Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gear Review: Ibex Hooded Indie

One of the products that I got the opportunity to review this winter was the Hooded Indie from Ibex, a company that makes wool long products and is just trying to break into the fly fishing scene.  In fact, last fall I received one of their catalogs and commented to my wife about how it looked like great stuff for fly fishing.  Sure enough great mind think alike (?) and a couple months later I was wearing an Ibex Hooded Indie onto the Hoh river.
I am warm wearing my Ibex Hooded Indie, while taking this picture of Paul and this sweet steel.
The first thing I noticed about the hoody was the cut.  As a tall (6'5") guy, it is often hard to find clothing in the xl/xxl department that isn't cut for shorter, rounder dudes.  Ibex seems to follow other outdoor companies in their sizing, which is great for me because xxl includes long not just wide.  I also have freakishly long arms, and the Indie had sleeves (with thumb holes) that made it all of the way to my wrists, even with arms extended.  I also really liked having the hood on a baselayer.  I did not wear the hood very often, but it is nice to have the choice, as well as the extra fabric to keep your neck warm.

New to wool, I was excited to try it out as my buddy Tyler swears by it.  I have to say the comfort level was incredibly high with wool.  I felt like I was wearing a worn in t-shirt right out of the box, which is a very good thing.  The warmth was good for a lightweight layer, and when put under two other fleeces, it felt just right for 40 degree drippy cold steelhead weather.  It is however not the base layer I would grab if it is going to be really cold out (>40).

I typically try to be critical of at least one aspect of a product I review, but it is really difficult with this shirt.   I wore it a lot this winter.  It is great.  It will be even better fishing this spring and fall when temps get higher during the day and I can wear it as a single layer.  The Indie costs $110 which is normal for wool baselayers, and will be a good investment in your future fishing. Go get one!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NEW VIDEO: Afternoon Float

Shot this video in an afternoon fishing with Bubba and David on the lower Hole about 2 weeks ago.  The weather had been great for a while, but this was definitely one of the better days.  Fishing was really good, but not over the top, and we would have had two other nice fish on camera had I not forgotten about the hole in the top of my net that was about as wide as a mink.  Hope you enjoy it and look for some more soon!  Thanks David and Bubba for the help that day and the good time fishing.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Flashback

"Gonna have to long arm that one"
Todays flashback comes from a trip with me Stephen and Shawn on the way upper Yakima.  It was early spring, and I can't remember why we went where we did, but the fish that Stephen is holding is the only trout we caught all day.  We did however catch 2 whities, and a Budweiser floated down the river and looked to be about as old as any of the three of us (and tasted equally gnarly).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Net Loss

Jamie testing net capacity
This past week I lost a net that has accompanied the blue skiff for a long time.  Adorned with a stunning gold painted handle, and missing one of two screws, I can't even remember when or where I got this beauty.  While trying to land a brown trout double on a swollen Big Hole river, my net slid out of the boat with one fish in it.  A moment of hope to retrieve it, and then the current swept it away to a proper water burial.
Lee and Carlos sharing the golden net.
Fortunately I had a couple of spare nets around, one of which I found last year on the Madison, and they have been doing a good job filling in.  I also received a beautiful net my Dad made, and it will certainly see some action this summer when we are targeting big ones, or special occasions.
Breaking in the new net from my Dad.  So far, so good!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Favorite Flies

Warm weather and good flows have lead to some great caddis action around TB the past couple of weeks.  Although we haven't seen the blizzard hatch and fish rising everywhere, they are definitely keyed in on the subsurface swimmers.  One of my favorite flies for underwater caddis is Silvey's Beadhead Pupa.  We typically have higher, dirtier water during caddis time, and the shine of the Silvey's helps it stand out in these conditions.  And if you know anything about Silvey's bugs, you know that they have built in fishyness.
Crack, crack, crack.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Flashback: Salmonflies

Scott crushing on his nasty salmonfly patterns
This pic is from what used to be an annual road trip to Montana chasing the big bugs in June. The cast changed a little over the years, but Scott, Dave and Jason were always there.  It's looking like we are going to have a reunion tour this summer for Scott's bachelor party, and the water conditions are lining up to be similar to the summer of '07, when this pic was taken.  That means good water early in the year, and hopefully a solid salmonfly hatch that we haven't seen in a few years.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day Off Fishing Report

Bobbered Brown
Today is my day off for the week, and in between a hair cut this morning (no fro this summer!) and a Big Hole Watershed Committee meeting this evening I thought I would throw up a fishing report for the greater TB area, or at least where I have been the last week.  Last summer I did the friday fishing reports that seemed to be popular, and this year I will not be doing that because of "Friday Flashbacks" but keep checking in for something along the lines of "Random Day-Off/Computer Time" fishing reports.

