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.

Enjoy.

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!

Casting Class Saturday

We are going to be having a casting Class Saturday. The cost is $20. Chris Morris a Certified Casting Instructor will be giving the class. All of the Sage and Redington rods we have at the shop will be available for casting during the class. Chris is a great instructor who is good with giving those that are new a head start or working out the kinks if you been casting awhile already. When the class is over if you want to purchase a rod the $20 fee goes towards the rod purchase.

Call the shop or email me your info if you would like to take the class.
501-499-6914 or tim@thetoadfly.com

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Dry Run and a Norfork Trip.

Had an a chance to take Kam and a few of her friends to Dry Run Sunday.  To say it was a perfect day would be somewhat of an understatement.  I really dont know how many fish they caught but if a fly was in the water, within a few seconds a fish was on.

We started the morning off by helping everyone get the feel of things.  Watching Drift indicators, setting the hooks and not touching the reels if the rod was bent over to far.  After that only the occasional help to release fish was needed. 

Hayden Hooked the first fish and took one of my favorite pics of the day.  Kam and Abby started off on their own and Chris Curtis took a great pic of them in the fog.  We had the run of the creek to ourselves for most of the day.  The flies were the norm, small midges, flashy colors etc. Canon caught the Hog of the trip, a huge rainbow.  What I was impressed by was the fact that all the kids shared time on the poles in the hot holes.  It is a great feeling to help the kids hook fish, especially big ones.  But and even better feeling to be standing up on the ledge above, watching them hang fish after fish, and each of them netting the fish for the others.  No Ipads, video games or phones, just Fishing.  It really doesnt get any better than that. For More Pics checkout our Facbook page.

Monday broght a drift trip down the Norfork. I told Scooter that I would not mention anything about him stepping off the end of the Boat ramp and going completely under.  It was a really funny story that would have been a great read.  Especially the part about him yelling at Jordan “Full Waders! Help”.  Oh well  He recouped rather quickly and landed a 18 1/2″ Brown right off the bat.  I will say that the netting job by Jordan was both tense and exciting.  It was a method I had never seen before but it did get the job done.    All in all it was a great day.  I was a Cuttthroat shot of cathcing a grand slam.  I did catch a nice carp on a streamer which was fun.  I would say we slayed them but we caught several.  Color was the ticket.  Once we found the “hot” color the fishing got to rolling.     We finished the night off with a Pizza from Tommys that was unreal.  Pulled pork pizza, dont make any judgements until you try it.

Thats all for now, Come by the shop Friday and Saturday for some good deals on gear.  Find out what the hot patterns were and just hang out.

Remember, Money cant buy happiness, But It can buy Fishing gear and thats really the same thing.

“Get a Rod Bent”

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.