July 31, 2010

A Sure-fire Way To Get a Bump In Traffic

I wasn't sure why I saw a very large increase in local visitors to my blog around noon yesterday (Friday). Thanks to the magic of Facebook & the Pottstown Mercury, I now know.
Want website traffic?  Add some T...a little A...and then stir.

Excellent choice of picture by the Pottstown Mercury. (It was taken from a heat-related post I made last week). Hopefully nobody will be disappointed if the "Women in Waders" don't show up for the Adopt-A-Stream project this morning.

I should probably take this up with the board of the Stony Creek Anglers at our next meeting; with the proper marketing, the ladies' attendance would clearly create record turnouts next year...


July 28, 2010

2010 Stony Creek Anglers Adopt-A-Stream Project

This Saturday, July 31st, the Stony Creek Anglers are hosting their annual Adopt-A-Stream Project on the Stony Creek in Norristown, PA.  This year's stream bank restoration project will involve the construction of a log deflector reinforced with stone to decrease erosion and provide additional habitat for the trout near the "Meadow Bridge" site.
2009's Adopt-A-Stream Project on the Kepner Creek
This year's project will again be overseen & managed by Karl Lutz, Habitat Manager from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

If you're interested in helping in this project, the meetup time is 7:30 AM at the Stony Creek Anglers trout nursery in the Norristown Farm Park. Any and all assistance is welcomed. Tools and work gloves will be provided, however please bring adequate waders or wading boots as most of the project will take place in the water. Food & beverages to be served afterwards.

For more information on the Stony Creek Anglers, including maps of the park and directions to the nursery, visit their website HERE.

July 27, 2010

Fishing for a New QB

NFL Training Camp started this week for the hometown Philadelphia Eagles. This should be an interesting year for the 'Birds, as we've got a lot of young players being asked to step up and fill in roles left vacant by departing veterans.

There's probably no larger a hole to fill than that of QB, with the off-season trade of Donovan McNabb to Washington. Is Kevin Kolb up to the task? Beats me...but I kinda like the guy already. Why? Not only are there rumors that he hunts wild boar with his bare hands in the offseason, but according to this article from the Philadelphia Daily News, the new starting QB is also into competitive bass fishing. Unfortunately, no word on his (or his mom's) feelings toward Chunky Soup.

Excerpt from Les Bowen's Daily News Article:
"I had no desire to get into it, I just kind of stumbled into it," said Kolb, who won a couples competition in Texas' Hubbard Creek Lake with his wife, Whitney. Kevin took fourth this year in an individual tourney that he said featured about 70 boats.
"My dad [Roy] taught me to bass fish a long time ago, but some of my old high school buddies that I ended up moving close to once I moved to [Lake Granbury, near Fort Worth], they said, 'Man, you've got to do this.' My rookie year was the first time I started doing it. Went into it head over heels, too. I like it a lot."
Read the full Philadelphia Daily News article here:
http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/sports/99085579.html

July 26, 2010

Yo-Yos Aren't Just for Kids Anymore

I was recently introduced to a great blog called The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. It's very well written, almost always with a dry sense of humor, and as you can tell by the title, Albert is quite the outdoorsman - hunting, fishing, and all that good stuff - of course, you know, when he isn't over in Afghanistan...

When I read his post this morning concerning an idea of starting a Yo-Yos for Troops program, I first thought "That's genius," and second, "When can I go yo-yo shopping?!"

I figure if that's what someone who's halfway across the world thinks the troops would like (besides a one way ticket home), well then, that's what they should get.  Plus, yo-yos are stupid cool.  They could probably (in a pinch) even be used in hand-to-hand combat.  THWAP!  Glow-in-the-Dark Duncan to the forehead.

Just please don't be a _____ and ask if your yo-yo donation is tax-deductable - if so, I might just have to send Albert after you when he returns...
Likely not someone to mess with

For more information on the Yo-Yo For Troops program, click on the link below or the on banner in the right sidebar of this website.



July 25, 2010

The "Lost" Map of Professor Higbee

I was paging through my local newspaper on Saturday, and I saw about a quarter page ad for Professor Higbee's Stream & Lake Map of Pennsylvania.  Now, I had heard of this map before, probably visited the website a few times over the course of the past season or two "Googling" random things about fishing, but what struck me about the print ad was the marketing around this map.

