CTF Reel Logo Casts and Drifts
Newsletter of the Central Texas Flyfishers January - February 2004 Vol. 10 No. 1

Calendar | Officers | Editor's Drifts | Little Flies and Big Fish | Johnny Quiroz in Argentina
Fly of the Month | Around the Next Bend | Back Issues | Home


Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Fourth Tuesday Fly Tying,
Tickle-Blagg Veterinary Clinic, San Marcos,
7:00 p.m.
Friday, January 30, 2004
Fun Fish Day
A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
CTFF Meeting
Old Fish Hatchery Building, City Park in San Marcos
7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Fourth Tuesday Fly Tying,
Tickle-Blagg Veterinary Clinic, San Marcos,
7:00 p.m.


President: Brian Watson
Vice President: Paul Muller
Conservation: Billy Wofford
Outings: Jack James & Jesse Huth
Secretary: Marcus Rodriguez
Treasurer: Brian Watson

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock


Editor's Drifts

Holy Carp!!! This is the first newsletter in several months. Where have I been? What in the heck have I been doing? Well, I have not been fly fishing, that is for sure! I thought when I became a guide, I would be fishing all the time. Wrong! The fact came screaming at me like badly cast wooly bugger and slapped me in face square on the face like a teed off tilapia.

Even though, I do not get to fish much, I still get to explore local rivers. It seems that fly fishing revolves around my life no matter what I do. I can be busy at work and a little light in the back of my mind reminds me that there are better things to do, like dropping everything and wading a swirling river. I think there are many of us who feel we are too busy to fly fish. I know that I am not alone in this. We need to pay ourselves, set aside a day or two to stop and fling a little line.

A lot of things have been going on in the months of my absence. I am so sorry that I have not able to keep up with the few pages of newsletter like I said I would. I do have some plans for the newsletter. I think to be a good newsletter editor, I will have to employ the best people to keep the newsletter afloat and entertaining. I am still going to write for the newsletter, but many of my fellow club members are going to write as well. I will be "randomly" contacting club members by email and asking them to write a paragraph or two about something pertaining to fly fishing or whatever. We have a great membership of storytellers and one-line flingers. Upon leaving the meeting last week, I laughed aloud all the way home from some of the things people said. I would like to capture some of those good times and put them in the newsletter.

I will be sending out emails to the first few members in the next day or so. If a paragraph or two can be written, I will expect them a few days before March 2004. Start thinking.

Marcus Rodriguez

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Little Flies and Big Fish

Here is an little article that I wrote sometime last year. From what I hear it has been in
several online fishing forums. I felt obliged to include it in this newsletter… MR

There is a buzz going around in warm water fly fishing circles. Anglers are looking for the perfect fly to catch big bass on a consistent basis. It makes sense that most anglers would opt for throwing a large bulky fly since it would take a larger fish to eat it. I agree with throwing a large fly and large flies play a tremendous part in my fly fishing and guiding. There is however and alternative, small flies in my humble opinion are just as effective as their bulky counterparts.

I am fortunate enough to have access on the Devils River. My last two trips to this beautiful river offered the perfect classroom to test my theory on small flies. The trip before last offered exceptional water conditions whereas the latest trip offered not so good water conditions as a flash flood had ripped through only a few days before my guiding partner and I had arrived. On both trips, I used small (size 8) sparsely tied Clousers, wooly buggers (size 6-8) and an awesome river fly called the Matt’s Bug (size 8) that is basically a wooly bugger with bead chain eyes. On both trips I started out with large poppers, crawdad patterns, and zonker leeches, thinking that the large flies would be successful on the huge smallmouth bass I was seeing. I did catch some nice bass, but not the size I was expecting. It was very frustrating, making great casts to cruising fish, and watching as they spotted the fly only to turn away and swim lazily in the opposite direction. It is my opinion that the large flies that I was throwing were "too much fly" for the wary smallies that cruised the shallows. On my last trip, the water was stained and I figured that a large fly would be perfect as it would move a lot of water and hopefully gain the attention of passing fish. Again, I was wrong.

It took a lot guts for me to tie on a smaller less bulky fly on both occasions. I seriously doubted my sanity, but after a few fish I started to believe in the smaller flies. On the second to last trip I was rewarded with a 25-inch largemouth and a 22-inch smallmouth. Both of these fish were caught on a size 8 wooly bugger in less than three minuets of each other. My last trip, I hooked several large smallmouth bass, but lost them to bad tippet or sorry knots. To guard my pride I will just assume it was bad tippet. I ended up catching a 24-inch largemouth and a 20-inch smallmouth bass on a size 8 Matt’s Bug.

