Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome To Blue River Landing

It was just two weeks ago that I penned an article entitled, "The Four Best Outdoor Towns In Oklahoma." In that article I listed Tishomingo as one of the four and asked the question, "If Tishomingo can do one thing to enhance the outdoor experience for the outdoor community, what would it be?" The answer I gave was... cabins!

Today, lo and behold, I find out about Blue River Landing which is a charming, rustic log cabin on the banks of Blue River just downstream and only minutes away from the public fishing and hunting area.

Blue River Landing is a four bedroom, two bath cabin that will offer a wonderful lodging and outdoor experience to the traveler. The cabin will sleep up to 8 adults with extra room for the kiddies. Being located on the banks of beautiful Blue River, the experience of staying here will last long after your stay is over.

In addition to a wonderful cabin experience, kayaking and meal packages are also available upon request.

To see pictures, find out more, or book a reservation visit Blue River Landing. Or, you can call 405-808-5870 or 580-443-6087.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Times Have Changed

In reading the classifieds of the local newspaper this week, I noticed a couple of garage sales advertising "old" fishing stuff. So... I had to go you know.

The first garage sale was a big disappointment. The only fishing stuff I found was three plugs and they certainly weren't old by any means. I left this place in rather short fashion and drove about two miles down the road to the next sale touting fishing stuff. Here... it was a little different story. Of course I was looking for fly fishing stuff but struck out in that department, but I did find two bait casting reels that were forty to fifty years old. Now, I really don't have any use for bait casting reels but I do like to collect anything fishing as long as it's fairly aged. I figured the guy wanted ten bucks or better for each so when he said, "I'll take a dollar for 'em", I threw my money down and started to run. Again, bait casting reels hold hardly anything for me since I strictly fly fish, but they can be passed down to a grandchild or maybe there's a fishing museum out there that will be interested.

As I was trotting to the car after stealing these reels, something else caught my eye. It was a 1909 Sears and Roebuck catalog. Actually, it was a 1979 reprint of a 1909 Sears and Roebuck catalog. I stopped long enough to thumb through this book and there in black and white was the outdoor section... and the guy only wanted a dollar for the book... so I threw another dollar down and ran like crazy this time.

Back home I turned to page 315 and it is here that we can see that in 1909 we could have purchased a number of split bamboo fly rods for mere dollars. Sears bottom line bamboo was the Acme that measured 9 1/2 to 10 feet in length and sold for the mail order price of... 82 cents. That's right, 82 cents.

Next was their special Willowemock bamboo rod for just $1.50 and it was also 9 1/2 to 10 feet in length. And then there was there Sunday Pocket Fly Rod that was a six piece rod outfit with two tip sections and you could sack this puppy up for $2.85.

Can you imagine coming in possession of one of these 1909 bamboo rods, offered by Sears and Roebuck, complete with original paperwork and any other packaging? What would such a prize be worth today?

On page 316 was there selection of fly reels and only two were listed. One was the Carlton Ideal Reel and it was offered for the incredible price of 85 cents... which is less than the cup of coffee I buy each morning.

If the Carlton didn't suit you, you could have acquired one of those automatic retrieve jobbers in the form of the Kelson for just a couple of dollars more... total price actually was $3.25. Bells and whistles do cost a little more.

I guess I find it most amazing how little things use to cost, and how the people that made them could make any money. Seems like the world truly has went and got in a big damn frenzied rush, where we fixate on turning product (usually inferior), and turning that dollar... day in, day out, twenty-four hours solid.

Sad thing actually.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moments In Nature

Today the prairie ocean and beyond lost a good friend. Now, you may not have known him by name or in person, but still I think you know him because just like many of you he was a man of nature... a man of water.

His name was John Bruno of Tishomingo. For a good number of years, John helped lead the fight to first save, and then manage the resources of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer. John approached the issue in a quieter, more intelligent way, and that seem to be his trademark... at least to me.

In passing, John asked that "those wishing to pay respects should, at their convenience, go to a river, creek or lake and observe 15 minutes of silence while marveling in mother nature."

