July 30, 2013

Do You Remember Your First?

I'm not embarrassed, ashamed, or anything...this was my first fish "on the fly."


April 25th, 2009.
My 5-weight rod and reel overpowered this poor little rock bass into submission.

And a few months later, this was my first Tenkara fish.
October 3rd, 2009...as if the rock bass was not impressive enough...


Do you remember your first...fish? 
Heck, forget fly fishing, what about with a worm, a corn niblet, whatever...

I seem to remember first fishing with my Uncle Bill when I was really little.  It was probably the very early 1980s.  In retrospect, he might not have even technically been my uncle yet.  I think he was still in high school (or fresh out) and dating my Aunt who was of similar age.  Everybody older seems like a "grownup" when you're that young...

I know I caught fish, they were probably sunfish or something.  I seem to remember snaking under the barbed wire fence (and snagging my corduroys) to get to the "lake" (it was probably a pond) more vividly than the fish.  I also remember my Mom filling a change purse with some quarters (even though I didn't know how to count money yet) so I could get breakfast if Uncle Bill took me to Burger King afterwards.  Damn inflation...

For better or worse, Lilly's first "fish" was a bit better documented...


Luckily, we righted the digital wrong a few months later...

So what was your first?  

Would love it if you'd share in the comments...

...or even better, if you've got one, post a picture to the Troutrageous! Facebook wall HERE!


July 29, 2013

I'm Evidently The Weird Dude On The Bike With The Fishing Rods...

This post is brought to you by the Specialized Crossroads Sport.


Literally.

I've noticed in Florida that there is a lot of water (ponds) near my house, but not a lot of it has areas to park a vehicle near.  Hence, probably more important than getting a new rod, reel, (or kayak), I thought it would be a good idea, and plenty practical, to invest in a new bike.  I convinced myself of this after reading this article.  Plus my 12 year old mountain bike just wasn't getting it done anymore when it came to family rides around the neighborhood.


So I visited Open Road Bicycles on Saturday morning and got hooked up with the aforementioned Crossroads Sport by the friendly staff there.  So Sunday morning (and hopefully many days to come), I could go fishing in places like this...


...and catch fish like this...


Actually, that was the nicest fish of the day (which if you're my friend or follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, etc..., you've already seen, sorry...) but I caught a ton more.

First, I scouted the perimeter of the pond with my Tenkara USA Ito (tenkara lives in Northeast Florida!) and brought quite a few bluegills and small bass to hand (Kiwi's beadhead Royal Sakasa Kebari was extremely effective)...


...then would switch over to my Mangrove stick and throw Clouser minnows out a little further out for somewhat larger bass, sort of like the one in the first picture.


I kind of enjoyed the cross-training on the fishing technique front...both without reel, then with reel.  Kind of the best of both worlds.  Bo knows fishing?  Beats me, but it's sure fun trying...

July 28, 2013

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - Part 3

I was cruising around Kickstarter last night (one of my high school friends has a project he's trying to get launched) when I stumbled upon a campaign for the TruRec DFP kayak (DFP standing for Dive, Fish, Paddle).


Now I have to say, if this thing gets funded (it's a long way from the $150,000 they're looking for), this could very well end the quest for the ultimate fly fishing kayak.  It's specs are on par with most of the others mentioned in prior posts - 13 feet long, 32" wide, 75 pounds, etc... but what really draws me to this particular boat are the deployable pontoons and all of the deck space...


Deployable pontoons aren't a new concept...the Freedom Hawk Pathfinder has something similar (although executed much differently), however what it doesn't have is all of the open deck space for whatever...including a cooler, extra gear, a kid, you name it.  It just seems laid out so intelligently, I have to say I'm extremely impressed and rooting for these guys to be able to bring it to market.

Check out their campaign on Kickstarter and/or Facebook page.  I think you'll like what you see...

July 27, 2013

Initial Thoughts: TFO Mangrove Series 8-Weight Fly Rod

I think Temple Fork Outfitters is a bit misguided when it comes to tenkara...but damn if the TFO Mangrove Stick by Flip Pallot isn't one sweet fly rod.


After casting a few different rods, and reading a lot of reviews, I decided this rod was to be my 8-weight of choice.  Why this one?  Well, I'm not going to "put down" any other rods in particular, that's not really how I roll.  But clearly the Mangrove didn't win on looks...no fancy carbon fiber reel seat...no space age grips (athough the contrasting rings at the top of the cork grip are handsome)...and in typical TFO fashion I didn't buy it for the rod tube, because TFO rods don't come with 'em...rather it all came down to feel.


