Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Awesome Blue River Fly Classic

It was awesome.  Awesome weather, awesome company, awesome food, and more awesome.

Twenty-two teams struck out early on Saturday morning to pursue the rainbow trout of Blue River using a size 16 Rainbow Warrior pattern.  In the end, three fly fishing anglers would endure the hardships of extremely clear water, gusting winds, and some very savvy trout, to go on and take the top three places in the competition. 

The awesomeness of the whole event began the evening before.  On Friday night, a group of two dozen or more gathered around the campfire.  On the menu was some darn good burgers grilled over mesquite by Michael Mercurio.  There was also baked beans, chips, picante sauce, smoked sausages, cheese, and some rather good mustard sauces prepared by Dan Ham.  Of course the beer was flowing and I'm pretty sure I lost my beer about twenty-six times during the evening.

Then... there was the entertainment.  Byron Dowd, Chad Yoas, Walker Hairston, and Steve Swenson broke out the stringed boxes and put on an acoustical concert for all present.  I loved every minute of their performance and wanted more and more.  A young chap from the camp next door heard the music, and he would join in on the strumming. 

How long the festivities lasted I can not tell you because I turned in around nine or so.  Just before I hit the sack Vernon Forrester pulled in with his cooking wagon and at that point I knew we were good to go for the next day. 

Vernon, along with his brothers Mark and Michael began cooking early.  They had about 55 people to feed and that takes a lot of work. 

A few contestants came in early due to no luck, the wind, or losing their flies, which is something that can happen quite often on Blue River.  Several teams were out of the competition within the first 30 minutes due to losing their flies on a rock and this is something we're going to address at future events as Chad Yoas suggested we do so.  I think the changes will make for a better tournament.

Around noon a steady flow of contestants were turning in their cards and as Merucurio added the score we sit down to break bread together. 

The score cards revealed that there were about eight anglers that caught trout in the double digit category.  A lot of score cards showed three, four, maybe five fish and some score cards showed less.  It was tough fishing for sure. 

When the score cards were finished the results were announced.  Third place went to Jamie Reed of Ardmore, Oklahoma. 

Second place went to last year's winner Dan Ham of Ada, Oklahoma. 

The winner of the Blue River Fly Classic 2014 would be Scott Dittner of Marlow, Oklahoma.

The winner of guessing the mystery fly game was Jason Williams.  In three years, Jason has correctly guessed the identity of the mystery fly used in our competitions.  Either he is psysic or Mensa... I don't know.

A new award was presented for the first time at the Classic.  The new award established this year is an award for stewardship, dedication, and devotion to Blue River.  Everyone in the Blue River fly fishing family is deserving of this award and over the years many will be awarded this distinction. However, this was the inaugural awarding and the recipient could be only one person - Mr. Harold Beck.  Harold has been with Blue River for 38 years now, introducing many anglers to the river, and teaching fly fishing and tying in college classrooms.  Congratulations to Harold.

There were a number of items to be auctioned off with the proceeds being added to the pot for the wildlife department.  The bamboo rods would go to Jeff Joseph and Michael Mercurio. A wonderful piece of craftsmanship by Jerry and Jeremy Sellers and an artist friend of theirs would raise $275.00.  The creation was certainly one of a kind fly tying material station and the artwork on it was amazing. 

When all was said and done around $2500.00 was raised for the wildlife department in support of the trout fishing program at Blue River.

That's some more awesome. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

10 New Fly Lines

Who among us couldn't use 10 new fly lines?  Here's you a chance to win courtesy of Scientific Anglers.  Go to their Facebook page and hit the like button for a chance to win.

Monday, February 17, 2014

No Camera Blues

As of last Thursday it had been a better part of a month since I had last fly fished.  I could feel myself getting sick from the situation. 

A Thursday trip to Blue resulted in a nice Rainbow trout to my hand and a wonderful meeting with a gentleman from Sherman, Texas.

I was on the river Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday I lost my camera to the depths of the Blue River.  No, I wasn't distraught or mad or anything like that.  This certainly wasn't the first camera or other electronic device I've lost to the waters I fish.

Sunday, I fished Blue in quick fashion and made a mad dash back home to go to Rock Creek for the carp.   Upon getting on the banks of the creek I spotted a really nice carp holding under a fallen tree trunk.  The tree trunk was dead, but still had live limbs sprouting from the trunk.  The fish was at the tip of the tree trunk so I decided to see if I could cast close enough to draw him out.  The first two casts were a little off the mark, but the third cast was dead on.  What a joy to watch a carp swim to a fly and suck it up. 

There I was with one of the nicer carp that I've caught by way of fly rod and fly and I didn't have a camera to take his mug shot. 

One camera coming up later today. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

What The Mystery Fly Can Do For You

Today was a mixed bag of eventful and uneventful experiences.  Here is a synopsis.

Early on - couldn't buy a fish. 

Conditions - the wind was insane. 

Company - fantastic, Roger Allred is one of the most interesting men you'll ever hope to meet. 

After no fish for Roger or yours truly from the sandbar we traveled upstream above the crossing.  I switched to a red midge larva and took the first fish of the day. 

