The Functioning Fishaholics

Feb 092012
 

1/29/2012 – Somerset NJ, a purchase was made from a vendor with a smile…

Customer service award - Bill Shull Jr.

This is Bill Shull Jr. from Tight Lines Fly Fishing in Pine Brook NJ.  Bill worked his butt off at the Somerset NJ fly tying show.  He made a great impression on me and I hope everyone who reads this post will check out Tight Lines Fly Fishing.

If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few months you know I’ve been looking for a bigger rod to handle larger Bass flies.  Heck I even had a poll so that you the reader could help me pick the Best 8wt Bass Fly Rod For Under $300.

The responses from the online poll gave a solid recommendation towards the TFO Clouser.  I stopped by the TFO booth and after holding a Clouser and a Mini Mag I realized that I liked the Mini Mag a lot more.  Since the TFO booth doesn’t sell rods I was told the best place to shop was the Tight Lines Fly Fishing booth.

Which brings us back to a guy named Bill.  After a quick look around the Tight Lines booth I saw other TFO rods but no Mini Mag.  Finally I decided to break down and seek the help of a salesperson.  Bill was able to dig around and find a 8-10wt Mini Mag and offered to let me try it out.

The casting pool was a crowd of 100 eyes watching…  and there was a line.  Bill quickly offered to let me go outside to test the rod which I eagerly accepted.  (Secretly I didn’t want others laughing at my rookie casts).

Despite my lack of skill outside Bill remained patient.  As Troutrageous! Mike looked on I proceeded to flub cast after cast.  The wind mixed with nerves just about eliminated any skill I may have possessed.

After seeing me struggle for a while Bill chimed in,

“I don’t want to tell you what to do, but I noticed a couple of things and I was wondering if you’d like some advice”

At this point he could have told me to stand on one foot and close my eyes and I would have tried it.

Bill continued, “Here are a few things that work for me, why don’t you give them a try and see how you do.”

After a few subtle tips (fundamental casting instructions) I was actually able to throw a few nice casts in the wind and actually test the rod.  As I continued to beat my shoulder into submission with the huge 8-10wt rod Bill continued to offer his advice.  As my casts improved and my shoulder began to get sore I decided that an 8-10wt rod was just too much.

Throwing out my last cast I asked Bill, “Do you have this one in the 6-8wt?’

“Not here at the show but we could put an order in and ship it to your house”, Bill replied.

With full intent of putting in an order I muttered, “Aww man, I REALLY wish you guys had the smaller rod in stock.”

Earlier Bill had mentioned that he also had some Sage Bass rods on sale.  I shrugged off the suggestion knowing a Sage rod wasn’t in my price range.

Again Bill brought up the Sage rod.

“Oh I’m pretty sure that’s out of my price range”  I replied, knowing full well the standard salesman tactic of the “upsell”.

I took the bait, “So how much is it anyway?”

After looking through his price book he replied, “Last years model, $245, and it comes with Sage line”.

Sage Bass (Bluegill) Rod

With the giddiness of a school boy I exclaimed, “Wow Really? Let’s give it a try!”

At this point I let Troutrageous! Mike know what we were up to.  He decided he had enough of my casting antics and wandered back to the Tenkara cult recruiting station (booth).

Bill found the 230gr Sage Bass rod and we proceeded back outside to give it a try.  The Sage Bass (Bluegill model) rod was much lighter than the 8-10wt I was casting earlier but still had great backbone for casting.

After a short while (and some more free casting instruction) I decided to go ahead and purchase the rod.  Bill liked the rod too and asked to try it a few more times himself before we went back inside.  “This is a nice rod, I think I’m going to buy the other one we have”, he stated.

Getting a rod that originally retailed for $420 for almost half price is one heck of a deal.  I looked around online when I got home and I couldn’t find a better deal.  The fact that this rod came with line and a nice rod tube meant that I probablly spent less overall than I would have if I had ordered that TFO rod.

"FREE" Line!

Even though the casting lessons alone would have cost half the price of the new rod, Bill still made his sale with a smile.  It would have been easy to rush me through the process and get back to a booth packed with customers but Bill was patient.  Even though at first I shrugged off his idea of the Sage rod, he knew what was right for his customer and ultimately I agreed.

