Return to the Cossatot River…

This year we opted to fish the Cossatot River again. This was our first longer trip with Zip and we weren’t sure what to expect. It seemed easier to pick a place we were familiar with until we knew how the dog would get on with week long camping.

After a four and a half hour drive, we turned onto the forest road and stopped to air down the tires.

Our gear in the back of the Subaru

This was also our first time out with a 12 volt refrigerator. I did a previous post on the LiFePO4 battery build that I did to power the fridge.

SetPower RV45S Single Zone Fridge
Two 50 watt panels charged the battery during the day

We got up early every morning to fish and returned to camp around noon and deployed the solar panels to keep the battery charged up. It worked out well since it allowed us to escape the worst of the heat and we could relax in camp a bit. We could also use that time to dry out our gear and re-rig if necessary.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the river was up quite a bit due to all of the recent rainfall. We were worried about wading certain sections but that proved to be irrelevant since it was dropping fast.

We also timed our arrival for Sunday afternoon hoping that the weekend campers would be gone. It wasn’t to be as there were other like-minded campers spending the week in the camping area. The first day was also the hottest as the temperature hit 96F and it was difficult to stay cool. We ended up putting a fan on Zip to help him cope with the heat.

We made several trips down to the river to get Zip wet and he thoroughly enjoyed that. Coupled with the fan, he was good to go.

It was definitely good to be back on the Cossatot River and we had high hopes that the fishing would be good.

The 2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG Spinning Reel…

It finally arrived! The wife has been wanting one of these for over 6 months. Last Thursday when I got to work, there was an email that popped up on my phone from Digitaka stating that the Soare XR 500’s were in stock. This was at 0504. By 0505 I was on their site ready to purchase two reels but it already stated that it was THE LAST ONE. I bought it instantly and by 0506 I had confirmation of the order. These reels went fast!!!

Rear View of 2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG
2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG Handle
L: 2022 spool and R: 2017 spool
L: 2022 Soare XR 500SPG and R: 2017 Soare CI4+ 500S
2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S
Rear View of 2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S
2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S Handle

Before I list the specs, I will say that the 2022 Soare XR is smoother than the 2017 Soare CI4+. I definitely like the color scheme on the 2022 better but that is just my preference. The handle fits better and has a bit more accents. The handle knob was changed and I’m not sure if it’s for the better or not. Gear ratio was decreased. Line capacity was increased a little bit as well. Maybe she’ll let me try it out.

2022 Shimano Soare XR 500SPG

-WEIGHT: 135 grams

-GEAR RATIO: 4.7:1

-DRAG: 3 kg MAX

-RETRIEVE: 58 cm

BEARINGS: 8/1

-CAPACITY: MONO 2#-115m, 2.5#-100m and FLUOROCARBON 3#-70m

2017 Shimano Soare CI4+ 500S

-WEIGHT: 140 grams

-GEAR RATIO: 5.6:1

-DRAG: 3 kg MAX

-RETRIEVE: 69 cm

-BEARINGS: 8/1

-CAPACITY: MONO 2#-90 m, 2.5#-80m and FLUOROCARBON 3#-70m

For Perch and small streams, these will be perfect and we can’t wait to test hers out. Stay tuned for that.

Practice With Centerpin Rod and Reel…

I ordered a Blood Run Skein Cane Centerpin Rod which was 13 feet long and has 4-sections and is rated for 6-10 pound line. It definitely casts a lot better than the Crappie rod I was using last time. Coupled with a Kingpin Imperial 475 Centerpin reel, it made casting a dream.

I practiced casting for about 45 minutes until I felt that I had the hang of it. In the end, the Cross-body Wallis Cast seemed to be the best for me. In time I will practice a couple of other casts just to have options.

I ended up catching 3 Largemouth bass while the wife caught 7 Crappie and 2 Largemouth bass.

I had been waiting several days for the weather and my work schedule to cooperate so I could get out and practice. I did get a few “bird’s nests” while casting which were not fun to untangle, but I think that after a couple of more casting sessions, things should smooth out a bit.

I still feel that this is a viable option for some of the rivers we fish and will test that theory out soon. Stay tuned for that. See you on the next one.

Our JDM Rods…

I have debated on whether to post this or not. I’m sure I will catch flack for the number of rods we have, but we use them all and they all serve a purpose. This has nothing to do with bragging because I am not that kind of person. Nor am I suggesting that you buy any of these.

