Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Bows At Ted's Pool

Last night I sit down at the tying table and created a foursome of buggers along with a couple of flashback pheasant tails because I knew I would be visiting Blue again today.

I walked into Scotty's about five minutes after eleven and immediately saw something that holds my fancy...a cardiac on a stick. Corn dogs are wonderful aren't they? I know very well that corn dogs aren't good for me and my health issues, but the way I have it figured it's doubtful there are corn dogs in I'm going to eat as many as I can now. Oh, I grabbed a Coor's Light too because I know dang well there aren't any of those in heaven.

With corn dog in mouth, Coor's Light in left hand, I gathered the reins of the prairie schooner with my right hand and slapped leather across the butt of the ponies and we made trail to the river. The corn dog and beer never had a chance and they were gone in short order giving me a satisfied palate and buzz at the same time.

After walking four miles yesterday in the south wilderness I was looking for something different today. I turned downstream in Area 1 and slowly passed the sandbar, island, flats, and riffles and all were pretty much void of people but I passed all these spots up. Further downstream I slowed again to look at Horseshoe Falls and saw four anglers there. Horseshoe Falls is an area I don't fish much and was pretty much the kind of area I was looking for today. Further down there were a few risers at Glory Hole and I passed them up too. Can't believe I passed up risers. At Seventeen there were a host of anglers so I made the circle drive and went back to the bluff above Horseshoe Falls and hitched the ponies there.

The bluff at Horseshoe Falls is an anthology of granite boulders that are time worn and telling. Fissures in the boulders suggest icing that occurred millions of years ago. Many scoff at the idea of icing this far south while others believe in the "snowball earth" theory. Regardless of which thinking is right, some event took place to cause such scarring and unique structuring in these rocks.

Directly above Horseshoe Falls is Ted's Pool. Now, I don't know who Ted was because I never got to meet him but I do know this stretch of water has held his namesake for as long as I can remember. Ted's Pool is a long wide stretch of water which basically can't be waded. Some of the deepest water on the river can be found at Ted's Pool and the lower end just above Horseshoe Falls has some pockets or holes that have to be fifteen or twenty feet deep. I waded out about fifteen feet onto a ledge and cast upstream into the dark green water with a red-ass bugger. Today required an agonizing slow drift and gathering strip allowing the fly to fall deep enough into the column. Once the fly fell deep enough a slow gathering strip was employed and that is when the strike would come. The bows today were low and slow but they were quite eager. Just like yesterday, but not as quickly actioned, it was a bow with every cast. There were two anglers on the bank to my right using spinners and they weren't getting any results at all. I could tell that their retrieve was much too fast and the lure wasn't getting low enough in the water column. After I battled eleven straight bows I decided to fish Horseshoe Falls.

I only had to wade about thirty feet to get to Horseshoe Falls and there were four other anglers fishing here. I was kind of sandwiched in between anglers and alders so I simply made some short roll casts off the falls. The bows at Horseshoes had a no-hitter in mind for me and for a time I thought they were going to pull it off. However, I started casting across a current and fishing through the swing. Even this proved challenging because if you came out of the swing to quickly the results was nada. I took several bumps before I finally landed a bow and the bow community had to settle for a 1-0 game. I found it amazing in wading just thirty feet I went from a rich pot of bows at Ted's Pool to basically nothing at Horseshoe Falls.

I stayed a few more minutes at Horseshoe before deciding to go look upstream. The middle of Horseshoe Falls barely had any water coming over it today but had good discharge on the fringes.

Going back upstream I looked at the water below the crossing and decided to give it a dozen or so casts. I waded out onto Chuck's Ledge and the bows here were also looking for a shut-out. I still had the same fly on which was the red-ass bugger. I took one bump and then a rock took my red-ass. I tied a yellow tail bugger on and captured one bow but then that damn rock took my yellow tail. Next, I tied a fluro-bugger on and made short casts of twenty feet directly upstream and found a pocket that had bows. I stayed long enough to capture three more bows and then it was time for me to go.

The river looked really good today and although there were anglers there wasn't that many people on the water today.

Tomorrow's weather looks really promising and I'm tempted to be back with Blue but guess I better not chance it with the workplace.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Christmas Present

Today, being the day after Christmas, begin as a wonderful present to me. I walked out of my house on the way to work at five this morning and was greeted with a rather balmy temperature of sixty-six degrees. Not only was the temperature quite pleasant, the wind was lying low which was contra to what the weather forecaster's had predicted. I knew very well if I hit the work-place and hit it hard I could be on the river Blue in just a short time.

I did just that!

I was off the job by 9:30 a.m. and gearing up shortly thereafter. My goal was to sail to Blue and fish the kingdom of the south wilderness for the first time this season.

From my home port I plotted the east by southeast course and sailed the Prairie Schooner to the mooring harbor of the south wilderness. My thinking along the course was that the south wilderness would give me some solitude from the crowds but upon mooring the schooner in the harbor of the south wilderness I counted at least a dozen other vessels that had also docked there.

