Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gear Review... Simms Rivershed Boots

When I visit Fly Anglers Online, one of the most common questions is regarding boots, specifically rubber soled boots. In light of Missouri's recent law to ban felt boots, I felt it was time to give my boots an updated review after wearing them into their 4th season now.

First off, I think the important thing to note... I have been wearing these boots for four years now. The same pair!! The main piece of notable wear? The SIMMS reflective letters on the back of the boot, on the pull strap have come off. These boots have seen everything over the past 4 years. Admittedly, I got into wade fishing 4 years, ago, so I cannot compare them in terms of grip to felt. If I could, the main thing I'd like to have on them, is BOA laces. Sometimes, it seems I can never get a boot tight enough!

I wear a size 13 shoe, so finding waders that can fit my large feet can be difficult. I got the Rivershed boots in a size 13, and they comfortably fit me. They might be a half size to small if I'm wearing liner socks, wool socks, and my waders. Most of the time, I'm just wearing a liner sock in my waders though. I only throw the wool socks on for those cold days.

The one thing I can say for certain. These boots definitely have better traction on snow and mud when compared to a felt boot. But they aren't perfect. I have fallen once, stepping onto what turned out to be very slippery mud, and the next thing I know I was on my back. I don't use the studs in my boots. I have never felt the need to. On the rocks, they handle just perfect. I have fished in some tailwaters, and waters in the park fed by hotsprings that get plenty of goop growing on them. Each and every step has always been comfortable. The boots have a solid sole which make them great for traversing over rocks and such. In fact, I have sometimes spent 8 to 10 hours wade fishing, and at the end of the day, my feet feel great. My shoulder on the other hand... well it can be worn out with that much casting!

The boots have always cleaned up nicely. Usually when I return home from a trip, I take the hose to them and clean off the mud and dirt that stuck to them.

For the price, a $170 pair of boots that have lasted four seasons... these have been worth every penny. I give them 5 out of 5 fish!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Outdoor Blogger Network. All week long they have been celebrating. If you aren't a member, you should join with your outdoor blog and get in on the fun.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall fishing the N. Popo River

Well mid last week I decided to take off today from work to get out and get some more fishing done. Looking at the forecast I was a bit worried. Then last night it started to rain and we had high winds most of the early morning hours. Our daughter slept in til 7:40, and once she woke up, I got up, packed her up, and ran her over to daycare. The winds, had calmed to about 10-15 mph during that time period. After dropping her off, I ran back home, made some oatmeal to get me through my morning, and hit the road towards Lander. I didn't really have a planned location. I was going to play it by what the weather was doing. Upon getting to Hudson, I had noticed that the winds had calmed to the 5-10 mph range. When I arrived at Lander, I noticed the same. Deciding that this wind would work, I headed over to the North Fork of the Popo Agie River.

Upon arriving, I noticed that the wind was coming out of the south, which meant if I threw my fly upstream, I'd have the wind at my back. I had also decided, I wanted to fish new water. So as a result, I went off down stream to hike to the bottom of the access point. After making my way down, I arrived at an area that suddenly was full of surface activity. The cloudy morning had me wondering if I'd see a BWO hatch. Well it turns out that it was starting. I tied on an Elk Hair Caddis stimulator that I came up with last summer, and tied a small 18 BWO on behind it.

Sparkle Elk Hair Caddis
Working the seams, I quickly had my first fish on for the day. A nice 13" brown trout. The water was very cold, and as a result I think the larger fish just weren't up for putting up a fight. He fought me at first, but once I had him turned, he quickly came to net without much more of a fight.

In the net

Quick release in the icy water

Hanging out on the bottom of the river
Oddly enough, during the day's dry fly action, 2 of my fish took the Caddis, and only 1 took the BWO. I had a few misses of both, but overall, my goto attractor pattern just works on this river regardless of the hatch if I'm fishing dries.

As the day went along, I would regularly switch rods and nymph with a beadhead princy nymph. I would alternate pretty regularly as long as I saw fish taking off the surface.

A little blurry, but another quality brown
As the day wore on, I took a break for some lunch, the wind would come up at times, and normally was at my back. In fact, my last fish of the day wouldn't have been caught where I did, on a windless day. I was fishing where two runs joined back together. After fishing the near run, I found that with the wind, I could cast to the far run from my current location, well over 60 feet. On my 2nd cast into that run, My indicator quickly dived down, and when I set the hook, I had another solid fish on the line. This fish would be the best of the day. I believe he's around 15", but I have never compared a fish to this rod before, so I'ill need to take some measuring tape to it to be sure.

