January 27, 2014

Daft Punk Unmasked; A Crappy T! Grammys Recap

Daft Punk won a lot of Grammys last night.  Or at least they won the important ones.  Keeping in robotic character, they never removed their helmets, nor actually made acceptance speeches.

Image lifted from LATimes.com

While I personally thought the entire broadcast was pretty much a disconnected train wreck, at least it was a difficult one to turn away from.  Most of the acts were a mix of simultaneous good and bad with Paul & Ringo reuniting to not perform a Beatles song (FAIL), Metallica rocking out with a Chinese pianist (something we've all been crying for), and Stevie "Jammin on the One" Wonder's first relevant appearance since the Cosby Show in 1986.  Oh hey, look up in the sky...there's P!nk!

BTW, I'm sort of smitten with the country chick they threw up on stage immediately after the whole Kendrick Lamar / Imagine Dragons laser light show, paintball spectacular, white suit fest.  You know, the one in the short skirt made of curtains, wearing Christmas-lit cowboy boots.  Sorry Lisa Loeb, you've been a fave since high school, but I might have a new musical crush.  Must be her first name...

But back to Daft Punk.  Why the helmets, why the mystery?  Oh, and are they really from France?

Thanks to a Google search of post-award show after parties, I was able to unmask our robotic heroes.

And...ummm...well...


I heard he was feeling better, but who knew?

That said, I'd probably wear helmets too...  ;)

January 26, 2014

Exploring Florida - Trout Creek in Orangedale, FL

Kayak itch.  It's not exactly like jock itch, but it does burn.  After having the kayak stowed in the garage for far too long, it simply needed to get wet.

Last weekend wasn't the perfect opportunity, but it was a least AN opportunity.  Looking out the window in the morning and seeing bright blue skies just called to muscle the yak on top of the SUV and go seek out some water.

Trout Creek Park Boat Launch St. Augustine, FL

I decided to paddle around and scout potential fishing spots on Trout Creek in Orangedale, FL (a feeder to the St. John's River), about 15 or so minutes south from my house.  There are some nicely maintained boat launches there with ample parking, so it seemed like a no brainer as the ideal spot to sneak in a quick paddle.

Trout Creek Orangedale St. Augustine, FL

Trout Creek Orangedale St. Augustine, FL


Unfortunately, the nice weather didn't last.  After about 45 minutes of paddling, the clouds hid the sun for good and the darkness in the distance warned of impending rain.  Fortune was on my side, being able to turn around and get back to the ramp (and all loaded up) before the downpour began.




Trout Creek Orangedale St. Augustine, FL

It would of course stop raining by the time I returned home.  Florida is temperamental like that.  Regardless, it wasn't warm enough to stay out in the rain in wet clothes.  No big deal in the end.  Scouting run for summertime bass and bream was complete.  Itch scratched.

Native Watersports Slayer 12 Trout Creek Park Boat Launch St. Augustine, FL

January 25, 2014

Continued Innovation From Tenkara USA

A while back I gave a sneak peek at the new Rhodo & Sato rods from Tenkara USA.  Many other bloggers have also reviewed these rods since, pointing toward standout features such as the "triple zoom" capability and the "Keep your Plug™" system, but nobody really mentioned one of the most notable improvements these rods bring to the table...

Tenkara USA Ayu II

Tenkara USA Ito

Tenkara USA Iwana

The NEW Tenkara USA Sato

The absence of the electrocution sticker!  

Gradual improvment comes in many forms.  Unfortunately so do lawsuits.  But I don't see any Ugly Stiks with shock stickers either.

Just make sure you're waving your new tenkara rod at fish and not thunderclouds; okay?

Good, now go get 'em.

January 24, 2014

The Future Is Upon Us...And It's In 3D!

Unless you've been living under a rock the past few years, you've probably heard of 3D printing.  It's evidently the wave of the future that is going to revolutionize how we obtain/purchase items.  But for those of you in the dark, 3D printing allows you to basically "print" a solid object using a special machine that layers plastic (or other material) on top of itself, slowly but surely recreating that shape directly from computer-aided digital designs.

