River Trip 15MAY2022…

We were awakened last night by a strong thunderstorm and a heavy downpour. We debated about continuing with our plans to fish the river on Sunday. Needless to say, we headed to the river a little later than normal. As much to fish it, as to see how much it had changed from the recent flooding.

This gravel bar is new!
It narrowed some areas whilst widening others.

I took my Loop XACT 9ft 5wt MF fly rod and the Loop Opti Dryfly reel. I caught 5 fish on a #6 grey and olive squirrel tail Bunny Leech with a 3mm bead head. The rest I caught on my Tailwalk Troutia 55L spinning rod. Zip was really curious about the fly rod and I was afraid of hooking him since he tried chasing the fly.

Mrs. Velox Seeker hard at it.
The river level was around 7.25 feet so MVS felt comfortable wading across at the same spots I did.

The whole time I was fishing, my phone, which was stowed in the backpack, kept announcing a Thunderstorm Watch was in effect til later this evening. So we kept an eye towards the sky as we fished.

I did manage to figure out two river crossings but will need a full day to figure out the main stretch. Hopefully we can get that done soon. And Zip actually swam one crossing which was something new. I’m glad he’s becoming more comfortable around the river. It’s no fun wading across while carrying him.

If you remember in my last post from this river, you might recall the picture of the tree that had been washed out. Well, it’s completely gone now and more than likely several miles down stream.

Watching Mrs. Velox Seeker fish.
Worn out pup.

I guess we had two milestones on this trip, Zip crossing the river on his own and also, not getting car sick on the ride! Although we caught 19 fish, the above mentioned milestones were the highlights of the trip.

It has gotten hot here quite a bit earlier than normal. It was 70F when we arrived at 0815 and by the time we left at 1300, it was 91F. It was actually too hot to wear waders as we were both soaked with sweat. And that’s fine by me as I prefer to wet wade.

All of the practice that I’ve put into my fly casting has paid off. It was really fun today and I hope to keep improving and learning. Have a Great Day and we’ll catch you on the next one.

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 its 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.

Dometic Go Water Jug 11L…

While we were over in Fayetteville last weekend, we stopped into Pack Rat Outdoor Store. While wandering around the store we came upon a Dometic display containing 12VDC refrigerators, chairs, blankets and a water jug. We kind of liked the design philosophy of the water jug. On the ride home we talked in depth about the jug.

We ended up ordering one and it arrived today. Our reasoning behind this purchase was that our 6 gallon water jug that we currently use is a bit too heavy for us to carry any distance. It also takes up a lot of room in the vehicle due to its shape.

The Dometic is listed at 11 liters or approximately 3 gallons of capacity. It seems really well built and functional.

Top of conatiner.
Nalgene sized opening with a good seal.
Main opening. It’s big enough to get your hand inside so you can clean the inside of the container.
Air vent on Left, quick disconnect fitting on Right.

This particular model has a quick disconnect fitting that is designed to work in conjunction with their new battery operated faucet system. What I saw was a quick disconnect fitting that works with our Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter pump. We can plug straight in and refill the jug from an available water source.

Built-in handle on the bottom to help pour the contents if necessary.
It does come with a pour spout too.

The handles are made of nylon webbing and are removable, not sure why I would remove them but everyones needs are different. This unit is compact enough that it will easily fit behind the driver or passenger seat of the vehicle. I tested it and can confirm that it does not leak at any angle. We have high hopes for this addition to our gear and look forward to using it soon.

We probably won’t buy the faucet system but we really like the design of this jug. Dometic seems to be serious about producing thoughtful, useful gear. Thanks for reading.

DirtCom Trail Swing Spare Tire Carrier…

I have needed a way to carry a full size spare tire on my Subaru for quite awhile and decided on this particular carrier.

I chose this model due to the fact that it was constructed of Chrome Alloy steel tubing so in theory should be very durable. I wish I could carry a full size spare inside the vehicle but our after-market rims and tires will not fit the factory made space. I have been lugging the spare tire around inside the rear hatch which drastically reduced my cargo capacity.

I like that it swings out of the way of the rear hatch so loading and unloading the vehicle will not be impeded. It has 4 settings: 90 degrees, 120 degrees, 180 degrees and free swing. There are accessories available such as a fold down table or RotoPax holders for spare fuel jugs or water jugs. As you can see from the pictures, it has a Class 3 tow hitch built in so I can still tow a trailer.