See, making the transition from small stream rods to saltwater rods, I have to say I've absolutely HATED some of the broomstick stiff "fast" rods I've cast to date.  No feel in those whatsoever...I like to know that 9 feet away, the thing is loading and I'm not just twirling around a pole like I'm in the color guard...


However the Mangrove's got just enough flex in the tip and you can feel it fling out 30'-40' of line without hesitation or difficulty.  I bet the 6-weight is nice too.  Heck, I suck at casting for distance (never really had to), but 60' + with a fair bit of accuracy wasn't even out of the question for the uncoordinated like myself...

I realize it's only gone through some lawn casting paces, but at this point, I honestly couldn't be happier.  Sometimes things just feel right.

But I know the real test will only come once it's broken in on some fish.
See you on the water this weekend!

DISCLAIMER:
The TFO Mangrove Series Fly Rod covered in this product review was bought with my own stinkin' money from Feather-Craft for $249.95.  I don't have any relationship with TFO at all, and based on my affinity for tenkara, I should actually have a negative bias toward them.  

See, the only time I ever talked to anyone from TFO was a sales rep in their booth at the 2012 "Fly Fishing Show" in Jersey, right after Lefty Kreh called Tenkara a fad.  I was just chilling out while Matt from Functioning Fishaholics was shopping for a new bass rod and was getting the rundown on a TFO Mini Mag (he ended up buying a Sage).  Anyway, their booth was almost directly behind the Tenkara USA booth, and the rep was calling tenkara "fly fishing for pansies" or something along those lines...I guess not knowing his own company was going to stumble into selling their own rods just months later... Whatever...

Regardless, the point of all that blabbering is that this "First Impressions" review is fairly unbiased and I wasn't given free stuff to write nice things.  Although I won't stop you from sending things.  FTC disclaimer requirement satisfied.

July 24, 2013

A (Non-Fishing) Southern Observation

I like having this blog because it gives me the forum to write whatever the heck I want.  Yeah, I guess with a name like Troutrageous! it's supposed to be fishing themed, but who cares...

So here's the bit of randomness for today...

Does every restaurant in the South offer you a drink "to go" at the end of every meal?
As in, "Can I get y'all anything else...can I fetch y'all a drink to go?"

Kiss my grits?

To which they'll undoubtedly find the biggest Styrofoam cup possible to fill with your beverage of choice and send you off on your merry way...?  The Yankee in me does not comprehend...


It may be old hat for you, but it's a concept totally foreign to me...sure, the places I frequented in Pennsylvania gave refills during meals, well at least if the waitstaff remembered to offer them; but it was rare that I remember, probably because it never happened, that I or my family was ever offered up a refill for the road.  (And I'm not talking coffee either, because none of us drink that swill).

Heck, I don't think there's been one restaurant down here that hasn't tried to make us leave at least 32 ounces heavier.  From diners, to BBQ joints, to pizza parlors...

I have to admit that to date, my instinctual knee-jerk reaction to what is becoming a regular offer has been to refuse, simply because I'm clearly missing the part of the brain required to comprehend the offer.  Which in retrospect, and considering my affection for sweet tea, seems kind of odd...  Just like boiled p-nuts & okra...but I haven't tried them yet either...


July 18, 2013

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - Part 2

With the original "The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak" post being so well received, I thought I might continue along this particular path and update it with a second installment.


(Just to briefly recap, the first post highlighted the following fishing kayaks: NuCanoe Frontier, Jackson Coosa & Cuda, Freedom Hawk 12, Badfish Badfisher, and the Diablo Chupacabra...)

However, there were so many good suggestions made in the comments of the original post, as well as in other social media outlets this blog is hooked into, I figured it might be a good idea to document those as well in a follow up...so here we go...

Leading off, the Emotion Stealth Angler (suggested by Spurky) is a pretty interesting choice.  The smallest, and most price friendly, I'm not sure that it accommodates my desire to stand up, but everything else is top notch.  Nice and compact, I think this would be a lot of fun to have to simply tool around in...with a little bit of fishing functionality thrown in there.


Lunker Hunt Clif next suggested a Hobie Kayak featuring Mirage Drive.  Holy Crap.  If I'm going to go that route, it'd be impossible not to go for the totally pimped out Pro Angler 12.  Now do I want to spend almost $3000 on a fishing kayak?  Maybe not, but damn if it isn't really, really tempting.  I even went to go look at one in person at the local dealer.  This thing is friggin' awesome.


