Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough

There is an old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going", and perhaps this was quite and acutely illustrated this past weekend by a handful of the fly fishing community at Blue River.

The weather for the 2008 February Trout Derby was raw, bitter, and at times just down right miserable. Pictured are some of those who braved the bitter conditions to fly fish the derby. Not pictured are Ralph James, Gary Bujack, and yours truly who were also willing enough to inflict self-pain on our bodies. Pictured from left to right are Don Rist, Carol Radford, Chris Adams, Ida Gaither, and James Webster.

When Carol and I arrived at Blue River on opening derby day the temperature was thirty-two degrees and it was raining. was cold and wet. If these things weren't enough, the lightning flashes running down the river channel or across current sent us running for safer ground.

For Carol, it was a disappointing adventure. She was excitied about fly fishing the trout derby for the first time and this is a lady with only seven fly fishing excursions under her belt. But, conditions as they were had us both returning to the SUV thirty minutes after entering the water. Our whole weekend would turn out that way having less than four hours of water time in the two day event.

But, I admire Carol for trying. Her hands were the big thing against her. Less than a year ago she had carpal tunnel surgery on her right hand and the other hand is scheduled. Her hands may very well be more senisitive compared to those of us who don't have similiar problems.

Another thing that was against us was just simply newcomer problems. There were tree limbs, rocks that capture hooks, leaders wrapped around rods and so on and so on. And...Carol still remains tentative in her hook-sets. That meekness and shyness cost her at least thirty fish this weekend.

And besides was damn cold and we were wussies.

Ralph James has a motto that says, "Fly fish anwhere anytime", and Ralph stayed true to that mantra by driving up from Gainsville, Texas only to face miserable conditions.

James Webster is another veteran of fly fishing and the trout derbies and he has the plaques to prove it, and yes he too was bracing the elements this weekend just to get to fly fish the derby.

Dateline: Trout Derby Saturday Weigh-In

There wasn't a weigh-in! That's how miserable the weather was and the organizers decided to wait until Sunday in hopes the weather would be better.

However, I can tell you at the end of the day Saturday, Chris Adams was in charge with the heaviest stringer but he had Don Rist hot and heavy on his tag end. Don, decided to split his stringer weighing-in both the heaviest trout for Saturday, (which he won), and the heaviest stringer division which didn't have him far from Chris. But...there was a young lady named Ida Gaither that was just ounces away from taking the lead from Chris the next day. Would she?

Dateline: Trout Derby Sunday

The weather didn't seem as severe as Carol and I left Sulphur enroute to the derby. The ambient temperature was thirty-seven degrees and we found ourselves driving absent of rain. However, the wind was more prevalent which made the wind chill factor more severe than Saturday.

Carol's and my day Sunday was much like Saturday with a lot or problems, missed opportunities, and just feeling miserable. We basically quit around ten that morning. I was disappointed in myself because my mission this derby was to get Carol into some trout and I failed miserably.

Soon, one o'clock rolls in and it's time for the final weigh-in. Chris, being a force to be reckoned with weighed-in a decent showing but would it be enough?

Ahh...she is a young pretty lass and her name is Ida. Now, Ida is certainly not a newcomer to the Blue River trout derbies having won many awards before, but this is the first time I can remember her fly-fishing in the event and well...the girl done good. Ida weighed-in the heaviest stringer for Sunday and edged out everyone else for the overall award.

When you're standing in the wings , as I was, watching the results I guess it's just natural to root for some of mainstays like Chris, Don, Jamie, and Ralph. And...honestly that is how I felt plus I wanted Carol to have a better outing. But, with that being said, it is also refreshing to see someone young and new like Ida keep the interest in fly-fishing fresh. Hopefully, her showing and example will encourage more young people to take up this art of ours.

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