August 31, 2014

The Tenkara Customs x Winn Grips Rod Build

I think I'll call her Vapenkara Blue.


I stumbled through my first tenkara rod build last night.  I typically don't carry much initiative to build rods, (or even tie flies) but this one has a little back story.  I won't bore you with excessive details, so here it is, long story short...

When I went to ICAST in July, Winn Fishing had quite a big booth.  One of the grips they had tucked away in a "not for US Distribution" display was a tenkara grip.  I followed up with them after the show with legitimate interest about possibly becoming a dealer (selling tenkara stuff is like the cool thing for TENKARADORKS™ like me to do these days), and received a sample in the mail not too long thereafter.


So what's one to do with a grip but no rod to put it on?  I wasn't really planning on stripping the cork grip off of one of my existing tenkara rods.  I like them fine and didn't want to deal with the hassle.  Enter Tenkara Customs, pretty much one of the only places you can find tenkara blanks online.

I ordered up a 12' blank, as well as the butt & end cap hardware, (all priced relatively reasonably might I add) with the plans of tossing the Winn Grip on there.  This is the result.


However, don't get excited.  There are a few things you should know about the Winn tenkara grips...besides the fact that you probably won't find one for sale in the US.  (I'm backing off the dealer angle for these reasons...and as I mentioned earlier, general lack of ambitions).  

First off, the grip itself is short, like really short, only 7.5 inches long.  In comparison, the Tenkara USA Sato's cork grip (which isn't a large grip by any stretch) is 10.5 inches long.  It's about the same length as the old Tenkara USA Ebisu's wooden grip, if that helps any. 

Second, the inner diameter of the grip is very, very narrow.  It wouldn't fit the handle section of most tenkara rods as-is.  I had to go get a file/reamer/rasp thing from Lowe's and make the hole bigger.  And it was a big P.I.T.A.  The inside of Winn Grip is some sort of hard plastic foam stuff that doesn't want to file away like cork would, so it took a lot of time and muscle (the latter of which I don't have much of) as well as some light hammering, which I wouldn't (and I'm sure Tenkara Custom's doesn't) recommend.


I'm going to send Winn the feedback, which I'm sure they'll "love" to hear, but we'll see where that goes...

In the end though, I'm happy with the result of the build.  Once the grip was the correct inner diameter, the assembly went smoothly and Tenkara Customs provided an excellent "how-to" manual.  I'm going to try and fish the rod either today or tomorrow to see what the blank is like.  Having fished a Redington Vapen Red in the past, I already have somewhat of a feel, (get it?), for a Winn Grip.

August 28, 2014

The 2014 Appalachian Tenkara Jam

Can't make it out to Boulder the last weekend of September?  Is Colorado just too far away?  Perhaps you're just allergic to hippies and stoners...  If that's the case, this alternative tenkara event might be for you.


Not meant to compete with the Tenkara Summit, but rather compliment on the East Coast, the Appalachian Tenkara Jam is being held on October 11th & 12th in Foscoe, North Carolina.

Here is some of the agenda for those interested:

Saturday October 11th 11:00AM - 8:00PM
Day One: Big screen presentations and live demonstrations inside

Sunday October 12th 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Day Two: Casting Clinics, Technique Tutorials, Stream-side Classroom, Small Group Guides

There will be presentations on the tenkara style of fly fishing covering topics such as:

  • Overview: Rods, Lines, Flies
  • Kebari History and current patterns
  • Big Fish Wrangling
  • Small Stream Techniques

And more...

While the official registration is not open yet, there are plenty of details available at the event page located within Facebook...with more details to come.

8/31 EDIT: A webpage has been set up HERE supporting details and registration of this event!

Just something to bookmark and keep on your radar for the time being.  If you've never attended a tenkara (or any fly fishing) get together, they are great fun, and an awesome way to learn a little bit and connect with like-minded anglers.

August 26, 2014

Tenkara Tuesday - Tenkara Summit Preparation

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

There's just about one month to go until the Tenkara Summit in Boulder, Colorado.  Since I'm flying out the Thursday before, there's actually less than one month to go for yours truly!  I haven't gone trout fishing or geeked out with fellow TENKARADORKS™ in a while, so I'm more than a little excited...


