December 10, 2018

A Blog Update & A Brook Trout Video

Hey, I apologize for not posting in a while. I just haven't been particularly "fishy" in some time. The biggest reason for this is most likely because I came down with the flu, which developed into pneumonia over Thanksgiving as I foolishly tried to continue to work through the illness despite my symptoms.

This was me at work on "Black Friday"... trying to fight off a fever, chills, and lightheadedness.
I looked and felt like shit.

Pneumonia in Florida, who knew that was even possible?

So a good two weeks of fever, chills, night sweats, aches & pains, and coughing absolutely kicked my butt. I missed a week and a half of work (during "Cyber Week" our busiest time of the year) and was pretty much a mess spending my days in bed.

I lost almost ten pounds in the process, so while I was giving "fishing fitness updates" on the blog over the past few months, I don't think this unhealthy weight loss will (or should) be permanent. I weigh like 190 pounds at the moment, which is the lightest I've been in probably a decade.

Well, the good news is I'm finally feeling better and now I've got the itch to fish again. I didn't get out over this past weekend, but I received a new rod to play around with (a Dragontail/Nirvana 400 tenkara rod), so I'm hoping to at least hit a neighborhood pond or something in the not too distant future.


As for social media, blogs, and such, I haven't really been that active, but I'm looking forward to diving back in. So if you happen to see a flurry of comments on your recent posts from me, that's probably what's up, just catching up on what I've missed.

I've saved a few videos to watch, this one being one of the first. If you haven't seen it already, I hope you take a few minutes to check it out too. I mean it hardly gets better than Smoky Mountain brook trout... I can't wait to see a few in person again.

November 12, 2018

First Impressions: Yonah Packs Minimalist Sling / Fanny Pack

Today I'm going to present a "first impressions" gear review of the Yonah Packs Minimalist Sling / Fanny Pack. I was sent this pack by Marcelo, the gentleman who hand-makes each pack, to sample about a month ago. Unfortunately, it showed up just after the big Tenkara Campout outing, so I really haven't been able to use it on the water yet.


That being said, I have been able to poke, prod, pull, and stuff this little pack quite a bit over the past few days, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp of how it would best be used, as well as what sort of capacity it has.

Before I get into the review, figured I'd first drop in the manufacturer's description, as found on the Yonah Packs Etsy page:

Measurements are 9” wide x 6” tall x 2.5” thick and weighs about 7 ounces.
A very minimalist tenkara fanny pack that can double as a sling pack and carry everything you need for those hot summer fishing trips.
The pack has a zippered compartment up front to carry a small fly box or any other smaller items. The nylon webbing in the front has various attachment points for all of your fly fishing tools and tippets. This allows for quick access to all your frequently used tools and gear. 
The main compartment has 2 line spool pockets and one large cell phone/wallet pocket.
On the bottom there are straps that will hold a water bottle or a tenkara rod securely. There is also some shock cord with a cord lock on the bottom to further secure a tenkara rod.

OK, sounds good so far... but let's dive in a bit deeper.

Build Quality


I'm not going to lie, I was impressed.

Sometimes you get handmade things from Etsy and they're a little sketchy. Bad sewing, poor zippers, stuff like that. This pack appears pretty much bombproof, without a single stitch out of place. I gave all the zippers really firm pulls and they all moved silky smooth. The main compartment is made out of X-Pac (the fabric, not the wrestler), which is a multi-layered, lightweight laminate fabric that's also water-resistant. It's just solidly executed, all the way around.


Capacity

So this is what I decided to do to get a grasp of capacity. First, I grabbed my Vedavoo Tighlines sling. It's the pack I most commonly use for a day on the water if I don't also need to bring a rain jacket, snacks, a first aid kit, or extras like that. (For that I upsize to the Zimmerbuilt Deaddrift pack). I've used the Vedavoo for the better part of 7 years, so it's been through the ringer and I highly recommend it.

Here's the Vedavoo pack...


And my typical contents, that were all comfortably crammed inside.


The contents are (clockwise from upper left): 2 line spools, 2 line cards, a spool of level line, a Buff, a tip grip, cell phone, wallet, keys, tippet spools, forceps and nippers on a zinger, two tacky fly boxes, and a Sawyer squeeze water filtration system.

