Showing posts with label Odds N' Ends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Odds N' Ends. Show all posts

January 2, 2023

Return of the Classic

Over the years, I've gone through a lot of phases (and gear) as a fisherman. Spinning, fly, tenkara, fiberglass, saltwater, and eventually right back to tenkara and fly... one can call it an evolution... while in reality it's more likely a delusion. We've all been there, I'm certain you can relate.

Even though it wasn't fancy, my first "real" fly rod was a 7'6" Redington Classic Trout 3-weight. It was a Christmas gift from my wife back in 2010 and I fished the snot out of that rod for a few seasons. Up and down every nook and cranny of my homewaters, Valley Creek in Southeastern Pennsylvania. For two years we battled lots of fish all up and down the East Coast. From stocked rainbows to wild browns, to native brook trout, Classic Trout had seen it all.

An eager and willing fishing companion, I almost took it for granted. Until that fateful day when I snapped the tip during an unfortunate 2012 on-stream nymphing mishap in North Carolina.

No big deal I figured, and sent it off for some R&R and a warranty repair. Unbeknownst to me, it turns out that at the very same time Redington was having a bit of an identity crisis with the Classic Trout rod line, temporarily discontinuing it and replacing it with rods called the Tempt. So when I received my warranty claim back, my trusty companion was not what I found in the rod tube. Rather, I received a brand new Tempt.

I fished the Tempt a few times and it just didn't feel the same. It wasn't as if the rod didn't try, but we just didn't get along. I honestly doubt they changed the rod much other than the name (and cosmetics), but something was just "off". Maybe it was all psychological, I certainly wouldn't doubt it if it was. 

Coincidentally, I was also really starting to enjoy tenkara, and began using those rods for small stream fishing. So the Tempt was relegated to the corner of my spare room, sitting quietly in a rod tube, out of action for quite some time. Fast forward nine years, I finally decided to put the Tempt out of its misery and sell it in 2021. Figured someone should enjoy it, even if I never warmed to it. 

Around that same time I moved on to a Orvis Superfine Carbon rod of similar weight and length for my small stream fly fishing. (I mean you can't sell a rod without buying a new rod, right?) I've found the Superfine to be a rod I really like, and have made a point to use when I go on multi-day trips into the mountains, albeit to the resentment of my tenkara rods. 

But you know what? There was just something that didn't sit right. For all the polish on the new Orvis, I still missed that Classic Trout.

So, about a month or so ago, I went out and re-acquired a lightly used Redington Classic Trout I found available at a good price through a Facebook group. (Note, not the old 2010 version, but the newer version Redington has re-issued in the years following their misguided flirtation with the Tempt). 

Upon receiving, and after a few backyard casts, all seemed right in my fishing world again. I'm really looking forward to making some memories with this old friend again in 2023. Now I just hope the Superfine doesn't mind...

December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!

From Happy Thanksgiving to Merry Christmas... time just flies! Just wanted to wish all of my fishy friends a wonderful holiday season.

November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all, just wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving! I know this old blog isn't what it used to be, but there's also a few folks out there that still check in from time to time. So if you're reading this, thank you!

I haven't done any fishing since my last post about Tennessee, instead I primarily have been tying and refilling my fly boxes from the carnage of the past season. 

Here's a favorite pattern of mine for Fall and Winter, the weighted honryu kebari. When the fish are sitting low, the tungsten bead gets this fly down deep to where they're lurking... and the hackle is there should you want to give it a bit of "life" by giving it a simple twitch or two. The peacock herl body is just sexy. This is my version of a fly I first saw on Discover Tenkara, tied on hooks ranging from #10 down to #16. 

I've also been busy over on the Tenkara Angler website. It's picked up quite a bit of steam over the past year and has been a fun project to work on with my partners Matt, Jason, & Anthony. While Troutrageous! may be on the wane, I guess blogs about niche topics still have some relevance in this fast-twitch Instagram & TikTok world. 

In any event, here are a few articles/videos we've produced recently should you want to check them out. And yes, that's me in front of the camera in two of them. As a bit of an introvert, it's a bit awkward, but an interesting change of pace from just writing.