But still this was proving to me a most perfect day with some much needed time off of work, a completely overcast sky, and extraordinary temperatures. The one thing that was making this less than a perfect day was the toothache I had in tow. But, once I hit the trail on my way to the kingdom of the south wilderness I never once noticed the throbbing of that bottom jaw tooth.

Trekking on the main trail, I decided to take a diversion into the Scatters. The Scatters is a unique area and I have often wondered if the bows work their way down from the upstream stocking point which is Coyote Pass Falls...about a half-mile upstream. This question has been particularly on my mind with the low water conditions this season has experienced.

Again, the Scatters is special. The river braids, forks, diverts in six, seven, perhaps eight different courses and there is pool after pool, riffle after riffle, emanating from falls after falls. The old salts warn us to be careful in the Scatters because it is easy to get turned around and loose your way...and I can certainly see their point.

I looked for pools to plop a fly into to test my theory about the bows migration. I fished four different pools and only found one bow so I think it can be said that the bows do indeed work their way down. However, if one plans on fishing the Scatters in hopes of battling bows it will prove to be a challenge. There are countless fishing opportunities but I hold true to my belief that the bows are few and far between in conditions like we are experiencing.

Exploring the Scatters on an overcast day also brings an enchanting air to the adventure. With the overcast sky the life in the air can more easily be seen. Remnants, pollen, and life-giving seeds can be seen floating through the air.

The rock formations, trees, and tranquility of the Scatters adds to the experience of an enchanted and special place. For me today this was especially true being that it was an overcast day. However, even on a bright sunlit day with the sun filtering through the trees, the same experience can be had.

The number of falls within the Scatters is the most amazing thing. There has to be at least a couple of hundred falls ranging from six inches high to two or three feet high. Within this half-mile or less of river the elevation of Blue surely falls by three, four or maybe even five feet.

I eventually waded out of the Scatters and went directly to Coyote Pass Falls. Here I tied on the Flash Back Pheasant Tail and cast upstream. My goodness...I must have found a magical pot of Rainbows because it was a bow with every cast. After the tenth bow my Pheasant Tail no longer had a Pheasant Tail and was looking quite ragged. I kept fishing it and caught about five more before I decided to go upstream and explore more of the south wilderness kingdom.

I made my way to the Cove and it was here I found six other anglers. I spoke with a couple of anglers and then told them I would get out of their way. I walked around and squatted on the falls upstream watching a young fly-fisher upstream fish for the bows. He was casting upstream and drifting and stripping back. I figure he had a bugger on but never asked. I decided to plop a bugger down in the water directly in front of me and quickly took a bow. After three or four more plops I still had only one bow from the Cove so I proceeded upstream.

Walking upstream I passed a couple of bait anglers on the bank fishing wide and flat water. About fifty feet past them I saw the same exact water and an access to the river. The access brought me to a bank about three feet above the river with that wide, flat, dark emerald water. It was water that did not look inviting especially with the trees and brushes on my left and right. But, I decided to give it a shot. The trees and brushes started a quarrel with my fly-line right off the bat but I found a narrow avenue that I could make the twenty-five foot or so roll cast. I was doubtful as to the results.

Was I ever wrong!

Again, it was a rich, fertile, well propagated pool of dandy, colorful, and healthy bows. Cast after cast brought fish after fish. I couldn't believe it myself because this is not my favorite kind of water. At this point I realized that the inventory of bows in the kingdom of the south wilderness is currently outstanding!

I continued upstream wanting to go all the way to Dividing Line Falls. Usually, I walk as if I'm in a hurry but not today. I gingerly walked the trail like a man walking his dog. It was neat.

I arrived at the Waters of the Ancient Boulders and without a doubt this is the toughest place on the river, in my opinion, to wade. With the wind howling at this point the wading would be tougher. I waded out as far as I could stepping on the round exposed boulders as often as possible. However, round exposed boulders have submerged beveled sides and deep crevices that they root from. When I went belly-button high I stopped because I had Miss Carol's Camera in my shirt-pocket and didn't want to compromise it or my good graces with her.

Two casts were made to a favorite pool and both casts produced bows but then it was like someone shut the light-switch off. I turned my attention upstream to that dark emerald water and once more it was like after fish. I was done!

On the way back to the Prairie Schooner and the two-mile walk in front of me, I checked each trash barrel for cans. I only found a few but they'll end up with the rest of my cans on the way to the recycling center.

All in all today I guess I battled close to thirty bows. It was a wonderful day after Christmas present.

Adding to my pleasure of having such a day for a present was how Lady Blue looked today. In spite of prolonged drought, she actually looked quite vibrant and healthy. On the sail back to my home harbor I stopped at the Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery to take a look at Blue's little sister Pennington Creek and she also was looking better.