So then I decided I would load up the Yonah pack as best I could with the same stuff.


So what fit? Surprisingly everything except the following:


My wallet, the Sawyer filtration system, and one of the Tacky fly boxes were all a no-go. However, everything else was tucked neatly away. PLUS, I was able to use the loops on the bottom to cinch down an (extra) tenkara rod. If I didn't want to bring an extra rod, those same loops can be loosened far enough to hold a water bottle or perhaps a rolled up rain jacket... so that's a definite +1 for the Yonah pack.


The Guts

Here's a peek inside.

A large front pocket holds thin items. I used it for the Buff and tip grip. Probably could have crammed something else in there, but the extra fly box or my wallet didn't fit.


And on the inside, there are two small pockets that I used for the line spools, and a larger pocket I slid my phone into. The main compartment held everything else. Probably could have fit a Clif Bar or something in there too if I wanted to pack a snack.


So all in all, very comparable capacity-wise. My wallet is somewhat Costanza-like in nature, so I'm not surprised it didn't fit as-is, but I'm sure if I just wanted to carry an ID and credit card it would be no problem.

Functionality

Now in terms of functionality, this bag definitely has one up on the Vedavoo. Natively, it's a fanny pack. It has a webbed belt with an over-sized nylon buckle that adjusts easily and I suppose can be worn in the front or behind you.

(I kept the tenkara rod on the pack in these photos, but I don't think I would recommend it if you use as a fanny pack. It just sticks out too far to the side and is awkward. Use those loops for something else.)



But here's the really slick thing. It does convert into a legit sling pack. There a little clip on the back of the bag and if you slide the webbed strap through it, it realigns into a shoulder pack.


The pack stands vertically on your back...


And when swung around to access the contents, sits horizontally. It's actually well thought out and executed.


(And yes I'm a little bummed no birds photo-bombed these photos, I get a really nice sampling of birds back there, hence the feeders in the background)

Here's a little Instagram video from Yonah Packs that shows the quick transformation a little more effectively:


Conclusion

I guess in the end, you probably want some sort of summary. Well, being that this pack hasn't been put through the rigors of multiple fishing seasons (at least by me) like the Vedavoo pack, I can't fully endorse it quite yet. That said, all signs point to it getting an excellent final review overall, and I look forward to putting it through some headwater fishing experiences in 2019.

Some quick thoughts:
  • It appears to be very well made, tight stitching, smooth zippers, tough fabric
  • It holds just the right amount of stuff for an afternoon on the water, including an extra rod
  • It has plenty of pockets for internal and external organization
  • The capability to convert from a fanny pack to a shoulder sling adds extra functionality

So, if you're looking for something to scratch the minimalist pack itch, (without leaving all your creature comforts behind), I think this Yonah Packs Minimalist sling / fanny pack might just be what you're looking for.

The pack currently retails for $75, and can be found HERE.

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DISCLAIMER:
The Minimalist sling/fanny pack featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $75. I currently hold no official association with Yonah Packs and did not solicit them for the product to review, nor receive any financial compensation. It was simply offered to test for feedback.

REVIEW POLICY:
As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous! I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.

November 10, 2018

Pacific Rivers "Free Flow" Newsletter

Did you think you were going to read something informative written by me? Don't be silly...

But what you should be is curious enough to click on the link HERE, or the photo below and check out the Pacific Rivers "Free Flow" newsletter, in an e-reader format.

https://issuu.com/wild-plate/docs/pacific_rivers_newsletter_fall_11_0

If you're not familiar with Pacific Rivers, they are an organization whose mission is to "protect and restore the watershed ecosystems of the West to ensure river health, biodiversity, and clean water for present and future generations."

Sounds good right?

The newsletter runs about 14 pages long and gives a quick overview of some water management concerns and projects taking place out West. I happened to get turned on to the group via the film, "A Rivers Last Chance," which is also referenced in this magazine. (It's no coincidence that Shane Anderson, the Director & Producer of that film is also the Communications Director for Pacific Rivers.)

Anyway, enjoy the light read about some heavy issues. It's meant to inform, educate, and inspire. Not be a drag on your Saturday.

Oh, and while you're over at that Issuu site, you may want to check THIS out too...