 Tenkara USA Hane Rod Report

January 10, 2022

Finding Meaning in a Weird Fishing Dream

Do you ever dream about fishing?

I don't mean daydream or to have aspiration. I mean actually dream, like while sleeping. I very rarely do, or at least that I can recall. I don't remember many of my dreams in the first place.

On this past Friday night I did dream about fishing, and when I woke up the events stuck to my conscious mind. It was a weird dream, but one I'd like to jot down, if only to document that it (and what followed) actually happened.

The scene is in a dark woods, perhaps at around dusk. It was definitely low light, almost like a tunnel of thick trees where the only light making it in was from a small break in the distance, creating a lot of shadows.

Image courtesy:

I might have been there with somebody, I don't recall, but as I progressed down the path I eventually approached a stream. One you could tell was there from the sound of moving water, but remained just out of sight due to its lower elevation when compared to the bank. Standing a good distance away to make my cast and not to spook any fish that could sight me, I tossed a blind cast into the void.

A count of one or two passed and the line went tight with violent pressure. Feeling a solid hookup and deep bend of my rod, I approached the water's edge. When the stream finally came into view, it was flooded with nothing but the white bellies of small, dead fish. The eddy was full of what looked like a massive fish kill... maybe brook trout, I'm not sure, but my line was dancing; weaving its way through the bodies.

Image courtesy:

Once the shock passed, I brushed aside the dead fish with the back of my right hand to free my line from impediment and began to hand line (I was guess I was fishing tenkara) in the mystery fish at its terminal end. As it rose from the dark a thick body of vibrant bronze that was lightly spotted came into view.

I reached down and held the fish in my hand. It was some sort of trout, but not a species I'd ever caught before. It was a large one, perhaps 16 or 18 so inches, with a width spanning the length of my fingertip to wrist. Hook plucked from its jaws, a quick flick of its tail sent it back into the depths.

And then it was over. At least the dream was.

Or so I thought.

See, on Saturday I was reading some blogs in my blogroll to see what some of my favorite anglers were up to. Then I saw it... over on Ben Smith's blog.

That was the fish, albeit in much sunnier environs. I was tempted to comment about my dream on the post, but instead just left some sort of generic "beautiful fish" comment. But a day or so later I'm still irked by this circumstance, hence the impetus to write today's post.

Not previously self-challenged to make sense of my dreams, I'm not sure what it means. Coincidence? Foreshadowing? Are Gila trout in my future? What about the dark woods and all the dead brookies? 

All I do know is it was indeed a very weird dream...

January 7, 2022

I Miss The Trout Underground

Back when I started fly fishing, there were a handful of blogs I really admired for different reasons. Some are still around, most are not. The Trout Underground might have been the best at the time, and served as a bit of inspiration back in the day.

Not only was it funny and well written, it was also relatable (the author Tom Chandler explored fatherhood firsts around the time I was doing the same), and had a conscience. Not afraid to poke the big business bear if it was doing something wrong, sometimes at his own risk. Oh, and the chronicles involving Wally the Wonderdog were very, very amusing.

When Tom got out of the fishing blogging game more than a few years back, this is what the URL became. The articles are still there if you look hard enough, but the soul is gone.

I sure hope Tom Chandler is out there somewhere enjoying fatherhood, writing, fiddling with the latest Ubuntu OS, and maybe even fly fishing. With the escalated craziness in the world the past few years, I'm sure he's had some opinions. If you know if he's sharing them somewhere in particular, I'd love it if you'd point me in the right direction. 

Man, I miss The Trout Underground...

January 1, 2022

Here's to a Deliberate 2022

Yeah, so those 2021 New Year's resolutions didn't turn out so good.

I didn't really revive the blog as I had hoped, and while I didn't really write about it then, the health and fitness goals didn't work out so well either. Oh well, at least the fishing was arguably the best I've ever had, in quality, not quantity. 

I mean Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, (and of course Florida), super solid. Especially since so many of those outings were shared with friends.

