Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Red Stripe Rods by Joel Hubscher

For quite some time bamboo rod maker Joel Hubscher has been trying to get me to try out one of the rods that he builds. Joel's specialty is the custom creation of nodeless bamboo rods, a method of building a rod which removes the bamboo nodes that are common on many bamboo rods and makes it lighter. For greater detail on the process, I refer you to his website - http://www.redstriperod.com/

At last spring's Gulf Coast Council Expo in San Antonio, I spent some time casting a 7'6" 3wt on the Expo showroom floor. Joel offered to let me take a rod to my home on the Pecos River in New Mexico and test drive it. We made arrangements and he handed me a 7'6" 4wt rod at a nearby Starbucks and I spent the next 3 weeks giving it a test.

Since I have very little experience with casting or fishing a bamboo rod, I decided to buy a copy of John Geirach's "Fishing Bamboo" so I could know what I was supposed to be appreciating. It may be sacrilege to bamboo enthusiasts, but I was underwhelmed with the book (so much name dropping). I did learn what the proper care for a bamboo rod is, which made me extra careful to dry it after every use and not to store it in rod tube too soon.

I also included my wife and fishing partner Sandie in the test driving process -a good test because we have completely different casting and fishing styles. She is also without any biases.

We fished on a section of the Pecos that runs in front of our place just outside the Village of Pecos. There were plenty of the locally stocked rainbows, native browns and a few privately stocked rainbows that have migrated to our water. The fish ranged in size from about 6 - 16 inches. It was mid-June and there was plenty of bug activity on the water, ranging from stonefly nymphs to caddis adults. The catching wasn't hard so the rod got a work out. We had the chance to fish the rod with dries, dry dropper and nymphs under a Thingamabobber (actually a Scindicator).

Joel's rod performed very nicely, during one evening before sundown, I caught about 30 fish in a two hour span. Mostly fishing a dry dropper combination with caddis emergers getting most of the action. The rod has a nice delicate touch, but not so slow that I have to modify my casting style too dramatically to fish it on our small stream. While Joel encouraged me to try out the size 8 Barr's Tungstones I'd tied, I couldn't control things as nicely as I could with my carbon fiber rods and I abandoned the experiment quickly.

Sandie gave the rod a spin during the day that we took the pictures on this post and she liked fishing with it.

I wasn't converted to bamboo as a result of this experiment, but I don't think that was the goal. I'm a little tentative about all of the care that seems to be required after a day of fishing bamboo. Joel makes a great product and it is very well priced ($2000 as of this posting). I like the nodeless aspect of this rod; it cuts down on the weight compared to other bamboo rods that I've cast. Most important for a fishing rod, it performs well for its designed intent - Fishing. Certainly consider the Red Stripe Rod Company when you are looking at bamboo rods and don't be shy about asking for customizations in size and taper for the rod you order, Joel is very flexible.

If you're interested in learning fly fishing for trout, contact me - http://www.texasflyfishingschool.com/

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lydia Ann Fly Masters Tournament

I want to encourage folks to participate in this good cause. Here's a little summary from the tournament's website and a link to check out if you're interested.

First the link -> http://www.lydiaannflymasters.com/

Now the details:

2010 LYDIA ANN FLY MASTERS TOURNAMENT.The organization of the tournament is comprised of a partnership between Alamo Fly Fishers of San Antonio,Rockport Fly Fishers, and Palmer SimpsonOUR MISSION:
to create the PREMIER annual Fly Fishing and Catch and Release Tournament for the Texas Coast,
and to donate EVERY DOLLAR possible to the chosen beneficiary for that particular year.
TOURNAMENT DATE: JULY 17, 2010The purpose of the LYDIA ANN FLY MASTERS tournament is to bring Fly Fishing anglers from all over the State of Texas, as well as other States, to compete for prizes, share in the enjoyment of fishing the flats, and have a good time; all the while never losing focus of the main reason for being there - to help support a wonderful charitable organization.The 2010 Beneficiary will be CASTING FOR RECOVERY. Please visit the "2010 Beneficiary" page to learn more about their cause, and to make additional on-line donations.Aransas Pass was chosen as the center for the tournament due to its mostly equidistant location to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. It is also close to the heart of the flats that many of us love to fly fish.The tournament is open to both Boating Anglers and Kayaking Anglers with separate divisions for each. Redfish on the fly and Catch and Release are the objectives, but there are also "Open Species" divisions for both the Boaters and Kayakers just to make things interesting. There is also a Children's Division to encourage the tournament to be a family-oriented event.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Brazos River Fishing Trip July 2009

This is a little belated post, I started it last year after the trip and just thought I publish it because the pictures are nice.

The Brazos River above the city of Waco, below the Lake Whitney dam, is a very nice stretch of river and a great bass fishery. Down in the Houston area where I live, the Brazos River is a red muddy river that doesn't reach out and grab the interest of most fly fishermen. But this section below Whitney shows none of the characteristics seen as the river reaches the Gulf Coast.

I have fished here several times with local guide Chris Shafer, but I've always wanted to give it a try without a guide. I've tried it and I think I prefer the guide.

I led at trip in July with my club, the Texas Fly Fishers, and fished the section of the river about three miles above Ranch Road 2114.

Here are a few pictures of the trip. No fish porn, but there were a few nice largemouth bass caught.

Because the trip was in late July, it was really HOT.

We stayed in the Cottage at Dick's Canoe at the FM 2114 bridge - http://www.dickscanoes.com . It's a nice place and well worth the price, especially if you have a group for four or less.