What makes this hitch unique is that it is angled so it doesn’t drastically reduce my departure angle going up hills. As I’ve said before: sometimes it’s the little things that make a product stand out.

Installation took me about 45 minutes. The unit weighs 70 pounds and is rock solid. Zero wobble or bouncing. It even comes with a beefy license plate holder that is pre-wired with a light. I still need to permanently wire the license plate light and make the wiring look neater, but it’s my daily driver so I needed a quick solution to keep from getting pulled over.

This should make a great addition to our fishing vehicle due to where we go and some of the roads we drive on. Having a full-size spare gives me peace of mind. And it’s nice to have my full cargo area back.

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!

Road Trip 07May2022…

My local area does not have a fly fishing shop so we decided to drive over to Fayetteville Arkansas on Saturday morning to check out one we found online. With all of the rain we’ve had lately we knew the rivers would be un-fishable so this was our “Plan B.”

The name of the establishment is McLellan’s Fly Shop and is run by a husband and wife team. When it comes to niche items, the wife and I prefer to shop local and support small businesses. So off we went on a 2 hour drive.

We also planned to visit a store called Pack Rat which is one of our favorites for various camping/outdoors gear. And along the way, I had dropped map pins of likely river access points for fishing.

Our first stop was the Chambers Springs Road Access Point but as soon as we turned off the highway we noticed a repair crew working on the washed out bridge. Without being able to continue further, that kind of squashed our river recon plans. Arkansas has experienced the same flooding that we have and there was high water, standing water and damage everywhere.

Eventually we made it to McLellan’s Fly Shop and proceeded inside. It was refreshing to see a legitimate fly shop after not having access to one for so long.

I was a bit gobsmacked at all of the stuff in there. When you don’t have a store like this and go inside a legitimate fly shop, it’s awesome. The co-owner who we will call Mrs. McLellan was full of knowledge and very helpful. And since they had recently got a puppy, we had a lengthy discussion about that. We also talked about supply chain issues, river conditions, fly selections and various other topics. It was a great visit. And I will say that their customer service is excellent.

Simms Flyweight Access Boots.

This boot was my main purchase. I had been looking at these online but being able to feel them in-hand and to try them on was the deal clincher and they ended up going home with me. I also bought a small Fishpond landing net, a few flies and a fly box and a couple of hats and extraneous items.

We also stopped in to look around at Pack Rat Outdoors Store but didn’t find anything we wanted or needed so we began the drive home. It was a long day but a fun day and we will definitely return to McLellan’s soon.

I apologize for not taking more pictures, especially of the flooded out access areas, but I was keen to get to the fly shop. Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day.

First Attempt at European Style Nymphing…was a Fail.

We got up early and drove to the river, arriving by 0700. It was 46F and we could see our breath as we geared up to fish. We started the outing surrounded by cows and a curious bull. After several attempts to run them off, we finally succeeded.

The river was a foot higher than last weekend due to the rains. It crested at a little over 14 feet on Wednesday and was at 8.25 feet when we stepped in.

This wasn’t there last weekend.

I decided to only take my Syndicate P2 ESN rod and give that method a solid go. After 3.5 hours and losing two smallmouth I needed a break. I felt like I failed at Euro nymphing even after trying multiple configurations and flies. I definitely have some homework to do.

I tied up a leader late last night and it worked OK. I was able to cast pretty well after about 15 minutes with me untangling my flies twice before I figured it out. I just never felt that I could get my nymphs/jigs down deep enough so I need to do more research. The current was much stronger than last weekend for sure.

Mrs. Velox Seeker opted not to wade across because she felt it was outside her comfort level so she stayed close to shore which limited her fishing. If I’m being honest, I don’t blame her. Wading back upstream was a struggle for me and I was out of breath when I came ashore.

Fishing some pools

After a quick snack and sip of water, I grabbed her spinning rod and put on one of those new 4.5 gram jigheads we just bought and waded across the river. First cast and I hooked a decent smallmouth. They were hugging the bottom near the edges of the gravel bars and would attack from there. It was cool to see them surge up and hit the lure. That’s why I wanted to increase the weight of the jigs we were using. I needed something to drop deep in current and these worked. After Euro nymphing for 3.5 hours and not bringing anything to hand…this was a nice confidence boost. I caught 3 more good smallmouth before handing the rod back over to my wife and returning to the Euro nymphing rod. She attempted to wade out to that spot but the current repulsed her and she came back. It is a combination of the flow rate and the gravel under your feet being swept away with each step. It can be a little unnerving to those who don’t wade a lot. Not to mention, she doesn’t weigh as much as I do.