So like if your kid just watched Finding Nemo on TV and wants a toy turtle just like Crush but you're nowhere near a toy store...you just download the design and print.  Bam, toy turtle.
(Okay, not exactly "bam" printing stuff can be sloooow).

Photo lifted from 4MULE8 on Thingiverse

Now while there has been quite a bit of controversy about 3D printing...as some people have created plans to make fully functioning 3D plastic guns...just think of the applications for fishing!

Well Michael Hackney, aka the Eclectic Angler has, and has printed some very interesting things.  He showed them off the other day in the Tenkara USA forum.

Such as this fully functional, 3D printed fly fishing reel...

Image lifted from 3DPrintingindustry.com

And this 3D printed tenkara line spool...

Image lifted from Michael Hackney

While barriers to entry such as cost (these 3D printers aren't cheap) are preventing this from being a common activity in every home at this time, I can only close my eyes and fast forward 5 or 10 years into the future.  Once pricing has dropped (it always does on electronics, remember $500 VCRs?), can you imagine not needing to run to the store to pick up that missing fishing item?

Lose your favorite Rapala in a tree...just print up a new lure.  Pretty crazy...but that's the world we we're moving toward...one layer of plastic at a time.

Now who doesn't want to run out and buy a MakerBot?
What would you make with your 3D printer?

January 18, 2014

Gear Review - The RIBZ Front Pack

I've reviewed a lot of fishing bags and packs on this blog over the years.  There are a lot of companies doing interesting things with bags and applying them to the fishing market.  The folks at RIBZ are no exception, with their very unique & multi-functional Front Pack.  When offered the opportunity to test this pack as a fishing solution, how could I refuse?

No, that ruggedly handsome man fly fishing is not me...pic lifted from ribzwear.com

So, what exactly is a RIBZ Front Pack?  Well, it's a little difficult to explain, but it's basically a four compartment pack that you wear on your body somewhat like a vest.  It's laid out so the 2 large main compartments fit conveniently on...where else...but your ribs.  The pack is held secure to your body by two harness straps that cross in the middle of your back, and a very beefy zipper seals the deal up the front.

Front view of the RIBZ Front Pack - large zipper, lots of convenient pockets 

From the RIBZ website:
"A front pack is a pack or bag that allows for access of equipment from the persons chest. Front packs first and foremost allow for easy access of gear without the removal of any equipment. In many adventure outdoor activities it can be critical to the sport to have the ability to reach essential gear fast without the removal of a backpack. Simplicity is the foremost purpose of the front pack but there are many additional benefits as well.
In all there are unlimited uses for the front pack. Front packs are the best compliment to any outdoorsman’s gear when accessibility, functionality, mobility and simplicity are required. From horseback riding, long distance biking, motorcycling and kayaking. All sports where fast and easy access of gear is essential, a front pack is your best solution."
As you can see from the description above, the RIBZ Front Pack really shines when it worn in tandem with a backpack or hydration pack.  However for the outings I was to test the front pack, I simply used it as-is, as a replacement for a conventional fishing vest or sling pack, and found both pros and cons to the design.

PROS:

  • This pack is smartly put together.  It features two main compartments topped with two smaller compartments.  The main compartments also have some elastic-topped mesh dividers on the interior - great for holding car keys, cell phone, etc..  It really can handle quite a bit of gear.  The "Medium" version I tested has an 8 ounce capacity, more than enough for a few fly boxes, tools, tippet, you name it.
I crammed both fly & spinfishing gear in the RIBZ Front Pack - it all fit with room to spare!

  • It's light & comfortable.  Other than the weight of gear you've got on the inside, this Cordura fabric pack is hardly noticeable on your body at a mere 11 oz.  The fact that it sits on your ribs reduces back strain.  The shoulder straps feature some thin, but nice padding for additional comfort.  Finally, all zippers and strap buckles are of high quality and have extended "pulls" which makes opening the pockets or tightening strap length effortless.  A very nice, but often overlooked added detail.
  • It keeps its promises.  For fishing, it's really a great pack that doesn't encumber any of your upper body movement, especially while casting.  The shoulder straps keep it in place, unlike sling packs which tend to shift and slide around your torso.  It's simple & highly functional. 

