How Your Bicycle Can Help Your Fly Fishing

     Nothing screws with your fly fishing like a looped or kinked leader.  I leave my leader attached to my line when I am not fishing so messed up leaders are a common issue.  When bass fishing this hasn't really been an issue since I am usually stripping line.  However it becomes a major issue when trying to detect a subtle bite from panfish or while sight fishing for carp.  I have tried to straighten it by pulling on the leader, getting it wet, even stripping the line over aggressively.  Here is a quick home remedy to get your leader in shape quickly and cheaply.
     First off get yourself an old bicycle inner tube and cut yourself off a 2 inch section.
     Second, cut the inner tube length wise.
     Third, open the inner tube up, get it wet, and drag it along the leader.  The rubber really grips the leader material.  This force straightens the leader after just a few pulls.  You want to pull length wise from the attachment loop all the way to the fly.  Now your leader is nice and straight helping you cast more accurately and detect bites with greater precision.  I have also found that punching a hole in the corner of the tube and attaching a quick clip from an old musky leader makes for a handy attachment point to your bag or vest.  Give this tip a try and let me know how it works for you.  
     Tight Lines.

Okuma SLV 5/6 Fly Reel Review

     For those following along my fly fishing learning curve this year has broken 2 rods and 3 reels.  I was getting fed up with the craptastic gear I had and started looking for a reel that I could get a little more life out of.  While searching online I came across the Okuma SLV reel from Okuma Fishing Tackle.  I already use there spinning reels and I have always been impressed with the quality you get for the price.  After a few mouse clicks, a week or so later it arrived at my door.

Here is the basic features of the reel:

  • Multi Disc Drag
  • One Way Roller Bearing
  • Machined Stainless Steel Spool Shaft
  • Diecast Aluminum Super Large Arbor Spool Design

     The first thing I noticed about the reel was that the drag clicks as you adjust it.  I really like this feature since I now know when an adjustment has been made.  It used to drive me crazy on my previous reels that I couldn't tell how much I had adjusted the drag when fighting a fish.  With the audible click of the drag adjustment knob I can now be confident in my drag setting during a fight. The foam knob on the handle is a nice touch too.  When fighting carp this summer more than once I have had the knob spin around while the fish is peeling line and smash into my knuckles.  The little bit of padding helps, trust me.  Lastly the reel feels well made.  The reels I have owned in the past always felt cheap.  Both to the touch and when using them, this reel feels like it will hold up and so far it hasn't disappointed.

     Do I have any complaints about the reel?  So far only one, and it hasn't really been issue.  The drag can get a little sticky.  It seems to surge when a fish pulls on it.  It doesn't have that nice buttery smooth feel you like when testing a drag system.  This hasn't been detrimental to my fishing since I am chasing bass and carp and have this poor little reel spooled up with 8 weight line and never drop lower than a 1x tippet.  This could be a deal breaker however if you were using it to catch trout and your tippet never goes over 5x. Like I said it hasn't been an issue for me, but keep it in mind if your a dedicated trout bum.
     All in all it is a good little reel that I would definitely recommend.  It would be a great upgrade for a starter combo or a nice backup reel for carrying sinking line on a trip.  So if you find yourself in need of a new or replacement fly reel to chase your favorite fish check out the Okuma SLV.  You get a lot of great features for the $48.00 asking price.  Pick one up on Amazon or at www.okumafishing.com.
     Tight Lines.

     

