A couple of weeks ago on a Thursday evening 130 of my favorite people gathered at Mesquite Creek Outfitters on the prettiest town square in Texas. Steven and Tommy and Hilton and Ann and Thad – people I shared my youth with in Rockport, were there. Cousins, and my folks, and my kids, were there. Friends from college, friends from work, friends from the fly fishing world too.
My good pal Jeff Troutman, host of Remote. No Pressure. played songs from his EP “Songs About Fly Fishing.” My publisher, Mark Sedenquist, said nice things and paid the bar tab and the catering bill. I signed more than 100 books.
Except none of that happened. Thanks, ‘rona.
Of course, The Local Angler, Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas was released as scheduled May 1, even if a lot of bookstores and fly shops weren’t open. What a strange time: on the one hand, many people have less disposable income than they did a couple of months ago and all of the book publicity tour events have been canceled or indefinitely postponed. On the other hand, folks have had a lot of time on their hands – time to read and time to fish – Texas streams have mostly remained open, and fly anglers have been social distancing since at least 1496, when Dame Juliana Berners wrote A Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle.
I snuck into Living Waters Fly Fishing and Reel Fly to sign pre-ordered books, and sales have been gratifyingly brisk everywhere. Sometime last week a quick check on Amazon showed our new hyper-local fishing guide as the best-selling Austin Travel book, the number-two best seller in Fishing (beating-out the terrific new book by my hero John Gierach, for a day at least), and so on. Whaaaa?!
I am truly grateful, and humbled.
The Blue Collar Fly Fishing VIRTUAL Variety Show
I’m also excited to announce that my good friends Dustin Scott of Heart Wood Trade and Davin Topel of Whiskey River Chronicle have come up with a really cool idea to host an online book release celebration that has, since its inception, morphed into a celebration of the Central Texas fly fishing community. I really like that, because at its heart, that’s what the book is, too.
We’re calling it the Blue Collar Fly Fishing Variety Show.
Sponsored by Imbrifex Books, Dustin, Davin and I will be streaming live on multiple channels at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, June 6, and there will be guest appearances from a whole slew of characters who contribute to this amazing, vibrant community or who we just happen to really like. We’ll take questions, heckling is encouraged, and over the course of the approximately 90-minute production we’ll be giving away five, signed copies of Fly Fishing Austin & Central Texas, along with some other really cool schwag. Please share this event with your friends, colleagues and family. And post here, so we can save a (virtual) seat for you!
But, how’s the fishing?
Early this month I hiked, with Davin and Dustin and Spoke Hollow Outfitter’s Josh Crumpton, about 4 miles on the Pedernales. It was gusty and overcast and the fishing was tough. But it was a lovely day, and we were never bored.
Later, after dropping by Living Waters to sign a couple of books, I stopped for a quick therapy session on Brushy Creek. The water was low and clear, and the longear sunfish are lit-up on beds, Rios are pairing and feuding, and I saw a couple of large creek bass cruising. The bass weren’t interested in the tiny bugs I was throwing at the Rios, and the Rios weren’t either – at first. If a wild steelhead is the fish of 10,000 casts, a spring Rio Grande cichlid in Texas is the fish of 100 casts, at least. But casting is fun, too, and I can always use the practice.
It’s Memorial Day weekend as I write this. Allegedly the kids still have a couple of days of “school,” but we just received their final report cards in the mail – everything marked complete – so we’re calling it a year and embracing summer. Whatever has changed – and so much has changed over the past three months – the rivers are still here, fly fishing is still an excellent way to practice social distancing, and if your travel plans have been canceled or postponed (as ours have), I can recommend a terrific new book to help you enjoy your home waters. Go fishing. Take the kids. Have fun, and stay safe.
Oh, and one last thing: if you were one of the kind souls who ordered a book through Amazon (or even if you got it somewhere else), could you take a moment to leave a review? It helps. Thanks! …Breaking News: For another week or two, you can pick up copies of Fly Fishing Austin (wholesale pricing) at Costco stores in Austin, South Austin, Cedar Park, Selma, Pflugerville and San Antonio!