First, it was billed as the "Lost" Professor Higbee map.  They play this thing up as if it is some rare, ancient artifact, you know, the kind of map the cast of The Goonies would need an amulet from a shipwreck or something to decipher.  (Check out One Eyed Willie's suggestions on secret limestone streams)

Turns out it's origins date way back to 1965, which I guess was a different time.  I'm  not sure Al Gore had even invented the internet way back then.

Second, the promotional ploy totally reeked of infomercial.  Not only did you get the 3x5 foot stream map, but if you acted today, you also got 3 additional bonus gifts, including such notable works as "Finding Secret Fishing Spots" and "How Anglers Stalk & Catch Record Fish."  I was kinda hoping they'd "double my order" or include a Slap Chop at no extra charge.

So, I'm not sure where this ramble is going.  This very well might be the cat's meow when it comes to stream maps in PA.  For $20, it certainly wouldn't break the bank.  I guess my question is if something like this is still relevant in today's time of easily accessible internet stream reports and Google Earth/Maps?


July 23, 2010

Helpful Hints to Beat This Weekend's Heat

So this weekend is going to be hot on the East Coast. Temps should be in the mid to high 90s again, and we may very well be in excess of 100 degrees on Saturday. Actually, if you believe NBC10 Philadelphia's "Hurricane" Schwartz, it will probably be 180 degrees, with a heat index of 870. Anything to over-exaggerate the weather for ratings at good ol' NBC10.
Yeah, that's our weatherguy...

With that in mind, probably won't be doing any fishing this weekend myself, and if I do would probably be at dawn or dusk for smallmouth bass or panfish. Being of hairy & sweaty Italian heritage, unlike my fellow countrymen of the Jersey Shore, I don't deal with the heat all that good.
Perhaps if I tried waxing I'd enjoy the heat more

So if you still insist on going fishing this weekend, here's a few tips to keep cool.

1. Drink lots of fluids. Water is probably best. Just not beer. Well, if you drink MGD64 like me, perhaps you could drink beer, because it doesn't seem to contain any alcohol anyway.

2. Wear light colored clothing. Dark colors tend attract the sun's rays. If you are a fisherwoman, would probably be best not to wear anything.  Waders might be okay if you must.  Don't worry, that isn't be me hiding in the bushes with the camera. Thanks in advance.

3. Protect yourself from the sun.  Sunscreen is a must.  Something thick & rich like SPF80.  Ball caps are good, but leave your neck and ears exposed to sunburn, and of course skin cancer. Consider a larger brimmed hat. A sombrero would probably be best, just watch your backcast.
That's one cool fly fishing lanyard

4. Take frequent breaks. Find a shade tree streamside and take a short nap. Don't overdo it. Overexertion can cause heat stroke, and that's not cool. It can actually kill you, then who would read my crappy blog?

5. Go fishing inside.  Like tenkara, yet another great Japanese invention.  Your local Cabela's or Bass Pro probably won't mind.  Heck, looks like these guys did it, I think they might have forgot their fishing rods though?

So there you go. Some tips to keep cool this weekend if you must go fishing.
As for me, my wife has filled our freezer full of ice pops...so I'm all good.



July 22, 2010

Channeling Dr. Emmett Brown

Don't know who Doc Brown is?  Click HERE, for it to make sense, 'cuz I'm going back in time!

Anywho...was saving some pics on my computer tonight, and found some old ones from an enjoyable fishing trip I took in the pre-Troutrageous blog days.  Think it was 2005.  My wife's uncle is a boat captain out of Jupiter, Florida.  The in-laws arranged for a trip on his boat for my birthday present.  Was a good time, even though I'm not a big trolling type of guy.  Garden gnomes are cool though.

It was a beautiful day, we caught a bunch of fish, and I had fun fighting a shark for a bit before it broke off the line.  It was probably better that way, I'm pretty sure it wasn't an average shark - most likely it was a sharktopus...and who wants to remove the hook from that?

The ride out from Jupiter
Fish On...yup, you like my fighting belt, don't ya?
Hope that fish's last meal was worth it
Lorraine rocks the belt much better - fierce!
Broken off...  Notice the Fogdog.com hat & $4 Walmart shades
Dinner.
Weren't practicing catch & release on this day
Grip n' Grin
(K.C. still won't touch fish)



July 21, 2010

Linvilla Stocking Today

Looks like they're tossing more fish in the Linvilla Orchards farm pond this week. Got this email today - looks like a great opportunity to get kids hooked on fishing (if they can handle this HEAT).
Photo Credit: Linvilla Orchards

We are restocking Orchard Lake with Hybrid Striped Bass up to 2 1/2 lbs. on Wednesday, July 20, 2010. Also starting tomorrow, we will have a great new selection of bait everyday, including live flathead minnows!