The Colorado crew and I from August 2021

So what's in store for 2022? Well, my only (admittedly vague) resolution is to be more deliberate with all aspects of my life.

For pretty much my entire 44 years, I've done a lot of things on other people's terms, and just decided to roll with the punches and let opportunity and adventure find me, not the other way around. Fortunately, and I guess because I have good work ethic and have always been careful not to allow anybody to take advantage of me, the strategy has worked out fairly well. I find myself with a family I love more than anything, a good job, and general security in life. Sure, I live in Florida (which I hate), but that won't be permanent.

Perhaps due to the malaise of the last two COVID years, or even a bit of a mid-life crisis rearing its head, in 2022 (and hopefully beyond) I'm going to strive to do more things on my terms, not those of others. If it requires more planning and forethought, so be it. It's muscle I need to develop, especially if I want to start to throw my own punches. A bit selfish? Maybe. Long overdue? Definitely.

Thanks to this video for a bit of inspiration. When I first watched it about a decade ago, it didn't really resonate. Today, it's a different story. I wonder how it worked out for these folks? I was friendly with more than a few of them through this blog at one time. Maybe I should try to find them again and find out.

November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving & Tight Loops!

 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there! If you're like me, you're likely looking forward to turkey (or the sides and desserts) later today, perhaps a parade, dog show, or football. Working in e-commerce, I don't get much of a holiday break (Black Friday & Cyber Monday are afoot) but on Thanksgiving, it's about food, family, friends, and maybe a little fly fishing (perhaps not necessarily in that order). 

2020 Cracker Barrel tasted better than it looked... LOL!

If you're like me and you want to scratch a little fishing itch today, even if you can't get outside, I'd highly recommend pulling up YouTube on your favorite streaming device and giving the first 3 episodes of For Wild's Sake, a series of videos on preserving and pursuing native, wild trout species and the environments in which they live. 

I've highlighted the Tight Loops crew here before, but in my opinion there are few folks in the fishing space making better videos these days. This isn't fish porn (particularly the 1st and 3rd installment), this is education, enrichment, and environmentalism. I'm a big fan, and I'm sure you'll become one too.

February 27, 2021

That's One Hungry Trout!

 Sometimes a Picture Says a Thousand Words

This awesome photo is courtesy of Len Harris, a Driftless area angler (and friend of the blog) who is known to tell a good story or two. In this case, Len didn't need to do much talking, but did share the following commentary:

"The silly thing hit my spinner with its mouthful already and it battled like normal. It did not seem to be hindered. I thought about taking the frog out of its mouth but I thought I might injure it because the inside of the fish's mouth the teeth are all pointed down the throat and I might tear it. It swam away just fine. I guess it was quite hungry."

Trout are amazing.

Kind of makes you think... if you were a trout, what favorite food might be found sticking out of your mouth when caught? As for me, well, I'm a glutton for pizza... or maybe tacos. I eat pretty much anything in taco form. That would certainly be a sight.

February 11, 2021

Okay Florida, Slow Your Roll

"Florida Man" (or fish) clearly knows no bounds...

So did everybody catch the story that a dead Arapaima was found in southwest Florida over the weekend? If not, read these two articles...

Amazonian “River Monster” discovered in the Caloosahatchee River

Citizens of Florida, Welcome Your New 'River Monster' Overlords

So like what's the deal? Did it swim up here from South America? I'm guessing not, so that would mean it was planted? If that's the case, who the heck does that?


As an angler, it kind of makes you wonder if there's actually a population of them, one that could be fishable for sport... sort of like snakeheads or peacock bass. Thoughts move to Googling "fly fishing for arapaima", and wonder if they taste good in the deep fryer with some hush puppies. But then again, what doesn't?

However, as a conservation-minded person (including being a member of the Native Fish Coalition), it's easy to understand that sightings such as this can't be a good thing. Florida is already a literal breeding ground for all sorts of invasive species; we really don't need any more. Although I'm sure some would consider a "Yankee" such as me the worst kind of invasive.

