Monday, January 31, 2011


Had 648 pageviews this month.

That might not sound like much to some of you who get all kinds of traffic but I've only had 2,055 pageviews since I started the blog last May.  My biggest month before this was 261.

I guess what I'm trying to say is thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

I'm gonna go celebrate with a beer and wait for our 12-20 inches of snow we're supposed to be getting by wednesday afternoon.  Woo!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Powerton 1/29/11

View from the entrance.
I woke up a bit later than I had hoped so I scrambled to get ready and get on the road.  Got pumped up to some death metal and got into the mindset to go slay some fish.  (Slay as in catch, respectfully handle and release unharmed.)  Got to the lake about a half hour after it opened.

The way Powerton is laid out is the warm water discharge area is about a half mile from the parking lot.  So I grabbed my pole and tackle and headed out along the raised retaining wall, wind whipping the mist up off of the lake and over me.

Got down to the discharge area and found about 20 anglers already set up, all baitfishing. (I assume for catfish, as the big draw for the lake is giant blue cats.  Didn't see anybody pull anything in in the couple hours I was there.

The mist was usually much thicker than you see here, it was like a scene out of a viking movie.  A big wooden boat pulling up and commencing pillaging wouldn't have been out of place.

I started out tossing a silver rattletrap that Grandfather-in-law Tom gave me for Christmas.  I worked down what parts of the shore I could, first burning it really quickly and then knocking it along the rocks on the bottom.  Didn't get any bites.

After about a half hour to forty-five minutes, I lost the rattletrap on the bottom.  At Clif's suggestion I tied on a white twistertail grub with a white jighead and started tossing that.  I felt like I got a few knocks on it but I missed every hookset.  Are you supposed to set the hook immediately with a grub or wait until you feel the fish pulling?  I was automatically setting the hook as soon as I felt something so that may be why I wasn't able to hook anything.

Another hour and a half later I decided to call it a day.  Cold was starting to get to me.  Even tho I didn't hook any fish, I didn't come away frustrated like I have in the past.  I attribute it to a couple things:

First of all I put all my gear in my backpack from last semester.  It wasn't much today but it was alot easier to just strap it on and forget about it than to have to pick up a big tackle box every time I wanted to move.  Alot less tiring too.  I think this'll help when I make some hiking trips to less-pressured water at Banner Marsh or Snakeden Hollow in a couple months.

Secondly, I brought a spinning rod rather than the baitcaster I used most of last year.  No dealing with backlashes or having to remember to thumb to reel before the bait hit the water.  Really simplified everything.  I let "being like the guys on tv" get in the way of just having a good time and fishing last year.

Finally, I was happy to just get out of the house.  A nice little walk and wetting a line was just what I needed. 

Don't think I'll be fishing again until the temps are up over 50 though.  Just too cold, it's distracting.  I'll try to get some shooting footage up soon, I have a few empty milk jugs that need exploding.  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011


As in, I feel like one.

Another week at the call center down, semi-annual performance review in the books.  It's been gray and cold out.  I didn't win the Hook & Hackle rod building kit contest Owl Jones put on. (Which means I'm in the market for an 8' Eagle Claw Featherlight in the next two months, let me know if you hear of any deals.)

I've been either in the house or at work 100% of the time for the past week and I'm over it.

So I'm heading out to Powerton, a local warm water discharge lake tomorrow.

Don't think I've ever pulled anything bigger than 4 inches out of there but a couple years ago it used to be a smallie hotspot and they stock stripers so I figure I'll toss some crankbaits and little plastic grubs just to see if I can pull in SOMETHING.  I'll give an update tomorrow afternoon on how it went.

Also, I took the advice OBN gave awhile back and just started a Facebook page for the blog.  Click the link on the left to "like" it if you'd like to hear my outdoors.  Right now myself and my beautiful wife are the only fans, it's a little lonely at the moment.

