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

July 5, 2019

Release Box (Photarium) Update

It's been a while since I last wrote about the use of a "release box" here on Troutrageous! While you can reference that post from a few years ago HERE, in short, a release box serves as a small holding tank in which to keep a recently caught fish in the water to study and/or photograph prior to releasing.

Their use is not entirely uncommon, but there are very few options to buy them off the shelf. If you want one, it's largely a DIY affair.

While in the craft store the other week, I stumbled across THIS golf ball and scorecard display that seemed to be more or less the right dimensions (long and deep, but not wide) to handle a fish 11 inches or smaller. The store was having a HUGE sale (don't they always?) and I was able to score this clear "tank" for like $11.

On my last trip to Georgia, I figured I'd give it a go. Tucked away in my fishing backpack, I ended up using it on two or three fish.

So is this going to be a go-forward thing?  Here are my thoughts on the release box, in no particular order.

  • Window: What a great way to really visually study these fish. It's like peering through a window, you can really appreciate all the beauty Mother Nature put into rainbow trout. It also allows for a "hands free" and "net free" photograph, if that's your thing. My photos above weren't that great, or particularly in-focus, but that's user error and something I'd like to try and improve upon in the future. 
  • Scale: I'd like to add a ruler, or some marks to the outside, to give the fish a little bit of scale. These fish were in the 6-inch range, but in looking at the photos, nothing really indicates that. Would also be good to have if you're into keeping a fishing journal of your catches.
  • Extra Bulk: It's something extra to carry. If I'm planning on bringing my fishing backpack anyway, it's an easy (and lightweight) add to that kit. But if I'm fishing where I'd use my slingpack or something smaller, it'll stay home. I wouldn't wear a backpack simply to bring this along.
  • Condensation: Proved to be a minor issue. It was a hot day and when filled with cool water, the acrylic fogged up pretty quickly. Not a big deal, but looking at the fish through a foggy window wasn't the point.
  • Stress?  Does this put more stress on the fish? Beats me. They're in the water, so they're not being exposed to the air which I assume is good, but in keeping them out of the stream for a few more minutes than I normally would to study them more closely, I have to wonder if that actually imparts more stress than a quick net, lift for photo, and release?
  • Fragility: This craft store "fish tank" probably isn't the sturdiest option. It's watertight, but I could see where the right amount of pressure in the wrong place could crack it. Most of the DIY release boxes are made of much stronger Plexiglas, this is not.

In all, and even though I mentioned a few faults above, I really did like using this release box albeit in a very limited fashion. It was a very inexpensive way to add an extra dimension to the fishing outing by giving you an opportunity to really study and observe the fish up close and still "keep em wet." 

As I mentioned in the third bullet above, it probably won't come with me on each and every small stream fishing trip. However, if I am bringing along a few extras that necessitate the use of a backpack anyway, it's easy to pack and proves useful on stream.

July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July, 2019!

While not a Founding Father, a great President can still be revolutionary...
In all honesty, have a great 4th of July!

A continuation of the last few years' "Famous Fly Fishers of the Fourth," found HERE.
*Pre-Photoshop components "liberated" from Rock-Cafe &

April 3, 2019

Tenkara on Etsy

I used to shop Etsy a lot. My wife used to sew and sell stuff on there too. For whatever the reason over the past few years, I've somewhat strayed from using that site to acquire fishing stuff other than the occasional set of flies.

Decided to take a peek last night and see what's going on over on Etsy in the tenkara world. Found some interesting things, here are some highlights.

Handmade Nets (Tamos)...

Check THESE out from seller Beornidas. Talk about gorgeous. The inlay on the one handle almost looks like trout spots... only 2 left!

Simply drool-worthy 

Mini Packs Galore...

You may be familiar with Yonah Packs from prior posts here, but are you familiar with QuinnGear, Golden Trout Lanyards, or Back of Beyond Bagworks? Don't worry, I wasn't either. Each has their own spin on packs that support a minimalist approach to fishing.

A fellow Type III fan. Back of Beyond clearly knows good gear.

Exceptional Woodworking...

