A few more pics and some insignificant details on Monday…
A few more pics and some insignificant details on Monday…
Rambling Review – Fisknat Landing Nets by Bob Nelson
A landing net becomes an intricate part of a fly fisherman’s tools, especially when there is lunker on the other end of the line. Having a quality net as part of your gear is a necessity and Bob Nelson has a great line-up of handcrafted landing nets to choose from. After a bit of debate, it was decided that the San Juan Model would be a great net for my neck of the woods.
The Look - This net has a real classy look with the bow being constructed of ash and walnut while the handle is fashioned from bubinga wood. The San Juan style net has a long sleek look, that with the different choice of woods, is really appealing to the eye.
Dimensions - The San Juan Net has an overall length of 27″ with a bow of 9×18″. This is a great net for some of the bigger streams and rivers here in the Southwest.
Rubber Net - The more I learn about and use the rubber nets, the more I love it. The newer style of rubber netting that is being used on modern nets has some really great advantages. No more are my hooks getting hopelessly lodged into the old standard mesh netting, which would leaving me sitting on the side of the stream anxiously trying to untangle the mess I created. The science behind the rubber netting claims that the rubber net is less harmful to the protective coating on fish than the older knotted mesh style net.
I have had some really nice times toting the Fisknat San Juan style net around the hills and ponds of Arizona. One of the more memorable times was a 3 day trip into some of the backcountry creeks on the Mogollon Rim chasing the trifecta of trout. With the Fisknat net strapped to my pack, I hiked down into a couple of canyons in search of big Arizona browns. While I did not catch my monster, several nice Arizona browns made their way into this net.
I can attest to the durability and ruggedness of Bob Nelsons quality craftsmanship. This net has seen some serious backcountry bushwhacking and gnarly rock scrambling in the harsh canyons or Arizona. I truly appreciate gear that will stand up to the test of hard fishing and the Fisknat net was not a disappointment.
Bob has a whole lineup of different styles of hand nets to choose from as well as pontoon/float tube specific nets and even longer boat nets. Bob’s lightweight nets are sold all over the United States by many different fly shops or you can check out his website here.
Quality Handcrafted Construction
Fish/Hook Friendly Rubber Net
Wide selection of styles
Durability and Ruggedness
Made in the USA
It floats (I may or may not have lost a net in deep water…)
There are definitely cheaper nets on the market, but you get what you pay for.
Prognosis: I highly recommend checking out Fisknat’s lineup of nets as there is something there for everyone. High quality product that will last a lifetime.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. This net was provided by Fisknat 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.
This pattern was one of the bugs that I was messing around with on the Deschutes River in the middle of a some serious golden stone and salmonfly hatches. I tied them up in orange and yellow and had success with both. The poor fly did not really have a name, but after Eric landed a really nice fish, I yelled over to him and asked him what he caught it on. His response, “That big splashy-thing…” Fun to tie and when the big insects our out, a ton of fun to fish. Enjoy…
If you would like to purchase this pattern, head on over to the Arizona Wanderings Shop and check out the Splashything Stonefly.
(Material List at the bottom)
Pierce a 1/4″ wide piece of 2mm thick foam onto the hook.
With the foam rotating freely at the front of the shank, tie in two goose biots for the tail of the fly.
When the biots are thoroughly tied down slide the foam back over the tied down portion of the biots.
Secure the foam with several wraps.
Tie forward about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way up the hook creating segmented sections of foam. Clip back section of foam.
Wrap thread back to roughly the center of the hook.
Tie in back legs.
Clip front portion of legs off.
Dab of superglue.
Tie in front section of foam.
Tie in hair. (I prefer deer, but elk will work fine.)
Dub all the way forward but work your way back to roughly where you tied in the hair. Tie in legs. Add a drop of glue on top of all the dubbing .
Secure top indicator foam if desired. Whip finish.
I tied up several variations with different colored foam and dubbing and found that all seemed to do the trick. I think the fish on the Deschutes were more interested in the splash and silhouette of the fly rather than the actual colors.
- #4 Terrestrial Hook (but any size will do)
- 2mm foam in yellow (or orange) and brown
- 6/0 Brown Uni Thread
- Dubbing (I used the Haretron Golden Stone, but many colors will work…)
- Sili Legs
- Deer Hair (but elk will work)
- Goose Biots
Rambling Review – Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter
Hunting in the West requires a decent pair of binoculars and often times long hours of glassing hillsides in search of your quarry. For a boy raised in the Northeast where all you have to do is find the wind and plop yourself down next to a game trail, glassing was something completely new to me. As I have talked about before, I put some in some research time and bought myself a pair of Nikon Monarchs 10X42 binoculars, a basic tripod, and a Nikon threaded tripod adapter. A threaded adapter requires that in order to remove the binoculars from the tripod adapter, you have to spend several minutes unscrewing the binoculars from the actual adapter.
