October 28, 2013

When It's OK To Admit Your Fishing Trip Wasn't EPIC

Back in Pennsylvania, back in the cool weather, back at home.

I own a house in Jacksonville, but I still haven't adjusted to the "904" enough yet to call it home.  Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying exploring my new surroundings and doing my best to embrace all that they have to offer, but my heart is still in Philadelphia.

Heck, when I was introduced to new people on a business trip to New York City earlier in the week, when asked where I was from, I immediately responded "Philadelphia," not Jacksonville.  It's just the way it's going to be for a while.

So back at home for a long weekend, I had to take the opportunity to go fishing at least one day.  

Doing the hotel & rental car thing, my wife dropped me off at the creek in the AM and took the car to run some errands and meet up with some girlfriends.  She was going to be scarce all day, so I was pretty much left alone to be a vagrant trout bum.  Although I don't look overly excited here, (blame it on the sun in my eyes), I was thrilled to be back with tenkara rods in hand, ready to get a line wet.

Eh, until I took the 100 yard hike down to the water.  Or lack of it.  Valley Creek literally had no water in it.  Only shoelaces deep in spots.  In my opinion, Valley fishes best slightly high and a bit stained, so this wasn't going to be a good day of fishing and I knew it, although I didn't want to acknowledge it.  The constant wind and leaves in the water probably wouldn't help much either.  But at least that is expected for this time of year.

The ducks knew the deal.  Those roots are usually submerged

Matt (from The Functioning Fishaholics) was going to meet me a bit later, so I thought it would be at least the right thing to do to shoot him a text to tell him it was going to be a tough go, just in case he wanted to back out.  However with a new baby at home, he had received a rare "day pass," so I suppose the prospect of poor fishing was hardly a concern.  Or he was just sleep-deprived and drained of reason.  Whatever the cause and despite the forewarning, he still showed up, ready to go.  

It's probably not that surprising to report that we didn't catch fish.  Heck, we didn't even really see any fish, other than some huddled up in the remnants of a usually a deep pool.  They were hugging the bottom, and endless nymphs couldn't get them to budge.  It was just about the polar opposite of the last time we fished together when the fish were super active and everything was working.  After not catching for a few hours, we decided to bail and warm up with some burgers and fries.

Now I'm not one of those guys that waxes poetically about how it's "just great to be outdoors."  I mean it certainly beats being at work, but if I'm going fishing I want to catch at least some fish.  It's rare to get skunked...on my "home" water...chasing my fish of choice.

Numbers aren't important;  I don't need to catch 10, 50, or 100...a simple tug or two on the line and some flash in the water is all that I need to get my fix.

That said, I can't really say that I took this particular skunking all that hard.  Yeah, it would have been that overused adjective "EPIC" to have brought some Valley brownies to hand, especially since I can't just roll out of bed and be stream-side in 15 minutes anymore.

However it was almost just as nice to need to wear a sweatshirt again, feel air that was totally devoid of humidity, chat up Matt on topics you just don't post on Google+ (he boycotts Facebook), or even dip your hand in some cool running water that wasn't coming from a faucet.  I don't get things like that in Florida, I only get them at home.

October 25, 2013

Three Fishing Book Friday

I travel by plane a lot.  Well, not as often as many, but probably more than most.  I may very well be on a plane back to Philly for the weekend as you're reading this...

One of my favorite things to do while flying, especially if the plane doesn't have wifi, is read a fishing-related book.  Coincidentally, three folks have contacted me somewhat recently about mentioning their books on the blog.  Seems like as fitting a time as any.  So if you enjoy reading things other than blogs and Facebook posts, you may want to check these 3 books out.  While I haven't read any of them yet, I'm more than intrigued...

Sunlit Riffles and Shadowed Runs, by Kent Cowgill

It's a book of short stories about fly fishing in America.  I personally prefer short stories to longer reads, one of my favorite fishing books was also full of short stories, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this at some point.

Jack's Drift, by J Wilfred Cahill

 Summarized as a 50 year fishing trip you can take from the comfort of your chair, the locations - Florida, Alaska, Vermont, California, etc, etc... in the book alone make it sound like a worthwhile read.

Subsurface Fly Fishing for Trophy Trout, by Zach Lazzari

This book is from "friend of the blog" Zach, who has written a guest post here in the past.  He was actually kind enough to send me an e-copy of the book back in January, and honestly, there's so much info inside, I still haven't been able to finish 100%.  What kind of friend am I, right?

The title pretty much describes the contents, which cover flies like nymphs and streamers, tackle choice and preparation, how to read the water, technique, you name it...  So if you live where big browns roam, Zach knows his stuff, and you will too after taking a look at this book.

