Elk River Recon 19MAR2022…

We finally managed to carve out some time to make a reconnaissance run up to Missouri to check out the Elk River.

We drove 306.5 miles and were out for 6hrs 47mins.

Again, this idea started with a blue line on a map and subsequent research showed that it had potential. We like to visually check out an area before committing to an extended trip.

Our first stop.
Extremely shallow. River channel is on the opposite side.

Access is limited to this river from what we could observe along our routes. There are canoe livery’s everywhere and renting a canoe seems to be the best option if we decide to commit to fishing this river.

And of course Zip went with us.
He was quite content to sit and watch us fish.

We proceeded to head on over to Pineville since my wife found an access point to the river on a map. I think it was called the City Of Pineville Elk River Public Access.

One acre of land next to a bridge. It does have a “boat ramp” if you can call it that. Lots of rebar and metal pipes in the river around the bridge.

In all honesty, we weren’t super impressed with what we saw and it looks like this will be a madhouse during the summer. The sheer number of canoe rental companies was astounding and hints to our trepidation. In all likelihood we will fish this river at least once. If we could find a long section to fish without staring into peoples windows things might be different. Who knows, maybe our first impression was wrong. I hope so anyway. It was still fun to get out and explore new waters. Hopefully the weather will begin to stabilize some and we don’t get too much rain in a short period of time. But the fishing season is definitely right around the corner and we’re ready for it.

Expectation Management…

This is my Kryptonite. I have failed so many times when managing my expectations. I plan something to the nth degree and nothing goes according to plan. Then I get really frustrated and sometimes angry which doesn’t do me any good.

I have made plans to recon fishing areas only to be informed that “we” have other plans for the weekend. I tend to just withdraw and stop making plans for awhile. And that’s not healthy.

I need to figure out a better way to manage my expectations. I don’t want to use the military style PACE plan. Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency to where I have to develop 4 separate plans for a single outing. Obviously this isn’t a life or death scenario for me.

Perhaps I should just focus on priorities and effective communication. Maybe I should just create a “rough outline” and go with the flow. Maybe I should just step back and postpone it. Or decide to go it alone.

So many factors go into a simple scouting trip. Weather is a critical factor in my area. As an example, we were in the 50’s on Thursday but received 3-4 inches of snow on Friday with temps in the teens to 20’sF. And we will be up near 80F later in the week. These narrow windows of decent weather make you squeeze stuff in when you can.

My wife has to return to her office after 2 years for no good reason other than a ” because I said so.” I kind of figured that a road trip might do us some good only to realize she wanted to relax and hang out on her last weekend. Frustrating but understandable.

However, I do need to figure this out and get better at managing my expectations. If you have any suggestions feel free to share them and thank you for reading this.

LED Lightbar Fail…

This Nilight 26 inch LED lightbar ended up being a fail on my vehicle. I noticed when I opened the box that the mounting system was completely different than the one that is on my wifes vehicle. Perhaps this LED lightbar has a different application, one that I am unaware of. While installing the LED lightbar I noticed that I could never seem to get the bolts tight enough. I wasn’t trying to crank them down super tight, rather, it was more like just a bit past snug.

Questionable mounting system.
Nut almost pulled completely out of the channel. The aluminum is too soft.

As you can see from the picture above, the nut that is designed to ride inside the channel for adjustment purposes, has almost completely pulled out. All 4 of those nuts were in a similar condition. Again, I didn’t put a lot of torque on these nuts but it sure looks like it. Eventually I decided to just remove the lightbar and figure out another lighting solution. I started looking for a more robust mounting system and decided to give a pair of round LED lights a try.

Two 7 inch Round 51 watt LED lights.

These two lights had a better mounting system that rely on metal brackets to secure it to the SSD lightbar mount. The lights themselves are much more robust and better made. These are surprisingly heavy compared to the LED lightbar. We’ll see how long they last and I’ll report back at a later date.

I may have broken my mantra of “Buy once, cry once” but time will tell.

Daiwa Iprimi 62UL…

My wife has been looking for an ultralight rod that isn’t too stiff. She ordered the Graphite Leader Bellezza RV which turned out to be a better stream rod than a perch/crappie rod. Upon researching the Daiwa Iprimi series, she decided to give one of those a shot. As mentioned previously, she liked my Major Craft ultralight rod but I couldn’t find one for her.

