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!