Vokey, Cohen, Wise, Wotton, Johnson, Rouse, Hoelscher, F3t and more at The Toad Fly in Conway AR in 2013

Well I am a day behind but the chance to fish with a couple of friends arose yesterday and I could not pass it up.  So with no further delay  here is who and what will be happening at The Toad Fly this year so far. I am still putting more events together but this is a pretty good start.

Jan 18,25, Feb 1-2 Kids Fly Tying Class and Trip to DRY Run Creek.  We have 2 spots left and the class will be $100.

Jan 19-20 Streamer Class with Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures.  We have 2 spots remaining for the 2 day class. Several spots left for the Classroom portion.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Feb 9th Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks.  You have seen him tie in high-speed on Youtube, now come learn how he does it.  The class will be at the shop and all materials will be provided.  Just bring you tools and learn to tie some great streamers from a master.  Cost $50  email (tim@thetoadfly.com) or call the shop to sign up.  Sign up quick because I see this class selling out soon.bwise

March 9th Davy Wotton  Just in time to get ready for the Caddis hatch, Davy will be giving a class on some of his favorite flies for the White River in the spring. Cost TBAwotton4

March 14-16th NAFF Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home The Toad Fly will have a booth at the Sowbug this year.  Hope to see several of you there.  Be sure to stop by the booth, we will have something special for the event. We may also figure out a place to have a little gathering in the evening before we do some night fishing on Friday night.  http://www.northarkansasflyfisher.org/sowbug_roundup.htmlsowbug_2013b_sm

April 13 Chad Johnson  Chad is one of the premiere guides in Arkansas.  We have all seen the big browns he pulls off of the White and Redfish in the gulf. He will be giving a tying and techniques class on Streamers or flies for Smallmouth.  We are trying to decide which you all would rather have.  Send us an email or post on the page to let us know. Cost TBACHAD

May 11 Paul Hoelscher We locked Paul in right before he heads back to Montana to guide for the summer.  Paul will be putting on a soft hackle class.  We all know how effective they are and Paul is going to be a big part of the future of fly fishing.


June TBA  I was hoping to have group trip local finalized, but it looks like it going to be another week.  Stay tuned …


Punk Rocker, Come get yours at the Toad Fly.

July TBA Pat Cohen of http://rusuperfly.com/  will coming down.  You seen his Art/flies now come learn how he does it.  I will have the date nailed down soon and will announce it.  Check out his page in the mean time.  Come by the shop and check out his flies.

July 20-21  We will be joining Si from “Duck Dynasty” at the Arkansas Outdoors Expo here in Conway.  We will be giving casting demos, fly tying demos, and have some great deals on gear.  Be sure to save the date. http://www.arkansasoutdoorsexpo.com/2013-website-header

August and September  are open at the moment but I am actively working to fill the spots with quality guests.

Oct 5  The 2nd Annual Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival.   We again have the http://flyfilmtour.com/ coming to Conway.  But this year we have the whole year to plan for it. There will be a casting tournament, vendors, and music.   There will be a lot more info on this as we move forward.  Preferred seating will be $10 each and will be able to be purchased online at the F3T site https://www.ticketriver.com/event/5866  or at the shop soon.  There will be limited tickets for the preferred seating but blanket seating will also be available for a donation the night of the event.  Have a spouse that does not enjoy fishing enough to spend all day at the event.  Problem solved!  The Conway Downtown Partnership will also be holding an Art Festival the same weekend.  Let him or her spend the day just a few blocks away shopping dining and seeing what Conway has to offer.  Dont miss out.    Make sure you subscribe to the new webpage www.thetoadfly.com to keep up with all the events of the day.

Oct 5th at The Village at Hendrix!

Oct 5th at The Village at Hendrix!

Nov 2-3  April Vokey  April Vokey of www.fly.ca will be at The Toad Fly on Saturday and Sunday.  We will be having 2 classes, One for Women only, One for everyone.  She will also be speaking at the Arkansas Fly Fishers on Monday night.  Class cost TBA shortly.  Dont miss out on one of the best treasures of fly fishing for trout and steelhead.spey-clave-vokey-2

DECEMBER!  SANTA!  Santa Clause will be at the shop and all over Downtown Conway.  Date TBA.

So its gonna be a great year.  We are working on several trips, new merchandise for the shop and several other surprises.  We hope to see you all around at one of the different clinics.  We will still be having casting classes when the weather is nice, Tying classes the 2nd Tuesday of every month and just tying on all the other Tuesdays.  Be sure to like us on our new webpage as that is the only way you will get every one of our updates.  Facebook limits how many people see the posts we make without charging us.  Click on this link to subscribe to our page. http://thetoadfly.com/

If you’re not “Getting Bent on the Fly” by the end of the year, then you have not spent enough time at “The Toad Fly”.

Good Luck and “Get Bent”


Jamie Rouse Streamer Class at the Toad Fly!

