I recently stumbled on a story about the dearth of people of color in the traditional outdoor hunting and fishing business. It’s been my experience that this is true and maybe it’s the case for other outdoor activities, but I’m not sure as I don’t get out much without my fly rod or shotgun.
The POC topic often comes up in R3 discussions — that’s recruiting, retention and reactivation. It might make for a useful column down the road, but this week I’m more interested in one of the exceptions the article highlighted: Alvin Dedeaux, a fly fishing guide based in Austin, Texas, the city from which most of the cool things in America seem to emanate these days.
Dedeaux guides on rivers and streams in central Texas and also along the Gulf Coast. He’s a two-time Orvis Guide of the Year Finalist, and like every smart person with a business to promote, Dedeaux has a YouTube channel.
It doesn’t matter a lick if you intend to fish central Texas or the Gulf Coast anytime soon, but if you’ve the slightest interest in fly fishing for non-salmonid species like bass, especially bass, you’d be wise to spend some time on Dedeaux’s channel. He’s charming, unassuming and has a boatload of bass fly patterns for you to steal.
Since he’s putting them out there on his channel with comprehensive tying instructions, it’s not actually stealing. Most of his patterns feature foam, lot’s of it, and they come together with glue and minimal fuss. He chuckles as he describes these patterns as “guide flies.” By that, he means cheap and easy to tie, so there’s not too much anguish when a sport leaves one decorating a tree.
His Dedeaux Bass Popper is also referred to as the Flip Flop Popper since the materials used to craft it resemble the tattered remnants of a dollar-store sandal blown out by a pop top.
Watch Dedeaux’s tying videos. If you’ve never tied a fly before in your life it won’t matter. You’ll be whipping these beauties out in no time.
I’ll confess I haven’t tied any Flip Flop Poppers just yet, as I’ve an inventory of deer hair patterns purchased at the sporting goods emporium to work my way through. And since bass are not terribly leader shy, the sturdy rope I use for tippet rarely breaks as I snatch errant casts from riparian shrubbery. For bass, if I scale down to 2X that’s delicate-presentation time.
Deer-hair poppers are great flies, but spinning the hollow hair of deer and elk isn’t for everyone, and if you’re new to the fly tying game, expect considerable frustration before you start whipping these out.
Regardless of popper type, there is an appropriate time to use them, and that’s the evening. Sure, the early morning is great too, but it’s even better for sleeping. The evening is my magic time on the water.
I’ve taken another Dedeaux message to heart — though to be fair, this bit of fishing wisdom has been plagiarized by just about every sport since Izaak Walton cranked out “The Compleat Angler” in 1653.
The message: find a place close to home and learn to fish it, well. There’s no water better than the one nearby, the one so close it’s easy to slip out for an hour or two just as the sun sinks low on the horizon. I keep my kayak in the back of my truck, and it takes less than 10 minutes for me to transition from “Should I go fishing?” to “On my way!”
Someday I may make it to New Zealand or Chile or wherever it is permitted to catch a fish on a fly, but I can be on that close-to-home water, watching a bass crush a popper at dusk, seven days a week.
It’s a great place to fish.
Rob Breeding’s website is www.mthookandbullet.com.
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