March 30, 2015

Dink Bass - Tenkara Edition

In lieu of a good post, check out this video of a little dink bass I caught yesterday.
Still trying to get a feel of where to position the GoPro when I'm wearing it...


One of these days I'll actually make a worthwhile edit. Or not.

Oh, and I guess while you're just clicking on random things, check out Fishlicker tees on Teespring... because who doesn't need a new fishing tee? I'm partial to this one, although there are a few others that are pretty sweet too...

Fishlicker-Tees-Fly-Fishing-Tenkara

March 23, 2015

Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?

...must have been the Valley Creek trout.

When presented with the need to be in Philadelphia for a few business meetings, I jumped at the chance to head up and get back on my "home" trout water, Valley Creek.

Foot_Bridge_At_Valley_Creek_Pennsylvania

From 2009 to 2013, I probably fished Valley Creek at least every other weekend.  It was a 15 minute drive from my front door. It was where I caught my first trout on the fly. It was where I first fished tenkara. It was also a place that I knew like the back of my hand, and wasn't afraid to show others where to find the fish.

Ever since I moved to Florida, Valley hasn't been to kind to me during my sporadic returns. I had an underwhelming outing a year and a half ago...and this time...well, I went 0 for 2 again. 

Saturday just wasn't a good day. While it was tropical by Philadelphia standards (low 50s), it was the day after an early-Spring snowfall. The banks were a slurry of melting snow and mud, the sun refused to come out for the majority of the day, and it was just downright dreary. The scenery wasn't bad though.

covered-bridge-at-valley-creek-pennsylvania

I saw a few fish, honestly not many, but they just weren't active. They were all holding low in deep pools, not moving a muscle to any of my offerings. I even broke out some of the "break glass in emergency" nymphs, but they just weren't budging. I suppose it's somewhat symptomatic of this time of year, as looking back at fishing reports of years' past, February & March were always tough months to fish Valley, things never really picked up much until April.

Spring is trying to...spring...

On Sunday, the original plan was to meet up with Steven Smith from The Silent Pursuit blog around noon and give Valley a shot. We had worked this out ahead of my Saturday outing. It was actually to be about 10 degrees colder than Saturday, so I texted him to let him know that the prior day wasn't all that epic.  Basically I wanted to spare him a 40 minute drive for fishing I knew was going to be less than stellar.

I almost bailed on fishing completely, spending most of the afternoon in the King of Prussia Mall instead, but I did pop over for an hour or so around 3:30 PM, just to see if with the sun still relatively high in the sky, if there were any sort of bugs in the air or fish rising. Again, no dice. I wet a line in some of the spots that used to be tried and true producers, but no luck. Not even a nibble. I drowned my sorrows in a Wawa hoagie afterward.

dead-trout
A failed catch & release

I have to admit that it's a little disheartening to visit a place you miss so much, wish was closer to (your new) home, and never took for granted.  I know it's not really the creek or the trout's fault, it just would have been nice to have some success, even if only minimal.

A book of witchcraft found creekside?
Maybe that's why the fish weren't biting...

If one can take solace in something, I was really pleased to see a lot of twenty-somethings also fly fishing at Valley over the past two days. In all the years of me fishing Valley, I'd say the overwhelming majority of anglers I'd pass on the water appeared to either be guys like me in their 30s or 40s or anglers that were even more seasoned than that. 

It was extremely rare to see younger anglers at Valley, but this weekend I'd say 6 of the 8 anglers I hopscotched on the banks were decidedly younger than me. The few I chatted with seemed knowledgeable about fly fishing and very personable (which can be rare trait among anglers). One even knew what my tenkara rod was and asked a few questions about it. 

As a flight back to Florida awaits on Tuesday, Valley Creek is their creek now. I'm happy it appears to be in good hands.

March 19, 2015

Quick Trip, Quick Ties

Headed back to Philly this weekend. Well, the suburbs of King of Prussia & Conshohocken to be exact. (Those are city names, can't make that up).

