January 29, 2015

Silence Is Golden...False Albacore On The Fly

Last week this blog was straight up chatty...this week, totally antisocial.
Sorry about that, although I'm sure none of you really noticed.

Due to lack of original content, here's a video I'm lazily embedding off of Vimeo. It's fly fishing for false albacore by New England on the Fly.  Who knows...maybe I even beat Moldy Chum to posting this video...because it seems like two thirds of their posts these days are Vimeo videos...

Anyway, enjoy!

My line of real work (no, writing a sub-par fly fishing blog doesn't pay the bills) gets super crazy nuts this time of year...specifically the last two weeks of January and the first-ish week of February. There's a rather large game in Arizona this weekend that requires that I put in something like 18 hour days over and over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's part of my job, and I know it's coming each year, so I'm not looking for pity, just explaining why the fishy content has been lacking as of late. 

Word to your mutha.

January 24, 2015

Fishing Haturday - Crooked Creek Holler

I like hats. I've got way too many in my closet to ever wear, yet when it comes time to thin the herd, if I happen to let one go, I usually just end up acquiring three more.

As such, I thought I'd occasionally post some fishing hats that have caught my eye. Doesn't mean I own them (yet), just that I'm pickin' up what they're puttin' down. Warning, I really don't care for flat brims but am partial to trucker hats, (not the type with foam fronts), so you may end up seeing a trend over time.

Today's Fishing Haturday featured hat is...

The Navy Trout Hat from Crooked Creek Holler

I've taken a liking to Crooked Creek's trout logo. This hat also comes in other colors, like brown, orange, and various shades of camo. The navy one pictured above is probably my favorite though, kinda business in the front and a party in the back, and can be had for a mere $24.

January 23, 2015

The Top Selling Fly Fishing Item On Amazon.com

I'm an Amazon.com junkie. My wife signed our family up for Amazon Prime a year or two ago and I just haven't looked back since. Honestly, it's just so much easier to have something show up at your door in 2 days then drive wherever to find whatever. Every single Christmas present I bought for someone else came from Amazon. Every...single...one...which is crazy, because I work for a (competing) e-commerce company myself.

My doorstep, every 3rd day...

Anyway, I never really thought to use Amazon to acquire fly fishing gear besides maybe books...you know the mantra, "support your local fly shop"...but I was curious to see what they offered.  You can find some random, yet familiar items and brands via their marketplace, but most of it is a hodgepodge of gobbledygook.

Do you know what the #1 selling fly fishing item (non book) on Amazon is?

An Eagle Claw fly rod?
Budget Scientific Anglers fly line?
A generic Kenyan-tied fly assortment?
Maybe nippers...or tippet spools...or hooks?

How about this beauty...

Four Stars of E-Glass & EVA Foam fury

I'm not going to knock a "starter outfit," as we all get our starts somewhere and not everyone can sling a Sage, but I do find it odd in reading the customer reviews that the kit includes fly line and a leader...but umm...has no backing? They must not expect you to get into any fish that might take any line, but whatever...what does one expect for $21.99? (Besides about 10 or 11 gallons of gas, something I never thought I'd ever write). I sort of want to pick one up as the ultimate "beater" rod.

Somewhat coincidentally, I stumbled upon THIS press release the other day recapping the highlights of Amazon's holiday season and found it to be an extremely interesting read. Their most popular Outdoors items over the holidays probably weren't what you'd think they were either. A personal water filter, a thermal blanket, and hand warmers. I guess the Crystal River combo didn't rank...

January 22, 2015

A Hydrophobic Material Inspired By Dr. Evil?

A few years ago there was a bit of a buzz created by a coating called "NeverWet" that made whatever material you applied it to extremely hydrophobic (water repellent). Many people that saw the product (and also fished) mused that it could eventually be used on waders, boots, rain jackets, rods, reels, and even flies as a floatant.

Once it was licensed out to Rust-Oleum as a consumer product for home use, I seem to recall some folks purchasing it and having mixed results in their mad scientist experiments. It did generally repel water, but not as efficiently as in the promo videos.

