Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  I am really bummed today, my local bow shop is closing its doors at the end of next month.  If you needed a dozen arrows the night before opening day or your bow is creaking, for me it is/was the place to go.  Nothing spectacular, it doesn't have everything the larger retailers have, but is has what you need 75% of the time and there is always an open bow press for repairs.  But no more. Last night the President of the United States gave the State of the Union Address and spoke about how to improve the economy and a few other gentleman are debating on how they would do it differently, unfortunately their plans will not help Don the proprietor of Archery Sports USA. It is simply to late.

 There are lots of reasons why businesses fail and truly most do, rental costs, employee wages and taxes are all overhead costs that all put a business in the hole before they even open the doors.  The next thing that will close a business in not making sales or not having having customers, obviously.  Before I was the manly construction manager that I am today I worked for the largest grossing bicycle shop in Los Angeles and the thing that killed us were the people who would ask us what products, bikes or clothing we recommended and then buy it online.  I understand that there can be cheaper prices online, but at the cost to the business and possibly your pocket book. Because even if you saved 20 bucks you still have to drive to a shop and pay someone to install it.  Savings gone for the most part.

  Okay soap box time.

  I believe in keeping the economy going on a local level.  Buy American and more importantly buy local and that will help us all out.  It is plain and simple if you want to be able to have a place and pick up something real quick or actually get someone who knows something about the product they are stocking you need to invest into their business and help them stay around.  I know some of the big stores have really cool stuff, boats, blankets, boots, BBQs, lots of different types of broad heads and rows and rows of fly rods.  Good luck finding someone who might have an understanding of the product or may heaven forbid actually use it. In most cases you are a number and a dollar sign, a piece of meat in the food chain.  Not saying don't shop there, just be careful not to take business that can be had at your local shop.   Mortal sin of the consumer in the small business arena is to ask your shop what to buy, buy it online and then take it to them to install. Do that and you might find a broadhead or a #8 hook in your back on the way out.

 Remember when you help out a local small shop they just might give you a few bucks off, a tip on honing your skill or maybe invite you onto private land to finally bag that trophy.  We are all struggling in one way shape or form, but remember is you want to improve the economy don't wait for Big Brother take action and do it yourself.  BUY AMERICAN-BUY LOCAL!

Just saying think it over,

The Bearded Boar
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frozen Eyes, Frost Bite and Tall Tales: Part 3

   So equipped with the knowledge that there are 20" to 30" browns on the Upper Owens I had headed up there the day before to maximize my fishing time on the river, but with that I left the relative warmth of the valley floor at 4,471 ft and headed up to 7,800 ft.  Lets just say it got colder, how cold you may ask? Well lets just say it has been a few weeks since the trip and I still do not have feeling in a few of my toes.  Seriously, not full blown black-toe, cut'em off frost bite, but the stage right before where you damage your nerve endings.  When I woke up in the morning my temp gauge said 7 degrees and I slept in the back of my truck with a sleeping bag and a dog.  The cold part wasn't sleeping mind you, it was when I decided to tie four San Juan worms flies for my morning on the river.  Standing almost motionless in Solomon Trail Running shoes is not a good way to keep your feet warm I found out, even if I was wearing Patagonia wool socks.

  So I lite the fire again and tried to warm my feet back up to no avail, frozen and now starting to hurt very bad.  They were so cold that when I tried to put another pair of thicker Patagonia wool socks on I could not get my shoe back on, because I could not feel my foot at all.  So I cranked my truck and broke camp in a hurry.  All I could think about was get warm and get to my fishing spot so I could get cold again.  Funniest part of the morning is that Boone would hop off the tail gate and do his business then hope back up and curl into his sleeping bag.    Jump down eat and get water, up into the bag again. He'd disappear into the bag and didn't want to come out. Truly comical, but that is my dog he is a little off.

