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Category Archive:   Events


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The weekend had been looming in the distance for months. I’d always planned on taking part o the event and writing about it as an observer, something i’d done numerous times before, but with one conversation all of that would change. After talking with Jacob at Gruene Outfitters about a loose plan of action, i found myself designing posters, t-shirts, doing social promotions and ultimately standing behind a table selling my wares and explaining to person after person just exactly what “die Fische” meant.

Troutfest, an annual event put on by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU), has always been a special time to catch up on old acquaintances and make new ones, but in the past there has always been an odd lull from 5PM (when the structured events end) to 7PM (when the Fly Fishing Film Tour starts). In an effort to bring out some of the younger fly fishers that might be new to the sport, and unfamiliar with Sattler, Troutfest, the GRTU and even the Fly Fishing Film Tour, Gruene Outfitters decided to host a “Happy Hour” to fill the void and was kind enough to ask me to co-host, and help with the graphics.

Stuffing all my custom hats, mugs, stickers, etc. into a few carefully packed boxes, i drove the hour south, half in a daze, worried (un-realisticly) that nobody would show for the happy hour, or worse, they might glance at my lame attempts at coolness before grabbing the boxes and dumping all my wares into the Guadalupe, in hopes of chumming the waters for trophy trout. (Yes, confidence is an issue for me.)

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Stopping by Gruene Outfitters to check in with Jacob, i made my way to the back of the shop where all the fly fishing gear is. Within moments i was in conversation with two gentleman from Lubbock that were new to fishing the area, and quickly i slipped into my retail self and helped them with information and product knowledge before turning over the helm to Captain Jacob. It was an immensely fun detour, getting to use my customer service knowledge, but applying it to something i seldom get to talk about at great length.

An hour later, stuffed on kolaches, i was on the water and wading down to a new favorite spot on the Guadalupe before 11AM. In the span of the next few hours, three or four handsome trout were landed while nymphing with the 10′ Grey’s Streamflex rod that i’m just now getting used to after owning it for two or three years (As i learned from Egan Jones, the secret is to use a heavier reel lined with the same weight line as the rod to help balance the whole outfit.)

Later, after the fourth trout, i glanced around to spot the sun, an activity that usually found me catching it right before it disappeared behind a rock cliff or a thick set of trees, such is my habit of getting on the water far to late in the day. This day however i was shocked to see that not only was there actually time left, there were HOURS of it remaining before any sort of artificial light would have to be implemented. It was shortly after this realization that i hooked into the 19″ trout (below) that not only put up a good fight, it also had some of the most amazing colors i’ve come across yet on a Guadalupe trout this season.

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After releasing the trout i noticed a few nicks in the tippet and reconfigured the dropper situation before wading a few feet and noticing that (again) my hemostats were not where they should be on my waders. With mud swirling around my feet and endless limestone crooks and crannies lying between me and the bank three feet away, i thrust my hand into the murkiness at my feet and pulled up what looked like nothing but twigs, decaying detritus and other random debris. Immediately on shaking what felt like a thick stack of sticks i saw the glistening gold of my hemostats and could surprisingly muster nothing more poetic than “Are you f-ing kidding me?”

I’m guessing that the same rules that apply to cat’s lives also apply to hemostats, which means i can lose/find them only three more times before i have to throw down a sawbuck and change for a new pair with the unwritten “9 Lives” insurance plan.

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As good as the day was, it only got better when i happened to cross the path of Greg and Casey from Sportsmans Finest who invited me to hang out on their temporary patio at the Hideout that overlooked all the waters i’d fished that day, while regaling each other with fishing stories and also talking shop. Before settling in though, they informed me they had to go pick up beer but invited me to hang out on the patio, assuring me they’d be back momentarily.

After a few selfies (you have to understand, there was a kick ass wooden chair involved) i heard a skirmish around the corner and headed over, hoping to help Greg and Casey with their treasure. Instead what i found was a slightly older, handsome, long blond hair gentleman that looked a suspicious amount like Stacy Peralta, digging around beneath a welcome mat. Along with him was a local guide that quickly asked me if i knew the gentleman in question, Kelly Gallup.

To my credit, i managed to make small talk quickly while they hurried back to the car and on to the next floor mat that hopefully held his keys.

Me: “I was in Bass Pro Shop and saw that they changed the name of the “Sex Dungeon” to just “Dungeon”?

KG: “Well Cabela’s has changed the name of all my flies, so…”

Me: “Man, that sucks!”

KG: “Yeah, until the royalties come in!” At which point he slammed the car door and took off into the sunset as i stood spellbound, feeling as though a fly tying Jedi had had just burst the synapses of my brain with some nuevo-zen logic.

After that, all i could think was that there was no way this day could get any more awesome, so i kicked back and sipped some wine from the flask. Minutes later Greg and Casey returned, beers in tow, whereupon i quickly related the story of the quick brush with fame. Immediately upon hearing it Casey asked if Kelly or i had noticed that i was currently sporting a brown Sex Dungeon fly on my fedora. I don’t know if Kelly did, (i surely didn’t) but i can only assume you’re going to notice when YOUR fly is staring you back in the face from a straw fedora a few feet away.

