June 30, 2016

Make Spin Fishing Great Again

So this popped up in my inbox yesterday...and if you happen to be on Gander Mountain's email list, it probably did in yours as well...

Okay, let's digest this bit of epic awesomeness, one piece at a time.

Stars and stripes paint job...

Built in bottle opener...

And it's named #MERICA. 
F#ck you ISIS.

Now it's probably not made in America, but that shouldn't ruin our exercise in sporting goods jingoism. Somehow I think Sage's new $900 X fly rod comes up just a little bit short in pretty much every single comparable.

If you want to try your luck on Gander Mountain's website to battle the war on bass, terrorism, and sobriety all in one cast, please note that it's on backorder online, but available for in-store pickup.

I so need one of these...who wants to run down to the St. Augustine store for me?

June 27, 2016

Summer Vacation Prep Week

Dang, that snuck up quickly.

Don't think I mentioned it here before, but the Griswold family summer vacation this year is one of those week-long guided bus tours through some of the western National Parks - most notably, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, & Grand Teton, with a few stops at touristy cowboy-towns in between.

I've been wanting to see the parks for a while, like I can watch those damn Ken Burns documentaries over and over, and doing one of these tours was the only way to get K.C. & Lilly to agree to go as they require, no demand, hotel accommodations and whatnot each night. No roughing it for the ladies...not that I blame them BTW. Scheduling it near the 4th of July only means that the utter chaos and crowds will be amplified, but who cares...not me. I survived summers at the Jersey shore. And if you've been there, you know.

In preparation, the agenda seems pretty straightforward - wander off the marked boardwalks, take a dip in a volcanic hot spring, and rescue the suffering baby bison, because they're cold. If one fits in the carry-on luggage, I'll bring a tiny Tatanka home to Florida to warm up. Because that's evidently what we as tourists do now. God Bless America.

All jokes aside, I'm up against it in terms of preparation. We're out of here in a few, and with only a handful of days to prepare, I should probably get started...

I think I've got the clothing situation sort of in check, as well as the minimal gizmos & gear we're planning to bring along. It's not a fishing trip by any stretch, but I am going to bring a tenkara rod (aka the travel rod) and a fly box just in case we have down time amid our tour guide's rigorous schedule near any water. Any suggestions on what flies to put in said box?

Truthfully, I'll take any recommendations - sights, sounds, food, bug spray, bear spray, whatever - this is a totally new experience for all of us, so if anyone's been to any of the places above, I'm all ears...

June 24, 2016

The Friday "Five Fish On The Fly" Bucket List

I love fly fishing. Absolutely love it.

It's taken me to places I'd never thought I'd visit, introduced me to people I'd have never met otherwise, and provides the therapeutic elixir needed to offset the daily grind of everyday life.

Oh, and the fish. The freakin' beautiful fish...
(I mean it's practically translucent!)

That said, there are a lot more places I'd like to go, people to meet, and fish to attempt to outwit. Not all are exotic, heck most aren't, but I'd really love to expand my species list beyond the standard brookie-brown-rainbow trout trifecta, and of course, the warm water panfish & bass.

This is my short list of five fish I'd like to catch on the fly, in no particular order.

Arctic Grayling

Photo: Alaska Fish & Game

Yeah, there's something somewhat pornographic about how people take photos of them with their fin fanned out, and I've heard they're not the best of fighters, but there's just something about this fish that intrigues me. Word on the street is they might try to reintroduce them to Michigan waters, so perhaps the quest won't be that far out of the way after all. 

California Golden Trout

Photo: Wikipedia/Rayfound

Perhaps with the exception of brook trout, I think this is the prettiest trout/char on Earth. The colors are just...well...put it this way, I'd be heartbroken if the photos I've seen online are deceiving and the byproduct of some sort of post-production digital filter. Plus, from what I understand, these suckers live quite a bit off the beaten path, so finding them would be an adventure onto itself. "Tenkara Tanuki" Luong Tam is going to try and find some in August, I wish him luck!


