Outing to Local Trout Pond…

We got up this morning and decided we wanted to fish. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we welcomed a new Grandson into the world. He’s a healthy, happy boy and we are so grateful.

The weather has been up and down and both of us have seen an uptick in our work schedules. Squeezing time in to go fishing has been tough.

I had ordered a Valkein Breakthrough Zero Verge BTZV-62GL rod awhile back and decided I wanted to try it out. I paired it with the Shimano Vanford 1000 and off we went. It was 38F, cloudy, cold and damp, as well as windy. We managed to catch 3 before the cold made us head home. My hands cannot take the cold anymore, even wearing gloves, they still started to hurt quite a bit.

As always, it was good to get out. I think we both needed an outing no matter how short it was. Spring is still quite aways off but who knows…so far the winter here has been relatively mild. We hope to log more outings soon. Stay tuned and be safe out there.

A Morning of Trout Fishing…

We started the morning at an infamous trout pond because their website said they were stocking trout last night. After fishing for an hour and the wife managing to catch only a small largemouth bass, we opted to try another location. Once again, the people administering this pond are patent liars. Charging people $60.00 to fish here and not stocking is a fraud and we will most likely never fish here again. We KNOW how to catch trout! Stop blaming the fishermen.

But I digress, we changed locations and immediately started catching trout. (Notice: Sapulpa Parks Administration-see above.) This is only the second time we have fished this pond, but we like it since it actually has trout in it. Can you tell I’m a little bit peeved?

All told we caught 8 trout and that one Largemouth bass, so not a bad day at all. We would’ve had a few more but they came unbuttoned before we could get the net on station to receive them. The bonus was that this trout pond is free to fish as long as you have a State fishing license. We were both using trout spoons and they performed well until the bite switched off.

My setup: TenRyu RZI51LL with a Shimano Vanquish C2000S.
Her setup: TenRyu RZ6102S-LML and Shimano Stella C2000S.

We were tempted to try a third location but Mrs. Velox Seeker wasn’t feeling up to it. She had surgery yesterday and is recovering but the drive to fish is strong in her. She did really good with everything that has transpired in the last 24 hours.

She’s a Trooper for sure!

Hopefully my little rant didn’t derail this blog post but I felt it needed to be said. We did manage to have a good outing and accomplished our objective. AND…we didn’t get skunked! Now I will make her rest like she’s supposed to, and don’t blame me for this excursion, it was her idea!

The Reels that Started it All…

Back in the early 90’s I was fresh out of the military and enrolled in college. I had 3 part-time jobs with one of them working for a local sporting goods store. I was hired into the Fishing Department which I thought was pretty cool. I spent a lot of time drooling over the display case containing the fishing reels. Being the typical broke college student, I couldn’t afford a nice reel. Keep in mind that up to this point about all I had used for a reel was a Zebco33 and its ilk. I hated that reel and still do to this day, so I opted to try a spinning reel.

After careful consultation with my meager budget and Frank, who was the Department Manager and a hard-core angler, I opted for the Shimano TX-4000 reel. I figured it was big enough to catch anything in Oklahoma and elsewhere. I even matched it with a Shimano TX series rod. If I recall correctly…the reel cost me $34.99 and the rod was $19.99. And of course I got an employee discount so it what somewhat less than that. I just remember strutting out of there like a peacock thinking I had the “ultimate” setup.

I caught a ton of pike and smallmouth with this reel when I fished up in either Ontario or the Boundary Waters. But I quickly learned that the TX-4000 was overkill and ended up purchasing a TX-1000 and a matching TX rod. I fished that combo for about 10 years and caught thousands of fish with it. I ultimately retired those reels to my display case and they hold the central position of honor; not because they are high-end reels but from the sheer number of good memories they provided.

Made in Singapore. The TX-4000 was made in Malaysia.
The TX-4000 had two ball bearings whereas the TX-1000 had one.
For a beginner, the QuickFire2 trigger was a small blessing.

