Rambling Review: Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack

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Rambling Review – Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack

Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack heading down into the Grand Canyon

It’s funny how an item can conjure up the most vivid of memories. I’ve got quite a collection of packs in the guest room closet. My wife would disagree with me calling it a “collection” as she’s on the verge of calling that horders show from TV. Regardless, I’ve got packs of every shape and size for every different occasion and I’m pretty proud of the collection. As I was rearranging some things in that closet, I came across one pack that has really stood the test of time while traveling up many mountains, down into more than a couple of canyons, and across the ocean on a trip to Europe. The Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack is most certainly not the coolest looking pack and due to it’s size, I have the tendency to pack it with more than I should,  but I have found it to be one of the most comfortable and rugged packs that I’ve used.

When I saw the pack hanging there, I could remember the burn in my legs on that last quarter mile coming out of the Grand Canyon and how glorious it was to finally reach flat ground. I remembered trying to stuff it into the overhead compartment of the plane for our flight to France, trying not to make eye contact with the flight attendant for fear of her telling me that it would have to be checked. It still has pine needles in it from the last overnight trip into the woods, and it wears multiple smudges dirt like hard fought medals of honor.

I finished stowing the gear that I was rearranging and shut the door to the closet, but not before taking the pack off the hook looking it over. It’s still in  great shape and ready for another adventure. Guess I better get something planned.

Disclaimer: This isn’t my normal format for a Rambling Review because this pack design is no longer available as Gregory has since come out with an updated design. I feel though that a good piece of gear still deserves it’s day in the sun. If Gregory continues to make gear like the Baltoro, the new packs should be worth checking out. 

Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro on a street corner in Europe
Gregory Baltoro
The Baltoro on a train somewhere in Europe after what appears to be a long and exhausting day.
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro in a nameless canyon in Arizona
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack
Gregory Baltoro 70 Pack getting ready to come out of the Grand Canyon

 

* Real 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.  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: To the Mountains

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Sunrise
Sunrise

With a long week of work behind us, we made an extremely early morning drive to the mountains to escape the heat and beat the crowds. We rolled into the parking lot and could see the fish rising from the bank. The air was chilly, which made the water warmer than expected as I eased into the water and worked the pontoon boat out away from the launch. The boat got a good workout and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable on the water. I still have plenty to learn about stillwater fishing, but managed to pick up a handful of fish, on a mix between intermediate line with a couple of simi-seal buggers and hanging midges.

We had the water to ourselves until about 10:30 and by noon we were off the water  to make way for the onslaught of the Memorial Day weekend crowds. I think I can get used to this stillwater thing.

Solitude
Solitude
Fishpond
Trout
Flies
Flies
Kristen
An exceptional fish
Damsel
Damsel

Book Report: The Sean Stranahan Mystery Series

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Sean Stranaham Mysteries
The Sean Stranaham Mysteries

I’m always looking for something interesting to read. Most of my bookshelves are a laden with a heavy dose of fly fishing and hunting with a spattering of history and philosophy left over from college, and I don’t have much in the way fiction in my collection. I recently had the chance to get my hands on a couple of books by Keith McCafferty. McCafferty who daylights as the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor for Field and Stream, has written several novels that center around the main character, Sean Stranahan.

The novels follow this part fly fisherman, part artist, part private eye on his exploits in rural Montana. I really enjoyed reading through the stories that are full of fly fishing and outdoor references and the pages really fly by. If you’re looking for something to fill a day in the hammock, a Sean Stranahan mystery might be right up your alley.

Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
Keith McCafferty
A Sean Stranahan Mystery
A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Arizona Fly Fishing – Hoppers

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brown1
Brown

The weekends in May fill up pretty quick for me. Between Mother’s Day and our anniversary, I’m lucky to find time to get onto the water. In the end, I found a free Saturday early on to make a long day trip to the Whites. With the ridiculously dry weather here in AZ, our creeks look like they normally do in July, and the hoppers are on the banks. The fish are looking up, and  I was able to pick up a few good ones to round out a great day on the water. Can’t ask for much more than this, except maybe some rain.

altoids
Hopper fly box
Brown Trout
Hopper Brown
fly reel
White Mountains, AZ
nymph
Nymph
turkey tracks
Turkey Tracks

Higa’s S.O.S Variations

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Higa's SOS Fly
Higas SOS Varient

The original Higa’s S.O.S. fly pattern has long been a staple in my fly box and has proven itself to be a dynamic fly that seems to work just about everywhere. With many fly patterns I like to make small variations to use up different materials that I have or to meet a need that I have for a particular creek. This variation of Higa’s S.O.S. makes for the perfect dropper here on our AZ creeks and is extremely quick and easy to tie.