A little bit out of the box, T! Pro Staffer Dub offered up scrounging Craigslist to find a good time old Coleman Crawdad, which is more like a plastic jon boat than a kayak.  It's no longer made, but he also says you can find them inexpensively used and they're plenty roomy.  (Pelican appears to make something similar, so it does live on as new!)  The picture below shows it's definitely more of a bass boat...but who said I only needed one boat?  Bring on the Troutrageous! Armada!


Both Lance MilksRiver Mud Kirk recommended looking up the Native Ulitmate Angler...which is more canoeish, like the NuCanoe in the last post, and a very compelling suggestion.  I'll be looking into this one a little bit more, as it appears more than suitable to fit the type of fishing I'm looking to do.  This dude frogk04 did a pretty nice walkthrough on YouTube, so why reinvent the wheel...


Michael Finn suggested the Old Town Predator...I'm not sure if he was referencing the 13 or MX, but both look pretty badass.  (The camo doesn't hurt either...can you see it?...didn't think so...)  I think I'm liking the MX a touch more (which I think was the one he was actually recommending), being a bit shorter, a smidge wider, and with a more pronounced deck...but you probably wouldn't lose with either...


The Diablo Amigo was then referenced by Lynn David, who saw it being teased on Facebook... and...well...from what I can see, I like it very much.  It's basically like the other Diablo SUP-ish kayaks, with the exception that it will be roto-molded instead of thermoform ABS...which will bring the price down.  Yuuuuuup!  I'm not going to complain about that one bit!  Unfortunately, it's a brand new model just launched at the ICAST/IFTD Show, so details such as that reduced price are a little bit thin at the moment...  Good things come to those who wait...


And last but not least Spurky chimed in again with the FeelFree Lure.  Now I've never heard of FeelFree Kayaks before, but everybody on Facebook is raving about the clean lines and how sweet this kayak will be.  I also read it will have a 3 height adjustable seat platform, and feature FeelFree's tool-less track system which will accommodate the new Unitrack crossbar "dashboard," making pimping your ride easy.  Much like the Diablo Amigo, this 'yak is brand new and details are also somewhat sketchy at the moment...I mean there's not even a picture, only this rendering to go from...


Got all that?  Suddenly the menu of choices got a heck of a lot bigger...

Here's the chart from the last post, updated to include some of the newer suggestions...


And I'll close this post as I closed the first one...

So do any of you own any of these fishing vehicles?


What about comments / recommendations?

I'd welcome any & all below...

July 15, 2013

Flailing In The Salt - Big Talbot Island State Park

One of my co-workers mentioned to me the other week that if I wanted to see something pretty interesting, to head up to Big Talbot Island State Park along Nassau Sound.  He said I had to see the "Dead Tree Beach," or something along those lines...

With KC & Lilly hanging with the in-laws down in Melbourne, FL, I thought it might be an opportunity to do some exploring...and where there's water, heck, why not bring the fly rod just because I didn't pay for that Florida fresh & saltwater fishing license for no reason...


Well, they weren't kidding, this place was pretty crazy.  Tons of dead trees (I assume toppled by erosion) that were bleached by the sand & salt, just line the beach for a really long stretch.  And then there are these slippery as heck "rocks" I guess that are made of compressed sand or mud or something...  Pretty surreal...I almost expected to round the corner and see the head and outreached arm of a buried Statue of Liberty in front of me...to which the only appropriate reaction would have been to drop to my knees crying, "God Damn You All To Hell"...


Here are some pics...


As for the fishing?  Well I tried for a bit, but I'm not really versed on what I should be casting to, or what I should be throwing, or really anything.  I did see the fin and tail of a small shark cruising in the shallows, so I tossed a fly at that for a little bit.  Had some follows, but no takes.  Probably for the better...I mean it would have either shredded my leader and stole my fly...or I would have had to figure out what the heck to do with it once ashore...  Are you supposed to remove flies from inside a shark's mouth?  I don't even want to think about that...  Maybe it's better fishing at high tide.  There were TONS of crabs scurrying about the sand everywhere.

While the fishing on this day wasn't so hot, I'll probably head back up that way again as there were some promising looking salt marshes on the other side of the highway opposite the beach and along the route just South.  I think one was called Simpson Creek?  Will probably need a kayak or SUP or something though to best fish those.  I'll have to do some Googling to figure out what the deal is there.


Anyway, I guess this is all a part of adjusting to fly fishing this part of the country.  Although I do feel a bit out of place as EVERYONE else seems to be a spin fisherman either casting from the beach, a pier, or off a bridge.  At least it's fun figuring out new things.  We'll see how long the novelty lasts...


July 11, 2013

Valley Creek - The Return

Back in Philadelphia for a few days, I carved out about two hours last night to hit up good ol' Valley Creek and say 'hi.'

