The elk bugled all night long which made sleep hard to come by. My little brown shorthair remained in a tight cozy ball next to me in the tent, snoring away while a bull worked cows in the adjacent meadow. We all woke early, anxious for the hunt ahead, and huddled around the tailgate eating oatmeal and discussing the plan for the day.
I had been out on several Arizona blue grouse hunts over the past few years without success. With Sunny dog joining our family, I jumped at the chance to join my buddies, Kyle and Sheldon, on a trip to the White Mountains in search of this high country bird. We put Sheldon’s seasoned French Brittanys and Kyle’s GSP on the ground while Sunny tagged along. Our second push of the morning yielded a large covey of blue grouse. Although the birds flushed wild, we were able to follow up and put a bird in the bag each. I was beyond ecstatic when Sunny retrieved the bird, and felt boundless joy and pride to see some of our training pay off.
We spent the rest of the day exploring a few more spots without any luck. But with a tired, happy pup and a bird in the cooler, it didn’t matter much to me. On the long drive back to town, I reflected on the day. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face after spending time with good friends in the mountains and following your dog through the aspens with a shotgun in your hand.
Over easy eggs, floppy bacon, and a double pot of coffee is the only way to start the opening day of dove hunting season. With a big breakfast and the coffee starting to do it’s work, I met up with two buddies, and we bounced the trucks through the desert, just outside of city limits. As the sun started to peak over the distant horizon, a few doves followed the edge of the wash and provided the first few shots of the morning. We shot for an hour or so, until the sun got a bit higher in the sky and the doves stopped flying. We cleaned up, had a beer and were home before the wives knew we were gone.
For me, dove season signals the beginning of fall. Although the temperatures here in Arizona will stay over 100 through the rest of the month, dove hunting on Labor Day weekend provides the opportunity to breakout the shotgun and get some shooting in before quail season opens up in October. While I’ll have to wait a bit longer for the taste of quail, dove pot pie will be on the menu soon.
The Redington Vice Rod – Out of the tube, the emerald green carbon fiber blank looked really sharp paired with the black snack guides and black aluminum reel seat. The rod itself is a no frills workhorse that is completely saltwater ready.
The Redington i.D Reel – The flat black cast aluminum large arbor reel looked pretty sweet as is. Turns out that Redington has a whole line of decals that can be added to the solid side of the reel. I saw a few KC Badger prints in the mix, but went with a low profile digital camo.
Lifetime warranties – Both the rod and the reel are covered under Redington’s lifetime warranties.
If you read the report from the trip, you’ll note that the fishing was on the slower side. All that means is that I did quite a bit of casting and stripping for 3 days. You can get to know your equipment pretty intimately in a setting like Pyramid Lake that throws wind from all directions, rain, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures. I feel like it’s the perfect place to put gear to the test.
Let’s start with the rod. To be honest, I loved the Vice rod. Very smooth while casting a heavy sinking line, with enough backbone to punch through a snow squall in your face. Prior to the trip, I had bought another rod from another manufacturer in the same weight. Long story short, I liked the Vice so much I’m selling the other rod and keeping the Vice. This rod is a solid addition to my quiver and I plan on continuing to push it’s limits for years to come.
When I first saw the i.D reel I couldn’t really see past the sticker. It seemed kind of gimmicky to me and went into the field testing with a bit of a bias. The first night I hooked into a real nice fish about 10 feet from my ladder with about 70 feet of running line in my stripping basket. The large arbor reel gobbled up the loose line and the rulon disc drag did the rest. For a $100 reel, I was impressed.
Lastly the line. I’ve had my fair share of experience with Rio line, but had never used the Outbound Short. Although I’m sure the Vice rod had something to do with it, the Rio Outbound Short was a treat to cast. It loaded the rod well, flew threw the guides, and turned over heavy jig flies with ease. It was easy to see why these lines are so well regarded.
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.
We had driven a long way and were many hours from civilization. I stood surveying the campsite where we had camped in years past. And suddenly it dawned on me. I had forgotten my tent.
I could see it in my minds eye, that lonely tubular tent bag, sitting all along on my garage floor like a lost child. And while it sat there with so much wasted potential 6 hours away, I stood, in my campsite with a dumb look on my face, feeling foolish and knowing that I could be paying a serious price should the wind pick up and/or the weather turn. Pride wouldn’t let me snuggle into a one man tent with my hunting buddy. So I rolled my sleeping bag out on my inflatable pad and borrowed the Tyvek ground sheet for the one tent that was brought on the hunting trip. I tried to think positive thoughts.
