Monday, November 10, 2014

Another day with my Heroes - Heroes on the Water

Last week I had the honor of serving those who have served us by going fishing with the veterans from Heroes on the Water at Frito Lay in Plano.

It was a cold and windy morning but we knew that would not stop those Vet's that want to fish.

The fishing was good in spite of the weather.

Here on the eve of Veterans Day I have to say a big "THANK YOU" do all of those brave men and women who were and are willing to put it all on the line to keep us safe and free!!!

God Bless each and every one of you!

Friday, October 31, 2014

14 Brave Men

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of being a "Fishing Buddy" again for Reel Recovery at a retreat in Glen Rose, Texas.

I went a day early to scout out the Paluxy River and see if it had any water in it. Unfortunately, it did not! I scouted several other areas around the lodge and found a few small fish in the Brazos River at Camp & Fish.

After scouting the area and fishing all day I was ready to get some rest before my long couple of days with the guys. I setup camp at Oakdale Park and kicked back and tied a few flies by lantern light before turning in.

I kicked off the next day with a breakfast of migas and coffee from the Big Cup Eatery.

After breakfast I headed over to the Stillwater Lodge to meet with the guys and begin our weekend of fly fishing.

Many of you may not know what Reel Recovery is all about so I'll let this explain it..

Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly-fishing retreats for men living with all forms of cancer.

We met with the 14 brave men battling various forms of cancer and paired off to embark on our journey to catch fish on the fly. This retreat wound up being the retreat that had the 2000th man to attend a retreat.

We had the vest signing ceremony and also recognized the 2000th man.

Then it was time to go fishing.

Based on the fact that the river was dry we made a decision to fish a local pond instead.

The pond was beautiful and the fish were very cooperative. My participant "BJ" was the first to catch a fish. He proceeded to catch a number of huge copper nose bluegills before other also started catching a few.

The landowner and his family have always been huge supporters of Reel Recovery and this weekend was no exception. While we were fishing with the guys up the hill at the pond the landowners were preparing a huge fish fry for all of the participants and volunteers.

After lunch we broke out the catfish food and began chumming the area where we were fishing. This triggered the catfish to begin to bite. A number of the participants caught really nice catfish that afternoon.

When evening rolled around we adjourned back to the lodge. The participants stayed there for their dinner and I hosted the fishing buddy dinner at the Loco Coyote Grill.

The next morning I went directly to the pond in search of a big ole bass on the fly. I was not disappointed in the results of my quest as I hooked up with a huge bass on the third cast. I was able to fight the fish for a period of time that made me happy!!! :)

I then hooked up with another bass that went approximately 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.

Soon after catching that bass the participants arrived back at the pond.

We started fishing with them again and soon after starting the big ole bluegills started schooling. We caught a bunch of them before the catfish and the bass got jealous and moved in and started taking our flies.

Almost everyone caught a really nice catfish and bluegill before lunch. We ended the fishing at noon and headed back for lunch and the closing ceremony at the lodge.

After lunch we had a beautiful closing ceremony and said our goodbyes.

I am very humbled by the bravery of these men who are facing the challenges of cancer in various stages yet they still get out and spend 3 days fly fishing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A new chapter in my life...

Tuesday of this week added a brand new chapter to my life with the announcement that I am now a Pro Staff member of the Native Watercraft team. I consider this quite an honor as I did not pursue this but rather they pursued me. I have been paddling a Native kayak now for nearly two years and have found them to be excellent choices for the type of fishing that I do. I have been a faithful ambassador for Mariner Sails and have represented the Native line of kayaks any time I get an opportunity. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Well, it paid off with big dividends!

Here is a copy of the announcement made by Aris on Facebook.

We are proud to announce that..........drum roll please................
Our very own Jerry Hamon (yes THE Jerry Hamon - President of the Mariner Sails Kayak Fishing Club) is now ALSO and Official Native Watercraft Pro Staffer! Jerry is a tireless ambassador for kayak fishing and Native Watercraft could not have picked a better representative. Our hat's off to you Jerry!

