This weekend marks the third annual Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival in Plano. Once again, this growing North Texas fly fishing event is scheduled to take place at the Plano Event Center this Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24.


Starting off this evening with the International Fly Fishing Film Tour’s appearance at “Bass Bugs & Brews Movie Night” at Tupp’s Brewery in McKinney — which runs from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and has an admission price of $25 at the door — this festival will go on to feature a weekend full of impressive fly fishing and fly tying expert talent.


That list includes Van Alstyne’s Jerry Hamon, a kayak fishing expert who serves as a brand ambassador for such companies as Bending Branches, YakGear, Native Watercraft, and Mariner Sales down in the Metroplex.


He is also quite adept with a fly rod, serving as the president of the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International, along with being a certified Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Angler Education area chief and instructor.


Hamon, who is serving out his second term as a member of TPWD’s Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee, will present his A Man, a Kayak, and a Fly Rod talk on Saturday at 1 p.m. and again on Sunday at 12 noon.


The Texas Fly Fishing Festival speaker lineup this weekend also includes Muskie, smallmouth bass, and streamer fly tying expert Blane Chocklett; Texas Hill Country resident and Umpqua Feather Merchant fly tying talent Matt Bennett; big brown trout guru Steve Dally of Dally’s Ozark Fly Fishers on the White River in Arkansas; fly casting expert Ed Jaworowski; Florida bass and saltwater expert Joe Mahler; Colorado’s South Platte River big trout expert and author Landon Mayer; and fishing and outdoor photography expert Brian O’Keefe.


One of the bigger headlines at this weekend’s event will be the appearance once again of eastern Oklahoma’s legendary fly tier, fly fishing expert and writer Dave Whitlock.


Whitlock — who has authored and illustrated five books including the LL Bean Fly Fishing Handbook and the LL Bean Fly Fishing Handbook for Bass — was recently named one of Fly Fisherman magazine’s 50 Most Influential Fly Fishermen in the Last 5 Decades.


A member of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame among other honors, Whitlock will exhibit his artwork and widely recognized fly patterns all weekend as well as speak at 12 noon on Sunday in a talk about better fishing with grasshopper patterns.


Admission to the two-day festival is either $20 per day or $35 for the entire weekend. For information on the event, a list of exhibitors, speaker bios, and a class and seminar schedule, please visit the website at txflyfishingfestival.org.


DeFoe Wins Hometown Classic — Local hero Ott DeFoe rallied last Sunday on the Tennessee River system near his Knoxville, Tenn. home to capture the 2019 Bassmaster Classic title over runner-up Jacob Wheeler.


DeFoe — who now competes full time on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour — began his quest for the 49th Classic title with a sterling Day One weight total of 20-pounds, 0-ounces, a five-bass bag limit that would give him the early lead last Friday.


But the popular TV host for Outdoor Channel’s The Hunt for Monster Bass and co-host of Bass Pro Shop’s The Bass Pros would stumble on Saturday’s Day Two, bringing only 10-15 to the scales as he fell to fourth place, more than two pounds off fellow Tennessean Jacob Wheeler’s lead at 32-06.


But after a receiving some timely advice from fellow Classic competitor Keith Poche (legal under B.A.S.S. rules), DeFoe would rally on Sunday as he eventually abandoned his Day Three game plan. When he went to a marina wall, a vibrating jig helped him boat four key fish, bass that would eventually help him weigh in 18-14 for the day and 49-03 for the derby.


That was good enough to help DeFoe grab the come-from-behind win, capture his seventh career title, secure his first Classic championship, and take home the $302,500 winner’s check.


“If you get to be in this sport long enough, it’s your day sometime,” DeFoe had prophetically told me a year ago at the 2018 Classic. Last Sunday, it was indeed the popular bass pro’s day and then some as he captured the big trophy that goes to the winner of the fabled Super Bowl of bass fishing.


Incidentally, former Southeastern Oklahoma State University student and football player Edwin Evers, the 2016 Classic champ who spent several formative years fishing on Texoma and now lives in Talala, finished in eighth place with 39-07.


NWTF Dinner in Tishomingo — With the 2019 spring turkey season being just around the corner here in Texomaland, it’s time for the Blue River Limbhangers to host their 2019 NWTF Hunting Heritage Dinner.


The Johnston County event on the north side of Texoma takes place next week on Thursday, March 28 and will be held at the Murray State College Ballroom in Tishomingo.


Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event will feature an evening of fun for the entire family with games, raffles, a silent auction and a live auction offering a selection of merchandise that includes firearms, NWTF art and sporting collectibles, and vacation packages.


For details on this NWTF dinner, call Leah Lowe at 580-730-3427 or e-mail her at llowe@nwtf.net.