The 2016 Don Hawley Tarpon Tournament

Hi all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, but I have an update for you.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of participating in the Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament down at Islamorda in the Florida Keys. It wan’t my first time participating in the tournament and it certainly won’t be my last. Even though the weather started off pretty rough, overall we had a blast. To give you a bit more info on the tournament, it was all-release for tarpon four feet and over with a 12 pound tippet division of 1,000 points per release and a a 16 pound tippet division with 750 points per release. The Grand Champion title went to the angler + guide team with the most points (regardless of division) at the end of the 5-day period.

I didn’t land the Grand Champion title, but I still ended up doing pretty well. With the help of my truly astounding guide, Captain Perry Coleman, I managed to take the Champion title of the 12 Pound Tippet Division.  As an award, both Perry and me were given some T. Borski original paintings, which you can see below. If you haven’t heard of him, T. Borski sort of the Picaso of the game fishing community. Needless to say, I’m very pleased to have won a work of his.

I can’t wait to get back to the tournament next year.

Bart Beasley and Captain Perry Coleman holding up their awards.

Bart Beasley and Captain Perry Coleman holding up their awards.

 

Thanks for reading,

Bart Beasley

 

Fly Fishing Books

I am fortunate that my father taught me to fly fish at a young age. You see, since his parents were farmers, he himself was a farmer for most of his life. But even while he was busy working on the farm he’d find the time to steal away to the local creek and fly fish. Well my father met my mom, the two of them worked hard, they had me and for a while it seemed that was how it would be: my dad working on the farm, and stealing away every now and then to fly fish.

But he got good. He got reall good. He got to the point where he could support himself from fly fishing by serving as a fly fishing guide. He soon left farm work to the past.

I am fortunate for a number of reasons, but reason in particular is that my father taught me how to fly fish. Since I started learning so young, in many ways, fly fishing is as natural as walking for me. Despite having many years of fly fishing under my belt, I always try to learn wherever I can.

There are a number of fly fishing books out there that can be great resources for picking up new fishing techniques and life wisdom in general. Below are several that I’d recommend.

picture of front cover of bookAll Fishermen Are Liars by John Gierach

Starting with an autobiographical introduction, John Gierach runs the gamut in covering all sorts of fly fishing topics from Japanese fly fishing techniques to diverse American ones. There are 22 essay between the front and back covers and they are chock full of humor and wisdom. All Fishermen Are Liars is particularly notable for it’s inclusion of Eastern insights like Zen.

picture of front cover of the little red book of fly fishingThe Little Red Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Deeter and Charlie Meyers

This book is small, but filled to the brim with all sorts of expert advice. Kirk Deeter (of Field and Stream) and Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post share the lessons that they’ve learned through a lifetime of fly fishing. You get a lot of great personal anecdotes but also a hearty selection of stories from the mouths of guides across the world.

front cover of every day was specialEvery Day Was Special: A Fly Fisher’s Lifelong Passion by WIlliam G. Tapply

This collection of 30 fishing essays was finished by Tapply just before he died in 2009. Like some of the best books on fly fishing out there, it talks about the sport and the meditation of fly fishing while also incorporating autobiographical narrative.

front cover of fifty places to fly fish before you dieFifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die by Chris Santella

Every fly fisher needs a dream list. In this book, Chris Santella puts together a list of beautiful locations for you. We all know that half of the joy of fly fishing is being surrounded by beautiful sights. Santella pulls from interviews with fly fishing experts from across the world to provide great fishing stories. The book also includes travel-and-tackle info and gorgeous photos.

picture of front cover of l.l. bean guide to fly fishingThe L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing by Macauley Lord, Dick Talleur, and Dave Whitlock

If there’s one book for you to pick-up to improve your fly fishing game, this is the one. It’s features advice from a slew of experts and is neatly divided into four sections: General Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing for Bass, Fly Casting, and Fly Tying. The language is straightforward and the flow is real smooth. It contains info on types of flies, the top ten most popular and successful fly patterns, and more.

Bart Beasley's Favorite Fly Fishing Books from Bart Beasley on Vimeo.

More Than Just Trash Fish: Carp

Fly fishing Carp

Image courtesy of Orvis.com

More Than Just Trash Fish: Carp

The other day I was talking to a fishing buddy of mine about carp. He was telling me how he recently went carp fishing and landed a whopping thirty pound common carp.  When he came home, he proudly told his wife about it and she just laughed. “Is that really a big deal?”

When it comes to fish that are misunderstood, carps rank at the the top of the list. People often think that carp are just freshwater pigeons, that they’re stupid, that they’re not worth fishing. But as my buddy and I discussed, carp are actually a great game fish.

For starters, carp are smarter and spookier than your average fly fish. According to an article in Field in Stream, carp actually rate higher than freshwater bass in intelligence. So, keep false casting to a minimum. For anyone who’s tried angling a carp, this shouldn’t come as much as a surprise.

Your best bet is fish for carp in clear water where you can easily spot them. If you’re fishing around muddy water, make sure that the water is shallow enough for you to see their tails or fins sticking out through the surface. For flies, try using Woolly Buggers (imitates a crayfish or small minnow), trout nymphs (size 8-12, the more wiggle the better), or even smaller bonefish flies (sizes 6-8). If you really want to get serious, I’d recommend that you pick yourself up some specialized carp flies. They’re designs are proven to work. Still, you have your share of options.

In a current, fix your fly dead drift in the same way that you’d hook a trout. Fast-moving fish are always tougher to land. Make sure to cast your fly in front of your tailing fish, if he can’t easily see your fly, then you might as well recast. It may take a lot of casts to get it right, but once you do have a good cast, make sure to let your fly sink a little bit. Then, give it a little twitch. This’ll grab the carp’s attention, as they may think it’s a crawfish scuttling around.

One of the most difficult parts of fishing carp can be figuring out when they take the fly. Two things that I look out for are if the fish the move towards you and then turn away quickly or if you can see his white lips closing around the fly.

Even once you hook them the job’s not done. Carp can put up a big fight. It’s not uncommon for them to pull the line off the reel. I recommend using 6 to 8 lb floating lines. Anything heavier might put them off.

So there you have it. Carp’s may be trash fish, but they can often be trophy fish. If you plan on fishing for carp, make sure you come prepared and know that once you land one of those fellas, it’s a pretty big accomplishment.

For some more tips on carp, look here or check out this great video from Orvis.