I haven't wanted anything for Christmas for a number of years now. But...this year I did and it was some form of precipitation on the Prairie Ocean. I didn't get that. But, the weatherman is saying there's a good chance we will tomorrow so tomorrow may be a "two days after Christmas" present.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two Bows And Distress On The Prairie Ocean

This past Sunday was quite an unpleasant day for me. I found myself going to the workplace and upon arriving there I carried with me a sense of dread. I had a most unsavory task to do which was to tell a young man he no longer had a job. For me...I just soon take a ass kicking. The lad in question indeed had some problems in dealing with the wonderment of simply being young. He couldn't seem to find a balance between responsibility and having a good ole time. I reminded myself of an old saying, "Every man has his troubles", but this wasn't the case of a man but rather a case of transition from boyhood, with seeds to be sowed, to the threshold of becoming a man. I fulfilled my dreaded deed and afterwards felt terrible.

As it is with my workplace I have figured out ways to excuse myself for a couple, maybe three hours, so at a time around mid-morning I decided to do just that. I needed to get away from the events of that Sunday morning and go somewhere to cleanse my mind of what had taken place at work.

I walked out of the store and hopped in the prairie schooner stopping at the house long enough to get my waders, rod, and camera and to the Lady Blue I pushed the ponies. I stopped along the way to take a picture of a drought ridden lake which is becoming a more common sight on the prairie ocean. The prairie ocean is in distress and we are in urgent need of moisture.

I stopped by Scotty's long enough to hang a lost and found poster about the two pieces of the four piece fly rod that Lane Kregel found in the catch and release area. Lane seems determined to find the owner of this gear. From Scotty's I went straight to Seventeen which has become my refuge at Blue. On this day I found solitude at Seventeen.

I waded into the river knowing I had less, much less actually, than an hour to seek the bows. I only wanted to commune with a couple of bows and as it would turn out two bows are what I met.

I named the first bow "Prize Fighter" because this bow seem to have that kind of attitude. The second I called "Splasher" and with both bows I was surprisingly pleased with their size...they were about normal for stockers at this time in the season. I had two bows and it was time to go. I had to get back to the workplace...that wretched place that gives me the means of getting by and buying some fly fishing stuff from time to time. It's one hell of a vicious circle.

Before I left I took another picture to record evidence of what the prolonged drought on the prairie ocean has produced. I've been on the Blue and the prairie oceans for quite some years now and I am seeing more and more signs of distress with both.

On the way back to the workplace I decided to take a short-cut and drive between two of the mining quarries that exist within the prairie ocean. The quarry to my south is the newest quarry and the subject of the latest threat to the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. Actually, this is the quarry that has scalped the quarry and now de-watering their mining pits. The quarry to my north is a silica plant and has been there for as long as I can remember. They've been operating for years without much scrutiny because they are established and water simply wasn't the issue years ago as it is today. But...I found something very interesting.

I crossed a feeder stream that actually had noticeable streamflow to it. I probably passed a half of dozen other feeder streams along my way that had absolutely no stream flow. What I was seeing wasn't a natural flow, but flow from "de-watering". Pure and fresh water from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer is going downstream on it's way to the Red River to mix with the salty saliva of the Gulf. That's sad.

This past Sunday I experienced distress at the workplace and then found distress on the prairie ocean. However, I had one hour of wonderful solitude and reflection on the river Blue. Blue didn't take away all of the heaviness on my mind but in the time I was with her those concerns seem to dissipate in thin air.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How To Tie The Inebriated


Curved Caddis Hook Mustad 49CS (Any size you choose)
Black Thread
Chartruese Wire
White Antron or Icelandic Wool
Six Pack of Coors Light


Drink the six pack first. Start you thread behind the beadhead and wrap down to about two thirds of where the hook bends. Keep wrapping making a nice smooth body. This may be difficult since you are a six pack under by now. Tie in your wire behind the beadhead and wrap back and once again make a body over the wire. Finish your thread wraps behind the beadhead. Palmer your wire up to the beadhead in even smooth wraps, tie off wire. Take a small tuft of white antron or Icelandic wool and tie in behind beadhead. Cut off excess and then whip finish. Send wife to store for more beer and watch the football game because it's too dang cold and windy to fish (like today).

I've fished this creation on both the Blue and the Lower Mountain Fork and unbelievable as it may seem this fly captures bows.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blue Friday

Today is better known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that serves to be the busiest shopping day of the year. It's a time people go to spend the money they have and in many cases money they don't hoping for a better time up the road. It's also a day many people take off from work with big plans to do something but instead end up staying on the couch watching some lame ass football game. Black Friday is certainly not my cup of joe so several days ago I planned on having me a Blue Friday.

My plan was to spend most of today on Blue. I knew Lane Kregel from Denton and his crew were hitting the catch and release area. I also knew that Chris Adams and Ralph James would be on the Blue and I needed to see the both of them. Originally I was going to hit the catch and release first and fish with Lane and then trot down to the campground area to catch Chris and Ralph, but best laid plans go arwy. First, I had to hit the workplace which I hadn't really planned to do and secondly the chest cold I'd been fighting had only grown worse. After work I thought I could afford thirty minutes on the couch but that thirty minutes turned into two hours. I hate that feeling you have when you wake up know...confused, rattled, shaky all over. Yuck! But I got geared up and hit the road.

