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Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Service in Central Texas

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Jet Sled version 2 second edition


how to park a let sled on the river

So here it is.  I’m actually glad my laziness got the better of me as I’ll be able to do this in one sitting versus boring you all to tears with each individual step.  I assumed this would take much longer than it did.

First picture of my new boat.  About 30 seconds later my wife was informed of our new purchase. 

After a bunch of research I decided on a SeaArk 1652 MVT (tunneled hull version).  16’ seemed about the right amount of boat, length wise and the wider the better.  The decision to go with SeaArk was made after talking to several smaller boat builders in the Midwest, as they all seemed to, at some point in the conversation compare their boats to SeaArks in build, materials, etc.  Alvin and JD had already made a couple trips to Currant River Marine (CRM) and under their advice I called Freddy to see what he had available.  Long story short I was soon on my way to Currant River Marine in Doniphan, MO with my engine in the back of the Xterra.  After a 16 hour drive they hung the engine, we ran the Currant River for a few minutes, and I signed some paperwork.  By 5pm I was checked in to a cheap hotel ready to get a zero dark thirty start for the 16 hours back to Austin.  

Freddy and the gang were worth every minute of the drive and their knowledge of lower-unit-less engines and boats is beyond awesome.  I look forward to my return for a new engine.

Like I said in the previous post, I was going to do the exact same thing to this boat that I had done to the blue one.  The SeaArk had a slight V in the Hull and I decided that needed to be addressed first.  I had 4”x 4” 90 degree angle aluminium welded into the ribs to create a flat surface to build the flooring on.  The flooring was Cedar planks that I sanded, epoxied, sanded, epoxied, sanded, epoxied and then sanded one more time with a final coat of spar varnish for the UV protection.  I love wooden boats.  My grandfather used to build them.  I couldn’t not have the wood floors again, however, they are a huge pain in the ass to fit.  I’m a huge fan of brute force and ignorance and in my diving days solved many problems with the idea that if a hammer wasn’t working a bigger one would.  Fortunately, I was able to use the same tools my grandfather had used in his boat building; unfortunately his knowledge and experience did not magically pass through the tools as I had hoped it would.  He died many years ago and I thought of him a lot while using them mostly during my many moments of frustration in not being able to beat the wood into submission with a larger hammer.  The floors look great, however I can see every moment of frustration when my patience (or lack thereof) got the better of me.  Guests don’t seem to mind.

Supervision a year later...

 

Once the side pieces were cut and fitted to the ribs of the boat the rest went pretty quickly.  I also can’t help but to think of my daughter, Poppy, who supervised the last boat, she was only a few months old and was pretty easy to occupy.  She’s now almost 2 and has ZERO ability to sit and keep my company.

So that’s the floors.  I was, at first, going to do lean bars and knee braces however after the first couple trips I’ve found out they aren’t really needed.  It’s my opinion that maybe they create a false since of security for the anglers and without them my clients seem to have a better awareness of themselves and their movements while in the boat as long as I communicate my intentions while on the oars which is better for a lot of reasons.  Speaking of the oars, I also didn’t have to create the “frame” like I had before.  Oar locks u-bolt directly to the gunwales, which I need to move about a foot forward (boat forward) to give the front guy a little more room.

I, of course, have a laundry list of things to do still with rod holders being the first and some sea deck type stuff for the front casting platform (it gets hot) but since the boat was new there was no need to paint and do all that other nonsense that kept me so busy on the last project.  Having the blue boat in my past made doing this boat so much easier, mainly because it was new…

Please contact me with any questions that I most likely did not answer.  Alvin, JD and I would be more than happy to share what we’ve learned.  We all run different rigs each having their own pros and cons.

Enjoy,

 

AWG

REALITY CHECK

Being the greenest member of this group when it comes to guiding I had a less than comfort level with the Guadalupe, professionally speaking.  With a couple trips around the corner I asked Alvin to play Client for a day and join me on the Guadalupe on his next day off.   First, this says a lot about Alvin.  He knew it was important enough to me to do and as the Boss his “open door” policy meant that on his day off (a cold and windy one at that) he would spend it with me on the water and away from home. Honesty, any of the guys would have done it.  Good dudes for sure!