Hook – any size caddis style hook

Bead – to match wire

Thread – UTC70

Tail – Gambel’s quail

Wire – size small

Wingcase – Danville 4 strand Rayon

Thorax – Haretron Dubbin to match

Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly

 

Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly
Higa's SOS Fly
Higa’s SOS Fly

 

 

Arizona Fly Fishing – Canyon Lake

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Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ (photo credit – Kristen Kile)

So… I bought a pontoon boat. Anyone reading this blog knows that I’m a die hard creek guy, but at the end of the day, there is a ton of great stillwater in this state. To be honest, I don’t know a whole bunch about stillwater trout fishing and figured it was high time to learn. So I found a screaming deal on Dave Scadden Madison River pontoon boat and took it on its maiden voyage to Canyon Lake with my friends Jason and Kristen, in order get my bearings.

The bluegills were out and hungry, and we caught a bunch in the couple hours I was on the lake. I learned a whole bunch about my pontoon and some of the things that I need to tweak and straighten out before I head out on the water next time. Bottom line, the pontoon was a blast, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. It was super stable and tracked really nicely, once I figured out what I was doing.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of creek fishing in the future, but I’m hoping to spread the love to some of the Arizona lakes in the future.

Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ (photo credit – Kristen Kile)
Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ  (photo credit – Kristen Kile)
Canyon Lake, AZ
Canyon Lake, AZ

 

Pyramid Lake Flies for sale

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Pyramid Lake Flies for sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

So after this last trip to fish Pyramid Lake, I had a couple of folks contact me about ordering flies for Pyramid Lake. So while tying up these orders, I tied up a few extra and put them all together for a great all around Pyramid Lake Fly box. There are 62 flies here with plenty of variety that should be a great starting point for anyone looking to stock up on flies before heading to the lake. I’m selling the box as a complete set.

The Arizona Wanderings Shop

 

The flies included are:

Pyramid Lake Tadpoles (size 6)

Estaz Wooly Buggers (size 6)

Maholo Nymphs (size 8-10)

Tinsel Midges (size 8-10)

Ice cream cone midges (size 8-10)

Pyramid Lake Flies for Sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

Pyramid Lake fish can be a bit picky, but this assortment is what I carry, and I have found success with these flies.

Pyramid Lake Flies for sale
Pyramid Lake Flies

Don’t forget to order your furled leaders and mini-hoppers from the Arizona Wanderings Shop. If you are looking for specific flies, shoot me an email and I’d be glad to tie you up what you need. As alway, your support is what keeps this site moving along and I truly appreciate everything.

mini hoppers
Mini-hoppers

 

The Arizona Wanderings Shop

 

Book Report: The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision

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The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision

Fish never cease to amaze me.  When The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision by Reed F. Curry first came out, I was immediately intrigued. As the title suggests the book focuses on the what trout see and how we as fly fisherman  can do to make our flies more attracting to fish. As you can see from the chapter titles, Curry goes to great lengths to talk about what ultraviolet light is and how it fits into nature.

Now, by no means am I a biologist or have any scientific background, but I found the whole discussion of trout vision and ultraviolet reflection fascinating. Curry goes through great length to photograph and document his findings while applying its impact on fly tying materials and fly fishing. Much of what I read here in The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision was reminiscent of what Lafontaine investigated in his book The Dry Fly: New Angles. Both authors strive to understand what triggers fish to take our flies, and ultimately, why some flies seem to have such great success.

If you are interested in the nitty-gritty of fly tying and fly fishing, I think Curry’s book is worth the read. As an angler, I found the discussion of what trout see to be extremely interesting and enlightening.

The New Scientifc Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Visison
The New Scientifc Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Visison
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling - Trout and Ultraviolet Vision
The New Scientific Angling – Trout and Ultraviolet Vision