We are proud to have Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures as our first fly fishing Clinic on Jan 19-20.  Jamie and the Crew will putting on a streamer class that will teach the skills that made them the “2012 Orvis endorsed Guide Service of the Year”.  In addition to Saturdays class on rigging and how to tie some of the most effective streamers, Jamie, Matt, and Tony will also be showing their techniques for using not only the 7 and 8wt rods but how to fish streamers productively with 6wt rods.

The cost for both days is $250 and lets you attend the Saturday class on how to tie all the streamers JRFFA uses, how to rig them up and where to fish them.  The second day will be on the water putting the skills to work.  Just to make it interesting I am giving away a YETI Roadie Cooler to whoever lands the Biggest Fish on Sunday.  I only have 4 Spots Left for both Days so you will have to act fast.  If you would just like to do the Saturday portion of the class I have several spots left.  The cost is only $75 Dollars and includes all the materials for tying and lunch.  Both Classes allow you to keep all the flys you tie.  You only need to bring your Tools and vise to the class.

Call or email ( tim@thetoadfly.com ) me here at the shop and we will get your spot reserved for the class.  As I mentioned above only 4 spots left for the 2 day class but several spots left for the class portion on Saturday.  The Streamers Class with Jamie Rouse is just the First Fly Fishing class that we have planned for 2013!  I will be putting up the calendar for the entire year on Friday and will also be moving the blog to our new webpage   http://thetoadfly.com/

Be sure to click on the link and subscribe to new page to keep up with everything we have going on.

The class is sure to be a good time and  great way to get started learning a new way to fly fish.

Is going to be a great year to “Get Bent” on fly fishing in Arkansas.

“Times we’ve had”

One of the great things about fly fishing is that it usually leads its participants to others things.  To some it simply ends at buying gear and getting a few fish in.  But to most it turns into a passion.  Be it learning to tie and create your own special blend of feathers and fur to try to coax that unwary butterbelly from its moss-covered shelter on the bottom of the creek bed.  Some try to recreate the scenery by putting paint or pencil to canvas in an effort to capture a moment of splendor on the water like Deyoung, Whitlock and Hada.  For most a camera is a staple in the vest or pack to have physical proof of that 20″ fish that was tricked into being pulled from the water or to just capture a fish on flim in a portrait that is not the typical “Grip and Grin”. But a few go back  home and reflect on their experience and recreate the day with a pen and pad.  I love pictures and painting but there is something special about reading a story written with all the color and warmth that cannot be captured in just a visual experice of film or canvas.  Some thing powerful about recreating the image in each of our own minds instead of having the moment laid out for you.  It seems as if we can put ourselves on the creek bank in the moment in time in which the story was written.  Be it with Santiago holding tight to line attached to a marlin with one hand, while cutting a piece of fish to calm his hunger with the other hand to calm his hunger in Hemingway’s 1951 Cuba.  Or imagining the Native Indians corralling the buffalo and forcing them off the cliffs at “Head smashed in Buffalo Jump” as David Ames describes the history of the local while you cast a line in a unamed river.  To experiencing the pain and reflection of the moment of being on the banks of the Big Blackfoot as Norman Mclean fishes with his brother for what would be their last time in “A River Runs through It.”   Although Robert Redford did a great job making a movie, I don’t believe Mcleans lifetime of creating and “perfecting to art” could be condensed down into 123 minutes. Although the movie made millions want to try fly fishing and buy real estate on the banks of any flowing water.  You don’t get the same effect as having to create the image of the bond of two brothers in your own mind.

I say all of this to say I love it when someone takes the time to put “ink on paper” to share their experience on the water.  Josh Carroll wrote this little story about their trip a few weeks ago and emailed it to me.  So I decided to share it with those of you who had to head back to the office or job site today, or those of you who were lucky enough to be off today.


It was a little before 4:00 am when the phone rang, as the torrential down pour continued outside of our window.

“You ready? I’m coming to pick you up and then we’re gone!” It was my best friend Forrest on the other end.

We had been planning this trip for about three weeks and had intended to leave the night before but unfortunate circumstances with sick spouses and weather hindrances the trip seemed to be headed for scratched. The call was not only an unexpected one but a very welcome one at that.

I jumped out of bed grabbed my gear and said “YEAH BUDDY! Hurry up and do you want me to call Adam?”

Adam was one of our other best friends whose place we were staying at for on the Little Red River for the much-anticipated weekend. You see the trip that we had planned was a weekend getaway of non-stop fly fishing on the Little Red River and we would break for only necessities like food and sleep (if we needed a bathroom break the side of the river would do).

Forrest made it to my house and before I had even finished getting dressed, we had loaded our gear up and began our trip. About the time we started the truck, the rain had started pouring even harder. At this point he looked at me with a look that essentially communicated “at least this time if you get wet it isn’t because you fell again.” I laughed knowing exactly what that meant and voiced his thoughts.josh

“Well at least you won’t be able to tell if I fall in this time”.

