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Fishing – Adding Flies to the Equipment and Skills Inventory

So, I talked in my last post about the frustration of watching a bunch of fish eat off the surface of the water and not having anything useful to target them.  I had plenty of normal lures and jigs and bait and whatnot, but it was only to fish under the surface.  I figured out that I need something for on the surface.

This is what's known as a casting bubble

This is what’s known as a casting bubble

I used this same pic in my last post.  Casting bubbles are useful for many different things in fishing.  The thing I like about them is that they add weight for assistance casting while adding virtually no weight once the line is in the water.  After all, it’s a light bit of plastic with water providing the weight outside of the water.  Get it in the water and all you’re left with is plastic with water inside and out.

So far, I’ve used a bubble like this for help casting with my Dock Demon.  I love that little rod and reel for a bunch of reasons, but it’s never going to be the greatest for casting because the rod is only 30″ from butt to tip.  I’ve used a bubble completely full of water to help cast the line out and then it can lay on the bottom with a couple of split shot sinkers that keep the line on the bottom with floating bait a ways above it.  When a fish bites the biat and runs, it’s is only really pulling on the split shot where weight is concerned :wink:

Casting bubble instructions

Casting bubble instructions

Bubbles like this are pretty simple to use.  There are other cheaper ones that don’t have the rubber that you twist and you just have to use a bobber stop and a bead.  I like these better for the convenience factor :)

The reason I got two bubbles though is for fishing normal flies with bubbles on traditional non-fly fishing gear :)  The video above gives a pretty good idea of how this works.  I figured I’ve got 4 pound line on both my Zebco 11 and my Dock Demon and I could easily add a light weight leader to the 10 pound line on my Zebco 33 if I want to use that.

My first fishing flies!

My first fishing flies!

And here are my first real fishing flies!  I got an assortment of 25 flies by South Bend fishing for under $5 :D  They’re probably not the world’s most awesome flies, but I think they’ll do for now :wink:

Will I ever get into “normal” fly fishing?  Maybe.  We’ll see.  I know it’s not that expensive, but I want to try this out first :thumb:  I’ll be sure to post when I get a chance to try these out :)

That’s all for right now, but I’ll be back before long with more stuff :cool:

Have a great night, everyone :mrgreen:

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Fishing – Thursday Night’s Keeper and Some New Gear

So, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted.  Things happen, I don’t get to do much, don’t get to go fishing… You know the drill :)  Well, I managed to do a bit of fishing last night after work (it’s a 10 minute drive to the fairgrounds pond) and not only did I bring some meat home, but I learned something too :wink:

25 April 2014 - Thursday night's keeper trout

25 April 2014 – Thursday night’s keeper trout

Remember how I said I brought home some meat?  Here he is :)  I caught quite a few others, but they were a bit too small, so they got released to go get bigger.

The other thing that happened is that I found out my terminal tackle selection is seriously lacking.  I have pretty much NOTHING when it comes to fishing flies etc.  The fish started ignoring my garlic Power Eggs.  No, they were more interested in the flies and gnats just above the water.

Now, picture yourself watching fish jump to get insects and only having bait and lures for underwater and deep under.  Yes, it sucked.

25 April 2014 - Joe's Flies - Trout Special

25 April 2014 – Joe’s Flies – Trout Special

With that experience fresh in my mind, I went to look through the fishing stuff at Walmart.  I came across these things and they weren’t hugely expensive :D

25 April 2014 - Joe's Flies - Joe's Favorite

25 April 2014 – Joe’s Flies – Joe’s Favorite

They’re from a company called Joe’s Flies (joesflies.com) and they’re not really flies in the traditional sense of flies.

25 April 2014 - Joe's Flies - Out of the packaging

25 April 2014 – Joe’s Flies – Out of the packaging

They’re more of a super ultralight spinner lure as you can see above.  That said, that front spinner part is made to be a quick detach setup so you can swap the fly part of the rig quickly and easily.  If you just took the spinner off, you’d have a fly with a trailing treble hook.  If you took the treble hook off, you’d have a normal fly.