I was not compensated in any way (other than the free e-copy of Zach's book) to write this post.  Just know that I post this stuff on my blog because I like to support others in their fishing ventures, and find a blog post a bit more personal than a Facebook "Share" or Twitter tweet.  It's also good karma.

October 21, 2013

Kayak Fishing Gear Guide by ACK.com

I fished a little bit this weekend, but not enough to muster a real post about the outing.  I'm currently testing the Try 360 6:4 tenkara rod from Tenkara Times.  First impressions are surprisingly good, but that will be a post of its own later.

Today, I thought I'd toss this infographic provided by the folks at Austin Canoe & Kayak.  I'll admit it, when I purchased my Native Slayer, I didn't go local, I went internet.  I know, I'm going to Hell.  The folks at Austin Kayak made it difficult not to, great prices, excellent shopping tools, complete fishing packages, free shipping to my door, no sales tax, and what I've found to really be a best of breed e-commerce experience.  As someone who makes their living in e-commerce, I know that it's not easy to arrange delivery of an oversized item via truck line to a customer's door, but these guys know how to service that customer's needs and do it very, very well.

Anyway, and I'm not sure if was coincidence or not, a little bit after my purchase they contacted me about doing a guest post.  Turns out it wasn't so much a text post, they did send this "Gear Guide" graphic of all of the great stuff you can outfit your kayak with for fishing purposes.

About the Author:
Joseph is an avid kayaker based out of the central Texas area.
He has spent many a weekend and holiday on the Texas coast attending
sea kayaking events or just having some fun with a kayak or paddleboard.
He’s currently employed at Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK.com)
and loves that he gets to spend time working with his favorite toys.

If you're in the market for a kayak (or any of the additional gear), Austin Kayak provides a lot of great shopping tools, like the interactive version of the Gear Guide displayed above, tons of how-to videos that explain products as simple as a stakeout pole, and probably most importantly, a Kayak Selector which will help you narrow down the various kayak choices to a ride that best fits your needs.

Nobody at Austin Kayak compensated me in any way to post this Gear Guide or say glowing things about their customer service.  My shopping experience was really that good...from the fact that I pestered them with private messages on Facebook the weekend before my purchase...to the fact that I ordered the stuff on Sunday and it shipped out on Monday...to the very CLEAR communications via email regarding the status of shipment and what to expect during delivery...and even the fact that the delivery service didn't hassle my wife who was at home that day to "receive" the boat. 

That said, if Austin Kayak does want to compensate me for this post, one of those fancy Yeti Coolers would be nice.  Hint, hint...

October 18, 2013

Fishing Fun with Elf Outfitters

My wife is crafty.  That's probably an understatement.  She's the type of person that will paint, sew, sticker, hot glue, pretty much anything to anything and make it look awesome.  She just has that knack.

If you've been around this blog a while, you've probably seen me make a reference here or there to her business.  It'ts actually got it's own tab at the top of this page.  It's one she started when Lilly was a baby, and has grown in many different directions the last few years.  This year, I think her business is going to blow up.


Do you know what an "Elf on the Shelf" is?  If not, I guess you don't have kids, so take a few seconds to scan this really quick to get the idea.  It's a concept that's wildly popular with children and parents alike around the holidays.  Last year her and a friend kind of soft launched a line of accessories for said elves called Elf Outfitters.  They sold a few, learned some lessons and are going after it in a big way this year.  Oh, so what does that have to do with fishing?

Well if an Elf visits your house, you can now get them one of these.  Not a tenkara rod, but some definitely (candy) cane pole fishing going on here.  No dapping though.

You can even download this free fishing word search to exercise your kids' minds and get them off the cellphone or tablet for a good 15 minutes...or do it yourself.  I know you want to...

Heck, there's more besides fishing.  Superhero costumes, PJs, picnic sets, luau kits, lots of fun stuff.  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, she's got you & your family elf covered...

So consider this my early ad for Elf Outfitters.  You'll probably hear more about them elsewhere as the holidays get closer.  Just store this in the back of your head for gift giving season, and maybe Like their Facebook page while you're at it.  You & your elf will thank me later.

October 14, 2013

Best Way To Fix A Cork Fishing Rod Grip? - Part 2

Just following up on last Monday's post about fixing the pitted cork on my TFO Mangrove rod...

First off, thanks for all of the suggestions.  Between the comments in the original post, and Google+, (where I'm surprisingly finding much more actual interaction on blog posts than Facebook these days), I received a ton of good feedback.