Fishing is open EVERY DAY from 9-6! We hope to see you here!


http://www.linvilla.com/pick_your_own/fishing.php


July 20, 2010

Missed This Last Week

I'm usually good about trolling around the internet for trouty tasting news morsels...how did I miss that some dude in Wisconsin caught what might be the new world record brown trout?
Photo Credit: Benny Sieu / JSOnline.com

Anyway, this fish is very close to the world record currently held (and set last year) by Tom Healy of Michigan . I wrote a post about that fish at the time as well.

Evidently Roger Hellen caught the 41 pound, 8 ounce beast trolling Lake Michigan as part of the annual Salmon-A-Rama tournament.  After reeling it in and promptly taking to the butcher to prevent shrinkage (don't we all hate that?), they confirmed that it was in-fact world record size.

Actually the first butcher's scale was too small, so they took it to a second one to finally get the measurement.  Yeah, there's still an IFGA confirmation that needs to be made, but that's one huge fish any which way it was measured!

For more info, check out the full article at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online:
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/outdoors/98649849.html


July 18, 2010

A Nice, Full Sunday

In the words of Ice Cube, "Today was a good day."

Rolled out of bed this morning at around quarter till six.  Headed out to go fishing for the first time in about 3 weeks.  Felt great to be out again, even though it was going to be yet another day of 90+ degree weather.  Once at the creek, the intermittent shade from the trees provided some relief and the water temps were in the low 60s.  Despite the heat I expected the action to be good.  And it was...

Most of the brownies brought to hand were in the 6-8 inch size; however this guy was the heavyweight champ of the day.

According to the handy Measure Net, that brownie came in around 12 inches.  He slammed a size 18 Copper John.  If you're interested in visiting him yourself, he lives here:

Once it started getting really hot around noon, I packed it in and headed home.  K.C. & Lilly had gone to the swim club in the morning, and they had gotten home just around the same time I did.  After a quick lunch, I took Lilly (to give K.C. some peace & quiet) over to the Stony Creek Anglers Nursery Open House.

Let's just say Lilly likes feeding the fish.


We spent almost two hours there.  I couldn't get her to leave!  Looked like there was a good turnout overall, which is a good thing for the club.  I finally got Lilly away from the fish food and back to the car with one magic word..."playground."

Lilly liked it there too.

By that time it was almost 5PM and time to head home for dinner.  Like I said in the title of this post, today was a nice, full Sunday.  One of those days you wouldn't trade for the world.

July 17, 2010

The Pink Spork

Other than fishing, I'm not a very outdoorsy person.  I grew up in a somewhat urban suburb of Philadelphia, so never really did the hiking or camping thing as a kid.  I do remember my mom taking me to an arboretum quite often when I was little, but I wasn't a Boy Scout, have never started a fire by rubbing sticks together or any of that fun stuff.

My daughter Lilly - and I'm not sure from where - has recently come up with this idea that she wants to go camping.  She wants to sleep in a tent and most importantly make S'mores.  Ugh.  So I've convinced her that we we could pitch a tent in the backyard and burn toast marshmallows on our grill.  That seems to has satisfied her, as long as some stuffed animals can sleep in the tent too.  So now I guess I've got to go learn something about buying a tent.  Any suggestions?
Just this easy....riiiiiight!

Keeping that bit of context, KC., Lilly, & I were at the Eddie Bauer store this afternoon to pick up some clothes, and there was a bin of plastic sporks at the register.  Little Miss Outdoorsy immediately spotted them - naturally the pink one - and of course Lilly wouldn't leave the store until we bought one.  We tried to say no, but Lilly is one of those kids that would continually remind us about the spork daily for the rest of our lives unless it was purchased.  The random things she remembers amazes me.  If she ever becomes her high school valedictorian, I'm certain she'd even include a cute anecdote about being deprived of a spork as a 4-year old in her commencement speech.  For $2.99, it wasn't worth that kind of torture, so I caved.  The spork came home with us.