Anyway...fast forward to today, and scientists at the University of Rochester have evidently created a laser etched metal that is completely hydrophobic and anti-corrosive, with no need for topical lotions or potions. What the WHAT? I mean frickin' laser beams!

In the video below they talk a bit more about the process as well as potential applications such as waterless toilets in 3rd world countries... Now I don't know if this has fly fishing applications, (perhaps in reels?), but it's still pretty damn cool.


January 21, 2015

The Paradox of the Fragile Trout...

It doesn't take a lot of reading (either internet or print) for one to stumble upon some resource stating that fish, particularly trout, need to be handled with extreme care upon being caught.

As such, there are barbless hooks, rubber catch nets, and movements, such as "Keep 'Em Wet" which stresses reduced exposure to air, that are all aimed at reducing the catch & release trout mortality rate.

Image Courtesy Native Fish Society

In concept, this all sounds good to me. I'm on board. I already use barbless hooks and make sure to wet a hand first when handling fish in an effort to protect the slime coat. Plus, anyone that's fished with me knows that the fish I do photograph sit in my net in the water until I'm ready to take a quick picture.  Heck, sometimes I don't even take them out at all.

But if this all comes back to trout mortality...and people are openly willing to condemn someone who so even slightly mishandles a trout...well I guess what I'm saying is if trout are so fragile, and we're all so concerned about their welfare, why do we fish for them in the first place?  

I mean you can pick up fragile item (like a drinking glass) gently, place it on the table softly, but you're not going to ask your buddy to toss it across the room to you like a baseball first, right?  The odds of it surviving that ordeal are just not in its favor, even before you get your hands on it.  Perhaps not the best comparison, but you get the point.

Look, I'm not trying to get all PETA here, (abhorrent is not the word for those clowns), but as anglers we're jamming a sharp hook in the mouth of an unsuspecting trout, dragging it through the water against its will, stressing and likely exhausting it in the process, all in the name of sport. Unless of course you plan to eat what you catch, but these days even that seems to be frowned upon by the vocal "majority."  Thank you social media for that omnipresent guilt trip.

Maybe as conscientious anglers we shouldn't be fishing for the delicate trout at all, rather focusing on more hardy species like the bluegill that seem to thrive in every body of freshwater big and small, are regularly "mishandled" by trout standards, and only seem to come back begging for more.

Who knows, maybe those of us who tend to focus our efforts toward catching (and inadvertently mishandling) wild/native trout are the biggest sinners of them all? Perhaps we should just focus on stocked trout, which less face it, are largely intended to be "put and take" fish. At least the kind I'm thinking of. Heck, in some remote places trout get stocked by dropping them from the sky

In the end, I'm not going to stop trout fishing. That'd certainly make for a crappy blog. I'm also not asking you to either. It's great that more focus is being placed on trout "safety" than probably ever before...and I'm in on all counts. This little paradox in trout welfare is just food for thought...and perhaps a catalyst for conversation.  

Comments (as always) are welcomed below.  There was certainly no science or research applied to this little ramble, so if you want to drop some knowledge, come and get 'em.  Just remember, I'm on the fish's side here too.

January 20, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Jersey Natives

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

As a member of Trout Unlimited, I receive a copy of TROUT magazine every so often in the mail. I'm sure more than a handful of you do as well.

The Winter 2015 issue contains all of the usual conservation content you'd expect to be in a magazine published by TU, but the article entitled "Jersey Natives" really caught my eye.

I think it's just because I've always been a fan of Joe Cermele's writing since I first noticed it on the old "Honest Angler" blog he used to write alongside John Merwin on Field & Stream.com. (You can now find him on "The Lateral Line" blog).

Some sweet Paul Puckett illustrations accompany the article as well...

What does this have to do with tenkara? Not all that much; the loose association being that he does mention that during his quest for native brook trout on the tight quarters of a New Jersey small stream that he was using a tenkara rod as his tool of choice. He also describes a bit of the "fun" that happens when you miss setting the hook and send your tenkara line into the overhead branches. Been there...