Anyway, I guess in the end I'm hoping this is a one-off and not a new "thing." I really don't care to see or hear about guide trips for Florida arapaima a few years from now. That said, if in the meantime the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission needs a few anglers to try and eliminate a small but blooming population, you know where to find me. And I promise to leave the tenkara rod at home...

June 7, 2020

Recent Additions to the Fishing Library

Things haven't been particularly "fishy" for me this year.

Corona lockdowns and some recent health issues have kept me very local. Haven't fished for trout once. While not the worst thing, it makes writing on Troutrageous! a little challenging.

Instead, I've been fishing vicariously by reading some books about the subject, three of which are author-signed additions to the library I previously outlined about a year ago.

In Praise of Little Fishes by Marcus Selden Goldman

Not a fishing book, rather a book about fish. And little ones at that (chub, dace, shiners, perch, etc...)  For whatever the reason, I've started to take interest into native fish of all sorts, even recently joining NANFA - which is a whole different rabbit hole I'll probably write about in the future. This particular book has been out of print for quite a long time, and when I finally tracked down a copy, I was extremely lucky enough to find a numbered & signed version.

Squaretail by Bob Mallard

Wow. What an awesome book about brook trout and the native ranges they call home. I had no idea when I placed the order online that it was actually done in quite as hefty a format, basically a coffee table sized book. As such, the large format photography is as gorgeous as the writing is informative. Plus, Bob had written an article for my side-hustle (Tenkara Angler) a few years ago, so it was nice to be able to read more of his work.

Fly Fishing the Blue Ridge Parkway by Sam R. Johnson

Before I had the recent health setback, my wife & I were planning a little getaway to western North Carolina, just for a change of scenery. I picked up this excellent guide book as a way to expand my range a bit beyond the "usual" places I fish while in that area. In digging in, I've been blown away with how informative this book is without giving away specific honey holes. After trading a few emails, Mr. Johnson graciously signed and inscribed my copy prior to sending along.

April 20, 2020

Totally Squatchy - Jim Haggart Carvings

This has nothing to do with fishing, rather more to do with something else I dig... Bigfoot. You may better know him (or her) as Sasquatch, Yeti, or the Swamp Ape, but you better believe that it's big, real, and out there.

Anyway, found these chainsaw wood carvings from artist Jim Haggart while scrolling on Instagram a month or two ago, and I think you'll probably agree, they're pretty amazing.

He sells them through his eBay store, Chainsaw Carving Critters, and I think one will be making its way from New York down to Florida soon. I'm just not sure which one to choose!

For a lot more, check out Jim's Instagram feed HERE.

March 26, 2020

Hey, How Much For That Baby Tiger?

The quarantine continues... and so I write... and I'm excited to say there's going to be a little bit of fishing content in today's blog post!

Tuesday, March 24
Yet again, today was a blur when it came to work. Nonstop from 8 to 8. I won't even get into it because I have so many other things to recap... so we move on...

K.C. decided to sneak out today and head to BJs wholesale club to try and find some food as we ate through a lot of our "two week supply" in about a week and a half. While her trip was fairly successful on the food front, she shared this interesting observation regarding personal hygiene supplies when she returned.

"The employees were telling people they were out of toilet paper, and directing them to buy napkins or coffee filters instead and just don't flush them."

Thank you BJs for that sage advice. It was too good not to pass along. And since we're not flushing them, will probably make for a tasty cup of coffee.

One of the foods she acquired, more like a junk food, is this chocolate covered S'mores mix. Let me tell you something, if we come out the other side of Coronamania 2020 a post apocalyptic society, grab as many bags of this stuff a you can now. It is so ridiculously good it will replace all forms of currency. I think this handful is being traded for more than any shares of airline stock right now, although that isn't saying much.

Before I get to some fishing content, can we talk about the elephant in the room for a second? Or should I say tiger? Stop whatever you are doing, log on to Netflix and watch Tiger King. Or at very least the first two episodes. For real... I'm not joking.

