With the shotgun cleaned and placed back in the safe, it was time to break out the fly rod and check on the status of the creeks. Walking amongst the fragrant ponderosas and listening to the creek ramble over the rocks was all that was needed to soothe my soul. Fishing our way up the creek, I had almost lost hope of catching a fish, when a small parachute pattern tricked a brown into rising, and my net soon cradled my first fish of 2015. It’s going to be a great year.
A couple months back, someone recommended that I read the book Holy Ghost Creek written by Frank D. Weissbarth. My good friend Mike was kind enough to let me borrow his copy. Between work, family, and fall hunting, the book sat on the shelf for longer than it should have until recently. Once I started reading, it was extremely difficult to put down. Holy Ghost Creek is a collection of stories from Weissbarth’s exploration of New Mexico’s small streams. I truly enjoyed the writing. It was an intimate and raw account of Frank D. Weissbarth’s love of small streams. It is so easy to read fly fishing and hunting stories that are loaded with the same cliches, but this book was different. I certainly won’t do it any justice by trying to describe it, so grab a copy and read it.
Here is one of my favorite passages from his book:
“There are things beneath the surface of the river that I will never know. There is not time enough to learn them and the river is always changing. But sometimes, on a rare day, for a few moments or hours, the barrier between water and land vanishes, and I see the trout in their watery world and hear the sound of the stream and the wind in the trees and watch as insects hover over the water and a mink slips silently along the bank. It is an intimacy born of long hours on the water, of study and of love. It is why I fish.”—from Holy Ghost Creek
Rambling Review – Orvis Safe Passage Carry-it-all Rod and Gear Case
That stupid Orvis magazine shows up at least once a month in the mailbox, and every time it did I would give it a quick flip through. Inevitably, I’d find several things that peaked my interest, but I showed restraint (which isn’t hard to do with the price tag on some of the items) and held off on pulling the trigger. One of the items that I’d had my eye on for a while was the Orvis Safe Passage Carry-it-all Rod and Gear Case. Luck was on my side when a fishing buddy wanted to get rid of his and I picked up the Orvis case for a reasonable price.
The size – This Orvis Safe Passage Carry-it-all Rod and Gear Case is the medium size case. It is 31″L x 9½”H x 5″W and holds 4-piece rods up to 9′. The large version will hold 10′ 4-piece fly rods. The case weighs a hair over 5 pounds
Organization – There are 3 clear plastic zippered pockets on the outside of the lid along with several large zippered mesh pockets on the inside of the lid. The main bay of the case is divided by a removable partition which allows you to customize the inside of the case. The smaller partitions have Velcro attachments as well, and can be moved to the different desired locations.
The Orvis Safe Passage Carry-it-all Rod and Gear Case lived up to the hype. It is one of the best pieces of fishing luggage that I’ve seen for transporting fly fishing gear. One thing I really like is how much you can actually fit in this case. You can easily fit six 9′ fly rods in this case along with reels, fly boxes, tippet, leaders, and all the other small odds and ends that need to make it on a trip. There are plenty of pockets and dividers to keep everything neat and organized. It serves as the perfect work station when rigging up lakeside or riverside once you reach your destination.
The Safe Passage Case keeps everything in one place, and pretty well protected. It’s perfect to stow in the back of the car for a vacation trip with the family or to take as a carry-on on an airplane. One thing that I’ve never done is to check the bag on an airline. I make it a general rule to never check anything that I truly care about and/or that could be damaged. Although the case is rigid and very tough, those baggage handlers make me nervous.
One thing that I vastly underestimated was its utility around the house. With an ever growing family, space is becoming more limited. I can’t leave nippers and hemostats lying around on the tying table or have rod tubes littering the spare bedroom. The Orvis Safe Passage Carry-it-all Rod and Gear Case makes it easy to store fishing gear in one place and out of the reach of the Tasmanian Devil our beautiful little girl. I know that in a moments notice, I can grab the case and toss it in the truck before heading out to fish.
Plenty of organization
Very nice build quality
Customizable layout with Velcro dividers
Can be used as a airline carry-on (leave the nippers, hemos, and knives in your checked bags)
The price tag (New, the price tag is pretty steep for a piece of luggage)
Length can be limiting for 10′ or 3-piece fly rods (Orvis does make a size large)
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. I bought this case second hand with money from my personal fishing fund. 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.
I remember the first time I fished the San Juan River, my friend Mike, from Dry Flies and Fat Tires, gave me a couple of flies. In that collection of flies he passed on to me were a couple of Flash Thread Midges (also called the Bling Midge). I learned first hand that flies don’t have to be overly complex and difficult to tie to be productive. Ever since then, I keep a couple of Flash Thread Midges in my tailwater fly box. Typically, I’ll tie them from size 18 on down to 24.