I've already got my plane ticket.  (Thank you frequent flyer miles!)  I've scored a hotel room.  I just need to call and arrange for a rental car.  I'm not sure if I'll need to spring for a SUV or not to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park, but I'm sure the folks on the phone will be able to help me out...


As far as gear goes, I figure I should be okay.  I'm sure it'll be getting chilly by then, so I'll bring a packable jacket, my waders and wading boots.  I also have plenty of tenkara rods, lines, and flies.  It might give me a chance to try out some of my newer tenkara rods, see if they have the same magic as my Sato, Iwana, & Ito...


Really, the only thing I'm concerned about is my fitness level.  I'm not in horrible shape, but living at sea level, I wonder what it's going to be like hiking from fishing spot to fishing spot at that altitude?  Maybe I should work on my cardio a bit over the next 30 days...


Oh, and there's that thing about "it" being legal out in Colorado.  It's evidently 4:20 all the time.  That's not really my thing...so no real worries...but to each their own.  I'm not going to rain on your parade.  Can you get the munchies from second hand smoke?


Don't get me wrong, I might not smoke, but I do like a good beer or twelve.  And when I'm tipsy, I like to sing karaoke.  No joke.  And if I'm extra ripe, maybe I'll even dance...which I'd never do otherwise.  Although I'm not dancing with weird, bearded tenkara dudes...hopefully there will be a tenkara-groupie or two in attendance.  I hear chicks dig guys who write stupid fishing blogs and give out free stickers...


Oh man, so much do to...so much to get ready for...so many people to meet!  It's coming so quick, I probably should stop typing and get to packing...


HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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

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.




POSTSCRIPT 11/28/2014:
Evidently, there have been a ton of extremely unflattering allegations surfacing against Mr. Cosby in recent weeks.  This post was written prior to any of these becoming mainstream knowledge, and is in no way a sign of endorsement or support of the alleged actions...nor meant to disrespect any of the victims.  That said, I do not feel compelled to remove this post, as I'm sure if you lived in the 1980s, your memories of the Dr. Cliff Huxtable character would remain fond regardless.

August 25, 2014

The Art Of Peter Perch

Peter Perch is probably one of my favorite artists (not named Owl Jones) at the moment.  I stumbled across his work on Instagram a few months ago, and I just think it's rad.  I don't know much about him, as his Instagram profile simply states, "Fish, fishing and wildlife illustrator based in the Netherlands."

Whatever the case, I dig the style.


If you like it too, do the right thing and check out his website and give him a follow on Instagram...










August 23, 2014

August 19, 2014

The Wife, The Guide, & The Redfish

My wife is a wonderfully observant woman.  Not only can she tell me if the clothes I'm wearing match in the dark of our bedroom before sunrise, but she can spot a tiny bug in the house from over 30 feet away and smell things I try to sneak past her while we're on the sofa watching TV at night.

As such, she also knows that I've been struggling making the transition from freshwater fly fishing to the salt.  We don't talk about my fishing much, but it probably wasn't too hard to ascertain, as many of her innocent inquisitions following my recent outings have resulted in unenthusiastic responses.  

Sure, I could probably make it a little easier on myself by tossing bait like everyone else down here, but I pigheadedly insist on sticking to the fly rod and reel.  Not standing for any more of my floundering (or should I say lack thereof) the wonderful woman that is my wife arranged a guided kayak outing as a birthday present.


I was able to cash in on that thoughtful gift this past weekend when I met local guide extraordinaire, Captain Rich Santos at an undisclosed location in a top secret part of town.  We'll call it the Kurger Bing Larking Pot.

Blindfolded and whisked away to yet another secret location, Rich informed me that the plan for the day was to find tailing redfish in the flooded Spartina grass flats.  As we waited for the water to rise and come in enough to launch our kayaks, he explained the window of time we had to fish and how the tides impacted the marsh, where to walk (and more importantly where not to walk), kayak rigging, local wildlife...fiddler crabs, snails, grasshoppers, marsh hens, etc..., what flies we were going to use, and how to approach and cast to the fish.  Much like the marsh itself, he was flooding me with a fountain of quality information, and I tried my best to drink up every drop.


I have to say, Captain Rich was an excellent guide...patient with my slow paddling, encouraging despite my inaccurate casts, extremely personable...an engaging story teller who put me at ease quickly.  I know guiding is a service industry, but I never once felt like a "customer."  Not once. 


