November 30, 2013

Fishing with Friends (Through Their Ties)

Craig went fishing with me yesterday.  It was a little bit chilly by Florida standards, but we had to try out those top secret tenkara rods that are cloaked in a veil of silence.  Fortunately, we caught some bluegill.

Funny thing is, he doesn't know it, until maybe now.


I used a kebari tied by Craig to go fishing after work yesterday.  I received them in a fly swap almost a year ago.  So while he wasn't actually there in body, he was there in tie.  I figured the size 6 fly would be perfect for the bluegill and occasional bass that lurk in the pond down the street from my house.  They were.  Super rad that a fly hand tied by a guy in Iowa caught fish in Northeast Florida.

(Yeah, I know everything is pretty much made somewhere else, but you get my point).


How often do you fish with flies that friends have tied for you?  
I'd love to hear in the comments below.

I might try fishing with Anthony...or Adam...or Mike...or perhaps Kiwi tomorrow.

We'll see...

November 29, 2013

Tenkara, and the Man Card

I mentioned this video on Facebook yesterday, but thought it was worth a mention on the Mothership.

Even if you don't care for tenkara, Ron has a way with words that you'll likely find amusing.  I did.  It's 11 minutes well spent.  Heck, you can watch it on your phone while you're standing in the checkout line grabbing up some sort of Mart's Black Friday deals.

Enjoy...


If you enjoyed this, Ron wrote a guest post on this blog a little over a year ago.  Read it HERE.  You can also check out his blog A Tenkara Journey...

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everybody is enjoying the day with family, friends, food, and of course football.  
What?  You thought I'd say fishing?  

Give thanks to the fish a give them a break today...they deserve one too.


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2013

Gear Review - Hobie Bayside Polarized Sunglasses

Wait...I've been one of your readers for a while.  You reviewed Hobie Baysides back in 2010, right?


Ummm, yeah, so what...

Not too long after I moved to Florida I was contacted about doing a review for Hobie sunglasses again.  Being more than pleased with the product the first time, I figured why not...but this time I wanted a pair of "Blue Mirror" lens glasses, as the last pair reviewed were "Copper" lenses.  Once you read the description of the mirror lenses, the reasoning is clear...besides the fact that all the saltwater anglers in the magazine hero shots all seem to wear blue mirrored lens glasses.  Coincidence?
The mirror polarized lens coating adds another layer of protection against scratches and smudges to the lightweight, thin and durable Borosilicate Glass polarized lens found on select styles in the Hobie® Polarized Heritage Collection. The scratch-resistant coating along with the HydroClean™ Plus glass polarized lens sheds water, resists dust and grime, is easy to clean and reduces distracting reflections from sources behind you.
Please enjoy a commercial from our sponsor...


Sounds good right?

Anyway, I was also curious to see if they changed at all...and I'm glad to report they hadn't.
For your information, here's what's in the box...


Glasses, soft-sided hard case, neoprene strap, and cleaning cloth.

The features are still the same in 2010 as well...

Flex hinges to prevent breakage...


and Megol plastic rubberized nose pads...


So yeah, the goodies are still there.
Plus, the frames are still slightly oversized to block out excess light, and fit very nicely, just like they did 3 years ago.

But here's the thing.  Unlike most bloggers who write reviews, (and I'm guilty of this too sometimes), I didn't just use these for a day and decide to write a positive review.  I wore them all summer, and quite honestly tortured the heck out of them over the past 4 months...

From the saltwater flats off Islamorada...


...as well as feeding the tarpon...


...to YogaFest in Jacksonville (don't ask)...


...to tenkara in Pennsylvania...


...to back in Florida kayak fishing in Guana Lake...


...and the beaches of Big Talbot Island...


Not to mention most trips to the grocery store, Target, the gas station, wherever.  These suckers lived in my car this summer, which meant tossing them around and exposing them to hot Florida sun all day, almost everyday.  This is no small accomplishment.  I've had other sunglasses literally melt under the kiln-like conditions of a sun-drenched Pennsylvania car interior...much less the depths of Hell-like heat created in the Sunshine state.

So final verdict?

