Saturday, July 04, 2015

Independence Day 2015

The Star-Spangled Banner
"Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"
                      -Francis Scott Key

Monday, June 29, 2015

TMS Truck Rack Installation

Afternoon Folks,
  I wanted to share with you a bit of video I shot over the weekend. I ordered a very inexpensive truck rack from Amazon last week and I recorded myself installing it on my 2014 Ram 1500. The rack seems to fit great, I had to drill some new holes in the baseplates in order to situate the uprights where I wanted them, but all in all it went together pretty well. It also went together quickly! I only had an hour and a half of video recorded by the time I finished up. The kayak fits very well and it has some great tie down points, too. Its pretty much exactly what I wanted and the price was right! I hope you like the video, let me know if you have any questions.
  Tight Lines,

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Norway Trip 2015 no. 4

Evening Folks,
The Umpqua Steamboat enjoying its own seat on the train
to Stockholm.

  We've been home from our Norway trip for almost a month already, sure doesn't seem like it!  I feel like I owe you all an explanation for my lack of fishing on the trip.  Going into the trip, I was very excited to have the opportunity to fish in northern Europe.  I tried to do as much research as I could before we left, but Norway doesn't seem to post much information on their fishing opportunities in English.  I was able to find some sites, mostly in Norwegian that I had to have Google translate, and got a little bit of a feel for what to expect, but I was in for a bit of a surprise.
   The research that I was able to do indicated that a fishing license is not required when fishing freshwater fish in Norway.  The beautiful country is really better known for it's Atlantic salmon fishing, which does require a license and has a plethora of information published throughout the web.  For this trip I was on a very limited budget, so hiring a guide and purchasing the saltwater fishing licenses were out of the question.  
The only fly in Lundgrens Fishredskap.
  Online, I found an incredible public park inside Oslo's city limits called (oddly enough) Oslomarka, which has no direct translation, but refers to a naturally forested area outside the city that locals use to get outdoors and unwind.  We were lucky enough to have a tackle shop right next to our hotel, but, unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it!!!  It's called Stram Line Sportsfiske and it was the perfect place to stop in and find some more information.  
  As it turns out, a fishing license is not required when fishing in the country side, but a fishing pass is required when fishing in the markas.  The helpful fellow behind the counter went on to tell me that he was only able to sell me the pass in a one year increment, which cost around $85USD, but I could send a text message to the department of fisheries for a 3 day pass.  This would have been the perfect solution.  The 3 day pass was around $20USD, so much more affordable for me than the yearly pass, however, I never had my phone unlocked before we left, so never purchased a chip to use while in Europe.  Therefore, I had no phone, no way to text message and no way to receive a 3 day pass to fish in Oslomarka.
100 year old tackle shop in Stockholm.
  On top of all that, the day that I had planned to fish was the Norwegian Constitution Day.  Much like our Independence Day, there are cookouts, parties and parades all over the country to celebrate their declaration of being an independent kingdom in 1814.  I'm not a big fan of parades (too many people packed into too narrow a space!), so I thought it would be the perfect day for me to head out to the Oslomarka and attempt to fish (thinking this before I found out about the permit) and to enjoy some outdoor space during our trip.  It never dawned on me that, due to the holiday, public transportation would be a bit more limited.  I was told by our hotel concierge that it could take me upwards of 2-3 hours to get out to the parks.
  So, fishing in Norway was kind of doomed from the start.  Luckily, we got to spend a couple of days in Stockholm, Sweden.  The capital of Sweden, Stockholm is made up of a series of islands in the Baltic Sea.  The hotel we stayed in was a nice walk to the area where the saltwater of the Baltic Sea meets the freshwater of Lake Mälaren.  Very fortunately for me, there is no fishing license required to fish the brackish water of Stockholm!  While the Little Girl and the rest of our small band of merry travelers went to visit the Abba Museum (yup, you read that correctly), I slipped down to the water to wet a line.  I didn't catch anything while there, the folks at the 100 year old tackle shop Lundgrens Fiskredskap told me I was about a month too early for the salmon run, but I was almost giddy with the realization that I was fishing in Stockholm, Sweden!  I fished on a small island called Stromsborg, with a view of Riksdagshuset (the Parliament House), Riddarhuset (the Noble Meeting House), Stenbock Palaces and, in the distance, Riddarholmskyrkan (Riddarholmen Church, where Sweden's monarchs are buried).  
A huge thanks goes to Umpqua Feather Merchants, Orvis,
ARC Fishing and Smith Optics

