May 31, 2011

If Your Obnoxious Uncle Had Fins...

...he'd be in the header of this blog right now asking you to pull his adipose.




You might have noticed the new addition to Troutrageous!. How could you miss it, right? Anyway, that ballsy brownie is bringing what I hope to be a new level of user interaction to ye olde blog. But we can't do it without your help!

First off, he needs a name. Think you could help me out with that?  So here's a bit of a contest opportunity...suggest a name for trout TBD in the comments section of this post (or heck, if you'r so inclined on Facebook) between now and this Saturday, June 4th. The wife & I & maybe Lilly (so unicorn & puppy names will go a long way) will narrow the choices and there will be a little voting thingy up on the blog next week for you all to vote for your favorite of the finalists.  BTW, "Rodney" is off the table.

Besides gaining immorality for your creativity, the person who submitted the winning name will win something...but it's a surprise...mainly because I don't know what it is yet.

In addition to the little contest, feel free to contact me HERE anytime and send in phrases you'd like to see the trout say. They can be humorous, inappropriate, serious, an advertisement, I don't care. Want to wish your dog a happy birthday...I might even do that. Think of it as the fishing version of the JumboTron. Plus, your phrase will be attributed appropriately (if you want it to be) with your username & website (if you've got one) in that empty space beneath the comment bubble.

So get to it. I know you guys are funny looking. Remember trout names in the comments section below, but email your phrases HERE.

May 30, 2011

East & West Doubleheader...& A New Lucky Feather?

Yesterday morning morning started in extreme emergency mode...practically DEFCON 2...let me explain.

Remember that post I wrote about my lucky fishing hat a few months ago?  Well it's MIA.  I looked high, I looked low, and I just couldn't find it.  May need to get a hold of John Rambo to go retrieve it.  It will surely turn up (likely in the bottom of Lilly's toy box), but yesterday morning it posed quite a dilemma as I hadn't gone fishing in a month and didn't want to suffer the skunk due to improper headwear.  I mean Dumbo couldn't fly without his feather...or could he...?

So to compensate, I grabbed an old random Mossy Oak hat for the noggin, but tossed on my new Arizona Wanderings tee (from the blog of the same name) in hopes I would bring some luck.  Ben doesn't ever seem to have bad days on the water, and it had to work for me...at least until my new Orvis Trout Bum hat & tee arrive in the mail...
When there's a "AZW Spotting" contest, consider this the first entry...grrrr...

The first part of the morning I decided to fish some tenkara...well, because that's what I do.  The Sakura rods long gone and returned to their master, I fished my Tenkara USA Iwana with a black foam ant indicator fly and a red beadhead prince nymph drifting below.  Yeah, I know...no kebaris...but I don't always roll old school.  Evidently neither do the trout, as I was able to pick off a few browns below the white covered bridge and well as a few more upstream drifting the flies near rootballs.



After fishing tenkara for about 2 or 3 hours, I went back to the Forester, collapsed the Iwana, and grabbed the "big boy" fly rod, aka my Redington Classic Trout 3-wt. Despite the rumors, I actually do fish with a reel sometimes. I was sent a furled leader by Nick from FoulHook to field test in early May, and I felt bad about not getting it wet to date.

I like the way the leader behaved, even did the "get caught in a tree, pull too hard, and the whole thing collapses in a jumble" test, and it passed without flaw, untangling itself quickly & easily.  Even after that minor misahp, the trout were still in a cooperative mood.



Action like that made the walk back to the car to head home for lunch quite enjoyable. Even allowed some time to take in the surroundings.
Obligatory fungus...
...and flower pictures.

In the end, was a very fun morning of fishing; asking for anything more would have been greedy.

May 29, 2011

Catching Up On Some Tenkara

That's today...when I finally get out fishing again after a long hiatus.

