Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show 2015

The 10th annual Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show was on January 24th. I was happy to be able to attend and learn about local fly fishing. I have been to a few fly fishing shows, but most of them had more of a tenkara theme for me, specifically a Tenkara Guides theme. I have even helped watch the Tenkara Guides booth when all the guides were busy giving seminars and casting demonstrations. Did I 100% know what I was talking about? No, but I was able to pass out Tenkara Guide business cards! Haha.

Being a Tenkara Groupie back in the day ;)

When I walked through the doors into the Kentuckiana Fly Fishing Show and started passing the vendors and retailers I was slightly startled. Tenkara was no where in sight. I wasn't completely in shock, because I have found that when I mention tenkara in Kentucky I am mostly met with blank stares. The awesome guys at The Lexington Anglers shop in downtown Lexington know what tenkara is, but they are professionals.

I also have to admit something. I don't know how to say this, but... I have never attempted reeled fly fishing, or Western fly fishing, or whatever you wanna call it. I fully confess that I am actually a little judgmental and snobby when it comes to Western fly fishing. So who am I to judge when someone doesn't know what tenkara is all about!?  Overall, I think we can agree that just do what makes you happy! Reel or no reel. 

I changed my mind frame from tenkara to Kentucky fishing. I was going to take this time to learn about the KY community and fishing landscape. They had some good seminars on local fishing spots and resources, providing information about conservation and local fisheries. The booths that interested me were Casting for Recovery, Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Services, Project Healing Waters, and WKU Fly Fishing. Let me repeat that last one... WKU Fly Fishing. Yes, Western Kentucky University offers a class in fly fishing! Crazy. I noticed numerous men over the age of 50 standing at the WKU booth contemplating quitting their day jobs and going back to school! I also learned that WKU will have a viewing of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on February 21st. If you are in the Bowling Green, KY, area you should check it out! 

I had a fun time and hope that next year I might get the chance to introduce a different species of fishing to some KY anglers - tenkara. In closing, I have no closing. So I will just leave you with this kick ass poster I scored: 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Trees, Trout, and Nothing

Over the last month I have been lucky enough to have some extra time to try out some new fishing spots. However, I wasn't as lucky when it came to actually catching anything. Here is a brief overview of a few of my Tenkara outings. I am still a beginner - so any helpful tips are always welcome! 

#1 - Indian Creek at Red River Gorge, KY. 

Full of excitement, after hearing about Indian Creek, I hop into the car with my KY fishing license and my Tenkara fishing gear.  Rob drives me, my father-in-law, and our dog, Baloo, the hour from Lexington to the Gorge. 

Now, I am of a stubborn nature. When we get to the stream, I immediately disregard any advice Rob may have and set out in my own direction!  I find myself alone on a stream that seems foreign. Indian Creek is nothing like the streams I know in Utah. I try to read the water but this yields no results. I hurriedly walk through large pools and stir up the water. The only thing I seem to be catching are clumps of leaves and trees! Grrrrr. I turn into the Hulk and stomp around the water every time I hook another tree. I finally catch up to Rob and his father and sit on a log to gain composure. They have caught fish. Lots of fish. I slowly count to ten. Did I mention I am competitive? 
Untangling line, even when I am just sitting the line got tangled! haha
I am missing something, but at this point I am tired and just happy to sit and watch them fish. Right now they are in deep stagnant pools (places I would have normally walked right by) and they are watching for glimpses of rises in the water. I take note.
Baloo being a very good dog! 
This doesn't apply very often, but when you're fly fishing and your husband is a fishing guide, it might actually pay to listen to him. Please, if you know Rob, don't tell him I said that.

#2 - Otter Creek, KY. 

It is a cloudy day and I am prepared for the rain. We pull into a parking lot. Two other anglers are there, sorting their rods and reels for a day of fishing. We park, get our waders on, grab our Tenkara rods, and start walking toward the stream. The Western anglers are still getting ready - another reason I love Tenkara! 

