Sunday, January 30, 2011

Where it all happens

I had a busy week and the fact that I had a busy week coupled with the fact that I did not take my computer to New York City with me in the middle of the week means my blog suffered.  With great hopes of updating my wish list and putting up three new posts last week, but what I did is just sad. In an effort to start this week out right I am doing another OBN prompt.  This time it is a photo prompt so here is the photo tour of where I write my blog.  Since I am letting pictures do the talking (and the captions) I will let you know that this week I plan to do better then last.

This is my desk, where I can write, tie flies, and a lot of other things.  There is a window facing the woods on my right, and the room has all my rods, guns, knives, and anything else outdoor related.     

This is a better shot of everything right after I set it up for the first time.  


Monday, January 24, 2011


A started drink

So a while back I reviewed a beer that I said was a great summer beer, Dogfish Head.  In the post Peanuts, Hot Dogs, COLD BEER! I mentioned that seasons bring change so do my tastes.  It was summer then and a beer was a refreshing treat after work or with a meal.  Well in that post I mentioned liquors and one of my favorite things is to sit down and tie flies with a glass of whiskey or whiskey drink.

Sarah made this for me the moment it was open
When we were still in Atlanta my friend Gilbert got me a gift.  Gib is getting me into single malt scotches and so he got me a bottle of Laphroaig.  Laphroiag is something he and I tried for the first time at a pub in Atlanta called The Brick Store Pub.  The pub is known for its imported beers, but it also has a unique and special selection of whiskeys and scotches.  On one of the visits Gib made to Atlanta I took him there and he pointed out Laphroiag to me.  We talked about it over a beer or two and then I asked the bartender if I could smell it and he let me.

nothing like a 10 yr old single malt
Smell scotch?  Yes, I wanted to smell it because the bartender and Gib told me they use blue peat(moss) in the distilling process.  Which means it smells very dirt earth like.  The taste has the same earth tones you get when you smell it.  Much like the beer review I will not try to sound like a pro, but I will say that this scotch is not something for starters.  It has a strong bite, and the earth tones do not calm it but in some ways make it stronger.  It is very interesting stuff and if you have a taste for scotch you should think about adding this to the collection for the unusual factor alone.

the first glass poured

  Winter is a time to stay warm.  It is a time to read a book in front of a warm fire.  This is the time of the year to tie a lot of flies, and to keep warm with a glass of whiskey.  So fill up those fly boxes and try to keep it to one small drink before bed.

a sad looking fly box waiting to be filled


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Starting Point

I am going to flash back to my most recent trip to Pa, again.  We were celebrating Christmas and I had gotten a new rod.  Then on the trip to Bass Pro that followed, I bought the line I had been eyeballing.  Lastly while we where there in Bass Pro I was given one more present which turned out to be a Pa fishing license.  I am a non-resident and for the past three years I have been living in Atlanta, so I really had no need to buy a year worth of fishing in a state I visit two may be three times.  Now I live a little less then two hours from the state of Pa and right around four from where I grew up.  So when my dad said 'do you want a Pa fishing license?'  I said yes.

A few posts ago I complained that I need to get my new drivers license so I can buy a fishing license for CT.  That is still very true but I do feel better now that I have a fishing license and I plan to use it as much as possible.  Hopefully once a job is properly landed I can buy a CT fishing license.  I have also been thinking about maybe NY and/or MA as other states to look into getting licenses for.  Right now only time will tell what states I will be fishing in, but this is a great starting point for the year.  


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Bucket List

So the truth is I really do not have a bucket list, and if I did I doubt it would be divided up into season.  With that fact out in the open there are lots of winter sports I want to try.  This past Sunday I did one of them and so I can strike it off my list that is not real.  Sarah, her sister Bethany and I went snowshoeing.  I do not read a lot of blogs but a lot of the people in the north east who have been lucky to get a ton of snow have been snowshoeing, and writing about it.