Anyway, even if you aren't a Trout Unlimited member, you can check out this article for free on the TU website this month via this LINK or this LINK. Like the large majority of Joe's writings, it's entertaining and worth the read...


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 19, 2015

The First In What Will Surely Be A Hot Mess of Go Pro Video

One of the "perks" of being into fishing when none of your friends and family have any interest in it is that on holidays...be it birthdays, Christmas, you name it...they undoubtedly gift you with either Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops gift cards.  This holiday season was no exception, and my stack of plastic from Bass Pro was quite formidable.

I decided to spend that funny money on a GoPro.  4 Silver to be exact.  Not that I'm going to make awesome videos or anything, just because I was kicking myself that I didn't take more video out in Colorado last year, and I didn't want to repeat that wherever I went to fish this year.  Plus, I can mount the sucker on my kayak, or Lilly's bike, or K.C.'s roller derby helmet or whatever...

Long story short, I snuck out to fish for like an hour and a half yesterday.  The weather was nice, but pretty breezy.  Caught a few fish, and goofed around with the GoPro for a bit too.  No sick edits here...ain't nobody got time for dat...but this is a quick video of a bass I caught on the tenkara rod yesterday...

Note to self - hold the damn fish closer to the camera next time...

January 16, 2015

You So Knotty - Confession of a Knot Novice

Confession. I only tie one fishing knot.

Courtesy: Fishingtieknots.com

Maybe that's a bit of a lie. On the rare occasions that I need to, I do know how to tie a nail knot to connect fly line to backing and an arbor knot to attach backing to reel. However on the whole, the only knot I tie for like 99% of my tippet to fly connections (which are 99% of my knot tying situations) is the improved clinch knot. Heck, I used it when I was fishing with spinning tackle and lures and using swivels and all that stuff too. It's quick, easy, and seems to faithfully get the job done.

That said, I also tend to catch small fish. I like chasing small stream trout and (out of convenience) the stuff that lives in freshwater ponds. I'm sure my improved clinch will fail me at some point should I ever hook that big carp or redfish or manatee (joking), but I really don't recall any situations where I lost a fish due to the knot being the weak point.

Is there another knot I should be trying? I've heard the mono loop knot is good for streamers...but other than that, is there a reason to learn an Orvis or Davy or some other knot to connect a tippet to fly? Or am I being wise to keep the tangled messes to a minimum? 

What knots do you utilize in your fishing and why?

January 15, 2015

F&S - The Outdoorsman's Guide To Social Media

Have you read the article in Field & Stream, The Outdoorsman's Guide To Social Media?

If not, take 5 minutes and read it, and come on back.
It's not that long.  I'll wait....


OK, are you back?  So what do you think about it?

The Flow Chart

The middle section of this article, "What Kind of Social Media Outdoorsman Are You?" was probably the article's highlight. I think the author nailed the four primary characterizations of a social media user...although there probably could have been one or two more added to the mix...such as the "Oblivious Narcissist"... Umm, guilty as charged.

The flow chart pointed out that I'm an "Addict," which probably isn't too far off. While I try to be a "Buddy," I definitely like technology and goofing around on social media. I don't think I'm guilty of Instagramming my entire day or speaking purely in Twitter hashtags, but I've been known to do both. It was my answer to the hashtag filled sentence that actually sealed my fate in this exercise.

Fortunately, when out on the water or walking a trail, my phone/camera largely goes unused, maybe only to snap a quick pic of caught fish or two. And liking, texting, or tweeting aren't even a thought.

Oh heck, who am I kidding. I'm an addict. The first step to recovery is admission...although I don't see it getting "better" anytime soon.  I'm too vain to not think that everyone wants to see the awesomeness that I'm up to...

I'd be curious to know what kind of social media outdoorsman you were identified as. If you're reading this, my guess is either an "Addict" or "Buddy," but I'm sure there are also some "High-Fence Hecklers" out there too.

