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July Outing - Port O'Connor "One Fly"

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I have to tell you that we have a bunch of wonderful folks in our Club!  This past weekend we had a great group of Salties collect in Port O’Connor, Texas for the POC One Fly Outing. This one, to everybody’s credit who attended, was by far the most fun of all in the last eight years I have been attending.  First off I want to say thanks to the guys who helped put the outing together.  John Purcell and his band of cooks put together one heck of a meal for Saturday night.  It wasn’t five star …it was SIX!!!  Thanks John, George, Adam and others who helped.  Ray R. bought some wild game sausage that was out of this world and we were all soooo hungry when he broke it out that it was like a feeding frenzy on the second floor deck. Thanks Ray for the food!

There is so much to report, the lodging that Alex arranged was perfect.  The place was clean and ready for us right on time.  The location could not have been better.  The place had a four story observation deck that was tremendous. You could see every thing in POC from up there. How cool.  It had these real comfortable deck chairs each with drink holders that got well used during the weekend.  Inside there were two refrigerators that stayed well stocked by our crew.  We had plenty of parking for the trucks and boats. Nice place for sure.  It turned out to be very economical for those who stayed there too.

So let’s talk fishing.  Everybody but one boat caught fish and most caught several fish.  Sight casting was difficult but that is the way to fish in these conditions.  However, the “Blindcasters” were successful too so no problem there. The clouds were thick all day until around two PM.  Then the sun came out and the POC flats were beautiful.  The wind even laid down some too.  Most of the fishers caught around 40 to 50 inches of fish and that was very good in these conditions.  Congratulations to all those guys. We had a total of eighteen fishers and that in itself was awesome.

One of the things I tried to do when thinking about who fishes with whom and on what kind of boat was that I wanted to match inexperience with experience.  So how did that work out.  Well let me tell you. I teamed Travis R. with Gary E who has been fly fishing most of his life and is very salt knowledgeable.  Travis has all of the casting skills but very little salt experience.  Travis came back from fishing with Gary saying he could not have had a better partner and that they both caught fish. Gary knew his way around the POC area well enough to never have a problem.  Heck I found Gary in one of my honey holes and they beat us to the spot.  In the same vein I placed Mike Q. and Adam M. with Martin W. who like Gary has been fishing with a flyrod in saltwater for over forty years. He too knows POC like the back of his hand.  Mike and Adam having very little salt experience were totally stoked at the end of the day after fishing with Martin each catching fish.

Some of us had a big problem with the extremely low tides but not Gary or Martin.  Yes there were some beached up boats in the group but nothing serious and everybody made it back in good condition.   During our Captains’ Meeting at dinner Friday night over at Cathy’s, I stressed how safe all should be.  The forecast was for high winds out of the southwest in excess of thirty-five mph!  NOT GOOD!  So I addressed that and told all to keep their VHF radios on and call out if you have any problems.  No distress signals were heard all day.  It is important to note one boat capsized in POC this weekend causing the death of a fisherman.  RIP Brother.

The laughter and jokes going around was a hoot. Everything from dropping Obama off in the oval office to Mike Q’s bevy of “play on words” joke kept the group in good spirits all weekend long.  So here was the line up of all who attended.  We had Martin W., Adam M., Mike Q., George S., Mike G., Alex B., Matt B., Nick S., Jack K., Denis A., Ray R., Skip D., MaryKay D., Gary E., Travis R., John P., Scott B., Joe N., and John S.  That’s nineteen hardy souls braving the elements with their fly rods in hand in one of God’s most beautiful settings.  WOW!   So the big winner of this outing was …………the Texas Flyfishers.

Pictures will be coming soon…and I have been brief as I can cause my plate is full here at work but I’m hoping others who attended will chime in soon.

A lot of people have asked me, "what fly did you use?"  Knowing I do not tie flies the ask, "Where did you get it", and "who tied it?"  ...well here is the story.

