January 31, 2011

Troutrageous! v2.

Spent the day at the Philadelphia Auto Show yesterday with K.C.   We're interested in upgrading the Griswold Family Truckster and have narrowed it down to a handful of smallish SUVs.  My only requirements - it must have rear windows large enough to accommodate mass quantities of fishing stickers, and to keep the final price under $30K.
Anyone seen Aunt Edna?

As such, the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V (aka the Mom-Mobile), Nissan Rogue, & the darkhorse Mazda Tribute seem to be the final four to sort through.

I know, I know...no American cars...we looked at them and really liked what was going on with Ford, especially the Edge, but they aren't quite fitting in the budget.  I guess Ford has some crazy idea that car companies are supposed to make money or something.  No offense to the Chevy & Chrysler owners, but their 2011 SUVs were just claustrophobic.

Thus, another weekend clearly went by devoid of fishing activities.  To compensate, I hacked up made some small changes to my blog last night.  I don't know if I'm set on them yet, but I'd love to get some feedback.

Hack #1 - The blog is now wider (& the font is a notch larger).  I've always wanted to have it so I could display pictures and videos BIG and really fill up the screen.  I hate it when a website under-utilizes available screen space.

Now I do realize everybody's monitors aren't the same size and a wider blog may affect how you read it.  That in mind, I did check Google Analytics first, and it appears the large majority of you use a resolution of over 1200 pixels.  It's scary what Google knows...

Hack #2 - With the wider format, I needed a new header.  I honestly don't like the trout, and will likely change it, but the old tenkara rod header didn't look good when resized to fit.

Hack #3 - I added a "Reply" feature to the comments section.  While it doesn't drop a "reply" directly beneath the comment you are replying to (like WordPress), clicking on it does automatically make reference to the original commenter, and if you click on their name after you reply, it automatically takes you back to the original comment.

Make sense?  Probably not, I did a crappy job of explaining that.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Some examples are already in the comments of this prior post.

Anyway, let me know what you think.  Especially the widening.  ~ Gracias.

January 30, 2011

Question Answered

Yesterday's post asked the question, what are designer waders, and why are people searching for them and ending up here?

Well, after some more search engine sleuthing, it's Prada's fault.  Actually has been since Spring 2009.

Nice hippers

Here's a link to an article about it, if you're really interested in learning more.

As for this post, consider it over.  I'm feeling less masculine for writing it already.  I need to go throw on some Wranglers & Carhartt and roll around in the mud or something...

I promise, no more pictures of women in waders unless they are wearing much less clothing.

January 29, 2011

A Simple Question

What are "Designer Waders"?

The reason why I ask is when I look at incoming traffic for this blog from search engines, one of the top searched keywords is designer waders.  It's actually one of the reasons why that silly Jay-Z & Beyonce post I wrote last year is my #1 most viewed post...ever.

Having a pic of Beyonce in a bikini probably doesn't hurt either.

So again I ask, what are designer waders, and why are people searching for them?

Did I miss a Simms-sponsored episode of Project Runway?
Not even done in Photoshop...we're talkin' Microsoft Paint beeyatches!

Is Versace on a neoprene binge?
Don't they know felt is no longer fashionable?

Not that I mind of course, I dominate the #1 spot for that term on Google search...

But in the end, I'm still kinda confused.  Help me out peeps.

What are designer waders & why are people searching for them?

January 28, 2011

Innovation From A Fellow Blogger

Cam over at The Fiberglass Manifesto has been doing a really great job of highlighting a fellow blogger's new product recently.  I don't want to steal any of his "review thunder," but I thought I'd do my share today to spread the word as well (just in case there's a reader of mine that doesn't already read TFM - like, as if that's possible).

Blogbuddy Jeff at The Freshwater Fly has developed a great little add on to any fly fisherman's arsenal of gear.  I've been a big fan of Jeff's blog for a while (it was featured on Wednesday Nibbles a while back), and I'm glad to see he's found a way to translate his passion for fishing into a product that is extremely useful.