But last night, I was going through my favorite blogs and decided to stop by a Japanese blog I hadn't visited in a little while.  It's a tenkara blog, which Google Translate calls "Gorky Tenkara Fisher," and I really enjoy following along on Gorky's outings.
Image Courtesy of Gorky

Sure the computer generated translation can be a little awkward at times, but after a few minutes, you get a good feel for what is going on (the pictures help immensely as well) and are immediately transported to the other side of the world.
Image Courtesy of Gorky

When tenkara was first introduced into the States a year or so ago, there were allusions made to fishing ninjas with mystical powers.  Made for a nice story, but this blog debunks that myth.  Japanese tenkara anglers are just like you and I, they just chase Amago instead of Browns.
Image Courtesy of Gorky


May 28, 2011

Orvis "Trout Bum"...Uhhh...No...

I've been sitting on this one for about a month...debating if it was worth writing and jeopardizing any future consideration from the fly fishing powerhouse that is Orvis. However, I'm currently mired in a writing funk and Orvis posted a video associated with this little internal conundrum of mine yesterday, so I figured why not...now's as good a time as ever...

So has anyone seen this "Trout Bum" line of clothing yet? The clothes are actually pretty cool by Orvis standards. No tweed. No slacks with excessive embroidery. Heck, from a fashion perspecitve, I'd wear them in a heartbeat.  There's just one minor problem that I get hung up on.
Cool look you gotta have, right?

Now I realize everything at Orvis typically costs a bit more than in/at other retailers.  They make really good gear, so sometimes the cost is even justified.  Believe me, I'm not opposed to dishing out the cash for quality merchandise that treats the user well.  What strikes me as odd in this scenario is the whole "Trout Bum" angle.  What's up with that?

When I think of a trout bum, I think of an unshorn ruffian that sleeps in their car or truck, rarely washes their clothes, and subsists on a meager diet of beer, peanut butter, and whiskey for days on end...all in the quest of a fierce tug at the end of their line by a pig brown or dancing 'bow.  The introduction in this video put together to pimp the clothes line speaks to this ethos of fish first, everything else second.




This makes me I wonder.  Would an authentic "trout bum" - emphasis on the word "bum" - worry about - or even want to spend $49 for a t-shirt or $98 for jeans when that money could go towards a case of Natty Ice, smokes, and Doritos?  You tell me.  By wearing this stuff are you basically a fishing wigger?  Something tells me yes.  Yeah, you know what I'm saying...
Trout Bum on the left is flashing gang signs or something...

So hey Orvis...do us a favor.  Wanna push authentic "Trout Bum" clothing? Need to attract a younger, hipper demographic because all your customers are would rather play BINGO than go fishing?  Make the tees $15, heck even $20 and you'll have a winner, I swear.  Working in "the industry" I know it is possible to sell a nice t-shirt for less than $50 and still make a profit.   But that's just my unsolicited two cents...pennies I should probably be saving to put toward a $29 nylon belt.

May 26, 2011

The State of Outdoor (Particularly Fly Fishing) Blogging

Hey...is this a fishing article?

Sort of.  Thought I'd write something of (limited) substance for a change.  So let's talk outdoor blogging.

So I can't help but notice that the outdoor blogging scene has exploded in the past let's say 2 years...that exact time frame may be a bit debatable, but without doubt it's grown dramatically in the past year.  In my opinion, there are a couple factors that play into this sudden rise outdoor blogging (besides vanity).

The first reason has got to be the relative ease of entry.  When I started writing this blog almost 4 years ago (June 2007, no kidding), the technology for bloggers wasn't all that great.  Yeah, Blogger & WordPress were both around back then, but believe me when I tell you they weren't as user friendly as they are today.  You had to know a certain degree of HTML code if you wanted the cool bells & whistles, and there certainly weren't all the slick looking customizable templates you see today.  Every blog pretty much looked the same, your only real choice was to type on a white background with black text or on a black background with white text.

Blogger, WP, & even platforms like Tumblr make blogging so easy today anybody can pretty much fumble through the initially awkward "how does this damn thing work" phase and be cranking out great looking content in no time.   While it was a challenging proposition in the past, one you'd not leisurely take up while sipping Dr. Peppers and chillin' in your thighty-whities; today...yeah, well...not so much.  If you can write an email, you can write a blog.

Got prunes?

The second reason is the emergence of social media.  Is anything changing the way people interact the way social media has?  Facebook's a monster (like really....a gazillion users and it knows everything about everyone), Twitter is right on it's heels, and they're both making it insanely easy not only to share a great outdoor blog post you happen to read with all of your friends, but also to introduce them to the concept of blogging for the first time.  Thoughts like this must race through the heads of soon-to-become bloggers as the light bulb begins to flicker, "Hey, if Howard can write a blog...ANYONE can."