I really appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity and look forward to spending lots of "time on the water" with The Tribe!!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Red River Rivalry

Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma was the site for the 2014 Red River Rivalry. This Tournament puts the kayak anglers from Texas against the kayak anglers of Oklahoma in a striper, black bass or striper/black bass tournament.. Although it is a competition it is one heck of a fun filled event. We all arrived Friday night for the early check-in at the Eisenhower Yacht Club. After registration we shared a few adult beverages and adjourned to the campsite. Once at the campsite we built a campfire and stood around it sharing all types of fishing stories.

 Then the pizza showed up so we cut off the story telling long enough to consume copious amounts of pizza. We soon retired for the evening to prepare for an early morning launch.

First cast was at 6:45 so everyone dispersed to their respective launch spots.

I only entered the black bass category and also the big black bass and big smallmouth bass pot.

I fish slow and meticulously around the boat houses, break waters, and sloughs near the ESP boatramp.
I had several bites but no hookups. I then paddled around the point by the marina and immediately hooked up with something big. I fought it for quite a while before landing a beautiful 22.5 inch striper.
Did I mention that I didn't enter the striper division???

At approximately noon I decided to switch to my flyrod as I tend to catch more and bigger bass on it.
After switching to the fly rod I did catch a total of 4 bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) and a small green sunfish. Unfortunately the fish were required to be a minimum of 8 inches before you could enter them for judging. :'(

At 2:00 PM I loaded up the yak and headed for the weigh-in with nothing to show for my days work.

Here are what winners look like! :)

Here is Jason "The Ninja" OBrien with his new Hobie kayak that he won in the drawing.

And here is the Texas group who brought home the trophy this year!!!

(that's the back of my head on the far left in the camo hat)

Another fun tournament on the books.

Until next time, tight lines,


Big thanks to Dustin Doskocil for the awesome photos!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fun with friends!

Last Saturday the Red River Fly Fishers held their 10th Annual "Texoma on the Fly" event at Eisenhower State Park on beautiful Lake Texoma. Myself and a whole covey of my friends were there to assist with the fun.

Pictured are myself, Keira Quam, Al Hillman, Jere Anderson, TPWD Teddy, and a young participant.

We helped with teaching various fly fishing topics including fish habitat, freshwater fish identification, entomology, knot tying, TPWD rules & ethics, fly tying, fly casting, and many more.

After the event a bunch of us loaded up and went to Lake Pickens for an afternoon of kayak fly fishing.

Included in that trip were Keira, Les and Kay Jackson, Gene Canney and his son Clayton, and yours truly.
The fish were cooperative and we caught bass, bluegills, green sunfish, and one of us caught a big ole channel cat.

I was real excited to be able to test paddle my new Native Ultimate FX15 for the first time.
I paddled it in the solo mode and it handles like a dream. I even stood up in it and didn't fall in or out. :)

Nothing beats a fun day of fishing related "stuff" with good friends.

Tight lines,
The Rev

Thursday, June 5, 2014

World Championship Bass on the Fly Tournament

The title pretty much sums it up. Last Saturday was the 5th Annual World Championship Bass on the Fly Tournament on beautiful lake Fork.

The festivities started on Friday with sign-ups and check-ins, casting distance and accuracy contests, buying additional flies, and maybe a lie or two being told.

 Sign-up & check-in
I "always" need more flies!!!

The mastermind behind this tournament is Ted Warren.

Friday night proved to be interesting as it stormed most of the night. At 6am on Saturday when we were allowed to make that  first cast it was still pouring rain so I decided that a few additional cups of coffee were in order. I finally left camp at 7:20am after pumping approximately 8 inches of water out of my Ultimate FX.

The winds were still somewhere in the 20 to 25 mph range and there was the typical huge amount of Lake Fork boat traffic on the lake. I took off armed with my new TFO 6/8 Mini Mag rod and a quiver full of new flies that I had tied up that week. I paddled to a cove approximately 1/2 mile from the campground and started working the grass-line with a top-water foam popper. After about 10 casts I saw a swirl next to my fly and then my line tightened. I strip set the hook and the fight was on. The fish, a beautiful bass in the 24 to 25 inch range was towing me around and made a couple of sweet jumps before snapping my 17 pound leader. When I finished wiping my tears I tied on another popper and continued the hunt. After making a number of unsuccessful casts with the popper I decided that it was light enough out to switch to something sub-surface.

As soon as I switched to a sub-surface fly I started catching fish.

 I caught a nice 16 1/2 inch bass.