Shortly after that cosmic happenstance i made my way back to my campsite, slipped into the sleeping bag and shut my lids well before 9PM. It’s not that i was tired per se, it’s just that sometimes you don’t want to push lady luck and ruin a good thing.

Plus, there was so much more to come…

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Trout-Fest-Poster-web

It’s that time again, the annual Troutfest event is around the corner and soon fly fisherman from around Texas will flock to Rio Raft like moths to a flame. Guadalupe River Trout unlimited (GRTU) runs an amazing trout stocking program (in addition to many other wonderful events and classes throughout the year) and Troutfest is their chance to pack all of that into one event filled weekend. Numerous vendors will be in attendance and the speaker line up will include many top anglers disseminating information on their particular specialties. Speakers this year include Wanda Taylor, Kelly Gallup, Pat Dorsey (my dads hero) and Frank Smethurst (one of mine).

In the past there has been a slight lull from 5PM when the expo wraps up, until 7PM when the Fly Fishing Film Tour (yes, that one) starts playing in front of the massive limestone cliffs. This year will be different though with Gruene Outfitters throwing a happy hour at their booth featuring FREE BEER from Upslope Brewery, FREE pizza, FREE schwag (including a t-shirt by die Fische based on the above poster) and more! In addition, die Fiche will be there answering questions about local fishing and making up some incredible bullshit stories about his fishing heroics, before settling in for the FFFT and checking out RC Cone’s new movie “Yow: Icelandic for Yes” on the big(ish) screen.

My suggestion? Call in sick, make sure to reserve a camp site nearby (no drunk driving please) hang out, enjoy some free beer, food and conversation, watch the film fest and then crash hard and be ready to slay the trout on Sunday!

  • The main event Saturday and Sunday is free.
  • Tickets for the FFFT are $15 and available at the door
  • Camping recommendations: Rio Raft if still available, otherwise Lazy L&L (my fave)
  • Highly recommend the talks as they are incredible nuggets of information
  • Bring a low sitting chair for the FFFT (Crazy Creek style)

Please drag along any interested kids, significant others, or people new to the sport (even if they haven’t wet a line yet). The sense of community is amazing and the knowledge bombs will be going off left and right. See you there!

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Saturday, September 6th @ 9:30 A.M. – Situational Casting Clinic (Taught on Brushy Creek in Round Rock, TX)

“Chris will be explaining how, when, and where to use certain casting techniques.  Roll casting, spey techniques, bow and arrow casting, and aerial mends will all be demonstrated and explained.  Join Chris at the “Round Rock” at the upper end of Memorial Park for this clinic.  There is parking available at Chisholm Trail Crossing by the bronze longhorns.  There is also additional parking at the lower end of Memorial Park on Lee St.  Call (512) 828-3474 for more info or if you need help with directions.”  –www.livingwater.com

Visit www.livingwaters.com for more information.

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April Vokey, Thursday, May 22nd at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM  at Sportsman’s Finest

Join us for our guest April Vokey, British Columbia Steelhead angler/guide.

April Vokey lives in British Columbia and is an avid angler and steelhead, salmon and trout guide. She was born with an unexplainable passion for fishing and an even greater passion for the BC Rivers that surrounded her. Whether it is a small creek, a steep waterfall, or an invigorating downpour of rain, April has always been captivated by the water.

As a young girl, she coaxed her father into going fishing and by the age of 16, when she was old enough to drive, she was devoting all of her free time to her local rivers.

April began her fishing career after spending upwards of 300 days a year on the water. Working evening jobs, she was able to spend the entirety of each of her days learning how to read water while gaining further understanding of British Columbia fisheries. She fished conventional gear proudly throughout her teens, eventually applying her self-taught knowledge toward the sport of fly-fishing.

She began working for a large guiding outfit during her early 20s and soon decided that the experience she was sharing with guests could be further enhanced if she were able to break free from the “get ‘em in, get ‘em out” mentality that she saw becoming a popular trend within the guiding community. So in 2007 she founded BC-based guiding operation, Fly Gal Ventures, where she presently guides and instructs anglers on some of BC’s best steelhead destinations. Fly Gal’s trips and events can be found at www.flygal.ca.

Home is Chilliwack, BC, but her time is spent waist-deep in the waters of the Dean River and the Skeena River systems. She is inseparable from her best friend and fishing buddy, Colby, who is a half St. Bernard, half coon hound.

Schedule as follows:

5:00pm – 5:30pm -> Single-Handed Spey Casting Demo (outside at the casting pond)

6:30pm – 8:30pm -> Indoor Presentation on BC Steelhead

Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

http://www.flygal.ca/

http://www.aprilvokey.com/

Visit www.sportsmansfinest.com for more information.