Back East

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Orvis Encounter
My kid brother getting it done

We made the journey back east to Grandma’s house a few weeks back. As you might imagine, it was action packed with an 18 month old. We visited all the usual haunts and enjoyed the company of those we love so much, but only see a couple times a year. I fixed my brothers up with a set of the Orvis Encounter Combos, and we made the sunfish at the cottage pay for it. We ate enough icecream and sweets to make us swear off sugar for a couple of weeks. All in all, there is no better way to spend vacation.

Icecream
My girls love their icecream
Jojo
18 months and on top of the world
Horses
Neigh
Hammock
Summertime swinging
Grandma's
No place like Grandma’s
Farm
The Ranch
Yuengling
When in PA…
bass
Perspective
Boat
Boat rides
Dog
Woof
Joel Fishing
Brother one
Nick Fishing
Brother two
Mama and babies
Mama and her babies
Making Pizzas
Helping Grandma make pizzas
Watermelon
Getting after it
Rainjacket
Rainjacket. Something we don’t often need in Arizona
Walk down dirt road
Long walks on dirt roads
New friends
New best friends
Family
The gang

Arizona Bar Fly

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Bar Fly
The First Arizona Bar Fly

This past Friday was the inaugural Bar Fly here in Phoenix, Arizona. The kind folks over at Boulders on Broadway were decent enough to let us crash their place and scatter vises and fly tying material all around. There was a pretty good turnout for such short notice, and the hope is to plan an event for every couple of months. The food was fantastic and the dollar off beer special was extremely generous. Desert Sportsman even donated some fantastic merchandise for giveaways. Make sure you’re at the next one.

Fly Tying
Tying Flies and Telling Lies
Next Generation
The next generation of fly tiers
Winners
Big thanks to Desert Sportsman for donating prizes
Bar Fly 2
Passing it on

 

Arizona Fly Fishing: Christmas Tree Lake

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Christmas Tree Lake
Christmas Tree Lake

On a recent trip home from Pyramid Lake, the conversation in the truck turned to fishing in Arizona. We started scheming and pretty soon we had made a makeshift plan to fish Christmas Tree Lake. Christmas Tree Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation is arguably the prettiest lake in Arizona, and the Apache Trout that live in it’s waters are always fun to catch.

We rolled into our camp spot at Hawley Lake in the afternoon and made short work of setting up camp and prepping our pontoons for the next day. Aside from the resident Hawley Lake cows making several appearances in the middle of the night, we had an uneventful evening and woke early to break camp. We were the first ones on Christmas Tree Lake and aside from a flock of turkeys, we had the whole place to ourselves for several hours before the first truck showed up.

Fishing was sporadic and the heavy gusty winds made spotting fish a bit tough, but we managed to all take multiple fish throughout the day.  Ants and hoppers did well as did chironomids and leeches underneath the water’s surface. We left the lake satisfied, happy, and scheming about the next trip.

Campfire
Camp Life
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Cataract Oars
Cataract Oars
Apache Trout
Apache Trout
Alex Landeen
Landeen wrangling a fish to the net
Christmas Tree Lake, AZ
A view up the lake

Rambling Review: Stanley Brand

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Stanley Brand
Stanley

I had an opportunity to get my hands on some classic Stanley Brand products, and they have been keeping me company at work and in the mountains. Stanley has been in business since 1913 and their name is synonymous with quality.

Stanley Brand thermoses and mugs keep beverages hot and stand up to the day to day abuse of work and the campsite. The 8oz flask is perfect for tucking in your pack for a midsummer fishing trip or a night around the campfire.

Check out more Stanley Brand products.

Stanley Brand
Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle (1.4 Qt.) and Coffee Fixings

Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle (1.4QT) – This big green Stanley thermos is a classic. TheStanley Classic Vacuum Bottle has an iconic look that is matched with a much deserved reputation for keeping your beverages steaming hot for a long time. At 1.4 quarts, this thermos is ideal for those all night drives on the way to a remote fishing spot or a Monday morning at work. It’s the perfect way to make sure you’ve got enough coffee to make it through any situation.

