Friday, June 30, 2006
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a brand new Gander Mountain store located in Mooresville, NC during its grand opening. I was excited to check it out because I had watched it being built for several months and could only imagine what "outdoorsey goodness" it might hold. I have visited several Bass Pro Shop locations so I was eager to make the comparison.
We arrived at the store around lunch time and, as expected, found the parking lot pretty full. Two things immediately caught my eye. One was the twenty food center console fishing boat with the words "Rent Me At Gander Mountain" emblazoned on its side. The other was the giant inflatable bass shaped bouncey thing that they had set up for the kiddies at the grand opening celebration. Children were being encouraged to play inside the jaws of the massive fish much to their parents delight. Since we live near a bass fishery I had expected the store to have an emphasis on bass fishing and it did from the outset.
Once inside the store's log cabin facade it was obvious that this retailer was quite a bit different from the Bass Pro Shops that I had visited before. The store has a very open layout (read like a Walmart) and I noticed that many of the fixtures appeared to be movable allowing for different configurations. There was an extensive selection of camping gear and a very large area along the back wall of the store devoted to handguns and rifles as well as a full service gunsmith on site. Names like Glock, Springfield and Beretta were noted and prices did not seem out of line. I was not able to convince my better half that I had a real need for a new Bushmaster varmint rifle (Honey, I hope the varmints don't over-run our house anytime soon.) so we moved on in search of fishing equipment.
I could see the tips of the rods in the far left corner of the store so I proceeded to have a look around. Much to my dismay I did not see any fly rods. There were tons of spinning rods, boat rods, bait casters and such but no fly rods. Then I noticed a separate room off the fishing rod area and perked up thinking that they must have a full fly shop in there. As I moved into the room a foul odor struck me. I looked around and discovered that I was in a full service shop all right, a full service bait shop. I must have wandered into bait fisherman heaven. There were crickets and minnows and worms and stink bait but no flies (unless you count the ones hovering over the stink bait). As I said before, we live near a popular bass fishing / cat fishing destination so I don't blame them for putting an emphasis on bait.
As I rounded the corner towards the front check out I finally came upon what turned out to be a fairly full featured fly fishing selection. Fly Rods were not readily visible but after a bit of looking I was able to locate some St. Croix rods that were in a bin still safely tucked into their tubes. The store had an amazing amount of fly fishing and tying gear and materials displayed in a relatively small space. At first glance I was disappointed, but as I began to look around a bit more it was hard for me to find something (outside of rods and reels) that an angler might need that wasn't on the shelf here. I noticed Cortland lines and leaders among other brands. The fly tying section had a good assortment of quality fly tying tools and materials. Necks and saddles were available in both the traditional colors and also those more suited for tying bass bugs. Bulk fishing flies were $1.79 each and they had a moderate assortment. Most of the other prices in this section were in line with area fly shops but no great "door buster" deals were noted.
Overall, I would have to say I was impressed with my first Gander Mountain visit. The store definitely does not have the "tourist attraction" feel of our local Bass Pro Shop but it does have a great selection of outdoor products at reasonable prices. I guess I could sum it up by saying that while I can walk around a Bass Pro Shop for hours, I would probably head to Gander Mountain when I needed to make a quick purchase and get out the door. (Check out this article with more photos in the reviews section of Flyfishmagazine.com
Thursday, June 29, 2006
"There was heavy fog on the river and I have always had good luck on the Caney when it is covered in fog. Sunday was no exception. I landed 17 fish and had at least 10 more hooked that got off. "
If you manage to get out and fish the waters of the South East over the holidays, be sure and drop us a line via the submit reports link on the site. We promise that your fellow fly fishermen will appreciate it.
Here is a link to a PDF of the Tennessee trout management plan for 2006. According to the article Tennessee trout anglers made 1.8 million fishing trips in 2001 and spent over 77 million dollars. 33% of the anglers use bait exclusively while 15% used fly fishing gear above all else. (Link to the PDF)
You might have heard of the Jackalope but do you know of the Beaver Trout. Get your minds out of the gutter and take a look at this page from the Museum of Hoaxes to see photos of the fur bearing trout who can be found hanging on walls all around the great lakes. One theory says that the trout are the result of a spill of hair tonic back in the 1870's. (Link)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Trout Underground Blog reminds us that not everyone we meet on the creekbank has manners or even brains for that matter. His cautionary tale reminds me of a time when Zugbug and I fished with a fellow who we later came to know only as the "Fish Nazi".