All I can say is that these reels served me well and I beat them to hell and back and they never let me down. Reels have come a long way and get better with each iteration, but these two will always hold a special place in my heart. 30+ years later, when I turn the handles I am amazed at how rough and clunky they are. But I guarantee that I thought they were smooth as silk back in the day. Heck, I might even fish the TX-1000 one more time next year just for old times sake. Nowadays I will admit that I’m just spoiled and much prefer the higher end reels, but these will always “get the nod.”

Thanks for reading.

Finally!…

Some of you may remember that the wife and I purchased a $60 permit so we could fish a local trout pond and extend our fishing season. After 6 outings to that area and only seeing one trout, we became fed up and started looking elsewhere. I could post a long rant but I won’t. Let me just put it this way…2 days after the alleged November stocking date, and the lake is smooth as glass, and we are there for 2 hours and didn’t even see a single trout rise??? I am beginning to believe that this City only stocked at the beginning of the season and haven’t done it since.

We used to fish this lake pre-COVID all the way back to the year 1998 and never had an issue catching trout. Most times we would catch a limit in about 30 minutes. I’m sure there are possible reasons or excuses, but if you take peoples money, deliver on your promise. I’m talking to you City of Sapulpa.

We found another trout pond that is somewhat local to us and went to visit. First thing we noted was that the parking lot was full of cars and we could see people spaced around the lake. That is always a good sign that trout have been stocked. We found a spot and started fishing. It didn’t take long before we were hooking up with trout.

I’m not going to get into the “Wild versus Stocked” debate. I live in Oklahoma so we don’t have native trout, none that I’m aware of anyway. Not much choice but to fish for stockers. Trout fishing opportunities are sorely limited in this state. Especially when people are allowed to own portions of rivers so wading can be illegal at worst or problematic at best. You don’t have to look far to find “Kens and Karens.”

Now onto more important things…The last two rods we purchased were the Daiwa Silver Creek Glass Progressive 53L and the MajorCraft FSG-4102UL. Both of these rods are fiberglass and we have been testing them out quite a bit lately. Both will make excellent stream rods, especially for the types of fishing we do.

Both fish really well and the Daiwa rod pairs nicely with the Daiwa Exist reel. But from a cost to performance view…the MajorCraft wins hand down. It fishes identically to the Daiwa and costs 1/3rd the price. As I’ve said many times before, MajorCraft gives you A LOT of bang for the buck.

I really like the flexibility of these rods as well as their durability. It brings back memories for sure, and I can’t wait for Spring to come so we can get back out and go after our native smallmouth again.

I don’t see any major changes coming in our fishing gear for 2023. Honestly, I have more rods and reels than I need, but it is fun trying them out and filling a niche in some circumstances. I am looking at a 2019 Shimano Vanquish spinning reel. Rumor has it that they will revamp it in 2023 but if they go to the super slow oscillation like what is on the Stella, I will give it a hard pass.

I am working on a ‘Best of 2022″ or “Most Used Gear of 2022” blog post and will try to get that out soon. I hope everyone is doing well out there. Thanks

2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG reel…

So a few months back I wrote a blog post about the Varivas line issues I was having. Upon reflection, shortly after posting I opted to delete that blog post. I decided that further testing was in order before laying all of the blame squarely at the feet of the line I was using.

Fast forward a month or two, and after using the 2022 Shimano Stella in various situations, as well as switching out lines, I have decided that this reel is not really for me. This was my first foray into high end reels by both Shimano and Daiwa. I purchased both the 2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG and the 2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000S-H.

I took the Stella which was loaded with Varivas Super Trout Advance Bush Trail VEP nylon line to the river and fished for almost 6 hours straight. I ended up having several line issues that required me to cut line off and re-tie a new fluoro leader.

I was baffled by these issues since I have the exact same line on my 2022 Daiwa Exist and never (and still haven’t) had an issue or even a hiccup. Once at home I immediately stripped off that line and re-spooled it with Varivas Super Trout Advance Twitch Master VLS nylon and went back to the river the next day. On that trip I encountered zero issues. I thought that perhaps the Bush Trail line was too stiff and that the Stella preferred a more supple line.

I thought all of my issues were solved until I started throwing jerkbaits and spoons. I attached a swivel just to be safe, but started to get massive twisting problems that required me to cut off line and re-tie. I was baffled.