Small flies are extremely effective in clear Hill Country Streams and streams that tend to receive a lot of fishing pressure. Many times clients and I have resorted to using very small scud flies and wooly worms. The Llano River is a river to where I have resorted to using very small flies. There are some stretches on the Llano were I have seen up to five guides and several other anglers in one day. There are still plenty of fish in the river, but it is my opinion that to be successful a small fly should be thrown. During the busy parts of the year, bass see every type of conventional lure and large fly. On the Llano or similar situation it would be wise to throw something that is not as bulky and flashy. A large bass usually does not attack a small fly. A large bass will slowly swim behind the fly and gently suck it up. Sometimes it takes literal nerves of steel not to move the fly away from a following bass. I usually wait until I see the bass open it’s mouth or see a gill flare, before I strip set the hook. A large bass usually reacts slowly to the sting of a hook. For a few seconds after taking the fly a large bass will sit and make several head shakes before taking off on a hard run. When a big bass feels the resistance of the rod, then the fight is on.

When I use small flies, I tend to limit my fly fishing to riffles and runs. I still explore fishy looking pools, but I will not spend much of my time there. There are several reasons that I fish moving water with small flies, the two main reasons I fish these areas are because large fish in riffles and runs are almost always in feeding mode, and it is easier to present a fly to fish in a few feet of water than it is to present a fly in deeper water. There are a variety of different ways to fish moving water. My favorite way to fish swifter waters is with a dead drift. Standing in a riffle, I will cast upstream and let my fly work its way down the river. If there is a large rock somewhere near the fly, I will let the fly linger for a few seconds before continuing the drift. Fish will usually hit the fly as it starts to drift up to the surface at the end of the swing. Another way I fish riffles and runs is by casting to the slower water within the faster water. If there is anything that breaks the flow of the water, there will more than likely be a fish holding nearby. I try to drift a fly along the first seam off a break in the water. Bigger fish, waiting to ambush a passing food item will be in these spots as they offer the first chance at a passing morsel.

In the blaring heat of summer, there is some great fishing to be had on our local rivers. In the Hill Country, many of the streams become mere trickles as the sun beats down and scorches the earth. Early morning and late evening forays to these rivers can produce some very nice fish. My favorite rivers in the summer are the San Gabriel, San Saba, Llano, and Blanco. The flows in each of these rivers can slow way down in the summer months. With the exception of the Llano and the San Saba the other rivers can slow down to mere trickles. Low water conditions concentrate fish and can make fly fishing very rewarding. Fly fishing riffles and runs offer the fish plenty of oxygen and food. I can see in my mind fly fishing a little spot on the San Gabriel River just above Mankin’s Crossing east of Georgetown. The water flows very shallow over limestone and plunges into a deep pool full of carp and large bass. It is a very beautiful thing to see a large bass follow a speck of a fly and inhale it with the delicacy of a trout.

I could spend countless hours on any one of our local rivers. For those anglers who have access to fly fishing waters, I would encourage the use of small flies when fishing for larger bass. More important than catching big bass, is being able to have the opportunity to go out and explore local rivers. The above article is one of many pieces of a fly fishing puzzle that keeps us exploring Texas. There is not one definite way to catch fish consistently on a fly rod, everybody has their opinions and every opinion is worth investigation. By and by those opinions make us better fly fishers. Good fishing.

Marcus Rodriguez

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Johnny Quiroz in Argentina

"One can take Johnny out of the country, but one cannot take the country out of Johnny." Our good friend, not-so-good friend, brother, and sometimes little sister Johnny Quiroz has just returned from a six week fly fishing trip in Argentina. Johnny was fly fishing with his "other" good friend Joey Lin from the Austin Angler. The duo headed for Argentina to fly fish for "Gaucho Gold", the mighty and toothy Dorado. After the Dorado trip at the famed Pira Lodge, the duo headed to the Argentina-Chilean border for some fantastic trout fishing.

The two made little day trips to small creeks and rivers. They hooked, landed, lost several big rainbow and brown trout. I want to keep this story short. So, I am only going to tell of one certain incident that made me so proud of our fellow club member. Johnny called me from Argentina stating that he had just finished a seven day float trip on the Rio Alumine. He stated that it got to the point where he was tired of catching 20+ inch rainbows and browns so he just started watching the other anglers have their fun. After a while Johnny said that he was going to use a bass popper for the rest of the trip. Johnny tied on the popper and made a cast to the downstream side of a large submerged boulder. Johnny made a strip and a 20-22 inch brown inhaled the fly. It was one of Johnny’s largest fish of the day and definitely the most memorable. I wish I could have been there.