New Local Waters

     I have needed new waters lately.  I have been craving fishing in places I haven't been to and since the family budget says stay local, I fired up Google Earth and started scouring the neighborhoods in Madison, WI.  I spend a stupid amount of time on Google Earth.  I love to explore areas close to home as well as looking at waters in far off destinations.  While scanning the map I noticed a small creek fed pond I never new existed that was maybe 3 minutes from my house.  I grabbed my rod, my box of 1/2oz. Echotails, and my waterproof Lucid Fishing Dry Pack, and then headed out the door looking for an adventure.
     As I pulled up to the pond (found it first try), I immediately noticed that the creek was all but dried up.  This had me a little worried since stale and stagnant water in town usually means it doesn't hold any fish.  I started working my way around the pond looking for any verifiable signs of life.  A few casts in and I snagged on the bottom.  After freeing my lure I reeled it back in to find the treble hooks covered in thick green weeds.  The first piece of advice I always give new anglers is that if you can find submerged weeds you can find fish.  The weeds on the lure was a sign that fish were indeed in this pond.  Now I just had to find them.
     Eventually I worked my way around to the south side of the pond and fired off what I call a bomb cast.  Bomb casts are the ones we shore fisherman use to cover a lot of water quickly.  When fishing ponds these bomb casts can normally clear the entire length of the pond.  This way the lure goes all the way from one end to the other.  You cover a lot of water like this especially with vibrating blade baits like the Echotail.  I cranked the lure to the middle of pond then stopped and let it settle to the bottom.  I watched the line go slack as it hit the bottom then slowly started back up my retrieve.  Maybe 3 revolutions of the reel handle and BAM!  Fish On!  I new immediately it was a largemouth bass.  It tore off shaking it's head wildly side to side.  I love the way bass fight since they really put their shoulders in to the struggle. The constant jumping and aerial displays never fail to put a smile on my face.
     I released the bass and did a little more exploring along the shoreline.  I often wonder how many times we drive by productive waters in our own backyard.  Whether on our way to work, taking the kids to school, or even to go on a fishing trip.  The fish in these waters are almost never pressured and if you ask the parks department or DNR they will often tell you that the fish are not even supposed to be in those ponds.  The eggs come into the ponds on birds or they get trapped in the ponds during seasonal flooding.  So the next time you are looking for a new place to fish check out Google Earth.  You may find great fishing in your own backyard.
     Tight Lines.

First Iowa Musky

     Last weekend while back home visiting family I landed my first Iowa musky.  It has taken 4 years of fishing Pleasant Creek Lake to finally find and land one of these fish.  The fish hit on the sixth cast of the morning and the guys out in there bass boats whooped and cheered as I fought and landed the fish.  I didn't take the time to measure it since they are kind of rare on that lake and I wanted to give it the quickest release possible.  
     A big thanks to Nauti Lures and Lucid Fishing for making great products that always work flawlessly when I need them too.
     Tight Lines.

Thank You for 1 Year of Shorebound Hero

     It occurs to me as I find myself once again sitting behind the screen of a computer planning tomorrow mornings fishing excursion, that today marks 1 year of the Shorebound Hero blog.  It feels like an eternity has passed since I sat down and nervously typed out that first post wondering if anybody would even read it.  Now here I am 365 days and 111 blog posts later still trying to figure out why anybody bothers to stop by and read what I have to say.
     I don't have any tips today, no stories, and no motivational images.  I just wanted to take the time to say thank you.  A sincere thank you to Vibrations Tackle, Nauti Lures, and Pink Fishing for all their support.  For the countless shares, expo work, conversations, stories, and friendships.  I have learned so much about the fishing industry from my involvement with your products.  I truly feel honored to represent you and and am forever in your debt.
     I would also like to say thank you to all my friends and family.  You have all been so tolerant of me and my blog.  I know I get a little carried away when I talk about new fish or new fish catching ideas.  The fact you still take the time to listen really means a lot.   I want you all to know that I appreciate every moment I get to spend with you.
     Also I need to give a very big and much overdue thank you to my wife Erin.  I started this blog as a way of not boring her with my fishing.  Turns out that now I just bore her with my blog talk.  She is constantly their for me, whether it's with supportive words or sharp criticism I wouldn't be who I am today without her by my side.  My princess always listens to my concerns over content, the worries of sponsorship, or my disappointment over lost fish.  I couldn't fish the way I fish without her support and I understand just how lucky I am to have her in my life.
     Finally, thank you to my readers.  This whole Shorebound Hero thing wouldn't work without you.  I love the emails, comments, and questions I get so keep them coming.  Whenever I start to write a tip or tell a story, I think of all of you and what you would want to read.  I want you to know that I don't make a dime doing this.  I try to always tell it like it is when doing reviews, giving advice, or telling the tales of the ones that got away.  I hope that my honesty comes through when writing these posts and that reading this blog will actually improve your catch rate and broaden your fishing knowledge.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.

Shorebound Hero Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

     October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with my current support of Pink Fishing I thought it was about time I put my money were my mouth is.  So for the month of October the Shorebound Hero trucker hat will be available in PINK.  All profits from this special run hat will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.  As always the hat will be produced and shipped from the fine people over at Zazzle.com.  So buy a hat to help a cause, with over 700 standard Shorebound Hero hats already sold internationally I hope that the same support you have shown me can be shown to those working to ease the burden of battling breast cancer.
     Tight Lines.