Have a meeting up there on Monday morning, so figured I'd spend the few days prior preparing by loading up on hoagies, "whiz wit" cheesesteaks, & soft pretzels. Weather looks nice on Saturday and Sunday...I'm sure folks up in the Delaware Valley will be wearing tank tops and shorts.


I'm going to try and do a little fishing while I'm up there. Hope the creeks don't get blown out from rain the night before, I'm sure they're high and dirty to begin with (just like I like my women). I suppose I'll hit Valley Creek, since many of the other waters are closed for the month for trout stocking. We'll see. 

Did work on tying up some beadhead "road kone" kebari last night to fill some holes in my fly box...I have about a half dozen more to tie before I'll be happy with my assortment for the trip.

tenkara road kone cone kebari fishing fly

Anyway, that's pretty much it from here. Hope your neck of the woods is finally springing into Spring and you're focusing on fishy pursuits this weekend too. 

March 15, 2015

Exploring Florida - Kennedy Space Center & Ft. Walton Beach

It's been a fast & furious past four days...

Was lucky enough to play hooky from work on Thursday & Friday to make for a long weekend, which was also the start of Lilly's spring break.

However, before the kids got off from school, they had their "big" class trip of the year to Kennedy Space Center which is about 2 hours south of Jacksonville. I volunteered to chaperone, and totally geeked out big time and turned into a 9 year old again instantly. I mean a real freakin' space shuttle!









After that we headed across the Florida panhandle as a family for a few days. I brought the fly rod, but didn't end up fishing at all. We were busy. Spent some time at the beach, then the "Gulfarium" (where the sea lion show is a can't miss), and finally watching the wife's roller derby team beat down the locals (the reason why we headed 5ish hours west in the first place)...








Man, what a weekend. Absoultely no fishing...so much driving...but so much fun. 
Maybe I can play hooky from work tomorrow too...

March 11, 2015

Video - Fly Fishing for Shad on the Upper St. Johns River

Look Mom, your son's in a video!


Captain Rich Santos just uploaded a video edit of our outing in February that I highlighted last month HERE on the blog .

If you're curious what Florida's "Shad Alley" is all about, check it out!
(Thanks for the video Rich!)

If you happen to be in the Jacksonville area and want to get a rod bent, a full list of Captain Rich's guide services (as well as many other resources) are available on his website flyfishjax.com.



March 10, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - Brazilian Tenkara Koi

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

Carlos Andre Blatt, a tenkara angler from Brazil, had a run in with a koi recently and posted this great video to the Tenkara Florida Facebook group.


What makes this even better, (and you have to pay close attention to really notice this in the video) is that he's not fishing with a short tenkara rod, his rod actually broke when initially fighting the fish, leaving him with only the top section to bring the fish to hand!
"...I thought it was ready to surrender and I pulled the rod backwards to bring it closer to grab the line. Then he suddenly swam away in a last power sprint. I wasn't able to react properly and forgot to bring rod back to its power position...."
Photo Courtesy - Carlos Andre Blatt

All I can say is great catch!

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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.

March 9, 2015

Birthday Browns Part II

Had a bit of time to burn last night.
I'm in Houston on business until Tuesday-ish and the weather has sucked. Rainy...messy, bleh.

So rather than just sitting in the hotel bar all night drinking way more than I should on a Sunday night, I caught up on some fly fishing videos. Specifically this one from WildFlyProductions, which was pretty entertaining.


Lots of trouty goodness, a few drone aerial shots, and possibly a good soundtrack (if you're into that sort of music). If we can't be on a trout stream, we might as well live vicariously through these guys...

From the Vimeo description: 
Another birthday well spent and what better place than the Davidson river. Birthday Browns part II was not planned but it just so happened that about a month after Shane's birthday was Scottie's and our destination was the Davidson river. Scottie also pulled in 2 nice browns on this day thus living up to the name "Birthday Browns." We got to meet up with Conor Howard and Jack Tamborski from Tuck Fly Shop in Bryson City, NC. Jack and Connor being guides, really showed us a lot and we had a blast fishing with them.

