Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gear Review: RIsen Ichthus Reel - my night fishing companion

I was provided with the Risen Ichthus about 4 or 5 months ago to review. I received the 3/4 and I wanted to really test it out on dry/terrestrial fishing before I had a chance to write about it.

Risen is a new name to the fly fishing world. They sell quality products at decent prices. I heard a lot of people starting to mention how nice the reels were, so I was looking forward to getting a chance to test one out.

Here's the specs:

Precision machine cut from pure aerospace aluminum bar stock and stainless steel for maximum strength and corrosion protection 
Large diameter Cork/FXB polymer disc drag delivers ultra smooth, low start-up inertia 
Two sealed, precision, stainless steel ball bearings
Fitted with one-way roller bearing
Quick left and right hand handle reversal
Counter balanced spool
Large arbor design
Easy drag adjustment
Drag clutch with zero-backlash
Silent retrieve with a crisp out-going click
Quick release spool
Exposed palming rim for additional control

WIDE (in)
Ichthus 3/4
Ichthus 5/6
Ichthus 7/8
Ichthus 9/10

After spending the last month night fishing with this reel with surface flies, I can honestly say, you won't find a better deal for the price. I have the brushed metal finish, and it's very nice looking. It's also pretty light compared to some other $100 reels I've checked out.  I've caught fish from 3 to 17 inches on it, and it's handled perfectly fine. The drag is decent, and it strips line nicely.

My only complaint would be the handle. When I first got the reel, it was very stiff on rotation. It was nothing that a tiny shot of WD40 and a little counter clockwise twist of a screwdriver didn't solve though.

The Ichthus is currently 30% off at for their grand opening sale, and they even have free shipping until 4/26. Tell them I sent ya :)

And by the way, when I said I caught fish that were 3 inches long on it, I meant it..literally.

disclaimer- This product was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. As always, I try to keep my reviews as honest as possible. Feel free to contact me with any further questions on the product and I will do my best to honestly answer them.

Getting craptastic

Michael has been asking me to take him fishing since the opening day fiasco. I think he was mad that he dove into the water and forced us to leave we didn't catch anything and wanted revenge. I told him I would take him out yesterday. The only problem was that we got about 1.5 inches of rain in like an hour the night before, and everything was high and dirty.

I opted for a trip to the local lake in search of bass, pickerel, or maybe crappie. He wanted to use his Star Wars rod, so I figured bait would be the easiest thing for him, while I grabbed my 6 weight and a sink tip for streamers.

We stopped and picked up some fathead minnows, got to the lake and set up shop. By the time I got his line in the water, he was already splashing in the puddles, soaked up to his thighs. At least it was a little warmer...

I didn't even have time to strip out some line before I saw his bobber shoot underwater. He ran over, grabbed it, and reeled in his first crappie. He was scared of it for some reason and refused to touch it.

I started fly fishing and then he told me he'd rather use my rod and proceeded to dump out all the minnows into the water. Good boy! While reeling in his Star Wars rod, we picked up another small crappie.

I handed him the rod and helped him with a few roll casts. He managed to get one out just far enough and BAM, a nice crappie smashes my EP fiber streamer. This time, he wasn't so afraid of it.

He then started to lose interest and went back to the puddles. He was starting to get wet and I knew it wouldn't last too much longer. Luckily, daddy was able to get on the boards with a quick crappie as well.

It was an awesome day. There's nothing I like more than seeing my kid reel in some nice fish. I might have to get him a fly rod for Christmas.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dub the Funcrageous Fly Fishing Bowtroutaholics (a.k.a the SE PA blogger fishing jam)

So, Mike from Troutrageous is heading south to Florida for his job (and hopefully changing his blog name to Snookerdoodle). He threw out the invitation to take a few of us for a "guided" tour of Valley Creek before he heads off to get a year-round tan.