Stanley Flask
Stanley Adventure Flask and Bulleit

Stanley Adventure Flask (8oz) – It sure is nice to have a rock solid flask to dip into around the campfire to take the chill out of the evening. Fill it with your swill of choice and you’re on your way.

Stanley Flask
Stanley Adventure Flask
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug
Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug

Stanley Classic One Hand Vacuum Mug (16oz) – This Stanley mug sees daily use at the office. It is not unusual for a project to keep me engrossed for most of the morning and I neglect to drink my coffee. With the Stanley Vacuum Mug, my coffee stays hot, well into the afternoon, so I’ll always get a hot cup of coffee.

Stanley Brand
Stanley Brand

Prognosis: If you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift, definitely give the Stanley Brand a look. There is something for everyone in their lineup.

 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion.   The Stanley Brand products were provided for the purpose of this review and the links in the article help to pay the bills here on Arizona Wanderings. As always, I always strive to be up front and honest about gear and my relationships with gear companies. Thanks for looking

Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo

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Dickerson 7012
Dickerson 7012

Last summer I commissioned my friend and local bamboo rod builder, Mike Johnson, owner of Agua Fria Alchemy, to build me a rod. I’d been pinching the pennies I made from tying flies and finally saved up enough to get the ball rolling. After talking with Mike for quite a while about bamboo and casting/fishing a couple of different tapers, we decided upon a Dickerson 7012 in a 4 weight and the journey began. When Mike finally let me know that the rod was finished and ready to fish, I was blown away by how sweet it cast, and not to mention the beautiful craftsmanship. If you’re looking for a gorgeous handmade bamboo rod here in Arizona, give Mike a shout. You can find him through his blog Agua Fria Alchemy or his facebook page.

Here she is – start to water

Bamboo Rod
Curls
Bamboo
Agua Fria Alchemy
Bamboo rod
In the shop
Agua Fria Alchemy
The man himself
Agua Fria Alchemy
Torpedo grip
Agua Fria Alchemy Bamboo Rod
“Mino”
J.W. Young Pridex
J.W. Young Pridex
Agua Fria Alchemy Hand Crafted Split Cane Rods
Agua Fria Alchemy Hand Crafted Split Cane Rods
Southwest Custom Rods
Spalted Maple Reel Seat courtesy of Southwest Custom Rods
Pridex
Ready to rock
Bamboo
Brown trout and bamboo
Agua Fria Alchemy
Agua Fria Alchemy
bamboo fly rod
On the water

Rambling Review – Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

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Rambling Review – Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

There is nothing quite like giving your shotgun a good thorough cleaning  at home, but sometimes in the field weird things happen, and it’s important to give the bore and barrel a quick clean right there in the field. Bottom line, you need to keep your gun in good working condition and I’ve taken my fair share of spills while hiking hills after quail. I’ve heard the horror stories of a muzzle getting filled with debris and when it comes right down to it, it’s not a terrible idea to have a bore snake in your pack or vest to give your barrels a quick clean.

The folks over at Sage and Braker have come up with an ingenious twist on the standard bore snake. They took the one piece bore snake and made the pull rope and wire brush detachable from the cleaning rope. Now instead of throwing the whole snake with wire components into your washing machine, you can simply unscrew the latch and toss just the cleaning rope into the wash. Pretty slick if you ask me.

The Sage and Braker Bore Snake comes in a very nice bag which makes it easy to toss in your vest or pack. At first they just had 12 and 20 gauge snakes for sale, but Sage and Baker have geared up for additional shotgun gauges as well as popular rifle and handgun calibers too. Definitely a worthwhile investment for any avid shooter.

Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake
Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake
Sage & Braker's Bore Snake
Sage & Braker’s Bore Snake

 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  The Sage and Braker Bore Snake was provided for the purpose of this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

 

 

Arizona Fly Fishing: White Mountain Creeks

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White Mountains
White Mountains

On a midnight run to the White Mountains after work on Friday, we crashed in the dirt next to the truck and woke to the sound of turkeys gobbling on the ridge nearby. After a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon, we dropped off a ridge and spent the day casting dry flies to rising fish. No fish of any great size were taken, but I was able to bloody my new bamboo rod and lunch was worth the hike in. It was a long drive back to town that night, but so worth it.