I made this threaded adapter work for several seasons, but it became tiresome every time I wanted to move positions with my binoculars around my neck for a quick scan, I would have to spend around 5 or 10 minutes unthreading the binoculars only to set up a little while later and re-rig my binoculars for tripod use. During my episodes of trying to adequately tighten the screw to keep my binoculars snug on the tripod, my hunting buddy had a very nice adapter made by Swarovski which by a flip of a clip could attach or detach his binoculars. In a matter of seconds he was ready to walk with binoculars around his neck or if we needed a quick setup to start glassing, he would already have five minutes of glassing in before I was even ready to start.
Long story short, I wanted that adapter and decided to made it happen. After a season of use, I am extremely happy with the adapter with hopefully many more seasons to come.
The price – When I first went to look at the Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter, the first thing that slapped me across the face was the price tag. For a small piece of equipment it carried a very hefty price. When I questioned the guy behind the counter about the price and an alternative to the product, he responded that Swarovski was the only one to make this quick release tripod adapter and was in possession of a patent that they continued to maintain and block competition. I took a long walk around the store, and ultimately came back to buy the adapter. It is that cool.
Simplicity – The concept behind the Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter is simple. That is what makes such a great product. There is no hassle with a ton of moving part. What you see is what you get.
I have used these binoculars extensively through a javelina season and a desert mule deer hunt. The nature of both of these hunts requires glassing for long periods of time and then movement through broken country to the next area of the hunt. As stated before, when moving in between staging areas, I feel it is important to have binoculars around my neck at the ready. So over the course of a day, I may move 5 or 6 times, maybe more and the constant connecting and disconnecting can eat up valuable daylight.
The quick flip allows for a fast and simple connection. Once the binoculars are connected, they are stable and do not shift around. This was one major problem that I experienced with the threaded adapters. No matter how hard I cranked down on the screw, the binoculars still slid around. The connection with the Swarovski adapter was solid. It truly is amazing how a simple (and expensive) piece of equipment can make a hunt smoother.
Once concern I did have with the Swarovski Tripod Adapter was that two or three times over the course of several hunts, the binoculars somehow wiggled out of the adapter. Having bumped my binoculars much worse on several occasions, I was not overly concerned, but that is one complaint that I do have with this particular product. After talking with several other buddies who have the same adapter, they also expressed similar experiences.
***Note: In order to use the Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter, check to be sure that binoculars you are hoping to mount have a tripod head with a 1/4″-20 or 3/8″-16 threaded protruding screw.
Fast connection/disconnection of binoculars to tripod
Simple to use
Quality construction by a respectable company
Price – The price is a real punch in the gut, but since this is a product that sees extensive use, I feel justified in the purchase.
Occasional malfunction – Even when engaged, the binoculars may work loose from the adapter.
Prognosis: Even though I have expressed several cons about the Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter, I believe it is one of the best adapters available on the market. If you are looking for a fast connection adapter for your binoculars, I without a doubt recommend the Swarovski Binocular Tripod Adapter. Happy hunting.
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.
A bittersweet day in the field found me scoping out my hunting stand for the upcoming turkey/deer archery season. The day was bittersweet because I know that with archery season comes the new school year. So while this week I am setting up a ground blind thinking about water and food sources for my quarry, next week will have me sitting in meetings and writing lesson plans.
Although I saw a good amount of fresh sign and even spooked a small flock of turkey, I still have misgivings about the upcoming season. Bowhunting in Arizona requires a good amount of time and an even more substantial amount of luck (in my opinion), and with my favorite creeks within a short driving distance from my hunting stand, my time is usually devoted to the wild trout who boost my confidence when taking a dry fly.
Although the pictures above look nice and sunny, I was caught in an epic thunderstorm that left me wet and cold as the temperature began to drop. Of course I could have turned the truck back down the mountain for the 100+ degrees in Phoenix, but why drive all this way with a fly rod in the backseat if I am not going to use it.
I chose to fish the top of one of my favorite creeks hoping to find the water relatively clear despite the rain. The water was a little bit high and off color which was perfect for the dry dropper setup. Usually this creek is choked with small rainbows in the 4-6 inch range with the occasional brown about the same size, but this day I got into the bigger boys and pulled 3 browns at 12 inches or more. This may not seem that great, but for a stream that trickles and can be stepped across most of the way up, I was ecstatic.
After an hour or two, with the rain still falling, the temperature finally forced me to turn around and head back to the truck for a fresh (well…dry) t shirt I found wadded up in the back seat and heat pumping from the vents. Satisfied that my hunting stand is up and that I found some bigger fish in the little creek, I called it a day and headed back down the mountain. I don’t really want to go back to work…
It is finally here. Thanks to the hard work of my brother, Joel Smith, over at J. Sumner Designs, the Arizona Wanderings Shop is up and running. Along with the standard Arizona Wanderings T-shirt and signature Mini-Hopper flies, my new Hunting Gambel’s Quail E-book is also available for purchase. Hunting Gambel’s Quail is a beginner’s guide to hunting these desert birds and equips the hunter with the knowledge he or she needs in order to be successful in the field.