Last time I was at Valley was back in April for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Blogger Trouting.  The fishing was so good that day I had figured for that I'd just make that the last hurrah for a while and leave it on a good note.  But proximity to my hotel and a new (to me) Tenkara USA Ebisu rod made it simply too convenient to pay Valley Forge National Historical Park a visit.

Oh, that's a new sign...

I'd lie if I said the fishing was epic.  The water was stained, fish weren't rising, and in general, the action was pretty slow.  I mustered one small fish and about a half a dozen "swipes" where the browns took a stab at, but just wouldn't take the fly.  That said, the Ebisu, when paired with a furled line, casts great.  I found the presentation of the fly to the water very soft, I'd like to try some more 5:5 rods/

Not even a fingerling...glad I haven't lost my small fish touch.  :)

My poor luck was probably the fishing Gods balancing things out for my recent catches in Florida.  No big deal, because unlike Florida there was ample shade, clear, cool water, and no biting bugs.  That alone made the the trip extremely worth it.



July 10, 2013

SkyMall Tenkara?

Was flying to Philly from Jacksonville yesterday and picked up the copy of SkyMall in the back of the seat in front of me to pass a bit of the time.

After paging past indoor doggie pottys and zombie lawn ornaments, I noticed a telescopic fishing rod for sale for $30.


Collapsible Telescoping Fishing Pole 
Take this incredible Telescoping Fishing Pole anywhere! This amazing fishing pole collapses to an incredible 24.25 inches and extends to an astounding 171.5 inches! 
Features:
  • Telescoping Fishing Pole Dimensions:
  • Collapsed: 24.25 x .875 x 1.25 inches
  • Extended: 171.5 x .875 x 1.25 inches
  • 2 Hooks
  • Fishing Line
  • Lure
  • Storage Compartment in Base of Rod
  • Durable Plastic Construction
  • Nylon Carrying Case

At least they didn't call it tenkara...

July 8, 2013

A Case of the Mondays

Anybody else got a case of the Mondays?


You probably do if you enjoyed a long Independence Day weekend and are now (or soon to be) back at work.  Oh well...*sigh*...it was good while it lasted.  Back to TPS reports.

Me?  I'm trying to use the "glass is half full" approach.  In this case, my glass is half filled with sweet tea as I've been drinking the stuff like crazy since moving to Northeast Florida.  That Uncle Si's on to something.  That's a fact, Jack.


Anyway, my tea glass is half full because although it sucks to be back at work, this week also marks the ICAST / IFTD "co-habitation" of shows out in Las Vegas.  While I'm not going, and everyone laments that "trade shows aren't what they used to be," I'd like to think that some bloggers might be attending, as well as the social media arms of our favorite companies and retailers, so there should be a bonanza of new gear sightings, pricing, and details on the interwebz.  And if you're like me, you really dig drooling over seeing new gear.


So why won't I be in Vegas?  Well one, I have a real job outside of fishing blogging that actually pays the bills...so I have to tend to that.  Interestingly enough, I'll be back up in the Philly area for most of the week, so I'm hoping to sneak out one night after work, weather permitting, and get my trout fix by hitting up Valley Creek for some resident browns, while maybe stopping for a cheesesteak along the way.  We'll see if it happens, I hope it does.


So what's your glass half full of this week?
Hopefully awesomeness.

July 6, 2013

Warmwater Tenkara & Fiberglass 4-Weights

My inlaws are visiting for the 4th of July weekend and wanted to go check out the beach over in Ponte Vedra after dinner last night.  They really hadn't frequented Jacksonville in the past, so exploration was in order.  So while they headed out with K.C. & Lilly, I thought I'd head over to the pond I tested the Redington Vapen at other night and play with the panfish to kill some time.  Also thought I'd try some warmwater tenkara, so I brought the Ayu II...in addition to the Cabela's 4-weight fiberglass CGR that I'm fond of using for 'gills.

Bluegill action was slower than the night before.  I caught a few on the Ayu, which I have to admit was pretty damn fun.  Unfortunately, the biggest one popped off as I was hand-lining it in after a pretty acrobatic fight.  This was pretty typical of the catch; most being this size, or just a bit larger.


Then I switched over to the CGR.  I love fishing this rod for bluegills, sunfish, and the like because there's lots of wiggle in it, and a good fish will bend it all the way down to the handle.  I also switched from tenkara kebari to an olive woolly bugger.

Honestly, my mind was drifting off a little when my line just stopped dead while I was retrieving the fly.  I thought I was stuck in some weeds, but when the weeds freakin' jumped out of the water, I knew I was in trouble, and in for a fight.  The rod was pretty much doubled over.  This wasn't a fish for a noodle of a 4 weight and click n' pawl reel.