You see it had become a running joke that if we went fly fishing I was bound to make a trip into the water on accident, as I hadn’t gotten the hang of my new waders. The last time I fell in, it seemed as though I would never get out, because my legs were pinned and I was getting dunked repeatedly as I would gain traction and then fall again. Another of our friends was along for that trip, Dustin , and he said it looked like a mentally handicapped goose trying to take flight.

We laughed pretty hard at that as his truck pulled out on the road to make the hour drive to Adam’s house. We began discussing our game plan and backup plans and even backups to our backups. The longer we were on the road the more excited we got, because for some reason we always had better luck when it was rainy and cold. Add to that this was opening season for bow hunting the local whitetail deer. These two factors let us know that we would have the river to ourselves and that boded well for us.

Forrest was anxious to get started, as he had a completely new arsenal of knowledge of where the fish were and, not to mention with his ammo box of flies, it seemed like there was no way he was going to catch plenty of fish. I was anxious to get started due to the fact that I finally felt the official fly fisherman complete with a legitimate rod and reel outfit, that I had recently purchased at The Toad Fly, our local fly shop (but that is another story), and my own flies that all of which I (with the assistance of Forrest) had tied myself. Armed and dangerous we pulled into Adam’s drive, rather than unload our bags of clothing and gear we immediately loaded up and headed out to the river.

About five minutes away from the house my stomach started speaking up at which point I looked at Forrest and mentioned about how hungry I was, he agreed as did Adam, so we stopped at a gas station to grab a healthy breakfast of Mt. Dew and chocolate donuts of which we ate standing around our trucks talking about the day’s “plan”, if you can plan this sort of thing.  The fact that it was early September and we could see our breath (a good sign if your trout fishing) was causing us to get even more excited. Breakfast handled we loaded back up and completed the fifteen minute drive to the walk-in access we used (name shall remain unknown as I don’t share well) and got geared up and rather than wait for the sun to rise, we donned our headlamps and headed out.

The remainder of the morning was spent standing in the rain and watching the fog and low clouds roll over the ridges and hill tops in the Ozarks. The torrents would ease up enough that you weren’t getting completely soaked one minute and then the next would release the deluges relentlessly pounding you. Still the rain only accentuated the fun we were having. Why? Because when one is standing waist deep in a river, with only the occasional house in view,  isolated from the outside world throwing the line of a fly rod through the air and watching the fly you made land on the water and settle lazily on the river, with two of their best friends barely within earshot, you feel completely released of all responsibility because nothing matters in that moment except that you remain only slightly aware of what your bait is doing so as not to lose the ever so subtle bite of a trout on your line. I say nothing matters because it really doesn’t, when you are on a trip like that it is understood that you’re not available and things like bills, work, and even relationships are an after though, simply put you have complete release on everything.  The only relationship that matters at that time has become don’t throw over my line in my run and don’t brag too much when you grab the big one I saw fifteen minutes ago.

Inevitably someone gets skunked and I am usually said person, but on this particular trip God saw fit to place a couple of beautiful fish on my line, add to that we had hammered the record amount of fish we had ever caught up to that point. We walked and waded for the next three hours and laughed about the rain, stopped breathing when a fish landed on our hook, and groaned when they either spit the hook back out or broke us off.

I heard or maybe read somewhere that fishermen have to be one of the oddest things in society because “no man in his right mind would repeatedly place himself in the position to be outwitted by a fish (which by all accounts is less intelligent than said fisherman) on a continual occurrence.” What is so ironic about this is that it is true. These fish do outwit you or better said, do figure out that something is amiss about your fly. That is what makes fly fishing its most fun, especially when you have the satisfaction of duping said fish by designing a bait that, when one looks at it from a purely scientific stand point, shouldn’t work, but it gets that yank on the line and the indicator dips under and suddenly you’re fighting a trout that defied logic and took your little bug made of animal fur, feathers, a hook, a sandwich bag/plastic strip, and some thread.

At the end of the day we sat around the dining room table at Adam’s house and discussed how much fun that was and in even greater detail how amazing that it was that the rain washed my ratty old ball cap clean enough to pass as a brand new cap… and we planned. We planned for the next day. We planned for the upcoming brown spawn. We planned future trips with our kids that weren’t even born yet.

Then after all of the planning the talking stopped and we just enjoyed.  We enjoyed the subtle sense of accomplishment we felt at having a good day on the river (whether successfully “catching” or not). We enjoyed the silence that only good friends can enjoy together and not feel obligated to converse. We enjoyed the fact that God allowed us to have a good day of His creation and the blessing He gave us in wives that are understanding and even willing to let us go on these trips for the weekends (even when one is ill). And we enjoyed the sound of a good September rain on the tin roof of Adam’s cabin.

The following morning was more of a quick hour to two-hour trip to our same spot that yielded, not a huge fish, but easily one of the prettiest browns I had ever seen. We set up a staged photo “op” of the fish on a beautiful grass island about the size of a small sedan and took pictures of the fish and the surreal view of the river with a rolling and clearing fog on the surface. As Forrest waded back out into “the spot” I stayed back and admired the way the line flew in his casting motion and after a few minutes began to pack up for the trip home as it couldn’t possibly get any better and for me to try would only cause it to sour.

