Resources and Fun Stuff 5/2015

by Mark Kolanowski


Destination: Cameron Park in Waco Texas

This jewel of a city park sits at the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque rivers. Sitting on top of limestone bluffs that overlook and border the rivers it is one of the largest municipal parks in Texas. Over 20 miles of multi use hiking trails traverse the woodlands. It is a day use park that offers picnic areas, clean restrooms , group dinning shelters, disc golf, volleyball and horseshoe courts.

Of interest to fly fishers and kayakers is the easy access and safe parking areas that are available for launching your watercraft. Texas Parks and Wildlife has set up three different paddling trails. They are loop trails that range from 2-5 miles so no shuttle is required. My wife Karen and I made a day trip to Cameron Park a few weeks ago. I put in at the McLennan Community College boat ramp on the Bosque river.  While she hiked the river walk trail I paddled and fished. This part of the Bosque river is shaded with trees and under growth along the banks. Scenic bluffs known as Lovers Leap and Dammon’s Cliff rise 150 feet above from where you sit on the river. The fishing was a bit slow that day but I did manage to land a trio of spunky Largemouth Bass and several Green Sunfish that put a nice bend in my 6wt. River fish seem to fight harder than their lake or pond cousins. Most of the fish came on a Seth Lewis designed Rush Creek Slider. Rock piles and fallen timber provide ambush points and casting targets. I’m looking forward to my next trip to explore the Brazos river section. The use of the boat ramps and access to the park is free. Camping is available at nearby Lake Waco. The Airport campground was well maintained and offered many shaded campsites. Waco is also the former home of the Woolley Mammoth and features a museum and dig site. For more information ,maps, paddling trails, hours and amenities visit these websites.

Book: The Fly Tier’s Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles by Ted Leeson and Jim Schollmeyer

Three caveats–This book is expensive retailing at $100.00. It is not a book of fly patterns. The only complete fly I found is the Royal Wulff pictured on the cover. The print is small. Better have your tying glasses handy!

Now the good news–This huge volume is one of the most comprehensive, organized, well photographed and descriptive books of fishing literature devoted to fly tying in the history of the sport.  I can only begin to fathom the amount of time and energy that was put into the photography and written text that accompanies the techniques described. The wing section alone depicts 39 different methods of making a wing on a fly along with  many alternate variations. The opening chapters have been very helpful in my gaining an understanding of all the different materials available to the fly tier and their uses. As my skill set and learning curve of fly tying progresses I’ll be keeping this reference close at hand.

MusicMark Knopfler/Tracker

The latest release from the former Dire Straits front man. Rich with Knopfler’s signature guitar work, smoky vocals and storytelling lyrics, this album provides just the right ambience for tying up your next dozen flies. I’m partial to the tracks Beryl, River Towns , Lights of Taormina, and Wherever I Go.

Brewery: Oskar Blues of Colorado & North Carolina

When you receive an e-mail from a guy who is the plant manager of a brewery and his title is Fly Fishing Marketing Lead–it got my attention. Oskar Blues has developed a loyal following of  river rats and fly fishers. They do extensive cross promotions with Gink & Gasoline, Cheeky Reels, TFO rods, local fly shops and music festivals. Irreverent humor and inside jokes can be found in the fine print on each can of their unique line of brews. That is another thing that makes Oskar Blues unusual. A craft brewery that puts their beer exclusively in cans. River friendly as opposed to glass bottles.  More brews per inch in your Yeti, crushable for the packing out. A couple of FWFF members each scored a Dale’s Pale Ale TFO 5wt finesse fly rod along with some schwag by posting on the Oskar Blues instagram page and making some key March Madness picks. Old Chub Scotch Ale was my first taste of an Oskar Blues brew. It came out of Rex’s ice chest while sitting by a roaring fire in east Texas after a day of casting Seaducer flies to Chain Pickerel. “It’s Like Sputnik.. A Virtual Planetoid”  Available Locally at: Signature Kroger’s  & Tom Thumb stores. Visit for more fun, adventure and contests.

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