24 Hours Makes a Difference…

Yesterday morning I decided I wanted to practice more with my baitcast set ups. From previous blog posts you may remember that I came late to the baitcast game, so I practice as often as I can.

The weather was 61F and partly sunny, but the wind was a steady 18mph with gusts to 30mph. Not ideal for practicing but I have to take advantage of any window of opportunity.

I was doing pretty well once I adjusted the reel to match the weight of the lure I was throwing. I even managed to catch a small largemouth bass in the process.

The problems started when I got cocky! I started throwing for distance as well as casting into the wind. Huge fail that resulted in a birds nest the likes of which I have never seen before. I ended up having to cut the line off the spool so that pretty much ended the outing. Yes…I can be a dummy sometimes.

Fast forward to this morning and everything had changed. The winds had switched out of the north at 20mph and the temperature had dropped to 26F with a steady ice mist coming down. (Here I will encourage the reader to revert back to the last sentence of the previous paragraph)

I decided it would be a great idea to go trout fishing first thing in the morning. We arrived at sun rise and headed to the pond and started casting. We fished for about 30 minutes before we (meaning ME) were forced to retreat. Two of my fingers on my right hand began to freeze and the pain was making it impossible for me to fish. If you’ve had frostbite before then you know how susceptible you are to getting it again. And yes…I was wearing gloves! I could see it in my wifes eyes that she was cold too but apparently we were playing a game of “chicken” to see who would quit first. Grrrrr.

So the end result was that we didn’t catch any trout and I had to concede defeat according to the rules of the game. Oh the shame!!!! And to top it off…she coined a new term…SKUNK CHICKEN!

Not sure how I will recover from it all, but my honor is at stake now. I’m already beginning to hate 2023.

Random Musings…

2022 was a great fishing year for us. We were able to explore a few new areas with success. We’ve been pouring over maps as well as searching through various online posts seeking new areas to explore in 2023. We have found 2 areas that have a high potential for our type of fishing.

As far as prospective new gear purchases go…we haven’t seen much that really trips our trigger. I had high hopes for the new 2023 Shimano Vanquish but they added the super-slow oscillation system to it. I have that on my Stella and the jury is still out on that. I haven’t given up on my Stella, but I’ve had line issues that I haven’t resolved yet. I plan on re-spooling it with braid to see if that fixes the issue. If anyone follows “Angler Saito” over on YT enjoyfishingchannel, then you would’ve seen how he preferred the 2022 Daiwa Exist over the 2022 Shimano Stella…and I couldn’t agree more!

The 2023 Daiwa Airity does look interesting and I might pick one up. It’s a good looking reel in my opinion. We will see what the street price ends up being. I tend not to be an “early adopter” or “influencer type” and prefer to wait a bit so the kinks get ironed out.

There are a couple of rods that I’m curious about from M&N and M-Aire as well as TenRyu but I’m in no hurry to research them further. And lures…I’m trying hard not to become a collector. I have a thing for handmade lures but if I can’t bring myself to use them, then there’s not really a point in buying them. We spent a lot of time stream-lining our gear to make it lighter and more efficient so I don’t want to undo that effort.

We have pre-planned for 2023 and have purchased plenty of hooks and jigs as well as plastic baits. I’m sure at some point we will have to replenish those, but for now we are good to go. We really don’t see a reason or need for any drastic changes.

Mrs. VeloxSeeker will probably order a pair of custom waders since she has had a hard time finding a pair that actually fits. Simms offers a custom service so that will allow her to upsize her stocking foot booties yet retain a petite wader size. She’s a size 4 which equates to a Womens Small but to get her foot size correct she would have to order a Womens Large. That’s NOT gonna work. Last time I checked the price to do that was reasonable so 2023 will be the year we get it done.

All of this is probably not very exciting to read but we are excited for the 2023 fishing season. Plans are being laid as we speak and we hope nobody does anything stupid on the global stage that wrecks everything. Time will tell. See you on the next one.

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.