First off a couple of months ago a bunch of us from the club went down to FTU's I-10 store to support their Inshore Days.  Greg Corbett, John Carpenter, Shelby Carpenter and others were down there tying flies.  I walked over to Greg who periodically ties flies for me and sat down and started to tell him about how his latest "crack fly" did when George and I went over to Sabine.  During the conversation I told him some of the modifications I thought that would make the fly a little better casting, and a little better on entering the water.  While we were talking we discussed the color, hook size and type, and other design items that went into tying the fly.  The whole time I was there, which could not have been ten minutes total, I was oblivious to what John C. (who was sitting right next to Greg) was tying.  By the time I finished the conversation with Greg, John reached over and handed me the fly which were discussing.  This one had all the modifications, such as Shrimp "tentacles", smaller bead chain eyes, a little more flash-a-boo, and was tied slightly sparser than the originals.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!  Just sitting there John was overhearing our discussion and he was able to tie the exact fly we were talking about.  Incredible.

So the story goes on.  Several weeks ago I spoke with Greg at one of the meeting saying I wanted a pink and white clouser for the one fly.  I wanted it to be able to dredge the bottom or cruise the top. So after our talk a couple of days passed and Greg called me to come pick up several prototypes to test before the Outing.  OK I am good with that.  Only problem was I did not get a chance to try them out until the day before the outing.  Conditions were 25-35 mph winds, absolutely the lowest tides I have ever seen in POC, and when these two elements were combined. It made throwing this fly out of the question.  It hit the water too hard, and went too deep into the grass because of there being little if any water on the flats!  So now I had to make a decision.  I used an unweighted crack fly that did excellent, but it just wasn't what I thought that would do the trick.  Remember to be competitive in this outing you must use a fly the TROUT will like!  So while going thru my box the night before the One Fly I decided to use the "Carpenter Crack-fly Special".  What a good decision that was.

The first three fish I caught the next morning were trout. One was 17.5 inches too. NICE! When I had a school of drum work up onto a flat in front of me I threw at them several casts working the fly but that didn't work until a barge came by us, that got the water moving fast and I threw at those drum again and just left it on the bottom while the barge induced current moved the fly.  BOOM fish on! 18.5 inch drum came to hand shortly. But we were not finding any reds in this area so we relocated to our "LOCATION X" approximately a fifteen mile trip. 

Soon George and I were on the flats trying to sight cast under a heavy cloud cover and very high winds. This flat was so blown out that poling the boat was not an option. Too Many "CRUNCHIES"! So wading it was. Ten minutes into my wade my eyes were starting to adjust to the conditions and I could see into the water about fifteen feet in front of me...that was good enough.  I spotted this red just sitting there on top of the grass, one cast one fish.  Had my slam by 10:00am! Then I came upon a bunch of hard heads podded up and spawning but I could see a red was in the mix too.  His tail would pop up and show his position but he stayed in the middle of the cats so I wasn't going to throw until I had the shot! I didn't want anything to do with catching a hardhead!  I followed the pod for about ten minutes trying to be as quiet as I could. I noticed the red moved to the outside of the pod giving me a shot.  I casted one cast about three feet to the side of the pod and stripped it in closer...the red saw it and pounced on it.  18" red added to the total.  So I now started to look for podding hard heads, they were at least easier to find in these condition because of their tailing activity.  It wasn't another thirty minutes before i found another pod.  Same thing a red was right in there.  So the same tactics worked like a charm.  I followed them until I had the shot.  One cast - one fish... and this one was 19".  For the rest of the day I would not blindcast to anything.  Because the water was so low the fish were super spooky and any noise whether it was a fly entering the water or your wade splash noise and they were gone. I caught two more reds by the end of the day.  Totaling a combined 86 inches not great but not bad for these conditions.

Her is a look at the fly.

front view

By the way this was our view from the fourth floor observation deck at the lodge! WOW

..and after a long day this is what is to be expected! Hey how did George stick that "little red cup to the back of his leg!


Dave Kelly:
Drive through flies. Order at the menu and drive around to the window and pick it up.


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