Amazingly when we got home, I was really impressed with the spork.  First off, it wasn't an inexpensive white plastic one like the version you pick up for free at the 7-11.  Made by "Light My Fire," it's quite heavy duty, with a somewhat different configuration to boot.  In addition to the spoon & fork, it also integrates a small knife edge on one of the fork's outer tines.  This was not only a revelation to me (I'm now tempted to trade in all of my silverware for sporks), but to Lilly too.  The novelty of the magic pink spork actually got her to eat her dinner for once - if only I knew this sooner!
A rainbow of colors for your sporking pleasure

So this gets me to thinking, if you could combine any 3 items into one "multi-tool," what would they be?  This could obviously go in several directions, so I'm curious to see what you all come up with!


July 15, 2010

F&S ICAST Overview

Field & Stream has placed a pretty entertaining slideshow of the 2010 ICAST Show (going on right now in Las Vegas, NV).  For those of you who aren't familiar with ICAST, it's the sportfishing industry's annual show where manufacturers display their upcoming season's wares to retailers, media, etc...


If you're a gear junkie like me, the slideshow below is worth the 5 or so minutes of mouse clicking. Enjoy!
Field & Stream ICAST Slideshow


July 14, 2010

Stony Creek Anglers Nursery Open House

The Stony Creek Anglers will be holding an open house this Sunday, July 18th, at their Nursery located within the Norristown Farm Park grounds. The open house is open to the public, and it's a great opportunity to learn a little bit more about the organization, the nursery operation, as well as check out the latest batch of trout fingerlings.
Reviewing the "raceway" at last year's open house
Photo Credit: Ray Duff

Here are the details, taken from the latest Stony Creek Anglers newsletter.

7th Annual SCA Nursery Open House
Sunday, July 18th - 12 to 4 PM

Open to the Public, Members, & Families
Tour the Nursery, Learn the trout life cycle
Food, snacks, & beverages!

Enter Gate #4 on Stergiere Street and follow the signs



July 13, 2010

See...I Told You They Were Good...

Lou from Fly & Fin dropped me an email last night.  He was the winner of the Hobie Polarized Sunglasses giveaway, and received his package in the mail yesterday.  He seemed pretty pleased, so just figured I'd share.
Mike,
First I’d like to offer my many thanks to you and Hobie for offering this great give-a-way. I received my Hobie Bayside Black/Photocopper sun glasses today, Monday the 12th of July.
I must say Hobie makes a fine sports eye-wear. They fit like a glove wrapping around my face to block out any unwanted glare. The shape glasses and the side shields do not restrict your peripheral vision. They cut down glare very well with out darkening, and provide great contrast to see those well-hidden trout.
I know with these Hobie Bayside sun/fishing glasses I’ll have less eye fatigue after a long day of fishing.
Attached are some photos, feel free to use them on the blog.
Lou


Lookin' good Lou.  Thanks for the feedback, and congrats again!

July 11, 2010

I Haven't Gone Fishing in Two Weeks

Need to go

The sound of riffles haunt my ears

Inspiration for blogging has vanished

Having trouble staying.............focused

Practiced "air-casting" at the swimming pool today

Extracting flies tangled in tree branches would be divine

Stagnant drainage ditch meandering through subdivision looks tempting

It may be smart to hide the goldfish

I'm not joking this time


July 9, 2010

Decision 2010

In tribute to LeBron James' epically overplayed (& extremely excruciating to watch) "Decision 2010" TV special, I think I'm going to contact ESPN about airing an hour long extravaganza about where I plan on fishing this weekend - (brought to you by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America & Vitamin Water, of course).

Hopefully Stuart Scott would emcee.  If not him, maybe Charlie Moore.  It would be phenomenal.

All of the bodies of water lining up courting my services - Valley Creek, Stony Creek, the Schuylkill River, Skippack Creek, and of course the dark horse Darby Creek.  I actually think Darby Creek is currently in negotiations to get fellow free agents Shoreman & Mel Moore to sign up with it in hopes of luring me there.

Oh, wait - BREAKING NEWS - it appears the billionaire Russian owner of the Stony Creek has just signed John Dollar and his handcrafted pipes...ugh, so many good choices, decisions like these are so difficult!

I could just see it now...
"I felt good with my decision after I spoke to my momma this morning.  She told me she'll love me wherever I go, so after some intense soul searching, I'll be taking my tenkara rod and flies with me to...(dramatic pause)...Valley Creek this weekend."
Valley Creek
Insert sound of ecstatic riffles here
Stony Creek
Insert sounds of booing, hissing, and tears.  Betrayal!
"Can I get a witness from the congregation?
BOO-YAH!!!!!!!"