“Why are you guys quitting so early?” the old guy startled me.

“Gotta  head home, besides the water is a bit high for me, you just getting started?” I replied rolling my line up.

“Yeah, came out yesterday but no luck, thinking this hole is busted” he replied

“Yeah! We’ve been out here all weekend and this hole just now started to heat up but it just depends I guess,” I trailed off as Forrest was walking up.

“Well Good luck to ya, guess we’re headed out.”

He nodded at that and walked to where Forrest came from.



“Get Bent



Merry Christmas From The Toad Fly!!

 Merry Christmas from Tim, Liv, Kori, Kam and Jordan!

If you are getting this you have most likely been to the shop and made the effort to follow the blog.  And for that we all thank you.

As I roll up on the first 6 months of business I can only say that I have been truly blessed.  Not only from the acceptance of a shop in Conway by the Chamber, Downtown Partnership, Local Business, The Village at Hendrix, UCA,  and the Fly fishing community,  but also for of all the great people I have met and am fortunate now to call friends.    There has yet to be a day that I havent met someone new, wanting to learn about the sport of fly fishing or was already fishing and just wanted to sit down, tie a few flys, and tell a fishing story or even on occasion that brought me lunch.   This has allowed me to live a dream by not only turning what I love to do into a my occupation, but allowing me to teach others to find the same enjoyment in the sport.

There is something special about having the chance to help put that “smile” on people ‘s faces.  I thank each and every one of you who have come by, bought something or sent your loved ones to the shop over the holiday season to get your gifts or gift certificates that will allow me to do more of it.

The start of the New Year will have some great things in store for Fly fishing in Arkansas and for Conway.  I have lined up several great tyers, fishers, guides and events for next year and will be releasing a the schedule right after the Christmas.  So enjoy the food and festivities and remember why we celebrate the season.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas from The Toad Fly!

New Post From The Junior Pro Staffers

I haven’t been able to post anything in a couple of weeks because I have been working on the new website and Getting things in line for next year.  This weekend two of my Junior Pro Staffers got to take a trip to Dry Run.  When they came by the shop last Thursday we tied a few flies and I told them  to make sure they paid attention to the conditions and what they were biting on so they could take care of my “Dry Run Creek” Report this week.  They didn’t disappoint.

IMG_2361[1]  Canon’s report

We stepped out at Dry Run Creek it was 10:00 and 58 degrees.  We tied on red zebra midges first and caught a few Rainbows. Then we switched to egg patterns because the fish weren’t really hitting the midges anymore. Then I caught a pretty Brown and a nice Rainbow with the egg pattern. Then we switched to a red-ass.  We started pulling them out one by one for a couple of hours. Finally we had to leave just because everyone was hungry and I was really MAD but at least I got some peanuts.


Hayden also wrote me a report-

Sunday December 9th  We went to DRy Run Creek. Before we started fishing me and Chris got hooked by the same fly. It was a red ass. Later we lost the net and we lost our bait. I thought it was over until Mr Chris said he would go to Two Rivers and get a net. Then for a while we had to hand-net by catching the line then putting your other hand on the bobber or if its miniature just reel it to the bank. Finnaly I hooked a “big mama” fish it was a giant rainbow.  I caught several more on a Y2k. Cannon caught several big browns.

"big mama"

“big mama”

P.S. Thank you Mr Tim for teaching Mr. Chris how to tie flies.Thank you guys for writing the Dry Run Report This week.

Call or come by today and book your trip to Dry Run Creek for your kids over Christmas break.  We will be running a special on them.  Also stop by this weekend and get one of our New sweatshirts or long sleeve tees.

The new website is up but not finished.  You can still check it out and subscribe for updates.  I have links to the generation schedule, live river cams, and fishing forecasts.  These links should help you plan your trips and keep track of the water  more easily.  There are also links to the Trout unlimited 722, Arkansas Fly Fishers, and Caddis club. I have several other things that we are adding so keep checking it out.

Thanks, Good luck, and “Get Bent!”

Monday, Monday on the ‘Fork

Took another little trip on the Norfork on Monday with a couple of my customers.  Jimmy (the favorite,  inside joke) and Luke both were wanting a little time on the water and to learn a little more  about using a “sight indicator.” It did not take very much twisting of my arm to get me to go.

After last week I tyed up a few more small midges and PT’s for the trip.  We left about 7, got behind some sight seers around Sylamore and hit the water by 9:30.  AS we were fixing to drop the boat in I noticed some holding water on the ramp.  There was a small brown midge in it. I showed it to the guys to let them see what I had been talking about with all the midge talk. I would have took a picture but my phone I found out on the way up was full.  I guess its time to delete the countless pictures from vacations and fishing trips.  Its really kinda funny going through my phone.  I have as many pictues of fish as I do my kids.  However,  in my defense,  Several have both my kids and fish in them. After that we were off down the river.