25 April 2014 - Joe's Flies - Instructions

25 April 2014 – Joe’s Flies – Instructions

Here are the instructions for using these.  As you can see, they’re made to be fished with a normal rod and reel which is nice :)  I’ve got normal 4 pound monofilament on my Dock Demon and my Zebco 11 combo, but it’s pretty easy to add a lighter leader to the Zebco 33 (it’s got 10 pound line) to have three rods and reels to use with these :cool:

Joe’s Flies look like a good way to keep something handy for times when the fish only want to eat off the top, so I’ll keep one with me :)

25 April 2014 - Another casting bubble

25 April 2014 – Another casting bubble

Now, there are times when Joe’s Flies may not be quite what I’m looking for.  That’s where a casting bubble comes in handy.  The one above is my second one (they’re really not that expensive) so I can have a couple of rods set up for something a bit different :thumb:  More on that later :wink:

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon!  Have fun, everyone :mrgreen:

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From my Day on USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76 on 9 April

I got the invite from blog bud Christopher Goodrich and his daughter, The WSO, to participate in The Family and Friends Day on the USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.

This was a really good day!

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Fishing – Spooling On Fresh Line

Looking back over my recent posts, I think I’ve done a decent job of keeping up with where I’m going and what I’m doing when it comes to fishing.  I’ll try to get more about Ember in the near future, but for now I’m just going to stay with fishing stuff :wink:  I’m up to … let’s see here… four rod and reel combos, two telescoping graphite crappie/panfish rods, and one two piece, no kidding, jointed bamboo cane pole :)  Add in Cindy and Ember’s gear and there’s another two rod and reel combos.  I’d say we’re fairly well set up in that department 8|  Heck, we’ve got a pretty good lure and terminal tackle collection going, too!

Something a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that all of this equipment requires some maintenance.  I’ll get into the oil and grease for the reels in a bit.  This time we’re going to talk about fishing line for a bit :)

Berkley Mini Line Spooler

Berkley Mini Line Spooler

It seems like a lot of people think a lot about their fishing rod, reel, hooks, lures, and bait, but I don’t see them considering their line all that much.  Fishing line is kind of like a car’s tires – It gets worn over time, it gets nicked, it gets stretched, and it gets twisted.  Every time a hook or lure is cast and reeled in, there’s wear on the line from the reel as well as rocks and other items in the water.  Every time a fish is caught, it gets stretched quite a bit.  Lures and fish can cause line twist.  When line gets twisted, it will cause a tangle.  Tangles take time to fix and they just tend to suck overall.

Stretching, twisting, and general wear are all reasons to change your fishing line occasionally.  There are really affordable options and there are some that make you wonder if they have to harvest it from a rare spider that only lives on a single mountaintop in the south Pacific and which can only be coaxed into giving up its product by beautiful females from the Swedish Bikini Team.  I’m not going to go into the different brands, types, and prices of line here.  This is more about how I’ve chosen to go about spooling fresh line onto my reels :)

Berkley Mini Line Spooler in use

Berkley Mini Line Spooler in use

A lot of the people I’ve talked to have suggested having someone else hold the new line on a dowel etc. while keeping some tension on the line for you and just reeling the fresh line onto the reel.  The problems with this aren’t just limited to a decreased popularity rating among your friends and neighbors.  What if there’s nobody around to help for example?  This is why a tool is needed.

I tried building a tool out of PVC and some all thread, but it had issues.  While it kept the spool of new line from overspinning and creating a mess, it held the spool vertically.  Any loss of tension between the reel and the spool of new line and you’d have rings of fishing line falling down to the floor where they became a mess.

Berkley Mini Line Spooler attached to the rod

Berkley Mini Line Spooler attached to the rod

There are quite a few different line spooling tool designs out there.  I could have gotten one that holds the reel and the spool of new line off of the rod, but it’s about $20 and takes up space.  The same one with an electric line stripper (to pull all the old line off of the reel) is $30.  I decided I wanted something simpler, smaller, and much less expensive.