The 2022 Stella touts a polymer fin that is supposed to prevent line twists. And currently, I am beginning to wonder if the issue lies with the Super Slow Oscillation inherent in this generation of Stella. To complicate matters further…my wife has the 2022 Shimano Stella C2000S and hasn’t had a single issue while using the more supple Varivas line. I have been going over the issues in my head for weeks and have a hard time believing that a gear ratio difference is the culprit. I can’t wrap my brain around that one…but it is not an impossibility.

To further my point with the Stella, the start-up inertia is definitely not what I expect on a reel at this price point. In fact, my 2020 Shimano Twin Power C2000S is much smoother when reeling as well as having better start-up inertia. To say I am disappointed is an understatement, especially when the Stella is touted as the “best reel ever made.” But as always, I will keep tinkering with it until I figure it out.

Below are weight comparisons between the Twin Power and the Stella. At this point I can emphatically state that the Twin Power feels better to fish with by a long shot.

As always, I am open to ideas and input on this matter. Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a great holiday and was able to spend time with family. We have a lot to be thankful for.

We’ve been really busy with trying to get ready for winter. Bringing in hay, stocking up on horse and chicken feed, as well as filling the bird feeders. It has already snowed twice and I realize I still need to increase my firewood supply. We will get it all done in due time.

All of the discarded/lost fishing line we have recovered in 2022.

I would especially like to give a shout out to all of the people who are trying to make their fishing areas a better place. Those who pick up trash and other detritus without being asked or told. Those are the people who make this sport and our world a better place. And I am thankful for them.

Conservation is a key component in fishing, whether it be stream/river/lake management, selective harvests or volunteer outings. We can all play a role no matter how small, so help out where you can.

I am also thankful for my readers. I appreciate each and every one of you! Until next time…take care and be safe.

Still Kicking….

Happy belated Veterans Day to all who served. Time is getting away from me, that’s for sure.

Fall is upon us which means we will probably switch to trout fishing instead of fishing for river smallmouth. We have visited the local trout pond twice so far but haven’t caught anything as of yet.

I’ve been playing around with an old-school Abu Cardinal C3 lately. I’m not going to lie, I prefer modern spinning reels! But it’s fun to pull a vintage reel out of the display case every once in a while.

I have looked at the stocking schedule and it appears that they will stock the pond once a month. I am not sure about the size and quantity but will keep digging for more info. We used to do really well at this pond but it has been abysmal the last 4-5 times we have fished it. But then again, as soon as the trout are released, people flock to the release point and beat the water to death. We usually pack up and leave at that point. I’d rather give the trout time to disperse throughout the pond/lake, but that’s just my opinion.

As a side note: We have opted to try out Instagram and both of us have pages there…#Velox Seeker and #okfishingwife. We hope everyone is doing well and getting a chance to get out and fish. Stay safe and we will see you again soon.

Outing to Local Lake 30OCT2022…

After receiving some much needed rain Friday and most of Saturday, we awoke to a very light breeze and partly sunny skies. We decided to hit a local lake and fish for a bit.

Last outing I was using Varivas Bush Trail VEP Nylon line with my Stella and was having some issues. My wife hadn’t tried out her Stella yet so on Thursday we went to another local lake for her to cast and test it out. Hers was spooled with Varivas Super Trout Advance Twitch Master VLS line and performed flawlessly. I re-spooled mine with the same line she was using and today was the first chance I had to try it out on this reel.

It definitely solved all of my line issues. My guess is the Stella didn’t like stiff monofilament too much. In the short time we were there, we managed to catch 6 fish, although nothing of size.

As the season advances deeper into autumn, our fishing options narrow down quite a bit. We decided to buy a permit for another lake that stocks trout during the winter so that will extend our fishing season quite a bit. I honestly don’t think they stocked it too often due to the pandemic but we’re hoping they will get back on track.

And what would one of our outings be without picking up trash.

The plaque was laying up on the shoreline and I brought it home. Seems to really fit the current time we are living in!