Photo: SaltyShores.com

I live in Florida, but a little bit too far north to really get into snook. We get some up in Jacksonville, but it's not like further south or on the Gulf coast. Like I said, not particularly exotic, but I haven't caught one yet, and probably the best part is they're typically accessible by walking the beach at the right time. No boats required. I think my best shot was the time I spent in Sanibel a few years back, but back then I didn't know what I didn't know...

Tiger Trout

Photo: John-Paul Povilaitis

My Facebook buddy JP posted some really sick tiger trout pics the other day, including the one above. I'm not ashamed to admit, I've never caught one of these brookie/brown hybrids. Heck, I'd never expect to catch a chunky one like this, but I think it'd be fitting, and absolutely Troutrageous!

A DIY Bonefish

Photo: Deneki Outdoors

Rod Hamilton's ears are probably perking up right about now...
I half-ass tried this once on vacation in the Cayman Islands. It was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've ever had fly fishing. Unfortunately, I really had little to no idea of what I was doing, and was just in the right place at the right time with the right tide. I totally spooked the few I was able to approach, but to see those fish explode and take off...well, damn...  Yes, I could probably get my first bonefish quicker if I hired a guide, particularly one with a boat, but I don't know, I'd rather catch one on my own, on foot. No offense to guides out there, I'm just weird like that.

So that's my five.

Any fish on your bucket list? 
Let's hear it in the comments below...

June 23, 2016

Not Fishing: The Sixers & 2016 NBA Draft Night!

Happy Thursday!

I have to say I'm pretty psyched today, as it's NBA Draft day. I know, I know, this is supposed to be a fishing site dammit, none of that sportsball talk here! Right, I get it, but like you should already know that this blog isn't just fishing. And after Lilly, Star Wars, & Sasquatch, I think my next favorite thing is Philly sports, meaning today, the 76ers.

But the Sixers tanked the last 3 seasons, they don't deserve the #1 pick. Yeah, says everyone who isn't a fan. I understand, you're supposed to try your hardest every year. That's what your coaches tell you growing up, heck that's what your parents tell you. But if you don't have an in-house superstar, you know what that gets you? The Atlanta Hawks.

Believe me as a fan, the last three years have been incredibly painful, despite fully buying into the plan and "Trusting the Process." Growing up on a steady stream of superstars like Dr. J, Sir Charles, and The Answer, being reduced to the league doormats - and the punch line of jokes in the national media - has been tough.

But it looks like perhaps it might be worth it. Between tonight's #1 overall pick (which has all but been determined to be LSU standout Ben Simmons), some high draft picks from prior years primed to make their debuts, a slew of other assets accumulated through shrewd trades, and all of the salary cap room in the world to chase a free agent or two, perhaps the Sixers might finally resemble an NBA team again, and I couldn't be happier. 2020 NBA Finals, here we come...

Dear Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo, 
Hinkie set you up to look like a genius. 

With that off my chest, it's like impossible not to smile at this song. I'm going to be humming it all day long. If you hit play, you'll be dangerously close to doing the same...

Anyway, that's really all I had to say today. I really need to get fishing again, especially now that the magazine is done. It's still god-awful hot down here, so hopefully I can sneak out at either dawn or dusk this weekend. I need to wet a line in the worst way...

June 22, 2016

Of Rock & Riffle - Check It Out...

Gotta admit, I'm a little burned out. After spending the better part of the last week and a half putting together the latest issue of Tenkara Angler magazine, I don't have much flame flickering to write a blog post here, even though I've got ideas bouncing around in my head like ping pong balls. Troutrageous! will be the unintended short-term victim I suppose...

So in lieu of reading a new post from me, let me send you over to Adam Klags' blog "Of Rock And Riffle." His Tuesday post was a fantastic recollection of a recent fishing outing in the Adirondacks and well worth the visit/read. So many great photos, I guarantee you'll dig it, even if you don't care for tenkara...

I'll come back strong tomorrow. Maybe...

June 20, 2016

Tenkara Angler - Summer 2016

Today I’m pleased to announce the Summer 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine has hit the virtual newsstands!