It was hit or miss at first but Luke took the early lead.  Again he was using the miracle fly at the boat ramp pool.  There were 2 genrators runnin when we got on the water but didnt seem to be running full force.  We didnt linger long at the head of the river, I was hoping to get down to McClellan’s about the time the generation was suppose to end.  I did stop at my favorite little streamer hole and pounded the bank for just a bit.  It would only take 3 casts and an 16-17 inch Cutt pounced on the Galloups White Boogieman.  I was good.  Jimmy was ready to start throwing the 8wt SAGE ONE rod after that.  WE still had some high water to deal with but nothing else took the oversized offering.

THe next little strech would be hit and miss for a while as the water was beginning to fall. We pulled in few here and there but that seemd to be in all the boats.  I saw the other prototype Predator in the water with who had to be Forrest Smith and his clients.  He moved the boat up down and around McClellans with what seemed to be little effort.  I am ready to get behind the oars on one.  “Set, set , set!” and “Watch it now!” echoed around the lower pool but we didnt see to many make it to the boat.

The water finally started to drop out pretty good so we tried to push on down the river to get away from the crowd.  We pulled up on a shoal a fished awhile and caught a few more.  We looked at some different types of water and where to fish and why.  Luke fished to a set of 5 big fish feeding at the back of a pool.  He finally hooked one of them but the barbless hook did not hold.

We hit he water again and fished a big slow moving pool.  The sight indicator work that was done on the way down started to pay off.   Jimmy started making up for lost fish and gaining on Lukes fish total.  Luke hooked a beautiflully colored Rainbow that had some good size to it.  Jimmy would hook the largest Brown of the day.  It was also the only brown so we will leave it at that.  As we floated to the bottom of the pool, a heron flew over making its unmistakable call.  Then as we were all observing the white and pink thingamabobbers, waiting for any movement, a huge fish leaped from the water and landed with the sound of a large boulder faling from a cliff into a deep pool of water.  I saw only the tail as it slapped the water.  Instantly, both flies came out of the water and landed in the vacinity of the splash.

The water was all the way down now and we still had a good strech to drag the boat.  I walked it through Ackerman while the guys fished the shoals.  I saw John Berry on the bank as I was walking down.  I had met him before at the conclave, but after years of seeing is charichter on his logo he becomes unmistakable on the river.  The guys caught a few more and we headed to the pullout.  I managed to stay dry this trip but a bad Mcburger in Mt View made the trip home interesting.

Ill be in the shop the rest of the week.  New stuff coming in today and Paul Hoelscher is coming in tonight to teach the tying class.  Hope to see you there.

Good luck bending a rod.  Come by and we will try to help you make it happen.

Norfork with Johnny and Jim

The Toad Fly Shop 501-499-6914

I had planned to take a day and float the Norfork after the Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival.  A float down the river always seems to get my head back in order and yesterday was no different.

We arrived at the river just in time to catch Matt Millner of Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures heading out on the maiden voyage of Supreme Boats new “Predator” drift boat.  I have been talking to Rob (the owner of Supreme) about the new boat and was very excited to actually see one.  I like the looks of it.  Matt said last night on Facebook that he was very pleased with it on high and low water.  I am supposed to have one here at the shop around the end of the month and will be selling them shortly after. I will be writing a blog post with more info on the boat as soon as I get it on the water.

The water was up so we dropped the boat in the water. While Jim and Johnny were gearing up the rods, I took the Truck and trailer down stream and caught a shuttle back to the boat from Dominic from Two Rivers.  The thing I always loved about Two Rivers was Jim (the old owner) and his big, bushy, white, trout wizard beard.  He always had a few tips for how the river was fishing that he would lay upon you as he drove you back up river.  I have to admit I have a little touch of beard envy.  I will blame  it on the fact that my wife doesnt like it when I try to let it grow out.  The fact is I dont believe I have the genetics to grow a good one. Anyways, it is somewhat appropriate that the new owner, Dominic would seem to be a younger version of Jim with a big, bushy, brown, trout apprentice beard and a slightly thicker southern accent.

I arrived back to the boat, jumped in and gave a guy some tips on where to fish since the river was up, and pushed off.  The fishing was a little tough at first.  We hung around the upper part of the river a little too long but got some good time in on learning exactly what to be looking for with a sight indicator.  That little bit of extra time would both payoff and hurt us a little later on. Johnny hung a few fish and landed a couple of them.  The miracle fly seemed to be the ticket at the head of the river as it was over run with powerbait fishers and the miracle fly seems to mimic the power bait.  On down the river we went.

The water started falling as soon as we started downriver.  Falling water for me has always been somewhat of a bad time to fish.  The next hour was no different. We pulled over just above McClellans and had some summer sausage, beverages and some laughs. Johnny is full of good fishing stories.