Bill gained the respect of a customer that day.  I got one heck of a deal on a perfect rod and I couldn’t be happier.  I”m going to make a solid effort to purchase gear from Tight Lines Fly Fishing again and I hope after reading this you will too.

Deals and vendors that actually care are what I found at the Somerset NJ Fly Fishing show this year.  Chances are I’ll be back in 2013.

 

Did you go to the show?  What did you buy?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Feb 082012
 

Are you obsessed with fly tying?  Have you ever been caught stealing hackle feathers from the hair of random women?  Do you find yourself plucking materials from family pets?  Well do I have some good news for you!

One of my fly fishing buddies is having a fly tying contest!

The cool thing about this contest is it’s going to rank the submissions by:  proportion, originality, creativity, precision and overall appearance.  So in other words, if you are like me and lack years of fly tying experience, you can still get points by creating something fun and new.

In order to build suspense, I’m leaving the name of the blog out of this post.  If you want to know more click the link, check it out,  and compete against THIS.

A crazy fly pattern I'm calling Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal

With a grab bag of Cabela’s fly tying materials and an idea from an old 80’s movie I’ve created a creature so foul it will haunt the dreams of Trout and Bass for years to come!

the dark crystal was an 80's movie this was the bird creature

Bird Creature from The Dark Crystal... Inspiration!

If you grew up in the 80’s the picture above should bring back many fond memories of long sleepless nights and nightmares of bird like creatures trying to steal your soul.  How much fun is a fly pattern that captures the beauty of the part reptile, part bird, part dragon creature, the Skeksis?

If you want to submit your own fun (or serious) fly tying masterpiece click the link below for details!

The best fly tying contest ever!  Did I mention the grand prize is a 5wt rod?

 

Do you tie flies that are awesome enough to make trout herl?  Are you thinking of hackling something together and hooking up with this contest?  Do fly tying puns woolly bugger you?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Feb 022012
 

Is Tenkara fishing a fad?  Could Tenkara be some sort of cult that is brainwashing the fragile young minds of the fly fishing world?  Could Owl Jones be right?

I’m not really sure about any of any of the recent internet banter surrounding Tenkara fishing but boy, Tenkara USA had a pretty booth!

Tenkara USA booth at the Somerset NJ fly fishing show

Awesome setup

While I’m still trying to figure out how to catch fish on a “regular” fly rod I will say this, the guys from Tenkara USA are some of the friendliest folks I’ve met in the fly fishing world.  They also add an element of disruptive, simplified, style that just works.  Tenkara USA is quickly becoming the Apple of the fly fishing world and while bucking tradition, their growth is a big plus for the fly fishing industry.

I was lucky enough to roll to the show with Fly Fishing Celebrity, Troutrageous! Mike.  I’ve hung out with Mike for a few shows and a few multi-hour car rides.  Even though I talk a whole lot, he hasn’t told me to shut up (yet)…  I think I’m going to give him a bigger icon on my blogroll…

We also bumped into some fellow bloggers at the Tenkara USA booth.

From left to right, Lou Fly & Fin, ChrisStewart TenkaraBum, Daniel Galhardo Tenkara USA, Bart The Jersey Angler, Me,  Troutrageous! Mike, and  Tom Sadler Dispatches From The Middle River.  What a great group!

Bloggers at the Tenkara USA booth

Owl Jones might want to delete that fad post...

This was my first visit to The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset New Jersey, I had a blast.  I always hear people at other shows comparing their experience to the Somerset show and I’m glad I now have the same point of reference.

Oh wait…  You wanted to hear about the crazy deals and new fishing stuff I saw at the show?  Well stay tuned!  Rumor has it I may have even found an answer to my 8wt Bass rod survey…

Did you make it to the Somerset Fly Fishing Show?  Let us know in the comments below! Did you make it to the Somerset Fly Fishing Show?  Let us know in the comments below!

Jan 262012
 

Lately I’ve been developing an obsession of sorts…  I’m drawn to purchase something useful but dangerous, sharp but pretty…

DANGER SHARP! (via Wikipedia)

The object of my affection is simple, a good (and cheap as possible) all around fishing knife.  While I currently own many pocket knives and a few multi-tools, I’ve never liked any of them enough to take them fishing.