  I'm disappointed that I didn't get to fish in Norway.  I really enjoyed our visit there, the beauty of the country and the kindness of the people will really stick with me for a long time.  Hopefully someday I'll get the opportunity to go back and actually get some fishing in.  I am very happy that I got to fish in Stockholm.  It really was an incredible feeling to fish in the middle of a city who's history dates back further than the United States has been in existence.  I can't tell you how humble I feel that I've been able to do such amazing things and fish in some gorgeous places since starting this website.  Without the Little Girl and her sister and brother-in-law this trip wouldn't have happened and without their encouragement, I probably wouldn't have even bothered trying to fish.  I hope they all know how much I deeply appreciate that.  
Fishing in Stockholm.
  I've got a few hundred more pictures from the trip, but I'd hate to bore you all with them, so I'll just leave you with a few more.  Drop me a comment if you are interested in seeing more, if there is enough interest then I can do one more photo post.  I still have a bunch from the Viking ships, out and about in Stockholm and the Vasa Museum.  
  I hope you're all doing well.  I hope you're fishing any time and any where you get the chance, even on a European vacation!
  Stramme linjer,

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dollar Store Stripping Basket

Evenin' Folks,
Trying to get the timing down.
  Up to this point everything I've written about here on The Suburban Angler has been focused on ultralight fishing.  I love small, lightweight rods and gear and the sensitivity and reaction they get while fighting a fish.  Very recently I had the opportunity to do some saltwater fly fishing, a first for me, and the kind folks at Thomas and Thomas Fine Fly Rods loaned me one of their awesome 9' 8-weight Solar rods to try out.  I'll have a report on my first excursion later and a full review on the rod after another trip next month.  While in Florida I posted some pictures of myself attempting to cast into the surf.     I really enjoyed casting the heavy weight rod and being able to launch a big, weighted fly way further than I would ever need to in the small mountain streams that I love to fish so much.  The thing I had the most trouble with was keeping an eye on my stripped line.  It was either getting pulled down the beach by the waves or it was tangling around my bare feet in the sand or just getting caught in the surf making it difficult to shoot line out.  One of the comments I got on my Instagram picture was that I needed to find myself a stripping basket.
 I used my phone to look up stripping baskets and see what something like that might cost.  I was rather surprised to see that a plastic container and a web belt cost between $30 and $80!!!  I'm sure at some point in my life, as I'm sure I'll continue to saltwater fly fish every chance I get, I'll probably purchase a commercially available stripping basket, but this was a very tight budget trip, and even tighter budget for fishing gear.  
  The next morning we stopped at a Dollar General store to get some supplies for our day on the beach.  While looking at the snacks and drinks, I remembered that dollar stores tend to sell a lot of plastic baskets and containers.  So, after grabbing some sunscreen and a few bottles of water, I strolled over to the container aisle to see if they had anything I could make work.  
My $1.85 Dollar Store Stripping Basket.
  Behold! My Dollar Store Stripping Basket!  I found a black plastic tote that seemed about the right size, had plenty of holes for drainage and seemed like the plastic was sturdy enough to stand out on my hip, but soft enough to conform to my body at the same time.
  I pretty much always wear a leather belt, so I took my pocket knife and connected two of the holes in the tote so that my belt would slip through.  When I tightened my belt on my waist the basket snugged up to my body and seemed to be just the right height to strip line into.
  Fishing with the basket seemed to really improve my casting and really did a fantastic job of keeping the line out of my toes!  I think the basket could be a little bit larger, it seemed that I stripped the line behind the basket a few too many times, but I'm afraid if it were much larger it would be too cumbersome to be useful.  Another tip from @CaptGordon on Instagram was to glue plastic Easter egg halves into the bottom of the basket to help control the line loops even more.  I'm definitely going to do that before I take it out for the next trip.  
  I was really happy with how the Dollar Store Stripping Basket worked for me.  The way I see it, I saved about $78.15 over buying one of the fancy baskets with a well known logo on it.  But, I guess if I'm honest, I only put off spending that money for a little while longer.
  I hope you're all doing well.
     Tight lines and good improvised gear,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Norway Trip 2015 no. 3