  So I was warming up and driving the five miles of dirt roads to the starting point when about mile 31/2 I started to feel my feet again, not my toes mind you, just my feet. I got to my spot hoped out and started to wader up, and oh man that was cold.  But, it was a necessary step for sure.  As I started to cast out my San Juan with a Pheasant tail special David had given me, I started to run into a problem.  Every time I stripped line water from the line would get onto the eyelets and freeze instantly.  So every few casts I had to break off the ice on my rod so not to bind up my line.  It was strange and yet a really peaceful day fishing.  I caught a ton of little 8" to 10" rainbows and browns on a size 22" BWO, there was a hatch going on that morning, and I almost had my arm ripped off by a fish that broke my hook.  Not broke my hook off, but actually broke the hook off below where the barb was.  It sent my reel flying and when I tried to get some headway, snap and gone.  It was awesome to say the least.

  Well I am cold once again and I can not feel my hands at this point, so I decided it was time to pack up and head to my next interview with the legendary Bill Eddy of Big Pine, CA.  And though there is more to the story of the weekend I am going to save it for another post on another day.  Bill and Irv were great guys and great to talk too.  I had a long, but satisfying drive home that night that made me so excited for my next trip up there.  Good times and really great people.

Thanks again all, hope you enjoyed.

The Bearded Boar
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Frozen Eyes, Frost Bite and Tall Tales: Part 2

 So as the morning rose on Sunday, one I was cold and two I was a little frozen with the 13 degree temps.  But that is life in the mountains and I pressed with breaking camp so we could have breakfast on the river.  My cohort in crime Boone-i-fied decided it was an opportune time to just do his business and hop back inside the bed of the truck to sleep.  I didn't blame him, wanted to do the same for sure.

  After we headed down to the river we found a little spot were we could eat our grub, drink tea and do a little fishing for the morning.  It was not a bad little spot to say the least for the morning.  Boone spent the morning running around and rolling in the dirt like any good puppy should and I tried my hand at pulling some of the Browns that were in the spring feed creek we were next to.  I didn't have a meeting till the afternoon so I had time to do what I wanted for the next 6 or so hours.  So what is a man to day with a day to himself and a river surrounded by public land to explore?  Of course, I went hunting and fishing.  We took the road less traveled and spent the day driving the dirt roads and exploring parts of the Owens river I have personally never seen.  Deer, Elk, Ducks, Quail were everywhere and we shot a few of the latter for dinner and headed to a few more spots to fish.

  I won't say the fishing was great, really it wan't good at all, but you can't really expect to much when you are just exploring dirt roads that finger towards the river.  We did though have a great day of just sitting in the warm sun and at 2pm we headed up to The Sierra Trout Magnet fly shop to talk with the owner, David.  David is a young guy that decided the Owen River is the place in which he wants to set up his life and fish.  As he said while I was interviewing him, "Where else can you fish year around for trophy trout? High lakes in the summer and the valley floor all winter, its perfect here."  We talked for another hour or so and he gave me the skinny of the Valley from a guides perspective and also gave me the low down on some great fishing on the Upper Owens and the Hike lakes.

  Okay the High lakes of the Eastern Sierras, Rainbows, Goldens, Golden-Rainbow Hybrids, Brookies, Browns, oh ya that that one lake where  a 15 lb Golden was caught on a 2wt and yes I saw pictures.  The beast was caught on a pack trip were they used pack horses to haul a boat in.  The guy that caught it had no idea that there were fish that big in there, that must have been the shock of his life. But, I digress, because the Mountain are closed to fishing till April and I went up the Upper Owens.

   So I left the shop and headed up to my campsite on BLM land up in Hot Creek, which is a phenomenal place to fish on its own. We set up camp, fire and started on grub for the both of us.  By now Boone had become accustom to me adding a little hot water to his dry food so that it slid down a little easier in the freezing temps, which they got there that night.  So Boone with his dog soup and me with my shrimp and veggie curry we hunkered down to what would be a good, but really cold night and even colder morning.

