The Braided Wing

IFTD, N'awlins, Redfish & Trapper Joe

Posted August 24, 2011 Stonefly.

IFTD, N'awlins, Redfish & Trapper Joe

We had a fantastic trip to New Orleans this weekend for the Internat'l Flyfishing Tackle Dealers (IFTD) trade show. Over 250 new products on display, and a fairly robust floor show. The traffic wasn't heavy - it would have been great to see more of the public, or more of the local guides and shops - but this is a traditionally smaller show than, say, Outdoor Retailer. Nonetheless, I have to wonder about the choice of New Orleans in mid-August, where temperatures seem to hover around 100 degrees. I get the whole destination city and all, but fly fishermen generally like to get out in the morning and fish, or stay over or come in early and fish, and those temperatures keep the fish down - especially the redfish. Reno and the Truckee next year is a much better location - less to do on dry land, but as a group we like to be on the water!

We did connect with a terrific network of authors, dealers, and distributors, so no complaints at all. As I said, fantastic trip for us - we got to spend a little time with a lot of people, and a lot of time with some very good people, among them Kirk and Tim from Angler Trade, Gary and Chris of Fly Fusion, Rob from Angler's Book Supply, Thomas from Diablo Paddlesports (a little off the beaten path for us, but I love the product)...really just too many to list. And Howard from No Nonsense Guides - I'm sorry I missed you, and hope we can connect again. Stop by in Bloomington again like last time and we'll put you on some nice smallmouth this time around!

We're looking forward more now than ever to producing some beautiful, practical, enviable books and offering our unique concept in support of our authors (keep watching!). Over the next few months we'll be contracting new projects, so follow us here or watch our website begin to unfold - you can take a look at the splashpage that went up during IFTD at Not much there yet - we're building behind it - but always open to hearing any thoughts even at this early stage.

So on the the redfishin'! We got up early and headed down to Port Sulphur, about 20-30 minutes south of NOLA. Stopped at Capt. Larry's for a few sausage & egg sandwiches - gotta love a breakfast grill that opens for fishermen at 4:30am! Nice to have an option other than a sausage McMuffin once in awhile.

It was hot. I mentioned it once already, but it certainly bears repeating. Must have been 90 by sunrise. However the fishing wasn't quite so heated. We knew it was going to be tough, but were hoping for a decent morning bite for at least a couple of hours and really, how can you go to New Orleans - even offseason for reds - and not get out on the water? We were throwing small gold and red spoons, using RISE gear, and while we weren't releasing many, we had a couple to show for all the sweat and hard work. Here's one, a nice 8-lb'er:



It's always interesting out in the bayou and marshes.  We ran alongside a bottlenose dolphin that was chasing mullet through 2-4' water, dorsal fin rising and falling.  Even the guide was surprised by that one.  Saw a couple of gators, which was expected, the larger coming in at about 10-ft.  Pulled some crab pots run by our guide and loaded with blue crab - and had to get a shot of these for posterity (and maybe the website carousel):



But the most unexpected sight - maybe even more than the porpoise - was Trapper Joe, from History Channel's Swamp People.  I can't help getting sucked into shows like Swamp People and River Monsters, and while I run into some of these folks on occasion, it's usually as part of an event or launch or some other deal.  I don't expect to run into them while I'm flyfishing.  Turns out Joe and our guide, Dave, are good buddies though, so he pulled up alongside us with a 3-man film crew, a new covered boat and 150-HP Johnson outboard just to visit for a few.

It was good to get to New Orleans and launch Stonefly Press, good to meet folks at the show and on the water, and always good to catch some fish - just wish the History Channel camera crew had gotten a couple of shots of our Stonefly Press logo on our shirts - hey, early press is still good press, right?