As I was passing Scotty's I noticed the familiar coffee colored Xeterra belonging to one Ralph James so I pull in the parking lot. Ralph and his son Brian were having their lunch and had some fish stories to tell. I came to see Ralph and Chris to give them their copy of the fly tying DVD we recently made and to visit with Ralph about a project he has in mind that will help the future of Blue River. We chatted for awhile and then Ralph and Brian were headed for the river. I visited with Scotty and he was in a good mood reporting that he had his best November on record and that's good news to me. What's good for Scotty is good for Blue River. Scotty also told me he had sold seventy fishing licenses so far on Blue Friday. A little known fact about Scotty's Blue River One Stop is that the store is the number two seller of fishing licenses in Oklahoma.

I got to the river and found Chris and chatted with him. For Chris I had his DVD and a small Blue River token from Miss Carol. Miss Carol also had one for Ralph. After leaving Chris I went to look for Ralph and found him below the crossing with his backside planted on a boulder so I wade out and plant my butt on a boulder by him. Out of the clear Blue, Ralph was plucking bows with one of his favorite flies and it wasn't even the Red Midge but he did tie that on later. I flung a booger downstream and started getting strikes but no hook-ups. Ralph suggested I shorten the tail and I did but again just strikes with no hook-ups. Then there came a rise downstream and I tie on the Adams I used yesterday. I really don't like casting a dry downstream but I did and the result was not even a look. So I spooled up and sit on the rock and visited with Ralph about his project. Eventually, I would tie on the Flashback Pheasant Tail and capture two small bows which was the extent of my catching today. My goodness, I have to say these early stockers are especially small this year and I certainly wish something could be done to increase their size by a couple of inches. These boys and girls are tiny.

The river was crowded today with anglers of all types up and down the river. Ralph's son Brian was on the sandbar and I guess I watched him catch twenty or thirty fish in the short time I was on the river. Ralph and I was taking incoming from both sides of the bank but it was all innocent with no ill intended. Just young over-excited young-uns wanting to catch a bow.

For most of the day the sun was being flirtatious...time from time peeking through the cracks of a heavily laden gray soupy sky. But, about an hour after I arrived at the river ole sol broke through that pewter colored barrier and warmed the surroundings up. The river was really pretty today and the water is gin clear.

I only stayed on the river for about an hour and a half today. Still feeling lousy I set course for my harbor to hit the rack once again.

On my way home I felt a cold one coming on so I pulled into the Middle Of Nowhere Market and had that cold one. The shelves in this store are pretty well empty these days because the owners have had some bad luck with health issues. The beer cooler was full though and a Coors Light, not a can of pork n'beans, was what I was after. I've always thought this little store would make a good store slash fly shop. About four years ago when it was up and running good I started to buy it but didn't. I still think it would make a good store slash fly shop but I'm getting kind of old to be buying anything these days.

So, even though my plans kind of fell apart today I still got to spend a couple of quality hours on the river Blue on this Blue Friday. I'll take two hours at Blue anytime compared to standing in line at Wal-Mart. I mean geeezzz.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Flash Backs, Adams, and The Hare's Ear

For the past eighteen years I've worked on Thanksgiving morning and this year was no exception. Miss Carol and all our children have come accustomed to this and they simply go ahead and plan their Thanksgiving festivities because they know that I will certainly head to the river Blue as soon as I hit the time clock. Going to Blue on Thanksgiving has become a turkey day tradition for me and I cannot think of a better place to give thanks to something that has given so much to me.

I did just that today.

Leaving the workplace and exiting town at around 11 a.m., I arrived at the Cow Pen around noon. Shortly thereafter I was on the trail headed for the Catch & Release area. On the trip up, I couldn't help from notice how busy the communities of the birds and squirrels were. Within both there was a frenzy of activity. The birds were busy gathering seeds and the squirrels were most certainly nuttin' up. I've come to learn over the years, that such activity with these critters usually signals a big change in the weather is coming. And...I believe that change is scheduled to arrive tonight or early tomorrow.

I could not have asked for a more beautiful day. The sun was shining, the temperature was promising mid-sixties and there was absolutely no wind.

Upon arriving at the Catch & Release I went to some favored water of mine and plopped down a bugger. But, after five or six plops it became apparent the bows weren't interested in the bugger. So...out came the Flash Back Pheasant Tail and immediately the action heated up. These bows are so magnificent! The strikes today were extremely subtle and hard to detect, however...once the bows tasted the hook they were simply tenacious! I believe I have never seen a faster fish than the Rainbow. There are quite simply swift and sleek and it's thrilling.