The third reason, and honestly, I think this is one of the largest catalysts, is the Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN).  Before the OBN, there was this site called the Outdoor Bloggers Summit (OBS).  In it's early days, it served much of the same functions of the OBN, a networking hub, tips on blogging, blogger spotlights, it even served up writing prompts.  Like "they" say, it's easier to trace than draw.  The main difference was it didn't serve up free gear.  A lot of the familiar names you see listed on the OBN even used to hang out there -  The Outdooress, Flowing Waters, Northern California Trout, Murphyfish, Fisherbabe, and on, and on...(but not me, I rolled counter-culture, too kool for skool).

Where it was at...for some...

For whatever the reason - primarily disengaged leadership - the OBS abruptly stopped one day, creating a void until the OBN stepped in last year...and boy did it ever!

Start a new blog, list yourself here.

So what makes the OBN important here besides the free stuff?  In short, it created the "feel good" support that every new blogger needs.  Face it, you write because you want people to read your stuff.  There's no denying it.  If you feel you're writing to nobody, you're probably not going to waste your time and give up the blogging scene (both as a reader and writer) in no time.

The OBN format (and a little creativity) makes it ridiculously easy for your blog to not only be seen, but to go from 0 readers to a posse of dedicated readers in no time flat.  You don't believe me, check out the comments sections of most of the OBN listed blogs - especially the fishing ones - you'll notice a lot of the same names & faces over and over and over and over.  Get a blog listed on OBN, comment on a few posts or in the forum, and you'll have at least 15 followers instantly.  Bloggers need the initial positive reinforcement that the OBN can provide, if nothing more than as a confidence builder.

Want proof of points 2 & 3?  Going all Marty McFly back in time (remember, my blog started in June 2007), it took me until March 2010 (almost 3 full years) to get 34 Google Followers (those little face icons up in the upper right of my blog).  Look there today and you'll see how many I have...I dare ya.  I'd say at least 100 have showed up since the launch of the OBN.  Coincidence, I think not.

Screen shot, circa March 2010

In fishing blog circles, there are well established blogs that everyone knows like Trout Underground & Moldy Chum that have a huge and loyal follower base.  While they are extremely well written blogs, they also were early adopters of the medium and clearly benefited from the fact that there wasn't a lot of blog talent out there a few years back.  Subsequently, both got placed in pretty much everyone who was blogging's blogroll.  It was like going to McDonald's in the pre-chicken nugget days.  You basically got a burger & fries, there were no other options.  Today's outdoor blogging menu is far more diverse, not to mention much tastier.

More varieties in drinks than in food...

So in closing, what will this recent influx of outdoor blogging talent bring to us?  Will a new Trout Underground emerge? Or has it already (in an unlikely location down south)?  Who will be the voice(s) to come to the fore...where will they be from...what will they be talking about?

Or perhaps things may go the opposite direction.  Will the space get too crowded, too watered down, and create too much noise?  Will business or commerce-influenced sites take over the blogosphere?  How much is too much of a good thing?  My blogroll is dangerously long today, what will it look like in June 2012; or even better June 2015?

As likely a fellow blogger, or at minimum a reader of blogs, I know you have an opinion.  The comments section below awaits your feedback, don't be shy...


May 25, 2011

Wednesday Nibbles - Macho Man Edition

This is not a fishing post. As much as I enjoy fishing, as a kid, I enjoyed wresting 100x more. Sure, all the matches were fake and we later found most the wrestlers 'roided up, but to this pre-teen, Saturday mornings might as well have been holidays...and don't even get me started on "Saturday Night's Main Event."

I vividly recall not only watching hour after hour of WWF programming on the weekends, but also wearing out the laminated membership card by renting VHS tape after tape from the video store. Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine...yeah, I had just about every copy from 1985-1992. I collected all the rubber action figures and my grandfather even crafted a "ring", complete with ropes and turnbuckles for me to play with. (Thanks Grandpop!)