My future shiny friend should be:

  • OK with getting wet every now and then
  • Easy to get to in a time of need
  • Affordable
  • Attractive
  • Durable for years of abuse

I’ve read a lot of great reviews and posts on knives but I’d like to start a discussion with the fishermen I trust.

What is your favorite knife?  What knife would you buy if given the chance?  Would I be better outfitted with a broadsword while fishing?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Jan 252012
 

While doing a cut and paste on a press release isn’t really our style, we ran across this one from The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow and  we thought you’d enjoy reading it.  You can also read more about the sportshow here.

 

Game and Fish Pros Share Tips at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow

Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, February 16-19

 

Increase your accuracy, precision and overall success of your next outdoor endeavor with tips gleaned from the pros at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow. Tune up your skills in seminars led by dozens of local and nationally renowned game and fish experts. Highlights include 2011 FLW Tour Champion Scott Martin, Outdoor Writer C.J. Winand, SkippyFiSH Bait Co. CEO and Founder Lou Consoli, and many more.

For Scott Martin, who will lead the top Bass University intensive seminar series, sportfishing runs in his blood. His father, Roland Martin, is a record holder and star of TV’s long-running Fishing with Roland Martin. Scott has won five FLW championships, including the 2011 “Forrest Wood Cup.” In 2005, Scott started a show of his own, Scott Martin Challenge, which is entering its sixth season on NBC Sports and features him fishing against the world’s best anglers in extraordinary destinations.

Bowhunter Magazine’s C.J. Winand is a wildlife biologist and writer of the “Hunting Whitetails” column. He has served on the Educational Review Committee for the National Rifle Association’s Whitetail Deer Hunter Clinic Program and is a featured seminar speaker on the NRA’s Great American Hunters Tour, and guides several quality deer management programs around the country.

Since he was just 17, Lou Consoli has been competing in the high-stakes game of tournament bass fishing. In 1989, Lou earned the title “Rookie of the Year” by the MBAA tournament organization, billed as the youngest professional bass fisherman in the United States. In 2007 he founded SkippyFiSH Bait Co, to manufacture and sell his famous SkippyFiSH lures and other outdoor related products. In just a short time, Lou has brought his company to worldwide distribution in over 15 countries and has sold over 600,000 units of his product.

And don’t forget to register in advance for The Bass University held on Saturday & Sunday, February 18 and 19 at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow. Joining the top teaching team with Scott Martin will be Kevin Short, Pete Gluszek, Dave Wolak, Mark Davis and Brett Hite. Bass U. attendees receive free daily show admission. To register, purchase tickets at sportshows.com/philly.

The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow runs from February 16-19 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, just five minutes from Valley Forge off the Oaks exit of Route 422, 20 miles from Center City. Find all the equipment you need for your own outdoor adventure, including boats, RVs, ATVs, fishing and hunting gear, tents, motors and so much more.  For the complete list of seminar speakers, admission discounts and more information, visit sportshows.com/philly.

 

Jan 242012
 

The Following is a guest post by Lee Hammerschmidt of Savvyboater.com

Jon style bass boat photo

Keep your bass boat in top condition

Finally, a bass boat to call your very own.

All that scrimping and saving. Not to mention having to switch to cheap domestic beer. But now it’s all yours and you can’t wait to get out on the water. Still, you need to make one more small investment to protect that big investment… a boat cover.

As most anglers and boat owners know, a boat cover is a smart, inexpensive way to protect your boat from the elements. Rain, hail, mildew, dirt, road grime, falling debris and UV rays can all wreak havoc on a boat. Not only will a bass boat cover keep your new vessel looking great, it will improve the resale value should you decide to upgrade in the future.

But how do you decide which is the right cover for your boat? It depends on what style of bass boat you have. Carver and Westland, two of the top boat cover manufacturers in the industry (Made in the USA!) offer options for three main styles of bass boats – Angled Transom, Jon and Pro/Wide.

