My main objective was to check out a few of the seminars that were being held by local guides and instructors on various subjects. The three that I had attended were:
In Pursuit of THE Record (Trophy Trout - Baffin Bay)
Presented by Captain Aubrey Black and
Captain Sally Black of Baffin Bay Rod & Gun
Fishing Galveston Bay
Presented by Captain Jim West of Bolivar Guide Services
Fly Fishing the Texas Coast
Presented by Stacy Lynn, IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
In Pursuit of THE RecordI really didn't know what to expect but was immediately impressed with the first seminar hosted by Captain Aubrey and Captain Sally Black on pursuing THE record trophy trout in Baffin Bay. I have never had the opportunity to fish Baffin Bay by boat or kayak, but like most anglers, I have seen proof that Baffin really does hold some of the largest speckled trout along the Texas Gulf Coast...and possibly the entire Gulf Coast at that. Captain Aubrey and Captain Sally explained why Baffin Bay is a great habitat for sheltering these monstrous trout as well as the slightly unique techniques they use that have been proven to catch big trout over the past few years, even through drought condition and at times when no other guide services were running Baffin Bay. During the seminar, Captain Aubrey explained his choice in tackle and gear and expressed how he uses mono for his baitcaster reels as opposed to transitioning over to braid, he explicitly told anyone to stop by his booth later to discuss his reasons why. (I myself have been using braid for years and enjoy all the advantages it gives.)
After sitting through all the seminars, I had a chance to visit with Captain Aubrey in their booth and was really impressed with what I heard and how upfront and honest he is. Given his stance on mono, I had to ask why he has not transitioned over to braid...I was completely in agreement with what he had to say. Pretty much, now a days, most fishermen use too heavy of equipment and just horse everything in...nobody knows how to fight and properly land a fish anymore! He claimed to be old school and for the most part, we share the same thoughts. And now you're thinking, wait, but you use braid too??? I do use braid, however, I do not use my braid in this manner. I like the lighter tackle which allows me to properly fight and land the fish in a safe manner in order to grab a quick picture and release him to fight another day. I generally only keep about 10-15% of the fish I catch, just enough to keep some in the fridge. After speaking with Captain Aubrey, I might have to rig up one of my Shimano Curado's with a spool of mono.
If you are ever looking to get a group of your closest fishing buddies and take a nice trip down to Baffin Bay, I would recommend giving Baffin Bay Rod & Gun a shot. I know my brother and I are already talking about trying to make it down there.
Fishing Galveston BayNext up was Captain Jim West of Bolivar Guide Service to cover fishing Galveston Bay. Captain Jim West gave a good presentation but I was a little disappointed as he did not cover much about fishing Galveston Bay. The presentation was focused more towards the general basics of fishing and navigating a few different weather patterns. Don't get me wrong, it was good information to cover for the beginner or less experienced anglers as most beginners don't fish weather patterns, but for me it was just a good review. Honestly, I was looking more for direct information to the Galveston Bay System as I am not as familiar with anything east of Chocolate Bay, with the exception of Pierce Marsh of course. I was looking for it to be more geared towards what the bay has to offer and types of structure you may find. My knowledge of East Bay is slim and you don't even need to ask about West Bay because I have never had my kayak touch those waters. I've heard some decent things about kayaking various spots in Galveston Bay but need to set aside some time specifically to venture out and explore some of those kayaking spots. So hopefully this year I'll be able to bring some footage from some of my adventures and explorations of Galveston Bay.
Fly Fishing the Texas CoastLast up on my list of seminars to catch was Fly Fishing the Texas Coast presented by Stacy Lynn. Stacy is an International Federation of Fly Fishers, IFFF, Certified Fly Casting Instructor as well as a Texas Volunteer for Casting for Recovery whose primary goal is to "focus on improving quality of life for women with breast cancer through the therapeutic sport of fly fishing". (Give them a follow on Instagram @castingforrecovery).
This seminar is one that I was really excited for as I am just now venturing into the art of Fly Fishing. My enjoyment of fly fishing grows each time I tie a fly or take the fly rod out to a local neighborhood pond, and I was hoping this presentation would help me out to find some good fly fishing spots along the gulf coast...well, I was a little let down at first when Stacy said we will not cover much about the fishing spots or what to look for along the coast but instead focus on the accuracy of the fly cast especially towards tailing redfish. So with an open mind, I agreed that it is very important to improve your fly casting accuracy especially when you are sight casting those upper slot reds; plus, she had me a redfish! So she began asking questions to the audience to see who has experienced certain problems with their cast...and I found my head nodding for every question! So now she had me hooked and I quit putting up a fight and was heading towards the net. In the 45 minute seminar she gave, I learned more pointers and small tips to practice when I'm not on the water to help improve my fly casting. Everything from the angle of approach of your fly line, practicing fly first presentation, types of loops and how to properly drop the fly rod after the fly is presented to be ready to rip if needed.
For myself, this was awesome information that I was able to get with the small price of admission to the show. I have not received this amount of information from anyone else before on fly fishing techniques. Yea, I've watched countless hours of YouTube, but the quality of information she gave in such a short amount of time lured me in and got me excited to get home to practice my fly casting. I strongly recommend that you look up Stacy Lynn whether you are a looking to venture into the sport of fly fishing for the first time, just getting started or experienced and want some help diagnosing your fly casting. She offers a wide variety of services for individuals or groups listed below:
- Diagnostics & Tune-up
- Advanced & Saltwater Techniques
- Improving accuracy, distance & presentation
- Video coaching
- On-the-water guided lessons
- Classes on fishing techniques, knot tying, fly tying, equipment, etc...
After the seminars were over, I was able to walk around and check out all the booths that were offered throughout the 200,000 square feet of event space. Not much damage was made to my wallet as I was able to get out of there only spending $25 on a new pair of Danco side cutter fishing pliers. The show was well organized, had plenty of boats and kayaking accessories, and a good variety of vendors and guides spanning the entire gulf coast. I look forward to next years 41st annual Fishing Show...maybe one of these years I'll have a booth set up. The next show that my girlfriend and I enjoy going to together each year will be the Houston Summer Boat Show coming June 3 - 7, 2015. Maybe I'll see some of you there!
Until next time...
Keep your Tail Dirty, and Fish On!
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