New Lures…

I was over on Instagram scrolling through my feed which pertains to all sorts of fishing. I follow mainly Japanese anglers but there a several from all over the world that I follow as well. There are also several lure makers who show their wares and I was impressed by one in particular…Veles Handcrafted Lures based in Serbia. I sent a message asking if he sold on Etsy since I’d seen his site but there was nothing for sale. He replied that he indeed did sell on that platform and would be uploading items very soon. Fast forward a few days and I bought two lures as soon as they were available. To keep this short and stop rambling, I will just post the pics.

I am very impressed with the quality of these lures. Attention to detail is amazing. His prices are reasonble with lures running from $20-$25 apiece. From the amount of work that goes into each one, I would say that is more than fair. If interested, his store can be found on Etsy under “veleshandcraftedlure” and on Instagram at #veles_handcrafted_lures. Catch you all on the next one.

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!

I’m Feeling Old Today…

I have been an early riser for decades. I am always up before the sun peeks above the horizon. Part of it is driven by habit and part is driven by physical pain. I have had 8 surgeries through the years to repair damage from use and abuse. On an average night I manage one to maybe two hours of fitful sleep. The rest of the time I just toss and turn trying to find a modicum of comfort.

With the recent Arctic blast and temps hovering around 0F I have taken it upon myself to keep the fireplace going all night. Every few hours I will stoke the fire and add another log or two. Zip will usually sit with me for awhile and watch the fire burn before returning to bed on his own accord.

It’s a great time for reflection. Sitting there watching the flames and replaying events in my mind. I am not stuck in the past by any means, but I do miss several things that I used to be able to do. I spent decades rock climbing, mountaineering and caving among other things, and I miss the mountains. I have a closet full of climbing gear that will probably never be used again. Crampons, ice axes, ropes, packs, helmets, boots, carabiners etc.

But now, my hands don’t work like they used to, and they sure don’t like the cold anymore. I don’t possess the stamina or fortitude to suffer either. I have indeed become old and relish a warm fire and a dry, comfortable place to sleep. But the things I have seen and done stay with me. Always reminding me of what I used to be. And that’s OK.

I am a fisherman now. And I take great pride and joy in that fact. I can slow down and enjoy one hobby and not worry about racing off to the next route or adventure. Perspective always changes when you are closer to the end than the start. But that is life. We might as well make the most of it!

Thanks for reading and stay warm out there.

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.

Reasons That I Like Being In My 50’s…

Reflection is a big deal to me. How else would I learn from my mistakes or realize that I should be grateful?

Being in my 50’s allows me to see things more clearly and make decisions based on life experiences. I don’t worry about what other people think of me and I don’t compete with anyone but myself. I find that I am content and try to be humble in my daily life. I have nothing to prove and fully enjoy just being at peace with myself. And that has a huge impact on my style of fishing. We’ve blanked several times and I could care less. It is always good just to get out.

I don’t subscribe to the “Alpha Male Fallacy” (read David Mech and Marlene Zuk for a dose of reality) preferring instead to be more like Benjamin Martin in the movie The Patriot. I will not stand in public beating my chest boasting about how great I am, but when it comes time to stand up and be counted I will be there. Granted, we are all captive in one way or another. How we mitigate that is most important.

More importantly, I enjoy seeing my children flourish in their lives and careers. We are also expecting our second Grandchild soon and couldn’t be more delighted. We help where we can and give advice when asked.

The more I embrace my age, the more I can embrace a semblance of freedom. Instead of dwelling fully on the past I look forward to the future so I can continue to grow as an individual. I’m not sure when altruism became a form of weakness, but I wholeheartedly reject that position. Being a decent human being is crucial to moving forward.

Be kind, be humble, help others and enjoy your time doing what you love. That is exactly how we fish! From the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend a THANK YOU to each and everyone who has visited this blog. Here’s to a GREAT 2023 to all of you! Cheers

Outing: 11DEC2022.

We’ve had a lot of rain here in the past few days which causes havoc with our fishing. I wasn’t really feeling like getting out today but I have a reel I wanted to test. Zip has been suffering from cabin fever since he hasn’t been going to the trout ponds with us, so we headed to the river. Prospects for catching fish weren’t high but we decided to give it a go anyway.

