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Angling Firsts! Freshwater to Saltwater.

Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!

Angling Firsts!  Freshwater to Saltwater on the fly.

Trinchera Ranch & The Lower Laguna Madre

We set our minds to it and got it done!  An IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch and my first Redfish on a fly on the Texas Coast were my goals.

My freshwater first!

We once again enjoyed a wonderful stay and great fishing on 185,000 acres in southern Colorado – The Trinchera Ranch.



The gathering room at Trinchera Lodge
The gathering room at Trinchera Lodge


The sprawling ranch offers 4 species of trout – wild trout – on gorgeous improved streams in the heart of the Sangre de Christo mountain range.

I wanted to catch all four in one day and I knew if anyone could help me it was our friend and guide Doc of Doc Thompson’s High Country Anglers.

We have fished with Doc for 4 years now and he knows this ranch well.


Doc Thompson guided Rita Schimpff to her IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch.
Doc Thompson guided Rita Schimpff to her IGFA Trout Super Grand Slam at Trinchera Ranch.

Doc also knows I only want to fish with only dry flies.

  So the 4 trout I caught were: a Rainbow, Brown, Brook and Rio Grande Cutthroat.

I made the above vignette combining my photos with my paintings of the trout.


IGFA trout super grand slam IMG_5707
Special thanks to my husband, Skip, who gave up valuable stream time so I could attain my super grand slam goal!

Meanwhile back at the ranch…..the Lodge at Trinchera Ranch…….


magnificent artwork surrounds your soul at Trinchera Ranch and the superb food & service feed your soul!
magnificent artwork surrounds your soul at Trinchera Ranch and superb food & service feed your soul.

The art!  Remington, Bierstadt, Rungius & N.C. Wyeth originals for me to enjoy!

I was in hog heaven.


Stack stone fireplace at Trinchera Ranch - fabulous taxidermy
Stack stone fireplace at Trinchera Ranch – fabulous taxidermy

Both of these handsome rams were taken within an hour of each other in huge snow!


Quiet spaces are designed for guests to relax, read or journal.


Every hallway, room and corner are thoughtfully designed and appointed with vintage sporting collectibles.


In this hallway, one expects Hemingway to return shortly and put the final keystroke to paper.

Now to my saltwater first!

fly fishing with Rita Schimpff and Ben Paschal.
By the dawns early light, Capt. Ben Paschal leading me to my first redfish on a fly.

A redfish on the fly has eluded me for many years.  Skip and I journeyed to Arroyo City on the Texas Gulf coast and the pristine saltwater flats of the Lower Laguna Madre.


Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!
Rita Schimpff with her first redfish on the fly!

 We enlisted the services of Capt. Ben Paschal owner of Lower Lagana Outfitters for help with this seemingly impossible task.

He made it happen!

We returned two months later and a heated competition ensued whereby I beat my husband 8-7!

Skip has thrown down the gauntlet and vowed it won’t happen again!

Ben fishes in Louisiana from November thru March – now I want a super sized Red – stay tuned.





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New Additions & Updates: New Panel for Elk & New angling/shooting Lodges

‘The Heritage Stag’ with antlers

It’s been awhile since I have sent a news update-

Plenty going on and a couple of new blog posts- and best of all- what you have been asking for-

A new panel for larger game like elk….so I will catch you up!

February and March found us in very drastic temperature changes.

Early February found us in the Yucatan catching our first Tarpon and Bonefish on a fly at the

wonderful Casa Blanca Lodge.


See our related blog post of this fantastic trip

Then March found us tromping after quail in unusual 26 degree snow & ice terrain at another wonderful lodge at

Upland Bird Country in Corsicanna, Tx



I finally found a shooting sweater that was good looking, warm and suited for ladies

so I did a guest gear review for Ultimate Upland Lodge magazine–new_169.html


And then….

My new design- a black forest style panel for elk and stag has arrived!


We introduced the new design at the Greater Houston Gun Club in a fundraising shoot benefitting


 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


Turns out—it makes a pretty fabulous mirror too!  Shown here in the Blackberry finish.


I think I need to paint one of my dog portraits on a panel too!

Can’t you see one of your canine companions on a panel?

We are in the process of updating our website so we can better showcase all our new

sporting art & accessories like:


Our collection of Texas made shooting pens- here is the 30 Cal Bolt Action writing pen.

The action opens and closes the pen!

Please come ‘like’ our page on Facebook so you don’t have to wait so long to learn what we are up to!

Rita Schimpff

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Barefoot Flyfishing in February: Ascension Bay, Casa Blanca Lodge

Where the Sky Begins  (Sian Ka’an) is what the ancient Mayans called this Unesco World Heritage site and where our azure adventure also begins.

The pier at Casa Blanca lodge where we called home for 8 days in February.
All of the food is fresh and made from scratch – each evening with cocktails wonderful appetizers are served to each guest. All the fish is caught by locals with special permits allowed only to them.
Renan was our bartender for the week, always at the ready with a hand crafted Margarita or drink of your choice.
The privately owned island was once a coconut plantation and now boasts Casa Blanca and it’s sister lodge Playa Blanca.

We learned about Casa Blanca through our friend and guide Doc Thompson of High Country Anglers based in Ute Park, NM – he helped us with all the arrangements.  Doc is a longtime friend of Rita Adams, who grew up fishing NM with her guide/father and became a guide herself at 17.  She and Johnny Pares manage the two privately owned lodges

Each lodge hosts up to 12 guests per week. Each night dinner is served at 6:30 and for the next few days we met the most interesting, diverse and fun new friends with the common thread of fly fishing. The dinners were always lively.