March 5, 2015

Anybody Read Japanese?

Ok, I'm pretty sure that I've finally gone too far with this tenkara thing.

I recently ordered what one might call a "tenkara magazine" from Japan that I can't read.
Let me repeat that, 162 pages...zero English.
I was curious to see how different it might be from an American fishing magazine (language aside).
It came in the mail yesterday...

Headwater-Tenkara-Magazine-Spring-2015-Issue
Headwater Spring 2015

Try explaining that concept to your wife when she asks you what you ordered via registered mail...that she also had to go pick up at the post office...because the USPS wouldn't leave it at our door while I was at work.

At least the pictures are nice.

Tenkara-Eye-Candy

And there are some interesting gear diagrams that I can somewhat make out.

Tenkara-Guide-Graphic

In some ways, it's kind of like getting a Playboy magazine.
Pages and pages of words that go totally unread.

No centerfold though.

Where's my rod and reel?

March 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Lilly!

Holy smokes, today is Lilly's 9th birthday!

Pic from the first day of school...

It's a little crazy...if you use the age of 18 to represent "adulthood," (although that's certainly debatable these days), she's halfway there. A scary thought for a Dad of a one and only child, a daughter at that.

Lilly's growing up to be quite the awesome kid. Although I don't share quite as much about her on the blog anymore due to her expanding independence (and my subsequent concern over internet "creepers"), my wife and I couldn't be any prouder of the little person she's become over the past nine years. Great grades in school, a passion for reading, a creative mind, plus she's on her way to becoming a black belt in karate, so umm...teenage boys...don't mess with her in a few years! (Now if we could only get her to take a shower in less than 45 minutes...)

So I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge her birthday here. She still loves to see her picture on the computer screen (which I'm sure will be "embarrassing" in a few more years) and well, this blog will always be about "Fishing, Lilly, & Utter Nonsense."

Happy Birthday "Knee."

March 3, 2015

Tenkara Tuesday - 2015 Midwest Tenkara Fest

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday.

I've wanted to fish the Driftless for a while...and now I finally have an excuse.

Midwest-Tenkara-Fest-2015-Coon-Valley-Wisconsin-Driftless

Hosted by the guys at Badger Tenkara, the Midwest Tenkara Fest looks like it's going to be a good time. Pending logistics...because it's not easy to fly anywhere from Jacksonville, FL...especially Coon Valley, Wisconsin, I'm planning on being there in the beginning of May.  The 2nd & 3rd to be exact.

Having been to a few tenkara get-togethers over the past few years both on the East coast and more toward the West, I'm looking forward to meeting some new folks and putting even more faces to names, perhaps over a few cold beverages. That's always the fun part of these events (meeting folks that is)...well, along with fishing some great trout water.

Details are still coming together, but it seems like the Facebook event located HERE is the place to get in the know. It also looks like there's a website under construction, but let's not put the cart before the horse.

Ten-curious?
Maybe I'll see you there. It'd be rad if I did.

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

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.

March 2, 2015

Gear Review - The Original Ferris Sporting Bolo

Yeah, I know what you're thinking, what the F*** is a Ferris Sporting bolo?

It's only the the most fashionable fly fishing accessory on the water...or at Jack Rabbit Slim's... 

John-Travolta-Pulp-Fiction-Dancing-Bolo-Tie
BTW, Pulp Fiction came out 20 years ago, man...I feel old...

Ok, let me reset this really quick...a bolo (at least as it relates to fishing) is what many of you might call a fly fishing lanyard...you know, that "necklace" that allows you to hang your tippet, nippers, hemos, and other random widgets around your neck while fishing. I've always been a fishing bag sort of guy, so this set up never really appealed to me.

The-Original-Ferris-Sporting-Bolo
The Original Ferris Sporting Bolo
Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

Enter Ferris Sporting, a fly fishing company that I honestly had never heard of, but makes a really solid product. After an innocent tweet of a video they posted to YouTube, a sample arrived at my door to give a test drive.