The pictures tell the story.

Down to the River
The descent
Bamboo
Bamboo and brown trout
White Mountain creek
Clemens working the water
Nelson
Nelson working the water
Fish
Release
Creek
White Mountain Creek
Meat
Meat
Sammich
Sammich
Meat and DJ
The good stuff
Gummies
Gummies
Pridex
Pridex
Meadow
Meadow

Rambling Review – Lowa Uplander GTX

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Rambling Review – Lowa Uplander GTX

Lowa Uplander GTX
Lowa Uplander GTX

Why:

I have a pair of Lowa Renegade LL boots that I absolutely love. I figured that the leather-lined Renegades would be the only boot I need in Arizona since they handle the dry climate with flying colors. Then I woke up one morning on my spring turkey hunt last season to see 6 inches of snow on the ground. It was then I realized, I probably needed a good pair of Gore-Tex boots that would be comfortable enough to hike in all day as well as keep my feet dry and warm. Having such good luck with my Lowa Renegade LL, I took another look at the Lowa lineup and found the Lowa Uplander GTX boots. They are spectacular.

Lowa Uplander GTX
Lowa Uplander GTX

First impressions:

The sole – Vibram Vialta soles are a  Polyurethane mid-sole for shock absorption, pronation/supination zones for stability, self-cleaning profile with excellent grip.

Materials – The Uplander GTXs are a 10 inch tall shafted boot. They are constructed with a split leather/Codura upper and the full-length plastic stabilizers between the midsole and outsole provide superior ankle stability and torsional control.

Price – The German made Lowa Uplander GTX are priced at $295.

Lowa Uplander GTX
Lowa Uplander GTX on a late season hike through the desert

Field Use:

I spent the last half of quail season with the Lowa Uplander GTX on my feet. I hiked about 6 miles the first day in them, and aside from one hotspot on the side of my pinky toe, I was very impressed with how comfortable these boots were right out of the box. After wearing them to work a couple days each week and continuing to hunt in them for the remainder of the season, the boots and my feet became well acquainted.  Even though the temperature and weather of the last half of the Arizona quail season is extremely moderate, I was a bit worried that my feet would burn up and be uncomfortably swampy with the Gore-Tex lining. Although not nearly as breathable as the Renegade LL boots, the Lowa Uplander GTX boots were still comfortable for the cool winter mornings even with the Gore-Tex lining.

As slight as it may seem, one of the things that I appreciated about the Uplander GTx boots was the extra few inches of support and protection of the upper boot. Between thick, sticky underbrush and steep hills to traverse, support and protection are welcome advantages when choosing a boot.

The Lowa Uplander GTX boots were on my feet for many days through the cold mornings of javelina season, as well as my opening weekend of turkey. We experienced some snow and rain during turkey season and it provided me with the opportunity to get the boots into a wet environment and see how they performed. After days of running and gunning on the ridges of northern Arizona and hiking many miles, my feet were warm and dry despite the cold, wet weather. The gusseted tongue and Gore-Tex lining create the perfect barrier for superior waterproof protection.

Lowa Uplander GTX
Lowa Uplander GTX

Pros:

Waterproof Gore-Tex lining

Lightweight

Vibram soles

Ankle support

Cons:

Cost

Lowa Uplander GTX
Lowa Uplander GTX

 

Prognosis:  With almost a full season of hunting put on the Lowa Uplander GTX Boots, I couldn’t be happier with the performance of the boot. Overall, it is a very comfortable boot right out of the box and in my experience, it took minimal effort to get my feet and the boots on the same page. The Vibram soles provide stable footing on wet and slippery mud and rock and the tall shafted boot with 4 level lace hooks provides a high level of ankle support. Time will tell how these boots hold up over time, but I’m excited to see where these high quality boots will take me. 

* Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  The Lowa Uplander GTX boots were provided by Lowa for the purpose of this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.