Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dear Carp - The Milestone Day

Dear Carp,

Yesterday was March 28th.  That date most likely holds no significance for you my friends, but in my life and the life of Charlie... it certainly does.

Three years ago yesterday marks the date that Charlie and me decided to pursue conversation with you and your kinship and do so in the most passionate way.  It was March 28th, 2010 when I caught my first carp, by way of fly, and doing so with a passion burning inside me.  A few days later, Charlie caught his first carp on the fly with the same burning passion. 

Both of us, Charlie and me, had come to converse with you and your kind many years prior.  But, we didn't come into that exchange with any passion at all to seek further talks.  My first conversation with your lot, by way of fly, came in 2004.

It unfortunately took a downturn life event for Charlie and me alike, at about the about the same time, for us to come to agreement that we needed a great challenge, a great diversion, something that would bring us passion.  My friends... you were that great challenge... that great diversion... the creature that would grow a passion so immense that it would come to dominant our thoughts. 

To mark this great event in Charlie's and my life, I came to you yesterday in hopes of having conversation with one of your kind.  If I was successful, I would tell the story I just shared with the lot of you.  You, my friends, saved Charlie and me.  You rejuvenated, inspired, led us to the great challenge we so badly needed.  You... possibly saved us from declining further in the muck that living life can sometimes bring. 

Thank you.

I would share my story with one of your kind.  He was such a tender babe... a sweetest child and a unique member of the grand order of the Mirror.

After sharing my story with the sweet babe, I returned him to unite once again with family.  Then, I hoped to find more conversation with your lot. 
The weather changed on me as the temperature started to drop so I put on an extra layer of clothing.  My hopes were to find additional members of your community to carry on talks, but other species, that share your home, had other ideas.
The Drum that share your home were quite interested in my offerings as I come to meet a couple of these feisty fellows.  The perch, those pick-pockets of the prairie ocean, were also quite interested and we also had some good chin-chins.
The most pleasant surprise of the afternoon, and a milestone in this fly fishers life, was the connection and conversation with yet another sweet and tender child.
On this day, March 28th, a day I come to celebrate the passion I have for you... I established another milestone in my fly fishing life by holding a chat with my first Redhorse Sucker by way of fly. 
Such a sweet and gentle babe he was. 
A grand day my friends... a grand day! 
They say the rain is on the way.  Let it pour sweet beasts, let it pour.  We can catch up later.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blue River Redhorse Sucker Club

One of the most difficult freshwater species to catch is the Redhorse Sucker - a species I would say that is every bit as difficult to catch, if not more, than the carp by way of fly. 

However, it seems in the not-so-recent past a handful of exclusive fly fishers at Blue River have pulled-off the feat of catching the Redhorse Sucker.

Upon suggesting they celebrate their unique accomplishment by forming a Redhorse Sucker club... they did just that. 

Founding members are Scott Spradling, Michael Mercurio, Scott Dittner, Russell Rutledge, David Dillow, and Mike Littrell.

I love the idea of this new club because it speaks of the diversity in fishing that Blue River has to offer.  Most of us often get caught up so much in trout season that we forget that Blue River is an all-around great fishery offering a number of species including the elusive Redhorse Sucker.  This club also speaks of the diversity that can be accomplished with a fly rod and fly.

I'm just a bit jaded right now because these guys have some pretty cool t-shirts in the works - t-shirts that are coming on a pretty sweet deal pulled off by Russell. 

So, if you see some guys carrying fly rods in the future sporting a t-shirt with the pic of a Redhorse Sucker on it... then know you are in some pretty unique company. 

Design by Russell Rutledge

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Carp - March 19th, 2013

Dear Carp,

My friends, my visits to you seem to be less frequents these days.  It's a matter of work I must tell you.  My kind is a funny lot.  We work to reward ourselves with things that are appealing to our senses.  Once we acquire the things we desire we see even more things we covet and we work even more.  Before we know it, we work, work, and work failing to remember the things that truly bring us pleasure. 

