(republished from the Alamo Fly Fishers March 2014 Newsletter)
Troutfest in Review
By Nick Bertrand
Siren Flies Creator and Blogger
Each year the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited Chapter puts on Troutfest. This event is one of the better opportunities in Texas for fly fishermen to gather for camaraderie and learning about the sport they find so enthralling.
Don’t be deceived by the name of the event. Troutfest covers all waters. Seminars and speakers come from all the genres of fly fishing and it should not surprise any one that like many of us, these speakers fish many waters and in many different ways. Thus, keynote speakers such as Charlie Craven, Dave Whitlock, and Duane Hada who spoke this year each covered a huge variety of topics and techniques.
In brief, Craven covered salt and freshwater fly patterns, Whitlock spoke on casting and his super versatile fox squirrel fly pattern, and Hada spoke on sculpin and crayfish approaches for both bass and trout. The keynote speakers are the highlight of the weekend for most attendees, but the exhibition tent in many ways is the secret path to an awesome weekend experience.
|Variations of Dave Whitlock's Fox Squirrel Nymph. The largest fly is a red fish fly and the others include trout and bass fly variants.|
Between vendors that represent local fly shops, brand representatives and exotic destination fly fishing agencies there is a wealth of information and gear to check out. It can easily become overwhelming. The secret is to attend on both Saturday and Sunday to see all that is available.
Amidst the various business booths are booths from fly fishing clubs from across Texas. There is a great opportunity to network around the state. Does your son or daughter go to college in some other part of the state? Are you in need a convenient local fishing spot near the university? These clubs are the resources you need. It’s a great chance to talk with folks who know the water in their region and might even be willing to personally get you into fish. Additionally, there are usually tiers at the table cranking out flies. These are the flies that are really worth examining because they are under the scrutiny of their fellow club members and often come with club heritage. This heritage means they have been improved and modified in all kinds interesting ways by various club members. You never know…. these flies might just be something you want to add to your fly box.
The Alamo Fly Fishers were at Troutfest and we offer our thanks to GRTU for allowing us to promote our club. Additional thanks go out to all the club members who gave up their time to sit at the table doing the meet and greet or tying flies. Working the booth also offers the chance to dialogue with folks from around the state in addition to meeting potential new members.
Additionally, GRTU invites fly tiers and professional guides to tie flies in the exhibit tent each year. With them comes an assortment of new tips and tricks to the make flies from various Texas waters and for targeting a whole diversity of species. AFF members Todd Flemming and Steve Flanagan we among those tiers.
For those new to fly fishing I highly recommend planning to attend this annual event next year. Classes for learning cast and tie flies are always held and make for a great learning opportunity. There are also a number of children’s activities held throughout the weekend so bring the whole family.
I look forward to seeing lots of Alamo Fly Fishers there next year. Thanks again to GRTU for putting together one of Texas’ best fly fishing weekends.