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…

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.

Video of a Typical Portage…

I thought I would do something different and so I filmed a complete portage crossing from beginning to end.

This particular portage was 60 rods long. A rod is equal to 16 feet in length. This is one of the easier portages that we encountered.

Pardon my breathing, I was carrying two packs and this was my second trip across the portage that morning.

Portage Part 1
Portage Part 2

Portages are necessary to go around steep drops, waterfalls and/or lake to lake. Everything has to be carried over.

Camping on Lower Pauness Lake…

Normally we paddle and portage a minimum of 10 miles into the interior of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to get away from people. This time we paddled in about 2 hours and set up a basecamp on Lower Pauness Lake. We didn’t really have an itinerary or a time schedule. Our main goals were to fish, explore and relax.

View from our campsite.
View to the Northeast from our campsite.
Relaxing.

Ultimately we would get up around 0530 every morning to see the Milky Way and watch the sunrise. We would eat a quick bite of breakfast and then be off by 0700. The first day, we fished the lake. The second day we paddled over to Shell Lake to look around and scope out campsites for a future trip. We fished Shell Lake as well. The third day we crossed the Devils Cascade portage into the Little Indian Sioux River up to Loon Lake.

General overview of the area we were in.

We saw Beaver, Otters, Eagles and lots of other wildfowl. No Moose or deer were seen on this trip but that was to be expected. Without having a real itinerary it was nice to just travel and explore at our own pace. This was probably the most relaxing and stress free trip to the BWCA that I’ve ever been on.

Back in Town…

I was talking with our oldest son about 2 months back. He had just returned from a trip to the Boundary Waters with a group of friends that didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. I commented about him and I doing a trip together and he agreed. I went about getting a permit as well as a rental canoe and lodging and planning out an itinerary.

Long story short, we spent the past week canoeing and fishing up in the Boundary Waters together and it turned out to be one of the best trips ever. The fishing was tough due to them still being in their summer pattern/deep water. We earned every single fish we caught. I don’t have all of the pictures yet so will only post a few of the main ones.

Shell Lake
Devils Cascade Portage
Resident Trumpeter Swans who sounded off every morning at 0600 sharp.

I am currently surrounded by gear that needs cleaning, drying, sorting and stowing. I have a pile of things to do before I can write a proper blog post but I will do that ASAP. Feels kind of strange knowing that I was in Des Moines at 0530 and home by noon. At least I have 2 more days to get things caught up. See ya soon!

Blog Update…

My apologies for not posting anything to the blog for a couple of weeks. My work schedule has drastically increased to include longer hours and weekends as well. We are still experiencing temperatures in the upper-90’s to 100F+ so we haven’t been fishing at all. The good news as far as I can tell is that the temps will start slowly decreasing next week.

Yes, we could hit the rivers and fish but we haven’t had any measurable rainfall in over a month which will effect water levels. At times like that, it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel,” so I feel that it isn’t very sporting. I prefer to have a sustainable population of fish for the future as opposed to “getting mine now.”

Some people may disagree but I prefer to have an ethic when it comes to this sport. This isn’t a rant, nor am I pointing fingers. Rather, it’s just my ethos and I will not deviate.

I definitely have upcoming blog posts which I think readers may like. They are still a few weeks off but I promise they will be forthcoming. Stay tuned for those and I hope everyone is doing well.

Major Craft Finetail Stream Stage FSG-B462UL Rod…

I have been watching the development of this rod for awhile and finally was able to pre-order one. It arrived last week but due to the heatwave I haven’t fished with it yet. I like the action of the Anglo&Co. fiberglass rods such as the G411, but I wasn’t willing to pay $800+ for it. Then along came this FSG-B462UL and I jumped on it.

This is a full fiberglass rod and I really like the action on it for casting jerkbaits and light lures.

The specs.
The angled grip does make a difference.
Paired with a 2017 Shimano Scorpion BFS reel.
Nice bending curve yet still has some backbone.
Trying something different here. Adding a video of the action.

So the video snippet above wasn’t the greatest because we were preoccupied with a visitor.

It showed no fear of us at all.
Black Rat Snake. They have a huge diversity of coloration. And since I’m not a huge fan of snakes, this wasn’t easy for me to do. He did his best Rattlesnake imitation by shaking his tail rapidly against some leaves while assuming a defensive posture, but the round eye shape gave him away.
No worries! We see them as beneficial snakes that help keep the rodent population in check. I relocated him shortly after this pic was taken. Although we do have chickens, we have only found one in the coop so far. This particular snake has been relocated twice so far. Never a dull moment in the country.

As soon as the temperatures drop below 100F I plan on trying this rod out. We’ve already seen 111F here and we might have some relief coming next week. Today will reach 105F. As I’ve said in the past, Major Craft gives you a lot of rod for the money and I think this one will become one of my favorites since it has the characteristics I prefer.

P.S. THANK YOU Mr. Wilson for the hats. Love em.

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.