CTF Reel Logo Casts and Drifts
Monthly Newsletter of the Central Texas Flyfishers June, 2001 Vol. 7 No. 6
Calendar | Officers | Meeting Minutes | Outing Report | Matt Meets Murfeesboro
Beginner's Corner | Around the Next Bend | Back Issues | Home


Tuesday, June 12, 2001
CTF Meeting at Lion's Club Pavilion, City Park in San Marcos, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Fourth Tuesday Fly Tying, Tickle-Blagg Veterinary Clinic, San Marcos, 7:00 P.M.


President: Terry Blackwell
Vice President: Joel Chavez
Conservation: Billy Wofford
Outings: Kevin Duren & Johnny Quiroz
Secretary: Kim Heaston
Treasurer: Bob Blagg

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Meeting Minutes

The meeting was a fly tying meeting with guest students from Dave Pringle's school. Some business was conducted concerning the next outing and embroidered shirts and ball caps.

Outing Report: Memorial Weekend Float Trip

The bad news was that Mike Brown and I were the only ones to show for the May 26 Outing, a float on the Blanco river from Post road to I-35. The good news is that we had the river all to ourselves. This is a beautiful stretch of the Blanco, complete with deep pools and riffles, yet remarkably pristine for being so close to San Marcos.

Mike led off in his oared catamaran (I followed in my kayak) and we had our first fish, a largemouth, within minutes. Mike of course caught most of the fish during the trip and ended the day by catching a bass under the I-35 bridge, showing a couple of spin fishermen how it's really done.

For those of you not having ever fished this stretch, you're in for a pleasant surprise. There is however a word of caution. About a half mile above the I-35 bridge, a large slab of concrete constricts the river to about four feet, with a jagged pipe protruding about eighteen inches from the concrete. Portage to the right side.

Although this stretch of the Blanco is relatively short, fished properly it can be a full day's trip. It should definitely be part of your river portfolio.

Bill Webb


Matt Meets Murfreesboro

Weekend before last the family and I met Mike Brown up at Murfreesboro Arkansas. We stayed at the Riverside Cabins, which were nice and clean and right on the river. Mike had been there a day already and was down teasing or being teased by trout when we arrived around three in the afternoon. The stream was lazy looking, and crystal clear with fish easily visible. Kids were wading in knee-deep water in the middle of the stream and chasing crayfish through the obsidian colored rocks behind our cabin. Mike said that he had done all right but shortly after he arrived on Friday afternoon they began releasing water from the dam and the river was a blustery torrent. He seemed mildly disappointed. We fished emergers that evening and maybe it was the road or heightened expect-ations, but the fish were rising all around, but I just couldn't make it happen. Short-strikes was the name of the game. There were smallmouths and largemouths of very respectable proportions gliding about obviously feeding, but I had driven for trout, and with risers all about me, they were going to be dry fly trout, or as close as I could get. Finally, a few of the multiples of types of mayflies that I had seen dangling in the spider webs along the stream began to hatch and float down the river about an hour before dark. I put on a big hair winged white dry, and missed multiple splashy takes, and caught two trout. The next day brought a few local trout fishermen out and the fishery showed me what it's all about. In the winter rainbows are stocked into this little brook by the millions and people come and nutsack them a couple of limits by throwing out power bait or an emerger, any semi-large emerger, and twitching it back. All the fishermen I saw that day had the same move down pat and wondered loudly why it wasn't working now when it worked a couple of weeks ago. No one I saw changed flies or changed their technique all day. It apparently is just how it is done. I put on dry flies and proceeded to catch a few, but mostly I got short strikes and refuses. I was floating 6x on a ten foot leader and finally a local who had been marveling at my misses said that I had better fish 8x tippet or better and that he was fishing 9x, which I have never heard of. I went to 8x and it worked, I guess that when you put a couple million fish in and you have few dozen left those would be the line shy ones. I caught five or six fish over the next couple hours all on drys. I was doing fine and having fun but the wife and the baby were bored and so I figured to go to town and see the sights and come back for the evening hatch and catch them all, with my new found knowledge.

We went to The Crater of Diamonds State Park and it was really great, the Arkansas parks are so much nicer than anything we have in Texas. They are staffed, and interactive, and clean, and numerous. Really a whole different attitude than we take here. If you have kids take them and dig for gems and you will love it. We looked around, ran a few errands, and then I was back in the water as soon as humanly possible.

I made three casts and caught a nice rainbow thirty feet out the back of the cabin. I cast again and missed a fish, that was when I heard what sounded like a logging truck using its' air brakes all the way down the grade out front. I thought that shouldn't be the siren they don't release on weekends.

The water came up so fast that I literally high stepped back to the bank in order to not be washed away. I don't have a clue how people aren't killed regularly by this craziness. The water just kept coming up, and up, and up. It washed away any thoughts I had of fishing the rest of the day, it was the kind of water that should of brought out the white water kayakers in droves, with standing waves and swirling eddies. What a difference! Now I know why Mike had seemed a little disappointed after driving six hours.