Yes, I cheated.

We each fished for another hour or so and decided to call it a day. Total catch for the day was 6 with three of them being decent. I love testing theories and trying new things. It helps when you’re proven right 😉 We both got a good workout and are already feeling the results of the exertion. But it’s a good kind of pain.

And of course, we have more storms coming tonight and tomorrow. May is always a rainy month in Oklahoma so we are not optimistic about our chances for going fishing.

Thanks for reading!

Biding My Time…

With the weather being what it is…I decided to get a couple of projects done. First up was to upgrade the bushings/bearing on my Shimano Stradic C3000. Again, I ordered hybrid ceramic bearings from Plaig Bearings out of Australia.

My Largemouth Bass Finesse reel
Top to bottom: Replaced the spool support bushing, the rear oscillation gear bushing and the line roller bearing.

Next up was new jig heads. After fishing last weekend, I decided to try and find some heavier jig heads to get down into the deeper pools. I still wanted a short shank hook since these fish (Neosho strain smallmouth bass) don’t get very big. I found the Owner Cultiva JH-89 4.5gram jig heads and ordered some. I also picked up a few packages of the Owner Cultiva JH-86’s in 3.0grams. We normally fish 2.2gram jig heads.

Heavier weight!
Trying out a new method to carry my jig heads.

I enjoy fly fishing but some days the wind is really bad so I switch to conventional spinning gear. Being relegated now to fishing on the weekends, I like to maximize my time on the water. It isn’t a big deal to throw a pack rod and reel into my pack just in case.

I had planned on getting these projects done yesterday but when my Dad sent me a message about our local weather alert, I rushed out to get all of the mowing done before the rains came. So I got up early this morning to get some of these done.

Next project on the list was leaders. Store bought tapered leaders are great…I just don’t like paying their asking price. So I generally tie my own. Years ago I bought this Mangrove Leader Wallet and have never looked back. This has been one of the best additions to my fly fishing gear and I use it all the time.

It has a zipper on the end that accesses a section that goes the full length of the leader wallet. That’s where I keep my cheat sheets, sighter materials, mucilin, nippers etc etc. I love this thing!

If I could be a Super Hero, I think I would choose the name…”the Piddler” since I quite often find myself “piddling” around with my fishing gear. Tweaking this or modifying that. Countless hours are spent doing just that, in the hopes of creating something better or more effective. And I know I’m not alone!

See you on the next one…

Euro Nymphing Setup…

I ordered a euro nymphing specific fly line this week and it arrived on Friday. It is the Rio Euro Nymphing FIPS #2-#5 line.

I also have both the RIO Shorty and the Scientific Anglers ESN kit so I can keep my standard fly line if conditions warrant its use. I have a 3wt WF fly line on my Danielsson LW4 reel with the Rio Shorty installed. I’ll just carry two reels in the event I want to fish dry flies or something. I plan on tieing up some leaders today with formulas I’ve found online. I’d be curious to hear what others are using, so if you want to leave a comment please do.

I am excited to try these out but with the recent weather we’ve had, I might be delayed. For the RIO ESN FIPS line, I wanted to try the Danielsson F3W 2six reel so I put the main line on that reel.

Danielsson reels are an incredible value
Danielsson F3W 2 six-FULL CAGE!

I also ordered some nymphs from Fulling Mill but those won’t arrive until next week. I chose some Perdigons, Duracells, Coca Colas, Okie Dokies, Pheasant Tails, Hares Ears as well as a few jig streamers.

We have had two serious Tornado Watches in the past few days as well as thunderstorms, rain and yes…more wind. I don’t ever remember a Spring that has been this windy. We’ve been keeping an eye on stream conditions as well.

At least the levels go down quickly.

It’s somewhat frustrating to get some new gear and wanting to test it out right away, but Mother Nature has her own plans and I have to react accordingly. Patience is the order of the day and since it rained last night…maybe we can get onto the water by Sunday.