Let's first look back to what I said in 2010...
"...in a world of Oakleys, Maui Jims, & Costa Del Mars, are Hobie polarized sunglasses worth considering the next time you plan on upgrading your fishing optics? Probably. They are light, do a good job of cutting glare from the water, and at least in my staged tests, proved to be relatively durable. At the root of things, that's all you can really ask for out of a pair of fishing sunglasses. That, and they do look pretty good too."
Fast forward to 2013 and these Hobies are still worth your attention when shopping around for a new pair of fishing sunglasses.  The glare-cutting part is great (as you'd expect) from these glass (not plastic) lens bad boys, and as evidenced above, they are as bombproof as ever...which is very, very important.  Especially when you live in Hades Florida.


DISCLAIMER:
The Hobie Bayside Polarized Sunglasses tested in this product review were provided to me for review at no cost, but carry a suggested retail price of $210.00. I currently hold very little association with Hobie Polarized other the than the free pair of glasses they gave me to give away to a lucky reader back in the day, or for that fact Lisa, who forwarded me the glasses for review...although she did recently start following my neglected Pinterest account, so maybe that makes me guilty by association in you, the cynical reader's eyes...  That said, those same cynical eyes of yours can also follow Hobie Polarized on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

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 probably not write a post and tell the manufacturer my opinion of their hot mess directly outside of this blog. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time writing a post doing so?

November 24, 2013

Filling My Florida Fly Box

I've been slowly but surely filling my saltwater fly box.  What started with a few Clouser Minnows has grown over the past month or two to include shrimp, crabs, and many other delicacies.


Upon learning that we were moving to Florida, my father-in-law got me a gift subscription to Florida Sportsman magazine.  The print magazine is always fun to look at each month, even though a lot of the baitfishing stuff is still somewhat foreign to me and there isn't a ton on fly fishing.  I feel a lot more knowledgeable by each passing issue - learning where to fish, how they behave, and all that good stuff.

That said, there's a wealth of fly fishing info to be found at Florida Sportsman online, like this gem (with cool interactive slideshow), which relates back to the first paragraph of this blog post...


So what are your top flies?  And I don't necessarily mean for Florida salt.  
I'd love to learn what is essential for success in your neck of the woods in the comments below...

November 23, 2013

November 22, 2013

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - Part 4

This Wavewalk kayak is either awesomely ridiculous, or ridiculously awesome.  One thing is clear, it's stable.


Wavewalk Fishing Kayak

Is it wrong that I really want to take one out for a paddle?
If for no other reason than to act like this guy...

November 18, 2013

Fly Fishing Show Celebrity Deathmatch

In the red corner, hailing from Asheville, NC and weighing 15 bucks, the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo...


and in the blue corner, hailing from Titusville, FL, weighing 15 bucks (10 in advance), the Renzetti Fly Fishing & Rod Building Fair...


One is a 7 hour drive, the other a 2 hour drive.  Both contain a roster of luminaries.  One is probably trout-centric, the other salt.  Both are Saturday, December 7th and ripe for a T! stickerbombing.  Decisions, decisions...

The winner...

Ozzy, of course...



November 17, 2013

I've Had Enough of the "Salt Life"

No, not Florida, but those damn Salt Life stickers that are on the back of every freakin' truck, minivan, and SUV in the greater Jacksonville area.  I know they've probably spawned, and may very well be in your neck of the woods too (wherever that might be), but Jacksonville is literally ground zero for these things...it's like stick figure family stickers x 10,000...


That said, it's a little bit humorous to see some of the spin-offs that some of the creative locals have come up with.

From the SEC fooball lovin', gator-centric Swamp Life...


To the beer-centric Malt Life...


To the intensely serious dog loving Lab Life...


To the somewhat unnerving Assault Life...


And I could go on and on, but won't...

There's even a local lifestyle brand / Salt Life competitor called Fish On! that is starting to show up on more and more rear windows...they supposedly make clothes, but I haven't seen too many people wearing them yet.


My wife (who once upon a time was a graphic designer) can't stand the typography, and says all she sees is FISH JNL.  Regardless, I do kinda dig the kayak tee they make.

So yeah, the sticker scene is pretty ridiculous here in NE Florida, and I blame those Salt Life bastards for it.

It must come to an end.

