December 29, 2015

2015: A Troutrageous! Year In Review

Not gonna lie, 2015 was not a banner year in either the fishing or blogging categories for myself or this website. I probably fished the least of any year in a while, and I know I blogged the least (108 posts vs. 2014's prior low of 138). But that doesn't mean one can't pick up a spoon and dig deep through the proverbial carton of vanilla ice cream to find the motherlode of cookie dough goodness sneakily hidden somewhere beneath the surface.

Cookie dough ice cream is pretty much the jam. You can even buy ghetto, store-brand
cookie dough ice cream and it's guaranteed to be awesome, and that's gospel.
Oh, and chocolate chips.

So with that said, here are the posts that I thought represented the blog well in 2015, and due to my erratic blogging cadence, you probably missed.

Fly Fishing The Florida Shad Run


Pretty much the most fun fishing excursion of the year. Big props to Captain Rich Santos for taking this noob out on your skiff - your extreme patience and good humor is commendable. Might also mention, this was one of the few times I actually used a reel while fly fishing in 2015. Crazy, right?!?


Exploring Florida - Kennedy Space Center


Nothing to do with fishing, everything to do with Lilly. Got to play chaperone (& hooky from work) on her big 3rd-grade end of year field trip to Kennedy Space Center. As Lilly's gotten older, I don't blog about her as much (for privacy reasons), but this one was too good not to share. We both acted like 9-year-olds that day!


Adventures in Bad Photoshop


This isn't one post specifically, but a few that share a common thread of misguided forays into the world of amateur Photoshoppery. From poking fun at Amazon, to Bigfoot hunting, creating lightsaber-buddies, giving a helping hand, or even checking in on John Adams & Clark Griswold, there was a little bit of fictional nonsense spread across the calendar year.


Tenkara For Everyone!


For being the "simple" form of fly fishing, I sure write an awful lot about tenkara. Too much for my own taste even, but these days I'm addicted, so it's what I do. Two of my most enjoyable fishing "road trips" involved a flight to Wisconsin for the 2015 Midwest Tenkara Fest & a 7-hour drive to North Georgia to enjoy some Comfort Food & Trout Streams. There were about a dozen Tenkara Tuesday posts as well. Finally, I also started a tenkara-themed emagazine named "Tenkara Angler" that's been received well enough to carry it into 2016.


ICAST/IFTD 2015


Probably the most "work" I've done this year on the blog was a six-pack of  ICAST/IFTD recap posts hastily thrown together after spending a day at the show in July. As a matter of fact, the Fishing Kayak/SUP post was the most popular post of the year in terms of overall visitors; lesson learned, everyone loves gear posts!

So there it is, 2015 in review. Thanks for stopping by for another year of mostly self-centered frivolity. I never expected this blog to have as many readers as it does, and I can't thank you enough for taking an interest in the content shared here.

Also, if you are a fellow blogger and haven't, why don't you write a year-end post? I'd welcome a link to yours in the comments below; I mean who can say no to an opportunity for cross-promotion, right?

December 28, 2015

The Freaks Come Out At Night - Tenkara at Dusk

Hadn't fished too much over the holidays, so I decided to hit the neighborhood ponds at dusk last night to squeeze in about an hour or so fishing session.

Wasn't having much luck with the normal tactics, so waited until the sun went down and switched over to some leech patterns, hoping the bass would become a bit more active in the dark. Fortunately, it seemed to be what the bass were looking for, as the activity picked up and I brought about 8 or 9 to hand of all shapes & sizes, and probably lost 3 or 4 during the fight.

Small

Medium

I missed out on a really nice bass, that I'm kind of kicking myself for not landing. I survived the initial run and head shakes, but when it dove deep I thought I had a tippet or knot failure - but it just kicked my hook.

Next time I suppose, at least I know where it lives!

Large

Pardon the photography, it was taken with my phone in the dark. My phone doesn't really care for the dark.

Gear Used:
  • DRAGONtail Tenkara HELLbender zoom rod (390/340)
  • 12.5' Moonlit Fly Fishing Oudachi furled tenkara line
  • 4' White River 5x mono tippet
  • Driftless Angler Size 10 Tungsten Blood Leech


December 26, 2015

Fishing Haturday - Fishpond

Fishpond, like the bag company?

Yeah, Fishpond, like the bag company.

They've got some surprisingly interesting hats on their website that I stumbled across while I was looking for a new travel duffel the other night.  I happen to like a few designs, but for the sake of picking one, today's featured hat is...

The "Don't Tredd" Hat from Fishpond


As I mentioned, there are quite a few hat options, including non-trucker designs, and even a floppy brim model.