July 7, 2010

Black Rock Fish Ladder Installed

There was a nice article in the Pottstown Mercury yesterday outlining the installation of a Fish Ladder in the Black Rock Dam on the Schuylkill River in Phoenixville.  This ladder, in conjunction with other ladders either installed or repaired downriver over the past few years, is meant to open up previously blocked waterways to migratory fish, most notably the American Shad.

Much like the Delaware River today, at one time American Shad were plentiful in the Schuylkill River as well. As a matter of fact the Fishtown section of Philadelphia holds an annual "Shadfest" festival to celebrate the importance that shad played in the area's heritage (though shad are few and far between today).

Ideally, these series of ladders will enable the shad (& other species) the passage they need to reach their spawning grounds and not only replenish what was once a vibrant population, but also provide anglers with another great sport fishing opportunity.  It obviously won't happen overnight, but if managed correctly, at least they now have a fighting chance.

For the full article on the Pottstown Mercury website, follow the link below:
http://tinyurl.com/americanshad



July 6, 2010

Wind Chime

No sneaking in the deck door at my house.

Wish I could take credit and say I whittled it from a lightning struck tree a la "Wonderboy."  Rather, it was a birthday present from the in-laws.



July 5, 2010

Weekend with Lilly

My wife has been out of town this entire 4th of July weekend. In fact, she doesn't get back from St. Louis (where she's visiting some old friends) until late tonight (Monday), so it's been Lilly & I as a tag team all weekend. I have to give it to Lilly, she's been really well behaved the entire time. Heck, she even put up with the hour and a half drive to Bass Pro on Saturday morning with very few complaints.

Before we went on vacation a few weeks ago to South Florida, K.C. & I told Lilly that when we got back, she could get her first pet of her very own, a fish. (No, I'm not slighting the family dog Caesar, he predates Lilly). She had been eying up the fish at PETCO for a while, so on Saturday after Bass Pro, she was finally going to pick one out.

So with no further ado, let me introduce the world to Cinderella, the fantail calico goldfish - perhaps the one fish I will not subject to a barrage of flies.

Lilly was obviously pretty thrilled, especially about accessorizing the tank. Of course every princess needs a castle of her own.

Last night was going to be a special treat for Lilly as well.  She normally goes to be around 7:30 PM, but this year she was allowed to stay up and watch the 4th of July fireworks (from our back deck) for the very first time.  She was really excited, not to mention we had a full day planned as a prelude up to the big event.

In the morning, a visit to Linvilla Orchards and a stop over at Grandmom's house.

In the afternoon, moving Cinderella into her new home.

In the early evening, helping Daddy make dinner.  (Consider this my homage to Brk Trt).

And at night the fireworks!

Unfortunately, the whole fireworks "experience" lasted about 5 minutes.  Lilly didn't like the loud noises and wanted to go back inside (look at this unhappy face).  It's a good thing we didn't have to go anywhere far to see them.

Once back inside, Lilly sat down on the sofa to watch TV and was quickly back to her happy self, I think Dora & Boots were on a mission to save the Snow Princess or something...  Keeping one eye on her and another to the sky, I did get to see most of the fireworks.  Here's a brief video of some.

So after that full day of excitement on the 4th, there's only one more day of the Lilly & Daddy tag team left - now what to do today???

July 4, 2010

Happy 4th America!

My Tenkara Fly Box

I bought a new Plano fly box yesterday at Bass Pro Shops. It's very small, thin, & shallow - maybe 4 inches by 3 inches, and is the perfect size for the front pocket of my chest pack.  (I'm punting the little foam velcro fly patch that came with the pack).

It's also ideal for, and is now the home for, my tenkara flies.  Dries on the top, wets in the middle, nymphs on the bottom.  That ugly thing in the bottom left, well...it's an extra bushy wet I tied up and want to try at a specific spot the next time I get out.

This doesn't make for as extreme a set up as the "one fly is all you need" philosophy currently making the rounds in the tenkara circles, but it's a pretty simple selection nonetheless.

Bass Pro wasn't the only stop I made today either.  Lilly got something too for being a super good girl.  And it has nothing to do with fishing...well, not really.  More on that hopefully tomorrow.