Thanks for reading!

Syndicate P2 Pipeline Pro 10ft 3wt fly rod…

I purchased a Syndicate P2 Pipeline Pro European Style Nymphing 10ft 3wt rod because it was something I was curious about. I know that I’m late to the party by several years, but I decided to give it a go.

I can see the value of this technique since fish tend to spend a rather large portion of their lives down deep. So why not incorporate it into the places we fish and the species we fish for. I’d like to try nymphs and streamer flies for the Neosho-strain smallmouth bass as well as various tightline techniques.

I have purchased both the Rio Shorty leader kit as well as the Scientific Anglers kit that does the same thing. Also, I built a Mono-rig because I wanted to try that out too. I haven’t bought a full-blown ESN fly line yet but probably will.

I tested out this rod with a Mono-rig for a bit this afternoon and it was hard for me to get used to stripping monofilament. I’m sure I could get accustomed to it, but it felt really unnatural to me. Granted, I was fishing a lakeshore with a cross wind and I’m sure this system was designed for river fishing. You definitely have to stretch the Mono-rig before fishing! Next opportunity and I will test the Rio Shorty and the Scientific Anglers kit to see if that makes a huge difference.

10ft 3wt
matte Olive colored blank
Good hardware and comfortable handle
Double uplocking reel seat.

This rod performed really well. I tried it with the Mono-rig and could easily cast it 30ft. I also tried standard WF3F fly line and it did great. It suits my casting style as I would call this a Moderate action rod and I slowed my tempo just a bit and it performed tuck casts beautifully. I only managed to hook one Perch which was fun on this rod. I was intentionally trying NOT to catch fish but this little guy was hungry.

Danielsson LW4seven fly reel.

And as the weather warms up, more people start getting out and I tend to find new trash. I honestly feel like I’m starting all over at this local lake.

That white bucket was stuffed in a tree so I pulled it out and used it to fill half of the trash barrel. Fortunately most of the trash was in close proximity to the parking lot…WHERE THE TRASH BARREL IS. Please teach your kids, teenagers, friends, relatives etc etc that they need to put their trash in its proper place. I’m sure all of my readers already do this, but the word needs to get out to more people. Thank you in advance for being an awesome human being!

River Trip 23Apr2022…

We hit the road at 0515 hoping to be on the river by 0700 but we were 15 minutes late. Sunrise was at 0640 and the temperature was 67F with 22mph winds. I wanted to take the fly rod but opted not to since I knew the winds would continue to increase throughtout the day.

Early worm gets the bird

We had a near miss with Zip as he decided to chase after the two geese in the background of the photo above. I called him back and he came running but wasn’t paying attention and fell off the gravel seam into deeper water. He started dog paddling without making progress and he started drifting across into deeper water. I waded in at and the last second (the water depth was quickly approaching the tops of my waders) managed to grab him and drag him back onto the gravel bar. He was much more careful after that.

At least he said “Thank You”
Filling my Sawyer Squeeze water bottle
Nicer than carrying a bunch of water bottles
Refreshingly cold water
A good fishing buddy!

I was using the Daiwa Presso ST 62ML rod with the Daiwa Presso LT 1000 reel. My wife was using her Graphite Leader Bellezza RV 642UL with a Shimano Twin Power C2000S reel. We decided on using heavier rods due to the wind. We experienced periodic wind gusts of 30-45mph while on the river. Sometimes we had to anchor hard with our feet and brace ourselves. Wind AND current can be tricky at times.

This is actually a pretty good rod.
Mrs. Velox Seeker

We each carried a Yeti Panga 28 for our gear. Hers contained dog necessities while mine ended up being filled with trash. Even with all of my fishing gear inside, I still managed to haul out 2 beer cans, 2 plastic bottles, a beer bottle and an empty 5 gallon jug. Leave it cleaner than you found it!

She caught 6 Velox and I managed to catch 12 with one being decent.

The river was in great shape and we can’t wait to return.
River slo-mo

Nothing recharges my internal batteries like being on a river. We had a great time and enjoyed fishing at a leisurely pace. Zip did really good and we look forward to future outings with him. The winds have been a real problem for us lately and we are hoping they will calm down soon.

We’ve been receiving these advisories daily.

I am truly grateful to be married to a woman who loves to fish as much as I do. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!

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.