The theme was "Summer Fishing" and a lot of great content was included to captivate and inspire. Excellent articles by returning writers such as John Vetterli, Sam Larson, Paul Gaskell, Adam Klagsbrun, & Chris Stewart sit alongside wonderful new entries from Steve Cobb, Daniel Galhardo, Dennis Coppock, Andy Wayment, and David West Beale, just to name a few... A total of 29 articles over 108 pages awaits your discovery.

We've got BIG FISH tips, White Bass, Striped Bass, and tons of flies & kebari to go catch them. Want to go off the grid, there's some advice (and a packing list) for that. Oh, and at the end, you can wash it all down with some Brookies & Beer!

The Summer 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine can be found for free online consumption via Issuu HERE, or for physical purchase via Blurb HERE.


June 14, 2016

Rambling Recap of a Roasting Weekend

Hey, it's Tuesday...no not Tenkara Tuesday...but Tuesday nonetheless.

Don't know what the weather was like over the weekend where you're at, but in Jacksonville, Florida it was in the mid-90s and just humid gross. The kind of weather where you walk outside to do anything for more than a few minutes and you get drenched in sweat and all nasty down there. Pass the Gold Bond

As such, fishing was kept to a minimum. Doesn't mean I didn't wet a line, just means I didn't spend a whole lot of time doing so. Not even at dusk, well, because mosquitoes ain't dumb, they know when the sun goes down too...

Geese and ducks took over the little neighborhood pond I frequent. Not a particularly big deal because they kind of keep their distance, but they also crap everywhere, so you need to pay attention to more than the water when walking up and down the bank. 

With the lone exception of the Mourning doves that eat all of the birdseed in my backyard feeders with gluttonous abandon, geese are kind of the worst form of bird there is. They possess a silent yet standoffish disposition where you know they're telling you to "F-off" like a cold, avian version of a house cat. Shouldn't they be in Canada or something this time of year? Birds fly South for the winter, right?

Anyway, as I was saying, I did fish, and even caught a few despite the fact the pond was near a pasta-worthy rolling boil. Some bass and bluegill, nothing exotic or unexpected. I also took the Tenkara USA Ebisu off the shelf for the first time in a while. It's a discontinued model that I'm really fond of, but don't fish that often in light of my recent three rod rotation of the Sato (trout), Hellbender (bass), and TenkaraBum 36 (just feeling frisky). 

For those of you not familiar, the Ebisu is a 5:5 rod that's on the slow and limber side and casts a beautiful line. Because it's a bit soft in the tip, getting a solid hookset on a fish like a bass can be a little challenging, and I think I lost 3 or 4 due to a weak set. Regardless, the rod is a ton of fun to fish and the positives far exceed any shortcomings. I plan on fishing it a lot more this year to really figure out the sweet spot.

On to other news, last Friday was the deadline for submissions for Tenkara Angler magazine, the e-mag that I play the role of Editor. Spent a lot of time avoiding the heat by staying indoors and laying out pages on Saturday and Sunday. Got a lot accomplished, in fact pretty much all of it. Only have a few more articles that I gave extensions to come in, so it looks like I'll be able to hit the "publish" button for next Monday, 6/20. We'll see...

Finally, in light of the heat, proper hydration was also essential. While I didn't empty the beer fridge in my garage, I did do some light lifting after cutting the grass on Sunday morning. I'm really digging local brew Jon Boat by Intuition Ale Works. It's one of those lighter beers that just goes down smooth on a blazing Summer day. Not sure how far outside of Jacksonville one can acquire it, but I'd recommend it if you're into that kinda thing.  Bonus points for the fish on the can.

June 8, 2016

With Apologies To Pete...

Being my last opportunity to fish in Pennsylvania before heading back to Florida, I hit Valley Creek after work on Tuesday hoping find a fish or two.

As I approached the stream, there was a father with two small kids playing in the water I was planning on fishing. No big deal, they were there first, no reason to interrupt their hi-jinks. So I walked about 20 yards on the trail upstream, stood on the bank beside the water, and started to extend my telescoping tenkara rod when I heard...


And I when I turned around I was immediately greeted by a gentleman (& angler) that I didn't recognize. Scanning through my memory banks trying to place the face, he introduced himself as Pete, a reader of this blog for about five years.