I mean who puts stickers in their car windows anyway...



November 11, 2013

Two Things I Like About Florida

1) You can catch a bass in pretty much any body of water you come across...

One of four caught yesterday in the Military Trail Canal (Boca Raton, FL)

2) Hog removal services...

Mmm, bacon...
 

November 10, 2013

New Rod Offering From Tenkara USA

Now that I have your attention...  I don't know what the new rods from Tenkara USA are...but recent indications in the Tenkara USA forum are that they are coming.  Very soon....


So with that said, what would you like to see in new offerings from Tenkara USA?  I have some wishes myself, and while I'm sure all of them won't be addressed, I'm hopeful one or two might.

1)  A "Don't call it Tanago" rod.  What I mean is a shorter, lighter version of the Iwana.  Something folks that fish brushy streams can use without freaking out above every overhanging tree branch.  I'm not going to get into the need for a cork handle, that makes no difference to me.  It's clear there is definitely demand for smaller, lighter rods...I'm sure Chris Stewart will tell you he sells plenty of "Headwaters" models.  Why fight it?

Nissin Air Stage 290
Image courtesy TenkaraBum.com

2)  A short(er) zoom rod.  Tenkara USA offers the longer zoom rod, the Ito, which extends from 13 feet long to slightly over 14 and a half.  Something on the lower end of the spectrum would be pretty awesome as well.  A rod that goes from 9 to 11, or perhaps 11 to 13, would be a nice fit.  I'd probably buy one.  Want to take it a step further with a dual zoom?  9 to 11 to 13....that would be interesting, and perhaps a game-changer for those looking for "one rod" to go along with their "one fly."  Go, go gadget tenkara rod!

3)  A true "big fish" rod.  It seems on most tenkara forums or websites, the question comes up, "what's the best 'big fish' tenkara rod?"  Tenkara has captivated fishermen and not all live by mountain streams home to 8" trout.  They live near bass or carp or who knows what else and want to go catch them.  Some people mistake rod length for power, and assume the Ito is the "big fish" offering from Tenkara USA, when it is probably the Amago.  While they aren't truly "tenkara" rods and may stray a bit from what the company was built on, there are larger rods offered by overseas companies that address this need, it would be nice to see a Tenkara USA version.


4)  Different handle applications.  All of the Tenkara USA rods currently have cork handles, but many different grip options are showing up all of the time.  From dense, black foam to bamboo to rattan wraps to bare graphite, there are a bunch of intriguing options out there from other manufacturers.  Tenkara USA used to dabble with a wooden handled rod, but that has long gone obsolete.  Daniel could go a lot of different ways, but a foam gripped opening pricepoint rod or a bamboo (or rattan wrapped) premium rod would make a lot of sense to diversify assortment.

5)  A 5:5 offering.  When Tenkara USA first launched, there were several 5:5 options.  Today, you won't find any.  Now some of that has to do with re-categorizing rods, as the 11' Iwana was originally marketed as a 5:5 rod and later switched to 6:4, and perhaps some of it was due to slow sales.  I don't know the reason, but the absence is noticeable, especially since I really enjoy fishing the once-offered 5:5 Ebisu.  It might be my favorite Tenkara USA rod.

There are probably other things you would like to see, but that is my short list.
If you have wants, needs, or ideas, I'd love to hear them in the comments below...

November 9, 2013

The Florida Gill Net Fiasco

Wanted to test embedding Google Plus posts in the blog. Not that I'm going to do it often, just to see how/if it works...

Please feel free to comment on the current issue of the on again, off again ban of gill netting by commercial fishermen in Florida, preferably on the Google post (given you have a Google account). If it doesn't render in your browser, that'd be nice to know too (in the blog's comments).

November 6, 2013

Gear Review: TryTenkara 360 6:4 Tenkara Rod

"Wow, that's light..."

That was my initial impression, and probably most lasting impression when it comes to the TryTenkara 360 tenkara rod.  That, and "what's with the purple stripes?"


I had the opportunity recently to test drive this offering from The Tenkara Times, and not to spoil the review you may or may not read below, but I was really impressed by the rod.  I honestly didn't expect too much when I was first offered the review gig, but the rod came through and then some.

First I guess we'll get into the specs...