I had wondered (doubted really) my casting ability for this trip in the uncharted salt flats….I fight the wind, I have not yet learned to double haul, and have not had much practice with anything heavier than a 7 wt rod, and have yet to land a fish over 5 lbs on a fly, but then you don’t get ahead by waiting.

We took a 7, 8 and 10 wt rod and on the first day as we say in the South referring to luck, a blind hog finds an acorn! Or in this case my first bonefish on a gotcha fly tied by my husband.
First one in the boat, we caught several 23″ and over.
Your guide for the week is your lifeline and your coach. You learn to become a team. Rene is an 18 year veteran here and extremely knowledgeable about the fish and how to navigate the area and the endless maze of Mangroves.

To say Rene was patient is an understatement!  I won’t go into all my shenanigans here that I employed and my shock when that first bonefish took off….taking 1/2 the rod!  But  I will say that in 6 days Rene uttered  “Casta More Longer!” more than a few times.

Felt much like Kate & Bogey on the African Queen as we traversed through holes in the Mangroves barely tall enough for the boat to squeeze through and heavily populated by -SPIDERS!
Luckily, Rene and Tim came up with a secret weapon for the non poisonous Aranjas!

My first tarpon ever and on a fly! Skip & I both caught our 1st on the same purple/black Peanut Butter fly given to us by Doc, but it came at a high price! The fly is now retired.
After a wake up call from Manuel delivering French press coffee to our room, we join the rest of the guests for breakfast around 6:00 am.

Now if you wish, to come in a little early from fishing one day you can enjoy a field trip on the island.

Here Jed and all his friends loaded up the truck and moved to Chac Mool. We were guided that day by the very capable Tim Fischer, who made sure Coronitas were in the cooler!
A visit to the ancient Mayan ruins was ours alone – no tourists to this spot discovered around 1919. The ruins of Chac Mool ca 900 AD were named for the powerful Mayan god of rain & thunder.

Then it is back to fishing…..

At times the bonefish came in waves….where we would have two on at a time. In among the bonefish I caught this beautiful Blue Runner. we also caught Baracuda, Mangrove Snapper, Cravelle Jack a Perch but alas not a sighting of the fickle Permit. The week before the groups landed 3.
Girls just love to have fun. You would never guess two of these gals are 85 and all of us fished 6 days for 8 hours a day. One lady fished 2 weeks and only one day off.
Every detail was taken into consideration. Manuel saw to it that the tablescapes each night at dinner were fun and creative. One night we had balloons, whistles and horns to celebrate Audrey’s 85 birthday!
Each day our bed was turned down and fresh towels greeted us in creative forms called that have been taught to the locals.

Conservation and respect for the area, it’s inhabitants and natural resources are evident.  This biosphere contains the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world and is also home to abundant flora and fauna; there were a pair of nesting Osprey not 100′ away from our cocktail area, I spotted Roseate Spoonbills, Brown Crested Flycatchers, Royal Terns as well as the beautiful Mangrove Warbler for my “life list”.  The jaguar, a once iconic symbol of greatness to the Mayas as ‘king of the forest’ is now in  serious danger of extinction.

Even the resurgence of the native jaguar numbers are rebounding.

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Texas Designers Offer Handsome Gifts for the Sporting Lifestyle

Recently while showing in Holiday Boutiques in Houston and San Antonio, I had the opportunity to visit with some very creative Texans – with unique finds for the sporting style in all of us.

Having time to visit with these talented designers put their art in such a personal light – I had to share.

Clint Orms, a renowned silversmith who works out of Ingram, TX with designs so fresh – he might have just stepped out of the fishing stream.

Sterling silver and gold trout buckle – Martin 1819.

 The Safari lifestyle is represented with several Big 5 offerings – my favorite below – look close at the elephant skin on the buckle set.


Another African Big 5 – featuring a drop lock Westley Richards. Clint works in sterling, rose and yellow gold to create handsome works of art.

  It was such a pleasure to visit with Clint and Jim and share some fly fishing tales, and marvel over one buckle with a tiny, real bead head nymph on it!  Clint offers so much more…ladies fashions too. Visit

Another new friend from Houston is Gardner Landry who makes a fabulous 100 percent 3.5 ounce linen camp shirt with an original hand-dyed pocket – called The Sessanta Camp Shirt.

Whether you are a sporting participant or spectator this shirt marries minimum weight with maximum style.
Each shirt features an original hand-dyed pocket – no two are exactly the same.

 The Sessanta is a contemporary interpretation of the  Dolce Vita-era Italian shirt worn by Gardner’s grandfather in the 1960’s. 

A long sleeve version of the Camp Shirt is also available and I think looks terrific for the ladies as a tunic with the sleeves rolled to 3/4 length and worn over skinny jeans.

 Rita Schimpff with Heritage Game Mounts has a new offering to pair with her vintage and new antler mounts – the German Shooting Target.   These colorful lithographs pat’d in 1897, were used in Germany for small bore target practice.  Rita has reproduced them and put them on a hand striped pine disk.

Use them alone on an easle or two or three together paired with antlers or art.

 The series includes the Stag, the Hare, the Boar, the Bear, a Chamois and a Roe Deer in either 6 3/4″ or 8 1/2″.

Happy Hunting!