February 25, 2012

Please Remove All Appendages From The Scanner

Don't ask why, but I was for some reason or another compelled to look up The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton on Google Books last night.  For those of you living under a rock, Google has scanned like a bazillion books into whatever "cloud" they upload crap into and provide them to you, mostly for free, via their search engine.


Anyway...I know this book is viewed as one of the granddaddies of fishing themed books and what not.  Ike & others like Dame Juliana Berners are straight up O.G.s. fo' shizzle.  But honestly, I lost interest in The Compleat Angler after about 3 pages.  Does a translation into somewhat modern English exist?  All I see when I try to read it is "blah blah blah, blah blah bah..."  Yes, I also realize that part of it has to do with the fact that I'm part cro-magnon and really don't read books all that much.  I'll wait until Tyler Perry one ups James Prozek and makes the movie version.

Madea Goes Fishin'?

Second, and more importantly?  Who was the stunod who decided it would be a good idea to begin scanning their fingers as well as the pages?  


And what's with the partial gloves?  Some fingers are covered, some are free as a bird, others are discolored and playing peek-a-boo through holes.


Just found that interesting.  And also somewhat thankful that it's only fingers, and not a hairy ass or an errant wang that made it into the scanner instead.

February 22, 2012

Wednesday Nibbles - Keeping Up With The Blogs Edition

Wednesday.  Nibbles.  Going to keep it very blog-centric this week, 'cuz there's lot's going on in the world of fishing blogs.  Okay?  Let's go!

To start, who had a better weekend than Matt, aka Functioning Fishaholics (or Func Fish)?  Seriously.

First off, he goes to the local outdoors show and gets interviewed about Twitter...I think.  I was somewhat distracted by the doofus interviewer continuing to emphasize the point that he is technologically handicapped.  C'mon dude, really...?  That bit of noise aside, how cool is this!?!  Okay, maybe not interview with your morning coffee cool, but at least Peter Piper's Pickles cool.  Just don't call him "Fun C. Fish."



Then, to follow that up, Mr. newlyfound celebrity goes out (with some help from a trout brother from another mother) and catches his first trout on a dry fly.  To clarify, not his first trout, just the first one from up top.  And on a fly he tied to boot.  Damn.  Nice job Matt.  Just think, I knew this kid when...

Okay, did that really say Whac-A-Mussel.  Huh?  Yeah, it said Whac-A-Mussel.

I can't make this up

Blatantly stolen from the Recycled Fish blog:

It’s no fun when invasive species like zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, or Asian Carp show up in a new body of water. But beating them back is a blast with the new game, “Whac-A-Mussel,” which launches February 24-26 at the BASSMASTER Classic Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Shreveport, Louisiana. 
The game plays just like the arcade classic Whac-A-Mole, but fiberglass zebra mussel caricatures pop up the holes and people “mash the mussels” to demonstrate their disdain for the mollusk invaders. At the same time, anglers learn lessons about how they can Inspect – Clean – Dry to stop the spread of not just invasive mussels, but all sorts of aquatic nuisance species. 
“Invasive species education is critical,” said Teeg Stouffer, Recycled Fish Executive Director. “But it can be kind of dry and boring. Just say the words ‘Invasive Species Education’ to people and watch their eyes glaze over. This is a learning tool that is fun, dynamic, engaging and interactive – it cuts through the clutter. We’re excited to introduce Whac-A-Mussel at the BASSMASTER Classic!” 
(Read the entire article HERE)

Oh, did you see the huge news last week in the fly fishing retail scene?  No, I'm not talking about Simms deciding to change their business model and begin selling direct online (as inflexible, old school fly shops cry everywhere).  Rather I'm talking about Nick from Foul Hook opening up a furled leader shop!  

A value at $8

Yeah, you got to check these out.  I've been testing out his prototype leaders for both my 3-wt and 5-wt for pretty much the last year and these things are awesome.  The 3-wt model got a big time workout, not only catching a ton of fish, but also withstanding my frequent encounters with tree limbs.  And it's still going strong!  Furled leader curious?  Check out Foul Hook

Some blog changes of note.  The URL 411number3.net is no more.  It's now mattrevors.com.  But the good thing is it appears you don't have to update your blogrolls and bookmarks, as they seem to magically redirect.  Anyway, enjoy Mat's newly found tramp stamp vanity plate.


