Monday, October 05, 2015

Norcross Gun Club and Range

Mornin' Folks,
  The weather has been pretty lousy for fishing around here lately. Hurricane Jaoquin stalled around Bermuda and has really walloped the Carolinas with rain. Our thoughts go out to all of our friends that have been affected by the flooding. Here in North Georgia we've gotten some rain and minor flooding, just enough to make fishing iffy. So, this weekend, instead of wetting a line, I met a buddy at the Norcross Gun Club and Range to do a bit of target shooting.
  This was my first visit to this range and I very much enjoyed it. The range area is comprised of 14 shooting lanes in two rooms, each with an electric target trolley. The block walls between each booth were covered in an acoustic material to reduce the noise and there were several cans provided to recycle brass, foam cartridge dividers and paper boxes and targets.
  There is a small "pro shop" style store that has a nice selection of firearms for purchase, range ammo, paper targets and any other supplies you may need for an afternoon of punching holes in paper.  The Norcross Gun Range also has a large number of firearms for rent, from handguns to long guns, and the reasonable rental fee is for the day, not for the piece, so you can try every gun on the rack for one price.
  I thoroughly enjoyed my time, shooting my beloved Ruger GP100 .357. I will definitely be returning to the range very soon, I've spent way too much time away from the shooting hobby. With an all day range fee of $18, the limiting factor is only the high cost of ammunition we're all dealing with.
  I hope you're all doing well.
    Tight Lines and Happy Shooting,

Friday, October 02, 2015

First Cast #003: Hodgman Aesis Jacket

Mornin' Folks,
  Here's the third video in the First Cast series. This one is previewing the new Hodgman Aesis Hyper Dry Down Jacket.  I'm looking forward to the weather cooling down so I can really put this jacket to the test.
  Thanks for watching. Please like and subscribe if you enjoyed and I'll keep bringing you First Cast preview videos. Send me an email or message me through social media if there's a product you'd like to see on First Cast and I'll do my best to make it happen.
  I hope you're all doing well.
    Tight Lines!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Does the Galvan Brookie click?

Evenin' Folks,
  I had a question on the First Cast: Galvan Brookie video on YouTube asking if the Brookie made an audible click when reeling in or paying out line.  I recorded a brief video to answer the question and demonstrate.
  Hope you're all doing well,
     Tight Lines,

Monday, September 07, 2015

My Favorite Fly Reels from IFTD and ICAST 2015

Evenin' Folks,
  This is my second time writing this post, after I accidentally deleted it the first time!  It's taken me a little while to get back to it, and I apologize for that, but here are some of the reels that stood out to me at the 2015 IFTD show this year.  It's fun to look at reels in catalogs or on websites, but you just can't beat getting them in hand, spinning the spool a few times and listen to the beautiful clicking they make.  There are a couple of companies that I enjoyed seeing their reels, but I either wasn't able to get pictures or just plain forgot.  If you have a moment check out Tibor Reels and Douglas Outdoors for more reels that I would love the chance to use! 
  I've got one more post I'll be doing on my favorites from IFTD 2015, that'll be the rods post so make sure you check back soon to see it and check out the other posts from the Favorites series to see more products from IFTD and ICAST 2015.
  I hope you're all doing well.
    Tight Lines!

Taylor Reels

The Taylor Reels Type 1 is definitely an attention grabber in the green anodized finish.  Available in 3 through 6 weights, it has a carbon drag system and a large arbor design for quick retrieval.

The Suburban Angler - Taylor Revolution
The new 4-12 weight Revolution from Taylor Reels features a water tight sealed drag, ultra large arbor and four beautiful anodized colors.  I especially appreciate the large, easy to grip drag knob and affordable price for a big game reel.

The Suburban Angler - Taylor Array
On the right you can see the Array, a 3-8 weight reel available in black, gray and matte silver that would be great for chasing skittish brookies. 