2019 Shimano Vanquish C2000S. A GREAT reel!

Normally this time of year the river is about 6 to 6.5ft but was a little over 8ft today.

We just let Zip do his thing. He burned off a ton of energy and slept the whole way home.
The river was murky so we decided not to chance trying to cross it.
Finally found some calmer water.
Cabin fever- Exhibit A
Ended up picking up 4 bags of trash.

As expected, we caught nothing. It was a cool, damp and dreary day but it sure beats working. With the river level being up like it was, we didn’t try crossing to access more area to fish. We’ll get them next time! Cheers

Most Used Gear of 2022…

2022 was a fun year for us in regards to fishing. We visited some new places and were able to try some new gear. Ever since we delved into the Japanese fishing gear market, it has been an interesting ride. So without taking up any more time, lets get into it.

2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000S-H

The Daiwa Exist turned out to be a great reel for me. ZERO issues with it ever since I bought it. Pricey, but it performs. I reached for this reel more often than any of the others when fishing rivers and streams.

Daiwa Presso LT 1000S-P

The Daiwa Presso LT is another great reel. No longer made in Japan but offshored to China, this reel came out swinging. It is smoother and has less startup inertia than my Presso 1025 LTD. I seriously enjoyed fishing with this reel. I would pick this over the Shimano Stradic 1000, the Vanford 1000 and the Abu MGX Theta 1000. There are better reels out there, these were just some of what I have.

TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L-4

My favorite Pack Rod was the TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L-4. Very well built, extremely compact and easy to carry. It fished very well and the action was great. This rod lived in my Yeti Panga for most of 2022. It was always with me everytime I went out and saw a lot of use.

TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL

Another excellent choice for stream fishing. I really started to develop an appreciation for TenRyu rods this year. Fit and finish is impeccable and they are a joy to fish with. I absolutely love these rods. Accuracy was spot on, plenty of backbone for fish in current and sensitivity was stellar. 9 times out of 10, I’d reach for this rod.

Apia Grandage Lite 61

Runner up for most used rod this year. Unbelievably light and sensitive. Paired with the Daiwa Presso LT 1000 reel, this outfit felt like a magic wand. It is delicate and needs to be babied, but it is worth it. Reasonably priced at around $135, but it delivers the goods. Casting distance is outstanding. Definitely not designed for smallmouth or trout but it did an excellent job and handled everything I threw at it.

Yeti Panga 28L backpack

You are probably sick of seeing this backpack in all of our photos. On its third year and it still keeps going strong. Waterproof and submersible, as well as being built like a tank (much thicker material than Simms or Patagonias offerings). Yes it is expensive at $300 but it is worth every penny. I would instantly buy another one if something happened to this one. It is a workhouse and holds all of our gear and then some. We haven’t found anything better that suits our style of fishing. If I’m wet wading and need to get across a deep pool, I swing this around to my front and lay on it. Then I just swim across and keep going without any worries. Cameras and cell phone as well as everything else inside has stayed 100% dry EVERY TIME.

Simms Flyweight Access boots

Alhough I got off to a rough start with these boots, I ended up working around or through the issues and these boots worked out well. Traction was very good and they have held up pretty well. Not as comfortable as a heavier built boot for all day wading, but they get the job done better in certain situations due to being lighter and grippier. Coupled with the Simms Guide Socks, they just work. As stated before, I’d buy another pair.

I ended up using this Varivas line for most of 2022 on various reels. We are still trying out lines from different manufacturers so this will probably change in the future.

We tend to gravitate towards throwing jigs when fishing rivers and streams. These were the 5 different jig heads we threw most often. We tend to experiment quite a bit with the different shapes and weights and it is nice to have a selection of different weights.

For 2022 we opted to stay with the EuroTackle Finesse B-vibes in black and green pumpkin in both 2 inch and 3 inch versions. There may be something better out there but these have produced well and more consistently than anything we have tried. I would estimate that we used these about 90% of the time this year.

Miscellaneous gear for 2022.

That wraps up the “Most Used Gear in 2022” segment. I look back fondly on 2022 since we both managed some “Personal Bests” and we are both looking forward to what 2023 brings. Stay tuned for more!

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