I will save the details for a later posting but suffice it to say that within thirty minutes of meeting this fellow, Zug and I were trying to decide if it was feasible to dispose of a body and still get in a good day of fishing. All of the church going when we were kids must have won out in the end and as far as we know this fellow walks with the unfortunate living to this day. At least these sort of people give us something to blog about. (Link to the Underground)
Also be sure to check out Pete's take on the story over at Fishing Jones. I am almost ashamed to say that I totally get his vague Seinfeld reference.
Orvis has announced a new method of payment called "Bill me later". Wives everywhere are scurrying to unplug computers from the internet.
"Orvis pioneered the retail mail-order concept in the U.S., and we'realways looking for ways to bring pioneering products and services to ourcustomers," said Brad Wolansky, Director, E-commerce at Orvis. "Bill MeLater's convenience and security gives our existing customers expandedfreedom to shop online with ease and confidence. I4 Commerce's technologywill be a key component of our continuing effort to bring more folks intothe Orvis family."
Flyfishmagazine.com contributing editor, Jeff Paisley is considering a new regular feature on this blog, "Jeff Paisley's Visual Fishing Reports."
Here is his first entry. He tells us that he caught this 21 inch brown trout on a prince nymph while fishing the South Holston River in Tennessee. I am inclined to believe him since he doesn't have any fish markets near him that carry this brand of trout.
The subliminal plug for Gander Mountain makes me wonder if Paisley has made some sort of deal with them that he isn't telling us about.
Nice fish Paisley!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
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A North Dakota woman got quite a surprise when she landed a piranha while fishing in an area reservoir.
"Knapp said the catch was confirmed by biologists. The state Game and Fish Department believes the four-inch-long red-bellied piranha probably came from someone's aquarium."
Officials think the toothy beast was one of a kind and that area anglers and small dogs have nothing to fear. However, it is quite obvious that they do not watch the Sci Fi Channel.
When fishing in Venezuela stop by the Heladeria Coromoto and try some Smoked Trout Ice Cream or one of their other 831 flavors.
"I went for the pumpkin ice cream. That was, I will admit, a bit unadventurous. I did take a little taste of the smoked trout."
When it comes to fish flavored ice cream I think I am strictly a catch and release man. (Link)
Roanoke.com has an account of fly fishing columnist Richard Formato's experience at the U.S. Fly Fishing National Championships.
"Some of my beats were barely wadeable," he reported. "Knowing that some of these anglers picked up six or seven fish in these sections was remarkable."
Monday, June 26, 2006
Thanks to Ryan Davey of the Angling Exploration Group, I spent this evening sequestered in the Flyfishmagazine.com screening room, watching a copy of Trout Bum Diaries Vol. 1 Patagonia. I am in the process of writing up a proper review, but just had to take a moment tonight to say that I am going start Spanish class right away and call in all my markers with my buddy Zugbug, who tells me that he knows a rancher in Argentina that can hook us up. Check out the trailer and you will see what I am talking about. More info to come in the near future. I still have to watch the outtakes and bonus clips. - Editor
On Alaska fisherman gets a lesson in the difference in a bag limit and a take home limit from the Alaska Highway Patrol. It seems he misplaced one of his fish and then went back for more.
"A few minutes later, one of the anglers just downstream -- the one who now had six fish on the bank -- walked up and showed a badge. He'd seen me haul the three-fish limit of salmon off to the cleaning table, come back, and then catch and kill a fourth fish."
He graciously admitted his mistake and got a $130 dollar reminder. (Link)
The Frederick News Post reports on inflatable pontoon boats and the advantages they can give the angler. Be sure and read Jeff Paisley's take on them over on our site. Being able to keep your boat in a large duffel bag has always been on of my favorite things about them.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
As part of my internet trolling I have found a new fishing blog, Musings of a Mad Fisherman. The author, from Ontario, Canada, has written some great stories that are well worth reading. I have added a sidebar link and look forward to seeing what the "Mad Fisherman" has to offer in the future!
The North Texas E-news has the latest Arkansas fishing report. It gives some good information for those planning on fishing the White and Norfork tailwaters.
"The fly fishermen have done extremely well with little generation on olive woolly buggers, pheasant tails, zebra midges and sow bugs."
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Did you ever wonder why two anglers can fish with the same fly, in the same water, and have very different results? Maybe it has something to do with they way you smell.