So what is it?  It's a small clip that with a foam patch that's just screaming to hold your flies.  I ordered one last week and it arrived this past Tuesday.  I found it to be very well put together (Made in the USA, BTW) and also comes with a replacement foam patch & sticker.  The best part...only $7.  So how do you lose?
It clips...just about anywhere.

I've embedded Jeff's video below, as well as the link to buy one HERE.

So what are you waiting for?

January 27, 2011

A Movie Post...

...and also a test for an automatic feed distribution method I'm giving a try, just to see what happens.  You won't pick up on that here, but maybe in other channels...if the whole thing doesn't blow up. 

Oh the fun. Plus science rock is cool.

Postscript:  New method sucked, going back to NetworkedBlogs...

Blog Monetizing

No, this isn't an instructional manual on how to monetize your blog...and for those not keen on interweb buzzwords, that means turning your content into cash.  Unless you're writing about porn, electronics, or willing to sell your soul to the devil, (or a combination of the three), it's very difficult to do well.

Rather, I get quite a few emails about my NASCAR-ish right sidebar - especially all those "ads" running down the page as you scroll to the bottom.

Boogity boogity boogity!

While their primary function is to simply balance my page aesthetically (my blogroll is obscenely large), I still get the same questions all the time - Do you make money on them?  How much?  Can I get one?  So in today's post I'm going to give you all full disclosure about what's going on there.  Who else lets you behind the scenes to see the inner-workings of a super-mega-popular fishing blog?  No...seriously, let me know...I've got a notepad ready...

Moving from top to bottom:

1.  Lilly - She's my kid & gets the top spot for a very good reason.  She pays me in hugs and kisses every day.  You can't write a check for that.

2.  Pottstown Mercury - It's a local newspaper.  I really don't know how they found me, but they invited me to do a link exchange.  I'm a "Town Square Blogger" for them, they even pick up some of my content from time to time, and in exchange, they get a link.

My Merc "Glamour Shot"

3.  Kype Magazine - Another link exchange.  They give me code to embed for free virtual mags (and sometimes offer free stuff to review) and I serve it up.  Note:  Free stuff does not equal gushing review.

4.  Interactive Trout Map - A service to you, my readers.  I don't have a relationship with PA Fish & Boat Commission, I just think it's a cool tool.

5.  Online Store - Once upon a time, way before the blog, Troutrageous was a t-shirt design I hatched up...along with Basstastic, Pikeadelic, Sharkhaic, etc...  It still exists, but I put 0 effort into that.  Might change that at some point later this year, we'll see...
Your woman needs these.

6.  Links - They're just links I like. No current agenda.  That said if any of those companies/organizations want to barter, I'd happily change that link to a banner.

7.  Favorite Fishing Forums - Before I had an active blog, I used to be really into forums.  To be honest, the comments section of this blog (& the favorites I regularly read) have largely taken the place of forums.  Regardless, I still list them, as each remains a great place to drop in and visit.

8.  Abide - The Dude.   It's a lifestyle man.  That banner really ties this blog together.

9.  Blog Directories - They are what they are.  I will note that Viglink.com is a monetization service.  Basically, you sign up for their service, and they turn any link you make in a post that's directed toward a retailer (like say a link back to a cool fishing rod you saw on Orvis) an affiliate link, given that retailer has an affiliate program.  In simple terms, if somebody goes to Orvis and buys that rod, you get $.  You don't have to do anything.  It's kind of like monetization for the lazy, and I resemble that remark.

10.  Fishfinders - They paid me to put that there.  No questions asked.  By the way, have I mentioned that I love fishfinders?  Repeat after me, "Fishfinders take all of the guesswork out of choosing the best fishing spot."  Clif knows the magic of this mantra.

11.  Hobie - They sponsored a review and giveaway last spring.  Plus they were AWESOME to work with and I use & believe in their product.  No joke.  In return, I pimp their site.  I'm not gonna lie, the formula is simple.  Give me good free stuff that actually works & you get a banner like forever.

A happy contest winner!

12.  Fish Creek Spinners - John (the owner) is one of those guys who does things right.  I also consider him a friend.  He gets this for free.  I'd have it no other way.