Check them out HERE, starting at $22.95.

December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Happy Holidays to all of my fishing friends!
Hope you are enjoying your Christmas Vacation...

*Pre-Photoshop components "liberated" from NY Daily News & Midwest "Southern" Tailwaters

A continuation of prior "Festive Fly Fisher" posts found HERE & HERE

December 20, 2015

Star Wars, Rey, Lilly, & Strong Female Role Models

Warning, this post contains no fishing content. It also makes reference to some themes in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. While it does not speak to anything specific that takes place in the film, if you are liberal with what you consider a "spoiler," feel free to leave now.


Being a father changes you. Especially when you have a daughter.

Going back on the blog a few years, I supported the "women in waders" theme that was (and continues to be) so popular online. Maybe it wasn't as frequent a topic as Moldy Chum's weekly "Friday Pin Up," but I wasn't shy to put an attractive, scantily-clad woman with a fly rod in hand (or not) on the blog.

Fast forward to today, I've got an almost ten-year-old daughter that is just starting to hit those awkward years in life where self-awareness really starts to take hold, opinions of others become far too important, and confidence levels can ebb and flow daily like the stock exchange.


Thank you Lilly for changing my point of view, and thank you Star Wars for giving her Rey.

The biggest, and possibly most beloved movie franchise in the world has picked a female as the lead for the next generation of stories. Not as a co-star, not a love interest, a clear, strong lead. And that's kind of a big deal. 

Little boys love Star Wars. They watch the movies, memorize the dialogue, buy the toys, dress up and role play as their favorite characters, develop an entire culture around it. While Finn was entertaining and Poe was sharp, Rey was the one that kicked ass. She was Batman, she was G.I. Joe, she was (dare I say) Indiana Jones. 

While there are many new platforms such as Amy Poehler's Smart Girls & espnW helping champion positive female role models, as a Dad, I can't help but notice that little girls need more of that in popular culture. 

In The Force Awakens, Rey is THE hero; smart, strong, tough, and didn't need any man's help to take care of herself. She can fly a ship, wield a staff, survive in the desert, analyze a sticky situation, take on the First Order, and do it all without wearing a skin-tight costume to accentuate her "curves." 


In fact, Rey doesn't wear a dress at all. She also doesn't wear pink or a tiara, doesn't sing songs, and while her movie may be funded by Disney, certainly isn't a princess. Most importantly she's not the star of a movie made specifically for little girls, Star Wars transcends gender.

As far as fictional characters go, I can't imagine one in popular culture today I'd rather have Lilly admire or emulate. Rey seemingly does anything and everything well; she takes fear and weakness and transforms it into confidence and strength. She fights on the battlefield alongside men and wins. Those are traits displayed by a woman that any kid (girl or boy) of middle school age should find as inspirational.


(Note: Lilly's primary extracurricular interest is karate, she is well along her path to becoming a black belt in Tang Soo Do. She's also one of only a handful of girls in her school. She holds her own against everyone in her skill group and swings a mean nunchaku While I didn't point her in that direction, )

As a kid, I had a few Princess Leia action figures, but when I "played" Star Wars, I selected Luke or Han in battles to take on the Empire. Leia was there to be saved.

In upcoming years, will impressionable boys be picking up their Rey action figures to take on Kylo Ren and rescue Poe? If so, it will certainly be a long overdue paradigm shift. 


I have, and hope little girls & boys everywhere feel it too.

December 18, 2015

Wow. Thank You J.J.

K.C. & Lilly didn't want to brave the advance screening crowds of Star Wars last night, so I went solo, no pun intended.


Fear not, no spoilers, but afterward I had to text back to her my immediate thoughts...


Now I'm clearly more a fanboy than a critic, but I'd have to say that if you have/had any attachment, affection, etc...toward the first three films...of which I mean Episodes IV-VI, (damn you prequels for making me have to clarify that), The Force Awakens is a must see, no-brainer.


Perhaps you're going to see the official "premiere" tonight, maybe it's later this weekend (like me...again), or even if you're waiting for the crowds to die down after the new year, it's sooooo worth it.

Now it's just going to kill me to have to wait 2 years to continue the story....arrrrggghhh!!!

December 7, 2015

Guest Post - Spurky On Kids & Fishing

I don't really do guest posts on the blog that much anymore, but whenever my buddy Spurky wants to write something, the floor is his. Spurky is a top-notch angler who taught me a ton about spin-fishing for trout when I lived in Pennsylvania. He's shown me around a ton of Central PA creeks while always being the kind guide & host. I figure this is the least I can do to return the favor.

Today Spurky takes aim on video games, parenting, and teaching kids to fish...