Now this story is supposed to end where I tell you that I caught a redfish, maybe a dozen.  Alas, I didn't...but it certainly wasn't Rich's fault.  He found three (as well as a sheepshead), and I was able to cast to two of them.  The first I outright spooked, the second just didn't want to play, and the third went into the thick stuff before I could get a cast off.  I might have had a few more shots had some scary weather to our south (i.e. lightning in the distance) not chased us off the best flats of the outing...as we were unable to spot any others in the shallower water on the way back in.

Here comes the weather!

You might think I'd be bummed after coming up short, especially considering my recent run of luck.  Actually, it's quite the contrary.  I'm feeling enthusiastic & rejuvenated!  I learned more in the half hour before we actually paddled out than I had in the past year!  Seeing tailing redfish...knowing a bit more about how to approach them and with what...heck, just pushing my limits in my kayak (Rich encouraged me to stand in it for the first time) was a big win.  I know, baby steps.

Who's the big boy standing in his kayak?

I'm also feeling thankful for having an awesome wife who knows just what I need to get out of a rut.  Thanks K.C.


If you happen to be in the Jacksonville, FL area (you know it's on the way if you and your family are driving the I-95 corridor South on the way to visit "The Mouse") and are looking to do some inshore fly or light tackle fishing, Captain Rich Santos is your guy.  Really, I couldn't recommend his services more, no B.S.

Check his site out at First Coast Fly Fishing Unlimited for more information on availability, rates, & packages (as well as some great photos and video).
http://flyfishjax.com/index.html

August 18, 2014

Scenes From Old Shands Bridge Pier

The Old Shands Bridge Pier is no more than a 10 minute drive from my front door.  The original bridge spanning the St. Johns River to Green Cove Springs, found its use for transportation ended in the 1960s.  Today, the renovated remnants provide quite the opportunity for local fishermen to try and bring dinner to hand.  I visited yesterday to find it relatively uncrowded, but full of stories to tell.





















August 15, 2014

Maximize Your Ad Dollars the New JAX Way

You've worked hard at building up your website or blog's audience.  You've spent time creating great content, you've mastered SEO, you've tweeted like crazy, but you're ready to take the next step and spend some money on advertising...

Perhaps you've decided to try a Facebook "sponsored" post... or you've bought Google keywords...or maybe even placed highly visible banner ads on popular websites.

Guess what...  You're doing it wrong.  Horribly.  Wrong.


Come September, we're holding a T! Party on a Rollergirl's leg.  
Can you say high yielding, ass kicking, return on investment?  

Want in?  You know you do...


...or don't...because you're scared of girls...

August 13, 2014

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - The BOTE Rackham 12'

It's been about a week of neglect for the blog...

Really not too motivated to write, but this sweet video of the new BOTE Rackham 12' popped into my inbox yesterday.  Since I teased this SUP a bit in the ICAST/IFTD paddlesports recap a few weeks back, let's do another installment of "The Quest for the Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak"....(TQFTUFFK for short)...


Oh, and if you are hesitating on clicking play, there are scantily-clad women doing chickenfights toward the end.  I need to get over to Destin, pronto.  I mean that's why one lives in Florida, no?


The Rackham will hit dealers' shelves in mid-October.
Take my money now.

August 6, 2014

Do You Yonder?

Probably not.  You're likely thinking, "dude, knock it off with that jibber-jabber..."

If you've noticed in the last few posts, I've been playing around with Instagram quite a bit.  I've been a member for quite some time, but never really got "into" it, as most of the people I follow on Instagram I also follow on Facebook (or to a lesser extent, Twitter), and I end up seeing the same exact pictures twice.

During some downtime at night during my recent vacation I was playing around in the Google Play app store and happened upon Yonder, an Instagram-like app that's targeted at the outdoors crowd.

"Yonder is a community of explorers and wanderers, of climbers and bikers, of skiers and hikers, sharing their love for the outdoors every day."


So why Yonder...especially if I already Instagram?  Honestly, I'm still pretty new at it, so I don't have a definitive answer for you...but I'll list some clear Pros & Cons that I've noticed after about 48 hours of use.