We pulled over at the first shoal and swapped out flies till we found the magic mixture of feathers and fur.  Jim and I went at th shoal first as Johnny was hesitant to put on the his waders.  Johnny was content to watch us pulling in 12 to 15″ rainbows and take in the scenery of the colors of fall on a deceptively warm fall day.  The next few events would inspire him to suit up.  First, Jim, while learning to adjust from setting the hook on bass, broke his fly, tippet and thingambobber off on a fish.  The fish disappeared into the pool and was gone.  Then after rigging back up, Jim and I both doubled up on 15″ rainbows.  After landing them and releasing them back into the water, Johnny said “did y’all lose a thingamabobber?” He pointed out about 15 feet out in front of me a white thingamabobber still tethered to a fish.  I tried to walk towards it but it swam upstream about 10 feet.  I was fishing a weighted “Extra Crispy” so I hollered back to Johnny for a witness and said, “Watch this.”  Now most of the time you here someone from the South yells, “Watch this!”,  a camcorder is usually handy as an event  is fixing to transpire that could earn you some money on Americas Funniest Videos.  However, no alcohol was involved so the events were pretty tame but still entertaining none the less.  I cast up-stream just above the Sight indicator and let the line drift back over the tether and jerked to snag the indicator.  It took two casts but I snagged the line and indicator and released the fish free and clear.  I had no more released that fish and Jim hung another.  He fought the rainbow for a few minutes then landed and released it.  He cast back up and the Thingamabobber stopped and the hook was set.

“Is it a Fish?”

“I don’t Know”

The indicator  moved forward a foot and the rod bent over with the pressure.

“yep, it’s a fish!”

“Do you need the net”

“I don’t….” the water boiled ahead of the indicator and started to take out line off the reel, “Oh yeah, I need the net!”

After a few minutes the fish was laying in the bottom of the net.  “13 at the head and 5 at the tail, that’s an 18″ Brownie!”

Johnny started slipping on his waders.

I pulled the boat down river to get ready to float the next stretch of the river.  Jim and Johnny continued to fish above the pool.  We jumped back into the boat and set off.  A few 100 yards down stream Johnny enticed a very nice rainbow into taking his fly.  A nice hookset and the fish went airborne.  I would say that the fish realistically went over 20 inches.  I would also say that the rule that a fish tends to grow in size the farther one gets from the river makes me think the fish  was closer to 24 to 26 inches.  Either way it was a nice fish that through the hook before we could land it.  We caught a few more before Johnny landed a fish “with a nice set of shoulders”.  A 17″ beautifully marked Rainbow.

“just take the Picture”

  We fished some more but the time we spent at the head of the river had caught up with us.  The light was fading and with no flow on the river it was going to take a lot of rowing and dragging to get to the dock.  As we rounded a corner we got to watch a decent buck fording the river.  As he reached the island he stopped and turn to watch us.  The deer and I sat there for a moment and studied each other with calming sounds of the rushing water coming over the shoal behind us in the background.  The picture was somewhat similar of a painting that you would see in an Outdoor Life magazine.  It would have to  be a painting because moments like that are seldom captured on camera as the participants are usually wise enough to take the time to just enjoy the image unfold before them.  The true beauty of nature is seldom captured on film anyway.  Man has yet to be able to capture the full range of colors, sounds, smells and feel of nature that combine to make the time spent in there seem more like an investment in ones own soul.  As some turkeys took roost in the trees behind us we pushed on forward.  While pushing on down through Ackerman access, the boat got to moving a little faster than I wanted and clipped my legs and into the drink I went.  The same thing that waders keep dry, stay wet with waders on.  I was thankful that we were close to the confluence and a the pullout point.

After a good meal at the Wing Shack in Mt View, the drive home and a hot shower I hit the sack.  Tired eyes and arms hit the pillow at what seemed to be the  same time the alarm went off.  Rise and shine.

Stop by the shop and we will try to help you get a rod bent.  New Stuff will be coming in from Montana Fly Company next week.  Come by and make your wish list so whoever is shopping for you gets the things that you want put under the tree. $10 Toad fly Tees Sunday afternoon.  Come check out the Conway Downtown area Sunday after Church.  Enjoy some good food and shopping as The Downtown area gets ready for the Christmas season.  1-5 Sunday afternoon.

Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival

The Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival is this weekend.  We have been blessed to see a forecast of 82 degrees and sunny weather for the day.  Come out and enjoy the casting, tying, music and other events.  We are also having a great raffle for several different guide trips.  Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures, Arkansas Drift, Hogs on the Fly, Two Rivers Fly Shop, Davy Wotton, Paul Hoelscher, White Hole Resort Gift certificate from Real Sportsman Magazine, and several other prizes will be giving away in the raffle.  Each ticket is $2 dollars or 15 tickets for $20.  You do not have to be present to win and all the proceeds from the raffle go to Project Healing Waters.  Hope to see you all there.  Be sure to come out and enter the Casting Tournament at noon. You will get a chance to cast the Sage One 5wt in the tourney.  We will have all our SAGE and Redington Fly Rods out so you can come by and give them a try.   Looking forward to Saturday.  Hope to see you all out there. 