Line drawing of angled transom bass boat

Angled transom bass boat covers are designed to fit boats from popular manufacturers like Glasstream, Skeeter, and Cajun. Made of durable 8 oz. Performance Polyguard, they come in semi-custom fits up to 21 feet long and 96 inches wide. They provide coverage for a trolling motor, depth finders, and pedestal seats.Line Drawing of Jon Style Bass Boat

Jon style bass boat covers provide coverage for a flared front bow and folded or low profile fishing seats. They are available in Performance Polyguard or Sharkskin fabric and in semi-custom fits up to 19 feet long and 92 inches wide.

Line drawing of wide bass boat

And last, but not least, Pro/Wide bass boat covers provide coverage for a trolling motor, seats and windscreens up to 12 inches. Semi-custom sizes range up to 22 feet in length and 96 inches in width with fabric options of Performance Polyguard and Sharkskin.

And the prices? Depending on the size of your bass boat, you can pick up an angled transom for as low as $213, a Jon style for $158 and a Pro-Wide for $193 (http://www.savvyboater.com). That’s a pretty inexpensive insurance policy.

Not sure what size boat cover you need? Check out the popular resource guide, “Getting the Right Fit“. It’s chock full off helpful information on how to measure your boat to make sure your cover will fit properly.

So don’t let Ma Nature decrease the look and value of your new bass boat. With the many options of bass boat covers available, you’ll be able to stretch your boats’ lifespan to the limit, all the while you’re catching your limit.

Lee Hammerschmidt is an outdoors blogger for Savvyboater.com, which sells boat seats, boat propellers, deicers and other boating supplies. Check out other blog posts at http://blog.savvyboater.com.

 

Jan 222012
 

Oh yes folks, it’s almost that time again.  The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow is rolling back into Oaks PA this February 16-19.  Trust me when I say that this is one of the highlights of my year.

Last years Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow was a blast.  Here’s a few of the highlights:

2011 Sportshow Review
Some gear purchased at the 2011 show

I got wifey to sit through a one hour seminar on drop shotting last year (she secretly loved it).  This year looks jam packed with even more pros and seminars.  You can check out the list of star studded presenters here

Interested in gear?  Looking to book that guide trip?  There will be hundreds of retailers, guides, brands, and organizations, at the show.  You can check out the full list of the exhibitors here.

This show is a great place to take the family with tons of awesome events for kids.  Sunday is family day and they will be giving out free tackle boxes to the first 100 kids 11 and under.  For more details about other show features click here.

Last years indoor casting pool

The show runs four days:

Thursday  1:00pm-9pm
Friday  12:30pm-9pm
Saturday  10:00am-7pm
Sunday  10:00am-5pm

For about the cost of a movie ticket you can enjoy a full day of outdoor fun.  Tickets for adults are $11.  Kids 5-11 are $3 and children under 5 are FREE.  (You can buy tickets online here)

We’ll be there with a full pack of Functioning Fishaholics and hopefully the guys from True Country Whitetails will be there too.

 

Are you planning to attend The Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow this year?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Jan 152012
 

I took a quick trip to Cabela’s today.

Before any shopping could be done, there was an urgent need for some good ol’ fashioned “health” food.  A buffet was in order!

Top right corner... salad

I went to Cabela’s to try and find an 8wt  TFO Clouser and some line. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any in stock.  Looks like I’m going to have to do some online shopping.

A dead honey badger... always bad luck

Something's not right here...

All wasn’t lost though.  I was able to pick up a few fly tying materials.

Gratuitous haul pic

I’m working on building up some materials for bass flies.  I picked up a few colors of bunny strips  today and a grab bag full of all sorts of randomly colored materials.  I also threw in some size 20 hooks to see if I could tie up some midges (for Trout).

Perfection

On the way out wifey decided to pick up some candy.  I couldn’t resist grabbing a bag of circus peanuts.  This candy was always one of my grandfather’s favorites. Their addictive texture and sweetness always brings back fond memories of my earlier years.

I’ll give this Cabela’s run 3/5 stars.  I’m kinda bummed I didn’t come home with a new Bass rod but they did have one of my favorite candies.

 

Is there a candy you would trade your favorite fly rod for?  Do you love Cabela’s meatloaf?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Jan 142012
 

I was about to fire off a quick Google+ post about Berkley Trilene TransOptic monofilament but then I realized that it would be better suited to a full blown review.

