Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fun with 3D Photos

I took some photos of my hotel window while on a business trip in northern France.  The below image may appear like one window but it's actually two pictures of the same window side-by-side.  If you cross your eyes so that you see three windows, focus on the one in the middle and Voila, a 3D image! 


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Snake Den Hollow

There aren't enough days in a year to fish all the lakes and ponds at Snake Den Hollow near Victoria, IL.  But, Clif and I were successful in finding a couple that were promising.  Our plan was to arrive before sunrise to see how our scum frogs would do from the shore and then switch to rubber worms and grubs.  Instead we pulled into the parking lot about 10 minutes after.  We walked for about 20 more minutes to get to the first lake.  The fake frogs were so successful that after one uniquely targeted cast a real frog followed and mounted my fake one.  I about fell on the ground laughing.  Luckily he was able to dismount before he was seriously injured.  We continued on through the weeds and poison ivy to try a few more lakes.  Some good, some not so good.  We studied our map and made mental notes for for kayaking and portaging our next visit.

After about 6 hours of hiking and fishing Clif hooked a couple of nice largemouth and so many smaller bass, bluegill, sunfish, and crappie, (even a walleye fingerling from the boat launch) to count.  My toll was a couple of smaller largemouth and a couple bluegill.

Here's a link to Clif's most excellent article.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Plan to Fish...


Clif and I are rising early in the morning tomorrow to try top water from the banks of a series of small strip-mine lakes we've never been on before. The water temp should be high enough for action. We're not bringing the fly rods this time because were not sure if the banks are conducive to back casting. Besides, I think Clif feels his odds are better catching 4+ with conventional tackle. I'm not going to argue with him.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I May Never Need Reading Glasses Again

In the process of scheduling a trip to the Mack with Clif and the Stream Stalker my eyes wandered over to the ad bar in Gmail. The Google Ad claimed "The Easiest Fishing Knot". So, naturally, I had to follow it. The specs say it's for hook/lure eyes 2.1mm loop inner diameter and larger. That would cover every tackle setup except for most trout flies. It ties a 5 turn Uni-Knot, and according to Lefty Kreh it's one of the stronger knots he's tied. If you shop around you could probably pick one up for under 30 bucks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

...and it's only $150,000 (plus shipping and handling)

Most bass fisherman I know believe in the thought that if you want to catch the bigger fish you need to throw a bigger lure.

I was out on the web today and I followed a link to the folks at Round Rocks Fly Fishing. The image in the item offering doesn't do it Justice. You have to read the product description to get the big picture, and I mean BIG.

So if you have a large disposable income and you're in the mood for the really big fish, and I mean fish bigger than your modest, middle America, two story house, have I got a lure for you. (Update:  It's no longer for sale.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The Vermilion"

"There's a trail through the trees that goes down to the river. Come on, it's not very far." The year was 1969 and my older brother, a Boy Scout at the time, was leading me down to The Vermilion's Wildcat Canyon at Mathiesson State Park south of the Illinois River. It seamed such a long way from the parking lot where the scout tents were pitched to the trail head at the tree line. I don't remember much about it. I was only seven years old. You see, I did most of my growing up on the Little Vermilion in an area known as Forty Steps on the north side of the Illinois River. It was there where my friends and I would make half attempts at being fishermen hooking less than average bullhead and bluegill, and spending most of the day swimming, catching crawdads, and pulling the occasional leach from our shins.

Last Saturday I decided to take Jonn Graham's advice and revisit the The Vermilion with my brother-in-law Steve. The walk to the tree line was much shorter this time, even with all my cold weather gear, hip-waders and boots. As we followed the trail down we ran into Tom Levy, Site Superintendent for Starved Rock and Mathiesson parks. He was inspecting the trails for Sunday's mountain bike race. The three of us chatted for a few minutes about the trails, the river, and Jonn's blog at Prairie State Outdoors. It turns out that Steve's son James worked for Tom at the park a few years ago while he was studying forestry. Today James is an Indiana District Forester.

Steve didn't bring fishing gear so he played photographer while I fished. I spotted some nice rip-rap behind a boulder about 20 feet from shore and hooked a nice two pound Bronzie on the fourth cast. My blood was racing because this guy was a fighter, and I was thinking, "This is going to be a great day!"

