All Water Guides

Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Service in Central Texas

2016 Orvis Guide of the Year Finalist

2015 Orvis Guide Service of the Year Finalist

Jet Boatin' Road Trip

Jeff Davis and I took a little road trip to southern Missouri the other day. The reason was to pick up a jet drive outboard for my new Hog Island Skiff. We kept getting asked why we were driving so far to buy a boat motor.

Well you see this is no ordinary boat motor. Outboard jets are not real common in this part of the country. Anglers in Arkansas and Missouri have used jet powered boats for years to access shallow rocky sections of their rivers that conventional prop driven boats would never survive in. 

On rivers where there is little access or long distances between put ins and takeouts, a jet boat can open up miles of seldom fished water. When floating under oar or paddle power fishing a 6 mile section of the river can take all day. With the option to use the engine we can cover 12 to 20 miles of water with no problem.  Because we are in no hurry to get downstream we can take our time in the best water and motor through the less productive sections. 

A Night of Friends and Flip-flops

I had a great time as the guest tyer at Sportsman’s Finest (SF) Tuesday night fly tying class. We tied up the infamous Flip-flop Popper designed by All Water Guides’ head guide Alvin Dedeaux. We had a packed house and plenty of nice poppers for everyone’s fly boxes at the end of the night—bass be aware! The Flip-flop Popper is a staple in my bass fly box and accounts for the majority of all bass caught on the fly.  If you want the “recipe” stop by SF and they will set you up with everything you need.

Watch All Water Guides’ Best of 2012 video to see the Flip-flop Popper in action:



As always, the SF crew—Greg, Stacy, Chuck, Ted, and Lindy—was amazing. The Austin area is fortunate to have a great fly shop that always goes the extra mile for it’s customers and the greater fly fishing community. Thanks again to SF and Greg for the invitation!





The dark side of fly fishing

I like sinking lines; there I’ve said it.  Don’t get me wrong I love banging the banks with a large Flip Flop Fly or one of Alvin’s Foamy fold-over things.  When the fish are looking up and the water is clear, sight casting to bass as we do is without a doubt the way to go.  Blasting one of these flies into cover and watching it get crushed from below after a couple strips is awesome but the fish are not always going to cooperate with our desire. 

I’m not sure where the controversy started or even if it exists (truly) but people seem to cringe with pain when I mention anything "sinky."  We still get to fly fish when we use a sinker.  We continue to use a fly rod to cast a line that in turn drags a weightless fly along with it.  I am by no means a great caster and do find casting a sinking fly on floating line a problem. My casting becomes labored, cumbersome and just plain UGLY.  I could go on and on but I won't.  Here are a couple thoughts I have starting with the least "sinky" to full on sink.

When I have a BIG foam bug that is skipping and not giving me the KER-PLUNK I need, I use a short 4’ clear intermediate poly leader that pulls the fly down just a bit on the strip.  Crazy talk you say?  It gets worse.  The bigger the fly (still talking top water) the more sink I add, when I fish a big Montauk Monster or a Banger I use a faster sink tip which when stripped pulls that big spun deer hair or plug just below the surface creating all kinds of  “COME AND GET ME” commotion.

Now that I’m done with the craziness of using sinking tips with floating flies lets talk real quickly about true sinking lines.  My favorite is the Depth Finder by AirFlo.  I love the 175gr on my Helios 10' 7wt.  (I like crazy fast rods with sinkers.)  With a 23' head that sinks in a uniform manner you can get an unweighted crawfish pattern down to where the fish are.  I’ve heard all kinds of opinions on leader length while using this method and I’m not going to jump in.  I will say that straight Flouro less than 14lb test is what I use.   You're going to foul and if you’re breaking off less than 14lb test you're not likely damaging the core of your fly line.  A rumor that I will happily chime in on is that lines like this cast “clunky" and “poorly.”  I disagree.  As I said above, a floating line and weighted fly, in my opinion, is the clunky presentation.  With a density compensated line you still get loops and proper turn over because, again, your casting the line with non-weighted fly.