CONS:

  • It's not a "true" fishing pack.  Although well laid out and very capable, it's missing some of the components that most packs designed specifically for fishing include...such as a fly patch or fold down workshelf, specific attachment points for zingers & tools, or tippet holders.  Nor is it waterproof.  Somewhat water-resistant perhaps, waterproof, nope.
  • It's not easy to just toss to the side when done.  After you take it off, it is best to zip the front zipper back up.  If you don't, all of the shoulder strapping is susceptible to getting tangled.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, but believe me, when you're standing at your car untwisting nylon shoulder straps when you just want to go fishing, it can be very frustrating.  It's a lesson learned, and easily avoidable.

So with everything considered, would I recommend this pack to you, Mr. or Ms. Fisherman?

While it's not a fishing-specific pack and has a few minor flaws when looked at in that light, I can envision so many uses for the RIBZ Front Pack that the attractiveness grows three or four fold. If you like to go hiking or backpacking or biking, or even find yourself on occasion charged with holding all of your kids' odds and ends at an amusement park, it's a no-brainer, especially since you like to fish and it works for that too. (It makes for a pretty sweet tenkara bag BTW).  Quite simply, the all-around functionality of the very unique RIBZ Front Pack should make it a very attractive option to most anglers.


DISCLAIMER:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the RIBZ front pack for free from RIBZ as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.  It carries a manufacturer's retail price of $64.95.

I currently hold no association with RIBZ or Deep Creek PR, but would be forever indebted if they decided to produce a fanny pack and branded the product in a similar fashion...think about it for a second... I should also disclose that I recently provided feedback in the design of a fishing pack with Vedavoo.

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?

January 16, 2014

Chattooga Angler by Joel DeJong

I didn't feel compelled to write a post last night, but after I saw this today...I changed my mind.


+Joel D  from Another Year On The Fly does great work.  I have some prints of watercolors of trout painted by him in my home.  They always get compliments from visitors.

His latest, a "quick study" called the Chattooga Angler, is pretty impressive, especially considering he claims to be under the weather.

Feel better Joel.

January 15, 2014

This Weekend Fish Will Be Caught (Maybe)

It's undeniable, with the exception of my "New Year's Fish" I've been in a fishing rut so far in 2014.


I've been out a handful of times, but with really nothing to show for it.  I'm not used to getting skunked, especially when there's easy pickins like bluegill to be had.  Sigh...

Now you don't read this blog to listen to me complain about my fish-world problems.  So forgetting the negative of recent events, my thoughts have turned toward getting the kayak wet again.  It's been on a bit of a winter hiatus, but I think it's going to be go time soon.  Being a relative rookie in terms of kayak fishing, I'm not sure what weather is appropriate or not, but I figure if it's over 50 degrees out, game on.  Please correct me in the comments below if I'm wrong.  Redfish, sea trout, heck even bass, I need to at least attempt get a fix that the convenient jaunts to the neighborhood ponds just aren't providing.

Last weekend I scouted a boat launch about 15 minutes from my house.  It's on the Trout Creek which flows into the St. Johns River.  With a name like "Trout Creek" how could I not check that out, right?  From what I was able to gather using various sources of info, it's supposed to be a fair bass & bream fishery, with the off chance of getting into a random redfish or even a flounder the closer you get to the river...although probably not the latter on the fly.  I'll definitely "cheat" and troll with my spinning rod while paddling in addition to chucking feathers.


So weather permitting, I think that's what's in store this Saturday.  I figure even if I don't catch anything, it'll be a worthwhile paddle, if only to change things up and get my bearings on new-to-me water.

Beyond that, not catching fish has given me a lot of time to daydream and think ahead to somewhat plan my 2014.  Locally, it's going to be all about cracking the saltwater code.  I intend on spending quite a bit of time in the marsh creeks north of Jacksonville, or south down in St. Augustine, or even further south to the Titusville area, i.e. Mosquito Lagoon.