As I said, the strikes were really subtle and I was nymphing across a fast current which required me to really manipulate and mend the line and manage the fly. Michael Mercurio recently reported that the character of Blue is changing from visit to visit and Mercurio is right. I had to fish this particular spot differently from just a week ago. But the bows were there and we met.

One of the things I wanted to do today that I didn't get to do on my last outing was to explore a little. Exploring is fun but in the Catch & Release area it can wear one out rather quickly.

As I was having fun battling the bows with the Pheasant Tail I turned to look upstream and there it was...a rise. With that rise, my exploration began because I wanted to get to that pool quickly. I struck out on a course and to tell you the truth I think I took the long route but I got there none the less.

My problem was this was a wide pool, about 100 feet wide, and the risers were almost exactly in the middle which would require me to make a rather long cast with a dry. That's a pretty tall order, particularly in tight situations, but I gave it a shot anyhow. I tied on a size 20 Adams and gave her a sling.

Damn, did I have fun

There was one particular lane and if I placed my fly in that lane I would get a take each time. These bows were so excited when they'd strike they would absolutely go over the fly. Out of ten or more frenzied, hurried, excited strikes, I only took two bows but it was one hell'ava time!

Why I was dry flying I noticed a change in the air and it was about that time the risers quit so I stayed in this spot and tied on my ole friend the Hare's Ear. The Hare's Ear did okay for himself but not to the tune the Pheasant Tail did. The Pheasant Tail I used earlier was a size 18 and the Hare's Ear was a size 14. Pretty good range I would think. I carried the Hare's Ear back downstream to the spot I had good success with the Pheasant Tail earlier and the old boy proved himself in that water.

I'd been on the river about an hour and half then and knew I was fixing to call it a day so I tied on a bugger again to do some slow stripping. I cast to the exact same spot I did a week ago that captured bows. But this time all I captured was a submerged tree or something. I lost two buggers in a matter of twice that many casts and this should exemplify the changing character of the river.

I guess there is a lot of upstream trash that washes downstream and becomes lodged in the Catch & Release area such as this washing machine casing. The upstream part of Blue River is populated toward the Connerville area and it's sad to me such things end up in a pristine and special part of the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area.

As I was walking across the small falls on my way to the bank to make the trip back, I sat down on one of the falls and smoked a cigarette. While there I listened to the voice of Blue and I was totally at ease. It's amazing what good medicine the outdoors and a river can be. I've been under the weather for the last three days but today I couldn't tell it at all. I felt good!

Today I fully realized what a special and unique place the Catch & Release area is. The Catch & Release area is quickly becoming the shining beacon of Blue River.

I am so very proud of the Catch & Release area and so very proud of the Blue River Fly Fishers that made it possible.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Crushing Cans For Catch & Release

When Miss Carol and I arrived home today from Blue we decided to stomp a few cans. Actually we are way behind in our can stomping duties having about eight large bags of cans stashed behind our garage.

Can stomping isn't terribly fun but if you take a boom box or roll down the window on your vehicle and turn the radio up you can have a little music to motivate you. Heck, I'm thinking about calling all the kids and see if they want to have a can-stomping party. We can stomp cans, roast some weinies and marshmallows and have our own backyard shindig. It's a means to an end.

I've said before it takes a lot of dadgum cans to equal any real money. However, if I stay on top of my Recycling For Rainbows program I can get about four to five hundred dollars a year for the Wildlife Department. I think the way one has to look at it is if I didn't collect and crunch these cans then that money would be out the window...because I can guarantee you those cans would end up in a landfill.

Right now, the price of aluminum is down so we are sitting on all our cans waiting for the market to rise.

I have a friend at work and this young lad is really mechanically inclined so I'm going to hit him up to build me a can crushing machine.

All this stomping is giving me the shin splits.

If you don't currently recycle...then think about it. It's a good thing to do for Mother Earth.

Casting For Miss Carol

Miss Carol began her fly-fishing life late last season at Blue River. She started off like gang busters capturing trout on her first three trips. However, Carol was drifting all three times having to make quite short up and down casts. There came a point I wanted to put her on the long cast and that's when things kind of got messy. You see, I appointed myself as her casting instructor. Sweethearts shouldn't try and instruct anything to each other and when it came to me teaching Miss Carol the long cast it was evident there was an insurmountable wall between the two of us.

So, I decided to contact Steve Hollensed of Tom Beane, Texas and see if Steve would help me out and Steve said "Absolutely"! Steve is a certified flycasting instructor and Orvis Endorsed Fishing Guide. He owns and operates and does a lot of guiding on Lake Texoma and Lake Ray Roberts. Steve also guides for trout.

Steve worked with Miss Carol about forty-five minutes and it was amazing how much he helped her in that short time. It was truly a remarkable job Steve done. Now Steve doesn't know it but not only was he giving Miss Carol a much needed casting lesson he was also probably saving my life. You see, me serving as a casting instructor to Miss Carol gave her more than probable cause to slit my throat on more than one occasion.