I’ll end with this.  As fellow AWG Guide JD points out "we all can learn a lot from the Bass Masters on a Sunday morning" (that’s tough to swallow).  He’s absolutely 100% correct though.  Those boys catch fish and I don’t see them using Hula Poppers!  They go to where the fish are and most of the time that’s deeper in the water column.  So enjoy the Summer!  Fish those poppers knowing that at any second its gonna get crushed but if ya need a little help with the "come get me," try an intermediate leader with it.  I can also say that having a sinking rod rigged and ready for those deeper spots won't hurt.  Just dont tell anyone.

Enjoy and see you on the water.


Capt Steve Hollensed teaching the dark arts

Rigging the Perfect Jet Boat

As anglers, we all have much to learn from the squirrel who collects nuts all summer and fall in preparation for a long winter. Few guides I know have the luxury of taking time off when not guiding. There is always work to be done, but let’s face it, it's all pretty rewarding work. Task often include: patching waders, patching rafts, tying flies, replacing fly line, and working on outboards to name a few. However, there is one task above all that guides love more than any other and that is rigging out a boat.

Well, much like the squirel I spent the better part of two months in between work and family preparing for spring and summer bass fishing. Most of this time was dedicated rigging my 17ft Weldbilt aluminum boat — — custom designed for a jet drive outboard. No matter what, every guide has his own special way of rigging boats and this was no different. First, it started with trying to make the boat more accommodating for my anglers, which meant adding comfortable seats, leaning bars, padded floor mats, and a new 45QT Yeti cooler to keep everything cool. Next, I added high quality fly rod holders to keep rods safe, a beefy Dierks anchor system, NRS oar locks, and custom Sawyer oars.

Finally, it was time to service my reliable Yamaha 40/30 hp jet drive outboard_she old but she is lightweight and reliable. With a tune-up, new water pump, thermostat, and impeller she is running like a scolded demon—whatever that means. Yep, a guide's boat is part office, part transportation, and part mistress, which means we spend a lot of time with them and we rely on them.

The boat could not have turned out any better—give All Water Guides a call and see the rig in person while catching and releasing trophy river bass on the fly!


Hooked on Catch & Release

It’s that time of the year—Spring Break—kids are out of school and we are headed to Port Oconner for some family fishing on the coast. This time of year is always special because trophy sow trout are on my mind. I’m always trying to beat my best speck a 29-incher caught and released back in 2001. Been to long!

Today I pulled out all my tried-and-true topwater plugs for their annual tune-up—new hooks and split-rings. We all know the importance of sharp hooks and rust-free hooks but what about the importance of replacing nasty treble hooks with single hooks. Several years ago a small population coastal anglers and guides started making the switch to single hooks realizing the damage treble hooks were doing to trophy trout about to be released. Let’s face it, releasing a trout with treble hook injuries will greatly reduce that fish’s survivability no matter how much care is taken to revive it.

Yes, I do miss a few more trout using single hooks but it’s worth it to me as a catch and release angler. Usually, missing a fish will make me work harder and appreciate those trout that do make it to the net. Releasing a healthy trout back into the water in good condition merits a few missed fish.

Enjoy the time off with family and friends, safe travels and happy catching (and releasing).

Before and after, top plug has the old treble hooks, six total points to penetrate the fish, as opposed to the bottom plug which has converted to single hooks.

Selection of topwater plugs with a proven track record over the years. About to updated with new single hooks.


As fly anglers we can learn a lot from our bait-castering brethren when it comes to catching bass in early Spring. Fly selection based on crawfish patterns is a must for enticing bass to eat in cold water conditions. Up to 50% of a bass Winter/Spring diet comes from crawfish.

Crawfish patterns fished deep and slow while casting into weeds, brush and heavy cover requires weighted patterns with weed guards. Additionally, the position of the weight (lead eyes, lead wire) is crucial to the "action" of the pattern selected. All of the All Water guides prefer crawfish patterns in red and orange as we seem to see a lot of fish that puke-up real crawfish with this same coloration.

Here is a good article by outdoor writer Gene Mueller on this subject. Remember what works for the pros is alway worth trying for any angler no matter what their skill level. Enjoy the read and happy Spring bassin'!