Besides the nets mentioned above, there's some really cool fly boxes from Dave B Design, rod cradles from Tenkara Rod Cases, and of course awesome line spools from Tenkara Path and wading staffs from TyRoam. You may have read my interview with Ty Espinoza of TyRoam in the past, if not, you should check it out.

A beautiful custom carved fly box from Dave B Design

No Shortage of Flies...

Look, there's a lot of sellers of flies on Etsy... too many probably. But don't spend too much time shopping around. Just go to Creekside Kebari. They are where it's at.

These flies are money, nobody ties them better than Creekside

There's just so much stuff to be had, I was really pleasantly surprised. Way more than a few years ago it's kind of crazy. So, the next time you need to scratch a gear itch and you can't find what you're looking for in your local fly shop, check some of these folks out... these are all small businesses trying to make good.

February 25, 2019

Autographed & Inscribed Fly Fishing Books

I don't have a ton of fly fishing books, but I have probably accumulated more than my fair share over the last decade or so.

Artful Profiles of Trout, Char, & Salmon - Dave & Emily Whitlock

If possible, I try to get them signed by the author. It has nothing to do with enhancing the resale value, rather I think it makes that particular copy a bit more special. A cherished keepsake if you will. Even though the author's words are contained on the pages within, books are mass produced if not distributed digitally. One of many. To me, the signature creates more of a one-on-one connection, makes it unique. They don't even have to be "famous" authors or anglers, that's not the point.

In any event, some autographs you can still obtain in person, and some unfortunately you cannot. Personally, I kick myself sometimes on some of the opportunities I've missed out on due to poor planning. However, if you have a fly fishing book collection, you might be interested in an email sent out by the Rogue Angler in Oregon, that was promoting the autographed books they have for sale, including one signed by the recently deceased legend, "Lefty" Kreh that would certainly garner a special place on any angler's bookshelf. Oh, and Yvon Chouinard is no slacker either...

Now I'd note, I have no association with the Rogue Angler whatsoever. No monetary kickbacks for this post. I just thought it was a pretty cool opportunity to take advantage of, should my readers have any interest. Certainly caught my attention.

In any event, here are a few photos of the autographed/inscribed fishing books I own. I think they're pretty cool to look at each time you pick up the copy to re-read the contents once more.

A Fly Fishing Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park - Steve Schweitzer

Native to this Stream - Paul Weidknecht

Jack's Drift - J. Wilfred Cahill

tenkara the book - Daniel Galhardo

How To Fool Fish with Simple Flies - Dr. Paul Gaskell & John Pearson

The Stream of Time - Len Harris

Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother's Gray Hair - Mark Kautz
(If you've read my blog enough, you know this guy...)

Do you happen to enjoy getting your fly fishing books autographed or inscribed too? If so, I'd love to read in the comments below about which books are the treasures of your home library, and why they might be special to you.

February 19, 2019

Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis

I found this on a shelf of fishing books I keep in my home office. Regrettably, I don't recall who sent me this book. If I had to guess, I'd say Howard Levett, but honestly I'm quite ashamed to say that I'm drawing a blank. If you thought this was a book review, I'm sorry to let you down. It has sat on that bookshelf for a few years now, untouched. I've never read it, but perhaps now is the time.

I think I'm going through a bit of a midlife crisis as well. I'll find myself the at the age of 42 this June. Not feeling old or run down by any stretch, heck, I still have all my hair and it's not even gray yet. However, the average life expectancy in the United States sits at 78. So simple math (and a barrage of tax-time phone calls from my financial advisor prodding me about saving for retirement) certainly reveals the inconvenient truth.

Honestly, it's not any realization of one's mortality that creates this epiphany. I'm not tempted to go out and buy a sports car, motorcycle, or boat... or whatever those popular stereotypes might be. Unfortunately, I do find my mind wandering quite a bit these days. I'm not as focused as I once was, and it has nothing to do with early onset dementia.