So with the recent passing of one of the greats, I dedicate this Wednesday Nibbles to the incomparable "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

Yes I was/am a dork - as a little kid, Hulk Hogan may have been my first favorite...
Unfortunate picture of yours truly rockin' the Hulkamania tee (& bowl cut) while flexing in the back alley

...but as I grew a little I quickly realized "Macho Man" was where it was at.

I mean, who was as devastatingly high flying as Macho Man...


or flowed rhyme like Macho Man...


...or did interviews like Macho Man...


...or had better taste in ladies than Macho Man...


...or sold dried meat sticks like Macho Man...


Nobody, that's who.

With "Macho Man" once again strutting down the aisle with Miss Elizabeth on his arm toward the big squared circle in the sky, I can think of nothing more appropriate to close.



Well, almost nothing...


Ohhhhh Yeaaaaaaah!

May 23, 2011

So Who Won the Tie-Fast Combo Tool?

After my weekend away from home (and more or less blogging) the winner of the Tie-Fast Combo Tool giveaway was picked this morning thanks to the controlled randomness at Random.org.
You're sitting on pins & needles right?

71 comments (entries) came in from what I can tell was 27 entrants (once I run out of fingers and toes I have a tough time counting that high).

Ok, enough stalling...the winner is......#18.

Which means the winner is Mel from Ass Backwards Angler with this comment (take notes people, obviously flattery does get you everywhere).
Way too much Mel love on this blog these days...

So congrats Mel.  You've won a Tie-Fast Combo Tool and Retractor courtesy of the folks over at Sierra Stream & Mountain.  Please email me (my address is HERE) with mailing instructions and I'll make sure it gets out to you ASAP.

Thanks again to everyone who played.  If you like these sort of giveaways (I'm impartial), let me know and I'll line a few more up.  Because remember...
...winning stuff is cool.


May 20, 2011

Whisky River - Charlotte, NC

Consider this my first mobile post under the influence. There's some "Real Housewife" here too with that Slade dude...for all my female readers.  Enjoy...or not...



May 19, 2011

May Be A Bit Quiet Around Here For A Few Days

I'll be out of town on business the rest of this week in search of the largest HD video screen in the world.  As referenced in a prior post, my work tends to lead me to these modern marvels of technology quite frequently.
Last November's Adventure

While I'm away there may be some mobile blog posts of extremely sub-par quality, but then again maybe not.  Who knows.  I wasn't smart enough to write any posts in advance to auto-publish in my absence.  Oh well...

So in the meantime...here's a reminder that there's only a few more days to enter that Tie Fast Combo Tool Giveaway I'm hosting...so if you haven't entered yet, get to it.
You enter yet or what?

See you on the flip side (or at the impending Armageddon, which ever happens first).

May 18, 2011

Wednesday Nibbles - Stuff Other Bloggers Are Doing Edition

This week's Wednesday Nibbles is brought to you by the varied activities of other bloggers.  Because "shout out" posts are always much more fun to write than my normal drivel. No blog discoveries here, just some current events to catch you up if you've been doing productive things other than reading blogs.  Now where to begin...

I think pretty much all of you are in the loop, but Blog Cabin Angler Mel is now Ass Backwards Angler Mel.  Plus he's moved from Blogger to WordPress.  Now don't be surprised by this development, as Mel's done this packin' up and moving thing before.  Hopefully our favorite transient has finally found a home.
Couldn't waste the opportunity to re-post this pic

Need your fill of everything Peoria has to offer?  Clif at Lunker Hunt is now on Twitter.  @lunkerhunt.  It's only a matter of time before he gets his first follow request from "interested" women with shockingly attractive body parts.  Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.
One of my "groupies"

Speaking of Twitter, Ben G. of Ben G. Outdoors & Abnormal Outdoors fame got a new job.  Yeah, he's evidently now the Social Media guru over at the North American Hunting Club.  You can follow him @nahuntingclub.