 My reasons for wanting to snowshoe are not from these blogs, but they did not help in the matter.  I really do not know why Beth and Sarah wanted to go, but it was cool that we all wanted to try this sport.  The reason I wanted to try it was partly because for years growing up I heard my mom say how she wants to try snowshoeing.  For a few years I did not agree with her, I wanted to snow board, ski, snowmobile, even try those dirt bikes with the spiked weeks you drive on ice but snowshoe, why?   Somewhere along the way I changed my tune.  In the past two weeks I have been sending emails and facebook pleas to friends, and family to see if anyone had a pair of snowshoes I could use.  Then last week Sarah got in on the action and put it in her blog how I wanted to try this sport, and a day later a church member let us borrow his.

With the two pair of snowshoes we borrowed from Dr. Kamm and Bethany renting a pair for twenty bucks at Housatonic River Outfitters ( Sorry Beth and as soon as I get a job we'll pay you back or rent and you can use the borrowed ones) we were off.  We had two trails in mind both as flat as we could find and both heavily traveled.  When we got to the first, a truly flat trail by a river we saw a ton of cars and lots of cross country skiers.  Then we made the call to see what the other spot looked like.  There was not as much traffic at this place so we strapped in and took off.

There was a nice snow pack from people who had been snowshoeing and cross country skiing here before, so it made for easy walking.  There is a rhythm to snowshoeing, and when you are walking on other peoples tracks the rhythm is paired with constant balancing.  When you step on another persons track you some times slide a little, but not letting the slide mess with your rhythm was the key for me.  None of us had poles, which from everyone I talked to about it are optional.  I can see where they would be a great help, but also know I got a work out with just the walking in the snowshoes and I would bet poles would add to the burn.

We hiked maybe did two or three miles grand total, but for the first time out this was a good walk.  I am hoping to do a more challenging trail in this week as long as we are still borrowing the shoes.  After snowshoeing I decided that I do not really need the other winter sports and if I never get the chance to do them there will be no loss.  That being said I will never turn down the chance to do other winter sports, and actually hope I can try skiing or at least get back on a snowmobile sometime.

I plan to add snowshoes to my wish list. I think they might be a great way to get to those back country fly fishing spots when you want to do some true winter fishing.  Plus I love to hike and get out in the the wilderness to clean my head sometimes and snowshoes are the ticket.  The gear is simple, and if I had a pair of them I would bet I would turn to them all the time.  If you have ever thought about trying snowshoeing and have not done it for what ever reason lots of outfitters rent them.  I would recommend renting a pair and trying it out, and then when you return them that same outfitter would most likely be happy to sell you a pair.    Go out and have an adventure!!!!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


As a Christmas present this year my mom and dad got me a new rod and reel.  It is almost the same as the one I put on my wish list a while back.  My parents gave it to me in sections, mom handed me a rod tube that said Redington in white letters.  After I had put it together and started waving it around mom tossed me a box.  It felt like a reel box and when I took the wrapping paper off, it was the reel I was planning on pairing with this very rod.  So there it was the basic rod and reel I wanted for months now.

If you go the the wish list and look at what I wanted I also had a fly line picked out.  The same day I got the rod and reel my brother, dad and I went to Bass Pro where I used some Christmas gift card money to get the exact line I had been reading about.  In one afternoon I went from having a self built combo on paper, to actually having it in my hands.  There is nothing like getting a new rod and reel, it is an amazing feeling to hold a new outfit and dream of all the trout it will land.   This combo will be landing many wild and native trout because it is a 3wt, and will stay on smaller waters most of the time.

Now the day after all this excitement I took it on a little test fishing trip.  The waters were all cold and aside from a couple skittish brook trout and some suckers they had no fish in them.  I really just wanted to test the line and rod as a pair.  The cast was very smooth, and the line lifted off the water very easy.  These two worked amazing together for all kinds of casts, false casts, roll casts, and even a shot cast I use in tight spots.

The rod is a Redington Pursuit 3wt.  The rod I was looking at in my wish list was an 8 footer, but this one is a 7 foot 6 inch which in hind sight is probably better because of how many small streams I tend to fish.  Also the shorter one is a 4 piece where the 8 footer is a 2 piece rod.  The 4 piece rod is better because most of these small streams are back country and require a hike.  Now about these 4 pieces, when they are not put together casting and catching fish they are tucked away in a smartly made rod tube.  This tube has a built in divider which keeps all 4 pieces from rubbing and hitting each other.  The whole thing is a nice little package and it will travel very well in all kinds of traveling situations. 