Now before you say, “Oh…  Another boring line review” check out the video below:

YouTube Preview Image

I knew that would get you excited!

Do you remember Hypercolor clothing?  For those who missed the 90’s, Hypercolor shirts were unique because they changed color when they got warm.  When I was a 5th grader this was a very big deal.  I remember getting in trouble in math class because we spent the whole time leaving hand prints on each others shirts.  I’m still not very good at math…

But I digress.

The Hypercolor of fishing line

Berkley’s TransOptic line is a little bit different.  Instead of turning colors when you touch it this line turns gold in the sunlight.  The idea is simple, the line remains clear under water (for the fish) and high visibility above (for you).

So what’s my verdict?  

Is this line worth buying?  Does the color changing work or is it  just a gimmick?  Will it get you in trouble in 5th grade math class?

Berkley Trilene TransOptic works.  In fact, I love it.  I kept my favorite spinning reel spooled up with this stuff for almost all of 2011.  I will buy more this year, and it will most likely be my go-to line on all of my spinning reels.

A must for Senko fishing

I’m going to admit a dirty little secret.  I used a 3″ Gary Yamamoto Senko almost exclusively all summer and I loved it.  The TransOptic line was a large part of my strategy.  When I fish a Senko most of the time I’m doing so on a very slack line.  Instead of feeling for bites I’m watching every move the line makes.  When the line creeps or bumps I slowly reel, feel for weight, and slam the hook home.

TransOptic’s bright gold color (which got brighter in strong sunlight) did a great job of helping me keep an eye on the line.

I hate fluorocarbon

Want to know why I’ll never be a pro angler?  I think fluorocarbon sucks.  I know, I know, it must just be me, but mono is just easier to work with.  Every time I use fluorocarbon I end up with tons of line twist and loops on my spinning reels.  Why am I mentioning this?  The fact that  TransOptic is monofilament makes me happy.  I use a lot of inline spinners which often cause a good deal of line twist.  This usually eats through the line on my reel pretty quickly due to birds nests and line twist.  I can honestly say after a full year of using the same line, the spool is still pretty full.

There was blood

Can’t say there have been many8lb  fishing lines that were strong enough to make me bleed.  The force required to break this 8lb line is crazy.  I once made the mistake of breaking off a lure by pulling directly in line with my hand.  Under full force, and with the sound of a .22 rifle, the line snapped, recoiled back, and the loose end actually made a small welt on my hand.  Yes there was blood.

Price ain’t bad

In these hard times we’re all looking for a deal.  A 200yd spool of Berkley Trilene TransOptic mono can be yours for only $8.95.  NOT BAD.  If you’d like to buy some from Amazon RIGHT NOW and help us make $.01 you can buy yours by following the link above.

Conclusion:  I’ve found something I like.  I’d even buy it for a friend (or let a friend buy it for me).

Disclosure:  I work a hard 40+ hours a week and while I’d love a little Berkley sponsorship this line was purchased with wifey’s money my very own hard earned cash.

 

Have you tried Berkley’s magical  Hypercolor line yet?  Have you ever gotten in trouble in math class?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Jan 072012
 

The seventh day of the new year and things seem a bit off…

Is it the fishing goals post I meant to finish last week?  Na, they can wait another year.

How bout the fact that I haven’t purchased the best 8wt Bass fly fishing rod in the world yet?  Nope, still got a few months before that needs to happen.

So what is it that has me a bit off of my game?  I mean, it’s cold outside so I’m fishing less but if I really wanted to brave the cold and fish…  Wait…  IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL!!!

That’s it!  Something should have been purchased on 1/1/2012 and that little something is my 2012 Pennsylvania fishing license!

Where, you ask, does a functioning fishaholic go to purchase said license?  If you guessed “couch” you would be correct.

Buying your license from the source is easy!  Head on over here and you can buy your very own 2012 PA fishing license online

If you’ve never been to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s web page I suggest you take some time to look around.  I love this website and all of the wonderful people that work so hard to make all of this information available.  These are the folks that fight every day to keep our water safe (and fishable).

PA Fish and Boat Employees look like this

 

Have you bought your license yet?  If not why are you waiting?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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