You home is looking quite poorly and I am growing more concerned for you.  The current has little flow and it looks to stop soon unless the rain comes.  There is a chance for that this week and let us pray the winds push the rain to this southern sea of the grand prairie ocean. 

If the rain is not enough and the flow stops then the food washing down to you will also stop.  I will keep a close eye on your condition.  If you need food I will bring you corn from a can, sweet feed from a bag, take bran and sweeten it with strawberry pop as the old salts say they once did. 

What I can't do for you is bring you rain - that is the creator's job.  What I can do is pray to the creator to let the rain come.

I met one of the citizens in the commune known as Big Well Springs.  He was a crackerjack of your kind, feisty and full of fight for being such a young one. 

I recorded his image with my memory maker and noticed how in the battle he had wrapped my leader around his pectoral fin and tangled it in the dorsal.  After preserving his image I grabbed my leader to untangle the chap, but he became alarmed and flopped breaking off the gift I had offered him.  He shouldn't be hard to spot now with a black curiosity with red tail in his lip as an adornment. 

Charlie has sent you another postcard.  He is spending his time at the grand pasture that bears his name and your kin there is still favoring the worm. 
I may come check on you today if time allows.  The rain is schedule to arrive in two days and I hope it will indeed come and stay around for a good while.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dear Carp - The Rain Dance Carp

Dear Carp,

The promised rain begin shortly after daybreak this morning.  It was an event I have been excitingly waiting for.  However, the rain came in a fashion that certainly was not a princely sum, but rather paltry - a mere pittance. 

It was disappointing to say the least, and I found further disappointment being held captive at the mercantile store having to work my seventh day straight. 

It's funny how my mind works sometime.  I found myself devising a way to excuse myself from the workplace in order to come visit you and at the same time a way to make the rain pour.  I reasoned that if I would come in hopes of a conversation with one of your lot, then the sky would certainly open and the rain would pour.

So, around mid-morning I informed my fellow co-workers that I would be taking a long break and once I returned there would be a grand tale of a chin-chin with a fine carp who would make a rain dance.

At the threshold of your doorstep at Honey Hole, it was easy to see that conditions were terribly bad in any hope of striking a conversation this morning.  The sky was completely overcast, there was a steady drizzle, and a constant and strong chop on the water.  The glare from the partially lit sky is the worst kind of glare and it made seeing your kind hard for a man who doesn't see well to begin with.

I did spot several of your community and presented them with my offering in the form of a Creek Critter.  This morning it was the same as the other day.  The gift would fall just inches away and in front and to the side of these citizens, but they could not find the fly once they reached it. 

With the strong chop on the water, I decided to leave this pasture and look for a wind-break at another.  At the pasture we call Lower Well Springs, I found such a wind-break. 

Here, the first two citizens acted like the earlier ones and come to the fly, but swam over it.  So, I changed my offering to the mutated Creek Critter, which is a cross between the Creek Critter and Curiosity. 

I looked for a community member to show it to and it wasn't long until I found such a subject.  This gentleman had no problem seeing my gift and rushed to claim his prize.  I kept our conversation short knowing I had to get back to the mercantile store, and sometimes to-the-point talks are quite alright. 

This dandy and fine young man took me through a real mess of organic build-up and it was quite a messy affair.

Upon releasing this fellow I expected the rain to begin pouring... but it did not.  Sometimes, I think I let my mind trick me and my optimism is too grand.  I was sure this fellow was the rain dance carp. 
My tour of duty at the mercantile store is now done, and as I am finishing this letter to you the thunder is rolling and the rain is beginning to build.  The thunder builds, the rain builds.  Let the celebration begin.
Thank you rain dance carp.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dear Carp - March 7th, 2013

Dear Carp,

Unfortunately I did not get to pay you a visit today.  It was a fine day too.  There is a nature festival coming up - a celebration of outdoor life, and I had a meeting to attend with the organizers. 

Charlie, however, was out and about visiting your brothers and sisters at the pasture that bears his name - Charlie's Pasture. 