Hunting Gambel’s Quail is currently on sale for the next two weeks for 5.99 so make sure to take advantage of this bargain price.
Arizona Wanderings T-Shirts are also marked down to 15.00, so if you have been waiting for an excuse to pick one up, now is the time. T-shirts will be on sale until Friday so do not delay.
As always, a huge thank you to my wife, for putting up with me, all my family (especially my brother, Joel), friends (especially Jason for my sick logos), and followers who read, offer encouraging words, and buy flies and shirts. It is a huge blessing to have your support and I am always looking for ways to make things better. If you have a suggestion or an issue with the new setup, please feel free to shoot me an email at Ben@AZWanderings.com.
I woke to the beauty of the Arizona sun, rising across the canyon and beaming light into every corner of the forest. Breakfast rivaled dinner from the night, and the eggs, hash browns, homemade breads and coffee provided us with plenty of energy to break down camp and get things under way.
The morning started slow with the temperatures climbing and warming the water we were fishing. We opted to take a look at another stream, but things did not seem much better. When the fishing slows, there is only one place to go…Creekside. After burgers and rehydrating ourselves, the sky darkened in a matter of minutes and thunder and lightening began crashing all around us while rain and hail fell from the sky. We waited patiently and the sun reappeared although the temperature had dropped dramatically. Pete, Erin, and I headed back out to one of my favorite streams were the brown trout were hungry and willing to take the dry fly.
After a while, Pete and Erin took off and I fished my way down and back up the creek picking up fish in all the good looking spots. Nothing too huge, but the fish were gorgeous with bright spotting and creamy colors.
I appreciated the intensity of the weather and the awe inspiring power that comes with an Arizona thunderstorm. It always amazes me to see how vital the rain is to the ecosystems here in Arizona. It was great being able to see Pete and Erin and I enjoyed fishing with them immensely and look forward to meeting up with them again soon.
Rambling Review – Temple Fork Outfitters BVK 9’ 6Weight Fly Rod
Bigger water and bigger fish. I love fishing my TFO Finesse 3 weight, but when targeting bigger fish like the urban carp of Phoenix or the big redsides of the Deschutes River, I opted to try Temple Fork Outfitters new rod, the BVK.
The Look – Between the compression cork and the braided carbon fiber reel seat, I like the low profile look that TFO has on this fly rod. The no nonsense green thread wraps on a dark olive blank are a perfect combo. All totaled, the Temple Fork Outfitter BVK has a sleek rugged look that just screams to be taken out of the rod sock and fished.
The Weight – When I first strung up this rod I was surprised by the light weight. Compared to my 8 foot 5 weight, this new rig was considerably lighter, even with the extra length. This would come in handy on my four days on the Deschutes, when I spent 10 hours a day with a fly rod in my hand.
The Action – The Temple Fork BVK is a fast action rod, which took some getting used to for me. While I prefer a slower, softer action for the small streams, I was looking for distance and presentation in a heavier weighted rod. The BVK does not disappoint and according to TFO, this was their end goal. The BVK has plenty of backbone while being built for distance and accuracy.
I have had the opportunity to fish the BVK in a number of situations. Before heading up to my recent Oregon trip, I spent several different occasions fishing my local carp and bass haunts and seeing what this rod can handle. I paired the rod with a Lamson Konic reel which when seen together is like a match made in heaven. The rod was a little bit heavy for the size of bass I was catching but was a dream when it came to brownlining. I caught several good size koi on the TFO 6 weight, and no matter how many times they chose to run, the bend in the BVK protected the tippet to these big boys to the net. Casting weighted streamers was not an issue and the relative fast action turned some pretty tight loops. After spending several outings tossing heavier flies, I appreciated how accurate and responsive the BVK was when casting.
After 6 days in Oregon on the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers, I was extremely thankful to have this rod with me. On the Deschutes, this rod remained rigged as a dry fly rod. I was throwing large salmonfly and stonefly imitations in the #4-8 range. Accuracy is key when targeting rising fish, and after a little bit of practice, I was dialed in. While fishing the Crooked River, I tied on a double nymph rig under an indicator. This style of fishing requires long perfect drifts with a flip at the end to bring the flies back up to the top of the run. The 9’ rod was really convenient when mending or high-sticking long drifts. In both dry fly and indicator situations, I was very happy with the performance of this rod.
Rugged look and construction
Reasonable pricing compared to other similar rods
Responsive and accurate casting
No rod tube
Prognosis: I really like what Temple Fork Outfitters has done with the new BVK line. A high quality rod for a reasonable price that fishes like a dream. You owe it to yourself to at least cast one if you are in the market for a fast action rod.
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 Temple Fork Outfitters BVK rod was purchased at a “pro” rate 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.