I ended up purchasing something called "Rod Dancer Pit Paste" from J. Stockard rather than mix my own from cork shavings and glue.  It was recommended by a reader via email, and to be honest, when I went to the garage, the wood glue evidently didn't make it to Florida in my recent move.  Realizing I still had a coupon code from J. Stockard from when I bought some thread, I got the 2 oz. jar of paste delivered to my door for less than $3.

How did it work?



After a good sanding, it feels really nice in hand now.
Guess we'll see how well it holds up after some use and dunks in the water.

Figured I'd toss that out there just in case there is interest.
Super easy, took 5 minutes to apply, a half hour to dry, and maybe 10 minutes to sand down (I put it on liberally).  If I can do it, anyone can.

October 13, 2013

2013 Bass Pro Shops Christmas Catalog

With Halloween only a few weeks away, let's bypass that holiday of candy and go straight toward the one of gift getting giving.  I noticed the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Christmas Catalog in the mail either on Thursday or Friday of last week.  I really didn't page through it until last night...and OMFG!!!

Yes, that's an Uncle Si action figure complete with tea cup and of course, a fan boat!  We'll just ignore the "for kids" part of the product title.

Maybe if I've been really good, Santa will get the elves going on overdrive and make this complete set happen...

That's right, Willie, Phil, Si, and Jase with a monster truck, a jon boat, and assorted other trinkets, like frogs and squirrels.  Poor Jep got the shaft, but I can probably snag an extra Jase figure and just pretend it's Jep.  That would make me happy happy happy.

One might say the Roberston clan has gone overboard with the Duck Dynasty/Duck Commander licensing, but Miss Kay's grandbabies have to pay for college somehow...and if I could cash in on 15 minutes of reality TV fame like this, black & white T!s would be on everything...

October 11, 2013

SUP? Yes, Please!

When I was researching fishing kayaks, I also spent quite a bit of time also reviewing stand up paddleboards (SUPs).  They're very popular right now, and many are made with fishing-specific features.

I found three common themes in doing this extensive research - relative portability, the need for a special paddle, & that bikinis are standard equipment...

I haven't quite made up my mind yet if I want to get one...so I suppose I'll put in more time to do additional research.  I'll keep you all abreast of my findings.  Happy Friday....

October 7, 2013

Best Way To Fix A Cork Fishing Rod Grip?

I've been spending a little bit of time with my 8-wt TFO Mangrove Series rod lately.  The rod itself is great, it's not a saltwater broomstick and loads well with just enough feedback to let me know what's going on in the backcast.  From that standpoint, it's got a lot going for it.

But the cork grip...I'm not too happy with it.  To be blunt, it's kinda cheap and there are far too many deep pits and gaps in the cork to make it comfortable in hand.  I tried to look past it at first, but the more I use it, the more noticeable it's getting...some being exactly where my fingers rest on the rod.  It's like they forgot to use any filler at all.  The brand new rod "only" ran me $250, so I'm not expecting perfection, but I have $50 fishing rods that are better.

So, I went on (where else) YouTube to find a video on how to fix this.  I had an idea, but I'm not a rodbuilder so I needed some sort of validation.  This is what I found, courtesy of Tim Ansley...

If you didn't watch it, he suggest making a 1:1 paste of cork shavings and wood glue, filling the gaps, and then sanding.  Sounds right to me.

But before I do that, any other suggestions?  I know my readers are a bunch of MacGyvers.  Is there something else I could do to get similar or even better results?  Would be nice if Redington made an aftermarket Vapen Red sleeve to slap on top.  Just curious...

October 6, 2013

Guana Lake - My First Real Kayak Fly Fishing Outing

With the weather finally behaving, I was able to take the kayak out yesterday to Guana Lake.  Also known as Lake Ponte Vedra, Guana Lake is part of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve - which is a lot of words, right?!

The "Six-Mile" launch...two more miles and it'd be an Eminem movie.

Anyway...despite a fairly consistent breeze that was pushing me around a little bit, it was a pretty nice day out on the water.  I didn't really catch much, but I did learn some more things about handling my kayak, figuring out the most efficient layout for stuff in and on the boat, and just casting my 8-weight from a paddling/seated position.

Not to say that I was skunked...but I do probably need to get a pair of those grip thingies to deal with toothy critters...

Hey, that's not a brown trout...first fish in the 'yak.

Guess I can keep the blog's name Troutrageous! for the time being...

I also "caught" a crab, or maybe the crab caught my fly.  Either way I flung it off the side rather than do a grip & grin.  I like my fingers.

Windburned and sunburned, I had to call it quits after a few hours.  I do have to say the few hours out on the water felt really good.  I feel like it's been a while since I've said that about my fishing outings.