Now for why Redington, well it is a simple story and it only took 8 or 9 years till I owned my own.  Somewhere around 8 or 9 years ago in upstate PA my family was on vacation with my uncle and aunt.  We were spending a morning fishing a lake  that my uncle said had been stocked with trout earlier in the week.  I took my fly rod, and fished all morning with not so much as a missed hook set.  Sitting on the bank I watched only one person land any trout, and it was an old man who was fly fishing.  I went to the truck for a snack and he was at his van with his fly rod.  Much like I would now I went up to him and started a conversation.  He drove an old Chevy van that he took the back seat out of and replaced it with a couple drawers.  He opened the bottom drawer and he had six fly rods lined up in it, and then showed me the 5 drawers above it and all were lined with rods.  Among these rods was a Redington he spoke very highly of, comparing it to some of his bamboo rods.  He let me cast that rod and I missed a fish or two on a swimming nymph pattern he later gave me.  Ever since that day I have been reading about the company and its products.  I am thrilled to now have my own and I am excited to land that first trout on it.

Now I can not remember what reels this old man had in his van, but reels never really had my attention.  That being said you can not have a rod without a reel.  I have always been a fan of a simple look to my reel.  In a search for something simple but built well and made with quality materials I turned to G Loomis.  G Loomis is known for their rods much like Redington, but both make reel.  Their reels have never been the standout, but from everything I have read they are as high a quality as the rods these companies make.  I looked at Redington, most are mid arbor reels but I wanted this rod to look much more simple.  A couple years back my brother bought a G Loomis Venture 5 it is a simple look, but has some edge to it.  It is a gold reel and looks very simple.  The Venture series is simple in all respects there are three reels in the series.  The Venture 3, 5 and 7 each number corresponds with the line weight it can hold.  So I got the G Loomis Venture 3 and it is a perfect fit to my rod.  The weight and balance of the rod and reel is amazing.

This just leaves the line, and I am not a line tech guy so I went out on a limb with why I picked this one.  Lots of reading and asking questions lead me to Rio Lines, and once I was there I was steered to Rio's Trout TL.  This line is made for "delicate presentations" as their ads says, and all the science talk to back it up.  As I fished the empty waters near my town I decided to put a dry fly on to see if I could see a difference in lifting a dry fly off the water.  These are all things that this line is clammed to do better then the next line, and you know what, it does a wonderful job.  The difference is not something that someone who does not fly fish would notice but I saw it and hope it makes a difference when a finicky trout is checking out the presentation.   

 My new outfit has me very excited and as soon as I get my CT license I will be finding a small stream to fish.  The last picture is one of the rod on its first trip, I hit up two streams and caught no fish.  This trip was a success for the simple reasons that I got a chance to test the rod and line on the water.  Thanks for reading along and check me out again later to see what else I came home with from my parents house.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Post

Well everyone I have been in the town I grew up in since last Wednesday so I have been kind of out of touch.  While home I gathered lots of new material for up coming blog posts.  There was new gear, a fishing trip, new pets, and some good family fun.

Let me fill you in on the pet first.  My sister got a puppy for Christmas, and he is in her words the cutest puppy in the world.  He is an all black (except a spot on a paw and his chest) cocker spaniel that my sister named Charles or Charlie for short, and if you want to make it longer it is sir Charles.  Well Charles is just one short story of my trip.  Take a look at him and I'll start thinking of the next great story from my trip.

Sir Charles


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Outfitted for life

OBN's writing prompt this week is actually something I addressed in my very first post.  I decided before just linking to my old post and calling this an easy one I would read the post.  Now that I read it I think I will do more then just link to it.

