October 31, 2009
October 30, 2009
Overview: The William Joseph Amp pack is a nice paradox. One one side, it's a small chest pack that ideally accommodates only the basic essentials. On the flip side, it utilizes some really high-tech features that make it anything but minimalistic.
The real draw to this bag is the unique magnetic No Zip closure system on the main compartment and smaller front pocket. Unlike packs that use zippers, there's no fiddling to open your bag and nothing to snag your fly line on an errant cast or retrieve. Simply grab one of the rubberized pulls to open. To close, just push it shut and the magnet automatically self-seals. It's that easy.
Other than the closure, the layout is similar to other chest packs. The small front pocket folds down to form a workstation shelf. It comes complete with a removable foam fly insert to keep a full menu of flies ready for the taking without the use of a fly box.
The larger internal compartment is segmented by mesh dividers into 2 sections, and also features two small zipper pockets for tiny accessories.
Feel: One of the things I like about this bag is that it has really nice "touch" By that I mean all of the places you'd regularly make contact with your hands or body are well done. Examples of this are shown in details like the neck strap. It has a very soft cushion that does not irritate your neck in the slightest. The string pulls that open the magnetic compartments are coated in a clear rubber that give them a nice lightweight bulk. It's all executed well and appears nothing was skimped in terms of materials.
Fit: All of the straps are easily adjustable, so the pack fits your body nicely. The neck strap in particular has some length to it so you can wear the pack up on your chest, or if you prefer lower down by your stomach. While the waist strap is also adjustable, I do question if it would accommodate a 2XL+ angler.
Function: The Amp's size (130 cubic inches) is more than adequate to carry around everything I need on an outing. I loaded it up with flies, tippet, leaders, a multi-tool, floatant, a digital camera, wallet, car keys, and a cell phone. Not a huge haul, but after fishing for about 4 or 5 hours, felt no fatigue or neck/back strain from the contents.
All of the inside compartments are very cleanly laid out. The smaller inner zippers zip easily and there is very little concern of any items falling out, even when bending over while the pack was open.
Now to the calling card, the magnetic closure. While this may sound "cheap" or unreliable, the magnets are quite strong and really do firmly hold the pockets shut. It's something that can't be accurately described and is much better observed in person. In practice, I find it much quicker and more convenient than zippers - believe it or not opening and closing the pockets repeatedly becomes a little fun.
Style: While not aesthetically offensive, I wouldn't say the bag is a visual work of art either. It looks like most other chest packs on the market with relatively clean but dull neutral tones. The stylized "William Joseph" logo is spread across the front and may be considered disproportionately large for the bag. I guess the manufacturer feels the need to advertise...I'm usually not one for wearing billboards, but I can look past this.
Other: Since the No Zip closure is magnetic, there is a large red patch with a bold Stop sign urging that people with pacemakers not use this bag. I'm not a doctor, so I'm not sure if it would actually kill you, but it's not worth finding out.
Areas for Improvement: While this bag is advertised as "water resistant," it would have been nice to at minimum included a waterproof drybag or compartment on the inside of the larger compartment for sensitive items. It's certainly not a deal breaker, as you can go out an buy an inexpensive drybag if needed. My current solution if a simple sandwich "zipper" bag - in which I toss my wallet, cell phone, and car keys. It's a simple enough workaround to this issue, but something that really should have been integrated.
Price: At at suggested retail of $69.00, it's probably on the expensive side for a chest pack of this size. Similar, but less expensive alternatives are certainly available - the Fishpond San Juan Pack at $49.00 or the Bass Pro White River Spring Creek Pack at $29.99 both come to mind.
Conclusion: I really like and recommend this bag. Switching from wearing a fishing vest, I don't think I'm losing any storage capability by wearing this, and find it very comfortable (and much less obtrusive). The unique No Zip closure makes opening and closing a snap, and the smartly laid out internal compartments keep everything well organized. While I loaded it up for fly fishing on this trip, I can just as easily envision the spin fisherman enjoying this pack as well. I dropped one of my Plano Stowaway boxes filled with spinners inside with plenty of room to spare.