Also, one of my oldest blog friends (not that he's elderly, we've just been blog buddies for a while) has up and changed the name of his latest blog.  If you've followed Casey over the years, this will come as no surprise as he is a constant tinkerer (and feral fungus finder).  So what once was Snapping Twigs, is now The Countryside Round, but the URL remains the same.  At least for this week.


To close, this week's blog love goes to a Troutrageous! favorite.  I'm trying not to tear up over here...but man...hold yourself together...I'm gonna miss you and  your snarkiness Lunker Hunt!


If you haven't already, please pop over to Clif's blog and say farewell (at least for now) before the Chinese governmental firewalls prevent him from reading your best wishes.  Take care Clif, see you in 18 months.

February 20, 2012

Trout - Both Real & Fabricated

Saturday was a pretty nice day in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The temps were in the low to mid 50s and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds all afternoon.  Having anything above 35-40 degrees in mid February basically being the equivalent of playing with house money, why not push my luck?  Not having fished since January, it was time to wet a line, if only for a two hour "escape."

Blinded by the light...

I'm not one to spin a long story about the majesty of the outdoors, the symphony of the stream, or the Holiness of the trout.  Let a more talented writer string those superlatives together.  I went fishing.  I caught a few.  Even despite a frustrating case of the LDRs on the first two I hooked.  (Long Distance Release - for the the acronymically-challenged).  Here's a few pictures of the day.

A rare anglerless view.  Fellow fly fishermen were out in force on this day taking advantage of the weather.
My second LDR of the day was by a jumper about 4 feet to the right of that rock on the left.
Since when did 12" brownies jump 2 feet clear out of the water to kick a fly?
Camera misfire, but a nice shot of the Vedavoo chest pack
A close up of the day's meal ticket - Mr. Copper John
Hey look...a trout.  It's been a while, but you've seen them here before

What's that white thing in the tree?...
...a fake trout someone left behind.  Yeah, I caught that one too.

Free Rapala = More streamside loot.  Now where's my spinning rod?

February 15, 2012

Gear Review - Fishpond Buckskin Boot Bag

A few months ago I wrote this post in jest.  It was a "first impressions" post of the Buckskin Bootbag from Fishpond.  Both the post and the product drew some mixed reaction, but after using the bag for about two months, I figured it would be a good time to provide a follow up "official" review.

Before I start, here are the deets, courtesy of the Fishpond website:

Aspen Green...my favorite flavor

  • MSRP: $39.95
  • Fully lined nylon interior
  • Tough abrasion-resistant molded bottom for structure
  • Rubberized mesh upper panel for faster drying
  • Two side grip handles and one jacquard top handle
  • 14” x 13” x 4”

THE REVIEW

CONSTRUCTION
Not being a prior Fishpond customer, I really didn't have any exposure to the build of their products.  I will immediately say I was impressed with the quality throughout this bag.  Durable materials (including zippers and side handles), solid stitching all around, and a bulletproof bottom - this thing is built to last, and I had no concerns tossing it around and abusing it to and from fishing trips.  The only bummer...it's not made of, nor does it resemble "buckskin."  Now I really wasn't expecting it to be buckskin, I guess "Buckskin Boot Bag" just sounds better than "Nylon Boot Bag" when it comes to marketing.

Now THIS is buckskin...and f'n awesome might I add...

SIZE:
My first concern when I got the bag in the mail was that my wading boots weren't going to fit.  I don't have Sasquatch feet (size 11 wide), but the bag just looked "small," or maybe more appropriate, it didn't look deep enough to be able to handle the boots.  I mean everyone knows wading boots are kinda big and clunky.  Well, once I actually put them inside, it was a tight fit, but the bag did close and fully zip as advertised.  Would a size 13 or 14 fit?  I don't know.

Cram those dogs in there...
See...they fit.

FUNCTION:
It's a bag.  It holds your boots.  No magic tricks here.  It works fine.  

One highlight was it's ability to keep the post-wade mess contained.  One of the days I went fishing was after a rainstorm so it was particularly muddy.  The bag kept the mud inside and away from the rest of my gear.  Even better, it also "hoses off" pretty good as I've cleaned it out once or twice after it got pretty darn filthy.  While it doesn't dry quickly, it dries about on par with your wading boots.  Ready to go again when you are.