Everything about this docuseries is totally mind-blowing... every time you think you have some idea of what's going on... it takes another unforeseeable twist. Come for the chaos, stay for the country music. We started watching this on Tuesday night. It's Academy Award worthy television, and you can't even win one of those for tv shows.

On to a bit of fishing. I received a thank you note from the folks from the Pittsburgh Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for a donation I made for a raffle. I'm not using this to pimp out the donation, but to call attention to the fact that they raised quite a bit of money at the event which goes to a really awesome cause. If you're not familiar with PHWFF, you should really check it out. Thanks to Nick Cobler (who also happens to be the designer behind the Tenkara Angler logo) for pulling me in, and for Howard's Tavern for hosting the "Tie One On" fundraiser.

Last but not least, on Tuesday evening I acquired a few pieces of folk art from good friend of the blog, Owl Jones. Yes, you remember... that guy. He's not fishing as much these days, but he's still passionately creating art. Unfortunately, he had a few showings cancelled due to recent events, so check out his Facebook page, where you might see something you'd like to add a little cheer to your quarantine headquarters. I can't wait for these technicolor birds to come home to roost in Florida.

Wednesday, March 25
Woke up to see the there's finally a Coronavirus Stimulus Package on the table to be approved by the Senate. It's crazy the numbers being tossed around in it when you read some of the details. I know there's been a lot of haggling over making sure there's not too much "pork" hidden inside the proposal... hopefully there's some positive movement, one way or the other.

For the first time since we started working from home, things slowed down to a manageable pace. I actually had time to catch up on some neglected emails and didn't feel totally frazzled by the end of the day. I really hope this is a turning point, at least for a few more days. The first week or so was really tough.

Today was also an interesting day for some fishing things. First off those Tenkara Rod Co. guys are doing a Kickstarter for a mini Beartooth rod. They've already raised $35,000 in like a day and a half. I'm not the biggest fan of their rods, but they certainly do have this fundraising thing down pat. That much, that quickly in a tough economy? Wow!

Personally, I'd recommend sending your biz to Tenkara USA, or TenkaraBum, DragonTail, or several other vendors first, but I've got to tip my cap to the TRC guys... well done.

I'm also looking forward to watching Rolf Nylinder's new video short. Nobody is really making fly fishing movies quite like him these days. I really enjoy pretty much everything he does, I'm sure you will too.

Finally, happy to report some really speedy delivery from The Rogue Angler. Mentioned in a prior post that I ordered a few things from them the other day. The box arrived today, better than expected. I didn't realize the brook trout book was almost a coffee table sized hardback (and it's autographed)! I've only paged through it so far, but it looks amazing. Can't wait to dig in.

To end the night we binge finished Tiger King. I cannot reiterate how good this is. The "out of left field" craziness from the first few episodes does subside a bit, then it turns into a full on episode of Dateline NBC or something... I had no idea "big cats" were such a cut throat business. I'm sure the fly fishing industry is exactly the same behind the scenes... am I right or what Angling Trade?

Side note, there's a great article on the MeatEater website written by Sam Lungren about the effects on the fishing (& hunting) industry during this virus-induced recession. It's a must read if you're into the business side of the outdoors.

Depending on how Thursday goes, I may write a totally "normal" fishing blog post on Thursday for Friday publication and catch up on quarantine posts following (sort of like today). We'll see...

Until tomorrow!

October 27, 2019

A Few Quick Fishy Hits

Was popping around the internet yesterday and found a few articles/nuggets that might be of interest. Sure, this isn't a post of original content, rather a compilation of fishy shares, but they were good reads, so figured you might find them as such too.

So Much Water in Pennsylvania...

I was a dummy when I lived in Pennsylvania. I fished a lot, but I fished the same 4-5 bodies of water all the time. If I could only do things over again. Trout Unlimited recently published an article about how the state has been trying to document and assess its 86,000 miles of flowing water in the interest of finding wild trout and protecting the watersheds from developmental impact. While they've made great process, you find in reading there still a long way to go.

Stickers in the Creekside Shop!