No, this pack isn't for everyone. It's intentionally on the small side, so if you like to bring multiple fly boxes and all sorts of widgets out on the water, you probably won't be able to cram it all inside. At $69.00, it could also be considered a little pricey in relation to the competition. However, if you like to keep it mean, lean, and are willing to pay the modest premium (and don't wear a pacemaker!) - this is an excellent option for you.
Final Rating: 4 stars out 5, the only functional shortcoming being the lack of an integrated drybag, the only practical shortcoming being price.
This independent gear review is not associated with manufacturer or retailer-supplied free goods. The pack used in this review was purchased at full retail of $69.00.
October 23, 2009
No fancy fishing here; the natives are restless
By GARY THOMPSON
Philadelphia Daily News
I'm fly fishing the first weekend in October at one of my favorite Pocono spots, and I'm going to pack it in early because my arm is tired.
Not from casting, which usually wears me out and sends me home, but from catching. I've just spent five minutes wrestling with an ornery smallmouth bass that keeps running back into the deep water every time he gets close enough to see me.
When I finally bring him to shore and release him, he gives me an angry look and goes back to the business of eating as much as he can in advance of the approaching winter.
I caught and released maybe a dozen fish that day, mostly rainbow trout, and this had nothing to do with expertise or preparation. I'd brought the wrong fly box and fished with out-sized streamers designed for saltwater quarry.
No matter. No cast was too bad, no fly too inappropriate, no retrieval too suspicious for these ravenous fish. To paraphrase Will Ferrell's character in "The Wedding Crashers," the fish are so hungry, it's not even fair.
These are the same fish that ignored everything I threw at them during the summer, when you have to coax them to the surface with tiny dry flies on the end of delicate lines that kink and knot and snap off when you DO hook up.
Fall in the Poconos is my favorite time to fish, because I'm lazy and it's so much easier. The weather's often ideal (not so much this year), and the trout perk up when water temperatures begin to drop in popular Pocono waters. The fish will stay active nearly until the end of the year.
To read the rest of this article on Philly.com:
October 21, 2009
October 20, 2009
The weather wasn't the most cooperative - only one day of rain, but lots of clouds. Despite having my light tackle fishing trip canceled due to high winds, we did do a lot of activities, including a day at the beach.
Day 1 - Arrival & aforementioned beach day at Tobacco Bay
Day 2 - Lots of running around ~ Royal Naval Dockyard, a stop in Hamilton, and RAIN!
Day 3 - Tour of the Crystal Caves and Bermuda National Aquarium & Zoo. Dusk hike out to Fort St. Catherine
Day 4 - Carriage ride around St. George's & Departure
Although not the biggest and grandest of boats, the Majesty served it purpose of restaurant & hotel. Lilly was especially enthusiastic about the onboard "Kid's Camp" and also picked up a neat new trick at dinner.
The giveaway runs from Monday, October 19th to Saturday, October 31st at 5:00pmOh yeah, Ben also writes a pretty mean blog post as well. I especially liked his 5 part posting on a recent trout fishing outing. Go check it out!
(Winners will be posted Monday, November 2nd).
1st Prize Muck Boots Arctic Sport Mid in your size from Hank’s Clothing
2nd Prize is a Hoodie from Warrior Outdoors
3rd Prize is a Magnet Gun Caddy from Spec Tech.
4th Prize through 8th Prize is a copy of Warrior Outdoors Rack Attack
October 9, 2009
Exhibit A: "Fish Porn" courtesy Catch Magazine
As I've mentioned in other posts, I've been toying with Tenkara, which is a Japanese method of fly fishing. As with anything new (to me) I try to absorb information on the subject like a sponge. This led to a recent Google search on the phrase "Japanese Fishing" which yielded the following link and disturbing picture:
'Strange Snacks of the World: Japanese Fish Sausage':Exhibit B: Fish Porn? courtesy Village Voice
Pull a tightly wrapped specimen out of the pack, and try as you might, it is hard to overlook the resemblance to a very small, very skinny, condom-wrapped penis. "This sausage may contain tiny black pieces," notes the package helpfully. "These are fragments of fish skin."
Uhh...ummhhhh....uhhh...I think this one fish better left not tasted.
I'd be practicing catch & release.