Until next time,

The Bearded Boar
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gear Tip: Fire in a Can

So in the world of personal camping stoves there is a lot to choose from and a wide range as well.  Most people don't really care, because they only use a stove a few times a year. I on the other hand use mine a few times a week.  I heat water for my Yerba Mate almost everyday and I cook my lunches on the jobsite when I am building homes. So with all that said here is the rundown.

What I buy:
   I personally have an affinity toward the MSR Pocket Rocket, because it is small, lightweight and the fuel is cheap and easy to find.  But you burn through the fuel really fast and it is really flimsy. I also have a Coleman Xpedition burner and you can never find the fuel for it, but it is really efficient and a bottle of fuel lasts a long time. So what is a man to do.

What I make:
  The solution, Fire in a can.  It seems harmless, a little mundane and to be honest lack luster.  And maybe it is, but it works and it is easy to make and refill. Here is what you need.

1 pint Paint can
1 Scent Free roll of Toilet Paper
1 Can of Denatured Alcohol
1 Grate

Put it together:

1. Take the cardboard out of the toilet paper roll then stuff, push and squeeze the roll inside the can.
2. Next pour the Denatured Alcohol into the can until in is no longer absorbed by the toilet paper roll.  Pretty simple and easy for sure.
3. Next find something that you can make into a grate, this one a friend welded for me out of 2" steal pipe.  It works well and is really durable.  But you can substitute it for almost anything that can hold up a pan or pot and give air to the can as it burns.

The result is a can that you can throw anywhere and have on hand at any time.  I have also used them as a small fire while camping in place of a full blown fire.  You won't be completely warm but heck if your hand don't feel a little better.  Remember you will not be setting any water boiling records with the can, but it is great to have on hand when you need fire and don't have room for a full set up.


The Bearded Boar
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Frozen Eyes, Frost Bite and Tall Tales

So I have eluded to the fact that I am now working on a flyfishing film that will be released later this summer about the Owens River and the towns that it runs through. So not to spoil the whole project plot line here is at least how the first weekend of filming went, In three sections.

To say I had a smooth start to the weekend would be a lie, as I dropped the wife and kids off at the in-laws house I noticed my chocolate Lab Boone was drooling uncontrollibly. His kennel in the back was soaked to the hilt with drool, so much so that it warranted a check from the vet up ther to confirm he was okay. Long story short, he is teething, has an ear infection and as it turns out doesn't like to ride in the back of the truck, hence the drool. So after we wasted 2hrs of prime fishing and filming light we were off. This time he was in the passanger seat sleeping, relaxing and well sleeping some more.

By the time we got up to Lone Pine, CA it was early afternoon and I did what I came to do, find some new friends and film them. I met Lee through a small sporting goods shop, who sent me to the hardware store who knew Lee because he had retired from working there a few years earlier. To say Lee was a character is an understatement and to say that he was passionate and knowledgable about the outdoors and fly fishing does not evem begin to describe his wealth of understanding about the valley where he lived. From the high alpine lakes where trout of every kind roam and grow to the hidden valley ponds where the bass, carp and cat fish mature untouched my most humans unless you are privy to their secret locations.

One of the most astounding things to me is his knowledge of the insects and eating habits of Bass and trout. Not only is he a outdoorsmen, he is also the curator of the Southern Inyo Museam, which houses his personal collection of local taxidermied critters and bugs. He had preserved almost every trout top 100 menu favorites and all of the life cycles of each of them. It was a truely amazing evening with him learning about the valley, the people and about the lakes, rivers and ponds that he calls home.

Next Boone-doggle and I headed to our campsite at Tinemaha Creek Campground for out first night of 13 degree temps and funny that was the warmest that it got at night for us. I have decided that I am going to be making a sleeping bag for Boone so that, One he doesn't freeze while we are fishing and Two so he doesn't always curl up to me at night and let one fly right in my face, but that is a whole nother story in itself.

  More to come all, Fly Fishing, Frostbite and I meet one of the most legendary and yet unknown hunters of our generation, Bill Eddy of Big Pine, CA. Stay tuned......