I decided to get a Berkley Mini Line Spooler (click here for the manufacturer’s product page) because it fits all the criteria I was looking for.  It’s small, you don’t need to remove the reel from the rod to use it, it works with 1/4 pound spools of line (the bigger ones), and it was all of $5 shipped from eBay or Walmart site to store.

Berkley Mini Line Spooler attached to the rod

Berkley Mini Line Spooler attached to the rod

I used my little mini line spooler to put fresh line onto my Zebco 33 Platinum combo and while there was a little bit of a learning curve, overall it went really smoothly :)   I managed to get 20 pound line on my 888 combo without something like this, but it wasn’t easy.  This was much better!  As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to go replace the line on my Zebco 11 combo tonight and maybe I’ll even re-spool the Dock Demon while I’m at it :)

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon :wink:  Have a great day, everyone :mrgreen:

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Easter 2014 – Family and Good Times

Apologies for this taking so long, but stuff got busy.

So, Cindy, Ember, and I all had a pretty good Easter and we hope you did as well :)

Easter 2014 - Ember being cute with bunny ears

Easter 2014 – Ember being cute with bunny ears

Ember was SO CUTE!!!  Yeah, she put the bunny ears on herself and didn’t just chew on them this year :)

Easter 2014 - Ember's baskets

Easter 2014 – Ember’s baskets

The Easter Bunny came and brought plenty of cool stuff for Ember :cool:

Easter 2014 - Ember's first rod and reel!

Easter 2014 – Ember’s first rod and reel!

One of the things Ember got was her first fishing rod and reel setup!  It’s a Zebco 11 combo and it’s a special “Customz” edition which means it has a nicer rod than my Zebco 11 and it’s a really pretty color :thumb:

Easter 2014 - Dinner - Yesterday's catch was good :)

Easter 2014 – Dinner – Yesterday’s catch was good :)

Dinner for me included some trout fillets as I’d caught a couple of fish the day before.  I heated up some olive oil in the skillet, dipped the fish in some egg and milk, and then did the shake to coat thing with some Progresso lemon pepper panko bread crumbs and it was GOOD :D

Easter 2014 - Today's keepers

Easter 2014 – Today’s keepers

Earlier in the day, I’d gone up to the pond and grabbed a couple of decent trout, so one of the last things I did on Easter night was to prep these two fish for cooking.  I’ve been using a method of filleting that calls for gutting and taking the fish’s head off and it’s quite time consuming and annoying.

I went back to YouTube to see what I could find for filleting techniques before startintg in on these fish and I found a pretty good idea.  Click in the video and then go to 5:38 for the relevant part.  There’s also info about prepping your trout or salmon for baking or cooking whole along with how to steak them as well, but the filleting technique was what I was after for my fish :)

Easter 2014 - Skin side of fillets

Easter 2014 – Skin side of fillets

Easter 2014 - Meat side of fillets

Easter 2014 – Meat side of fillets

And here’s the result of the new technique :D  Oh, I still need some practice before I can get the most meat out of the fish and the most bones out of the meat, but this is SO MUCH BETTER :cool:

Well, that’s all for now, but I will be back soon with some more cool stuff :wink:

Have fun, everyone, and I hope you had a very Happy Easter :mrgreen:

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19 April 2014 – A Quick Trip to the Fishing Pond

19 April 2014 - A couple of nice trout

19 April 2014 – A couple of nice trout

So, I had to work 0800-1500 yesterday.  I also met Cindy and Ember for lunch right after that until 1600.  Add to that a trip to the liquor store for wine for Cindy’s sauce with dinner (you can only buy wine in the state owned liquor stores here in Utah) and a trip to Walmart for a few other things and it was about 1700 by the time I was able to head over toward the fishing pond.  Oh yeah – I had to be home by 1800 for dinner.

Funny thing – None of that was a problem :)  I’ve gotten to know the Carbon County Community Fishing Pond well enough now that I can go to a certain part of the shore, put a hook on the line with a split shot sinker about 12″ to 18″ above it, put a couple Power Eggs (chartreuse with garlic scent seems to work best) on the hook, cast a short distance, and nearly always have a few good fish on the line in a few minutes :)

That’s how I got the two fish you see above and I got them both in about 10 to 15 minutes and they were both caught on my little $10 Zebco Dock Demon :cool:  I got them cleaned and filleted last night, so I’ll have them for dinner soon!