13.  The Next 4 - These are affiliate links through the AvantLink network.  I notice other bloggers are using this service too.  I try not to overdo it & pick more unique retailers/brands that are relevant to my blog & it's topics.  I must have done a crappy job because they've gotten a ton of views but have yet to convert.  C'mon, you know you want to buy your new tenkara rod from Wildfly.com.  Get on it already!

14.  Google Adsense - This one actually makes money.  Not a lot, but enough to actually be able to buy a few things from the McDonald's Dollar Menu from time to time.  Since Lilly loves her Happy Meals, this is not a bad thing.

So that's it, the cat's out of the bag.  And to prove that you can make money from your blog, here's a recent screen shot of a payment I received last week from a now defunct-affiliate program I worked with last fall.
Good thing I blog for fun, not money.

January 26, 2011

No Wednesday Nibbles Today

Sorry, but they're taking the week off.

See, yesterday was my wedding anniversary.  It's been 9 years since K.C. & I got hitched at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.  (No joke).

Wedding bells or slot machines?

Since then she's put up with my nonsense...particularly this post-marriage onset fishing obsession, something that wasn't even on the radar when we exchanged "I do"s...and I continue to wonder what I've done to deserve such a supercool wife.

So no nibbles today.  I just wasn't in the writing mood last night.  Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

January 25, 2011

Stu's, Where Fishing is Fun

Quickie post out of me today.  See, I typically write these posts the night before you read them (at least you on the East Coast), and work got in the way last night.

It's performance appraisal time at the old j-o-b.  Actually had to write my self-evaluation, which is always a good time.  Finding the balance between coming off like an arrogant prick that's full of himself when you try to point out all of the good stuff you did over the course of the prior year can be a little bit of a challenge.  Anyway...

I just wanted to tip the cap to Stu's (Orgasmic) Fly Shop in Athol, New Zealand.  I make reference to Stu's now and then in the Wednesday Nibbles, but if you aren't subscribed to his lighthearted newsletter, you should consider it (you can do it here).  It is definitely one of the more enjoyable reads each month as it keeps you up to date on new product introductions, like this Fish Life rain jacket,
Only NZ$199

but also deals you in on some of the shop-related hijinks going on down there.  For example, they've been getting a lot of rain in NZ, which was presents opportunities like this:
"Due to the rain my car park flooded and to the amusement of drivers by and my neighbours . Myself and some customers trying out rods made good use of my new casting ponds. One of my customers was sure he saw a nice brown tailing early morning in the shallows looking for worms amongst the gravel! But I'm not sure if he had taken his tablets that morning!"

So while you should always support your local fly shop (if you've got one and they're good folks), I suggest checking out Stu's every now and then as well.  The exchange rate isn't terrible and you can get some cool stuff you might not otherwise find in the States...like his "Superior" flies.

January 24, 2011

My Luck Has Turned Around!

You might have noticed I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  I twittered this on Friday night...

...Blogger gremlins are wreaking havoc on my blogroll feed...
Anybody got a flashlight?

...and the aforementioned "drywall incident" of Saturday night.

But I received good news in the form of an email on Sunday.  News so exciting I just need to share with all of you. I mean, he said keep it confidential, but I just can't help it!

From: Mr.Abdoul Rahaman
To: Troutrageous!

I am indeed glad to be in contact with you even though this medium of communication (internet)has been grossly abused by some people making it difficult for other once with genuine struggle to correspond and exchange views without skepticism.

I am Mr. Abdoul Rahaman Currently the Audit and Account Unit Manager in Eco Bank Burkina-Faso (Ouagadougou) West Africa, my aim of contacting you is to collaborate with me to transfer the sum of ($17.4 Million Dollars)Seventeen Million Four hundred thousand Dollars into your personal or Company bank account in your country of origin for investment purpose.

I am going to invest this money in your country through your assistance and help, whereby you will be my Investment deputy/assistant director. Please if you are interested and ready to receive the money into your bank account i will send you the details of the fund and when replying i want you to tell me the type of investment that will be encourage for both of us to invest so that we can talk about the conditions.