It was the only fish of the day. I spent the next hour trying different approaches, different boulders, different flies, but nothing developed. Steve, on the other hand, was quite successful.

The Vermilion is a perfect refuge for smallmouth bass. There are plenty of rocks, boulders and rapids to make a happy home. Caution is advised. Footing can get tricky if your used to trekking mud. The Vermilion offers the only true white water in Illinois. Check this out for some interesting facts about Vermilion's Wildcat Canyon.

I'll be making many trips to this river.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Have to Say It

The only thing outstanding about Rush Limbaugh is his teeth.

And you can quote me on that.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

There's a Kayak in My Future Present (Part 4)

Be Happy...

Ahhh... if that's not a picture of happiness I don't know what is. No sooner did I bolt the unpainted rack to the trailer did Clif and I hit Banner Marsh after work. We put in about 5 PM. I brought both fly and spinning tackle. Clif went solely on fly. I started the evening with a plastic worm on the spinner but quickly lost interest. There's something about casting line that tickles my fishing fancy.

Clif was first to hook a nice largemouth. I raced over to snap a couple of pics. After he weighed in we decided to do a fly-by. I started the sprint with an easy peddle to avoid cavitaion. After I reached a good speed I turned it up to 11 about 30 ft from the frame. If you listen closely you can hear the fins slapping the bottom of the kayak. I'll have to work on that in the future to avoid scaring the fish. Don't blink!


(Note: The next day at work we ran some calculations, as engineers tend to do, and estimated a top speed of 3 1/2 mph.)

About an hour later on the water I hooked the specimen in the first pic on a chartreuse popper. I doubt it reached 3 lbs, maybe 2 1/2, but it still put up quite a fight on my 6 wt. Clif paddled over to capture the moment. And what a moment. First fish in the kayak on the first time out and on the fly. Thanks Clif! It was the only fish of the night for me. It didn't mater. I was just happy to be out there in the new toy.

There's a Kayak in My Future (Part 3)

Buy Kayak...

There she is in Ivory Dune as received from St. Louis Sailing Center via the UPS stork, although much dryer than the day received. Included are: standard Mirage Drive peddles, two piece adjustable paddle, high back deluxe seat with lumbar support, dry bag, one liter water bottle, bungee cord for rear deck storage (not shown), and an 8 inch drop in tackle tray with cover. Other items integral to the kayak are two 8 inch round sealed mid and rear storage ports, large sealed front hatch, two mesh pockets, two scupper plugs to keep the rear deck dry, two molded-in rod holders, flip-up rudder, and something the boys at Honda forgot to include in their S2000 two seat'r sports car offering... a molded-in cup holder. She's 13 ft 5 in long, 28.5 in wide, weighs 58 lbs empty, and costs the full 1,749 US dollars (oak leaf not included). You can search the world over and never find a cheaper price for a new Revolution. Believe me, I've tried.

Clif was on site during the delivery. I thought he was going to faint but he stayed tough. My wife arrived from work a few minutes later and just rolled her eyes at the two kids with a brand new toy.

Happiness is just around the corner.

Friday, July 24, 2009

There's a Kayak in My Future (Part 2)

Buy Car Rack Trailer...

Okay, So, it's not really a flat bed but it was inexpensive and it has everything I need for the purposes noted in the previous post. It's a 4x6 with 12 inch wheels. The first thing that was apparent was the trailer is designed for landscaping so the suspension was very stiff, easily remedied.

(Before I go any further I have to admit I've pulled the kayak on the trailer with the stiff suspension (Thanks to Clif). But for the sake of the blog we'll pretend that hasn't happened yet.)

The first thing I did was remove the middle springs and flip the lower springs. This had a significant and positive affect on ride. I also reduced the tire pressure from 90 psi to 15 psi. I'm not concerned about over stressing the springs or the tires. The trailer and tires are rated for 2000 lbs. I won't get close 200 hauling the kayak and all that goes with it. The next thing I did was build a rack out of 2x4's, painted it black, then added soft plastic threshold beading to the tops to protect the kayak hull. Because the trailer is for landscape work I had to remove the tilt pin and add a bolt to eliminate all the rattling during roading. Here's the final result.

Part three coming up. And this time I won't make you wait 4 weeks for an update. I promise!