January 24, 2015

Fishing Haturday - Crooked Creek Holler

I like hats. I've got way too many in my closet to ever wear, yet when it comes time to thin the herd, if I happen to let one go, I usually just end up acquiring three more.

As such, I thought I'd occasionally post some fishing hats that have caught my eye. Doesn't mean I own them (yet), just that I'm pickin' up what they're puttin' down. Warning, I really don't care for flat brims but am partial to trucker hats, (not the type with foam fronts), so you may end up seeing a trend over time.

Today's Fishing Haturday featured hat is...

The Navy Trout Hat from Crooked Creek Holler

I've taken a liking to Crooked Creek's trout logo. This hat also comes in other colors, like brown, orange, and various shades of camo. The navy one pictured above is probably my favorite though, kinda business in the front and a party in the back, and can be had for a mere $24.

January 23, 2015

The Top Selling Fly Fishing Item On Amazon.com

I'm an Amazon.com junkie. My wife signed our family up for Amazon Prime a year or two ago and I just haven't looked back since. Honestly, it's just so much easier to have something show up at your door in 2 days then drive wherever to find whatever. Every single Christmas present I bought for someone else came from Amazon. Every...single...one...which is crazy, because I work for a (competing) e-commerce company myself.

My doorstep, every 3rd day...

Anyway, I never really thought to use Amazon to acquire fly fishing gear besides maybe books...you know the mantra, "support your local fly shop"...but I was curious to see what they offered.  You can find some random, yet familiar items and brands via their marketplace, but most of it is a hodgepodge of gobbledygook.

Do you know what the #1 selling fly fishing item (non book) on Amazon is?

An Eagle Claw fly rod?
Budget Scientific Anglers fly line?
A generic Kenyan-tied fly assortment?
Maybe nippers...or tippet spools...or hooks?

How about this beauty...

Four Stars of E-Glass & EVA Foam fury

I'm not going to knock a "starter outfit," as we all get our starts somewhere and not everyone can sling a Sage, but I do find it odd in reading the customer reviews that the kit includes fly line and a leader...but umm...has no backing? They must not expect you to get into any fish that might take any line, but whatever...what does one expect for $21.99? (Besides about 10 or 11 gallons of gas, something I never thought I'd ever write). I sort of want to pick one up as the ultimate "beater" rod.

Somewhat coincidentally, I stumbled upon THIS press release the other day recapping the highlights of Amazon's holiday season and found it to be an extremely interesting read. Their most popular Outdoors items over the holidays probably weren't what you'd think they were either. A personal water filter, a thermal blanket, and hand warmers. I guess the Crystal River combo didn't rank...

January 22, 2015

A Hydrophobic Material Inspired By Dr. Evil?

A few years ago there was a bit of a buzz created by a coating called "NeverWet" that made whatever material you applied it to extremely hydrophobic (water repellent). Many people that saw the product (and also fished) mused that it could eventually be used on waders, boots, rain jackets, rods, reels, and even flies as a floatant.

Once it was licensed out to Rust-Oleum as a consumer product for home use, I seem to recall some folks purchasing it and having mixed results in their mad scientist experiments. It did generally repel water, but not as efficiently as in the promo videos.

Anyway...fast forward to today, and scientists at the University of Rochester have evidently created a laser etched metal that is completely hydrophobic and anti-corrosive, with no need for topical lotions or potions. What the WHAT? I mean frickin' laser beams!

In the video below they talk a bit more about the process as well as potential applications such as waterless toilets in 3rd world countries... Now I don't know if this has fly fishing applications, (perhaps in reels?), but it's still pretty damn cool.


January 21, 2015

The Paradox of the Fragile Trout...

It doesn't take a lot of reading (either internet or print) for one to stumble upon some resource stating that fish, particularly trout, need to be handled with extreme care upon being caught.

As such, there are barbless hooks, rubber catch nets, and movements, such as "Keep 'Em Wet" which stresses reduced exposure to air, that are all aimed at reducing the catch & release trout mortality rate.

Image Courtesy Native Fish Society

In concept, this all sounds good to me. I'm on board. I already use barbless hooks and make sure to wet a hand first when handling fish in an effort to protect the slime coat. Plus, anyone that's fished with me knows that the fish I do photograph sit in my net in the water until I'm ready to take a quick picture.  Heck, sometimes I don't even take them out at all.

But if this all comes back to trout mortality...and people are openly willing to condemn someone who so even slightly mishandles a trout...well I guess what I'm saying is if trout are so fragile, and we're all so concerned about their welfare, why do we fish for them in the first place?  

I mean you can pick up fragile item (like a drinking glass) gently, place it on the table softly, but you're not going to ask your buddy to toss it across the room to you like a baseball first, right?  The odds of it surviving that ordeal are just not in its favor, even before you get your hands on it.  Perhaps not the best comparison, but you get the point.