Before I tell you what I think of it, here are the specs and a little marketing sizzle, taken from their website.
"The Ferris fly fishing lanyards keep things simple. There are plenty of options to keep close your fly fishing tools. The bolo design is Patent Pending. Take a closer look, this is not what you expect in a fly fishing lanyard. 
The SRB, MBR and TRB models include a spool keeper that can store up to 4 spools of material. With a list price range of $24.99-39.99 there is a bolo for every budget. Your bolo will be packaged in a hinged lid, reusable plastic box. All Ferris bolos are covered by the Ferris warranty. The Ferris bolos are extremely well made, quality throughout.
  • Fully adjustable to a wide range of torsos
  • Multiple points of connection
  • Type IV 750 commercial grade paracord
  • Herman Oak leather collars, spool keepers and rosettes
  • ABS plastic fittings, durable and UV resistant
  • All metal is black nickel finish
  • Includes hardware kit to customize your bolo"

I've attached 2 spools of tippet, my nippers and pliers, a small fly box, a fly bobber (a drying patch which they also sent to play with), and I use the clip on the back side to hold my fishing license.  The clip is really supposed to clip to your shirt so when you bend down the lanyard doesn't dangle loose, but I've been pond fishing, not rock hopping, so it found another use.

Ferris-Sporting-Bolo-Fly-Fishing-Lanyard

The bolo basically holds almost everything I usually take out when I go to fish with my tenkara gear.

PROS:

  • It is well built, the paracord is solid and the ends are finished off well with rubber aglets to avoid fraying

Ferris-Sporting-Bolo-Hardware
Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

  • The basic split-ring, snap hook, and utility string hardware included makes attaching whatever you want pretty much a snap. The "industrial strength" retractor reel (or zinger, not pictured) is not included, but a worthwhile add-on...it might be the best zinger I've ever used

Ferris-Sporting-Bolo-Hardware
Image Courtesy Ferris Sporting

  • Safety first, it does have a breakaway feature to make sure you don't get hung up in a dangerous way. Actually all of the plastic hardware is really well executed...not "cheap" at all
  • It's easy. Everything's already attached, you just need your rod and you're fishing.

CONS:

  • It's not a bag. It won't 100% replace your fishing pack, at least if you don't have pants pockets. I usually at minimum throw things like my cell phone, wallet, point and shoot camera, tenkara line spool, and maybe a granola bar in my Vedavoo Tighlines Sling when I'm out fishing. Unless I bring my pack, those things don't really have a home. I could probably MacGyver some way to put a tenkara spool on there, but there's not one "out of the box."
  • It's loud. When you have a lot of widgets hanging around your neck, they tend to rattle around as you move around. It's not overly annoying, but figured it was worth a forewarning.

CONCLUSION:

So I've fished with the Ferris sporting bolo three times since I received it at the end of January, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually like it quite a bit. It will never replace my sling pack, nor do I think it'll become my primary way to bring gear to the pond or stream, but for a quick grab n' go fishing session, it's pretty convenient.

I think long term, it's going to be the "tackle box" I stash in the glove box of my SUV for those impromptu fishing opportunities that seemingly pop up all the time, but I've left my gear at home. Keep one of these in the car along with a collapsed tenkara rod, and I'll never have to pass over that tempting water again.

Now is it for you? I'm not sure. If you like fishing lanyards, I'd say it's worth a look. As I mentioned it's well built and is comfortable around the neck. Other than the noise when moving, you almost forget it's there. Additionally, for those of you have gone the tenkara route and subsequently pared your gear down, it really does make for an excellent fishing companion.

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DISCLAIMER:
The Ferris Sporting Bolo, retractor reel, & fly bobber featured in this product review were provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $44. I currently hold no association with Ferris Sporting, and didn't solicit them for the product for review. It was simply offered and I accepted, no strings attached...HA, get it? I crack myself up...

REVIEW POLICY:
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 comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog. (For real, you should see some of the stuff I haven't written about...) This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.