October 4, 2013

Tenkara Rod Displays? In An Unlikely Place

A while back I wrote a post about using a billiards cue rack to store your tenkara rods.  It was a pretty popular post at the time...and I know a lot of people headed to Walmart in search of $9 billiards racks, I've seen the pictures...

Anyway...a friend...he shall remain nameless (unless he identifies himself in the comments below), showed up in my Facebook news feed last night as a person who likes High Spirits Flutes (a company that happened to be spamming me with a Sponsored post).  I was drawn to the rainbow colored light like a moth in the night - and couldn't help but click the "interesting" picture advertising this month's Flute Talk.  (You win High Spirits!)  Here's the video, BTW...

I of course clicked on it, not because I have a passion for flutes, but because I thought it might be quirky, in a Bob Ross kind of way.  Well, slightly disappointed by the lack of happy little trees, but still on the High Spirits website, I stumbled upon the flute stands they offer.  

Not as inexpensive as the billiard cue rack, but might be something worth looking at if you're seeking an alternate or "display" type storage for your tenkara rods.  I mean look at the freakin' antlers...hell yeah!  Kinda reminds me of this tube display Jason highlighted on Tenkara Talk a little while ago...just less shaggy...  Eh, food for thought.

Oh, and I won't even mention the potentially more interesting sleeves and cases also offered...

October 3, 2013

The "Florida At Large" Chapter of Trout Unlimited

I've been a Trout Unlimited member for a few years now, probably 3 or 4.  Back when I lived in the Philadelphia area, geography assigned me to the Perkiomen Valley chapter.  Honestly, I never attended a meeting, as I was also involved with the more-local (but not TU affiliated) Stony Creek Anglers, and the PVTU meeting place really wasn't all that close to where I lived.  There were other chapters that were probably equidistant by car; Valley Forge or Delco Manning come to mind.  Perkiomen was just closest by how the crow flies.

A wild Perkiomen Creek brown trout

When I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, my membership to Trout Unlimited came with me.  I still receive my seasonal issues of Trout Magazine, which helps to reconnect me to the coldwater pursuits I enjoyed so much. Oh, and of course, all of the messages wanting me to become a Lifetime Member still find their way to my physical & electronic mailboxes.

The problem...I'm currently a member of the Florida "At Large" Chapter, which is pretty much a non-existent entity.  It's akin to being a member of the T! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff.  There are no meetings, no activities, and there are no National Leadership Council Representatives or State Council Chairs.  Maybe it exists and is just poorly advertised?  Something which shouldn't be surprising because there really isn't coldwater or (non sea) trout down here.

Now there are plenty of organizations I could (& may) join locally, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Coastal Conservation Association, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, just to name a few...but coldwater runs deep.  Even if I was involved in one of the aforementioned organizations, I'd still like to do what I can to help  (besides just write checks) to TU.

With that I was wondering if TU ever considered an Online or Virtual Chapter, for people with coldwater interests that may not live in a geographical region conducive to the current membership structure?  Yeah, I get that there are quite a few barriers...like have you ever read the requirements...yikes?  But they already have a great website that has built in many "social" features & do a lot of virtual which leads to physical outreach (to at least) bloggers.  This would be a logical next step for legitimizing that activation plan.  Outside of the TU website, technologies like Facebook & Skype, just to name a few, can do wonders to unite & mobilize like-minded folks from different parts of the country or world.  I mean, you're reading this, right?

So if you were or are in my situation...say a Oregon transplant living in Louisiana 
(a State that is also homeless), is that something you'd consider?

Well, it's just a thought, and I guess fodder for a blog post.  I may actually pursue something along these lines at some point a bit further, but I'd probably have to do more research before I did.  But I know some of you out there that occasionally read this blog have more than "ins" with TU...

October 2, 2013

The Obligatory Gov't Shutdown Post w/ WWF Wrestling

There was a post here about some of my frustrations about the Government shutdown, but I took it down this morning.  It wasn't overly political, but while it felt good about hitting "publish" on a sleep deprived whim last night, this morning just didn't feel right.

Sparing you the long read, the theme was basically to stop fretting about closed National Parks and get informed on current events.  Ignorance is not bliss and our next election is very important, don't be passive, and don't vote down party lines if it's not the best person for the job.  But you don't really care what I think on this issue, I'll save my opinions for Facebook.  :)

You read this blog because it is about fishing, pop culture, or if you're family, Lilly.  I've always wanted it to be an escape from the nonsense.  However, since it is referenced in the title, I'm going to leave the WWF YouTube video that was embedded in the original post up.  Regardless of party affiliation, we're all Americans, and in times like this, we can all use heroes like Windham & Rotundo.


Back to fishing tomorrow.