October 7, 2009
While I'm certain this is a form reply, but at the very least I am comforted to see that Senator Rafferty holds similar environmental concerns over natural gas drilling on state forest lands.
The good parts:
"As you know from my environmental record, I want those responsible for damaging our environment to pay the price for reclamation and work to ensure that checks are in place to prevent same.
I am not in favor of gas drilling on state forest land. If a severance tax is imposed on this drilling, I have requested that a portion of these funds be given to the local host communities and an environmental stewardship fund be set aside for clean water safeguards. Additionally, the dollars form the same cannon be assigned to the General Fund where the Governor and the General Assembly could use the money to fund programs that are not environmental in nature."
Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr.44th District
October 5, 2009
It's very simplistic fishing and since you can't cast great distances, requires some stealth to get close to the fish without spooking them. The rod I used is a telescoping 11' model called the Iwana that folds down to about 20". It's very compact and easy to transport from area to area. You also don't use standard fly line, you use a 10' 6" furled line to which I attached about a 4' 6x leader. All of that leads to a very soft presentation on the water surface. It excels with dry flies, but you can fish subsurface as well.
In the end, I do think this style is going to make me a better fly angler (not giving up my 3wt yet), just because it requires some extra discipline and thought before you approach a "fishy" area and make your first cast. For those reasons, I think I'm hooked on this method of fishing small creeks and streams.
October 4, 2009
Attention Anglers: Volunteers Needed to Stock Area Creeks
by KYW's John McDevitt
Saturday, 03 October 2009
Volunteers are needed to help stock trout in two Philadelphia area creeks this coming Wednesday.
Anglers are anxious for the release of nearly 6,000 rainbow and brown trout being trucked in from the state hatcheries in Huntsdale, Pa.
They'll be released into Wissahickon and Penny Pack Creeks. Water Ways conservation officer John Pedrick, with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, says the creeks have been stocked with fish since 1933:
"Normally the trout season is in spring. What we found out is that the water in the Wissahickon and the Penny Pack is exceptional and has really really sustained winter fishing and would love for it to be native but we do stock the fish."
Pedrick says if you would like to help in the release, volunteers are needed:
"We take them out of the truck in buckets and put the buckets of fish into the creek."
You can go to either to Penny Pack Creek at Pine Road in Northeast Philadelphia or at Forbidden Drive and Northwestern in Chestnut Hill at 12:30pm this Wednesday to help in the releasehttp://www.kyw1060.com/Attention-Anglers--Volunteers-Needed-to-Stock-Area/5356279
October 3, 2009
Weird New Ghostshark Found
Male Has Sex Organ on Head
September 22, 2009
California has a new star, the Eastern Pacific black ghostshark.
But the newly identified species prefers to stay out of the sun—and the spotlight. And with a club-like sex organ on its forehead, the male ghostshark isn't likely to get any leading man roles.
Pictured alive underwater (top) and preserved in a museum collection (bottom), the new ghostshark uses winglike fins to "fly" through its dark habitat, thousands of feet deep off the coasts of California and Mexico's Baja California peninsula, a new study says.
The ghostshark seems to have flown under the scientific radar too. Since the 1960s experts have been finding specimens of the strange, 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) fish, which ended up nameless in museum collections around the world.
It wasn't until after a team recently searched through shelves of "dead pickled fish" that the Eastern Pacific black ghostshark was recognized as its own new species, said study co-author Douglas Long, chief curator in natural sciences at the Oakland Museum of California. The specimens' unique proportions, precisely measured, gave the fish away as a separate species of ghostshark.Read the rest of this article at National Geographic.com:
October 2, 2009
This is not an ad, they are not paying me to write this. I'm just a fan of their product. My 5-wt rod is an Albright, and I think it's been a pretty good buy for the money. I do wish I waited, with this sale you can get one for $59.99! I also have one of their Bugati reels, but I'll be honest, I still go with the Lamson Konic before the Bugati. But for $34.99...well, you getting my point now?
Normally, I'd be buying something, but I just picked up a Tenkara outfit two weeks ago, so I'm in a self-imposed spending freeze (for the time being). Seriously, if you're looking to pick up some nice gear at a fair price and you're also not someone that needs it to read "Orvis", might not be a bad idea to check it out.