They say that children are the future of fishing. Actually, children are the future of everything.
Back to fishing, kids now have so many distractions, and of course, the phones. Video games of fishing are all over, and when kids play these games, and then - gasp-gasp - go outside and actually go fishing, you hear that it is too hot/cold, too muddy, too dusty, and so on and on. Then if they do get a fish, well it is too small, too slimy, etc, etc. They want to go back to the video game for the trophy fish. 
I am guilty, I have a few of these games that my wife bought me. Well, I get my butt kicked on them. After all, they are pre-programmed by a person in a studio. I have a game where I could basically match the water I fish during the summer, it even had my favorite lure. So I went fishing on the game, I got a few, but took a long time to get a "decent" amount of fish. In real life in about the same time, my arm would be getting tired from catching fish of all kinds and sizes. 
Parents today, because of computers in my opinion, do not take the time to raise their kids or take them on bonding trips like fishing. At the campground, I have a seasonal site right by the waterway that I wade for hours at a time, usually 4 to 5. I see parents taking kids out fishing on the creek, seeing sights that make me cringe and sorry for the kids. 
 I have seen rods - from 12' surf rods to rods that look like ice fishing rigs. Add to that lures ranging from saltwater size to little plastic worm bits, and most have floats (bobbers) attached to the line. Mind you this is along a creek at a campground with little slow moving water. Most currents carry the float from the center of the creek to the shore in about 10 seconds, so useless.  
Numerous times I have tried to explain what to do in set up and where to fish so the kids will catch fish, but 99% of the time I get treated like a leper, so have given up trying to help other peoples' kids out. This past year I tried to help, and again the leper routine soooo...to be a well, ass, I went to where I told them to go, and caught fish about every cast, including 2 smallmouth over 16". Then I hear the father saying it was luck and I was a show off. I even asked if they wanted to try and offered extras of the lure I was using, and I got, "he just wants our spot, we will stay here." Oh well. 
I was very lucky, I have a daughter who was an extreme daddy's girl who went fishing with me all the time. It made me sad to lie to her so I could go out alone for me-time and to find new spots. She won a local tourney and was a state fishing champion. She picked up everything fast and was very competitive about fishing. She went with me on trips to Lake Ontario and to the large water at Raystown. 
 Alas, when she hit 16 it dropped off to no more fishing. She would bring friends out to the camper and get very upset that I was helping her friends catch fish instead of them being with her.  
I recently started taking other kids out fishing; I love teaching kids and actually loathe going out with adult learners. Our first trips out I scouted areas to take them, and we got a lot of fish, including the first trout for the one. I am not really big into numbers, but as young adults their first trip yielded 73 fish of all species, and the second trip with a second young adult yielded even more fish, including bass over 3lbs! 
This season I got to take another young man out for trout fishing. It was not my best trip, but we did get his first trout. 
Another trip was planned with another young adult, the weather and water conditions were far from good, but they wanted to go. We hit 8 different areas with only one sunny caught. I could tell he was bored and did my best to explain why this trip was not like the others. 
I really hope the youth of America can be taught to enjoy the slow, quiet, simple things like fishing, but with all the instant gratifications on phones and computer games and such it is going to be hard. I have not given up teaching, I am going to try again next spring/summer.

December 1, 2015

Tenkara Angler Magazine - Winter 2015-16

Welcome to Tenkara Tuesday...

Today I'm pleased to announce the second issue of Tenkara Angler magazine has hit the virtual newsstands!


What's new in the Winter 2015-16 issue?  Actually quite a few things, the most noticeable being the fact that instead of simply assembling a bunch of old Troutrageous! blog posts into a magazine format, I was able to recruit a wide cross-section of the tenkara community to contribute some truly outstanding content. Over 110 pages of photos, essays, articles, and technique tips to be exact!

You'll likely recognize names such as Jason Sparks, Isaac Tait, ERiK Ostrander, Robert Worthing, Chris Zimmer, Brian Schiele, Brandon Moon, Matt Sment, & Anthony Naples, just to name a few.

The editing was a long and frustrating process (my computer died mid-stream), but now that it's complete I think it was well worth it, and typos be damned, I hope you do too.

The Winter 2015-16 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine can be found for free online consumption via Issuu HERE, or for physical purchase HERE. (Use Blurb coupon code FREESHIP2015 for free shipping until December 31st).

I'll be the first to admit the "Premium" paper copy is a bit expensive, however that's the way it goes in this print on demand format. It's priced where I make no money on the sales, as this endeavor is more for fun than profit.  Plus, it would look damn nice on your coffee table or fly tying bench, am I right?