After an 8 mile scouting hike, a shot of bourbon, and an ambian, I snuggled in to my sleeping bag and closed my eyes. I slept like a baby under that Tyvek sheet.
We got lucky and killed two turkeys opening day and were on our way home by 2 pm. It was a good turkey season.
We fished Pyramid Lake hard for three days in a cruel cocktail of rain, snow, and biting cold. It wasn’t a particularly good trip as far as the fishing was concerned. In fact is was arguably one of the slowest three days of fishing I’d ever seen. But I’ll never complain about being able to fish with a good buddy and I certainly will never take a fishing trip for granted. Life is forever picking up speed, and I cherish the moments where I’m outdoors, especially when at Pyramid Lake. Until next time, I’ll keep tying flies and thinking about that big red fish swimming in the frigid waters and some day, it’ll be my turn to catch a monster.
As I stare out my new wood shutters, I remind myself that I’ve been wanting a hunting dog ever since I was a boy. That longing has grown infinitely stronger over the past years as I’ve hunted the desert birds solo. Friends have been kind enough to invite me along and hunt behind their pups, and I relished every opportunity to watch their dogs work. The timing finally worked out and one of my hunting buddies contacted me about a 6 month old female GSP needing a hunting home. After some consideration, my wife said yes and we welcomed Sunny girl into our home.
The first week was a bit wild as everyone adjusted to each other, but Sunny, Jojo and I met up with my good friend Kyle and his 8 month old GSP, Riggs, for a little bit of field work. It was Jojo’s first “hunting trip” and our first time watching Sunny work in the open desert. She ran her heart out and then wound up pointing a couple of planted pigeons. It was a promising start, and I can’t thank Kyle enough for showing us the ropes. We’ve got lots of work ahead and we have our hearts set on hunting season.
Rambling Review – Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener
Last week we talked about how I love themotorized window shades orange county ca. Now I want to talk about something new. It is no secret, I’ve always struggled to get a hair-popping edge on my blades and broadheads. I’ve been fortunate to check out a couple of Work Sharps sharpening products and share my thoughts on them here and here. As a leader in the sharpening world, Work Sharp is dedicated to creating quality tools with quality components and continually fine tune their lineup of sharpeners. I’ve had the pleasure of using the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpenerover the past year and I’ve been really impressed with this tool.
Simplicity – All Work Sharp products are engineered for ease of use and the Combo Knife Sharpener is no exception. It is an electronic unit that rotates a flexible abrasive belt. There are angled grooves to guide the knife across the rotating belt which makes for an idiot proof edge. The built in ceramic honing rod has angle guides as well to finish off the sharpening process.
Made in the USA – All Work Sharp products are manufactured in Souther Oregon
I unboxed the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener the night it arrived. After flipping through the directions, I plugged it in, and was sharpening the kitchen knives. Five passes per side and then straight to the ceramic honing rod, and the knives were as sharp as the day we got them. The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener is very intuitive and exceptionally easy to use. It takes no time at all for me to work through the block of kitchen knives, my everyday carry, and hunting knives. Fixed blade broadheads were no a problem for the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener either.
The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener retails for $60.00 and replacement abrasive belts are 3 for $8.00.
Ease of use
Fixed guides are perfect for beginners like me. More experienced guys may want the option to vary the edge angle.
Prognosis:The Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener is a winner. If you struggle putting an edge on a blade like me, the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpeneris the sharpener for you.
the review 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.
There is nothing quite like watching dogs work the grassy hills of Southern Arizona in search of Mearns quail. So when my good buddy Pat from Border to Border Outfittersinvited me down for opening weekend to watch his team of GSPs work, how could I say no. Alex Landeen grilling venison sausages and pheasant for dinner was an added bonus.
We found birds and did a fair bit of shooting. I’ve had the pleasure to watch Pat’s dogs work Mearns several times and it never gets old. There is nothing prettier than a dog on a rock solid point with a covey of Mearns quail flushing in front of them. More importantly, I got to spend time in the field with old friends and make new ones. With life constantly picking up speed, I relish every step I get to take in chasing quail in this state.
Pat runs Border to Border Outfitters and you can hunt birds with him from Minnesota all the way to Arizona and everywhere in between. Check him out at Border to Border Outfitters.