Valley Creek is somewhat of an oddity to me. It's located only 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia and is in the middle of Valley Forge State Park, which is just dripping with history. There are literally no other wild trout streams around this far south, yet this spring fed little stream is home to a population of wild brown trout that have somehow beaten the odds and fought off some horrible pollution a few decades back to thrive in this little stream. It's kinda weird to think that you're fishing in a stream that George Washington took a piss in (and most likely drank from.)

I had to take my kids to swim class so I couldn't get there first thing in the AM, but my car was fully loaded and ready for the day.

I showed up a little late to the party, and Mike, Matt from the Functioning Fishaholics, and Steve from The Fly Fishing Bowhunter were already on the boards with a handful of fish. Matt and I opted for dries, while Mike and Steve waved around the weird Tenkara thingies. WIth all the rain, I was expecting a muddy shit show, but it was quite the opposite. The water was only slightly off color and wound up almost clearing by the end of the day. We wound up having a very successful day, with probably 20-30 fish landed between the 4 of us. Mike was an amazing guide and knew exactly where to go to put us on fish.

In poor blogger form, I didn't capture many pictures, except for a few of the prettiest browns I caught. These fish were beautiful with bright yellow bellies. It was a beautiful day, and I loved the fact that I didn't have to tie on a subsurface fly all day.

After fishing, we head off to the Tilted Kilt for some dinner and beers. The view on the creek was beautiful, but nothing compared to the view at this place. It was hard to focus on the food.

Overall, it was an awesome day of fishing with some cool peeps. Good luck in FL Mike, and hopefully we can get out one more time before you head off to gator country.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How time flies....

I can't believe Michael is now a four year old. Happy Birthday little man. Daddy loves you more than anything in the world. There is no one else I'd rather take fishing.

And P.S., the night fishing has been spectacular thanks to stupid stockies. I lost count last night from 9-11pm. For some odd reason, they were keyed in on white egg patterns.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening of Trout Season 2013 Top Ten List

Here is a list of random things that happened/I saw or overhead while heading out during the Southern PA opening day of trout season.

1.A guy walking by with 2 suckers on his stringer saying he couldn't believe he caught two browns under the stump upstream.

2.Local idiots camping out in a tent the night before on a stretch of stream that was about 12 feet wide and in between two housing developments, right off a main road, just to hit some 8 inch stocked fish.

3.One of the above idiots drunk as hell yelling "F*CK OFF" to every car that went by and beeped at the 300 people fishing at 8:15am. When I finally asked him to watch his language around all the kids he was like "Why don't you watch all the rock throwing from your a**hole kid". My 3 year old was throwing pebbles into a puddle behind me, not even in the stream. Needless to say, I left before I killed him. I later drove by and saw the  cops with him. I hope he got arrested. Dick.

4.My three year old decided to dive waist deep into the water about 20 minutes later at another hole because he saw a rock he "really wanted".

5.Carrying a shivering three year old and three fishing rods over a mile back to the car.

6.Heading out later in the afternoon without the kid and absolutely slaying trout on Greenie Weenies and Black Buggers while the bait guys watched in awe as I released every fish.

7.Spin fishing guys asking me if they could "fish a woolly bugger with a split shot" and if they could buy some off me.

8.Heading out around 10pm on Saturday night after the kids were asleep and hitting almost another half dozen on hoppers in the pitch black darkness

9.Twenty guys ganging up on one Palomino (golden rainbow) and one saying "Keep pissing him off and hitting him with lead. He'll eventually just bite".

10.Hitting a semi-crowded stretch on Sunday morning and seeing no one catching anything but fish rising like crazy to midges.. I cleaned up for an hour straight on size 22 Griffith's Gnats.

11.(I know I said 10, but this one is too good.) One of the spin fishing guys tying on a giant size 4 Royal Wulff, and casting it out with a bobber after seeing me smack fish on dry flies.

Yep, it was an opening day weekend to remember. Here's a few pics of the insanity.

17 incher on a Greenie Weenie

Fell for a dry

Michael, with his Anakin Star Wars rod, pre-swimming.

Quick, smash the Palomino!