Last brown of the day. Season?
All in all it was a quality day of fishing, even with the scary weather in the morning. I brought a total of 7 fish to hand, and lost gave a long distance release to several others. Plus a couple of times, I missed hits.

Most likely this will be my last trip for browns this year, and possibly my last trip for the season, unless I get a real hankering this winter to get out and throw a fly rod. Worry not folks! I plan on keeping the blog fresh all winter long, with fly tying demos of my favorite flies, and gear reviews.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gear Review: Cabela's Three Forks Fly Reel

This reel came as part of my Temple Forks Fly Rod outfit from Cabela's. Now that I've used the rod combo on several trips I feel comfortable reviewing this product. First off, I cast with my left hand and retrieve with my right hand. As such, the first thing I had to do was flip the reel for right hand retrieve. This reel proves very easy to do, probably the simplest of any of my reels so far. All I do, it take it apart, undo the e-clip, flip the one-way bearing, and put it back together. Done!

Performance of the drag
Early on in this combo's life, I took the reel out to a local brown trout waterway that sometimes has trout of size. I managed to hook into a very nice Brown trout on this trip. I shouldn't fish this water with a 3 weight, but I wanted to see how it did casting wise, and wanted to get more comfortable with it. This fish took a fly, and I realized immediately it was a quality fish. I was able to get the line on the reel quickly and started playing the fish. This clear water freestone stream let the fish see me quickly, and once he did he took back off into depths pulling line with him. The large adjustment knob made it easy to adjust the drag to a comfortable level so that I was able to play him comfortably.

Quality of materials
This reel is built from graphite construction. As such, if you are looking for something with aluminum, you should continue looking elsewhere. The reel comes with a drawstring nylon pouch that seems to do fairly well at keeping enough dirt out, when I throw it in my travel bin with my wading boots.

Fit & Finish
This is where the reel starts to falter a bit. Overall the large arbor design is nice, and works well. However, the spool leave a small gap, wide enough for my fly line to sometimes come out of the spool and around the rod. In fact, I had this very problem while landing the fish above. The result. The fish wasn't able to take any line past this point, as it caused the fly line to loop around the cross brace. Luckily the fish was mostly done running when this occurred. But if it had been earlier in the battle, it would have surely cost me that trophy. According to the reviews on Cabela's at least one other person has experienced this same issue.

For $30, it's always hard to complain, especially for a reel at that price with a large arbor design. However, I feel that there are better solutions out there for the price.  Additionally the reel falters, because you cannot purchase spare spools. But that slot that allows fly line to potentially be hung out and then snagged on the brace is scary to me. I'd hate to lose a fish in that scenario. So I must give this one a rating of 2 trouts. Keep looking elsewhere, you'll find a better reel at this price, made with better materials.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking back my first trout on a fly...

So I'm working on some new looks for this blog. In the process, I wanted a picture of me catching a trout on my fly rod. There is only one time that was recorded, when I caught my first trout on a fly. You see my parents were visiting us. This was my wife's first year fishing. While we were fishing, my wife got hung up on a rock. So I put on my waders to retrieve her lure. Afterwards, I noticed that the fish were feeding on the surface... my fly rod was in the back of the truck... So I said what the heck. I tied on a grasshopper, and tossed it out onto the lake. Pretty soon, I had my first fish hooked. He took to the air twice, each time jumping higher than me it seemed.

Fish On
Get the net ready!

Netting the fish; my nephew coming over to check it out.

My First Fish/Trout on a fly
Looking back that day, it was quite interesting. My Mom was sitting by the lake reading. My nephew was casting a marshmallow but didn't have the patience to let it sit for the trout to find it. My wife rushed down to the lake the quickest. Caught a fish before any of us were even rigged up. My grandfather was also there, enjoying the scenery that day mostly he stayed in the shade of my parent's van though.

That was the only fish I'd catch that day. That also happened to be the last time my wife has caught a fish. The following summer we didn't go fishing much as she was pregnant with our daughter. And this past summer, it was hard to get away with our beautiful daughter around to go fishing. Hence, my fishing trips are mostly on week days now.

Overall, everytime I view these pictures it brings back great memories from that day, and that fish is one I'll never forget. He was a stocker, but he had some fight and led to a very fun day on the lake.

Tight Lines,