Please endeavor to include your full names and address, private phone and fax number for easy communication. Finally keep our dealings very private and confidential as i wait your
urgent response.

1) Your full names............
2) Your age................
3) Your full address.........
4) Your marital status.........
5) Your occupation/Profession.......
6) Your direct telephone number........
7) Your fax number................
8) Your country of origin ...........
9) Your present location/country.......
10) Your religion.....................

Yours sincerely
Mr. Abdoul Rahaman

This investment opportunity is so awesome - I can't wait to email Mr. Rahaman back and get started! Man, think of all the fishing gear I'll be able to buy, and not have to worry about paying for Lilly's college education. K.C.'s gonna be so proud of me...

January 23, 2011

Crap Flies

I had a little bit of a meltdown during a home improvement project last night (more than a few f-bombs were directed towards the antagonistic drywall) so when I decided it was time to stop for sanity's sake, I retreated to the basement and my vise.

Unfortunately, the drywall must have gotten the best of me because I tied up some of the sloppiest flies I've made in a while.  Anyway, here they are.  I'm sure they'll still catch fish.  Fish are stupid.

A mini bugger.  Got real lazy on this one, it's already starting to untie itself...  Loaded this up nice and heavy with a lead core and tungsten bead though, so it should sink like a rock.

Yeah, it's not so hot.

Some sort of pink reverse hackle beadhead thing.  Lilly & K.C. got me a ton of hot pink tying materials for X-Mas.  Lilly likes pink...a lot.  Figured I got to start using them sometime. Although they did get me pink beads, went with a red one instead to go with the red wire).

If Barbie tied flies

That's it.  I know, a very "entertaining" post today.  Now let's see how long it takes for the Blogger gremlins to get this one uploaded into everyone's blogrolls.  On the last two posts they've been averaging a blazing 6.5 hours.

Maybe Larry doesn't like me as much as Eric did...I mean these delays started right after the announcement after all...

January 22, 2011

Richard. Dean. Anderson.

I was going to write this flowingly eloquent post about ingenuity.

I was going to write about the various contraptions I've "MacGyver-ed" over the years.

I was going to write about some of the project-hacks around the house - the front door knob crafted from two different knob kits, the bathroom fan motor transplant, or even the IKEA particle board fiasco.

I was also going to relate it back to fishing and prior examples I've documented here such as the magnetic fly box or the infamous DIY hat cam.

Bolt + Nut + Washer = Hat Cam.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise...

I was then going to ask you guys to give me some of your best examples of outdoors (fishing & hunting) "MacGyver-ing" in the comments section below.

But I decided not to; but only because nobody "MacGyvers" like the real thing.
I have video proof.

Rock on RDR. Rock on.

January 20, 2011

I Love Pflueger Reels...and the Rebates That Come With Them!

What can I say...I do.

Was looking at a few of their new for 2011 models (yes, they're pricey) and if man, these aren't as sexy as an inanimate object gets, I don't know what is...

The Patriarch will run you 2 large...
Full of Magnesium & Carbon Goodness!

And the Supreme XT sits right beneath it at $150
10 Bearings of Slickness

Lucky for you, there's also some nice rebates involved.

From February 1st through June 30th, buy one of these and any filler spool of Berkley Trilene, Fireline or Vanish and get $15 off.  Rebate form HERE.
From February 1st through December 31st, buy one of these (actually any Pflueger reel or combo) and get a free Long Sleeve T-Shirt.  Rebate form HERE.

I got no skin in this game.  Pflueger hasn't adopted me (yet).  I'm just a Pflueger spinning reel fanboy.  I can admit it.

January 19, 2011

Wednesday Nibbles - "Yeah, I Got A Sharpie" Edition

This week's edition of the nibbles are getting tossed together in about 10 minutes...so bear with me.  No, I really mean it, bear with me.

Another animal backpack...amazing....

Got a couple of "cause" type messages in the old email inbox this week.  The first was from Bill McWha (if there was ever a man more passionate about the plight of shad & herring, I've never met him).  He sent an email asking everyone to "PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT AND TELL THE NEW ENGLAND FISHERIES MANAGEMENT COUNCIL TO PROTECT OUR BLUEBACK AND ALEWIFE HERRING". You can do that here if you so choose. I did.
Bill lays it down.