I also want to try and give fly fishing in the surf/flats another serious go.  We're probably headed to Clearwater as a family over Lilly's Spring Break for a little Phillies Spring Training action, rest & relaxation, and an opportunity to go fishing.  The Keys are also just too close to not make a run at some point this year.  No doubt that'll happen; the Hungry Tarpon and Mangrove Mike's have been calling my name since last we left...


But with all that salt, there will need to be some opportunities for freshwater pursuits as well.  The way I figure it...the Smokies are a gimme, a trip to Colorado for the Tenkara Summit is a 50/50 proposition, and a trip back to Pennsylvania is definitely in my future.  So trout be on notice!  We'll also take a legit week-longish family vacation somewhere in the summer...we're talking about places like Northern California at the moment (although I think the wife really wants to go to Hawaii)...so we'll see how that works out...

Do you have any specific fishing plans for 2014?  
There's a lot noted above, but I'll take any suggestions for inspiration in the comments below.

January 12, 2014

Upgrading Your Fishing Wardrobe

This isn't a revelation at all, but there a lot of companies that are making fishing-inspired clothing...be it with graphics or design.  I've accumulated quite a bit of it over the years, especially hats & shirts.  I have a few favorites...perhaps one or two that might even be "lucky"...but most of the time I go fishing I just toss on whatever is on the top of my t-shirt or hat pile.  However with the new year here, I figured it might be worth calling out a few of these product lines in case you wanted to upgrade your wardrobe.

Sea Level Fishing Apparel

Sea Level Fishing Apparel

I recently picked up the Roller mesh back cap and a few t-shirts.  I felt like I needed to get a few more "salty" tees if you know what I mean.  While nothing groundbreaking from a technical standpoint (they are mostly basic cotton tees), the understated fish designs are really quite nice.  They don't SCREAM, "look at me, I'm a fisherman."


Eat My Fly Outfitters

Eat My Fly Outfitters Fishing Apparel

Matt from EMF has been making the rounds lately, and you may have already seen some of his product on other bloggers' websites as well as in social media.  He's done a great job getting his name out, especially on Instagram, by catching LOTS of fish.  I like the graphic a lot...and for the cold-weather fishermen out there, he sells beanies too...


Wicked Catch Gear

Wicked Catch Fishing Apparel

I'll be honest, these guys kind of spammed the comments of my Salt Life post, but I really like their graphics and they are reasonably priced, so I figured I'd include them.  These are performance tees, which I've found are a "must" for summertime fishing in the South.  However since they are polyester, they might not be for everyone...especially those with excessive man boobs.  Yeah, I said it.  However keep an eye on these guys, I think you'll be seeing more from them in the future.


The Sebatake Kun Shirt from Tenkara USA

Tenkara Mr Yuzo Sebata Sebatake Kun T-Shirt

I had to throw a tenkara shirt in here.  This is the latest offering from Tenkara USA.  It features a cartoon character of one of the longest-practicing tenkara anglers in Japan, Mr. Yuzo Sebata. According to the Tenkara USA website, Mr. Sebata is fond of both fishing and foraging for mushrooms, hence Sebatake Kun essentially translates to Sebata, Wizard of Mushrooms. I just dig the hat & loincloth.


Blogger Tees

A lot of  blogs have decided for some reason that it would be a great idea to put out clothing and accessories.  I try to support my fellow bloggers in picking up a hat or tee should they make the leap.  Whether it's the ubiquitous TFM tees, to the T! Shirts sold here (I'm down to two 2XLs left BTW), to the well designed Arizona Wanderings tees, or even some tees-to-come like this one from Dub The Thorax, it's a great way to show your fondness for fishing.



January 11, 2014

Squatchin' Hits Home...

Oh my...there's evidently a Jacksonville, FL area Bigfoot hunter (that isn't me)...

Courtesy Jacksonville.com
"A Mandarin [FL] man appears on a Bigfoot hunting reality show that premieres Friday evening.  David Lauer appears on “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” which is on the Spike network at 10 p.m.  The show pits two-man teams against one another in a search for irrefutable proof that Bigfoot or some similar creature exists."

So should I tell him about the Tenkara Sasquatch in St. John's County?

Original Sighting Photo
Enhanced

Nah...

