November 21, 2014

Compact Emergency Lighting

I do the vast majority of my fishing during the day. In years past I would often fish the evening hours, but now I mainly fish when the sun is high in the sky.

Back when I fished near sunset, I would occasionally get caught in the failing light and find myself having trouble getting back to my car since I could no longer see. I've always tried to carry an emergency light with me, but as I've reduced my carrying load I've tried to find compact, yet functional lighting in case I get caught in the dark.

What I look for is compact size, overall cost, ease and functionality of use, long life and ease of finding and replacing batteries. Here are a few emergency lights that I have used lately:

Bushnell 65-Lumen Multi-Color Hat Light

This little light has many advantages. It is inexpensive, it clips onto the brim of your hat, and it uses one readily available AAA battery. It is small enough and light enough that it takes up very little room. It's 2.07 x 1.32 x 1.1 inches in size. It has two settings: one bright focused LED and two dimmer red LEDs. It's modestly bright at 65 lumens on its high setting, will project a beam 40 ft and last about 45 minutes. The battery lasts much longer when only the red LEDs are used but you can't see as well either. Red, of course, protects your night vision and this can be of some advantage.

It's the most compact hat light that I have found that doesn't use button batteries.

Pak-Lite SUPER

The little light is one of my favorites. All it is is a plastic cap imbedded with two white LEDS that attaches directly to a 9 volt battery. That's it; no case, nothing fancy.  It's so small and so light that you would think that it would be pretty useless, but no, it is really amazing! Between the LEDs is a little switch: low-off-high. On high the battery will last 30+ hours, and on low it will last 600+ hours! Also, the cap glows in the dark. This makes it easy to find in your hammock, tent or pack. The other nice benefit of having a 9 volt battery with you is that you can start a fire with it by using some fine steel wool.  It's always nice to have redundancy in your survival equipment.

The downside? It is a little expensive for its size, but I think its usefulness and battery life are definitely worth it.

Inova Microlight Swipe To Shine Key Light

This is a micro light that can be clipped onto anything. I have mine clipped to one of the zipper pulls on my Zimmerbuilt Chest Pack. It is so small and light that your don't even know it's there. It too has two settings: low and high. On high it will run 9 hours and on low 64 hours. It uses a button battery (unfortunately) but its compact size requires this, so I shouldn't complain. I don't use this light as a primary light source, rather, it's my "always with me backup light".  If I don't have any other light with me, then this one can save the day (or the dusk, so to speak).

So there you go. Three different compact emergency lighting options. They each have a different purpose but all are very compact, highly functional and easy to use. There are many other lighting options out there; I just wanted to show you what I use and get you thinking about your options.

November 13, 2014

Does size matter?

Every fishing publication I have, or every one that I have seen, shows off the the size of the fish caught. The fish are always huge, requiring two hands to lift to be presented to the camera. You never see little fish. I guess it would be like having a normal appearing women in a business suit standing in front of a muscle car, rather than the hyper-proportioned, scantily dressed "beauty" which is customary. Sex sells and large fish are sexy.

Some guy's monster. Lifted from here

I guess I'm odd, but I like normal. I like small fish. Or I guess I should say, I like fish, trout in my case, which come from small, hard to fish streams. These streams are my muscle cars.

When I fish a small mountain stream or creek, I go for the experience. Sure, I like catching the trout that reside in them, but it's the total experience that draws me in. I like being in the water. I like to fill it pushing me around and the challenge of staying on my feet. I like the sound as it rushes over, around and under logs and rock. I like small streams.

In these waters most of the fish are small. You won't see them on the cover of fly fishing magazines. You won't see them being presented as great trophies, but non-the-less, they are my favorite quarry.

I like the occasional moderate size water, where trout of 14-18 inch reside, but give me a small creek, cascading over moss covered rocks, surrounded by trees and bushes and I'm in heaven. The more impossible the cast, the more I enjoy it (even when I'm yelling at the trees for stealing my flies I'm enjoying it!).

I recently visited one of my favorite creeks. It's high in the mountains and soon the road will close due to winter. I fished it one last time this season.  Most of the trout are 6 inches, but I landed a 13 incher this trip. Wow, a 13 incher. A trout that size would garner a condescending look from many fly fishers, but to me it was a trophy. When the water is only feet across, a 13 inch trout is huge!

My monster.

Now that winter is here I'll have to be content with fishing larger waters at lower elevations. But you can rest assured that when late spring/early summer comes I'll be found crawling up small creeks looking for that impossible cast and small trout.

Here is a video of the trip:

November 6, 2014

Tenkara, October 30, 2014

All the leaves are gone and the willows are once again bare. The waters are low and clear and the water temperatures are again near 40 degrees. It is late autumn. Most of the fisherman have left the streams and the woods are getting ready for winter.

I fished for about an hour the other day. It was peaceful and productive. Although the water levels are low, they are still worth fishing. I was able to take cutthroats, browns and rainbows in my one hour.

Amazingly enough I look forward to winter. Some of my most enjoyable time in the water are in the dead of winter. The days are shortening but soon the sun will be heading north. I'm ready for it, I think. The older I get, the colder it feels. But I must keep pluggin' away.

Here's the video of this trip:

November 3, 2014

Tenkara Chat

There is a new tenkara chat room on-line. It is called the Tenkara Chat project. It is ran and monitored by Matthew, a tenkara fisher from Arkansas. The chat room is designed to be a place where tenkara fishers from around the world can come and chat regarding all things tenkara, any place, any time.

I have provided a portal to Tenkara Chat directly from Teton Tenkara. Just click on the "Connect" button in the middle of the portal and you're in. I used Tenkara Chat to talk to Matthew this morning. He's a nice guy and fully supports the tenkara community.

I'm providing this as a service to Matthew, but please be aware that the chat room is neither hosted nor sponsored by Teton Tenkara -- I'm too old and too lazy to monitor a chat room 24/7!

Anyway, If you'd like to talk about tenkara in real time with other tenkara fishers, give Tenkara Chat a try.