Hook: #18-24 curved hook
Thread: UTC 70 – Brown for body/Black for head
Thorax: Holoshimmer Tinsel Thread – Silver (found this at a local craft store)
If you are looking for a cool variation of this pattern, check out Juan Ramirez’s video of the Biot Bling Midge. Excellent pattern.
The last weekend of Arizona quail season has come and gone. I had a few hours to head out to an area that I wanted to hike in to and explore for future deer and javelina hunt. Although I toted the shotgun in, the shells never left my pocket and I spent quite a bit of time behind my binoculars, searching the hills for sign of javelina and mule deer. My nature walk (as my wife calls it) turned into a pretty good trek, and I put 6 or 7 miles on my feet. Although the Winchester never made it to my shoulder, it was a peaceful and fulfilling morning spent in the field, and I was able to see some new country. It’s tough to beat a desert sunrise.
If you have been following along at all, you know that my little girl has been growing fast. My wife and I are avid hikers and really like to get outside and enjoy all that Arizona has to offer. Trying to fit a one year old baby girl into that lifestyle is tough, but very doable. All of our outdoor activities became a whole lot easier when we picked up the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0.
The specs –
Maximum weight load (Child + Gear + Pack): 50 lbs / 22.6 kg
The fit – The Kelty Pathfinder is a fully adjustable aluminum frame pack. It’s just as comfortable as any other pack that I’ve worn and carries weight right on the beefy hipbelt very well.
The small things – Kelty has done an outstanding job of marrying the fit and feel of a rugged quality pack to the tiny nuances of baby life. Some of the things that really stood out to me are the:
sun hood (It’s Arizona. The sun is always out.)
toy loops (Favorite 1-year old game – throw things on the floor and see how many times Daddy picks it up for you)
changing pad (Poop happens)
Storage – The zip-off day and bottom storage compartment pack provide ample storage for baby and parents.
Imagine my surprise when my wife pipes up one Saturday morning, “Let’s go fishing.” In situations like this, I don’t ask questions. I just start packing. We picked a spot in town where there are plenty of ponds to walk around and look for cruising fish. We loaded up the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 with a fly box, tippet, diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, sunscreen, water, and a binki, and we were ready to go. The one thing that is probably the most important thing I learned about the Pathfinder 3.0 this day was that my daughter loved being in it. A kid-carrying pack doesn’t do any good if your kiddo doesn’t like being in it. Our little girl gets the biggest smile on her face when we get the backpack out of her closet and she tries to climb into it all on her own. Kelty passed the first test – Baby approved.
The second aspect of this pack that makes it so attractive to a parent is how comfortable it is for me. I spend a good deal of time with different packs on my back and the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0 is about as good as it gets. The big beefy hipbelt puts the weight right on your hips and takes the pressure off your shoulders and upper back. There are upper load lifters, lumbar compression pulls, and a sternum strap all help to keep the weight of the pack secure and close to your back. Between our little girl, water, and all the odds and ends in the pack, the Pathfinder 3.0 was right about 30 pounds and felt very comfortable and stable to carry.
There are so many small things that went into designing this pack that there are almost too many to describe in a post. I’ve mentioned several of them above. Here are some other key additions to the pack that I think are worth noting:
There are several waterbottle holders along with a H2O pocket all set up and ready for a bladder and hose.
Auto deploy kickstand for when the pack is on the ground. The kickstand allows you to easily get your child in our out while the pack is stable.
The high aluminum frame of the baby carrier provide some added protection for the back of the child’s head and acts like a bit like a roll cage, should you take a spill.
The Pathfinder 3.0 really takes the safety of the child seriously 5-point harness and color coded leg straps make sure that your child is in nice and snug.
Very comfortable pack
Ease of use
Tons of storage space
Strong aluminum frame
Cost (top of the price range for child carriers, but so worth it for the extras)
Weight (a 7lb starting weight for a pack is a bit heavy, but again worth it when you’re talking about keeping a baby happy)
Prognosis: If your looking to keep after your outdoor hobbies with a baby in tow, do yourself a favor and look at the Kelty Pathfinder 3.0. This pack is worth it.
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. 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.
I have written about the Hunting and Angling Heritage Work Group(HAHWG) before here. The HAHWG is a collaboration between the Arizona Game and Fish Department and many different sportsman’s groups throughout the state. As the title states, the HAHWG is focused on sharing the heritage of hunting and fishing with the next generation.
Joe Darago is an avid hunter who started a local youth archery club in Peoria, AZ. Shoot for Lifepasses on the love of archery to students and adults using a safe, fun, and proven teaching method taught in thousands of schools and clubs world wide. Shoot for Life has grown and been extremely successful in introducing kids and adults to the world of archery. Last year, Joe put together the first Shoot for Life Javelina Youth Hunt which was a huge success.