Stickers are awesome. Robb ties equally awesome flies. Put the two together and it's a no brainer. I just picked a few up (as well as some futsuu kebari), you'll probably want to snag some too.

TenkaraBum Goes Long...

Wasn't necessarily expecting this post from Chris Stewart, but it's a great read into the merits of long line, long tippet tenkara. Tenkara as many practice in Japan. He had a recent fishing session with Adam Klagsbrun that opened his eyes to this technique. A nice departure from fishing killer bugs, micro spoons, and overhand worms with tenkara rods.

Discovering Small Streams...

After a bit of a hiatus, the Discover Tenkara guys are back with a new Tenkara in Focus episode over on YouTube. It's a great little dive into approaching smaller water (which happens to be my favorite). Regular fly guys should give it a watch too, because the manipulations used in the video could certainly be applied with rod & reel. There's also an accompanying blog post that's really worth reading too.

Best of IFTD...

Sage Trout Spey HD

If you follow any fly fishing media online it was tough to escape all the IFTD references a week or so ago. The annual industry trade show moved back to Denver this year, making it far more accessible than when it was in Orlando. In any event, there were a lot of new product highlights, and I found this article over at Gear Junkie that summarizes them well. Spoiler alert: Simms sweeps the wading categories.

October 14, 2019

Not A Fishing Report

I don't often write for therapeutic reasons, but I hope this post serves a little bit of that purpose. So bear with me on this one... this is less fishing report, more of a first world problem pity party. Yes, there are pictures of the outdoors and fish, so even if you (wisely) choose not to read this post, you can at least scroll through those so your click to visit this site was not in vain...

See, I haven't been having a good run lately on either a mental or physical health front. I've been putting in some long hours of work, both at the office and once again logging in when I get home. I go to bed late and get up early. Really not taking very good care of myself, can't tell you the last time I went for an evening walk around the neighborhood or weekend bike ride. I've put back on most of the weight I lost last year thanks to compensatory stress eating and low amounts of willpower. I'm generally exhausted and run-down, and a little more irritable than normal. If my Mom were to read this (she won't, I don't think anybody in my family reads this blog anymore) she'd tell me I'm "burning the candle at both ends."

Holistically, my home life is stable. My wife is extremely supportive and Lilly seems to be having a fairly good 8th grade school year and is looking forward to sneaking in one last evening of trick or treating in a few weeks. She's a good kid and I love how unique she is. She's more than comfortable zigging when others zag. So that's a positive. I shouldn't ignore the positives. I have a very good life; things could certainly be way worse. Unfortunately, I just don't feel right. This funk I'm in is probably the most wrong I've felt in a long time.

With that said, I really needed to make a weekend run to the sanctuary of the woods. It seems to be the only place I feel I can get my head straight, even if it is only for a few hours. Perhaps its because cell phone coverage can't reach me there. I love a lot about technology, but sometimes miss the days when we weren't accessible 24-7 and expected to respond to such intrusions. I'm an only child, so finding happiness and fulfillment from being alone doesn't come hard.

So I left right from work on Friday evening, drove for a few hours and got to where I needed to in time to get a little shut eye. I should have taken the opportunity to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning for a change, but rather woke up early and found some water and trout, and just tried to clear my mind for a little while...

The alone time and cooler temperatures were enough to coax a crooked smile, and perhaps bring back some of the missing balance I was seeking. At least temporarily.

As I type this post early on a Sunday evening, I know all those feelings I ran away from on Friday are just going to rapidly intensify in a few short hours. The stress and anxiety I escaped will be back; heck, I actually feel it starting to ball up inside me a touch now.

I wish I had a cute little concluding paragraph for this post that made the claim that fly fishing cured all my ills, and say I'm all good now, but I don't. I'm not seeking your sympathy or positive reinforcement, everybody has issues, and most (if not all) are bigger and more messed up than mine. It's called life, it throws punches, and I just need to suck it up for the time being. Things are bound to get better in time, they always do. But for now I'm definitely down in the dumps and I haven't started digging out quite yet. I just needed to write this all down to maybe help me find the shovel.