A walk to the boat

So now that I’m done kissing ass I’ll say this.  I’ve got no problem rolling into a joint I know nothing about and catching fish.  Fish gotta eat, and I’m good enough to catch them, as I did last month in the “middle of nowhere” Kentucky.  This “lunch with the boss” was all about AWG clients. I’ve fished the Guad enough to know the “fishing” aspect this trip was more logistics.

With an open seat on the boat and my spot for the day being understood (just row, Winston) I invited a dude who, in my opinion, is Central Texas fly-fishing, Mr Diefische.  If you follow Diefische (I think you should) you know that last year he unlocked the Guad and will probably do so again this year.  He is a great writer, a solid fisherman and  humble, as the day we were about to have is long.  Fun dudes to have on the boat for sure!

So we pushed off around 1200 and to make a long story short, 4 hours later we had managed 1 fish.  I had 2 dudes that knew that river as well as anyone.  We fished flies we knew work and when they didn’t we changed it up to others.  We didn’t “throw the kitchen sink” at them instead we focused in finer on what we knew had worked in the past and fished a little harder.

 

Say Cheese Mr fische

I was out for other reasons than just catching fish, so for me the day was hugely successful.  Tail Waters are tricky; they seem to have an on/off switch.  This was a good reminder that when the fishing is off the fish don’t care who is in the boat.  As we said our goodbyes I remembered what my friend Jake said once “a skunk day will show you more about the character of your fishing buddies than anything else” but we didn’t get skunked so who cares what Jake and those “chi Wulff guys” think.

That dreaded ramp, "joe client" no more...crank it Alvin

A good reality check sure does sting sometimes.

Tight Lines,

AWG

The Bench Warmer

No one wants to be called a “bench warmer”, but the truth is, every team relies on crucial players that spend most of their time on the bench. So, what does this have to do with fly fishing? As fishing guides we are all very reliant on fly boxes stuffed full of well-crafted flies, which have to be tied by someone with special skills manning a fly tying “bench”.  For us a bench warmer is someone who can spend hour after hour at the tying bench cranking out flies.

Over the course of a season we go through a ton of flies and we can’t physically—or mentally—handle tying flies day-in and day-out. We are talking about hundreds of flies, some of which are difficult and time consuming to tie and quite frankly, beyond our skill set. Additionally, many of our favorite patterns are custom, meaning that they vary greatly from the flies you can find in your local fly shop or online retailer. In almost all cases our flies need to be more durable, have specific color variations, and other incorporate finishes like heavy weighted eyes and stout weed guards.

For the last couple of years I kept seeing photos and reading post from a group of hardcore smallmouth and pike fisherman in the northeast who were catching nice fish on beautiful flies tied by this crazy bearded and tattooed fly tier named Pat Cohen. Sure enough I checked out Pat’s website and friended him on Facebook and it didn’t take long for me to realize that Pat has some mad tying skills that I will never master.

Pat not only speaks bass fishing, he is also a diehard bass fisherman. It shows in his flies, which reflect his vast knowledge of bass, where they hide, what they eat, and most importantly, what they can be fooled by. I am excited that Pat has offered to work with me and All Water Guides to further develop a his already incredible line of crawfish, baitfish, popper and diver patterns. With our year-round bass fishery here in Texas—our northern brethren don’t get to bass fish all winter like us—and plenty of huge river bass we have the ability to field test new prototypes and refine existing patterns giving Pat “real-time” data all year long.

I spent the weekend testing some custom divers Pat recently tied for me. Despite poor water visibility, cold temperatures and heavy weekend fishing pressure these divers moved some huge bass. See for your self how beautiful Pat’s flies are—follow him on Facebook or better yet visit his website and order flies from him direct.

Imagine this. Pat ties every fly himself—using the absolute best materials—and when you call him on the phone you actually get to speak to Pat. As far as we are concerned a bench warmer is a good thing and when Pat Cohen is at his bench that means we can all be catching fish.

http://www.rusuperfly.com/