He sent a postcard... actually two.  One is a picture of your brethren and the other is the gift the lad liked.  I will share both with you.

It's amazing to me how Charlie can take a simple worm with no weight and put your brothers and sisters into a spellbound state.  He's very good at doing this. 
Of course I hope to come see you in the coming days, but I would much rather the rain arrive and would be more than willing to forgo our talks for the rain.  Rain is what we need now, our chit-chats can wait until later.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Carp - March 6th, 2013

Dear Carp,

Finally my friends, finally.  I could not wait to get home to write you this letter.  It's good news I think. 

One the front page of the local newspaper this morning was an article that speaks directly to the desecration of your home.  I'm talking about the trash of course.

It seems others have also taken notice and one lady in particular has raised her voice in public forum loud enough to capture attention.  I contacted her right away, jumped on the opportunity... like a duck on a June bug. 

She returned my contact and asked if I would willing to make a presentation regarding the trash problem on your home place Rock Creek.  Of course I said yes and I want you to know I will represent you well, and passionately speak for cleaner woods and water. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 

On another subject I have something else to share with you. 

This past Saturday I was at the river Blue taking part in One Fly 2013.  Yes... I know, I was spending time with the pretty fish. Without offending you more, I must say it was a most enjoyable experience and it was for a very good cause. 

While I was there, a man named Walker Hairston presented me with a most pleasing gift.  Walker handed me a notebook adorned with a painting by James Prosek.  I'm sending you a postcard of the notebook.

I know, I know... that's a painting of a pretty fish, and I agree with you completely that James should consider doing a notebook with a painting of your kind.  Let's just see how that goes.  Okay?
Anyhow, what I really want to share with you is that my first thought was to make Walker's gift a part of my archive of treasured fly fishing gifts.  But, then I thought that an empty notebook would seem somewhat lacking, naked, a waste.  Therefore, I have decided to make this notebook a miniature journal of our visits with one another this season. 
On Monday, when I came a'calling, I made my first journal entry.  Of course I am hopeful there will be many more recordings and someday my children or their children will discover this journal and explore the words within. 
The rain is coming this weekend.  Let us all hope it comes in an abundant fashion.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear Carp - March 4th, 2013

Dear Carp,

Today was a cookie cutter of yesterday, but only nicer since there was much less wind.  I deemed it a perfect afternoon to come a-calling. 

Charlie must have thought the same thing because he has sent me a postcard to share with you.  It's a postcard of one of your brothers that lives in a pasture downstream. 

Charlie sent out an offering in the form and fashion of one said San Juan Worm to this brother and the brother... liked the worm.

I chose a neutral color offering today but you couldn't seem to find this color as you come to it several times.  I believe the fly was becoming camouflaged in the thick mat of algae that has taken root at your home.
So, I moved downstream a little and tied on an offering with a yellow wing and rust brown body.   There was a herd of your kind about 25 feet out and with a backhanded roll cast I sent my gift to these beeves. 
As soon as the fly hit the water, one of your community members nose-dived for the fly.  I lost sight of both fish and fly and then went on yet another gut hook-set based on the time I thought was appropriate.  We had a nice talk, me and this guy did.
This citizen was a rowdy type of fellow, splashing water on the lens of my memory maker.  That's okay however, because water dries doesn't it? 
I learn from you each time I come my friends.  On my last several visits I took note of how you notice me shaking line out of the end of the rod when I hold it waist high or higher.  I took note how this scares you so now I shake line out the end of my rod with the rod tip down.  Then, I lift the rod tip ever slow slowly. 
Thank you for the lessons you have taught me and will continue to teach. 
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dear Carp - March 3rd, 2013

Dear Carp,

It has been a long time since my last visit.  I could offer a number of excuses for my absence - strange weather, tough work schedule, the One Fly tournament, and other reasons, but I will not bother you with any of my alibis. 

Today didn't seem like a good day to visit you with the strong wind that would give you the advantage of the chop on the water.  But, in spite of the wind it was a nice and unseasonably warm day so I simply couldn't resist.