I have mentioned on previous blog posts as to why we bought JDM(Japanese Domestic Market) rods. And I still stand behind that after 4 years. For us, it took our angling to the next level for the type of fish that we go after.

First up is our pack rods.

The one on the left is my heavier rod for White Bass, Hybrids or Stripers. I drive a Subaru so I needed a multi-piece rod. The others, we use for when we have to walk in quite a ways to reach a river so we don’t have to deal with full length rods when moving through brush. They fit inside our Yeti Panga backpacks.

Next up is our general purpose rods.

There are several duplicate rods as some are hers and some are mine. They cover the spectrum from Medium-Light to Ultralight and we select them for target species, size of rivers, current flows etc. Some are baitcast rods as well.

There really isn’t a bad rod in the bunch. As long as you stay within the rods specifications and intended use, you shouldn’t have any issues. And yet again, I will warn against lifting a fish or high-sticking, ask me how I know!

I have done blog posts on each of these rods in the past, but this is the first time we have taken a group photo. Most of these rods are designed for either Area Fishing or Stream Fishing on Japanese waters but they work extremely well for chasing Velox (Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass.) Adapt and improvise!

Thanks for reading.

Centerpin Reel Practice…

We managed to get all of our morning chores done by 0630 and decided that after coffee, we would run down to one of the local lakes so she could fish while I practiced casting the centerpin reel.

We are so sick of this wind and there is nothing we can do about it. Day after day of 20+ mph winds gets really old. And it didn’t help with me trying to learn the Wallis cast and the BC Swing cast. I’ll have to wait for a calm day or drive 2 hours to the river to practice.

My original plan was to just cast lead weight to get a feel for this centerpin reel but I opted to rig up a float, some weight and a hook baited with earthworms and go fishing.

First cast and I hooked into a very healthy Bluegill that put up a great fight. The only rod I had that was close to a float rod was a 10ft Crappie jigging rod which didn’t work out too well, but I managed to catch 11 fish on it.

Mrs. Velox Seeker caught 8 Crappie and 1 Largemouth bass on her spinning setup. We were both constantly battling the wind as well as weeds. I managed to catch 6 Largemouth bass and 5 Perch, all of which were fun on the rod and centerpin reel. After the wind picked up with gusts over 30 mph, I switched to a spinning setup but couldn’t catch a cold. Zilch, zero.

All in all, I was impressed with the potential of the centerpin reel and the ability to make long, controlled drifts. With a legit centerpin rod I think this will be a highly effective method to fish a river for Smallmouth bass.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend…

It has been a hectic week for us and we were looking forward to the weekend holiday. We had 3 full days of rain earlier in the week which killed any chance of us getting out to fish.

We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary as well as my 25th anniversary at work. We also had family in town for a few days. The calendar was full.

Saturday looked promising but we awoke to thunder, some rain showers as well as high winds.

The video doesn’t do it justice because this went on all day long.

On a side note, I got a wild hair and decided to get a centerpin reel for float fishing the rivers. I fondly remember beginning this fishing journey by using a bobber on a small pond with my father and catching crappie, perch and eels.

From all that I have read, centerpin reels provide the absolute best drift possible while using a float. As is typical, I will have to configure this method for catching smallmouth even though the gear available in the US is predominantly designed for salmon and steelhead.

Raven Matrix centerpin reel.

I like learning and as such, this should be fun and will add “another tool to the toolbox” in regards to fishing skills. I guess anything that has to do with fishing has my attention. But there are far worse addictions other than angling!

Take care and thanks for reading.

Loop Opti K2 9ft 4wt rod and a Loop Opti Creek reel…

I have wanted a 4wt fly rod to fill a gap in my fly rod collection. Sometimes a 3wt rod isn’t enough to cast certain flies and a 5wt is too much. I firmly believe in having the right tool for the job.

I found this rod and reel on sale over at the Loop US website and decided to get them. I like the fact that the Loop Opti Creek is a silent reel. There are times when I don’t want to hear a reel clicking away all day and that’s why I chose this one.

I have been impressed with Loop Tackle from a function and aesthetic standpoint. To date, I have only been able to wave this rod around in the yard and I really like it. As I’ve stated before, a Medium Fast action such as this rod has, suits my casting style well. Once the weather clears I will definitely take it to a local pond or lake to test it out fully.

Excellent balance as you would expect.

I plan on using this rod to fish the Cossatot River soon and can hardly wait. We are in the process of finalizing our itinerary and accomodations and the excitement is running high. Stay tuned for more and have a great weekend.

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 it’s 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 container.
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!