Other patterns that would catch trout would be the Frenchie.

Decided to test drive the mystery fly and here is what the mystery fly can do for you.

Most memorable moment - My dumb butt didn't have a net so Roger volunteered to net this fish.  Roger took the full pledged baptism in the Blue River.  Not just once did he go under, but three times and he came up smiling saying, "We're netting this fish". 
What an awesome guy. 
There are some C&R quality type fish in all of the other parts of the river. 
Believe in the mystery fly all you Blue River Fly Classic contestants. 

Slow Going

It had been almost four weeks since I last had the pleasure of seeing the beautiful little Blue.  It doesn't take rust long to settle in on some of us.  I'm not talking just about rust in our casting or hook-set, but also in the preparation and ritual of going that some of may have established over the years.  Such became quite apparent to me yesterday.

I was almost half way to the river when I realized that the ol' fly rod was still back at the bunkhouse.  No, I didn't cuss or throw a fit.  I simply laughed at myself and did a U-turn in the middle of the highway.  The only things I had lost was a little time and petro. 

When I got to the river there wasn't that many folks fishing.  I drove across Hughes Crossing headed for Ted's Pool.  I encountered a few slick spots going up some hills, but for the most part the roads are quite passable. 

As I was walking down to Ted's Pool, I saw a familiar face in the form and fashion of Ted Meador.  Ted and I chatted a bit and he told me he had only caught one bow at Ted's Pool, which wasn't encouraging because Ted is an excellent angler.

It was slow going.  I had the pink Frenchie under a bugger once again and after two hours I had only brought five trout to hand.  There were three or four other strikes, but that was it for the most part.  Not once did I see any surface activity and the river is the clearest I've ever seen her.  Although I didn't probe the river, the water feels very cold. 

The size 14 pink Frenchie took all five fish, but now looking back I wish I would have went down in size to a 16 or 18.  One other note is that I fished the Frenchie deeper than normal and that seemed to be the only way I would find any fish yesterday. 

When I arrived back at the bunkhouse, the bamboo rods Roger Allgood shipped were on the front porch.  I took them out of their packaging and took some pictures to share.
Here is what I know about the rods.  Roger has had these rods in his possession for 25 to 30 years... he was a little foggy on the exact year.  He purchased both rods while working on a job while in England.  One is an Issak Walton.  The Issak Walton looks to be in excellent shape with beautiful wraps and two tips.  The reel seat is removable and if one chooses the reel seat can be reversed.  The length of the sections are 36 7/8. 
The second rod has no inscription.  The man that Roger purchased this rod from had it custom built.  It also looks to be in excellent shape, but does having some pitting in the cork.  It also has two tips and the lengths of the sections measure 32 5/8.
Of the two, the Issak Walton is certainly the heaviest.  If I was given my personal choice I would have to go with the smaller rod because these days I don't do well with heavy rods.  However, with that being said, I believe the Issak Walton is the real gem. 
These two rods will be up for auction at the Blue River Fly Classic.  Bids have already come in on the Issak Walton.  When I told Roger about the interest in the rods he sounded like a proud papa. 
Here's some pictures... not good pictures, but still they're pictures.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Simple And Rare

For a third of a century I've known that Blue River is a special and unique place.  For almost as many years I've also known that the fly fishing family is quite special.  And, for the last several years I've held a belief that the one pattern fly event we have is growing to be something special in itself.  Saturday, my belief in this was bolstered.

I tromped through the snow Saturday afternoon to the front of the bunkhouse and reached in the mail box.  As I sorted through the mail my eyes suddenly saw a true treasure. 

These days we live in a world of emails, text messages, Facebook, and even blogs like this one.  Hand written letters have become a rarity, but Saturday I had one in my hand. 

The note was from a gentleman I've yet to meet, but somehow feel like I already know him or at least should.  His note was hand written, thoughtful, heartfelt, and ever so precious.  I found this so delightful I want to share it with everyone. 

I don't know what size t shirt Mr. Cash might wear and I'm not quite sure if I'll have an extra shirt left over from the Fly Classic.  If I do, however, one is headed John's way. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Final Steps For The Classic

It has been over two weeks since I last had the pleasure of stepping into the beautiful Blue and chase the Rainbows.  Keeping me from the river is a combination between work and weather.  We are now in recovery where I live from the snow storm that hit us on Sunday and we are bracing for a wave of storms coming our way beginning tonight. 

I'm missing the river so badly, I would welcome a bitter cold day and hard walk up "Heart Attack Hill" in the south wilderness.  However, work is keeping from even doing that.
So, I've been making good use of being weathered in and getting the final few things done for the Blue River Fly Classic.  There is still score cards to be sized and then packed into Ziploc bags along with assorting 100 flies, fixing them on foam, placing them in a sealed cup and also throwing them into the Ziploc bag, along with an ink pen.
Today, I printed the certificates for the top three finishers at the Classic and after work today I will acquire some nice frames for them. 
Still lots to do and as it's looking right now I'll have plenty of idle time to get things done.