So, if any of you guys have a sweetheart that's thinking about taking up fly-fishing then do yourself a favor and hire a casting instructor for your sweetie.

Carol and I got to Blue earlier than Steve and while we was waiting his arrival we traveled down to 17 and lo and behold there stood Donn Riss in the water with a contingency of his family. All of them was fly-fishing so we jumped out with our camera to get some pics. As I approached the water with my camera Donn pointed and said, "There he is." In the water in front of Donn was a big trout...about four pounds or so. Donn then said, "I've had him on once but he took off and snapped that 6X." I said, "Well, get em on again, because I need a picture." With his next cast Donn hooked up with the bow again and I wanted a picture of the bow in hand but the best I could do was to get the swirl. Donn communicated with the bow for a couple of minutes but then the fly pulled smooth out of the trout's mouth. Donn just laughed about it.

Donn casting a SWAPF which I believe means Single Wing All Purpose Fly. Evidently, it works quite well.

We left Donn and his family to 17 and went back upstream. The river was clear as a bell today and still quite low. Carol and I drove back to the parking lot and while we were waiting for Steve I went to the crossing and got on the upstream rock on the east side and made a couple of drifts but didn't get a single bite. While I was standing there I saw a familiar red pickup and it was Harold Beck from Gainesville. Harold hollered, "Quite a crowd, huh?" "Lots of folks", I replied. Harold said he didn't know whether to fish or just go back home.

Before leaving the rock I picked up some trash some bozo had left at the river's edge. There was a can, a couple of plastic spinner bait packages, cigarette butt, and big mess of discarded line. I just don't get some people.

I switched flies and waded out on Chuck's Ledge and ended up battling three small bows before Carol and I left to see if Steve arrived. While standing on Chuck's Ledge I saw a fly-fisher on the sandbar take a very nice bow and that fly-fisher turned out to be the son of Ralph James. And Ralph James showed up while Miss Carol was getting her instruction from Steve.

All in all it was a great afternoon on Blue and we got to see some of our dearest buddies on the river Blue. You can't beat that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Casting And Cast Iron

In keeping with my philosophy that the fly fishing experience is more than just fishing and good campfire cooking is at the top of that list, I recently decided to fix Dutch Oven stuffed bell peppers.

I love stuffed bell peppers! Stuffed bell peppers hate me! I guess it's one of those love/hate relationships and even though I know the partaking in the stuffed peppers will result in me taking massive amounts of acid reducer...I slay them anyway and live to suffer the consequences.

To make matters worse, when I cook stuffed bell peppers I grace them with a little Ranch dressing during the cooking process and that only compounds my suffering.

The truth is my plumbing and innards simply don't tolerate what they use to. So many of the things I love to cook in a Dutch have become quite detrimental to my overall well-being, but continue to cook I do.

It's terribly hard to concentrate on getting that good drift when your stomach is hurting. It's tough stripping that bugger when your gall bladder is screaming. And, it's almost impossible to get that perfect dry fly presentation, while wondering if your life insurance is squared away, because the certainty in your mind at that moment is that those stuffed bell peppers are going to get the best of you this time.

Maybe I've reached the point I have to decide whether to cast or cook and that's going to be really hard for me.

Bologna sandwiches will simply not suffice.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Peddlin' To Pleasure

Well...that was my plan anyhow but things didn't quite work out for this cowboy. I arrived at the cow pen at about 7:10 a.m. Thursday. My plan was to ride the ole prairie glider to the catch and release, fish for about four hours, and then head to the workplace.

It was forty-three degrees this morning...not bad at all, but there was a straight line north wind holding steady at twenty-five miles per hour with the promise of gusts to thirty-five. I mounted the glider and started riding and after about an eighth of a mile I started to feel the burn due to trying to peddle against that wind. I went to switch gears and that's when I discovered my gear selector was completely stoved up. I kept trying to peddle in that one gear but it was futile for sure. I simply don't have the horsepower compared to some like Merc who take their bikes to the C&R. I ditched the bike in the bushes. I still think the bike was a good idea if the gears had been working and the friggin' wind hadn't been howling like a pack of coyotes

You's not a bad walk at all. Twenty minutes or less and your there. Just look at it as a good cardio-vascular workout and it was for me because I was huffing and puffing walking against the wind.

One of my goals today was to move around and explore other pools within the C&R but I didn't get to do that. The wind picked up within thirty minutes after I got to the water so I stayed in one area. My other goal was to make it a fly day and really didn't get to do that either because the numbness in my hands eventually made it virtually impossible to tie on any more flies. I should have known, after that third time I chased my damn hat down the road, that the God of the north winds intended on me having a miserable morning and the blowhard got his way today.

But, in the hour and a half I spent on the water I caught bows and they were very rewarding.