My Two Cents

This article had good intentions but was damn tough on the eyes.  It had very little structure which made it a bit confusing and a choppy read. I thought the first 3 sections about Trolls, Causes, Poachers were somewhat on point, but they just didn't really transition well from the introductory paragraph.  I suppose they were examples of how social media can "promote and protect the outdoors."  By the way, I hope this critique doesn't make me a "High-Fence Heckler," because I really did enjoy the piece...wouldn't have written about it if I didn't.

I will say that I somewhat wonder the impact Social Media has from a cause standpoint. When a group like Trout Unlimited posts something on Facebook about Saving Bristol Bay or Stopping Fracking in the Northeast, do they get anything tangible out of it other than some Likes? I've always viewed Likes as a passive interaction...not even an indication of increased awareness. It'd be interesting to see some statistics relating "call to action" social posts back to actual monetary donations, or even better, man hours donated.

What say you?

January 13, 2015

This Made My Morning

Might not be everyone's taste in fishing blogs, but I'm certainly glad to see he's going to give it another try...

It's certainly more fun around here when my buddy in Georgia is creating some fishing content.

So when we going fishing again?
I've got some graphite cane poles with your name on them.

January 6, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - 2015 Tenkara Magazine

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

As if this blog does not already serve as a giant, shameless act of self-promotion, I'm going to plug the most recent issue of Tenkara Magazine.  Especially...ahem...page 33.

While "Purple Fly" is not the longest piece I've ever written, as it was originally intended to be a blog post, I'll certainly take it as a first foray into print.  (Thank you whomever did the editing!)  In case you were wondering, it's a short about my daughter Lilly's re-kindled interest in fishing.  What did you expect...a Tenkara Sasquatch exposé?

But don't just read it for my nonsense, there are also several contributions from other "friends of the blog," such as Chris "Kiwi" Kuhlow, who submitted a great piece on Saltwater tenkara.

I'm sure that most that are interested in this kind of magazine have already placed their orders, but for the few holdouts, or those that missed the release over the holidays, the 2015 Tenkara Magazine is available HERE.


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 4, 2015

Leave The Fly Rods At Home

I fished from the wooden pier that's near my house yesterday.
Like with a spinning rod and bait and all that stuff.
Crazy, right?  I know, it's been a while...

I didn't catch anything, but that's OK...nobody else out there was having any luck either.
Honestly, it's the first time I brought a rod, so I don't even know what I'm supposed to catch there...
Probably donkeytail scuttlebutt...or a bespectacled marlin...or Apalachicola seahorses...I'm pretty sure they're all native to these waters.

I'll take the skunk...I can think of far worse places to be the first week of January.

January 3, 2015

First Fish of 2015

I didn't get out on New Year's Day, but had to take a few minutes yesterday to catch a fish to wash the skunk off of 2015.

Now it wasn't the biggest fish...or the most dramatic fight, but I used some PicMonkey magic to certainly make it the most fabulous...

Hell yeah.  Who says fly fishing isn't hardcore?

January 2, 2015

Exploring Florida - The Jacksonville Zoo

We've lived in Jacksonville-area for a year and a half and never made the drive up the I-95 corridor to the Jacksonville Zoo.  Not sure why...just never did...which is a little unexpected because we were members of two zoos back in Pennsylvania.

Well with nothing really on the agenda for New Year's Day, and the College Football Playoff games not starting until later in the day, thought it would be a good way to spend some family time together, away from electronics, and outdoors in the fresh (albeit overcast and somewhat brisk for Florida) air.

I'll spare you the tales of each exhibit.  I'll just say I was pleasantly surprised.  I'm not sure what I was expecting heading in, but the variety of animals large and small, domestic and exotic, was rather impressive, and each of which were cared for and presented in extremely nice facilities.  I have a feeling it won't take another year and a half for us to visit again.

Now I did forego my annual New Year's Day fishing outing to go to the zoo, (examples of such from prior year's HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE), but it was worth it.  These fish were pretty plump though...wonder what fly they'd take?  Should have packed the tenkara rod...

January 1, 2015