June 30, 2014

The Great Indoors

She hates the heat, hates bugs, hates getting dirty.  

I think she's afraid to ride her bike.  Seriously.

She loves being around her Dad, but it's tough to get her to go outside.

Perhaps if she had friends in the neighborhood.

She'd rather draw, read, watch TV, or play video games.   Maybe not exactly in that order.  

She loves the "Great Indoors." 

So moments like these are extra special.  I'll take them when I can get them.


Little fish.  Big smiles.

(Did I mention she's also now aware that Dad posts pictures of her on his website?  
We'll see how long this lasts...)

June 29, 2014

June in Florida in Pictures

I've officially been a Floridian for a year.  Check that, I'm just a transplanted Yankee, but I've now lived in Florida for a year.  While I missed most of the month of June last year, after the past 29 days I've found the weather pattern to be pretty predictable.

Morning...

Oh, it's far to hot too get out of bed...

Afternoon...

Can't...move...sun...no...energy...ugh...

Early evening...

Daily lightning Armageddon

Evening...

Oh, it's finally under 100 degrees, maybe I'll try fishing in the last hour of daylight...

5 Minutes Later...

F*CK, here come the mosquitoes...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I suppose being able to fish in the winters without wearing some trendy Nano-Puff jacket make up for it.  (Even though once it gets below 85 degrees down here people break them out anyway...)

You know about Gore-Tex?

June 28, 2014

What To Do With A Floundering Blog...

Re-read some old blog posts last night.
2010, 2011, even some of 2012 were actually pretty good if I were to toot my own horn.

 
Almost daily updates, primarily original content, bad photoshops, silly YouTube videos, chock full of pop culture references, oh, and Lilly...it was awesomesauce.

What the heck happened?

"Malaise" is not really a word I use...because it's fancy, but it's probably the best adjective for this site over the past 2 years.

Malaise?

I've noticed this blog has morphed into some sort of lackluster "fishing report" / tenkara-fetish site.
I mean really, just tell me to knock it off about tenkara already...

In all, a very strange turn of events for the dude who was tossing Panther Martins at stocked trout while wearing rubber hip waders only a few short years ago.

So I'm going to give some thought over the next few days to how resurrect this sucker.  
Not exactly sure what that means, but I do know three things this blog will not become in future posts...

1)  A legitimate fishing news source of any sort
2)  A fountain of regurgitated links...like you know who...too easy, and too many of them already
3)  Dudes in Waders.  No dudes anywhere.  Hell no 

Why even care?  Because if you're going to do something, you might as well do it right. 
Nobody likes reading a floundering blog.  Not even Long John Silver.

However a Bikini Bowfishing blog...



June 26, 2014

Kickstarter - The Pocket Reel

Tenkara eliminated the reel from fishing, now The Pocket Reel seeks to eliminate the rod!


No, this isn't "simple" spin casting, but rather a slimmed down fishing outfit that is good for the survivalist hidden inside of you.  (Think Altoids tin crammed full of band aids and water proof matches).

Well this happens to be a plastic tube that holds a bunch of fishing goodies - bobbers, hooks, lures, on the inside - but is also able to shoot line.  A simple hand-wind brings your lure or bait, and hopefully a fish, to hand.



Oh, and did I mention it floats?


Help Kickstart the Pocket Reel HERE.
With 16 days to go it's almost 90% funded.

June 22, 2014

What's New In Tenkara Gear

The cool thing about the tenkara scene is that new things keep popping up on an almost daily basis...especially when it comes to gear...which one might call somewhat ironic because it's the simplicity that draws a lot of people in.  5 years ago, you could only find a handful of rods.  Today, the cup runneth over!

With that, here are some developments and new releases in tenkara gear in recent weeks...mostly new products...but some you may already be familiar with.

Tenkara Rod Co.

The Tenkara Rod Co. made two new rods available for sale on their website the other day, the 8' Cascade and the 13' Owyhee.  Made to compliment the popular Teton and Sawtooth models, these rods can be bought individually, or as part of kits (with other goodies like lines, flies, etc...)


Streamside Leaders

Streamside Leaders, a company that has long been supplying the tenkara market with furled lines, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch a line of tenkara rods as well.  Targeted at the "value conscious" angler, I'm not 100% sure of all of the specs of the rod, but it looks nicely executed.


The Tenkara Shop

Jason Klass (who many of you may be familiar with as the author of the Tenkara Talk blog) has brought over the highly sought after, yet hard to easily obtain in the US, high performance Japanese rods designed by "Tenkara no-Oni," Masami Sakakibara, and is offering them through a new online store called The Tenkara Shop. Retailing at just under $300, these rods might not be for every tenkara angler, but for the enthusiast, they are worth checking out. The Tenkara Shop also carries quite a few other unique accessories, such as wooden fly boxes and line holders.


Causwell

Causwell isn't a fishing brand, it's an outdoor lifestyle brand that you may recognize from the snow sports scene. That said, nothing compliments the mountains where one might use a snowboard, like a compact fly fishing rod ready to go when you are. These rods will catch your eye if nothing else!