Dry Run and the Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival

Its been a wild couple of weeks and the way it looks the next two weeks will be more of the same.  The Conway Fly Fishing Film Festival is Nov 3 and we are getting everything together to make that a great first event.

After our rush moving adventure last week, my girls knew just how to calm me down and get me back into a semi-relaxed state, a day trip to Dry Run.

We awoke without the sound of an alarm clock sunday morning, had breakfast at the house (the first time I had done so in a few months), through the gear in Jeepers and headed out.  The Girls had not been to the shop in a couple of months so we “swung” by on the way out.  Of course they both needed new Buffs and Kam saw the New MFC Trout Print Ipad cases and got one of those too.   After grabbing a few extra flies, we were off.

The drive up 65 is always a nice trip, but the leafs starting to change and the heavy morning cloud cover made it especially enjoyable. There is no better time to enjoy a Sunday drive in Arkansas than a cloudy Fall day. The blaze orange and reds of the maples illuminate what would be at any other time of the year a dreary sky.  As you will find out I have somewhat of a sickness on when I choose to go fishing.  The cloudier the day, the more I wish to be on the water.  Light Rain, cold, and even snow forces me to get out of the house and travel to the nearest (or farthest) destination to get a line wet.  I have passed this affliction onto my kids.  This was done by taking them on one of their first trips to Dry Run in late fall 3 or 4 years ago during a cloudy, drizzling rain.  Their  first adventure to Dry Run started with a stop at Wal Mart to buy ponchos.  When we arrived at DR, astonishingly we were the only souls there.  It was the girls and I, my buddy Barry (known as “gingerbeard”) and his son Tyler and a stream full of Trout.  All that really needs to be said about that day is every time the rain picked up, we would ask the kids if they wanted to go to the car and the answer was always “No, lets keep fishing.”  The affliction for inclement weather fishing was past.  So a cloudy day now results in a trip somewhere.

Back to Sunday, If you get the chance to make the drive this week, I would highly recommend it.  Especially the drive from Mountain View to Calico Rock.  The Sylamore Forest was in full color and it is sure not to last.

We arrived at Dry Run at around 2 and again were the only Car on the lot.  I threw on my waders while the Girls rigged up the rods for what was sure to be a great afternoon. I was admittedly probably a little over hyped for the experience.  The sugar high from having waffles and syrup for breakfast and the follow-up Rockstar was taking hold of an already hyper personality.  Not to mention knowing that your kids have a real chance at landing a trophy fish every time their fly hits the water gets me amped up.  So we started down to the creek Kori, then Kam leading the way.  As we walked down the side-walk along above the creek you could see several trout podded up in the pools below.  The setting itself is beautiful.  A tree covered, small, stone lined creek, clear jade tinted water with scattered shadows of the aquatic inhabitants moving forward and aft gathering the nutrition needed for their daily balancing act against the constant flow of water that both brings their food source to them and creates the resistance that cause them to need more.  As I glanced back up I noticed that Kam is taller than the railing that she use to be the same height  as.  Kori is now scouting out where she wants to fish and then telling me “I want to go to the hole.”  When we first started coming it was, “where do we go?” “What do I need to use?”  Now Kori knows where she wants to go and what she wants to fish with.  She can tie her own fly on but lets me tie the first on.  The coaching from the sidelines is not needed, but is still given.  Some of the advice taken but done so begrudgingly.  It is pleasing to know that she has learned to go it alone but also a little heart wrenching  to know I am not needed as much.

Kori started off with a streamer  on  an 8wt Sage tossing an Olive Butt Monkey.  Once she found the right retrieve and watched several chase the wiggling wool and rabbit strip across the pool she landed a couple of nice rainbows.  Kam went to work below the fall with some midges. After they fished those two holes out and got warmed up,  we headed to the “Midge Hole” where we had seen a slew of Browns stacked up on the way in.  The girls then alternated back and forth, pulling out 14 to 17 inch browns one after another.  There were a few rainbows scattered into the mix.  The biggest fish title alternated back and forth with both blonde heads shooting towards the Measure Net each time they landed one to check the number at the nose and tail to see who had claimed  the lead. The fish were full of their autumn colors  that matched those of the turning leaves around them.  Full of life and acrobatics as they struggle to release themselves from the deception of steel and thread trap that had only moments before looked so appetizing.  Kam hooked another and this one refused to come to the top.  It ran to the far end of  the pool and sank deep onto the bottom.  I had to get out and walk around the scrub brush lined bank to get to the pool as Kam continued to hold pressure on the line.  As I walked up to the pool, I could see the line penetrating into what I though was the dark shadowed bottom of the creek.  As I slipped into the cold, calm water it erupted with action as what I thought was the bottom was fish stacked so thick that I could not tell with all the splashing which fish the line was tethered too. Then  the shimmering butter and gold body sprang from the water and I thrust the net forward.  Kam saw me make the thrust and dropped the rod to race to me to see her bounty.  As I pulled the net up from the water I felt no resistance…the fish was gone. The  slack that had been created when the rod fell had released the hold the barbless hook had on the jaw of the fish.  Lesson learned, do not let up till your sure it’s in the bag.