Have a good weekend, be looking out for a report tommorow!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I usually don't do blogrolls as most of my regular followers have been in the blogging scene alot longer than I have and I've seen y'all's pictures as followers on other peoples sites.  However, I have a couple blogs I came across with just a couple followers and I thought you guys would be interested to hear about.

On the River with the Viver:  This is my uncle's blog.  He's a pro walleye fisherman and he just started up this blog to "document the ups and downs of competitive angling". Check it out, especially if you're a fellow walleye fisherman,  I'm sure he'll have some interesting insights as to pulling up some big 'eyes as well as going pro.

R-Dub Outdoors:  Rory and I have had some conversation back and forth about that new show The Wild Within so I checked out his blog.  He's got some good reviews up on all kinds of different outdoors equipment.  Scope it out.

Well that's about it.  It's too damn cold to do anything but sit inside so I'll be just chilling and watching some UFC tonight.  Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Doing some shoppin

So I got an email a few days ago from a company called CSN stores asking if I'd be interested in picking out a product from their site to review.  I've gotten a few offers like this before that just didn't fit the outdoor theme of the blog but I checked out the CSN website and it seems like they have a bit of everything.  Seriously.  From swing sets to gun cases.

From kayaks to kitchen fixtures.

From... well you get the idea.

Check out their website.  The really good stuff is in the outdoor recreation store under the "see more" tab on the far right.  I'm gonna go put some thought into what item would fit in best with the blog to review.  Expect the review ASAP.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Wild Within, Episode Dos.

I wanted to let anyone who took my advice to watch this week's episode of Wild Within that it was pretty different from the first episode, in my opinion, not for the better.  My reasons for thinking so:

  • Instead of hunting/fishing for food for his family (which I thought was the complete premise of the show), the host took on a challenge to follow in Lewis & Clark's footsteps, reliving part of their journey with time-accurate equipment.  This is still interesting but the whole "build a raft out of animal parts and sticks" thing has been done.  Also, the host is all about respect towards the animals he hunts but he spends this episode hunting with a flintlock.  Although he is very careful and doesn't take an irresponsible shot, using antiquated equipment puts alot of risk that you miss the vitals on an animal and cause it to suffer.  I probably shouldn't be criticizing this as I've yet to kill anything bigger than a squirrel but it stood out to me.
  • They found a dead antelope on the side of a mountain half butchered.  Because the host has such a deep respect for animals, he gets irate and says something along the lines of "If I saw this hunter right now I'd be tempted to shoot him."  That is ridiculous talk any time of the year but right after the AZ shootings?  They couldn't edit that out?  Well whatever I guess, it's his right to say it and Travel Channel's right to air it.  I just wouldn't have said it and it turned me off of the show a little.
  • (EXTRA PEEVE EDIT):  Knew I forgot something.  There is a lack of firearm safety a couple times in the first two episodes.  In episode 1, the host shoots at a deer with only it's head and neck sticking out over the edge of a ridge, nothing but blue sky behind it.  If he had missed, the bullet could have hit anything thousands of feet behind the mountain.  Granted, they're in the middle of nowhere but still.  In episode 2, they include a shot of the host on horseback with the muzzle of his gun pointed directly at the camera.  Two of the most basic firearm rules are to not point the gun at anything you aren't ready to destroy and be sure of the what's behind your target.  Everyone makes mistakes (I sure have) but these are potentially dangerous mistakes and I hope there aren't any more like these in future episodes.
That said, I'll still be watching.  Hoping the focus will go back away from era-specific challenges.  Oh well.  I'll probably keep watching even if it doesn't change.  Still one of the few shows that fishing, hunting, and shooting come together without being an infomercial or just the same old footage of big bucks getting shot episode after episode.

Has anybody else seen it?  Do you agree or disagree? 

Lemme know.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why do I deserve a Hook & Hackle Xi rod building kit?

