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,