I ended up going upstream throwing huge clousers, and caught two good bass just before dark in a back eddies by the playground in the park, both over a pound and lost a couple, one of which threw the fly on a jump, which is always cool. I think if I went up that way again I would have a backup smallmouth stream as the river bass fishing looked incredible with many public access points. This was really a beautiful area with pines and hardwood mixed forests and great things to do besides trout fishing. I have never seen so many birds and beautiful back roads. If you camp or have a camper the parks up there are great, usually you are in the forest or on the water, just like it should be. I definitely got the idea after talking to the locals that during the winter this is a bait fisherman's catch and kill wonderland and I heard enough jokes about taking a limit in the morning and evening to think it is common practice. During the summer it looks like nice little fishing around the dam releases, and it's catch and release. Next time, I take shovel and a screen and when the water comes up Clyde and I go find Mama that six carat flawless they had in the museum over at Crater of Diamonds.

Matt Jennings

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Beginner's Corner: Following the Leader

This installment will define what a leader is, what a tippet is, how to choose one for your fishing conditions, and how to attach the leader to your line.

So far you have a rod, some line, and a reel to put it onto. What you don't have is the way to present the fly to the fish. The diameter of your fly line is obviously too large to tie a fly to and would spook the fish when it came splashing down in its vicinity. What is needed is a leader.

The leader performs three functions. It is the transition between the fly line and the fly, transmits the energy of the cast to the fly, and, hopefully, fools the fish into thinking that it's not there. The first function is quite plain. There needs to be a transition from fly line to fly and the leader performs that by starting out with a thick diameter at the fly line end and tapers down to the diameter that is needed to tie on a fly. That taper also helps transmit the energy of the cast to the fly. As the diameter gets smaller the leader needs less energy to move forward, thus keeping your fly in the air. The third function has to do with the final diameter of the leader. It is usually much smaller than the butt end and is tied to a tippet of the same or smaller diameter. It is this tippet that the fish will hopefully not see.

Tippets are made of the same material as the leader. It should be the same diameter as the end of the leader and it extends the life of the leader. When you lose a fly or get a nasty tangle you can cut the tippet. If the tippet gets short you can replace it and only lose a couple of inches of leader. There are many other functions that the tippet serves that you will learn as you delve deeper into the art of fly fishing.

Leaders and tippets come in different sizes. These are 1X, the largest size, thru 7X. I have heard tell of 8 and 9X but these are not common. You may read an interesting article about why this sizing convention was chosen by going to the Federation of Fly Fisher's web page. The size of your fly should determine the size of your leader and tippet. The following table shows the tippet size and fly size associated with that:

Tippet Size

Fly Size


2, 1/O


4, 6, 8


6, 8, 10


10, 12, 14


12, 14, 16


14, 16, 18


16, 18, 20, 22


18, 20, 22, 24


22, 24, 26, 28

Although you can tie small flies on larger tippets and leaders you will lose some of the more natural appearance of the fly on or in the water. Sometimes a one size difference can make the difference in a day's fishing.

Leaders come in different lengths. Usually starting at about six feet and going up to twelve. A long leader is preferred for fishing with little splash so as not to spook nervous fish. I have read of fishermen using twelve foot leaders with three feet of tippet. For fishing Texas that kind of delicacy is usually not needed but keep the concept of delicacy in mind when fishing the Gua-dalupe River. Usually a 7-1/2 to 9 foot leader will do fine. As you gain more experience you can experiment.

Let's wrap it up. The leader connects the fly line to the fly, and hence, the fish. Tippet is tied onto the end of the leader to extend the reach of the leader and to preserve the leader. For a beginner I recommend a 7-1/2 foot leader with about 18 inches of tippet for fishing Central Texas waters. The size of the leader and tippet should match the type of fishing you are going to do.

Kim Heaston

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Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Around the Next Bend

Summer has arrived early in our part of the world. However, this year is different, there is flowing water in our local rivers. It's refreshing to be able to enjoy fishing the Blanco once again. We are fortunate to live in an area that offers many recreational activities if you're willing to do some exploration.

A recent weekend trip to Arkansas reminded me that distance is both relative and subjective. Like children, it's easy to become overloaded by the passing landscapes, with one mile slowly rolling into the next, with the chorus of "Are we there yet?" echoing in our minds. Even more remarkable is how miles are soon forgotten when you arrive at your destination, and the fun part of the trip is about to begin. It's not hard to argue that rising fish, singing birds, the sound of rushing water, or the smiles of friends and family are the best cures for the malaise of the journey.

My wanderlust increases, feeding my desires (dare I say "need") to travel to and discover new places, knowing full well that those places could only be new to me. Each newly received magazine, devoted to our sport, brings with it, "that would be a neat place, or maybe next year..." Maybe it's time to stop dreaming about such places and visit them? Perhaps.

A friend of mine sends me email stories written by his friend who lives on the banks of the Florida River in Colorado. The stories are vivid accounts of how he enjoys pursuing the trout in the river. I write back to my friend and say it's not nice to torture me. I'll never ask him to stop sending me the stories, because they allow me to journey without leaving home.

Thinking of new places and adventures that are found around the next bend,

Michael Brown

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© 2001 Central Texas Flyfishers

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