I could see members of your community, or at least their images, but would not be able to see my offerings sucked. 

Seeing another one of your younger members I sent out a yellow bellied Creek Critter.  The young one moved toward it and then it was all gut feeling for me.  The Critter found the youngster's mouth and our conversation was on. 

The young lad had a lot of fight to him and in our talks today he became entangled in some limbs and evidently damaging himself somewhat.  Hopefully the battle scar will heal quickly.
I am quite concerned about the condition of your home.  The creek is ever lowering and the algae is taking over.  There is a good chance for significant rain soon and it is my prayer the rain finds you. 
I will keep hoping my friends.
Prairie Ocean Fly Fisher

One Fly 2013 A Blast

On a cold and almost bitter Saturday morning at Blue River, twenty brave souls faced the elements by tying on a size 14 bead head olive Bird's Nest and waded into the cold pleasures of the river. 

One Fly 2013 was on. 

One contestant was for sure he knew the identity of the mystery fly ahead of time and sure enough Jeramy Sellers walked away with the river thermometer as a prize for guessing the pattern. 

While the hardy twenty was experiencing numb hands, legs, and tingling extremities, I must admit I felt a little guilty guarding the camp fire.  Harold Beck, Michael Mercurio, Charlie Wright and yours truly stayed behind in case a contestant wanted to check-in early.  I think our expectation was that someone would catch one of the trophy-size trout that are still in the river. 

Harold Beck, the man I call the godfather of fly fishing at Blue River, served as the master of ceremonies for One Fly 2013 and as always Harold did a bang-up job. 

The Forrester boys from Forrestburg, Texas begin cooking the One Fly lunch around 6 a.m.  These two guys absolutely worked non-stop until shortly before 1 p.m. when Vernon announced it was lunch time.  One thing for sure is that Vernon can cook like no tomorrow and his cooking wagon is pretty awesome.

The food alone was well worth the entry fee for One Fly 2013.  We enjoyed stuffed pork loin, camp fire beans, Cowboy Potatoes, smoked sausage and cabbage, pecan cobbler, beer bread and more.  Early on, Vernon fixed the best coffee cake creation I have ever tasted. 
Shortly after the noon hour the contestants begin trickling in ready for lunch.  Mercurio begin adding up the score cards and it was time for Matt Gamble to hold a question and answer session.  Matt, gave a most informative presentation updating everyone what was going on with Blue River, the Arbuckle Simpson aquifer and the future of fishing at Blue.  He fielded a number of questions mainly about extending the "catch and release status" of the catch and release area at Blue.
After Matt's presentation, Vernon announced it was time for lunch and the chow line begin to form.
After lunch, it was time for the give-away part of One Fly 2013.  James Webster would walk away with the not-so-prestigious re-purposed fly rod and reel toilet paper holder.  After winning, James decided this award needs to be a traveling award and given to a new contestant each year so next One Fly he's bringing it back.  Many thanks to Van Stacey for crafting this work of fine art.
Now, it was time for Harold Beck to announce the winners and he and Charlie Wright presented framed certificates and the prize awards.
After some confusion where we had Dan Ham as second and Jeramy Sellers as third place we got everything straightened out. 
After the smoke cleared, Dan Ham of Dallas, Texas was declared winner of One Fly 2013 with 27 points.
Jeramy Sellers of Ada, Oklahoma came in second with a score of 25 points. 
Taking third place was Chris "The Machine" Adams with 21 points and in all the confusion we failed to get a picture of Chris mainly because he was standing their like a knot on a log with his hands in his pockets not realizing he'd won. 
Congratulations to all the winners.
One Fly 2013 was inspiring to me for a number of reasons.  I saw familiar faces from last year's One Fly, met new faces, saw fly fishers that ranged from teenage years to those in my autumn-like status.  They say you're judged by the company you keep and the company at One Fly 2013 was a class act lot. 
The participants in One Fly 2013 deserve all the credit and are owed a big thank you for raising $1,160.00 that will now be delivered to Matt Gamble for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife for the trout fishing program at Blue River.