Pretty cool right...I mean he gets paid to goof around on Twitter all day...I'm sure among other important things like posting Facebook updates and whatever the heck you do over at Digg & StumbleUpon.  Congrats Ben!
One of my other groupies

Hmmm...what else...  Howard created quite a stir with THIS post.  RD finally closed out the story on her Southern adventure with Owl HERE.  Matt evidently is the one who broke Blogger.  Shoreman's suffering through a crappy week that unfortunately included friends moving on and May snowstorms.  Yes, I said May snowstorms.  Both Rick at Whitetail Woods & Albert at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles highlighted a new blogger who gave everything up to learn how to make guns HERE.  I only point this out because making rifles is clearly cooler than your job.  Sorry...
So what...you're gonna tell me you tie flies?

And last but not least, received a gift from Rob at A Bad Backcast Fishing yesterday.  By chance I had won a Twitter contest of his which scored a box of flies for the salt.  Like flies for tarpon, bonefish, redfish and stuff like that.  You're probably thinking "huh, you're a tenkara pansy?!?"  Yeah, it was definitely more of a "right place at the right time" accidental victory.  That said, thank you Rob for giving me a reason to head back down to the Keys.
Soooooo meaty


May 17, 2011

Baby Duck Bastards Fishing

I can't claim this 10 minute video as my own. I wish I could, as it has a lot of things going for it - a CCR soundtrack, a particle board dormitory, urination advice, and an affection for sparkling wine, just to name a few.




This particular video is Season 2, Episode 1. Which also means we all have a whole prior season to catch up on.

Have I mentioned I haven't gone fishing in a while...?

May 16, 2011

More From The Weekend

No fishing on my part this weekend.  I actually haven't fished for real in a few weeks...kinda bums me out and makes writing a fishing blog tough.  Won't be fishing next weekend either, as I'll be away for work watching cars make repeated left turns...

Anyway, in lieu of a fishing post, here's some more pictures (& a video) I emptied from the phone from the weekend with Lilly at the beach.
Heading to the boardwalk
Beach
Playing the ponies




Running into the water
Mini bagels & Cocoa Krispies - Breakfast of Champions
Plumber's crack

Oh, at least this guy got his fish on.  Or at least his lines wet.
Surf fishing from the beach - that's the life

And how could I forget that we saw the "End of Days" dude on the highway on the ride home.  Excellent sighting.
Don't check the blog for updates on 5/22...
...the Bible guarantees there won't be any.


May 15, 2011

Weekend At The Beach

Down at the beach this weekend with the family.  One of my childhood friends had an oceanfront wedding yesterday, so it made a convenient excuse to get everyone out of the house for a few days.

Sadly, the weather hasn't been cooperating, unless windy, rainy, and cold are your ideal beach conditions, but it didn't stop Lilly from dipping her toes in the water (and losing her pants in the process).




May 11, 2011

I'm Taking The Day Off...

Call me Abe Froman

No blog post today...well, except for this one.
How's that for irony?

Now go over to the blogroll and read something else.

Wednesday Nibbles - Professional Russian Edition

Wednesday Nibbles time again?  Man, I guess so...  Feels like only yesterday I was writing last week's slop.  I need a new bit...

First off, only 6 entries in the Tie-Fast Combo Tool giveaway?  Oh, sorry...I guess all of you that haven't entered yet must hate America or something - clippers made in the USA just aren't good enough for you.  Communists!  I know you're out there reading...lurking... That damn OBN must be spoiling you all with their armfuls of swag...

Have you voted in WFN's "Ultimate Fishing Town USA" contest.  It's spokesman is Mike Schmidt...no, not that Mike Schmidt, this Mike Schmidt, which makes very little sense.  Anyway, the town of Roscoe, NY is in the lead after launching an aggressive Twitter campaign that scored them almost 2200 votes to date.  I just think it's funny Denver only has 5 votes. They're probably smoking too much Acapulco Gold to take notice. Check it out and vote wisely...somebody wins something...I'm not sure...I'm just mildly amused by contests.
Michael Jack Schmidt wants you!

Since you're all Communists, has anyone seen this character FPSRussia on YouTube?  I stumbled across his work as the masterpiece below came up as a "Channel I Might Like" on my YouTube homepage.  Basically, this dude just loads his shotguns with all kinds of medieval shrapnel & blows stuff up...and gets a bajillion views on his videos while doing it.  This particular video got over 2 million views in only 2 days.  And he evidently doesn't like mannequins with fishing rods.