Post Wade Mess

While I 'd recommend taking your boots out of the bag to dry out between fishing trips, the Buckskin Boot Bag does have a large rubberized mesh side to allow for air flow.  I left wet boots in the bag for a week just to see if they'd dry.  They did.  Although I won't lie, I didn't check daily to see how quickly they dried.  One day, two days, three days, etc...  I simply went fishing on a Sunday, and then the following Saturday I opened the bag and they were dry.

OTHER USES:
While this is called a boot bag, I actually think this makes just as good as a gear bag, especially if you're a traveling fly fisherman.  You can load this thing up with reels, fly boxes, fly tying materials, you name it.  It holds a lot of smallish things, and does it well.  Just make sure they aren't extra fragile.  This bag is meant to hold boots, so it really isn't padded or have segmented compartments.

CONCLUSION:
As far as a boot bag goes, this thing's top notch.  It's solidly built, and simply put, does what it's supposed to do.  You're not going to lose by purchasing this bag.  I do have some concern for those with larger feet as I couldn't test this with say a size 14 boot.

The bullet-proof bottom

As with any of the gear that fly fisherfolk use, the end recommendation all comes down to a value proposition.  $40 for a bag that holds your boots?  Some will find that as a value, some will find that as a waste.  That's a personal mindset I probably can't much influence with this review.  Just note, no matter which camp you fall into, the bag does as advertised.  It holds your boots and keeps funk away from the rest of your stuff.


DISCLAIMER:
The Fishpond Buckskin Boot Bag featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost by a representative from Backbone Media, but holds a retail value of $39.95 per the manufacturer's website. I currently hold no association with Fishpond or Far Bank Enterprises, however I am a little bit sorry that the "mom jokes" in my "First Impressions" post didn't go over well.  ...C'est la vie... As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time in doing so?

February 13, 2012

Cheap Glass

Thanks to a sale on Cabela's and some old unused gift cards, the under $30 (to me) 50th Anniversary C.G.R. fly rod ended up on my doorstep this weekend.  She's all rigged and ready to get her wiggle on.  Waiting out this work week is going to be tough.  The revolution will not be televised.



February 10, 2012

Guest Post - A Great In-vest-ment: Personal Flotation!

Yeah, I didn't write this post.

I get offers from time to time from people representing brands, retailers, or whatever to write guest posts.  I always used to draw a line and pretty much say no, but I made an exception for Lee from Savvyboater.com.  Considering that Pennsylvania is going to enact mandatory personal flotation device regulations later this year, I thought the content was timely and worth sharing.

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So you're heading out for a big day of fishing. You've got your rod, reel, tackle box, creel and your lunch is all packed. You're ready to roll! But don't forget your most important piece of gear - a life jacket (or PFD - personal flotation device).


So if you're thinking "PFD! I don't need no stinking PFD!" well, think again. Nine out of 10 drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. Weather and water conditions can change at a moment's notice, and even strong swimmers, when injured can drown. The majority of drowning victims actually had access to a PFD, but they didn't wear it! A life jacket can save your life – but only if you put it on! And, in most states, a USCG approved PFD is required.

But fortunately, there is a selection of good fishing vests out there designed specifically to meet the unique requirements of anglers, providing not only safety, but comfort and functionality. The Evolution Camouflage Fishing and Sportsman Vest is a great fishing vest for the active sportsman.


Its lightweight construction contours to your body and won't hinder mobility. It features durable foam flotation, two large pockets (plenty of storage space) with D-ring attachment, three adjustable belts and a stylin' camouflage design. A USCG approved Type III vest, it's a great value at $32.95.

Evolution also offers a Deluxe Mesh Sport Fishing Vest, a Type III vest that features mesh shoulders, back and sides to keep you cool and comfortable for all-day fishing (49.95).


For the fisherman needing maximum flexibility, a full range of motion and all day comfort, the First Watch AV-400 Recreational Mesh Vest is just what the angler ordered.


Featuring a cool, lightweight mesh top, a soft neoprene collar and wide cut armholes, this vest is so comfortable you barely know you're wearing it! This Type III vest has a rugged, durable ripstop nylon shell, two large cargo pockets, (with hand warmer compartments), zipper closure with adjustable buckles (for a secure fit) and form fitting soft flotation foam. All this for only $59.95!

While these vests are good options for anglers fishing in calm, inland waters where there is a good chance for quick rescue, they are not intended for non-swimmers, survival in rough water or open sea, and they will not turn an unconscious wearer to a face-up position. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider an inflatable life vest as an alternative to a conventional fishing vest. While still allowing freedom of movement, they're available in USCG Type III and V should you be fishing in rougher water. For more info on what is the right PFD for you, check out these handy Life Jacket Resources.