I don't have one of those fancy drug dealer postal scales some rod reviewers use to weigh their rods, but this model is light.  Like super-light.  Like even super-ultra-light.  The Tenkara Times website claims it's 62 grams.  Not being good with metric conversions, I'll just say it's on par, if not lighter, than the 11' Iwana from Tenkara USA, which is pretty impressive considering this rod is a foot longer extended.  It definitely fishes lighter in hand than any of my other rods, Iwana included.

The rod is approximately 12 feet when extended and a little over 22 inches long collapsed ...giving it a slightly taller profile than some of the other 12 footers I've fished.  It's got a very spartan charcoal matte finish (which I like a lot), with each section tipped by some odd purple stripes.  Why purple?  Beats me.  Perhaps it's to stand out in a crowd.  


The cork grip is of fair to better quality and the winding check is executed cleanly.  Maybe the only thing I don't care for is the screw off end cap being more or less flush to the bottom of the grip.  You need to use a coin or something in the deep groove to unscrew the cap, you can't just use your fingers as with other rods.


It's rated a 6:4 which it pretty true when flexed under the fight of a fish.  I'd say the rod is a touch stiff, but very crisp casting.  I fished it in combination with a furled DePuy Springs tenkara line from Moonlit Fly Fishing and I felt the rod load quite nicely and put out some really accurate casts. 

I've fished the rod on 4 occasions, twice for trout, and twice in warmwater for bass & bluegill.  Unfortunately, I struck out on my troutings, but I did get into quite a few small bass and bluegill and the rod handled them all fairly easily.  I was really concerned that with the rod being so light it may also be delicate.  Not the case.  The rod flexed enough to protect the 6x tippet I was using and really handled the muscling of the fish to hand quite well.


The price is right too (although this is where it gets tricky).  The rod runs 119 Euros, which at the time of writing this post was about 160 US dollars.  But that includes the dreaded VAT (or Value Added Tax), which Tenkara Times will refund to you after purchase.  So that trims some money off your total, bringing it down to around $130 US.  Got that?  I hope so, because I'm not explaining it again.

So would I recommend this rod?  In short, yes I would.  Even if you don't like purple.  It's so freakin' light it's going to really surprise you the first time you pick it up...and then again once you're fighting a fish of substance.  In my current collection of 9 tenkara rods, I'd place this one in the top 3, I like it that much.  


DISCLAIMER:
The TryTenkara 360 6:4 tenkara rod tested in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a retail price of 119.00 Euros...all that conversion crap is covered above.  I currently hold no association whatsoever with Oleg from Tenkara Times, other than the fact that he befriended me on Facebook to contact me for this review.  However I'm also Facebook friends with your Mom, so I'm not sure what that proves.

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 probably not write a post and tell the manufacturer my opinion of their hot mess directly outside of this blog. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time writing a post doing so?

November 4, 2013

Warmwater Tenkara Amid the Afternoon Raindrops

This past Saturday morning was one of those days where you wake up to a dark, overcast rain that makes you just want to pull the sheets back up and go back to sleep for a few more hours.  Although once the rain broke a little after lunchtime, it was actually quite nice...and dare I say cool, by Florida standards at least.  

Not really having the sunlight left to take the kayak out, I hit the neighborhood ponds to see how active the fish might be after the rainfall, which at this point was reduced to the occasional drizzle.


I was glad I did.  The juvenile bass and bluegill were very active and receptive to my copper wire & grizzly hackle kebari.  I used this one fly to catch them all, so it was truly a "one fly" kind of day.  


Probably brought 15 or so fish to hand in the short time I was out there, mostly bass of the dink variety.  The tenkara rod handled them well and made the battles quite entertaining, even the bluegill, who probably fought harder than the bass. 


Okay, all except one.  I had a larger bass rise to take a fly so I was able to get a fairly good look at it.  It nearly bent the rod in half, so I knew the 6x tippet I was using was going to be in trouble.  I fought it for almost a full 5 minutes, but couldn't really turn or tire the fish to get it to come to hand.  All it took was one swift turn back out toward the middle of the pond and it snapped me off.  I hope it enjoyed the free facial piercing.

And with that, challenge accepted.  I know where it lives...