"What a fisherman needs to understand is that sport and predator fish can pick up these scents. This means odours such as citrus, insect repent, alcohol, and some colognes need to be kept away from one's hands when fishing."
I would venture a guess that the same would hold true for that spicy burrito with hot sauce that you had for breakfast. (Link)
The 2006 Canada National Fly Fishing Championship is currently being held on the Grand and Conestoga Rivers. Forty anglers from all across North America are competing in the 2 1/2 day event. One of the contestants is Bob Morgan from Raleigh, North Carolina. Bob managed to catch a 23 inch brown trout and made sure to take a jab at the Canucks in the post game interview.
"Catching a fish this big was better than beating Canada for the Stanley Cup," he said with a grin, as he eagerly pulled out a picture of his catch and rubbed in the fact that his hometown Carolina Hurricanes now have the coveted cup."
Perhaps we can get some of the "Canes" players to go on a celebratory fly fishing trip with us and use the cup in place of a wicker creel? (Link)
The Great Smoky Mountain Trout Festival is going to be held in Maggie Valley, North Carolina this weekend, June 24th and 25th. Events will include fly fishing instruction, music, and displays. Admission is $2 for adults and kids under 12 are free. For more info you can call 828-926-1686. (Link)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Everyone wants to be an insider and it seems that fly fishermen are no different. I came across this site when I clicked a link over at the Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin blog. The Fly Fishing Insider has some content that caught my eye. The FFI TV portion of the site has video tutorials that cover all aspects of fly fishing. Although, at times they seem to have the feel of those films we all watched in grade school, they offer excellent guidance for the new fly fisherman and plan on adding more content aimed at the experienced fly fisher. Check out the site and let me know what you think.
South Carolina government officials recently approved a package of incentives to be used to attract Cabela's to the North Charleston area. This has local outfitters fit to be tied. The way they look at it, their elected officials are paying someone to try to put them out of business.
'To subsidize someone to come here to compete with local businesses, I find it abhorrent,' Barton said."
Personally, having worked for a "big box" type retailer for many years, I think that these things tend to sort themselves out. The mega stores are a fact of life that you just can't hide from. Competitors have to constantly react and change in order to keep up. There will always be things that the big boys can never do as well as the small company. Smaller businesses have to make service so good that you don't mind price. The big boxes have a tough time doing this with their high employee turnover rates. The best tend to remain, survive, and may even thrive. Hopefully, the ones that fall by the wayside are the shops that go out of their way to make the average fisherman feel like they are doing you a favor by speaking to you.
This is a great time to mention that as anglers we really should be giving business to the local shops that give great service and advice. You may have noticed that I shamelessly promote affiliates on this site who offer fly fishing equipment. However, I rarely email them and ask them where to find the best fishing hole. If I did I don't really think they would answer even if they knew. Likewise, I don't go into a fly shop and ask for the best fishing information without spending some loot first. Fly fishing, just like life, is about the relationships we forge. (Link to the Post Courier article)
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"Why is a new scoreboard necessary? Why ruin a good thing? Why turn the When Harry Met Sally Meg Ryan into the ... umm ... one who's in -- checking imdb.com -- In the Cut? Did anyone actually see that movie? More important, have you seen Meg Ryan lately? Apparently she wasn't content with her semi-under-the-radar, girl-next-door, traditional hotness and went the plastic route. She now looks like a trout that was caught, released, caught again, and then held by the tail and slapped around the inside of a boat."
Personally, I am just glad that Goose isn't alive to hear talk like this. I think he would be kicking someone's tailhook. (Link to the SI.Com article)
If you tie flies you have probably experimented some odd materials from time to time. Here is your chance to tie a one of a kind fly. Loren Coleman, a famous cryptozoologist, is auctioning a sample hair from the scalp of a Yeti. The sample was one of several taken for scientific testing from a supposed Yeti skull cap during an expedition to Nepal by Everest climber, Sir Edmund Hillary and Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom Fame. This is a one of a kind piece with a lot of possibilities for the fly tier looking for the ultimate in exotic materials. Perhaps a Yeti Hair Wing Compardun? (Link to the eBay auction.)
Monday, June 19, 2006
In our seemingly never ending quest to mine shiny gems from the bowels of the internet, we are always on the lookout for new sources of fly fishing bargains. Tonight we have managed to dig up webmerchant G.I. Joe's Sports, Outdoors and More. No my friend, they do not peddle articulated, and unshaven plastic army figurines. Instead they carry fly fishing equipment and much, much more.
