Outdoor Corner": 'Flying' high!

Lyle Johnson

Have you ever wanted to explore the fascinating world of fly tying? Get ready for the upcoming fishing season by learning how to tie your own flies during this workshop series.

Here’s a great opportunity to take part in a fly-tying demonstration and class at the Gonzales Library at 708 S. Irma Blvd. Local fly-tying legend and avid fly fisherman Darrel Crawford will treat anyone interested in the art of fly-tying.

Just a few of the flies that Darrell Crawford has tied in his time. Come out to the Ascension Parish Library and see many more.

The Gonzales resident will unpack all manner of stuff; cork, feathers, dyed bucktail of all colors, thread glue and some things you might not recognize. The class will arrive, and the range of expertise will be from seasoned veterans to novices and all points in between.

Next comes the actual tying; a base thread will be glued on with the hook. Next comes the floss, which looks like thread. The skirt will usually be made of saddle hackle (feather form a chicken’s back) and comes next. Then feathers or hair will be tied on to make the finished product.

These workshops are a must for those who want to learn or improve their fly-tying skills and begin a lifelong journey through this world of tying flies. Crawford has been tying flies for over 40 years and will demonstrate several different fly-tying techniques.

Even if you’ve never tried to tie a fly or just would like to see if you would be interested, this is a very good way to spend a morning. These folks love to pass their skills along to all interested parties, and you’ll have a good time participating or just watching.

Fly Tying I will take place Jan. 29 and cover how to tie Bream Killer and Little Tommy flies. Fly Tying II will cover how to tie saltwater flies, Crazy Charlie and Gotcha. If time permits, Crawford will also demonstrate tying a Sac-a-Lait jig.

Fly Tying II will take place Feb. 5. Participation in both sessions is recommended, but not required. All needed materials and tools will be provided. The lesson/demo will start at 9 a.m. and last until noon. Registration is required, so call (225) 647-3955 to register. Masks will be mandatory during both workshops.

Crawford’s saga began when he was 13 years old, commissioned by his grandfather, Ralph Quave to paddle him around as he caught many bream with his fly rod and favorite popping bug.

It was a fly painted white and black with white rubber legs. The paint used back then was very hard so the bait had lasted over two years and caught hundreds of bream. Crawford’s grandfather used the excuse that he’d gotten tired and handed the fly rod to Darrell and said, “Give it a try, son.”

After a couple of hours casting into tree limbs, tree trunks, stumps and even catching a few fish, the favorite bait was decimated from the abuse. Grandpa never said anything but Crawford felt really bad. The venerable bait was gone, never to be used again.

Like any grandson worth his salt, young Crawford knew the bait had to be replaced. Having no money of his own, he found an old broom stick and carved a head, installed a hook and tied on some stuff along with rubber legs and finished it off with some white paint.

Darrell was really proud of his creation, but his grandpa just chuckled, “Son, you’ll never catch a fish with that!” The next trip the pair went on, Crawford got his chance. After casting for a while with no action a few of the bream struck the bait and eventually the first fish was caught on the homemade fly.

After landing several more fish, Grandpa took over to see if the bait was a fluke. He added a few more fish to the bait’s tally, and a fly-tying phenom was born. Crawford went home and carved up that broom stick to make more popping bugs until he discovered he could buy fly-tying materials from a catalog.

Crawford’s children were home-schooled and were looking for some extracurricular instruction time of some sort. He came up with the ides of tying flies and the group’s other parents loved the idea. So, in the early ’90s Crawford’s teaching the art of tying flies was birthed.

His hobby started 54 years ago, and Darrell Crawford has taught many a fly-fishing angler how to tie a fly. He’d love to teach you as well.

Wilson and Warren Couch hold up their winning stringer caught in the Spillway for the Fishers of Men bass tournament that weighed in at a 19.80 pounds.

On Jan. 15, Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville hosted the first Fishers of Men South Louisiana Tournament Trail event for 2022. Downright chilly and wet weather met the 95 boats that signed up to fish.

It was a nasty day as most folks would think but it was before a cold front, which means a falling barometer and hungry fish that were willing to cooperate. They didn’t let the anglers down. Taking first-place honors and a $7178.00 check for five bass weighing 19.80 pounds and a 5.85-pound big bass was the team of Wilson and Warren Couch.

Taking second place was Ross Roper and Logan Latuso with five bass pushing the scales to 14.02 pounds. In third place was the team of Craig Walker and Brent Bonadona with five bass weighing 13.88 pounds. In fourth was Winston Michel and Sandy Gaudet, five bass at 13.13 pounds. Taking fifth was Thomas McCrystal and Daniel Aucoin, five bass at 12.79 pounds.

Rounding out the Top 10: sixth place Teddy Granier and Jeremy Norris, five bass at 12.26 pounds; seventh place Kevin Hebert and Adam Marceaux, five bass at 12.13 pounds; eighth place Hal Pinho and Lee Bierhorst, five bass at 12.12 pounds; ninth place Hanson and John Haney, five bass at 12.01 pounds; and 10th place Chris Day and Tim Carmouche, five bass at 11.23 pounds.

Next week we’ll be talking about the Fishing for Tucker Bass Tournament held out of Stephensville on Feb. 5. It’s the start of the tournament season that bass anglers have been waiting for! So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!

We’re looking at a nine-point (left) killed by Cooper Babin and a seven-point killed by Dawson Ducote 15 minutes apart hunting with the Sandy Bayou Sportsman’s club dog hunting. Cooper shot his with a 12-gauge at 75 yards, and Dawson shot his with a 20-gauge at 40 yards.

Outdoor Calendar

  • East Ascension Sportsman’s League Meeting: 7 p.m., third Monday each month in the meeting room upstairs at Cabela’s. Supper will be served. For more information, email warrenh3@eatel.net 
  • Hunter Education Program: Hunter education classes have resumed. Classroom; online with a field shooting day and online for students 16 years or older. Website: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/hunter-and-trapper-education
  • Squirrel and Rabbit Season: Through Feb. 28. Daily bag limit eight; possession 24.
  • Fly Tying Classes; 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 at Ascension Parish Library. Join local fishing enthusiast Darrell Crawford as he teaches the basics of fly tying. Registration required at www.myapl.org
  • Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic: Feb.5 out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephensville.  Entry fee is $100 a boat with $2,000 first place based on 100 boat field; $500 first place Big Bass. Get all info at www.fishingfortucker.com.
  • Krewe of Diversion St Jude Boat Parade: Noon Feb. 19 leaving the bridge over Diversion traveling to Manny’s on the Amite River. Grand Marshall Rep. Clay Schexnayder. Contact David (225 939-2135) or Vivian Stevens (225 324-5659) for details.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net