The Hole is fishing consistently, especially when considering the daily rise that it is getting from this phenomenal weather we have been having.  The turd and worm game has been solid as always, and dragging has been productive on days that the sun isn't quite as bright.  Think about wrapping some worms that they may not have seen already for some better success.  Heard that the caddis are out thick in the Melrose area but not a lot of fish looking up.

I have only made it to the Beav once lately, but it fished well until the dam spit out some water and shut things off for the afternoon.  There were a hand full of caddis around, some BWO's and a few other random bugs.  Clarity was great, and Ron Burgundy was an all star which is typical for the early season (I'm Ron Burgundy?).

I'm back on the water tomorrow through next Tuesday, and will be getting up to "the slick" and the upper Beav shortly after the opener and the chaos dies down up there.  Really looking forward to seeing how big the fish are up there after 4 years of good water conditions.  Oh yeah, the Beav behind the house looks good for the first time in 2 years, hitting the caddis hatch back there tomorrow night!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Dude Tan

The front half of those firecrackers are still pasty white.
It's that time of year in SWMT, and after 3 springs that have been more like winter v2.0 we have had some outstanding weather for more than a day.  This means retiring the waders, rocking the flip flops, and throwing on the buff and a big spray of SPF30.  Along with all of these sun precautions make sure that you hit the back of your legs to prevent getting the "dude" suntan.  Very common amongst "dudes" from spending the day with the front half of their legs under boat casting braces, and the back exposed to the fireball.  Your office mates might be jealous, but you will not impress the local talent at the Blue Anchor.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

Mom and I with a nice upper Beav brown.
Happy Mothers Day to all of the Moms out there!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Flashback

Oh Yeah!
More photos from the Yakima days, and one of my personal favorites.  Chou and I fished together a ton this year (03/04) because I was in school at CWU and he had just finished college and was bumming around.  This fish was with our buddy Hank, right in the middle top of the Beavertail if you're familiar with the Yakima at all.  My favorite part of this photo however is Chou's gore-tex cowboy hat.  Look at that beautiful green lid!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Drift Boat Goodies

What's hidden away in your drift boat?
I did some spring boat cleaning the other day, and amongst the bonus lead not in bags, random tippet spools and dust encrusted flies were the above items.  Each of these are essentials for the boat, and always good to have extras of.  From the left to right:

Orange Bottle:  Ben's 100% Deet.  This stuff is amazing, and if you have as many bugs around as we do, it is priceless.  Keep it away from your fly lines though.

5 hour energy:  I don't drink this stuff much myself, I much prefer red bull, but it is a good boost for the Dude that spent a little too much time at the Blue Anchor the night before.

Bobbers:  Always need lots of these

Little Sunscreen Bottle:  I actually don't know how this got in there, I use sunscreen by the gallon, but it fit well into this picture.

Coozie:  Courtesy of World Cast Anglers, don't want to commit beer abuse when you're on the river.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weird looking whitey

A nice surprise from fishing on Saturday.
Always cool to find one of these on these guys on the end of the string, and a good reminder on what a cool river the Big Hole is.  If you are out in this part of the world it is probably a good time to head to the Hole as well.  And if you love the Big Hole, you should probably check out these two organizations that do great work to protect an awesome river, Big Hole River Foundation and Big Hole Watershed Committee.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Flashback: Montana Style

One of Ke'lah's first browns, summer 06.
I'm running my first trout trip of the year today after a week of resting a sore back, and figured this was a perfect picture for this weeks Flashback Friday.  The brown Ke'lah is holding is one of the first browns she had ever caught, on the first trip either of us had ever made to Twin Bridges.  We had driven out to check out the campus at U of M for grad school, and figured we should make a detour over the divide to visit Brazda and Rooster.  This fish was also from the first time either of us had fished the Beaverhead.