In case you wonder how this web vendor has escaped the wrath of the Mattel company's corporate lawyers, this G.I. Joe was started in 1952 by a "clever pilot" just home from WWII. An enterprising young man, he sold surplus sleeping bags for $1.50.
Momma always taught us that you should never come to a party empty handed and G.I. Joe must know this as well, since he has brought you a coupon for 20% off any single item. Click the banner in this post to take advantage of his good nature and check out the site.
Virginia is battling a rash of fish kills and this has anglers worried if their favorite fishing hole might be next.
"Kills of known origin hurt. But at least when you know the cause, you can work on repairing the fishery. That's not the case on the Shenandoah or Potomac. Scientists have theories but just can't confirm what's causing fish in those rivers to develop nasty lesions and die.
Those kills don't directly impact many fishermen in Southwestern Virginia. But we still can't help but be concerned. "
Read the entire Mark Taylor article at Roanoke.Com
There is no indication in the article as to weather Brooke Shields will be accompanying participating anglers. I am sure that if they could work that one out it would really boost attendance. (Link)
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Father's Day is here and it is time to think about fly fishing with Dads. As both a son who fishes with his father and a father who fishes with his son, I feel well qualified to type a few words about the subject in honor of the holiday.
Dads seem to have a way of shaping what kind of anglers and people that we become. They can teach us about reading the water and fly selection, but some of the best lessons learned are a bit more obscure. Here is a list of things that I have learned over the years while fishing with my dad.
1. You can eat a can of Beanie Weenies creekside with only a business card, but you should never read the ingredients on the tin of potted meat that you just had for lunch.
2. If you bait fish, your lunch will probably taste like nightcrawlers and corn no matter what you are eating, so why worry about what's in the potted meat?
3. If you go deep sea fishing and your father keeps repeatedly asking you if you are sea sick, the polite thing to do is pretend to be, so that he can take a break from fishing to take care of you.
4. Be careful of the barbed wire while trying to high step over a waist high fence. The same premise applies to electric fences and the call of nature.
5. It is entirely possible to land a trout and prevent your son from falling into the river at the same time, without losing either the fish or the son.
My father and I recently received an invitation to fish a private stream that is managed by a rather exclusive fishing club. It is so exclusive in fact, that in order to become a member someone has to die to free up a spot. Since most of the membership appear to be in pretty good health, this might be our only chance to fish this water for some time. I have the sneaking suspicion that we might feel a bit like Andy and Barney did that time they got invited to visit the country club in Mt. Pilot. The fishing should be great none the less and I know that the company will be first rate.
Friday, June 16, 2006
When it speaks of angler's failures this article in The Olympian by Chester Allen is just too honest for my blood. Mr. Allen is giving away the big secret of the angling brotherhood.
"Most anglers look like we know what we're doing. But we really don't. "
Most anglers would be classified as failures were they involved in any other venture with the same success rate.
"Think about this -- we make a cast every 30 seconds or less, but we're often happy when we're catching a fish or two every hour."
What's a fellow to do when he's the son of a billionaire oil tycoon who wants to get into the sport of fly fishing? Why he burglarizes a fly shop of course!
Booth said he discovered Pickens sleeping in the fetal position under a desk, his face resting on his folded hands.
"I shake him and he jumps up like a jack-in-the-box,'' Booth said. "He just keeps saying over and over, 'You said I could use the phone anytime.'
"I say, 'Dude, even if I did, you don't break in and steal stuff and fall asleep under my desk','' Booth said. "He's got this look on his face the whole time like he did nothing wrong.''
Happy Father's Day Big Oil Dad!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Judith Heberling’s testimony could be key in the attempt by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and other state agencies to convince Huntingdon County Judge Stewart L. Kurtz to issue an injunction against a members-only fishing club. (Link)
According to the article the crux of the Spring Ridge Club's argument is that the river is not now used for transport and that the waters are at best only navigable during the Spring.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is holding its annual photo contest. There are categories for professional and amateur photographers with the grand prize being your photo on the Jan. 2007 edition of the "Wildlife in North Carolina" magazine. (Click here to find out how to enter.)