To say I was surprised was an understatement, as I fished Valley regularly for almost 7 years, wrote about the creek almost weekly a few years back, and nobody ever identified themselves (or me) from the blog while I was fishing there. So my chance meeting with Pete might have been the coolest thing like ever.

I have to admit, I was a bit caught off guard, and really didn't know what to say. I don't even remember what I said exactly during our brief conversation. I think I said something open ended like "I'm about to fish this run," as in if you'd like to join me...but I probably came off as lame or self-occupied, and hopefully not too much like a douchebag. Pete said he was heading downstream and thanked me for writing the blog.

So in closing, Pete, if you're reading this, sorry if I appeared a little perplexed on the creek yesterday. I was just really startled and my mind was having trouble synthesizing what was going on. If you have a chance, please pop me an email HERE; I'd love to send you some T! swag. After all, it's not every day you meet one of your awesome long-time readers in person.

Oh, and I hope you did better downstream than I did upstream. I managed a hookup, but brought none to hand. Fish were rising, just couldn't get them to take...

June 7, 2016

The Best Laid Plans Of Fish And Men Often Go Awry

The stars just weren't aligned yesterday. But it's still all good.

So as I mentioned on Monday, the plan was to work, then go fishing immediately afterward. That's what I did, or at least tried to do.

In my (lack of) preparation, I neglected to uncover that the normal road I take that runs alongside Valley Creek is under construction and shut down. Like completely barricaded and whatnot. So when I drove to the creek after work, I couldn't access the road, and worse, the water.

So that kinda sucked. So close, yet so far away.

Being crafty, I eventually got to where I needed to be, but I had to backtrack the long way through the historical park, trying not to run down joggers and a peloton of cyclists in my haste, and pretty much wasted 30 minutes of daylight speeding past log cabins, monuments, and defunct artillery.


Fishing was only "meh," but when your last trouting was pretty ridiculous, what should one expect? It was fairly dark and overcast making it hard to see by the time I got into the creek, but I did manage a standard-issue 6-inch Valley brownie for my efforts. So at least the skunk steered clear, (it probably couldn't get past the roadside barricade either).

I'd also like to mention that I broke in my new L.L. Bean wading boots and dem jawns are where it be. It's not so much that they grip great, (they do), or are extremely comfortable, (they are), but I finally broke down and got a pair of boots with a BOA closure. Holy smokes, what have I been missing my whole life? On and off in like 10 seconds. I didn't think it was possible to love footwear not named Air or Jordan.

And while I'm head over heels for my new boots, it is nowhere close to describing how much in love I am with Wawa cannoli dip. Willpower is not my strong suit. And yes, it really is as good as it sounds.

Maybe the stars were aligned after all...

June 6, 2016

Ummm, Is Work Over Yet?

Back in Philly for the next three days for work.
Fortunately tenkara packs light.

Staying in King of Prussia (yes, that's the town's name), so should have the opportunity to sneak over to Valley Creek for a few hours today and Tuesday after work before flying back to Florida on Wednesday. If not Valley, perhaps a trip to my "secret" water, although that's a bit of a drive away. We'll see...

Oh, and since when did Wawa start making cannoli dip?
Like whoa, I'm clearly going to gain 10 pounds over these next few days...

Pardon the poor photo, couldn't contain my excitement

June 2, 2016

Vedavoo: Back Roads & Killer Bows

Vedavoo's Scott Hunter not only makes killer slings & packs, but he does up a tenkara video right as he runs into the Pig Farm Ink guys on a river in Wyoming.

"On one of my trips back to waters outside of my home town in Wyoming, I stopped into the Reef Fly Shop to pick up a few flies for a solo mission. I snapped the lid on my fly puck, and as I walked toward the counter Jay Johnson walked through the door. Jay, Addison Berry, and Berin Wachsmann were on their way back through from a Pig Farm Iron Fly event up in Jackson, and were planning to fish the Platte that day. It's truly amazing in this industry to see how tight-knit the community really is. We're all fisherman after all - and that morning, the man upstairs brought us together for one of the greatest days of fishing I'll ever have."

Make sure to check out both websites:
Vedavoo  |  Pig Farm Ink