Goal Met…

Back in early January, I set an arbitrary goal of 35 fishing trips for 2022. Looking back through my notes I met and exceeded that goal on Friday with 36 outings for the year.

For me, that was quite an accomplishment with our busy schedules as well as the weather working against us. We had a very minimal spring ( 3 weeks maybe! ) which included floods. Then we went straight into high temperatures and drought coupled with a prolonged summer.

And Friday was a classic example of Oklahoma weather! 34F in the morning and climbing to 85F later in the day with increasing winds. Saturday and Sunday each exhibited high winds of 25-40mph which made our type of fishing almost impossible.

Year to date we have managed to catch and release approximately 525 fish. But that doesn’t mean much to me other than looking through my notes and trying to develop a pattern on when and where is the best time to go.

But with an ever-changing river and seasonal variations, it is still a “crap shoot” or “best guess” scenario. And that is what I love best about our type of fishing.

Soon, winter will be upon us and opportunities to fish will diminish. It is a time for planning the next season as well as restocking tackle and searching maps for new areas to explore. I can’t express enough that the sum of the parts makes up the whole.

And we both managed to catch some Personal Bests so there are zero complaints. We are definitely looking forward to the 2023 season.

Fishing Art Pt. 2…

Although I don’t fly fish as often as I’d like, I can still appreciate hand tied flies. The wife and I purchased two more sets in the series from Mr. Wilson over at http://www.classicflytying.biz and proudly display them on our wall.

Beautifully tied!
True classics tied with skill.

I catch myself staring at these quite often. I’ve pondered whether to learn to tie my own flies but I don’t need another hobby. Instead, I’ll leave it to the real masters who pour their heart and soul into each fly. These are incredible.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend…

It has been a hectic week for us and we were looking forward to the weekend holiday. We had 3 full days of rain earlier in the week which killed any chance of us getting out to fish.

We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary as well as my 25th anniversary at work. We also had family in town for a few days. The calendar was full.

Saturday looked promising but we awoke to thunder, some rain showers as well as high winds.

The video doesn’t do it justice because this went on all day long.

On a side note, I got a wild hair and decided to get a centerpin reel for float fishing the rivers. I fondly remember beginning this fishing journey by using a bobber on a small pond with my father and catching crappie, perch and eels.

From all that I have read, centerpin reels provide the absolute best drift possible while using a float. As is typical, I will have to configure this method for catching smallmouth even though the gear available in the US is predominantly designed for salmon and steelhead.

Raven Matrix centerpin reel.

I like learning and as such, this should be fun and will add “another tool to the toolbox” in regards to fishing skills. I guess anything that has to do with fishing has my attention. But there are far worse addictions other than angling!

Take care and thanks for reading.

2nd Lt. Miller…

Yesterday we had the privelege of attending the commissioning ceremony for one of our Eagle Scouts and a family friend.

This young man recently graduated college and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

We have watched this young man grow through the years into what he has become today.

The picture below doesn’t tell the story of a trip with young Scouts to the Boundary Waters. Some of them were too young in fact, and the older Scouts had to carry the majority of the load. And they did it without complaining or making judgements. They just did what needed to be done to make the trip a success. It is that attitude that helps make a person successful in life.

I was fortunate enough to welcome this young man into the Eagle Scout community, and now being able to welcome him into the US Military community.

Pinning the gold bars on
Thanking everyone who helped him on his journey

I wish this young officer all the best on his career path and a bright future. I am positive that he will be an asset to the Marine Corps and will serve his country well.

Semper Fi Marine and Godspeed.

Congratulations to Hardy on their 150th Anniversary…

I would be remiss if I didn’t say “Congratulations” on a monumental milestone such as this.

Hardy has been at the forefront of innovation for decades and decades, and is a household name worldwide. Their name is synonymous with quality.

As with any company, they have endured the ups and downs of this industry and have made tough decisions, but they still exist.

And here’s to hoping that 150 more years are in their future. Cheers!

Sentimentality and Fishing…

I honestly believe that the sentimental aspect of fishing is what keeps me going. Sure, there are social media posts that have the “wow factor” that lights a fire in the imagination, but equally important is the memories of times and places and people I have fished with in the past. Trips with my father to fish for trout in Colorado, or walleye and smallmouth bass in Minnesota and Canada. Local trips with my family and friends. All are special and memorable in some way.

I sit here surrounded by the technical marvels of fishing gear. I don’t do “ugly” and as such, all of my fishing gear has an aesthetic aspect that appeals to my soul. I have reels that are almost 100 years old and some that are fresh off the line. None of them are displeasing to the eye. Some are a perfect blend of current technology and classic design while others are true classics.

It is left up to us to imbue these technological wonders and craftsmanship with mind, body, spirit and ethics to accomplish our individual goals and ideals. And I know that I’ve done it right when time slips away and 5 hours of fishing have passed, yet I feel like I just stepped into the river mere minutes ago.

The gratitude I feel for each fish I catch and the respect given to the quarry. The shared moments of success or failure with companions. The river is a metaphor of life, yet I tap into it to recharge my essence, time slows just a bit and the rat-race is forgotten. Memories are all that are left and it’s enough for me. Unlike Maclean who was “haunted by waters,” I find that I am healed by waters. And I relish every second of it.

Mrs. Velox Seeker…on Mother’s Day

I wanted to take a moment and thank my wife for being an awesome fishing partner and more importantly, for being the backbone of our endeavours. She is the glue that binds the family and keeps things running smoothly.

She is a very capable fisherwoman and is not afraid to bait her own hooks, handle her own fish and tie her own knots. She has a critical eye when it comes to her personal fishing equipment and enjoys fishing just as much as I do. In short, she is a very capable angler.

Not enough mention has been made about how much effort she puts into our trips. She handles a lot of the logistics and navigation duties. She is the one who takes the majority of the pictures on this blog. We have a dynamic and effective team in large part due to her.

None of my hare-brained schemes are too much for her, especially after we hash out the details together and formulate a plan. Generally it turns out to be a better plan after her input and observations. The result is great fishing and beautiful scenery.

Being able to spend time on the road or water, camping, fishing, canoeing, laughing and forming a deeper bond is truly incredible.

So here’s to you…Mrs. Velox Seeker…none of this would be possible without you and you have my eternal devotion and love. Happy Mother’s Day!

The River is Rising…

With all of the recent storms, tornados and rain we’ve had, we’ve been keeping an eye on the river levels. Some parts of the area were receiving 5 inches of rainfall per hour from a slow moving storm system. The pictures below will tell the story better than I can.

Fortunately, as fast as this river floods, it also drains just as fast. As I’ve stated many times before, these Neosho-strain smallmouth have some tough conditions to deal with throughout the year.

And just when you think you have a river figured out, something like this happens and when you return, you’re starting all over from square one. I’m looking forward to getting back down there to see what changed but it will be awhile since there has been a lot of flooding in the surrounding areas.

See ya soon…

Fishing Art…

I was in the fishing room the other day and the wife came in and commented that the walls looked kind of plain. I have maps hanging to remind me of trips we’ve taken and routes we have traveled, but nothing really artistic. She suggested a few ideas and I agreed. She ended up ordering two shadow boxes containing flies from “Classic Fly Tying” and they arrived today. They have several different shadow box versions to choose from.

The Catskills Dry Fly Collection
Old Favorite Bass Fly Collection #1

These shadow boxes are done very well and will look amazing on the wall. I can see myself getting all of them in the future. If anyone is interested in purchasing items from the site, their web address is:

https://classicflytying.biz

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you soon.

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.

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…