I can not think of a more admirable way in the paying of respects. Next time you are on the water please take the time to remember a man who spoke for the things, which couldn't speak on their own.

John also asked for the support of TREES in lieu of flowers.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Down Season

With the temperatures and heat indices going well over one hundred now, it's time to lay low, lay down the fur and feather, and turn attention to other matters.

I haven't fished for two weeks now and miss it terribly, but I also understand what my body tells me so I'm going on vacation for several months.

The down season will actually be good for other things such as fly tying and then there's the manuscript. When work on this manuscript first started, I knew it could be finished in little time at all, but on second thought a work rushed is a work cheated. So... time will be invested in this project and hopefully, when finished, it will attract the attention of some publisher out there. If not, then there is always plan B. It took Tolstoy ten years to finish War and Peace, so if it takes three to six months to finish this manuscript... everything will seem somewhat relative.

Another project I'm working on is converting the prairie schooner into what I intend it always to be. I have a strategy for this upcoming trout season at Blue and that strategy involves how to make the best of my time on Blue at a most affordable cost. So, I am laying a plan to turn the schooner into a worst case scenario overnight lodging vehicle, or in a best case scenario the home on the range that a schooner was intended to serve as. Most important is the list. That list of stuff you always need to have packed, and of course that list of stuff that you always seem to leave one item off of. If my strategy works, I will be able to leave the workplace on most Friday's and spend that night, fish Saturday, spend Saturday night, and fish Sunday until late in the day. I think I will actually have more fly time with this new plan.

Part of my strategy stems from wanting a Hummer experience and having a used-car budget. It seems that when I hit my last birthday I started looking at my future somehow differently and now find myself fixated on being totally out of debt, owing to no one or no entity, in the next couple of years. In accomplishing this, it has required the doubling up on things which certainly makes extra spending money skimp. But, the trade off should be worth it.

Hope my plan works.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Help With Polls

In the upper right corner of this blog you will see two new polls. The Prairie Ocean Journal will certainly participate your involvement in these polls. The polls are for research and possible marketing. One poll is about loss of outdoor gear with the other about carrying a GPS.

Thanks everyone.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Four Best Outdoor Towns In Oklahoma

Back in May of 2009, Ed Godfrey, sports editor for the Daily Oklahoman penned an article about the four best outdoor towns in Oklahoma. Godfrey's article was in response to an article from Outdoor Life on the same subject. The folk at Outdoor Life picked their four towns based on socio-economic stuff such as available schools, median income, home values, and employment. Godfrey thought that the selection criteria should be based more on hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation resources... and so do I.

Although I like all of Godfrey's selections I think there are some towns that are simply quite better. Therefore, through the Prairie Ocean Journal, here are our four best outdoors towns in Oklahoma.

Number one has to be Broken Bow. Now Ed admitted he was somewhat bias in his selection of Eufala since that's where he's from and I'm also biased about my two selections in south-central Oklahoma. But, a spade is a spade and Broken Bow comes out on top in spite of my loyalties to other towns. Broken Bow is home to the Lower Mountain Fork river, the blue ribbon trout stream of Oklahoma. Also, Broken Bow Lake yielded the state record largemouth bass. The entire area around Broken Bow is absolutely beautiful and there are three Wildlife Management Areas with Little River, Honobia, and Three Rivers. When it comes to overall hunting, Broken Bow has to be near the top of the list with excellent deer, turkey, and waterfowl hunting. There are also a large number of ATV trails in the Quachita National Forest and within an hour of Broken Bow there are tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities available. What I like best about Broken Bow is how the community and surrounding area has shaped itself to accommodate the outdoorsman. The rustic and secluded cabin lodging around the Broken Bow area is very impressive.