Evenin' Folks,
  I've got some more scenery photos from our trip.  I hope you're not sick of them yet!  I'll have more fishing posts up soon.
  Tight lines,

More stunning scenery from the train traveling from Bergen to Oslo.
The end of a fjord off in the distance.  I loved the shadow of the clouds on the mountainside. 
So many places here that I could easily and happily call home!
The Oslo Cathedral was originally built here in 1694.  This corner sculpture was brought from the first church in Oslo and, if memory serves, is getting close to being 1000 years old! Unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture of the church!
The only fish I saw in Oslo, that wasn't on a plate or in a grocer's case!
Built in 1825 and containing 173 rooms, this is Norway's Royal palace.
I love all the masts in the harbor.  No idea who the person is that walked into my shot, but it just seemed to work.
Walls of the 13th century Akershus Fortress.
The Alfred Nobel museum, the father of dynamite and the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize.
11pm overlooking Oslo in the rain.
I was quite admittedly fascinated with the fact that we had an operable window...on the 7th floor!
Another beautiful sailing ship in the Oslo harbor.
A Loft Storehouse from around 1750 located at the Norsk Folkemuseum.  Many old buildings were moved to the grounds to be preserved.
A Stave Church ca. 1200!
The interior of the Stave Church was far more ornate and decorated than I expected.
The detail is incredible.  Those small portholes are the only source of light inside the church.
Amazingly intricate carving around the door.
There is a small working farm within the Folkemuseum!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Norway Trip 2015 no. 2


Evening Folks,
  Here's the second installment of photos from our trip to Norway.  I hope you enjoy and I'd love to hear your thoughts!
We stopped at a lovely cafe on one of the piers for a cup of coffee.  Norwegians know what they're doing when it comes to coffee, it was all fantastic!  And, I had to show my Smith Optics Serpico shades.  We didn't get a whole lot of sunlight in Scandinavia, but when we did I was sure glad I had these!
The inside of the Bergen train station.  I loved the steel and glass architecture.
How's that for a backyard?
Cruising on the Nærøyfjord from Gudvangen to Flåm. This is the village of Bucha, the mountain in the background is called Buchanosa. The mountain is 1200m high and the fjord here is only 12m deep.  The church was built in 1859 and, if memory serves, there are no roads in or out of Bucha!
The village of Flåm coming in to view.  We were afraid we got a crappy seat because it was the last left and the stern was up when we boarded.  Turns out the boat was docked bow first and they lowered it when we left!  We got the best seats in the house! 
Ægir BryggeriPub in Flåm.  This was the coolest place to sit and enjoy one of their house brewed beers!  Unfortunately we were too early for dinner, but the ambiance was awesome!
The wood burning in the fireplace had such a sweet aroma to it, I was disappointed when we had to leave to catch our train!
The restaurant was full of carvings of vikings, trolls, and gnomes, but this goat on the bar was by far my favorite!
Amazing scenery on the Flåmsbana on our way up to the Myrdal Mountain Station.
Flåmsbana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world!
At a 5.5% gradient for more than 80% of the trip, Flåmsbana is considered one of the steepest trainlines to run on standard rails!  See the next picture for information on the stunning waterfall.
Tell me that's not impressive!  Plus, we're close to 800m above sea level at this point!
The tunnel we just came through.  They stop the train on this platform to allow photos of the waterfall.  There are 20 tunnels along this route running through the solid rock of the majestic mountains!
Now we're really getting into some snow! Think there's any trout in there?
Taken from the train platform at Myrdal.  There was about 3-4 feet of snow on the ground, but those drifts are easily covering the first story of those houses!
Simply gorgeous! 
Our dinner in Geilo was at Sofia's Cafe & Bar in our hotel The Bardøla.  I got a hamburger thinking it would be small and simple after a full day of traveling.  Boy was I wrong!  This was worlds away from small and simple!  Hands down, this was one of the best hamburgers I have ever had, anywhere!