Outfitted For Life:   Outfitted for Life, the name came from Sarah (my wife), and it took only minutes of thinking about it for me to jump on board with that name. I love it for many reasons, the biggest of all the reasons is the fact that it leaves me lots of room to work with.  The room to do more then just fishing post is still very appealing to me.  I like sharing my hikes, and hope to get back to hunting.  Also want to try some new sports such as bouldering, long distance hiking, and maybe even buy a mountain bike someday. 

So the story that came to mind in that first post was one of my bother and I getting ready for a hunt.  I have not told as many stories as I want to but going back and looking at why I picked the title I think I will try to tell more old stories.  Here is that first story of why the title Outfitted for Life was a good choice.

This story was the first that came to mind when the title of the blog was made final. It takes me back to high school, it was the first hunting season I could drive. My parents okayed my brother and I to go hunting alone for what I think was the first time. We planned to hit a spot we hunted small game, and later on in our hunting adventures became a great waterfowl spot. Well we were packing up the guns and mom was giving us the be safe, look out for each other, and if your going to be late call speech. My mom looked us up and down, she cracked a half a smile and said well boys you look the part, and then wished us luck as we ran to the car guns, ammo and packs in hand. Between the two of us we were geared to the max for a small game hunt, I guess ever since then I've always tried to look the part if nothing else........ I try to go into every situation especially when it comes to the outdoors "looking the part". Looking the part now there is one of the first lessons if you want to be outfitted for life.   

I still often look the part, whether I mean too or not it just kind of happens now.  Looking back on this and a couple other old posts I have come to realize that my writing, and my stories are getting better.  In an strange way I am really starting to look the part of a blogger, and that is funny on many levels.  Well there you have it that is where Outfitted for Life came from and who knows where it will go.  


Monday, January 3, 2011

A Christmas Go To...

 I have been called hard to shop for, and that goes double when you are limited to a budget.  That being said Sarah always does well when it comes to getting me something.  I drop a ton of hints, and sometimes I can be a 'pain in the butt' with all the hints.  With the move I got most of Sarah's big ticket items before leaving Atlanta.  When we hit the week and a half point Sarah looks at me and asks how much I spent on her gifts this year, and continues to tell me she had gotten nothing for me.  I said I did not need anything and that I would be happy with socks because mine are getting old.

A couple days later Sarah was snooping on my computer, and I found out after the fact that she was on my amazon account looking at my wish list.  She said she opened the wish list and saw what she thought was a good gift for me.

I like knives, and have a small collection that is growing.  Sarah got me a really nice knife that I have had my eye on for a while.  I decided today that I would write a post highlighting some of my favorite knives and maybe take a picture of as many of them as I can get in a shot so here goes.

First knife I am highlighting is my multi-tool.  I carry this tool everywhere I am allowed, and also take it fishing with me.  As knives go this has gotten me out of the most pinches weather its pinching barbs in regulated fishing area, or fixing my old bike on the side of the road this is knife has been there.  It is a Gerber 01471 suspension pliers, on it is almost everything I need.  Pliers, wire cutter, saw, two blades, can and bottle opener, and much more.  Sadly the one you see here is my second knife, I lost the first and this was a present from Sarah because she knows how important it can be.

This folding knife has been in my collection for a long time.  It is a Sig Sauer which is better known for their guns, but this tactical knife has been my favorite for years.  I bought this knife, but used some money from a gift card my uncle gave me so it too was a gift.  Most people see knives as weapons or get scared when I say I collect knives, but the truth is I see them as tools.  This knife has been used as a steak knife, spatula, stirring stick, branch cutter, screw driver and countless other things.  It was my survival knife for years, but now I carry it as a back up survival knife. 

The reason my Sig Sauer knife is now only a back up survival knife is because of this guy.  This is a Gerber LMF II survival knife (22-01400) and it is just that a knife built for survival.  Four of my groomsmen and I bought this knife before my wedding with a couple of symbolic reasons.  We were going to wear it under our tuxes but they are just too big and we thought it might make people mad to wear them on the outside.  At the time of the wedding we had a groomsman in Iraq, and two weeks before the wedding I found out my brother (best man) could not make it because he needed to report to Wisconsin for new coast guard post.  Anyway both of these guys got this same knife as a gift.  Then there was the three groomsmen who bought it as a symbol of the one who could not be there, and this knife is something we all have in common now.  It was build for military use, but makes a very useful survival tool.  The LMF II can be strapped to a leg, belt or molly system, and it has a built in sharpener in the sheath.  There are three holes in the handle so it can be lashed to a stick for self defense, it has a hammer on the end, and a glass punch.  This is my primary belt knife when I hike and yes it is heavy but if I was to be stranded somewhere it would be worth its weight in gold.

