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.

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.

River Outing 21 OCT 2022…

I have a few days of vacation that I need to use before the end of the year so I decided that today was as good as any other day. The morning started off colder than I expected with it being 34F when I stepped into the river at 0730. I was wearing my usual wet wading gear and opted to just suffer until the sun came up. The forecast called for temps to rise into the mid-80’sF by afternoon.

Autumn is upon us as the leaves are starting to change.

I decided to take 2 rods today, both TenRyu’s. A TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL and a TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L. The first one is a 2-piece “Light Light Action” and the second one is a 4-piece “Light Action. The Spectra was wearing a 2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG and the Integral had a 2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000S-H reel.

This was my first outing with the Stella and I had several line issues throughout the outing. It might be the type of line, I don’t know yet. The Exist performed flawlessly. They are both spooled with the same line, the Varivas Super Trout Advance Bush Trail VEP Nylon.

TenRyu Rayz Spectra with the Stella
TenRyu Rayz Integral with the Exist

It was good to get out and go fishing, but it wasn’t the same since the wife and dog weren’t with me.

Soto Amicus stove boiling water for coffee.
Need to come up with a better way to carry a rod on the Yeti.

The water was crystal clear and lazily flowing its course. The temperature climbed rapidly and I happily fished along. I ended up catching 15 decent smallmouth. I figured with the recent cold snap we’ve had, the fishing would be more difficult and it was. It sure beats working!

Masters of Camoflage.

A Much Needed Outing…

The alarm went off at 0345 and I wasn’t having any of it. I ended up hitting snooze twice. We were out the door by 0515 and stepped into the river at 0720. The starting temperature of the air was 48F while the stream temp was 72F. Needless to say, we both wore hoodies this morning.

First cast! I felt a butt-kicking coming on.
I thought her and the dog had a plan and were working together.

I damaged my leader while rigging up at the car and only had about 8 inches of fluorocarbon to work with. I ended up stopping and tying on a new 3ft section of fluorocarbon and immediately started connecting with fish.

Due to the flood we had last May, the river had completely changed. We had not fished this section of the river at all for 2022 so we were re-learning it as we moved upstream.

Was using a new jig head and a 2 inch B-Vibe.

I wanted to try a 3 inch B-vibe in green pumpkin since I was testing a new jig head. First cast into a deeper pool and it was instant hook-up. I ended up pulling 5 fish out of that small pool. I even managed to catch my Personal Best Velox (Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass) and was really excited.

For a river that rarely produces a fish over 2 pounds…I was happy. Most people around here will tell you that a 3-pounder is a trophy.

2020 Shimano Vanford 1000 and a Daiwa Presso ML 62 rod got the job done.

Due to other commitments we had to bail at noon. I wanted to fish all day but that wasn’t in the cards. But still, I caught several good smallmouth and may stick with the 3-inch B-vibe from now on. Out of 17 fish that I caught…only 3 were under a pound. I’d call that a good day on this section of the river.

Spinning Reels…

It has been a hectic 2 weeks. The Mother-in-Law is back in the hospital so we are taking care of two households. Last weekend we completely revamped the wifes home office. Workloads have been steadily increasing for both of us as well. On a positive note, the weather has finally cooled off so I think summer is over. We desperately need some rain though and we are hoping we will get some soon.

Anyway, I got up early this morning and decided to clean and oil some of my spinning reels. I thought it would be a good opportunity to take some pictures when I was finished.

2017 Shimano Soare Ci4+ 500S
Abu Garcia Revo MGX Theta 1000S
2017 Daiwa Presso LTD 1025
2021 Daiwa Presso LT 1000S-P
2020 Shimano Vanford 1000
2019 Shimano Stradic 1000S
2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000S-H
2020 Shimano Twin Power C2000S

The only spinning reels that I have modified/upgraded were the Vanford and the Stradics. Upgrading the bearings to hybrid ceramics made a big difference. I also upgraded the handle knobs on a Twin Power and 2 of the Stradics. The Twin Power was super smooth out of the box so I didn’t feel the need to upgrade any bearings. The Vanfords and Stradics really benefited from upgraded bearings.

Gomexus handle knobs.

We are hoping to be able to fish the river tomorrow as we both need to get out and away for awhile. As usual, I will post a blog if we do! Thanks for reading.

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.

Simms Flyweight Access Wading Boot Update…

I have about 25 full days using these boots and have grown to like them more and more. In the beginning I had issues with sand, micro-gravel and pebbles entering the boots, but I have remedied that problem.

By running the gravel guard as far down onto the boot as I possibly can, I have managed to keep all of the detritus out of my boots. As the name suggests, they are very lightweight and allow me to wade-fish all day without worry or discomfort.

The traction provided by the Vibram sole is pretty good. It definitely boosts your confidence when crossing sketchy barriers and these have been better than any other wading boot I have used except for felt soled versions. If you are fishing around Didymo covered rocks then felt soles and studs would be the way to go. But for walking trails, going up and down hills and over downed trees, wading small rivers and what not, these boots are great.

However, the increased traction from the softer Vibram sole does come at the cost of durability and longevity. I knew that going into the purchase so I accept the wear and tear.

Beginnings of wear.
Lugs worn off.

I used these boots as my portaging footwear up in the Boundary Waters. Wet landings, sand, mud, bogs, beaver dams, rocks etc and they performed flawlessly. For me, I can honestly say these were the best option I have ever used up there to date.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would gladly buy another pair of these for the type of fishing I do. If durability and longevity were your primary concern, then there are better options out there. Thanks for reading.

19 September 2022- Return to the Elk River…

The wife has every Monday off for the rest of the year so I decided to take a day off too. We talked and decided that we should go back to the Chambers Spring Road Access to the Illinois River in Arkansas and the Elk River outside of Noel Missouri. Neither one of us had caught Smallmouth bass in Missouri so we made a day of it.

Old Chambers Spring Road Bridge
Rockfish!
What are the odds?
Illinois river

We stopped at Chambers Spring Road Access just to see if we could get access to the river and wade-fish here. Yes we can! At least if we head upstream. We ended up catching 5 fish here before we decided to head on up to the Elk River. Our goal was catch smallmouth in Missouri and we weren’t going to get it done by fishing in Arkansas.

It didn’t take us long to reach the Mount Shira Access on the Elk River.

First things first…we made coffee.
The river was really low but that was to be expected.

It was a good trip and we had fun. We both caught Smallmouth bass in Missouri so that was great, which brings my total up to 4 states that I’ve caught Smallmouth in this year. The total catch of the day was 17 and 2 of them were decent. The sun was intense at 94F and we are both tired of summer. This access point gets a lot of traffic and we picked up 2 bags of trash on the way out. Even Zip spent an inordinate amount of time swimming in the river and he slept most of the way home.

I have a couple of gear review updates coming soon so stay tuned for those.

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…