Badger Tenkara

Badger's been around for a little bit, but I'm not certain that I've mentioned them on the blog before. They offer a nice round assortment of products, from the $85 Classic, to rods with different and unique custom wooden handle treatments. Check it out, there's lots to see on their site.


Riverworks Company

Riverworks doesn't sell tenkara rods just yet, but they have noted on Facebook that a limited run of tenkara rods will be made available starting July 1st.  What makes these unique?  Check out the carbon fiber handles!!!  Like them on Facebook to keep up with the goings on.


TenkaraBum

While I don't think there are any new headliners from TenkaraBum, one of the pages I bookmark on his site is the "This Just In..." page.  This is where Chris notes all of the new, fresh inventory to his store, be it completely new, or re-orders of popular favorites.  Chris is a great resource (and my preferred resource) for those hard-to-find items sourced directly from Japan.


Discover Tenkara

Last but not least, through a collaboration with Tenkara USA, the UK-based Discover Tenkara team now has their instructional DVD, "Discovering Tenkara" available for sale in the United States.  For those that don't know, European DVDs don't play in American DVD players, so after some digital conversion, these will finally be able to be consumed by the US market.



So with all of these great new options (and I know I missed more than a few), get out there and discover your own tenkara this summer!  While I'm pretty loyal to Tenkara USA and their offerings, there are now so many different products and pricepoints, there is no excuse not to give tenkara a try!

June 19, 2014

Oh, So I Was In Vero Beach Last Week...

...and didn't catch any fish.

But that's OK, I didn't try especially hard.

The Mrs. & I spent an adults only retreat in Vero Beach last week.  She nabbed some deal on Travelzoo or Travelocity or Groupon or somewhere like that for a few nights at the ever so swanky Vero Beach Hotel & Spa.

While the hotel was very nice, we had no idea the part of Vero Beach we were staying in was really, really quiet and probably more aligned to the AARP crowd (no offense to my older readers).  As such, it pretty much shuts down daily at 4PM.  Oh well...nothing wrong with eating dinner at 2:30 I guess...

I swear this picture was in focus when I took it...

I do have to admit, the old folk hotel bar scene is pretty interesting to observe.  Abundant "Golden Girls" all Jean Nate'd up, tossing back vodka after vodka on the rocks.  If I wasn't happily married, I soooo could have gotten lucky.  I actually hope they made it back to their rooms okay, because you know what happens if they fall and break a hip...

I think the highlight was when an older Englishman(?) came over and straight up questioned the bartender's manhood.  He demanded to sniff the Remy Martin bottle, because according to him "I'm from Europe, and we know VSOP....this isn't VSOP!" holding high the glass of cognac from which he had just sipped.  It was one of those things you had to be there for I guess...

I probably shouldn't make fun.  I'm 100% certain us Tenkaradorks™ hanging out en masse at the hotel bar at last year's Tenkara Summit trading furled line recipes and intently discussing the merits of Hungarian partridge in kebari tying are far, far lamer than any the above.  Truth.

We did get in a beach day (really just a morning, it rains every afternoon in Florida this time of year), where in between relaxing on the lounge chairs and standing in the waves I tried my luck at fishing from the beach again.


Well, I actually tried twice, first the night we got there in the waning hours of daylight...which went horribly wrong.  It was at high tide and all of the seaweed or whatever was was being washed from the beach into the surf.  Wasn't easy to strip a clouser through that crap without getting hung up.

Crab, not crap

The second day was much calmer, but I couldn't get anything to bite.  Actually, we did see a snook when I happened to be in the water without my fly rod; it buzzed our feet in the shallows and freaked K.C. out sending her back to her beach chair immediately.  She doesn't enjoy the concept of fish touching her.


So like I said,  no fish, but not a loss. because we did go on an SUP eco-tour up in nearby Melbourne Beach on Friday morning.  That was pretty sweet, paddling through the mangroves.  There was even a manatee sighting and a few dolphin.  It was both our first times on SUPs, and it took about 15 minutes to get my sea legs...and then all was good.  I'm so getting one.  I don't think K.C. was a fan.

Shame I didn't have my rod (or quite the coordination yet to cast it from the SUP)...as the base of those mangroves just looked ever so fishy.


Oh, and did I mention dolphins?  P.S., they're everywhere.  I spotted these 4 or 5 when I was taking a stroll through a community park in Vero Beach (like I said, everything else closes early, so you have to find things to do).  Perhaps they're the ones chasing all of the fish away...bastards...


All in all, it was a successful mission.  Yeah, no fish...but mornings of sun, an SUP adventure, ornery old-heads, valet parking, Jack & Cokes, and of course, time with the wife sans kid.  All is good...well, except that now I'm no longer on vacation...  Boo.

June 17, 2014

Tenkara Tuesday - Vagabox Does Florida

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

Vagabox arrived yesterday.  I had (somewhat intentionally) steered clear of this character of ill repute for quite some time, however I'm sort of freaked out happy to report that he's going to be residing just south of Jacksonville until the end of June.


Don't know of the Vagabox?  No, it's not THIS.  Allow me to explain.