A nice 9 inch bluegill.

Two catfish (not pictured). Seriously, catfish on a bass tournament day???

I fished that slough for a while longer and decided to move to the slough closer to my campground. I paddled around the point to that slough where I met the guy who was camping next to me. He was fishing from his yak but was not a tournament participant. He advised me that he had caught a bunch of fish and that he was going to take a break and "you want to fish right there". So, who am I to argue with someone who is giving me fishing advice. I cast my fly into the area he had pointed out and BAM caught a nice bass.

I brought it in, photographed it and put it back. I cast right back in to the same spot and BAM another bass.

This one was 21 inches and weighed in at a little over 5 pounds on my Boga Grip scale.

I cast a few more times into that spot with no luck. I then started working the vegetation line and went about 50 feet and hooked up with another bass.

I fished for about another hour after that with no luck. It was 1:00pm at that point so I decided to get an early start on the 2:00pm weigh-in. So in I go with only 4 of my 5 allowed fish.

Those 4 fish gave me a combined total length of 67.5 inches.
My big bass was 21 inches.
My big bluegill was 9 inches.

The winning flies!!!

When the final results were all in I wound up with 1st place in the non-boater (kayak) division and, big bass and bluegill in the same division. 

If you've never fished one of the tournaments I highly recommend you consider doing it next year.
Ted puts on a top-notch tournament and the comradery and fellowship is just excellent.

The proceeds from this tournament went to support the Texas Council IFFF and Reel Recovery.

Thanks to Shannon Drawe for many of the above photos.

Until next time, tight lines,
The Rev

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Fleet

Well, it was bound to happen and it did!!!
I fell so head over heels in love with the new Native Ultimate FX12 that I had to have the new FX15 Tandem as well. That makes me a 3 Native owner (as I sold the Slayer to buy the FX15T). The FX15T is going to be a great addition to the fleet for several reasons.

  1. it give me the ability to paddle Patty around
  2. it gives me the ability to paddle another fisherman around
  3. it gives me the ability (as stated in #2) to paddle a client around should I decide to start guiding again
  4. it adds a nice boat to the fleet for family outings
  5. The FXT15 is capable of being a tandem or a solo boat so if I find myself on a large body of water I can use it in the solo position.
SO, I am excited about the options associated with the addition of this new boat.

Here's the whole fleet, on the trailer, ready to go!

Tight lines,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TPWD Angler Education Area Chief Annual Gathering

This past weekend a number of TPWD Angler Education Area Chiefs converged upon the Junction Campus of Texas Tech for our annual gathering. An Area Chief is a fancy name for a person who "trains the trainer". We are volunteer educators who teach new Angler Education Instructors. It is a labor of love for those who had a dad or a grandpa or someone special who took the time to teach them how to fish at some point in their life. It's a way for us to "pay it forward".

We first met in Mountain Home, Texas at the Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center where we learned all about what they do and enjoyed a wonderful presentation 
on Alligator Gars in Texas. We toured the entire facility and also had a marine biologist
show us the procedure they use for aging of freshwater fishes.

We then went to TTU for dinner and the welcome by Karen Marks of TPWD. After dinner
Jere Anderson and I taught fly tying and helped those who attended to tie several flies.

Saturday we began our meeting with a few breakout sessions and a presentation
by Tim Birdsong of TPWD Inland Fisheries and the Kerr County Game Warden.

Some things we learned were quite scary!

After lunch we loaded up the yaks and took off to the S Llano River for a little fishing.

After we fished it was dinner time. Dinner was a 50's themed meal based on the fact that
it is National Volunteer Month and they wanted to tell everyone that
"Our Volunteers Rock". The meal was an old fashioned burger and chips followed
by root beer floats in old fashioned glasses with the TPWD brand on them.

After dinner we had our award ceremony. 

Receiving my Silver Award for 2014

Then came the campfire and sing-along with the Stink Bait Band

We then retired for the night to get ready for our Sunday morning breakout sessions and wrap up before heading home.

I did a breakout session on "Fishing from the Kayak" which I will post pics of as soon as they become available.
I also became the foster parent for "Teddy" who is the unofficial/official mascot for 
Angler Ed. You will see lots of Teddy over the next 12 months. Be watching!!!

That's all for now. 
Tights Lines,