Anybody who has any questions or wants details about the trip should contact Johnny, I am sure he would love to share the trip with you. He also has slides of the trip that are developed and ready to show. Johnny’s email address is Johnny@guidesoftexas.com

Marcus Rodriguez

Goddard Caddis (courtesy FFF)

Fly of the Month: Goddard Caddis

By Bob Bates
Courtesy of FFF Club Wire and FFF Fly of the Month website

It was a dark and stormy night when …. Opps! That's another story. It was dark, but it wasn't stormy. The wind was blowing, but in Montana the wind often blows. My son gave me a black version of the Goddard Caddis, and after tying it on in the truck headlights we went fishing on a fast stretch of the Madison river. Fish were obviously rising because we could hear splashes up and down river. Occasionally we could see a rise in reflected sky light, but most of the time all we could see was inky blackness.

Tactics were simple, carefully climb down the bank and find the water's edge. If your feet suddenly turned cold you were a little past it. Strip out 20 feet of line, pull some of it through the tip top guide (back casting was prohibited unless you really wanted to tie on another fly) and let it drop into the water. Then start careful roll casts, and hope that you put the fly out in the river.

How did we tell when a fish hit? Easy, if we heard a splash someplace near where we thought the fly was, we just tightened the line enough to feel if it was heavier that it should be. If not, we relaxed and let the fly drift or drag or whatever it was doing a little longer. Many fish (they felt like rainbows and browns) grabbed our flies, were landed and gently released. All were between one and two feet long. Maybe I am exaggerating a little on the two feet but without a tape and light I can only guess.

The Goddard Caddis (G & R Sedge) was developed as a still water pattern by John Goddard, well known English tier and angler. It floats so well that it became a favorite of lake fishermen, and also proved successful for stream anglers. This was years before The Trout and the Fly, 1980 by Brian Clarke and John Goddard described the fly. Some authors list others as co-developers, but I cannot find confirming evidence. The pattern described by Clark and Goddard is a little more complicated than what is given below. For one thing we do not have a green, seal-fur underbody.

Materials List:

Hook: Mustad 94840, Tiemco TMC 100, Daiichi 1100, or other dry fly hook, 10-16
Thread: A or Kevlar for spinning and brown or orange 6/0 to finish
Body: Deer hair
Antenna: Brown hackle quills
Hackle: Brown

Tying Steps:

There are many ways to tie this pattern from "spin the deer hair body and trim it in a cone shape, larger to rear, and chop it off square in back" to styles with some deer hair pointing rearward. However, when, I watched Fly Tying, the Angler's Art with Dave Engerbretson and LeRoy Hyatt, on Public Television, I thought LeRoy's technique produced a more realistic fly. (A note especially for the new tier 'also applicable to us older tiers:' Watch many tiers, try their techniques and pick the one that works the best for you.) As they say "there are many ways to unfrock the feline." No matter what specific motions are used to tie a fly it will probably catch fish.

The real beauty of a Goddard Caddis, whether black or natural, is that it floats in very rough water, and several copies of different sizes should be in everybody's fly box. It also does a good job when "traveling sedges" (caddis) are moving across the surface of a lake.

Around the Next Bend

As I sat down to write this column, a flood of thoughts came over me as to what I should write — ranging from something serious to the frivolous thought. I decided to write this as I would approach fishing by casting thoughts and mending their drift — which is how our newsletter got its name.

Fly fishing has been a catalyst for many of us to see beautiful parts of the world (both near and far), to visit with friends and revel in the camaraderie, to spend quiet time to help us heal from our daily struggles, and to continue learning and sharing about its practices and traditions. Images of each aspect fill my thoughts and try to cloud them.. to no avail. Only causing me to smile, and ponder, "What's around the next bend?"

This past summer, I had the good fortune of being able to travel to New Mexico and Colorado with friends. The one thing that permeates my memories is those of my friends. The rest is the proverbial window dressing.

We all daydream of wanting to relax. We wonder what kinds of fish inhabit any nearby water (often to the dismay of the non-fishers among us -- who don't understand why we must walk perilously close to the water and give searching glances). We like to enjoy life and are thankful that fly fishing is a part of it, regardless of the quantity.

I'm looking forward to creating more memories of people and places, and adventures yet to come. Hopefully I'll be able to share my thoughts with you in a not-so-disjointed manner.

Michael Brown

© 2004 Central Texas Flyfishers

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