Two words for you...John Muir.  Yeah, crunchy people love that old, dead coot of Yosemite & Sierra Club fame.  Actually, I think he was pretty rad myself, I could just never live the way he did.  I mean no HD TV or BBQ Fritos.  That dude missed out.

That said, the Sierra Club is having a "Fear Muir's Beard" t-shirt design contest. The finalists have been picked and now it's up for vote.  Some funny-cool designs on display, no doubt.  (I have a special place for JM tees, as I ghetto-designed my own HERE after watching Ken Burns' National Parks a few years back and I've been quietly donating all the proceeds - which is a few bucks per - to the U.S. National Park Foundation.)  But I digress...check out the Sierra Club's contest and vote, I think I prefer Adam Kapp's entry.
I don't even mind that it's S.F. Giants-ish

Ok...fishing.  Sort of.  It's a water story, and well...it all runs downstream.  A team of four Duke scientists (likely led by Coach K) have concluded a study that "linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire."  The full article is HERE.  See conspiracy theorists...that footage from Gasland wasn't staged after all.  If you think fracking is lame as I do, another great resource is the Fishermen Against Fracking Facebook page, give it a look.




Time for the blog love.  This week's recipient is McTage over at Fly-Carpin.  I've never intentionally caught a carp on a fly rod.  I really hope to change that this summer, so I will be using this blog as one of my key resources.  Other than fishing a switch rod, is anything more in vogue these days?  I mean not only does this dude catch big ugly carp, but he also ties a mean fly.  So everyone check out his blog, okay?  Good.
Viva la carp!

And hey, McTage, if you're out there reading this...do me a favor & recommend a carp rod for me (& FR too) in the comments.  I don't think any of my fairy wands tenkara rods or 3-weights are going to work.

May 10, 2011

Commentary & Giveaway: Tie-Fast Combo Tool

About a year ago I came to the realization that I needed a pair of nippers. I was one that used a small multi-tool or my teeth to cut line, and well, between all the time wasted folding & unfolding said multi-tool, as well as that little birdie in my ear chirping that my dentist wouldn't be pleased with my dental abuse, I broke down and dropped $16 on a set of nippers.

Tie-Fast Combo Tool - More Than Meets the Eye

What I actually ended up buying was a bit more than a set of 99 cent fingernail clippers. I picked up the Tie-Fast Combo Tool, set of nippers with some sharp blades but also contain an eye cleaner, hook sharpener, and best of all a mini version of the Tie-Fast knot tyer. (If there's an easier way to tie a nail knot, I can't think of it.) Best of all, this widget (like all of Tie-Fast's tools) is made right here in the USA just like Hacksaw Jim Duggan. So suck it China.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

With all those great selling points, I know you've now got a bad case of nipper envy. Who wouldn't?  So here's where the giveaway comes into play courtesy of the folks at Sierra Stream & Mountain, makers of Tie-Fast Tools & J. Fair's Eagle Fly Tying Supplies.

All I'm asking you to do is one (or all) of the following acts below and comment in the comments section of this post for each one you complete.  The more you do the more entries you get.  Don't worry, none of them involve writing "Tie-Fast Combo" Tool on your chest in Sharpie, and I have a feeling if you're reading this, you've probably already done most of the work already.

1. Become a Google Friend Connect Follower of Troutrageous! at the top right of this page
2. Go to Facebook & "Like" Troutrageous!
3. Go to Twitter & "Follow" Troutrageous!
4. Go to the Sierra Stream & Mountain website, read about a product other than the Tie-Fast Combo tool, and comment back here a feature of that product
5. Go to Facebook & "Like" Sierra Stream & Mountain.

Note:  When you comment, please write one individual comment for each task. If you do them all you will have written 5 separate comments.  Get it?  Those are your multiple entries.  Although not required, including your email address in your comments will ensure I can contact you if you are a winner.

The contest will close at 12:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, Sunday, May 22, 2011 (aka late Saturday night).  The winner will be chosen via RNG and announced on Monday, May 23, 2011.

Easy enough? I thought so.  This isn't meant to be challenging, so have fun with it.
And guess what, Tie-Fast has agreed to toss in a retractor too. It must really be your lucky day.

A retractor by any other name is just a zinger