Also got an email from Martin Seldon about last September's Wild Trout Symposium X.  Evidently all the goodness that came out of that summit will be posted on their website in the upcoming weeks.  Worth a peek once all is updated.  I mean who doesn't like songs about wild trout?

Here's the stoopid video of the week.  I know you guys really like these more than the other stuff I post.  This one has made the rounds, but in case you haven't seen it...it's an age old formula for comedy...a girl...texting...while walking.  She takes one too many steps and hilarity ensues.  Some people should be required to wear safety helmets 24-7.

The next little fishing note is a commercial for The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sport Show in Oaks, PA, February 17-20. 

I'll let you in on a secret.  On one of the days (don't want to give away which specific day yet), I'll be there working the booth for my trout club, the Stony Creek Anglers.  (Check out the SCA website here, or new Facebook page here).  Yup, you can not only meet me, I'll actually let you shake my hand.  Ask nicely and I'll even sign your wife or girlfriend's chest too.  For free.  How's that for being a man of the people?

Makes a great belated Valentine's Day gift

Did any of you guys watch the Golden Globes the other night?  Nah, I didn't either.  Evidently Ricky Gervais was the host and made a whole bunch of questionable jokes (especially the last one) and won't be invited back next year.  Seriously? What did they expect when they hired this guy?  What exactly are the Golden Globes anyway?

Kinda reminds me of how NBC torpedoed Conan after an all too brief stint as Tonight Show host.  Maybe Jay Leno will be the Golden Globes host next year.  Then Ricky Gervais can do the real awards, the Academy Awards.  Leno would definitely improve the 90+ year old demographic...no offense all you old coots out there.

Finally some blog love.  Actually, this is going to be a bit of a cop out because I want to send out some blog love to all of you - see, I've been so busy this week with stuff going on at work and at home I haven't been doing much blog reading.  I'm in dire need of catching up on all the goodness going on out there.

That said, wanted to give a shout to blogbuddies Stephanie (& slient partner Dustin) at Antlers & Gills, for being named one of the OBN Bloggers of the Week.  Congrats!

S&D don't mess around when it comes to fish tanks!

January 18, 2011

I Got Nothing

Okay, okay, I know...I waited for the last minute to write this...but what kind of blogbuddy would I be to good ol' Owl, if I didn't support him by trying my hand at his FFSBR / Hook & Hackle fly rod giveaway?  A pretty crappy buddy, that's what I'd be.

The exact question/statement/incomplete sentence posed was "Why I deserve to win a Hook & Hackle Rod Building Kit".  After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that I really don't deserve to win it.

See, I'm one of the fortunate (and I can't stress fortunate enough in these times) that has a steady job that supports my family nicely.  I'm also in no shortage of fly rods - I already have 4 fly rods & 2 tenkara rods.  So if I won this rod, although I might build it - never done that before - I probably wouldn't have a use for it.

I know, I know..."but you could give it to Lilly,"...yeah...but I'm leaving Lilly's leap into fly fishing up to her.  She's still of the age where she loves the color pink, princesses, and thinks her Barbie spincast rod is the coolest thing ever.  Why even attempt to take that away from her early?  She's gonna want a cell phone and to be dropped off at the mall with her friends soon enough.

I mean okay, I'm generally a good person...but what exactly did I do that's so redeeming to have such a oozingly sweet rod building kit put into my grubby hands?  I certainly can't come up with anything.

So please FFSBR and Hook & Hackle...don't give this rod building kit to me.  I'd only put it up for auction on eBay anyway, promising 100% of the proceeds to Casting For Recovery.

Because if you read this blog regularly, you already know I'm all about the ladies.

Gear Review Update - Streamside Leaders

One of the more popular gear reviews I've written to date was for Streamside Leaders furled tenkara lines.  How do I know it's popular (besides that little widget in the sidebar to the right that says it is)?  Over the weekend I received a nice email over the weekend from Mike (the owner) saying that "about 5 or 6 people commented that they found me thru your blog."  Nice.  The power of the internet at work.