I started off with a tandem rig. I chose a size 16 pheasant tail soft hackle for a upper column fly and then for the lower column a size 18 beadhead flashback pheasant tail. A number 4 split shot went in between the two and a strike indicator on top. There was quite a competition between the two flies seeing which one could capture more bows and the flashback won out but only by one fish. Now...this competition became a lot of fun for me. I would suggest that both these flies work quite well in the C&R waters. Trout number seven would end the fun by fubaring my tippet to the point I couldn't untangle it so I had to cut the rigging off. No problem right? Just tie the rigging back on. Yeah...that would've been the thing to do if some dumb butt hadn't left his lanyard with all the tippet he owns in the world dangling around the rear view mirror. You know...that's the second time I've done that this season. I got to get a new system.

Next came an orange and grizzled Crackleback and it would end up producing two fat little bows, but the action with this fly was quite slow compared to the nymphs. The winds continued to howl and gain speed and my hands were in bad shape so I decided to try one more fly.

Out comes the ole olive wooly bugger size 12 beadhead. I slipped a number 4 split on above it for extra weight and that makes all the difference in the C&R area. You have to get that bugger down there. Cast your bugger, let it fall, and then slow strip it back. Bang, bang, bang!

I'd had enough by 9'o clock with introducing myself to about fifteen or so bows so I spooled up and started to head out. Three Texas fly anglers had made their way to the water and I briefly chatted with them a bit. Back on the trail I ran into Matt with the fisheries division and we talked fly fishing for a bit. Seems like Matt likes to drift those nymphs too.

It's 11 o'clock right now and I've been home long enough to upload pictures, finish this blog and do sorted other things. Guess I'll go to the workplace. Sure would like to have stayed at the C&R.

Damn blowhard wind Gods.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Earth Poem

They found Puff the Magic Dragon on the shore at Hon alee
covered with the oil from the Exxon Valdez
As “Little Jackie Paper” rained tears from up above
God sent down sympathy on the wings of the dove

They found poor old Smokey Bear, in a forest that turned pale green
all the tree-tops were naked from too much acid rain
Oh, how the Rangers did cry for the poor old bear
God sent down sadness in the song of the sparrow

They found the Lone Ranger in a river face down
toxic waste in the water had helped the Ranger drown
and oh how Tonto cried for his kemosabe friend
God sent down the great eagle to help his torn heart mend

Superman fell from the sky, his face was burned bright red
that hole up in the ozone had killed Clark Kent quite dead
and oh, how Lois cried for her man of steel
God sent down a loving touch to help her broke heart heal

“No Virginia, I’m sorry”, but there’s not a Santa Claus
he went down over L.A. while flying through the smog
Oh, how the children will cry when they hear about St. Nick
God just bows his head, the spirit so heartsick

That old Sinclair dinosaur reminds me of “Puff”
road-kill all along the road, damn!, I think I’ve seen enough
Oh, how I fret... for dolphins caught in tuna’s net
God sends me to my knees, makes my eyes grow wet
Barry Shrader

More About The Derby

Sunday morning came and instead of going to the derby at Blue River I found myself going to work. I was out of the workplace by 10:00 a.m. and my first thought was I could make it to the river and fish for an hour or so but then I thought phooey on that. I did make the weigh-in because I wanted to see Susie's memorial award presented, take some pictures, and say hello to some of the guy's. I arrived at the weigh-in at 12:30 and the weigh-in would be thirty minutes later.

On my way in I crossed a small creek, it's one of the feeder branches of Sandy Creek or the Sandy Creek system. Sandy Creek is one of two feeder streams that serve the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is not only a wonderful fishery but serves as a resting point for migatory fowl. As I crossed this creek something caught by eye. There were two small deer standing in the mostly dry creek trying to water from the last remaining stagnant pool. I stopped and backed up and took a picture of one of the deer. It saddened me to think how dry the prairie ocean has become and it drying up more each passing day. This small feeder creek is only a mile or so from Blue River and that is most concerning. Now...this little creek may be considered an annual waterway but it's a waterway no less. Our water is slowly going away.

Chris Adams had a good day Sunday weighing in and winning the heaviest stringer fly fishing. Now Chris is quite the angler and I don't now how many of these derby plaques he has on his wall now...probably ten or more. You can always count on Chris to make a showing for the fly fishing community at Blue River.

Now on the subject of anglers I don't know if there are any that compare to the Flynn brothers of Sherman, Texas. For the last several years running one or the other Flynn's have won the overall trout derby and this year it was Shawn with over seventeen pounds as a total stringer. And...his brother Roger weighed in the heaviest trout for the derby.

And then there is Mr. Cody and with Cody is Tyler McColloum another fine and disciplined outdoorsman. When I look at these two young men I know I'm looking at the future of Blue River. These boys know what the words outdoor ethics mean and they practice it with a fervor.