For anyone not in the know, Owl Jones over at FFSBR and the guys at Hook & Hackle are teaming up to offer the most deserving angler a free Xi 3wt rod building kit.  I decided to throw my hat into the ring.

One thing, this article is meant to be narrated rather than read.  So it will really help if you have someone read it to you.  (Preferably Morgan Freeman or the guy from the Wonder Years.  [By the way, did you know that the guy from Wonder Years is actually Marv from Home Alone?  Look it up.  Crazy huh?])

Ok, here we go:

Why I deserve to win a Hook & Hackle rod building kit?  This is the question I've been forced to ask myself over the past few days.

To my dismay, many of the reasons I've come up with just aren't very deserving.

I'm not the best there is making things with my hands and I've never built a rod, so I probably wouldn't the rod it's full justice.

I'm probably not the best business decision to give me the kit if Hook & Hackle's main goal is to get word out about their rod building, as other bloggers have more followers and certainly more unique visitors. [NON MORGAN FREEMAN: Although, you could run a Google search for "firebird spinning combo" and see what pops up.  I can compete with the big boys on some things.  BACK TO MORGAN FREEMAN]

I am most certainly not the most accomplished angler, especially when it comes to fly fishing, as evidenced by my previous fishing reports.  Certainly someone else would catch bigger and larger amounts of fish with the rod in question.

So why DO I deserve this rod more than everyone else?  Well, I can't rightly say.  What I do know...

[Cue beautiful slow score conducted by Mr.  John Williams himself.]

...Is the rod deserves me.

You see, I'm a newcomer to the sport of flyfishing, only having wet a fly line a dozen or so times.  However, I'm honestly obsessed with it, with only a few fish having whetted my appetite for more.  (Ask my boss, who has to remind me every so often that I shouldn't be looking at  fly fishing blogs while I'm on the phone with a customer.)

The problem with my obsession is that somewhere in the past year or so, my only fly rod (a relic shakespeare I bought for $20 before the turn of the millenium, which sat in my dad's basement for 10 years.) somehow got a crack in it in the reel seat area.  It doesn't seem to be causing problems at the moment but I cringe as I imagine it breaking the rest of the way and losing the reel just as I hook a bass or big bluegill.  If it were to not get the Xi, I'll end up buying an expensive fly rod such as an Eagle Claw Featherlight to get me by for a couple seasons.  I would much rather have something that was built to a higher quality and that I had my hand in constructing.

So whereas some anglers have a rod for every weight and every situation and would only use the 3wt on occasion for bluegills or brookies, the Xi would be THE ROD for me.  Here in IL we're limited mostly to bluegill, bass and smallish stocked trout so every flyfishing post after the rod is completed would be (as long as I do my part) filled with fish caught on the Xi only, and I'd be sure to link back to Hook & Hackle on each post to let people know that they can build their own and have similiar, if not better, results.

While I can't guarantee that it would catch more fish with me than another blogger, I can guarantee that noone else will appreciate it more.  Noone else NEEDS it more.  Noone else would... love it more.

[Music crescendoes to a goosebump inducing finale and trails off slowly.]

And scene.

Ok, so maybe I wouldn't love the rod itself but I would definitely love to have the rod.  Please pick me H&H, you'll be sure the kit is getting a good home.

Oh, and if I'm not deserving of a kit, I'm also in need of a good fishing hat.  I usually wear my Cubbies one and I think it may affecting my luck. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Wild Within

A couple weeks ago I started seeing commercials showing up on a couple of the outdoorsy shows that I DVR for after work.  Seemed to be along the lines of Man vs. Wild and Survivorman, both of which I'm pretty down with so I set it up to record.

Totally not like Man vs. Wild or Survivorman but still pretty awesome.

It follows a guy who is upset that most of Americans have a disconnect with how their food gets into the freezer at Wal-mart.  So he goes into the wild and hunts and fishes for all of his family's food.