A five minute walk leads us to a cloudy, muddy, off color stream. "Uh Oh," I think to myself. But I follow Rob and take my time looking for any signs of fish. We walk, wade, and walk some more until we finally see an area where fish are rising. I cast to this area multiple times with no luck. I keep moving upstream and catch a little minnow. I barely felt the little guy on my line! 

We keep plowing ahead with no luck. We turn around and pass the area with the multiple rises and the fish are still in action! Rob reminds me to take heed of my back cast because I tend to be too forceful, and after (finally) taking his advice I catch a 12 inch Rainbow! I am so happy I am pretty sure I scared every fish in the stream as I dance around/land the fish.  I go home happy.

#3 - Back to Indian Creek 

I literally catch nothing. Not even a tree, or a rock, or a log. Nothing! I notice how low, calm, and clear the water is compared to our last trip to this creek. We spot fish, holding deep in clear cold water.  They quickly scatter each time our tippet hits the surface. Rob doesn't land a fish either, so it makes me feel a little better.

The only thing I do that day is take stream selfies with my Sato rod. (I know, I know... enough with the selfies!)  I had fun, so it was a good day with or with out a catch! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Appalachian Trail 2015

Just doing some light reading about the Appalachian Trail. Oh, I haven't told you? Yes, I am preparing for an AT thru hike this year. Going NOBO. I first learned that the AT existed in 2005, but did not give it much thought at first. However, after thinking about it non-stop over the last two to three years, I have decided to attempt a thru hike starting in March. Only one in four thru hikers complete the 2,185 mile trail. I will have my work cut out for me until then. Stay tuned for posts about AT prep and backpacking in the near future. Wish me luck! 

For more information about the trail go to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY Ultralight Alcohol Backpacking Stove

Some married couples might take a romantic night out on the town, or have a candlelit dinner made for two. Other couples enjoy the simpler things in life, like making an inventory of their outdoor gear. It was on such a night as this that I realized, if it wasn't for my husband's gear, I would be up a creek without a guy to paddle the boat. Now, I have turned my focus on making sure I am equally equipped to enjoy an ultralight backpacking trek on my own.

That's right! I don't need a man. Girl power!  (Insert your own feminist mantra here.)  Anything he can do I can do better! 

The first piece of equipment I wanted to tackle was the ultralight alcohol cat can stove. I envied the stove my husband had made, so I cheated and stole his stove model.  Originally dubbed the Supercat by Jim Woods, this stove is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most reliable models out there.

Here are the steps I used to make my own cat can stove.

1) Purchase 3.5oz Cat Food Can.  Not gonna lie, I picked this particular cat food can based on one characteristic - it was a pretty blue!

2) Round up your supplies. Here I have the cat food can, a standard sharpie, hole punch, measuring tape, and .005 thick aluminum sheet metal. I got my aluminum sheet metal at Hobby Lobby for around $5.

3) Clean the can. Remove the cat food and label from the can. I was able to use nail polish remover to get the label glue off of the can.

4) Mark the height for your first row of holes. Turn the can upside down. With the Sharpie flat on the counter, twist the can to trace a line for your first row of holes. 

5) Now mark every half inch around the rim of the can. 

6) Use the hole punch to create a hole at every half inch mark. The top of your holes should be at the mark you made in step 4. 

7) Make a second row of holes. Each hole is placed between the two above it, with the top of the second row lined up with the bottom of the first row.

8) Make your own windscreen out of the aluminum. You can customize the windscreen to fit your stove and pot. I use a paper clip to hold it together when in use. 

And there you have it! Your very own ultralight cat can stove.  The can will hold just a bit over 1oz of alcohol fuel for each burn. I use HEET for fuel, and can quickly boil water using this system.  Below you can see the cat can stove with my titanium pot and the aluminum wind screen. 

With Titanium Pot
With Aluminum Wind Screen

I can now happily take a backpacking trip on my own or with some of my girlfriends... if any of my friends ever wanted to go backpacking. I guess that is what I will focus my attention on in the New Year - finding female friends to go backpacking!