Because this post is belated, I thought I should add that we attempted to do this trip this year - 2010 and we were washed out. This is a tailwater section of the river and the Corps of Engineers like to generate. So, if you plan on fishing here, check out the USGS water data website. Here's a sample of the Brazos River at Aquila http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?08093100

Fly fishing lessons in Houston Texas at http://www.texasflyfishingschool.com

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Steve and Mabel at Seven Lakes

This is a very belated posting. Blogging is supposed to be more real time than almost two months later, but I have good excuses. I went fishing in Wyoming and Montana the following weekend. Those stories and pictures have yet to be posted either. So it goes!

I got a frantic call on a Sunday afternoon from Mabel (pronounce Ma Bell) for an on the water fly fishing lesson. We ended up spending the following Saturday at Seven Lakes private bass club in Damon, Texas teaching Mabel and her husband Steve to fly fish. This was a first time for both of them, and it was Steve's birthday present. They had both spent plenty of time fishing with conventional tackle, which of course presents some challenges to most fly casting instructors. It's that broken wrist on the back cast that's so hard to overcome! I spent some time talking about gear and flies and then we got into pick up and lay down casting and roll casting. Very quickly we were casting and fishing. The fish weren't cooperating with our fly fishing neophytes, even though the tiger bass in the lake were jumping out of the water attacking the dragonflies.

Seven Lakes' owner Mike Arnold stealthfully pull up behind us in is little Rhino cart and started casting to a very nice prospective piece of structure about 50 feet away from Steve. He proceeded to pull three very nice sized (9+ inches) sunfish out of the lake. I'm not sure if that was to make us feel bad or prove that the fish were biting. As soon as Mike left, Steve moved into his slot and tried his luck. Meanwhile on another piece of the lake, Mabel was trying to lure the bass to here fly. She caught the first fish of the day. The catch wasn't very large or plentiful, to the point that the competition became on of who caught the smallest fish.

We tried our luck on some of the other lakes. On Goose, there's a feeder that the fish like to hang out at in anticipation of the 6 pm feeding. The water is clear as an aquarium and there are lots of bass and bream swimming around. Of great interest to Steve and I was a very large looking bass that was working his way through the weeds. We hooked up a nice sized black wooly booger and start to get that fishes attention. No luck, but the trying was fun.

As the sun was moving down and the shadows were getting longer, we switched lakes one more time to those pictured on this blog. This fish became more interested in the Miss Prissy fly that we'd tied on to Steve's line. He finally caught a few fish that changed the smallest fish competition to a biggest fish competition. The warmouth pictured was a feisty bugger. Steve brought a little ultralight spinning rod, which he pulled out to try his fishing luck with some old familiar gear to see if the fish challenge was about the fish or the gear. No luck on the spinning gear.

The day ended with a happy couple beaming for a closing shot before we drove home.

What a great gift from Mabel!
Happy Birthday Steve!
I hope to see you guys on the water again soon.

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Find out more about fly fishing lessons in Houston, Texas with the Texas Fly Fishing School.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Join us at the Gulf Coast Council in Lake Charles LA

David Lemke will be in Lake Charles Louisiana on May 15, 16, and 17 for the Gulf Coast Council Expo. He is the Casting Program Chair for the non-certification casting and he's presenting two clinics:
1. Coping with the Wind - Saturday May 16th 12:30-2:30 PM
2. Double Haul Clinic - Sunday May 17th 12:30-2:30 PM

Some Echo 2 rods will available for those who need a rod.

Sign up for these clinics at the following web address:

The featured presenters at the Expo this year : Stu Apte, Bob Popovics, Wanda Taylor, and Nick Curcione. All are offering a great assortment of workshops and a great price. In addition to these great presenters, there are lots of wonderful fly tyers and other presenters from around the region.


Clean Angling Pledge

Texas Fly Fishing School invites you to take the Clean Angling Pledge. I've clipped a excerpt from their website and included the link so you can take the pledge.


Join In: Take The Pledge
All of the waters that we depend on to support our fishing and boating are being threatened by invasive species that have the potential to devastate the natural habitats. These invaders are often inadvertently spread by anglers and boaters who are carrying unwanted hitchhikers to their favorite waters.

We must all take these simple actions to stop the spread of destructive invasive species:

  • INSPECT - carefully examine all of your equipment at the end of your trip to see if there are any visible signs of unwanted material attached. This includes any types of plants or mud. If you see any sign of a problem, clean you gear.
  • CLEAN - first remove any visitable material by hand then use water to wash your equipment clean. It's ok to clean with water from where you are leaving because you will be leaving behind any problem that you may have picked up. However, never clean your equipment at your put in spot since you can easily be cleaning off hitchhikers that have been with you since your last trip. If you cannot clean before you leave a site make sure to clean at home where there is no chance that an invader can reach the water.
  • DRY - a thorough drying of your equipment will kill any live invaders you may have picked up. If you are counting on drying to eliminate any hitchhikers you must make sure that every bit of hidden moisture is gone before you can feel that you are safe.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Echo Rod/Line Weight Specifications

For those of you who took our December Spey Workshop, I promised to get you some of the rod and line specs for the new and old Echo spey rods.

Here's the link to the Rajeff Sports pdf file http://www.rajeffsports.com/tech_cheat.pdf

And because this blog is also intended to be a visual experience, I'm adding a picture taken at the class. Check out Jay's nice loop begin to unroll.