A little over 5 minutes later I had largemouth to hand...and honestly, I was ill prepared to take a picture of it, so I snapped this crappy selfie with my cell phone.

Trying not to be a "forced perspective" angler

And these other pics with my regular camera...


I measured the rod to at home last night to get an idea of how big the fish is in the picture.  It was 22" long, give or take an inch.  Don't know how much it weighed, but it was heavy.

Anyway, with mosquitoes abuzz and not wanting to press my luck any more, I called it quits for the night.  It's nice to know there's fishing like that in the neighborhood, and still more ponds to explore.  I'll just take at least the 6 weight next time...


July 5, 2013

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak

Now that I live in Florida, I want to save up my pennies to get a fishing kayak.  I had thought I had figured out a way to get one on the cheap...but don't think I'm gonna go there...

Being partial to the fly fishing game, I'd like a 'yak that I can stand up in to sight fish, cast to them, and obviously get some leverage during the fight...which is a little bit of a tall order.  Most of the fishing kayak sites that I see feature dudes that are sitting down, using spinning or baitcast rods and stuff like that.  I definitely want to fly fish.  Plus, I don't really plan on taking it out in the ocean, more so in lakes, rivers, and intercoastal waters.


There are only a few other needs that I have outside of the fly fish/stand up thing - the two most important being size and weight.  I'd prefer it not weigh a billion pounds, and not be ridiculously long.  Basically, I'd like it to be something I can feel comfortable transporting myself, without too much struggle to get on or off the top of my SUV.

After a little research, these models really stand out.

NuCanoe Frontier - which comes in 2 flavors - 12' or brand new 10'.


Jackson Coosa, although maybe the Cuda 12' would be a better option...?


Freedom Hawk 12' - check out the crazy swing out outriggers...!!!



Or instead of going kayak, there are also pretty interesting hybrid stand up paddleboards geared toward fishing.  These are slightly less attractive to me, but still worth a peek.  Two I liked were the Badfish Badfisher and the Diablo Chupacabra...



Here are the specs on all of them, at least from a length & weight standpoint...and of course price (w/o additional options, because that can get crazy)...


So "survey says"...I don't know.

Each seem to have a lot going for them.  Every time I think Coosa, I waiver, and say NuCanoe...but then I look awestruck at the Freedom Hawk's detachable outriggers...right before my mind wanders to fun of the Diablo.  Maybe the only one that's "out" is the Badfisher, due to price...again, I don't know...

So do any of you own any of these fishing vehicles?

What about comments / recommendations?

I'd welcome any & all below...


July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July, 2013!


A continuation of the last two year's "Famous Fly Fishers of the Fourth," found HERE & HERE.

*Pre-Photoshop components "liberated" from Western Wyoming Fly Fishing Journal...which was later confirmed to be lifted from Delta Trout Force...& History Stuff That Interests Me (who also clearly lifted it from somewhere else but I don't know where).

July 3, 2013

Introducing The Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff

I will never be a respected enough fisherman to be named to a "Pro Staff" of a fishing company or brand.  I'm cool with that.  I'm lucky if I fish a handful of times a month, and that honor should be reserved for somebody of some sort of accomplishment...like Lefty Kreh, KVD, or the Old Man and the Sea, not a hack fishing blogger.  That said, it doesn't mean I can't assemble my own Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff...

So what exactly qualifies someone to be a member of the Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff? 
Allow me to clarify that for you. 

1)  You have to be a fishing blogger (of a blog I actually read)  
2)  I need to have met you in person at least once
3)  You never agreed to be a member and are likely on this list against your will
     (I look forward to the impending legal action)

So without further adieu, I introduce the Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff...

The "Perkiomen Punisher" spares no smallie, sunfish, or bluegill

Tyer of flies, mixer of beats, drinker of beers, caller of bullshit

Too nice to leave off the list.  He also seems to have an "in" with the man upstairs...

The Fantastic Four had the Invisible Woman, The Avengers had Black Widow...
every motley crew of dudes needs a female on board for counterbalance. 

The picture that started it all, the bromance continues...

Art & poetry bitches! Who says we ain't a cultured bunch?  Just ignore the phobia of snakes

Plain and simple, nobody outfishes da Jersey Boyz.

No caption needed

and last but not least...

Always the first to "Like" a Troutrageous! Facebook post, a titan of tenkara & toy cameras

What exactly does this mean?
Beats me, but if you'd like to hire any of them for an upcoming birthday party or bar mitzvah, just let me know...