Upon receiving the Iprimi, she compared it to my rod and was happy with the action. It is whippy yet has a moderately stiff butt section. A more pronounced parabolic bend if you will. This should be perfect for targeting perch and smaller fish.

Simple, zippered nylon sleeve.
No internal divider.
Simple handle. The rod has 8 guides.
Daiwa Iprimi 62UL.
The X-wrap extends to the first guide.

This rod should be a good setup when coupled with a 500 or 1000 size reel. We are still waiting on the Shimano Soare XR 500 to become available as that’s the reel that we plan on putting on this rod.

Once the weather is consistently warm and stable, we have a few small creeks we want to fish. This rod should be pretty good in that usage.

Thanks for reading and have a great day…

Vehicle Modifications…

I’ve worked a full week and it was hectic as all get out. Now I know why I was brought back early…due to workload. I haven’t been able to get out and fish unfortunately.

Saturday’s weather forecast was 80F, sunny and winds of 25+mph so I opted to complete a few projects on the Subaru.

First on the list was installing a rear hitch to be able to tow our small trailer when needed. It took about 2 hours and was pretty straight forward. I’m planning on installing a swing-out tire carrier in the near future, so this was a necessity.

Class 3- 2 inch hitch.

Second project was to install an SSD lightbar mount. I selected this one because it bolts to the front bumper frame and it is low enough not to impede air flow to the radiator.

The SSD lightbar mount is 30 inches wide.

I went with a cheap lightbar off of Amazon, a Nilight 26 inch, Triple Row LED pushing an alleged 540 watts. The wife has a 20 inch Nilight LED lightbar on her Subaru and it has proven to be reliable and useful.

The kit I chose came with the wiring harness, relay, fuse holder with fuses and a switch. Install took about an hour and half. One issue I had is that the wiring kit connects the actual lightbar to the harness with spade lug connectors. The quality wasn’t that great and anytime I wiggled the wires, the lightbar would flicker. I cut them off and used higher grade butt connectors to crimp the wires together and added additional shrink tubing over the connection.

I am happy with the progress so far. I enjoy doing little projects like this and had a fun day doing it.

And for those who might be wondering…I didn’t do this to make my vehicle look “cool.” I actually use these lightbars quite often. Since we live out in the country with zero light pollution…it gets really dark at night. It’s nice to turn these on when driving in our area to see deer and other animals before we collide. It has saved me from coming around an S-curve and seeing a black cow BEFORE we hit it.

Anyway, hope you found this post interesting and I promise we will have posts about fishing coming up soon. The Daffodils have begun blooming which means fishing season will be in full swing soon. Take care.

Looks Can Be Deceiving…

The picture above looks like snow but it is actually ice pellets. Here in Oklahoma we deal with ice every winter. Believe me, we’d love to have snow instead.

Ice pellets

It makes driving difficult and just getting around is a pain. This is a minor storm and we have more on the way this morning. We’re glad it was 10F before it started, otherwise we’d have freezing rain which coats the power lines and causes outages everywhere.

I did a post awhile back about “Country Living” and this is a negative aspect. Our county doesn’t do much for the roads out here. They just let them melt on their own over the course of a week unless we have sustained cold temperatures. And due to all of the hills in the area, it’s not uncommon to be stuck at home for several days.

Life is good and life goes on. Stay safe out there…

Back to Work. Warning…graphic images ahead.

My how things have changed. At first, the company I work for would not honor any accomodations. But now, they will. So I went back to work this past Tuesday. I still feel that I have a long way to go before I’m fully healed. I am making progress and hope to be ready for Spring fishing.

One week after surgery.
Elbow as of 24 Feb 2022.
My hand as of 24 Feb 2022.

It is definitely good to see my co-workers and get back into the swing of things. But on the other-hand, I could enjoy being retired!

I had so many plans to go fishing last week but the wind was really a problem. Up to 30+ mph out of the South and then switched to 35+ mph out of the North. Literally 4 days straight of high winds. And you know what that means…more limbs and branches to burn.

Yet another burn pile. 19 Feb 2022.

Anyway, this is just a quick update of what’s been happening. The wife DID decide to buy a Daiwa Iprimi Ultralight rod and I plan on doing a post about that soon. Take care out there..