So play it smart and safe. Any of these great fishing vests can help make your next outing a safe and comfortable one. As far as productive, well that's up to you.

---------------------------------------------------------------

DISCLAIMER:
As noted above, this post was written by Lee at SavvyBoater.com.  I currently hold no affiliation with Lee or SavvyBoater, and was not compensated for this post.  As with all guest posts on Troutrageous! the opinions expressed are solely those of the guest author as you should all know by now that I'm generally too lazy to come up with opinions of my own.

February 8, 2012

Wednesday Nibbles - The Shirtless Shark Bite Edition

Hey, look, it's Wednesday.  "Hump Day" to some, a phrase that even today still makes me chuckle like a 3rd grader.  ....he said Hump Day...   Anyway, thought I'd toss out some pre-packaged pop culture and hermetically sealed fishing randomness today, you know, to help move Wednesday along a bit.

Let's start with a bit of fishing...well sort of...yeah, we still talk about that here...sometimes...

Did you happen to see the new "flash sale" site called Wide Open Spaces that opened for business last week?  It's similar to Groupon or Woot in that it offers deeply discounted products for a short period of time, like a day or two.  It's not just fishing, it's hunting and general outdoors, so the opportunity to find a deal you might like is pretty good.


It's interesting to see how these outdoor deal sites are spreading like wildfire...Deals on the Fly, The Clymb, TightLinz, just to name a few.  (Yes, a few of those are referral links, I'm not ashamed).  I've personally bought a handful of Simms products from DOTF and some Redington gear from The Clymb, so as far as I'm concerned, competition is a good thing and means more deals for us.

Okay, changing gears, I really wanted this shark video to be funnier than it is, but still...I give credit to fake Che Guevara for not spilling his beer mid attack...or totally punting that fish 35 yards following...  


Moving on...ever notice how each time of those online fly fishing magazines drops a new issue, seemingly every fishing blogger out there drops a post (and/or a tweet or Facebook link) announcing its presence?  Talk about inexpensive marketing.  Those Catch Magazine guys have it made (until they start charging for issues of course), because once their latest goes live a legion of Paul Reveres instantly mobilize...  

Anyway, while I never quite understood that phenomenon, I did kinda enjoy the article/interview with bamboo rod builder Jared Makowski in this month's This is Fly and thought I'd highlight it here...makes me wonder if an interview with a snowbound Erin Block is far behind?

This.is.fly...

How'd you all spend your Super Bowl Sunday?  Heck, even if you don't care for football, I hope you used the occasion to totally dominate via a HUGE caloric intake.  Pizza, nachos, wings, whatever...Super Bowl Sunday may even top Thanksgiving in terms of an excuse to eat....and eat...and eat...

Here in Philadelphia, we have an event the Friday prior to the Super Bowl called the Wing Bowl where contestants (complete with a harem of Wingettes) battle in a massive chicken wing eating competition.  It's so big it's held in the Wells Fargo Center (the same place the 76ers and Flyers play), and just celebrated its 20th year.

The winner? Takeru Kobayashi of Nathan's Hot Dog eating fame.  He downed a record 337 wings in his first year in the contest, demolishing the old record of 255.  Quite impressive.  I'd tap out at about 50.  Maybe 60.


To close, time for some blog love.  This week's version of blog love comes from Connecticut, and goes to a blog that I don't even think is in my blogroll (I can't keep track anymore), The Weary Angler.


I enjoy Steve's blog because while it's well written, it's also done with a touch of a conversational flair...you know, writing in the same fashion you might talk...kinda like how I write....save the excessive use of periods...not that I talk with periods...but I do write with them...  Go check it out, I think you'll dig it.  A little bit of everything.  I did notice a few familiar faces in the Google Members widget thingy, but I think we can add more this week...right?  Thanks in advance.

February 7, 2012

Tenkara Tuesday - The 2012 Vedavoo Chest Pack

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

I thought I'd take the opportunity today to highlight a piece of equipment that I've recently added to my tenkara arsenal.  I'm a bit of a fishing bag junkie, so it's probably not going to be a surprise that it is a bag (of sorts).  