My favorite part of this day was Ke'lah missing a couple fish on a hopper, and asking if her hook was o.k.  I instinctively said "your hooks fine, keep fishing." After one more miss she made me look at it and sure enough the hook point had broken off, but the whole fly was there so it looked fine from a distance.  Ever since that day I have been better at checking hook points, especially when she's in the bow of the skiff.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weather Hangover

Todd with a perfect fish in perfect weather, a rare combination.
One of the more interesting two days I had this winter was with two good friends, Todd and Nate.  Nate is an old guide buddy of mine that I worked with this winter, and Todd recently relocated to Portland from the bay area (he says for work, I think it was for steel).   Nate had two days off so we conned him in to hopping in the boat and going fishing.  The first day that we fished together was the first warm day of March.  Fishing was outstanding, one of those days winter steelhead fishing that you fish all year for.  One of those days that makes those ass kickings that so often take place well worth it.

The only thing to top the fishing was the weather.  This is not an area that has a nickname of rain forest, where we are is a rain forest.  On the average day you wonder how long before your rain jacket is growing mold.  The first day with Todd and Nate we were down to t-shirts by lunch, and actually hot by three in the afternoon.  This was the weather equivalent of the fishing we were experiencing, the day that you always want, great fishing and great weather.  We congratulated our selves back at that house that evening with a couple of cold ones and were excited for the following day.
Nate with a stunning fish and a hangover cure.
Awaking to the sound of rain drops is the norm winter steelhead fishing, and our second day was no exception.  We climbed out of the truck and straight into our protective rain gear, and slogged the boat down the ramp.  Fishing followed the weather, and after a half a day of not even a suspicious grab between three rods, and the steady, soaking rain, the boat got eerily quiet.  On a normal day this lack of success would just be chalked up to winter steelhead fishing and we wouldn't have thought twice about it.  After the amazing weather and fishing the day before, the boat was in a weather hangover.  It was funny actually, how quiet we got.  No one was mad or depressed, just brain dead from the rapid change in weather and luck.  Fortunately late into the afternoon Nate got the mojo going in the right direction by landing a gorgeous steelhead that was like a double shot esspresso and 4 tylenol's to our hangover.  Amazing how fast a beautiful fish can change the attitude of a day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gear Review: Redington SonicPro Zip Front Waders

Redington SonicPro ZipFront's.  Available in Small (modeled by Kirk) through XXL (modeled by me).

This winter I was given the opportunity to get some sweet new Redington gear for review and your reading pleasure.  Having never worn Redington waders before, I was excited but nervous to try them out, and was pumped when my Sonic Pro Zip-Front's showed up.  They couldn't had shown up at a better time, as my other pair had finally given out after a nice long life.  Always excited for new waders, I was especially excited about he Redington's as they had the zipper that makes pissing in the woods much less of a chore.  The SonicPro's also feature heavy duty material up to the mid back, a necessity when you tend to wear your waders out from sitting and rowing.

The ability to easily relieve yourself may seem like not much, but when you're dealing with a serious curse of the eskimo while chasing winter steels, this zipper is worth it's weight in gold.  I couldn't believe how much I liked having the zipper until I grabbed a different pair of waders one day.  The first leak that I went to take  without the zipper made me depressed, and I made sure to bring the Sonic Pro's the rest of the season.

There were several other features that I really dug about the SonicPro's as well, including the amount of pockets, which was ample.  I am used to the flip-out pocket that sits on the inside front of waders, and although zippered waders can't have this pocket, Redington did a nice job of replacing it with a large inside zippered pocket that sits on the right chest.  This is the pocket that you stash everything you need easy access to, and it was the perfect size for this.

The other big plus for me with the Redington's was the booties of the waders.  I wear a 15 and often find booties in waders to run small, especially for my large feet.  The Redington's had a bootie that was probably cut to a 14, but it stretched enough for even my giant feet to be comfortable.  You definitely want the feet on waders to error on the size of being big to avoid circulation loss, and these definitely have enough room.  Aside from the zipper this was probably my favorite feature.

The one downside I had with the Sonic Pro's was a zipper that jammed, and would not come unstuck.  Irritating, but the warranty service was exceptional, and I had new waders at my door in less than a week, so I wouldn't let that complaint detract you from buying a pair.  In fact I was glad I got to test the warranty to write a more accurate review.
SonicPro's performed well while hopping logs giant man style to chase down this fish.

When thinking about a new pair of waders I would definitely go check out a pair of the new Sonic Pro's.  The fit is good, the material is durable, and if you drink coffee before fishing (who doesn't?) you will love the zipper.  Say good bye to the curse of the eskimo.