It breaks my heart to see so much trash, especially after all of the time and effort we put into cleaning that area up earlier this year. Now…you can’t even tell we did anything. Looks like I’ll have another winter project.

On a side note- The Stella is amazing.

Gas One Spyder Stove…

The wife and I had been looking for a more compact stove. We didn’t want a backpacking stove per se, just something smaller than what we had been using. We came across a YouTube video about this type of stove so we decided to try it.

Standard Butane canister next to stove case.

We like the concept as well as the size. It puts out 8000 BTU’s which is sufficient for our needs. This stove is designed to run on butane but we have an adapter that lets us use propane if necessary. Why butane? Because it’s much cheaper…I purchased 8 cans for $8.99! And butane works just fine during the warmer months. With the appropriate adapters, we can run any of our stoves off of propane, butane or isobutane. It’s nice to have options.

This should work well for us. Space is at a premium in our Subarus so every little effort to downsize without losing functionality is helpful. Hopefully we will be able to put it to use soon when the weather cools down a bit.

Great Day to be Fishing…

The weather forecast called for a low temp in the 40’sF so we decided to go fishing. We left the house at 0445 and arrived at the river at 0645. It was a little chilly to say the least. We donned our raincoats over the normal wet wading gear we use to add a small layer of warmth until the sun came up high enough to warm the river valley.

I surprised myself with how this picture turned out!

I opted to use the TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL spinning rod and a 2022 Daiwa Exist LT2000S-P spinning reel. Both worked flawlessly and were a pleasure to fish with.

A well balanced outfit.

We didn’t bother taking fish pictures as we weren’t catching anything of decent size. I think 12 went about a pound or a little more. Our total catch for the day was 86 so it’s obvious how many were dinks. They were fun to catch in current, but we would’ve liked some bigger fish. It was still great to get out and enjoy the day though.

As I sit here typing this blog post, Zip is curled up at my feet sound asleep. It takes days like this where we cover several miles of river before he’s completely worn out. We could tell that he was glad to get out too.

We’ll catch you on the next one…

Fishing Conditions…

The first day at camp, we fished for about an hour without ever getting a bite. We were both using titanium leaders since we anticipated catching quite a few Pike. I switched over to a 20# fluorocarbon leader and immediately hooked a smallmouth bass. At that point my son switched over to the same setup. We knew it would be risky and decided to chance it. We ended up catching 6 Pike over the duration and only had one break-off.

We caught several smallmouth in this range.
First Walleye of the trip.

I’ve never spent much time chasing Walleye and when my son started catching them, I asked him what his technique was and tried my best to duplicate it. He definitely has the touch since he caught twice as many as I did. He ended up trying hard to put me on good Walleye and I reciprocated by trying to put him on good smallmouth.

I’ve made several trips up to the Boundary Waters in LateSpring/Early Summer and the fishing was fast and furious. The last several trips I’ve taken in early September were mediocre. Fish just weren’t where I expected them to be. We fished some amazing water without any success.

Our most productive areas to fish were above and below Beaver dams. I’m assuming the oxygenated water had a big factor in that. We could fish the entire shoreline of a small lake and catch two fish, yet at the dams we would catch 10-12.

And true to form, we both packed too much fishing gear. We primarily used a 3/16th ounce jighead and a 4 inch curly tail grub in green pumpkin. That combination caught all of our fish except two. Next time I will pare things down A LOT.

I did have a reel malfunction though. My Shimano Stradic drag gave out which cost me a fish. I surmised that the clip ring had disengaged from the clicker on the spool support shaft. When I returned home I tore into it and confirmed my suspicion. It was an easy fix.

As stated before, conditions were tough and we earned every fish caught. We generally fished for about 5 hours a day and spent the rest of the time in camp just kicking back and talking. Something we rarely have time to do these days and it was nice to catch up as well as strengthening a bond. I will definitely make more time for that in the future.

It was good to see how our son had taken to canoe travel and the skills he had developed and honed over the five trips he has taken. He is a top notch camper and canoeist and is getting better at fishing. There will come a time where I will not be able to make trips like this anymore and it is safe to say that he will carry the mantle forward and pass it on to future family.