This year was the 2nd annual javelina hunt, and in total there were 16 youth hunters, each accompanied by a parent and mentor. We all met up on Friday night and talked to the AZGFD wildlife manager for the unit. I had the honor of mentoring one of the young hunters and her dad on Friday and Saturday. We hunted hard for 2 days and didn’t see a pig. Although our group saw a bunch of deer and had a great time in the field, it was tough to finish up without spotting a pig for our hunter.
The overall experience at the Shoot For Life camp was extremely positive. Each youth hunter I spoke with had a huge smile on their face and couldn’t stop talking about what a good time they had. Hanging out during lunch at camp with the other hunters and mentors, the air was full of stories from the hunt and positive vibes. Although only one youth hunter was able to kill a pig, the experience of helping out in a youth hunting camp is extremely rewarding.
If you know of any new archers or hunters who are looking for an opportunity to get into the field and enjoy the beauty of Arizona, definitely check out the Outdoor Skills Calendar which shows many other camps put on by great organizations like Shoot for Life.
I picked up my Dave Scadden North Fork Outfitters Madison River pontoon boat last year second hand with the intent of exploring the Colorado River and Arizona’s lakes. As you might expect with an inflatable pontoon, I spend quite a bit of time setting up the pontoons and making sure that they are properly inflated throughout the day. After a bit of research, I picked up a K-Pump K200 and have been really please with it over this past year.
The design – The K-pumps are a no-hose design which cuts down on many of the problems that you can run in to with other pumps. K200 is made of a special ABS material that makes the pump extremely durable. The K200 is a single chamber pump (as is the K100) which makes these pumps great for small inflatable crafts (like the 9′ Scadden) and topping off larger inflatables.
The extras – The K200 comes with a nice stow bag, additional adaptors, and lubricant for maintenance.
The warranty – All K-pumps are covered by a 2 year unlimited warranty.
Made in the USA – The K-pump company is based out of Oregon and is a family owned company. All pumps are made in the USA.
Dimensions – The K200 is around 32″ long and has a diameter of 3″ wide. It has an output of roughly 0.8 Gal ABS pressure.
Price – The K200 retails for right around $89.95, which at first glance seems a bit much for a pump. I will say this, it is worth every penny.
I’ve been extremely impressed with K-pump K 200. Most of the time, when I’m headed out with my pontoon, one of my buddies will have an electric pump, which is way easier for getting the pontoon inflated to about 75%. From there, I’ll finish putting the frame together and lashing the frame to the pontoons. The K200 is perfect for finishing off the pontoons and inflating them to the correct pressure. Because of the K200 size and slim shape, I always stash it on my pontoon, just in case a buddy or I need it throughout the day.
I have had multiple instances where I have not had access to an electric pump and needed to inflate my pontoons from empty with nothing but the K200. One of those instances was when I floated Lees Ferry. We were backhauled upriver and needed to take all of our gear with us. After we were dropped on the beach, we spent our time arranging gear and assembling our pontoons. The K-pump K200 was more than enough pump to handle filling up my pontoons.
In my opinion, the entire action of filling/topping off your pontoon is a bit easier with the K200. First of all, you are able to stand up. With many of the double action pumps, you end up hunched over. The K200 allows you to stand upright and not bust your back filling your pontoons. The second thing I like about the K200 is the length of the handle/plunger. With each compression you are getting a long, full push of air into your pontoons. Ultimately, this cuts down on the amount of pumps, and gets you on to the water faster.
K-pump does offer a wide array of pumps that meet many different needs. The K200 is a part of the single chamber pumps, but K-pump also makes double chamber pumps like the K40 or K400. These pumps are two stage: a low pressure for shaping your tubes and a high pressure for topping off. If you are looking for something with a bit more output, one of these pumps might be worth looking at.
Probably one of the most striking things about K-pump has nothing to do with the actual pump. After using the pump several times I had a question about the pump and called the customer service number on the website. On the second ring, Jim Kutella, the owner of the company picked up the phone and spent a good 10 minutes talking to me about his products. Jim doesn’t know me from Adam, and I was very impressed with his knowledge and willingness to answer all my questions. It’s very cool to see a company take customer service seriously.
Made in the USA
Rock solid construction
Excellent customer service
Cost – a bit pricier than the cheap double action pumps, but worth it.
Prognosis: If you are looking for a superior pump for your float tube or pontoon boat, I can’t say enough good things about the K-pump K200. The K200 is a top quality production made here in America and definitely worth every penny.
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 K-pump K200 was bought with my own hard earned cash and probably one of the best purchases I made for my pontoon boat. 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.