The Backstory

Since May of 2012 a fly box without a home has been roaming the country from tenkara angler to tenkara angler.  In addition to their hospitality, each recipient commits to fishing the flies contained within without reservation, chronicling their time with this unseemly interloper, and feeding him a few flies of their own recipe until ready to pass along to the next foster family.


The Flies

As you can see, Vagabox has seen some good times.  Especially out West.  In his current state, two years since he chose the transient lifestyle, he's acquired lots of flies of all shapes, sorts, and sizes.

He's honestly in quite the state of disrepair.  He's taped together at the hinges, as it appears somewhere along the way he literally took to crack...and his foam is all warped due to melted glue.  He could probably use a bath and a tetanus shot too.



The Log Book

The best part about Vagabox (in my opinion)  probably isn't the fly box itself, but the small journal that accompanies him like a hobo's satchel.  Crammed full of handwritten stories, notes, diagrams, and photos, you have the opportunity to follow Vagabox's journey across the country, before adding to it yourself.  I started reading a few pages and once I figured out how to decipher some of the handwriting, I found it's really great stuff.  Plus if you're "into" consuming online tenkara info, you'll instantly recognize the names of the people that have played the role of host in the past.

 
 


Want In?  (I Know You Do)

Much like any great idea, many people eagerly signed up to take in Vagabox in the beginning.  The waiting list was long and he traveled often.  Two years later...he's unfortunately almost forgotten.

Perhaps it's because Vagabox is rude and disheveled and has a tendency to speak in Spanish.  Could be his alcohol problem and STDs.  Honestly, I can't pinpoint it.  There is a person that is in line after me to assume responsibility of Vagabox come July, but beyond that...seems like fair game for those brave enough to offer their services.

So if you're an interested tenkara angler, check out THIS THREAD over in the Tenkara USA forum and sign up to take him in during the back half of 2014.  There are many places Vagabox hasn't seen yet.  Your stream, creek, river, pond, or lake is probably one of them.

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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.

June 10, 2014

Fly Fishing In The Surf: Baby Steps

I wanted to take the kayak down to Mosquito Lagoon on Sunday.  However there was a threat of rain, and you don't mess with boats and rain in Florida.  I don't even live in South Florida, but the rain can be off the hook crazy here.  Especially when lightning is involved.  So screw that.  Instead I figured I'd go somewhere that I could wade and fish, and escape somewhat quickly, should the skies begin to unleash their fury.

Moving south from the outing a few weeks ago at Crescent Beach, I decided to take a trip down to New Smyrna Beach, just below Daytona.  It's been really enjoyable checking out the different beaches in Florida, not just as fishing spots, but recreational destinations, as each have their own unique characteristics.  


Base camp was Smyrna Dunes Park, at the bottom end of the Ponce de Leon Inlet.  It's a very dog friendly beach that offers (extremely popular & crowded) jetties to fish off of as well as a large sand bar to wade out onto.  It's not grass flats like those in South Florida, but it does get you quite a bit out into the waterway...the only peril being the omnipresent waverunners...


I have to say, I really enjoyed this beach spot.  It was a pretty hot day, low 90s, so there were a lot of people doing the beach thing at the various entrance points; however with ample beach and the beauty of the dunes in the background, I had no problem finding calmer places to drop in and do some casting.

Heck, I actually hooked a fish this time - yeah no kidding!  My first one fly fishing off the beach (I still don't count THIS ONE since it didn't fight) - and while this was "only" a ladyfish, it jumped three times and was pretty fun to fight.  It kicked the hook on the third leap so I never got it to hand, but RWK says they poop on you anyway, so I feel a little better today about that long distance release.

I actually think I'll go back down to New Smyrna Beach some point and give it another try.  Next time (hopefully) with KC & Lilly in tow.  Most of the places I've fished to date haven't been terribly family friendly, so I haven't really thought to see if they wanted to come along...but this beach is.  Lilly would absolutely go nuts with all of the dogs.

Here are a few more pictures of the day:





Did that tortoise follow me from Crescent Beach?


Dead

Lots of dolphins


June 4, 2014

New Tenkara USA Website Launches

Looks like the new Tenkara USA website has launched...


Big pictures and fonts, integration of video, and a new shopping format create a pretty unique experience that is a far departure from the original, static website they've used for the last few years.  It's also a responsive design, so it displays well on all formats of consumption - desktop, tablet, or smartphone.  I'm all for change, and even though I'm probably biased since I love tenkara and anything online that's bold and media-rich, I think this is a positive (and overdue) update.

Per the press release:

Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, says, “The web has evolved since we started the company in 2009, and there are many new tools to help us effectively tell the story we’re trying to share. It was time to invest in a new platform to share the great amount of content we have created over the years. I think this may be one of the best examples in content marketing available anywhere.”
The new Tenkara USA website launches today with products, videos, techniques and lots of information. Additionally, for customers wanting to find local resources, the new website features a “Tenkara Community” page, and the “Tenkara Guide Network”, a directory of guides who use tenkara as their preferred method of fishing, as well as a listing of tenkara dealers throughout the country.

Check out the new site HERE.