Since Father's day is just around the corner, I thought you might want to take a look at the Richmond.com Father's day gift guide. In it they suggest that you get Dad a fly fishing excursion on a quiet river and the illustrate it with a photo of a guy fishing with what is obviously a large spinning reel. (Link to the mis-illustrated article)
Monday, June 12, 2006
The US Forest Service has announced the outsourcing of management of seven of its national park properties located in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. But don't worry you won't be calling India to book a camp site anytime soon. The contract went to a private Tennessee outfitter.
"Tennessee-based Chattahoochee Outdoor Adventure has been granted a five-year, special-use permit to operate seven recreation areas, including Lake Winfield Scott, DeSoto Falls, Boggs Creek, Morganton Point, Lakewood Landing, Deep Hole and Toccoa River Sandy Bottom. "
According to the article this move will allow Rangers to focus more on enforcement and education and less on emptying trash cans. (Link)
Friday, June 09, 2006
When is a fish kill a good thing? It is a good thing when the fish that kick the bucket are an invasive type of Asian Carp. I believe that these are the same carp that have been hurling themselves into angler's boats and causing all sorts of damage.
"You could damn near walk across the river on the fish," said Glenn Neubauer, a chef at a Peru, Ill., restaurant. "We counted 100 and it wasn't even an hour."
Thursday, June 08, 2006
So you are sitting around a roaring campfire and wondering if the fish are biting? Look to the smoke from the fire for answers grasshopper!
"So the next time you are at your favorite lake enjoying your morning toast and coffee and notice the smoke from your camp fire unbearably burning your eyes, go back to bed. The fish won't be biting anyway."
From the ever growing list of folks using fly fishing analogies to represent things that should really have nothing to do with fly fishing, I bring you this article that relates fly fishing to hiring (reeling in) good employees during times when cash may be tight.
"Second, when you find the person with the credentials and experience you need, be sure you are using the right bait. Third, once you have set the hook, don't give up and turn the catch loose without a good fight"
If I were King I would decree that it should be against the law to relate anything to do with fly fishing to the workplace. The punishment should be a good whip finishing. (Link to the article if you dare)
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
This evening, in addition to mowing the lawn and fixing dinner, I have updated the product showcase over at Flyfishmagazine.com. I reorganized the links so that I would have better control over what types of deals we present there, as well as added a search box just in case you can't find exactly what you are looking for. Check it out and let me know what you think.
The Mid South Fly Fishing Expo will be held in Germantown, Tennessee July 7th - 9th. This year's expo will feature special guests Lefty Kreh and Cindy Garrison. If you have studied up on your casting you might want to take the test to be a FFF certified casting instructor. I might try it for myself since I have often heard people describe my casting style as "certifiable."
The Times of Martha's Vinyard has some tips for photographing anglers and the like.
Always use a flash"When the sun is out, always, and I mean always, use your flash. How many times have you looked at a picture of an angler's face and his face is black because he had a hat on?" Even on the little disposable cameras use a flash." (LINK)
If you want more fishing phtography tips visit Bish on Fish. I know they have certainly helped my photos improve.
We thought that Peter Venlet's down for repairs blog was actually down for repairs but we were wrong. Check out this video he has posted on his blog. Pete is also looking for a good video that shows a nymph hatching into a mayfly. If you know of one be sure to leave him a comment.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
North Carolina's Catfish and Bass are high in Mercury and that can be bad for you.
Virginia's trout aren't doing very well in the hot weather.
Catfish are laying radioactive colored eggs in Oklahoma.
Rock Snot, Mud Snails, Zebra Mussels, and Whirling Disease, might just ruin the fishing for all of us.
And finally, in the town of Westphalia, Michigan a young boy named Damon who lives in the 6th house on his street which is 6/10ths of a mile from the main road, turns 6 years old today (6-6-06 in case you had forgotten). Some of this favorite things to do are fishing and tormenting his older sisters. His family considered taking him to Hell for the celebration.
Across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom, The Post chronicle reports on an outbreak of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia at a British trout farm that has caused the death of over 50,000 trout.
"They are coming round testing us all and if we have it, then they will slaughter our stock without compensation," he said. "We don't know what is going to happen and there is the potential for a lot of businesses to fold." (Link)
Recently twenty women gathered at an Arkansas park for a weekend of trying new outdoor activities, including fly fishing, for the first time. This article in the Arkansas Democrat shows us what they learned from the viewpoint of someone new to the great outdoors.
"Fishing nets are available with retracting lanyards and magnetic attachments so the handle clips to a holder at your back. But watch how you pull that magnetized handle over your shoulder: It will pluck out your earring."