Pros:

  • Outdoor Focused - Pictures are of outdoor pursuits only...no other noise...including ads
  • Not A Lot of Crossover - The people I'm connecting to on Yonder are clearly different than my other social networks
  • Categorization - When you upload a picture, you can categorize it into one of 22 categories - Biking, Hiking, Camping, Paddlesports, Outdoor Photography, Fishing, etc... Hashtags work for collating too, but are not necessary
  • Social Sharing - If so inclined, you can also share on Facebook, Twitter, Email, or Message
  • Google Maps Integration - You can tag your posts with your location.  While not always the best thing to do for fishing, for those that enjoy other outdoor activities, this can be great

Cons:

  • Not a Large Community of Users - Google Play quotes "1,000+ Downloads" for Yonder, whereas it quotes "1,000,000,000+ Downloads" for Instagram
  • Social Sharing - A "pro" above, it's worth nothing that the in-app sharing is not as robust as Instagram, can't share to IG, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook Pages, etc...
  • A Little Buggy - The navigation needs a little work.  I'm using Android, it's not always intuitive on how to get around, especially to go back after clicking into something
  • Who Needs Another Social Network? - Self explanatory

In any event, I like it enough to keep it on my phone for the time being and give it a longer-term trial.  If you want to give it a try, you can check out the Yonder website, and then download either for iPhone or Android accordingly.  If you do, check me out once you get there under troutrageous1.



DISCLAIMER:
This post is simply the result of me being a tech-dork, one that likes to try new things on for size.  Yonder in no way solicited me to write this post.  If they did, they'd have to send me free stuff before I'd write anything, at the very least a coupon for free fro-yo.  Because nothing hits the spot better after hiking, fishing, climbing, or whatever than fro-yo.  Mmmmmm....

August 5, 2014

New Wetfly Website Has Launched

Wetfly re-launched their website yesterday.  In clicking around the various tabs, I couldn't help but notice how the redesign is very bold and attention grabbing, creating a much more engaging experience than in the past.

For those of you not familiar with Wetfly, they offer a relatively small, but complete line of fly fishing products targeted at value & performance.

A screen grab of the new site

Per the press release:

"The launch of the new website is dedicated to educating consumers about the products that Wetfly designs and develops. From their fully ready-to-fish combo kits and Back Country Tenkara Series to the new Nitrogen1 reels and fly lines, the goal is to show consumers that the highest quality doesn’t need to come with a high price.

Over the coming months, expect to see Wetfly in the front of the stage as they focus on existing and new dealer support, new product releases, and sponsorships aimed at protecting the sport of fly fishing.

Throughout the launch of the new website, Wetfly is setting up several Special Offers with discounts on gear and contests for free product through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the site itself."

Check it out when you get a chance and make sure to use the code FACEFLY for 40% off their products, this week only.

August 4, 2014

Farming For Sea Turtles

The Cayman Islands are kind of like Chick-fil-A.  Everything is closed on Sunday.  However, one of the few attractions up and operating is the Cayman Turtle Farm.

Impatiently waiting for the shuttle to arrive

The farm is part conservation, part water park, and part...umm...farm.  Turtle is a traditional dish in the Caymans, and it's gotta come from somewhere.  Although the farm does not directly serve or make it available for sale to tourists, restaurants on the island certainly do.

That bit of knowledge aside, it was a rather fun way to spend an afternoon.  We were able to feed some giant "breeding" turtles that were the size of Volkswagen Beetles...




View some medium sized turtles...my guess is these are the "eaters" if you know what I mean...


As well as handle some of the small turtles.  You could get inside these knee deep tanks if you wished...but we just stayed on the outside.  Much like her phobia of handling hooked fish, Lilly didn't want to pick up the turtles...but it didn't stop K.C. or I.  

(By the way, these suckers swim fast...they'd be a blast on a 3-weight.  That was a joke by the way, well, sort of).


Catch...

...and Release!

In addition to the turtles, there was a large saltwater lagoon where you were able don snorkel equipment and swim around and explore.  There were small fish and turtles in the water, so lots to see.  We didn't do this, but it looked like it was a neat experience.


There were other non-turtle exhibits as well.  A small nature trail with local plants in the rear of the park, an aviary with various island birds, and a nice sized aquarium tank with indigenous fish.




Notice the resting nurse shark to the right of Lilly


We closed out the afternoon cooling off in the freshwater pool adjacent to the fish aquarium.  There was a water slide, and Lilly went down it...oh, about 1,000 times.

In all, a neat little afternoon activity.  Well worth doing...even if it isn't on Sunday.