Some Decisions are Easy…

I have decided to cancel my Canadian fishing trip to Ontario this summer. I have also decided to cancel ALL future fishing trips to Ontario.

There are plenty of amazing places to fish so I will choose one in the US and spend my money here as opposed to Canada. Several of my friends are doing the same thing.

I’m sure you can read between the lines and agree or disagree, that’s fine either way. But this decision is mine and I’ve made it.

Stay safe out there…

Testing the Shimano Vanford 1000 after bearing install…

I had a couple of hours between doctors appointments today so I decided to test out the Shimano Vanford 1000 after upgrading with bearings. It is better for sure. I cast for over an hour and reeling at various speeds to give it a good workout. It is definitely smoother now and will probably get better over time.

The first JDM rod I ever purchased.

Conditions weren’t great today because the wind was blowing a steady 20-22mph out of the WSW with gusts over 30mph.

Wave action

And as usual, I managed to pick up 4 more bags of trash. It seems like a never-ending process, but I’ll reach my goal eventually.

Until next time…

Graphite Leader Bellezza RV GLBRS-642UL TW spinning rod…

My wife was looking for an ultralight spinning rod for panfish and opted to try this rod since the price was really good. This was a pre-order rod and arrived in 2 weeks. Neither one of us are familiar with Graphite Leader rods and decided to try it.

I should’ve paid attention to the lure and line rating and noticed it wasn’t what we were looking for.
Very well-made rod.
Pairs nicely with a C2000S reel.
Balanced with the Shimano Twin Power C2000S perfectly. NOT what we’d use for small panfish.

Fit and finish was superb. It is listed as an Area Trout rod but to me seems more like an Ultralight Saltwater rod as it is pretty stiff. In fact, it is stiffer than what she was looking for. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it fishing in a stream or small river, but for small perch and such, I’d use something else.

She likes my Major Craft Ultralight rod, the FTA-582UL, but I can’t find one for her. I guess they quit making it. We might look at the Daiwa Iprimi line of rods for an ultralight rod for summer panfish. Lesson learned. Stay tuned to see what she decides…

It’s the perfect day to go…

Yah, it was the perfect day to go fishing but I have chores that need to get done. 65F with almost no wind and full sunshine! Around here, that means it’s the perfect time to burn brush. So that’s what I did…sigh.

Starting the day.
There is a lot to burn.

While the fire was going I decided to walk around and try this camera out by taking some pics.

Dead standing Oak. Still serving a purpose.
Life emerging from a previous burn pile. In the spring, I go back and loosen up the soil and add compost to help the area regenerate. Bio-char helps.
Fungus on a dead-standing Oak tree.
Same fungus zoomed in.
Horse playing Hide-and-Seek.
Enjoying the sunshine. I interrupted her nap.
Bluebird sky.
On Chore Patrol. Might as well be comfortable.
Some downed limbs are so long that I lay them over both burn rings.
This chore is almost complete. On to the next one!

Out here, chores never seem to end. I could honestly burn every day for about a month just to get everything cleaned up. I try to get all of the chores done during the week so my weekends are free.

This is just a tiny snapshot of a “day-in-the-life” out at my place. Take care and we’ll see you on the next one.

Almost Done…

Trash haul.

Most of you know that I am always trying to leave things cleaner than when I found them. And this applies especially to the water I fish. I encourage everyone to do the same.

To date, I am 3/4ths of the way done on cleaning the shoreline of one of my local lakes. With the lake level being down almost 5 ft, I can access more shoreline than normal. Yesterday was a tough day for sure. I cannot count how many glass bottles and beer cans I picked up. I started out with 10 Walmart bags and 2 big trash bags. The end result was I used them all.

I don’t do this for recognition or anything, it just needs to be done. Afterall, this is a retention pond for our local drinking water supply. If I wait for someone else to do it…I’ll be waiting a long, long time.

68F while picking up trash, but there’s still some snow around.

And of course, if I’m at the lake, I’ll being fishing. I took the Major Craft FAX-B642UL rod and the Shimano Calcutta Conquest BFS reel with me. Some of you may remember that I really started to try and learn using a baitcast reel last year for the first time. It was nice to know that I hadn’t lost anything over the past few months, I cast without any backlashes or any issues at all.

Great combo!

Obviously I did more trash picking up than casting…but it is always good to get out.

Good company!