I'm fairly certain that my conscious thoughts are succumbing to a genetically embedded inner voice from the primitive times of man. I've sat under florescent lights, stationed in front of a computer screen in a somewhat sterile office setting for almost 20 of those 42 years. I grew up in an urban (or at least suburban) environment. Asphalt and uniformity is everywhere, Once upon a time it wasn't a big deal, it was my everyday. My normal.

Today, I find my mind wandering constantly. I'm reading books about the 1800s... mountain men... bison... and Teddy Roosevelt. I'm watching Ken Burns documentaries on the American West and National Parks. I want to hike... explore... fish... Challenge myself both physically and mentally in the outdoors, not just for a few hours on the weekend, but all the time.

Call it a bad case of wanderlust if you will, but it's real, it's strong, and it has had a fairly strong grip for the past year or so.

Eventually, I can see my family moving to a mountain town, be it in the Appalachians or Rockies. I think that's the end game once Lilly is off to college. I just need to convince K.C. that snow isn't the worst thing in the world between now and then. While neither of us love Florida, she is quite fond of the Sunshine State's winter weather... oh, and the accessibility to Disney World.

Until then I'll just have to deal. After all, it's probably just a phase. I know I'm not alone. I'll probably snap out of it one of these days. Or not. And if you actually made it this far, thanks for humoring me through this rant. Either way, I'm still reading that book...

December 10, 2018

A Blog Update & A Brook Trout Video

Hey, I apologize for not posting in a while. I just haven't been particularly "fishy" in some time. The biggest reason for this is most likely because I came down with the flu, which developed into pneumonia over Thanksgiving as I foolishly tried to continue to work through the illness despite my symptoms.

This was me at work on "Black Friday"... trying to fight off a fever, chills, and lightheadedness.
I looked and felt like shit.

Pneumonia in Florida, who knew that was even possible?

So a good two weeks of fever, chills, night sweats, aches & pains, and coughing absolutely kicked my butt. I missed a week and a half of work (during "Cyber Week" our busiest time of the year) and was pretty much a mess spending my days in bed.

I lost almost ten pounds in the process, so while I was giving "fishing fitness updates" on the blog over the past few months, I don't think this unhealthy weight loss will (or should) be permanent. I weigh like 190 pounds at the moment, which is the lightest I've been in probably a decade.

Well, the good news is I'm finally feeling better and now I've got the itch to fish again. I didn't get out over this past weekend, but I received a new rod to play around with (a Dragontail/Nirvana 400 tenkara rod), so I'm hoping to at least hit a neighborhood pond or something in the not too distant future.

As for social media, blogs, and such, I haven't really been that active, but I'm looking forward to diving back in. So if you happen to see a flurry of comments on your recent posts from me, that's probably what's up, just catching up on what I've missed.

I've saved a few videos to watch, this one being one of the first. If you haven't seen it already, I hope you take a few minutes to check it out too. I mean it hardly gets better than Smoky Mountain brook trout... I can't wait to see a few in person again.

August 20, 2018

The Boots Part Two

Just wanted to follow up the last post.

So I went with the Orvis Ultralights. They ended up checking most of the boxes, and I'm not gonna lie, "free" gift card money played a role, so we'll see how it goes, I'll keep you posted.

I did happen to find this long-term use video for what it's worth. May just be a piece of Orvis propaganda, but looks solid to me.

Outside of the boots, I also picked up these DexShell wading socks. I might be more excited to try these out than the boots. The reviews seem to be uncommonly good for something I've never really heard of before... Perhaps there's a reason for that. I don't know, but guess will find out.

Going to wear them under my keiryu spats the next time out (we haven't talked about that whole subject on the blog yet)... So, if nothing else, the next time I go fishing, my feet should be pampered.

August 18, 2018

Giving The Boots The Boot

Have been a little quiet since Tuesday. People seemed to like that last post, so I left it up for a few extra days... ha!

So here's the deal... I think I'm in the market for new wading boots. I had bought a pair about two years ago, and I just don't care for them much anymore. They were great in the beginning, but over time, eh, they're not my favorites. A little too wide, a little too much de-lamination, and a little too much slickness of sole, although the BOA closures are certainly nice.

