some of us might not be aware of, i.e., when in a kayak on the coastal waters or on lakes besides a PDF you are required to carry a whistle, and
- the pros and cons of fly fishing from your kayak and how the casting method changes from a sitting position, etc.
After the information session, he invited people to sit in the kayak and paddle around in the pond and cast from it to get a few pointers on how that worked. This was a very good presentation and we learned several tips that we plan to implement while using our kayaks to fly fish.
From Frances Hamm:
The trip to Athens was a lot of fun meeting people from around the state, eating some great fried catfish, showing off all the flies our club made and watching some very happy children as they caught fish out of the freshly stocked pond.
I attended two of the presentations during the Fly Fish Texas. Both centered on fishing the Texas coast for red drum, known as redfish or the fish with the spotted tail. I learned a great deal about fishing “skinny” water, in particular. The Rockport guide, Chuck Scates, told how he had worked his way down literally to VERY shallow (skinny) water where the whole fishes’ back sticks out of the water as he feeds. He described throwing the fly just in front of the fish so he would instinctively bite at it.
Chuck also defined circumstances when redfish bite and when they don’t. They like moving water so the tide must be coming in or going out for them to bite. When there is no tidal movement and the fish have “lockjaw”, he called the fish in this situation “non-feeders”. He showed in his slide show how you can throw the fly anywhere on or around the non-feeding fish and he will not bite.
Billy Trimble also presented about fly fishing saltwater for redfish. He was accompanied by his wife and fellow guide, Stacy. Both Stacy and Billy have moved to Rockport, TX in the last year to expand their business.
From Sherri Ray:
The Athens Freshwater fishery is bigger and better than the last time. Remember the first time when people were actually fishing in the holding tanks? Currently, there is “river” through the complex that feeds all the ponds and the wetlands areas. The wetlands area has a 1.2 mile walk so fishers, walkers or wheelchairs can enjoy this wetland replica. The wetlands ponds and river were stocked and happy smiling fishers were all along the way catching fish after fish. As you walk through the river system you pass a bee hive house where there is a working beehive to watch and lots of documentation and audio explanations of the display at the push of a button, there was also a bird house of indigenous birds of Texas with pictures and the sounds each bird makes. This ended at the fly-fishing lake that includes a state of the art duck blind.
The classes this year were wonderful. I attended several of them. One was Fishing for Redfish by Chuck Scates. Mr. Scates was unable to attend last year due to health reasons. He IS back! He gave up guide “secrets” with some of the most beautiful slides to back up his points. As attendees would ask questions he would act out his processes and talk us through them. As he would do this his voice would start to quiver and his breathing patterns would change. It was so easy to imagine being on the coast at that moment! His enthusiasm was contagious and you couldn’t help but get excited and catch some coastal fever! He admitted that after thirty years he still gets excited from the thrill of the hunt. It was affirming to know that someone of his natural ability and experience still feels that level of excitement. It is nice to know that the rush from chasing and catching redfish will continue.
I also attended a class on entomology. The class did hands on sampling of the river and learned the importance of the information and the impact in deciding the way to fish.
Al Crise did an excellent job scheduling and managing casting instructors to achieve maximum impact for students. There were approximately four instructors for every four to six students. One instructor was the main instructor and the other three worked hands on with the students to show them how to achieve the technique being taught and for help and correction as they were learning. It was very organized and effective. Ronnie helped out as an instructor and also taught a class on “What’s in the tackle bag and what to take for beginners”. About twenty new fishers attended it who were enthusiastic and receptive to the information being given them.
The weather was absolutely beautiful, the food was great and the company of fellow TWFF members was the best!