Side Note: Thanks to Chuck Ragan and Tennessee Hollow for the driving Tunes, could have not done it without you guys.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Diablo Paddlesports Adios

What can I say about the Diablo PaddleSports Adios, it pretty darn versitile.  I have hunted duck and yotes from it, cruised the local harbors, bowfished for Carp and flyfished for Bass, Carp, Halibut and Trout.  I have slid it in to water that is only a 6 inches deep it blows my mind what you can do with it.

  The Construction- Strong and durable ABS Plastic has a few pluses where its poly cousins fail.  Crack your other kayak, try to plastic weld it together and it is almost impossible to get it done correctly.  Do the same with a Diablo and you are able to apply a mixture of acetone and ABS plastic shavings over the crack and in just a few minutes you are ready to role.  To put it simply it is a two piece clam shell that is bonded together in the middle to form a durable body that will be water tight and stand up to the harshest treatment, I know I have been abusing it. Their are three dry storage access points two circular and one large door in the bow that allows for easy access on the fly so no stopping just to grab your chair or some gear.  You also have three spots in which to tie down your gear as well, making the Diablo the perfect for long paddles with lots of gear.  The Diablo has the ability to become pack mule of the kayak world if you so choose.

  The Stand up- As a stand up goes it is not a Stand Up Paddle board for sure, but that is not a bad thing either.  If you wanted something light, basic and something you will get wet in than a SUP is your deal, but I don't.  I want a platform that I can stand up on and fish from. Fishing from a traditional sit down Kayak does not appeal to me in the least. If I am going to be that low to the water I might as well just dive under it to spear the fish.  Standing up allows me to sight fish from my yak and team that with its ability to get into really shallow water and you have a recipe for some good ole lip ripp'n.  Drifting is easy too, I would just angle the boat sideways slowly drift by the spots I wanted to fish and if I wanted to stay in one spot drop the anchor or stick the paddle into the mud and tie it down.  Instant and easy mobility.  The draw back I will say it the tracking, because of the boats water displacement and its uncanny ability to sit high on the water you do have an issue with it turning to port (left) or starboard (right) every time you paddle.  That being said with a modified J paddle stroke and simply alternating strokes you can manage it.

  The Sit-Down- I have another traditional kayak that I used to take out the family in and paddle around the harbors in Ventura County.  It is roughly the same length as the Diablo, but much narrower.  But, with then narrow lines of the other kayak come something that is not as stable. You would never see me doing stand up on it or even think about going bowfishing from it.  When you are sitting down, I have the Larry Chair and love it, it is a normal Kayak.  Form, function, handling is all there, except it is way more stable.  I'll be honest, I rarely sit down, I love standing up and seeing what is around me under the water's surface, plus it is a killer workout.  I will say though when I do my drift trip in a month I will be sitting down on the sections with rapids, I have no desire to be a cowboy with it when it comes to whitewater.

 The Real Deal- So it is simple, it you want a personal rig that is easy to maneuver, allows you to sight fish on your feet and still has the class and mobility of a Kayak I truly do not see why you would get anything else.   The Diablo Adios is pure magic for me when it comes to water based hunting and fishing carnage.  I am sticking and lip ripp'n carp that before were unattainable due to the Tule reeds and thick vegetation.  I can slide down rivers now to shoot duck and the occasional yote that was in the video and the harbors and kelp beds are much easier to explore now.  Like I said tracking is was an issue, but there is a rudder that is floating around out there now that is said to have remedied that concern, so if that is the case, man unreal. The Bearded Boar give this rig the HIGHEST grade, honor and respect.  I will never get rid of mine, it is pure magic on the water.

Disclaimer-  I am on the pro staff for Diablo Paddlesports and I was provided the kayak to review, use and generally inflict carnage on wing, fin and feet. Diablo PS sent me the Adios to put through the riggors and really beat the tar out of and give my honest opinion.  But trust me when I say, that it did not change how I actually feel about the Boat or that I would not convey its limitations. So if you still have a problem with this I have an oar for you to stick somewhere, get real its a freaking great boat.

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