Number two is Sulphur. Although I am somewhat bias, Sulphur can stand on it's own with the opportunities it has in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and Lake of the Arbuckles. As far as camping, there is no better place in Oklahoma than the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. And, the Lake of the Arbuckles is always at the top of the list as far as largemouth and smallmouth fishing and could very well yield a new state record. Several public hunting areas around Arbuckle also provides excellent hunting for deer, turkey, and there are good opportunities for waterfowl Within ten minutes of Sulphur, outdoor enthusiasts can be at Turner Falls, the number one outdoor recreation attraction in Oklahoma. Camping and fishing is available at Turner Falls and the Crossbar Ranch arm of Turner Falls offers ATV riding. For wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers, and trail hikers, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a mecca. Within thirty minutes of Sulphur, anglers can be on Lake Murray which is a great fishery of it's own. So, it's easy to see why Sulphur comes in at number two.

If Sulphur wants to move up to the number one spot then community leaders should focus on an increased outdoor gear retail presence. With the exception of one retailer, there is very little available as far as outdoor gear. The outdoor recreation retail industry has become very specialized over the years and there is good opportunity to make money retailing in this business. Over the years Sulphur has done an excellent job in catering to the outdoorsman, but the one lacking spot is lack of available outdoor gear selection.

Also, a more aggressive posture in promoting outdoor events such as more fishing tournaments, archery tournaments, Dutch oven cook-offs, or perhaps field trial competitions for the game bird enthusiasts, should be pursued.

The offering of outdoor skill classes through the community education program in Sulphur would be another good option. Classes would be basic such as Beginning Campfire Cooking, or Introduction To Fly-Fishing, or Basic Hunting Classes. By teaching people outdoor skills, we create ranks of outdoor enthusiasts for years to come, and generally the outdoor community promotes the towns they live in.

Number three is Tishomingo. Yeah, I'm really showing my bias now, but just like Sulphur, Tishomingo can stand on it's own. Tishomingo is home to Blue River, the number one winter trout fishery in Oklahoma. Blue River is not only a wonderful winter fishery but an excellent all around fishing offering spring, summer and fall fishing opportunities for native bass, pan fish, and catfish. Hunting is also available at Blue River and the entire Johnston County area has been known as the "Sportsman Paradise" for many years, with it's large deer population, turkey and waterfowl opportunities. In addition, Tishomingo is home to the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge and within that system is Cumberland Pool. Now Ed Godfrey touted Eufala as the best crappie fishery in Oklahoma and due to it's sheer size I can't argue that it's not. However, based on quality of crappie, size, and numbers surface acre to surface acre, I argue that Cumberland Pool is the best crappie fishery in Oklahoma. Besides, Cumberland Pool has the potential of giving up a new state record catfish at any given time. For the bird and wildlife enthusiast, this wildlife refuge is a Camelot since it serves as a resting home for migratory waterfowl.

What can Tishomingo do to climb the ladder to the number one spot? Cabins! Over a good number of years the number one request for information we get through the Prairie Ocean Journal is, "Where can I rent a cabin near Blue River?" Unfortunately, the presence of available rustic and secluded lodging is simply not available. The outdoor community prefers to lodge in the rustic confines of a cabin rather than a commercial lodging facility. There is tremendous potential in the development of cabins within close proximity of Blue River and such an under-taking will propel Tishomingo closer to the number one spot.

Number four has to be Durant. How can anyone argue with Lake Texoma, the most popular lake Oklahoma has to offer. Lake Texoma offers tremendous outdoor recreation in the form of camping, fishing, boating and water sports, wildlife, and hunting opportunities. The lodging available around Lake Texoma is tremendous and for those in the party who are not outdoor enthusiast, but come along for the trip, Durant offers a wide variety of "things to do".

Is there anything Durant can do to climb to number one? I think not... they've done it all and done a very good job at it. Durant and Lake Texoma's problem is it's popularity. Quite simply, sometimes bigger is not better. Many in the outdoor community go to the outdoors to get away, rather than go to the crowds and hustle and bustle. Lake Texoma and Durant will remain a most popular spot, but that in itself can prevent it from ever being the perfect outdoor town.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ohhh... The Fun Of It All!