Kori had a similar take while casting a streamer at the foam of the waterfall.  As the fly seemed to struggle in the turbulence of the fall a large rainbow came up to take advantage of the seemingly stranded meal.  We all watched as the fish rose and attacked the fly and the hook was set.  Slack in the line would again become the enemy of the capture.  We caught a few more and then the “Warden” (I’ll pay for this later) said it was almost 6pm and we still had a 2 hour ride back to the house so it was time to go.

Nimas is closed on Sunday so we headed straight back to a sub-par meal at the Bell in Mountain View reliving the days events on the way home.

If you have not taken your child to Dry Run, Pack them up and head that way.  It is truly a state treasure.  Come by the shop and we will get you hooked up with what you need to go, or get you hooked up with a guide.  I would venture to say that there is no other resource in the state or nation that will get a kid more interested in fishing and possibly a trophy fish.  Just remember to observe the rules and spend the time to make sure the fish is revived and taken care of while in your care.  Enjoy and hope to help you get a “Rod Bent” soon.

“The fish you release today may be a gift to another, as it may have been a gift to you.  — Lee Wulff”

Strip, Strip, Strip, strip…..GA-Loop!!

The Toad Fly Shop 501-499-6914

As many of you know Chris Morris and I spent the Weekend at The FFF Fishing Fair (Conclave) at Mtn Home this past weekend. It was a great event. I got a Booth at the last minute and got Placed right beside The “Hogs on the Fly” Booth and Dave Whitlocks booth. Being my first time to the Conclave, I did not know what to expect. I showed up late and the place was packed. There were folks from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, and Tennessee. The highlight for me was meeting Dave and Emily Whitlock and getting my pic with Dave. I was equally as star struck by getting my picture and getting to talk to Sister Carol Anne Corley the “Fly Tying Nun.” If you have never heard of her here is a link to a good article. http://juneauempire.com/stories/092701/Out_nun.shtml

We got to meet a lot of people and got to talk fly fishing all weekend. Guides Chad Johnson, Ben Levin, Paul Hoelscher, Larry Babin, Ken Minsky, Dominic and Brian Wise all came by the booth and had some conversations about the river and doing some fishing trips in the future. Working on dates for some of them to come down to teach some tying classes on our Tuesday night meetings.

But the real fun started after we closed up shop on Saturday afternoon. We had planned on hitting the river early Sunday morning, but the cloudy overcast afternoon with a light mist and finding out that the SWPA was going to be running 2 generators was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Chris and I had already been talking to Larry, Chad, and Ben about fishing and some hot patterns and our “streamer affliction” had began to take over. So we packed up our booth and helped the SAGE/Redington Rep David Oldham break his booth down except for a few of the new 7 and 8 wt rods that needed a good “testing” on the river. Taking the new rods out for a test spin was Davids bartering tool to go along. We told Chad to have us a few flies ready (never underestimate the advice of a guy who “lives” on the river) and we were off.

We got on the water at about 6pm. 3 Guys, 6 rods, 2 rain jackets, 2 boxes full of flies and a full YETI headed off into the already darkening sky with a light mist slowly turning into a soft, icy rain. “Do you guys happen to have another rain jacket???? or some gloves?” The trip was not for the rational thinking person. It was cold, dark, and is not really something you want to do if you are just learning to cast. There is no light except for the occasional dock or house lights that are speckled along the river. Casting is strictly by feeling the lines roll out and load the rod at the end of the stroke, then starting your back or forward cast. But that was somewhat of the beauty of it. Not only could you not see where you were casting, but there was no sight indicator to watch. You could not see fish rising to cast to. Nothing to let you know visually that anything was even interested in what you were presenting except the distinct sound of “ga-loop”, and then physical “setting of the hook”, then the always rewarding tug on the line. It was an enlightening entry into a completely different experience in a sport that I was already in love with.

Strip, strip, strip, ……GA-LOOP! “its a small one.” David said.

Strip, strip, strip…….GA-Loop!

Chris Morris’s Toad

So now I’m hooked on Night Fishing. Yes I caught a Fish but it was only about 16 in. After seeing those two fish there was no need for a picture of it. I spent a lot of time on the oars. Chris is a guide and I really wanted He and David to have plenty of fishing time.

We got off the water at around 1:30, in bed at 2:30, back on the water to float the Norfork at 6am. We caught several but nothing of any size. But for me its not always about catching fish. Time on the water with friends is always a good “investment”.

So swing by the shop and swap some stories, pick up some gear or find out whats hot on the rivers. Call and we will get a trip set up for you on the Little Red, Norfork, White, Or the North Fork of the White. The spawn is coming and we are going to experience an epic year with the lake levels being where they are. Lots of low water and streamer fishing when they are generating. We hope to help you “Get a Rod Bent” soon.