It's not really like those survival shows because he's not in immediate danger and has firearms/shelter/etc.  But it's also not like most hunting shows because he's hunting for food and not just for sport.  He also cooks the food but it's not like any cooking show I've ever seen, as Bobby Flay doesn't go out and shoot the cow he turns into steaks. He also seems to have a huge respect for the animals he killed.

It may be a little soon to give the show a full review but it's definitely worth checking out.  It shows on the Travel Channel on Sunday nights.

EDIT: Check out my continuing coverage of Wild Within here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Losing my mind.

So my plans to go up to Chicago changed kind of last minute.  My cousins' parents decided they weren't ready to let him go (can't blame them) so I stayed home with pretty much nothing to do all day except watch playoff football.

Then Clif linked to a blog with amazing flies and my day was done for.  I've spent the rest of the night looking at  warm water fly fishing blogs and regretting my decision to pursue higher education rather than bluegill and bass last fall.  Here's a rundown of the few that I pored over:

Warm Water Journal:  Amazing flies, some of which look like they should be thrown by a baitcaster rather than a flyrod.  Also some awesome fish pics.

Blue Gill on the Fly:  Outrageous amount of panfish/bass flyfishing pictures and stories, with alot of other species mixed in.  This is pretty much what I want 1/3rd of my blog to be.

Pondbass:  Guy who seems to be quite a bit younger than me but is already way more experienced and accomplished as an angler.  Lots of good fish pics.

All this reading of flyfishing blogs got me thinking, perhaps I should upgrade my fly equipment a little before spring.  Not to a $1000 setup or anything, just something that's a little more modern and cheap, rather than cheap when I bought it 10+ years ago.  Plus my rod has a crack in the plastic threading where the reel sits and one of the guides are kinda rough....

So what do you think?  I was thinking of a Eagle Claw Featherlight in the 8 foot 5/6 weight.  Mainly because it's inexpensive but also because the author of The Fiberglass Manifesto uses them from time to time and he's a self-professed "Glass Geek."

I'm very open to suggestion though, please let me know of any other relatively (I'll leave relatively open to interpretation.) inexpensive options.

At least I don't need a new fly reel.  Yet....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goals 2011

I'm going to try to keep this brief as I went way overboard when I first tried to lay out some goals, made up an overwhelming amount of goals and then failed to meet a single one of them.  Nice!

In keeping with the new theme of the blog, I'm going to do a few goals for fishing, shooting, and hunting.


  1. Catch a bass over 3lbs.  (And document it better than a terrible picture and a good story.)
  2. Catch a fish in a state other than IL. 
  3. Catch 4 different species on the fly.  
  1. Purchase a rifle in a higher caliber than .22lr.  (But don't tell my wife.)
  2. Attend an Appleseed.  
  3. Become proficient enough with my shotgun that I can bag a deer.
  1. Bag a deer.
There you have it.  Mark it down.

I'm stoked to start blogging regularly again, but it'll probably have to wait until after next week.  

I have a 3 month old cousin who has been on a respirator for the past three weeks.  After alot of consultation with various doctors, his parents have decided to let him pass away this Sunday.  With everything that'll be going on the rest of the week, I can't imagine I'll have much time to be online.  If you're the religious type, prayers for Baby Maddox and his parents would be appreciated.  If you're not the religious type, good thoughts are just as appreciated.  

Hope you all have a good week, good luck to anyone heading out to bag their deer, is heading out on the ice or is lucky enough to live somewhere with un-frozen water. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Changes coming...

A reenvisioning if you will.

Just gonna expand the blog to include my newer obsession of shooting that I've gotten into over the fall and hopefully hunting as I want to start getting back into it.

Also, going to start posting links to products that I review.  Hopefully it doesn't take away from the overall blog.  It's just that I get the most traffic by far from random searches for the couple reviews I've done. (Probably because I haven't written anything in forever but whatever.)  Might as well make a couple bucks if people will be looking at it anyway.

The reports and experiences are for me and my followers, the reviews will be for my tackle box and range bag.