In the meantime, I've also tinkered around with what I'll call some "non-traditional" wading solutions, like these (now discontinued) Five Ten water tennies... and well... I've found most fit (my feet) rather poorly. If Nikes are your perfect sneaker (they're mine), I'm not certain how these Five Tens would even come close to fitting your feet.

So now I'm back looking for some sort of wading footwear solution. Preferably on the lightweight side, because you know I'm a stealthy rock-hopping ninja who does all kind of backflips and such when out on the water.

These new Orvis Ultralight Boots kind of have my attention at the moment, which is weird to say because I don't really consider myself an "Orvis guy." Whatever that means. They're new for this year and have evidently won some popularity contests, but I don't know if anybody has any sort of long-term review of them yet, so meh...

I'll probably still give them a go. Life is short, and I've got fishing to do. With couple trout trips in the works over next month or two, it's now or never I guess.

Why can't Nike do me a solid and just make these...?

July 15, 2018

Flipped The Blog Back In Time...

You may notice a new (old) look on the blog if you've been a reader for a while...

Decided to drop the "newer" Blogger template I'd been using for about a year or so, in favor of a plain, old-school one that served Troutrageous! so well for many years.

Example, circa 2011:

Pulled from the "Wayback Machine" so excuse some of the broken embeds...

Figured blogging is sort of a dead practice, so I wanted to keep T! in more or less of its look back when the Outdoor Blogger Network was in its heyday. You probably don't know what that was... Consider it a bit of nostalgia.

That is all for now.


Fishing Fitness Footnotes:
Date: 7/14/2018
Current weight: 198 lbs ( -18 since start)
Today: 13.5-mile bike ride in the AM, tried not to eat too many cookies in PM

July 9, 2018

Recapping An Unusual Weekend...

Had a weird 4th of July week/weekend...

We started with the pre-requisite neighborhood fireworks (that never photograph worth a crap). Much like everything else, Fireworks are legal in Florida so my neighbors do it up every year. It was pretty much this sight in any direction you looked. I value my fingers, so I'm happy just watching.

Tried a little fishing, but the rain foiled my plans. Went out locally (instead of the beach with the fly rod) due to some rainstorms on the radar. I still got soaked from head to toe by a sudden downpour... Guess one to hand is better than none to hand...

Did I mention we ended up in the ER on Friday night? Not me, my wife. She's okay, nothing life-threatening, but the aftermath kept us more or less in the house the rest of the weekend. I'm certainly not complaining, just very unexpected.

Oh, the folks in the room before us left this cartoon on the whiteboard. Looks like Street Fighter to me... Hadouken!

So hanging out in the house most of Saturday & Sunday, I did get to watch this YETI/catfishing video. F'n A that looks like crazy fun. Say what you will about their coolers and cups, YETI makes some captivatingly cool videos...

Closed out the weekend with a nice walk around the neighborhood on Sunday night (after yet another downpour). I was greeted by this...

So that was rad. Not as many fish as I had hoped for when I wrote last Monday's post, but I'll take it. I'm locked in the next two or three days as I'm off to Philly, then Atlanta for business. Downloaded two audiobooks for the travels. The first, I never read... the other, I started the physical book about 5 years ago but never finished. I'm excited about tackling both for different reasons.

Bring on the work week...

July 5, 2018

Outer Banks Photo Dump

Just dropping some photos from the Outer Banks family reunion vacation a few weeks ago for posterity's sake. It wasn't a fishing trip, so don't expect to see any fish pics.

First a few shots from atop the Currituck Lighthouse...

Duck donuts...
We ate a few dozen that week, they never lasted long enough to be photographed...

Got to see our nephew who lives in Philadelphia...
He's grown quite a bit in the past year.

Happened to be "World Fishing Day" so spent a little bit watching a live stream of some tenkara fishing from Japan during some of the down time. Who knew?

Picking shells on the beach...

The entire Kubiak family. These are all of the people from my wife's grandparents' branch of the family tree. I think it was counted we were forty strong that week!

Oh, and on the way home, a stop at South of the Border...

In retrospect, wish I took a few more, (or really a few better) photos. But it's okay. It was a fun time and a nice change of pace from Florida.