Hatch Outdoors

The Suburban Angler - Hatch Finatic 1 Plus
The Finatic series from Hatch runs from the 0-2 weight 1 Plus (shown here) through the 12-16 weight 12 Plus.  The reels are available in multiple color anodizing options.The 1 Plus weighs in at only 2.8 ounces and features a mid-arbor design for quick line retrieval.

 The Suburban Angler - Hatch Finatic 2 Plus
The 2 Plus shares features with the 1 Plus, but features a large-arbor that will handle 2-4 weight lines.  And, like all Hatch reels, made in the U.S.A.

The Suburban Angler - Galvan Fly Reels Showbooth
I was so glad I got to see the Galvan family at IFTD again this year.  They had the full line of the made in U.S.A. Galvan Fly Reels on display, including the new Grip series of big game reels
The soon to be released Grip reels will be available in 8-, 10- and 12-weight.  These beautiful reels are just screaming to be taken on a bonefish hunt in the Bahamas!

Aspen Reels

The Suburban Angler - Aspen Reels
Aspen Reels say that theirs are premium reels at reasonable prices.  Made in a state of the art contract machine shop in California that decided to try making fly reels.  Looks like they succeeded!  The tactical look of the matte finish would be great when a shiny reel could spook wary fish.

Aspen has reels in several models ranging from 3 through 12 weights and three different finishes.  No tool spool removal, large drag knob and hollow main shaft (for heat dissipation) are just some of the well considered features that go into this great looking reel.

Cheeky Fishing

The hybrid die-cast and machined Tyro series reels are available from 2-8 weights.  With the carbon drag system, quick change spool, silent retrieve and low price make these a fantastic entry level reel choice.

Hardy Fly Fishing

I was invited by the folks at Hardy to visit their booth and try casting one of their rods and reels on the casting pond.  It was my first time using the equipment of one of the legends of fly fishing and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The Suburban Angler - Hardy Duchess 2 3/4"
The 2 3/4" Duchess was the first new "classic reel" from Hardy in over a decade.  An elegant looking, English made reel featuring a "Split Cage" frame design, twin line guides, hollow stainless steel spindle and a wooden handle.

What fly fisher wouldn't love to have a table that looked like this somewhere in their house?
The Suburban Angler - Hardy Lightweight Series
The Hardy Lightweight Series of reels feature the 2-3 weight Flyweight, the 4-5 weight Featherweight, the 5-6 weight Lightweight and the 6-7 weight Princess.

The Ultralite DD is the reel that I got to cast at the show.  Available in 3-12 weights the Ultralite DD series feature 360 degree color coded drag, captive spool release and an ultra large arbor.

   The Suburban Angler - Hardy Heritage Series
Another shot of the "Heritage Series" Duchess reel.  Classic good looks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Favorite Accessories from IFTD and ICAST 2015

Mornin' Folks,
  Here's the third installment of my favorite products from IFTD and ICAST this year.  This post contains, what I consider, some of the best new accessory products and companies in fly fishing for the coming season.  Keep in mind that these are in no particular order whatsoever and I've included links to each company's website. 
  Tight lines,

WetFly are purveyors of rods, reels, lines, tenkara and fishing accessories.

This is WetFly's Voyager insulated bottle.  On the first day of the show the guys loaded this bottle up with ice.  On Friday, there was still ice in the bottle!  My current water bottle doesn't do that, and it would sure be nice to have cold water while spending the day fishing.

The folks at Release Ruler have taken decades worth of fish size data, threw some math at it and came up with a ruler that, based on that statistical analysis, will give an approximate weight of your catch based on it's length.  The rulers are species specific, but they have them available for seemingly everything from largemouth bass up to mako shark!

The Release Ruler also won Best FishSmart Product in the ICAST New Product Showcase, which proves that I'm not the only one that thinks this is a great idea!

The Hatch Outdoors folks had a few cool tools on display, including their IFTD Best of Show Accessory, The Hatch Nipper.  The size and heft of these nippers really felt good and secure in the hand.  The Fish Tail bottle opener looks like a waterside necessity, too!
 Here's a beautifully machined knot tightener.  Used to tighten the knots on heavy
saltwater line, it's a tool I didn't even know existed!