What do you get when you take a four-wheeler, two man bass boat, several cold beers, and two passionate fishermen? You get one hell'ava fun afternoon!

Curt and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to fish in the month of July. The sky was completely overcast and threatening of rain and the temperature was a good ten to fifteen degrees below normal. Perfect!!!

We went to a special secret place to fish and since it's a secret I, of course, cannot tell you of it's whereabouts. This water is only about an acre in size but it runs fairly deep and extremely clear. It is reminding of a beaver pond and evidently it serves as a very rich food source for the watery inhabitants because the fish within are some wild and crazy guys! And the fishing? It was pretty crazy too... no, no... the fishing was absolutely insane.

Before I could hardly start to think about battling fish, Curt caught three on his first three casts. The dos amigos came today because we thought we might be on some really big bluegill, but as it turned out it was the Rock Bass that were dominating the pan fish action. I shortly found the water they were congregating in and with a white streamer the action begin. Some of these Rock Bass were actually huge... almost wall-hangers.

We wore their butts out and it was literally fish after fish. After kicking ass on the Rock Bass they started laying low and the Black Bass decided they wanted a little ass kickin' too (since they seen the Rockies having so much fun).

The dos amigos were good to grant their wishes and continued with the onslaught of bass ass kickin' with just about everything we tied on. It didn't really matter as to size or color, but that's not to say some patterns worked better than others.

The frenzy of fishing continued and the bigger boys came forward as a chivalrous gesture since their smaller brothers was taking such a kickin. Well... we kicked butt on them too!

I can't remember how many different patterns I tied on but it was a lot. The white streamer and Clouser seemed to be favored offerings however.

The rain drops were falling on our heads and when the precip started the fishing seemed to slow somewhat so we called it a day at this special little water.

Curt hooked on to the boat and pulled it out only to unhook again so we could four-wheel over to his feeding station and deer stand. Once we got to the feed station, we spooked a wild hog who been helping himself to a gourmet supper at the stand. Through the drift from Curt I would say that ol' porker's number is coming up soon.

It was a fun day and I have to thank Curt for inviting me. He's kinda like that though, seems to always accommodate me probably because I am getting closer to that status of growing longer in the tooth and grayer in the muzzle. It always fun fishing with Curt also because he usually buys the beer.

Curt has this land leased for hunting right now and he hopes to buy it someday. I sure hope he can because if he does... he will be a rich young man. Perhaps not rich in money, but wealthy in the rewards this special little water and the habitat it sits in will bring him and his children in the days ahead.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Perfect Method

Last night I was reading one of the better fly-fishing blogs that is available these days. The author is a gifted lady that seems to have a real passion for the fur and feather.

Her latest blog entry was a report on a fly-fishing trip to Montana. Seems like the outing was one of those days all of us have had at one time or another. A long day if you will, where the trout are extremely hard to figure out and quite stubborn in their insistence of ignoring our offerings.

The author speaks highly of her guide calling him the hardest working man in fly-fishing and it does indeed appear the guy worked his south-side off trying to increase productivity.

The guide, after pulling trick after trick out of his magic vest, resorted to what the author refers to as a super-funky rig. Quite simply, the method involved dead-drifting a streamer with a much smaller nymph pattern trailing. Sure enough it wasn't too long until, ka-Ching, the outing started battling more trout.

I found this part of the report most interesting because dead-drifting a streamer with a smaller fly trailing, is a method I've been using for quite a long time on Blue with good success. As a matter of fact... it's become my favorite method of battling the bows.

Usually the streamer is always a bugger and most of the time it's an olive color, but brown and black also work quite well. As far as trailers used, the list continues to grow. Of the trailers I've used my favorite is the soft hackle category with the partridge and orange ruling. Other favored patterns include the pheasant tail, hare's ear, scud, zug bug, prince nymph, crackleback, san juan worm red, and san juan worm claret. The possibilities, at times, seem to be many.

Just thinking of the times I've used this method has me growing ever more excited about this trout season at Blue. The days are passing quickly my friends, and soon we will be casting the fur and feather to the bows of Blue.