Well, that’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon with more :wink:  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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18 April 2014 – Fishing – Keepers and New Gear

So, I had yesterday off from work for a couple of reasons.  One of them is that daycare is closed Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday.  I had Ember all day long and we had a pretty good time, but I’m not quite up to taking her somewhere like a lake to go fishing without having someone else there to help corral and control my now 20 month old (how did that happen???) daughter.

Well, when Cindy got off work, I handed Ember over and headed up to the fairgrounds pond.  I wanted to decompress, de-stress, and hopefully catch a fish or two that I could bring home and use to practice my skills with a fillet knife.

18 April 2014 - Keepers!

18 April 2014 – Keepers!

I wasn’t disappointed!  I decided to have some fun with the Dock Demon again and see how it went :)  The smaller fish was caught with my first cast and I don’t think I even waited a minute from the time the bait hit the water.  I tried some lures for fun, but got a call from Cindy inviting me to dinner out, so I threw my favorite setup (split shot sinker about a foot or so above a size 6 hook with some Power Eggs) back into the water.  It took three casts to get it where I wanted it (Dock Demons aren’t known for their casting prowess), but then it was about a 30 second wait until the bigger fish was on the line :cool:  I needed to get going and he was plenty big enough, so I just bonked him on the head, got him into my cooler with the other fish and headed home :wink:

For the record, my filleting skills are still developing and nowhere near perfect, but they are getting MUCH better!  It also helps to have big fish like that guy on top to practice on :thumb:

So, yeah, I caught a couple of nice fish, but that wasn’t all I did.  I’d seen a video about modifying a $1 Walmart promotional buzzbait:

I decided to try it for myself and picked up a few other things while I was at Wally World :)

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

As you can see, my trip to Walmart was fruitful!  I haven’t gotten a chance to slip the bead on that buzzbait, but I should get to that tonight.  I also picked up a few other things that were on clearance since I was there :)

18 April 2014 - $2 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $2 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

So, yeah, I think Walmart worked out nicely yesterday :wink:

All that said, Walmart wasn’t where I got my best deals yesterday.  I’d been in Kmart to return something the other day and I noticed some decent deals in their fishing department.  I went back last night and grabbed some pretty awesome deals!

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.24 each

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.24 each

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.94

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.94

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $2.94

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $2.94

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.84

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.84

Those packages of Gulp! bait are usually about $5.50.  The Rebel lure is usually about $7.  Most of these other items are usually around or over $5.  Yeah, I think I got some good value for my money :thumb:

Well, that’s all for now :)  I promise I’ll be back soon with more good stuff!  Have a great day, everyone :mrgreen:

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Dock Demon 1st Trip

So, a few days ago I picked up a Zebco Dock Demon rod and reel combo for about $10 including tax :)  If you don’t remember this or don’t know what they are, click here for my earlier post.  For those who don’t know or don’t want to click, a Zebco Dock Demon is a 30″ solid fiberglass rod with either a spinning or spincast reel that’s exclusive to Walmart.  I got one because it looked like fun and I could either leave it in my car or take it in my backpack while I’m on my mot0rcycle.  Well, I finally got to take it fishing today and…

11 April 2014 - Dock Demon - First cast and first catch!

11 April 2014 – Dock Demon – First cast and first catch!

<Jeremy Clarkson>IT WORKS!!!</Jeremy Clarkson>

I rigged the line with some weight a bit above the hook, added a couple of Power Eggs, and cast out into the Carbon County Fairgrounds fishing pond.  Wouldn’t you just know that my first cast caught a fish :thumb:  OK, that first fish of the day was pretty small, but it was still a fish and it turned out to be the first of many :cool:

11 April 2014 - Keeper caught on the Dock Demon

11 April 2014 – Keeper caught on the Dock Demon

I only ended up keeping one fish today, but I’m OK with that especially considering I only had about 90 minutes or so at the pond :)  This fish was already cleaned and in the fridge before I left for work.  I’m getting really fast at cleaning them, but I could still use some practice filleting them.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon!  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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9 April 2014 – Trout – It’s What’s For Lunch!