The next trout derby will be in February and yes I'll be there. I'll buy a ticket like I always do just to support the derby and hope I can contribute in some other ways. As far as competing in the future derbies...I'm certainly going to try but it's not getting any easier for some like me. Heck, like I said last year I reached my goal as far as the competing in the derby with my name on Susie's award just one time. However, there is another goal I would like to pursue. I would like to see a younger fly fishing crowd join in on the derby competitions. And when I say younger, that is probably anyone that is forty years old or younger. Now that leaves a lot of wiggle room, so all you guy's and gal's born in the seventies or later be thinking about it. Carry on the tradition for the fly fishing community.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Answer My Friend

For many fishing, the November 2008 trout derby on Saturday, the answer my friend was left blowing in the wind. However, there were a few that preservered the rough and raw conditions and made a good showing for the fly fishing community.

For Carol and I, our trip to the trout derby begin on Friday night to stay with Chris Adams in his camper located in Area 2. Chris is the most gracious host and a lot of fun to spend time with so we both were looking forward to our visit. As it turns out our stay with Chris, along with seeing some of the others like Ralph, Larry, Donn, Jamie and Mark would be the highlight of our weekend.

Of course we couldn't drive by Scotty's without stopping for a Scotty burger and as always Scotty's dog Dumbass was standing guard at the front door. Now, I don't know if Dumbass is one name or if Dumb is his first name and Ass his last. What I do know is that's what Scotty has always called him. Dumbass is a friendly sort and spends his days at Scotty's store or chasing cars. He seems intent on following Scotty to work everyday, chasing Scotty's truck when Scotty goes to get a visual at the river and then everyday when Scotty gets back from the golf course, Dumbass catches a ride in the back of Scotty's truck going home to await another day.

Scotty's dog isn't the only dog around Blue River. Lot's of folks bring their best friend.

After devouring our burgers we arrived at the campsite and Chris met us at the door where he properly announced that dinner was almost ready. And, the guys next door, whom Chris had met the night before were also cooking. Now the head cook of this clan was Raymond and Raymond was scurrying around the campsite like Ricochet Rabbit. I commented to Raymond about his busy-ness and cooking and he replied, "This is what I live for." In other words Raymond likes to cook and man can he ever. Two of his delights were campfire potatoes and fried catfish and then Chris brought over his game hens so we had us a dan dan dandy smorgasbord. Carol and I managed to woof this food down on top of the Scotty burger. We were tight as ticks.

Now, a lot of people come to Blue River for a lot of reasons. Like I said, some come just to camp and spend time with their furry friends. Other come to show their support for their favorite team, listening to the game on the radio or watching it on the boob tube. Then...there are some that get to Blue River is a different fashion. I've seen a lot of things on Blue River in the years past but I believe this is the first time I ever saw anyone go camping and bring their eighteen wheeler. Different strokes, right?

For Carol and I the derby was a short lived affair. The wind was really bitter and Carol's hand just simply couldn't take it. She would end up in the prairie schooner or next to a campfire most of the day and I pretty well stayed with her. I kept telling myself that Sunday would be a better day but Sunday would never come for me because of a phone call I received telling me to come to work Sunday morning. That's okay though, I'm thankful to have a job.

My litte buddy Cody did okay for himself and I got to watch him land this bow. As a matter of fact I was helping Cody scout three big bows in a particular stretch of water. Donn Rist and his grandson had also made it to this place and got to watch Cody battle the bow. I told Donn there were two more bows left and he decided to fish for them but another angler almost walked on top of Donn trying to get there first. This angler took the second bow and then I left to let Donn have his try. Donn got the third one!!! Donn's bow weighed four pounds four ounces and would win him the heavy trout fly fishing award for Saturday and was just four ounces shy of being the heaviest trout caught all weekend. Congrats Donn!

The sun popped out late Saturday afternoon but the north wind was still bitterly cold

The river was clear as a bell but quite low. I heard a large number of people comment on how low the river has become and this can effect your fishing if you're use to fishing a particular stretch a particular way.

Like I said, Carol and I had planned on fishing the flats but the flats were a very popular place all day long as you can see by this picture.

Donn Rist and his grandson started fishing at Seventeen and I checked Seventeen out where I saw the two of them. But, I do believe the wind was worse here compared to any other place on the river. It was whitecaps I tell you.

My rod stayed under the windshield wiper more than in my hand Saturday. That's fishing for you sometimes.

Chris Adams decided to fish below Chimney Falls on the far side and the fishing for Chris was quite slow. However, he did manage four bows for the day and that included stopping for breakfast and then taking a morning nap. Not bad Chris.

Larry and his running mate Ralph, both from Gainseville joined Chris at Chimney Falls and the fishing was slow for both of them also. I did see Larry take a bow on a sparkle pupa I believe.

No, that's not the Uni-bomber...that's Ralph James.

Although the fishing was slow for most there was one fly fisher that had a good day, a very good day. I saw this chap early in the morning standing chest deep in the river at the sandbar. I do believe he stood there all day until the weigh-in at 3:00 p.m. Ted Meador is from Denton, Texas and he weighed in the heaviest stringer fly fishing with five pounds and six ounces. Congratulations to Ted!