Now I don't know Mike from the next guy, and he isn't giving me anything for writing this, but I figured that since my original review got more than a few page views, it would be worth noting that Streamside Leaders has since come out with 2 new versions of tenkara lines besides the original monofilament furled line I reviewed.

Descriptions pulled straight from his website, (he's fond of writing in ALL CAPS):

Mystic Creek Tenkara Line ($15.99)

Mystic Creek Green Hopper




Bi-Filament Tenkara Line ($13.99)

Bi-Filament Psycho Wolff


Now I haven't fished either of these, so I can't vouch for their effectiveness. I did just order a Mystic Creek line in "Green Hopper" and will let you all know how it performs upon arrival.  At prices half of what you'd find elsewhere for a furled tenkara line, experimenting with different styles (& colors) can be almost addicting.

January 17, 2011

Roadside America - Can I Get A Hell Yeah?!

I didn't go fishing on Sunday.  Considering I haven't gone fishing since New Year's Day, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.  Instead, I took Lilly & K.C. to Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA.

Why?  Because I'm demented as all get out?

Nope, actually because Lilly got a train set for Christmas and is sorta in a train phase.

For those of you that don't know...Roadside America is like the size of a high school gymnasium COMPLETELY covered in wall to wall trains.  It's slightly interactive, you can press buttons to make stuff work...

but it's also freakin' nuts, and that's BEFORE they add all of the religious icons & overtones like this doll found in the gift shop into the mix...

...and what I'll call the "Jesus Loves America" slideshow played to the tune of "God Bless America" every 30 minutes.  (No footage of that, I'll have to leave that to your imagination).

EDIT:  My wonderful wife K.C. used her YouTube sleuthing skills to find a video that has the magical "Jesus Loves America" slideshow.  Enjoy!

Joking aside, the landscape of trains is pretty impressive if you're really into that kinda thing.  Here's some more pics of the loco-motion going on inside.

Nuts, right?

FYI - There's also a Pennsylvania Dutch gift shop next door.

It's an excellent stop if you want to pick up some really outdated merchandise.  No, I mean REALLY outdated merchandise.  Need a blank VHS tape, they got 'em...got the Best of Johnny Carson on VHS too.

Need an unopened "That's Incredible" TV show card game?  Check.

You've probably also been searching high and low for a Galoob wind-up stand mixer toy for your dollhouse in original packaging from 1978?  Yup, it's there, and it will only cost you $2.50.

I wanted to take pictures inside this place but my digital camera ceased to work once I stepped inside the front door.  Must have had something to do with disrupting the space-time continuum or something...

Best of all...especially to all you Pennsylvania outdoor folk reading this blog...Roadside America & the Dutch Haus are a mere 10 minutes up Interstate 78 from Cabela's.  So there's really no excuse for you not to visit during your next trip to Hamburg's "Haven on the Hill"...and yeah, I know that place has it's own type of crazy too...

January 16, 2011

Such A Slacker

It's kinda strange...I haven't written a post for 2 days and just I feel so awful about it...like a negligent, absentee-blogger sort of shame.  However when I glance back at my archives, it appears I only wrote 15 total posts in all of January 2010.  In 2011 I'm already at 12 posts (not including this one) and we're only halfway in.

All that makes me wonder.  What the f*ck is going on?  Am I spending too much time blogging?  Are my priorities still in order?  Are there things I should be doing besides writing these stupid posts that are absent of any and all redeeming qualities?

Nah...  Lilly's happy, my wife is happy (& sewing 24-7 these days anyway), so here's to lucky post number 13.  I know all of you are counting on me to continue setting the bar low and making YOUR blogs look all the better for it.

So since I aim to please, enjoy today's pictorial.

Photo Credit:  I have no idea, but since it seems like all the really cool photography in every
fly fishing magazine or website comes from the same 3 photographers...one of those guys.

And why discriminate...ladies, here's some eye candy for you too.

Photo Credit:  Your Mom