Look, I'm not trying to get all PETA here, (abhorrent is not the word for those clowns), but as anglers we're jamming a sharp hook in the mouth of an unsuspecting trout, dragging it through the water against its will, stressing and likely exhausting it in the process, all in the name of sport. Unless of course you plan to eat what you catch, but these days even that seems to be frowned upon by the vocal "majority."  Thank you social media for that omnipresent guilt trip.

Maybe as conscientious anglers we shouldn't be fishing for the delicate trout at all, rather focusing on more hardy species like the bluegill that seem to thrive in every body of freshwater big and small, are regularly "mishandled" by trout standards, and only seem to come back begging for more.

Who knows, maybe those of us who tend to focus our efforts toward catching (and inadvertently mishandling) wild/native trout are the biggest sinners of them all? Perhaps we should just focus on stocked trout, which less face it, are largely intended to be "put and take" fish. At least the kind I'm thinking of. Heck, in some remote places trout get stocked by dropping them from the sky

In the end, I'm not going to stop trout fishing. That'd certainly make for a crappy blog. I'm also not asking you to either. It's great that more focus is being placed on trout "safety" than probably ever before...and I'm in on all counts. This little paradox in trout welfare is just food for thought...and perhaps a catalyst for conversation.  

Comments (as always) are welcomed below.  There was certainly no science or research applied to this little ramble, so if you want to drop some knowledge, come and get 'em.  Just remember, I'm on the fish's side here too.

January 20, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Jersey Natives

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

As a member of Trout Unlimited, I receive a copy of TROUT magazine every so often in the mail. I'm sure more than a handful of you do as well.

The Winter 2015 issue contains all of the usual conservation content you'd expect to be in a magazine published by TU, but the article entitled "Jersey Natives" really caught my eye.

I think it's just because I've always been a fan of Joe Cermele's writing since I first noticed it on the old "Honest Angler" blog he used to write alongside John Merwin on Field & Stream.com. (You can now find him on "The Lateral Line" blog).

Some sweet Paul Puckett illustrations accompany the article as well...

What does this have to do with tenkara? Not all that much; the loose association being that he does mention that during his quest for native brook trout on the tight quarters of a New Jersey small stream that he was using a tenkara rod as his tool of choice. He also describes a bit of the "fun" that happens when you miss setting the hook and send your tenkara line into the overhead branches. Been there...

Anyway, even if you aren't a Trout Unlimited member, you can check out this article for free on the TU website this month via this LINK or this LINK. Like the large majority of Joe's writings, it's entertaining and worth the read...


Are you a tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.

January 19, 2015

The First In What Will Surely Be A Hot Mess of Go Pro Video

One of the "perks" of being into fishing when none of your friends and family have any interest in it is that on holidays...be it birthdays, Christmas, you name it...they undoubtedly gift you with either Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops gift cards.  This holiday season was no exception, and my stack of plastic from Bass Pro was quite formidable.

I decided to spend that funny money on a GoPro.  4 Silver to be exact.  Not that I'm going to make awesome videos or anything, just because I was kicking myself that I didn't take more video out in Colorado last year, and I didn't want to repeat that wherever I went to fish this year.  Plus, I can mount the sucker on my kayak, or Lilly's bike, or K.C.'s roller derby helmet or whatever...

Long story short, I snuck out to fish for like an hour and a half yesterday.  The weather was nice, but pretty breezy.  Caught a few fish, and goofed around with the GoPro for a bit too.  No sick edits here...ain't nobody got time for dat...but this is a quick video of a bass I caught on the tenkara rod yesterday...

Note to self - hold the damn fish closer to the camera next time...

January 16, 2015

You So Knotty - Confession of a Knot Novice

Confession. I only tie one fishing knot.

Courtesy: Fishingtieknots.com

Maybe that's a bit of a lie. On the rare occasions that I need to, I do know how to tie a nail knot to connect fly line to backing and an arbor knot to attach backing to reel. However on the whole, the only knot I tie for like 99% of my tippet to fly connections (which are 99% of my knot tying situations) is the improved clinch knot. Heck, I used it when I was fishing with spinning tackle and lures and using swivels and all that stuff too. It's quick, easy, and seems to faithfully get the job done.

That said, I also tend to catch small fish. I like chasing small stream trout and (out of convenience) the stuff that lives in freshwater ponds. I'm sure my improved clinch will fail me at some point should I ever hook that big carp or redfish or manatee (joking), but I really don't recall any situations where I lost a fish due to the knot being the weak point.

Is there another knot I should be trying? I've heard the mono loop knot is good for streamers...but other than that, is there a reason to learn an Orvis or Davy or some other knot to connect a tippet to fly? Or am I being wise to keep the tangled messes to a minimum? 

What knots do you utilize in your fishing and why?