9 Apr 14 - Trout - It's what's for lunch!

9 Apr 14 – Trout – It’s what’s for lunch!

So as I posted earlier (click here), I went back to the fairgrounds pond this past Monday and brought home two fairly decent trout.  Well, I finally got around to cooking them during lunch yesterday.  They got dipped in an egg wash, dropped into a bag with bread crumbs and lemon pepper, and fried up in butter on the stove top.  And they were GOOD :thumb:

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon :)  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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Another New Rod and Reel Combo – The Zebco Dock Demon!

So, let’s see here…  I’ve got my Zebco 33 Platinum combo, the Zebco 11 Authentic combo, a B&M bamboo cane pole, and 12′ and 10′ telescoping Shakespeare crappie rods.  Oh yeah – I’ve also got my Zebco 808 that’s on the Bill Dance Omega catfish pole that came with the reel I haven’t mastered yet (blog posts here and here).

One might think I’m getting close to having equipment for all contingencies.

One would be seriously wrong :wink:

I’ve wanted a rod and reel that would come close to fitting in my backpack and that I could easily throw in my car and leave in the back.  I could have gotten a telescoping rod with a reel and all, but I didn’t want to spend the money they want and I had other issues with them.  I’ve never had one, but I’ve heard they can be delicate.  I definitely didn’t want delicate so…

Overall view of my new Zebco Dock Demon

Overall view of my new Zebco Dock Demon

…I spent about $10 at Walmart for a Zebco Dock Demon combo :thumb:

I bought this more for the rod than the reel to tell the truth.  That rod is 100% fiberglass and I’ve seen pics of the tip bend back around to where it touches the end of the grip.  I’ve heard nothing but good about it.  They just don’t sell the rod by itself.

Left side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Left side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Now, that reel is something else.  I initially thought about getting another Zebco 11 reel and taking the clear plastic Dock Demon reel off and keeping it as a spare, but I’ve changed my mind after some up close inspection and a bit of horsing around :)

Right side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Right side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Yes, the body of the reel is clear, injection molded plastic, but it’s got all metal gears.  While I realize that not all metal is created equal and these are probably softer than I’d really like, I’m taking the view that it will be fun to see just what happens and how good or bad it really is :cool:

Top view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Top view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Another thing that’s printed on the reel is “WIDE RANGE POWERTRAIN DRAG” and I think I know what that means, but I’m curious to find out if it’s really true.  I’ve tried pulling against the drag and it seems to work OK.  Of course, the true test is going to be hooking a few fish for the dinner plate :wink:

Oblique front/side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Oblique front/side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

There was only one change I made to this whole package.  I swapped out the line.  This whole outfit was about $10 with tax, so I wasn’t surprised when the 6lb test line that came on it was coiled like a giant, skinny slinky.  It would have been a problem at some point, so I grabbed a couple of 330 yard spools of 4lb premium line on clearance for $1 each.  I figured I could use it on this reel and on my Zebco 11 when it comes time to replace the good line that came on that reel.  The line was replaced last night and I can’t wait to take this whole outfit out to the pond :thumb:

One last thing – I’ve emailed Zebco a few times with questions and they always get right back to me.  I had a couple of questions about the Dock Demon, so I emailed them again and got a good, quick reply:

Jeff,

The dock demon is not available on the website because it is exclusive to Wal-Mart. While the rod and reel do have a one year warranty, replacement parts are not available. We recommend 4-8 pound test on any reel that comes prespooled with 6# line, but unfortunately we have not tested and measured to be able to give exact capacity with anything other than the recommended 6# mono.

Thank you for contacting us,

Zebco Brands
6105 E. Apache
Tulsa, OK  74115
1-800-588-9030

All of this is completely understandable and I couldn’t be happier with everything so far :)

Have a great day and I’ll be back with more stuff soon :mrgreen:

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