Ever since Vedavoo's fly fishing product line first caught my eye thanks to a Facebook post from Cam at The Fiberglass Manifesto last summer, I couldn't help but think the small chest pack in their offering would be perfect for tenkara, noting my excitement in a Wednesday Nibbles post.  Although I didn't act on the impulse to buy right away, I stored Vedavoo and its "Made in the America" products in the back of my head - and when they recently launched the 2012 version of their chest pack, I just had to pull the trigger.  Willpower is not my strength.

Screen grab from Vedavoo product page

Bag in hand, and now taken out for a spin on the water a few times, I have to admit that this mini chest pack is pretty slick.  Efficiently streamlined, it crams a ton of bells and whistles into a very compact 8 inch by 10 inch package.

Starting with the front, you'll find a "not quite" neoprene pouch that has a little bit of give in it.  I don't know what the fabric is...  I toss a small camera in there and it stays put without worry.  A small fly box or cell phone would probably fit too.

Also loops at bottom, I tossed my fishing license on one.

There's vertical daisy chain webbing to clip widgets and gizmos to - hemostats and nippers are clipped in this pic, but I didn't even use half of the available loops.  You'll also find a drawstring with a plastic toggle at the top to conveniently hold some tippet spools, in this case streamside "lost and found."

Flip it over and there's a large compartment for a fly box (or even better, a flask), as well as a smaller zippered pocket to hold valuables, like car keys or Starburst.  I happen to keep my extra tenkara spools in there.  No nonsense, very clean.

Fly box, spools, good to go.

The chest pack can be worn several ways - around your neck, with included removable neck strap...or on your belt, by replacing the neck strap with included removable belt loops...or as part of an interchangeable system with the larger Tightlines shoulder pack.  The only thing I wish is that the neck strap was either adjustable to be longer, or that it came with an extra section of "add on length" so the pack could also be worn as a man purse satchel.

In short, the Vedavoo chest pack provides a great alternative to fishing out of your pockets for light fishing trips, making for in my opinion, a great tenkara companion.

While this really wasn't supposed to be a gear review, I realize a lot of it does border on such, so to keep things above board I will state that I purchased this chest pack from Vedavoo at full $49 retail, less a 15% off discount code.  Heck, if you want to do the same, just enter T! as a coupon code at checkout and watch the savings pile up.

I'm getting nothing for writing this post other than the satisfaction of passing along a suggestion about something I think is cool.  (Although Scott Hunter, if you're out there reading this, one of your Sakasa Kebari tee shirts would be rad - hint, hint).

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Are you a Western tenkara angler? Do you have a story, pictures, video, fly recipe, or simply a fishing report from one of your recent tenkara adventures? If so, Troutrageous! wants to hear from you for a future Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, or check out this previous post for more information.

February 6, 2012

Weekends Past & Future

I didn't go fishing last weekend, but intend to change that this upcoming weekend.

See, a lot of things contributed to the weekend off.  

1)  I'm nursing a bum leg, don't know how I hurt it, but it actually started to swell and hurt so bad for no apparent reason that I got a little concerned.  (It's a story for another time but I was hospitalized with a blood clot in my lung about a month before Lilly was born - K.C. loved that.)  Anyway, I went and got an ultrasound on it on Thursday.  Don't worry, it wasn't pregnant, just muscular.

If amputation required a prosthetic, I'd so be rockin' this look.

2)  I received an extortion letter from "FishPorn Quarterly" on Thursday.  Actually since I don't care much for cats, this was no biggie, but worth mentioning.

Oh well...

3)  We added a mutt to the family on Saturday.  Actually a pug/chihuahua mix named Pugsley.  We rescued him from Peaceable Kingdom in Allentown and he's really fitting in well.  He's playful in spurts, but also likes to sleep a lot.  Much like me.  At least the money we dumped at PETCO on a bunch of doggie goodies and new bed was well spent.

Deservedly spoiled already

4)  I work in sports.  While yesterday was the Puppy Bowl, it was also the Super Bowl, so I was working (in standby mode all day) through the late evening.  Go buy a t-shirt & hat.  Cool?  


So with all that said, I not only should, but deserve to go fishing next weekend.  Yeah, I could do the safe thing and go over to Valley, but I'd prefer to fish somewhere besides there for a change.  Somewhere relatively new, but within a 2 hour driving radius might be nice.


I live where that little "A" is on the map.  Not actually inside the little "A", but that's the ballpark.

I'm open to suggestions....