So Christmas morning this year, Sarah tosses me a gift.  As I was catching it I knew it was a knife, because a knife in a knife box is something that has a very distinct feel, sound, and shape to it. When the paper came off I saw the box and the letters CRKT, and judging by the size and weight I knew exactly what I was about to see.  It is a CRKT(Columbia River Knife and Tool) M16-14ZSF, which according to my lovely wife was at the top of my amazon wish list.  I have no real review for it as of yet, but it is very sharp out of the box as CRKT tends to be, and that it is well constructed.  It came with an extra pocket clip and the wrench to fit the screws.  

There are a couple reasons this knife was even on my amazon wish list.  First is the look, it just looks cool and as shallow as that seems sometimes a look will do it for me(in the world of knives).  Next is the brand I have read only good things about CRKT and I am starting to understand why.  

As far as looks go this knife has every thing working for it.  From the tan handle with the large holes, to the flat silver tanto blade.  The pocket clip can be put on any one of four different positions, and then there is the part that is both function and style, the flippers.  These two flippers make opening this knife so easy it is not funny, but very serious.  The same flippers that help in the opening of the knife also turn into a hand guard so that you do not slip off the handle if you need to apply force to a forward motion.  

 Lastly the knife have a great locking system, it has an inside lock that only operates when you move this red pin on the top of the knife.  With about a day worth of practice I was able to master the this locking system and even close the knife with one hand.

So once again my wife came through with a great gift, and I think she knows that if she can find nothing else for me at Christmas time she can always go to the "go to gift" and get me a nice knife.   Sorry this has been a lot of reading, and if you are a knife person this really has not been very informative but if you are not I hope my views, passion, and respect for knives and all they can do for us has shown through.  I will leave this post with one last thing, a picture of just part of my collection. These are the knives I wrangled up for the photo shoot, and when I am running short for post ideas in the future I will show off more of my collection. 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Being a fly fishing blogger is hard without a job

Sarah and I have been living in a new state now for more then a month and still I have no job.  This does not mean I have no work.  Last week we got twenty inches of snow.  Here is Sarah's post on it, and honestly I love the process of waking up to move snow and get yourself dug out.  It was a good storm and dumped a lot of snow fast.  Along with the snow we are still setting rooms up, hanging pictures, fixing lights that need replacing, and some nice projects on furniture.

Still the job issue is really starting to get to me, for a number of reasons, bills, gas, and food are the basic worries.  Honestly there is still another reason I wish I had some money in the bank account, and it is a little more selfish.  I have been filling out applications and working to get a job and that weighs on me after a while and I need to break away for a day.  My hike two weeks ago was nice but honestly in the back of my mind I am thinking about fly fishing.

It's the second day of the new year and I am without a fishing license for the state I am living in.  This would not be a big deal if I had a job because I would be working till dark and the weekends would be spent with the house and wife.  That being said it is killing me to not be able to clear my head on the water.  I know what you might be thinking 'Bruce you're in Connectucute and it is 3 degrees outside' well all you people who think that trout do not eat in the winter, your wrong they do.

Hopefully sometime in the next couple weeks I will land a job and that will mean a new license will be soon behind it.  Until then I am going to be trying to post some winter fly patterns.  Also some cool stuff about the new house such as the deer that were in the back yard, and some of the wild life in the area.  Lastly, OBN posts writing prompts and I am going to start to write off of those when I can.   One more little piece about the license comes from a blog I read.  The writer at This River Is Wild wrote a great post explaining part of the reason I want to get my license now go check it out and stop back later in the week to see where I am.