January 7, 2014

Tenkara Tuesday - Tenkara Theater

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

Fishing videos are great.  They pluck you from the comfy chair you're sitting in and transport you to the water or vise in an instant.  While there's no substitute for getting outside and actually fishing, these videos may be what's needed to scratch your tenkara fishing itch on what's shaping up to be a record cold day across much of the country.

Please enjoy...

Tenkara Winter, by Kyle Kosovich


Watch for the jumping trout at approximately 1:15


KEBARI, by The Silent Pursuit


This one's got a lot of play already, but as a member of the T! Pro Staff, Steven Smith gets the nod


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


ATTENTION TENKARA FISHERFOLK


Are you a 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, I'd really enjoy hearing from you for an upcoming Tenkara Tuesday post! Feel free to send an email HERE, I'd love to publish your original contribution.

January 5, 2014

Tenkara Sasquatch Sighting on Tenkara Talk

Was fortunate to be given the opportunity to spread the word of the Tenkara Sasquatch today on TenkaraTalk. Looking forward to 2014 being a big year for Tenkara Sasquatch research.


An Incredibly Stupid Blog Game To Play

**Note, this blog post has little (if anything) to do with fishing.  Proceed with caution.**


I noticed last night that the "Next Blog>>" link reappeared up in the Nav Bar at the top of my blog.  If you don't know what I mean, this is what I'm talking about:


It used to be there, but for some reason disappeared not too long ago.  Anyway, it's back, which really isn't a big deal except for the fact that if so inclined, one can play a stupid game with it.

Here are the rules:

Basically click the Next Blog button, and once the next blog pops up, click it again.  Repeat this until you've done it 7 times.  It's kind of like Blogger Russian Roulette.

First off, if you can actually make it more than 2 or 3 in a row without hitting a "dead" blog, you're lucky.  There's a wasteland of abandoned blogs out there (like THIS one) that make this simple task difficult to perform.  But if you're successful, you'll notice that the first few clicks typically yield other blogs with similar themes (probably fishing), but somewhere along the line start going down a very divergent path.

I did it just before writing this post, these were the results...

1)  Bad Fish
Ok, fly fishing rod and a wet dog, off to a good start...

This one's been around since 2006 and is about fishing.  Still in the right direction...

Fishing, motorcycles, and heavy equipment, cool I guess...

F*ck, this blog is in Swedish.  It's some fishing team with a fondness for swear words... 

Crap, now I'm stuck on Swedish blogs...this is a photography one...there's some pics of a pretty ginger...

More Swedes...and like 2 year olds on trampolines...this blog sucks...we're totally off track now...

7)  TROCAROC
The last one, lucky number 7.  Still Swedish, and I have no idea what's going on.  Looks a little hipster-artsy to me, maybe they're a music act of some sort?  But if you scroll down there's some nightclub with chicks on trapeze and lots of tongues licking things, oh, and THIS...so its definitely got that going for it.  I'd think that it's depicting scenes much like the happenings at an IRON FLY event, except that there are actually females in these pictures too.


So yeah, Troutrageous! to TROCAROC in 7 clicks...
If you have a Blogger-based blog, I'd be curious to see where you end up...

January 4, 2014

Warm Up Your Day With A Dose of Arabian Perms

Big saltwater fish.  Snoop.  Oh my.


Even the fish in this screengrab is like DAYUM!!!


Nice job Ray Montoya.


January 2, 2014

Thursday Is The New Monday

At least this week it is.  Are you back at work today too?  At least it makes for only 2 days until Saturday, so cheers to that!

Snuck out in the downpour that was New Years Day yesterday to try and catch my first fish on the first day of the new year.  It's something I've tried to do since 2010, being successful each time with the exception of 2012.  Luckily, the fates were with me and brought a bass and bluegill to hand before the rain made it through my layers of outerwear and I started getting too soggy.

Here are a few pictures...enjoy the short work week.

aberdeen neighborhood pond
florida bass fly fishing
Redington Pursuit Fly Rod & Reel


January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

May everybody's 2014 be rich with family, friends, fun, and (of course) fish!

New Years Times Square 2014 Troutrageous