September 17, 2018

Three Highlights from IF4

Two Fridays ago, the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) hit Jacksonville, in concert with Blackfly Outfitters' Floodtide Festival weekend. The IF4 viewing was held at the Univerisity of North Florida and was brought to the area by Bullsugar.org (more on them at the end of this post).

While the turnout was respectable, but a little on the light side, the videos were phenomenal, and somewhat surprising to me, were very "trout and char" in nature. I probably incorrectly had it in my head that the videos shown were tailored to the locale, so I figured we'd be watching a lot more from the salt.


Either way, the content was phenomenal, and while the thought of a few hours of fish porn and grip n' grins might turn off some, pretty much all of the films had a story to them, and I'd say the large majority were free of bass-thumping or techno-driven soundtracks.

Three of my favorites were as follows:

Ty's Flies


A short film about a young angler who overcame a personal disability to become a first-class salmon fly tyer. This is the kind of story that tugs at your heart-strings, especially when he gets to actually go fishing for Atlantic salmon for the first time.


Seriously North


This movie makes me want to drop everything and go find some Arctic char. It follows some anglers' quest to find outrageously sized char, basically in the middle of nowhere up in the Arctic circle. The mix of desolation, extreme cold, and unresponsive fish all seem to want to derail the trip... until they finally crack the code in a BIG way.


Confluentus: The Merging of All Things


I'm pretty sure this was my favorite film of the batch because it was by far the most relatable. Anglers who strap on their backpacks, go off the grid and go find their own adventures... in this case, bull trout in wilderness waters. It shows you don't need to have a lot of money to have an incredible fishing experience, as long as you put the work in to make it happen.


Now I'm not sure if any of these films can be viewed in their entirety yet outside of the IF4, so I'm really just planting the seed by sharing these preview embeds. If the IF4 isn't coming to a town near you soon, I'm certain these will be made available to the public sometime in the future. Make a point to see them all, they're each fantastic stories in their own way.

-----------------------------------------------------------

In closing, I did want to put out a little commercial for Bullsugar.org, especially if you're a Floridian reading this post. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, the way water is being managed in the state of Florida is highly suspect, and that's being kind.

According to their website:

"Bullsugar.org is a grassroots organization founded by Stuart residents in August 2014 on the belief that stopping the damaging discharges to our coasts and restoring the Everglades is not a science or engineering problem. The science has been known for decades. Our problem is a political problem -- and it requires a political solution.

Using social media we are spreading the word that the only way to stop the destructive discharges and restore clean freshwater flows to Florida Bay is to acquire land in the EAA to reconnect Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. The River of Grass has been dammed and diverted to both coasts. Until the flow is restored southward, all three estuaries -- east, west, and south -- will continue to suffer, impacting Florida's tourism & real estate economy.

Bullsugar.org aims to empower voters to take back our water and government. Future generations of Floridians deserve a healthy River of Grass and clean water."

Even if you don't align 100% with Bullsugar.org's stances & solutions, simply put, with general elections coming up in November, get educated on the issues and what each of the candidates stands for. As residents of Florida, we can and should do better.

September 11, 2018

Tenkara Tuesday: Oh (N)Oni!

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

I've been suffering a little bit of fishing withdrawal. It usually happens the weeks after I get away to fish. Wanderlust sets in and I tend to go into writing slumps. In an effort to try and kick that before it gets really bad, figured I'd share a few gear updates/observations that recently impacted my tenkara fishing... perhaps they'll come in handy for you as well (if applicable).

A Broken Oni Type III

First off, I didn't mention in my recent "Mountain Medicine" post that I busted my Oni Type III tenkara rod when I was in North Carolina... yeah, that sucked. My heart immediately sank in my chest.


It's never an enjoyable experience breaking a rod, but when it's due to your own carelessness...ugh. Well... that just compounds the shame. Fortunately, my loss is potentially your gain, as I would like to pass along a great experience with the Team Oni USA shop, the online retailer that now sells Oni rods, as well as services parts.

That section shouldn't be two pieces  :(

After a few dejected emails on Labor Day, John Vetterli had my replacement section in my hands in two days. That's some good, speedy service if you ask me. There's actually a lot of great customer service from our larger community of tenkara vendors, and I'm glad to see this new resource is no exception. So fear not with your Oni rods, John has you covered - for a fee of course.


Breaking In The Orvis Ultralight Wading Boots

Yeah, these got wet for a few days as well. While this isn't a long-term review (two days of fishing), I'm happy to report that the boots I've been writing about pretty much perform as advertised. Extremely lightweight (hardly noticeable on the hikes in and out) and fairly grippy on those slick Appalachian rocks. I did end up adding screw in studs to aid a bit with the traction, but I've always done that on trips to the Blue Ridge.


The one thing that did take me a smidge to get used to is that the rubber soles are more of a lug style than what I'm used to, so when you hop around from rock to rock, you just need to be slightly more deliberate with foot placement to "feel" what's underfoot. That being said, the extra rubber indentations added a better level of grab and leverage when pushing off of rocks that I enjoyed.

Old wading boots (top), new Orvis Ultralights (bottom)

So while the primary review is good, we'll see how they handle over the long term before I truly pass judgment.


Sawyer, My Main Squeeze

I'm not certain if I've ever written about water filtration here before, but the more I use it, the more I absolutely love my Sawyer Squeeze filtration system. I've used other solutions in the past, such as a Lifestraw as well as water bottles that incorporated internal filters, but I just don't think there's a better, (or easier to use), system for the wading angler. Particularly one that has access to abundant cold water all around them.


In my opinion, it's the perfect size to quickly fill, grab a drink to keep you hydrated on a hot day, and then stow away small in your pack to the point where it's unnoticeable. It also saves you the space of not needing to bring a dedicated water bottle. I've heard some people have had some issues with the plastic water pouch/bag leaking over time, but I haven't had that experience yet, so it's all good by me.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Are there any pieces of gear you that you find make your afternoon in the mountains more enjoyable? I would love to gather additional suggestions in the comments, as I'm always personally keen on learning ways to refine both the gear I use and wear, as well as what I keep inside my fishing daypack.



-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION TENKARA FISHERFOLK
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.

September 4, 2018

Mountain Medicine


An escape to the mountains will cure what ails you.

Tree-lined trails


Rocks to hop


Cool, shady pools


Misting waterfalls


Bridges; both man-made...


and natural


The tools of a rod, line, & fly


And just enough trout






The perfect reset to close out summer.


Last weekend's trip to North Carolina was welcomed. There's just something soothing about returning to the cool of high gradient trout streams and spending some quality time with no agenda.

Solitude can be your best friend. A friend you don't get to visit that often, but once reunited, your familiar conversation picks up just where it left off.