 I'm a big fan of the "get your ass home" products.  After a day of bluelining a dead battery in the truck is one of my worst fears.

The folks in the Weego booth told me that the larger battery could jump start my truck 6-8 times on a single charge, charge my cell phone or laptop and do all that after sitting in the glove box for a year! 

 Determined to make your fly fishing life easier, with a strong made in America showing, Rising has everything from the aluminum Lunker and Brookie nets to multiple pliers and nippers to the Flask and Shot minimalist packs.  Since fly fishing tends to be more of a lifestyle than a hobby, they even make a grilling multi-tool called the PopsQTool!
Cigars in a Pouch
I would consider a good cigar a fly fishing accessory, especially one packed in a pouch that maintains freshness for up to three years! 

 I got to hang out for a little while with a couple of really nice guys from Brook Fishing Equipment.

 American made, silicon insert fly boxes. They even float!

Brook Fishing Equipment already has a pretty good range of sizes and styles for their fly boxes.  The Outta The Box patch would be great for the tying bench or drift boat, too!

 I've already mentioned Western Rise in the My Favorite Softgoods post, but they really have some great accessories as well.  Like this hatchet that's a collaboration with Victor Axe and Tool.

 If a full axe is more your thing, they've got you covered there, too!

 Enameled cups, water bottles, koozies and an ever expanding line.  Western Rise has your fishing camp needs pretty well covered.

Here's a cool item that was introduced at IFTD, the TyWheel is a magnetic, modular fly tying station that attaches to your fly vise. 

 The pieces hold on securely with magnets (with the side benefit of keeping your hooks in check) and can easily be swapped based on the configuration needed for the fly you're tying.

RIO had their new Cranky Kit on display.  Basically it's an empty line spool with a removable crank handle so you can strip line off your reel and back onto a spool for storage or to swap line on the same reel.  This would definitely be easier than trying to do it by hand!
RIO also introduced the new LightLine series of fly lines.  Designed to get the best performance out of fiberglass, bamboo and vintage action fly rods.  Available in Weight Forward and Double Taper from 2-6 weight.

This was a long awaited item for me, the Tacky Big Bug Box!  I like to think I had a hand in this one when I asked the guys to make a box tall enough to house my bluegill poppers.  They delivered here, room for 72 large flies with a taller profile than the original box and a sculpted silicon mat to ease fly insertion.  Look for a review on soon and, in the mean time, check out my review of the original Tacky Fly Box.
Huge congrats to the Tackiest guys in fly fishing for their Best of Show Fly Box/Storage System win at IFTD 2015!
I don't know about you, but I love getting fly fishing gear in the mail.  A subscription to PostFly Monthly Fly Box will ensure that you get a selection of quality, trout, bass or saltwater flies delivered to your door every month.  If that's not enough for you, you can add leader, tippet, fly line, fly dressing, t-shirts, a Tacky Fly Box, or even a Taylor reel!  And, the longer the period you sign up for, the bigger the discount you'll get!  I need to see if I can talk them into a Bluegill box...
Orion Coolers are probably the most thoughtful coolers I have ever seen.  It's awesome enough that this high end cooler is made by the same folks that make Jackson Kayaks and that they're made right in Sparta, Tennessee, but the standard accessories on this one really made it stand out to me.  The first thing that caught my eye was the removable Princeton Tec flashlight that's molded into the removable tray.  Looking closer, the standing pad on the lid is included as well as the YakAttak/RAM Mounts accessory tracks, tie down points, bottle openers and, one of the best parts in my opinion, Orion Coolers are certified bear proof by the IGBC!  
The ARC Fishing guys were on hand to introduce their New for 2016 ARC Dry Fly and ARC 99 Salt Coldwater lines.  Both lines feature the low-stretch Response Core, permanent PTFE coating for slickness and float, welded front and back loops and line ID system, as well as features specific to the lines intended conditions.  A big congratulations goes to them as well for winning a 2015 Fly Fish America Editor's Choice Award for the ARC Flourocoat Tippet!