Feb 19, 2012

Turn out the Lights. The Party's Over.

They say that all good things must end.
Call it a night. The party's over.
And tomorrow start the same old thing again.

In this world of fiber optics and instant gratification, eighteen months seems a long time to shutter the door at Lunker Hunt global headquarters. If you consider the same duration in reference to your lifespan...well, it's not such a long time after all.  My wife and I have decided to spend that amount of our life embarked on an adventure sure to excite and terrify in equal parts.

A few months ago we were knocked off balance with an option to move, but we're hitting our stride once again. Uncertainty will be certain in our lives from this day forth, of that much I'm sure.
It is a brief moment in time really. Lengthy enough to expand our world view, develop new friendships and provide a story for the twilight years. Short enough to miss little back home and enable stepping back into "real life" at full speed - by then, all the more stronger.

And when this next party is over we will look back, appreciate the amazing opportunity and set sights on the next big thing. Until that day, my friends, when we meet again.

Jan 29, 2012

Salt Crystals Sparkled on Your Sole

You became a bit of a novelty...a conversation piece at times, but you had a special place in my heart and mind. You always will. Standing between you and shoe heaven was a simple decision to act, a switch in my head.

Once clicked, the switch can not be reconnected and I undertake such thoughts solemnly.

 We were young when we first met. I, a high school sophomore, and you still in a box - fresh off the slow boat from Asia. I was starting track and needed practice shoes. My parents obliged. The early years were filled with highs and lows. You helped me through grueling ladder runs but I always ditched you ahead the gun...and glory...in favor of flashy pink and white sprinter's spikes.

Always there for me, nonjudgmentally on the infield and an excuse to catch my breath.

Then came college and we really hit our stride. You took me to the rec for jogging, weights and wallyball. We went down to college street and helped "take the strip." We cheered the Salukis before Coaches Weber and Kill got paid for Big 10 upgrades. You strolled across the prettiest campus in the world. You saw me through it all and I apologize for getting sick on you...twice.

We learned about life together. We learned about love.

One day much later, a pair of Adidas came and took your place. No big deal, you were having a rough time keeping up and needed a slower life. Still stretching your laces behind the mower and odd jobs from time to time. You knew my foot well and I need not untie you...ever.

All summer long you wore a grass stain proudly. In winter salt crystals sparkled on your sole.

 Today I flicked the switch, you successor has been succeeded and shit rolls down hill you know. I held it back as long as possible but you are not even slippers now. They'll pick you up before first light at the curb. Fifteen years is a pretty good run but...

I'm sorry it couldn't last forever.

Jan 26, 2012

Sunfish Identification, Know Your Stuff?

A dude named Wayne shot me an e-mail recently. He was building a sunfish identification quiz and was interested in using some pictures of mine. After I saw his work I got excited about being included in such a project and granted immediate permission. Click here to take the sunfish quiz, it ain't easy but you'll learn a couple things...and no, I will not tell you how poorly I scored.

Next he needs to build a quiz to help me keep remember how to ID stripers, whites and "wipers."

Jan 16, 2012

Crawdad Fly Giveaway

I'm giving away these fantastic flies and it is super easy to enter. Simply click this link and leave a comment on the Facebook picture it takes you to. Comments on this blog post are appreciated, but won't be considered contest entries...you have to comment on Facebook to enter.

If you're handy with a vise, click here for video tying instructions.

Jan 9, 2012

Gear Review: Glacier Pro Angler Glove

Someone at Glacier Glove was paying attention when I said summer gloves "are not my bag." With winter approaching, they came back with a new opportunity: Pro Angler Gloves. I told them another review would be great but I couldn't promise any fishing with the gloves - ice fishing isn't my bag either. There is no shortage of other outside type stuff going on around here in the winter... namely my second passion: shoveling snow. For some reason they found that agreeable.

Little did we know how mild our December would be and getting this review complete took a little longer than expected. The gloves arrived on December 14th. It was a freakishly warm day at 54 degrees - foreshadowing perhaps? Cold weather trials would have to wait..maybe it would snow and I'd have the review done by Christmas?

Fingers in "liberation mode"
First impressions were favorable and no initial quality issues were evident. These gloves had enough features to make me think they are worth the hefty price of $40. They are constructed of fleece lined 2mm neoprene, they call it G-Tek... whatever the heck that means.

A Velcro strap at the wrist would keep the gloves in place. Slits in the thumb and index finger allow those fingers to be liberated in situations such as knot tying, picture taking, txt messaging or nose picking. Small patches of Velcro secure the finger flaps out of the way. The middle finger has a nice textured patch for traction. I slid the gloves on, they fit loosely but not too bad. Perhaps I should have checked out the glove sizing chart before ordering size large.

Fleece lining
Most of the glove is water proof, with the obvious exception of thumb and index finger. Having previously fished with 100% waterproof neoprene gloves I was anxious to know if water intrusion would compromise the insulating properties of these gloves, better get out and try it...

I took my fly rod and these gloves to Powerton on a day that happened to stay below freezing. I started fishing without any gloves just to verify that it was in fact cold outside...and it was. I only lasted a few minutes before reaching in my pocket for the gloves - the warmth was just about instant. Stripping wet line across my right index finger put a noticeable amount of moisture into the glove but everything stayed warm. Very warm to be exact, and that is a HUGE plus for these gloves. I think they are even warmer than my other neoprene gloves...water and all. That will outweigh any potential issues.

The fly fishing trip did reveal a couple weak spots for the gloves...at least for me. Apparently, I use my middle finger while tying improve cinch knots... something I didn't realize until this trip.

I just couldn't get a knot tied without taking the gloves off, and taking them off to tie knots was a pain due to the wrist strap.  I'm thinking the gloves could be improved by adding a slit for the middle finger and/or removing the wrist strap.

I also ran into a slight quality problem while fishing. A thread came loose inside the right hand index finger, and stripping line also pulled the thread out farther. I snipped the thread at the root and the problem disappeared, but my gloves are missing about twelve inches of thread from somewhere...I think it came from the fleece lining near the finger slit.

I came home and threw the gloves on a shelf in my garage and three days later grabbed them to fish again. They were still wet on the inside and cold when I put them on. It only took a few minutes to warm the moisture and be comfortable again. Storing the gloves indoors helps to dry them out more quickly.

On New Year's Eve, I took the gloves hunting on Grandpa's farm in Missouri. The weather was so warm, maxing out at sixty-eight degrees, I never even took the gloves out of my pocket. I had another chance to hunt the following weekend.

I brought the gloves and Granddad's shotgun to Banner Marsh to try and find some upland game. The day started cool and Glacier's gloves were a great addition.

I was hoping the gloves wouldn't interfere with my trigger finger, and unfortunately that wasn't the case. With this particular gun I could not fit my finger into the trigger guard. I think all guards are unique so you may not have this problem with a different gun. I peeled back the flap on my trigger finger and secured it on the Velcro. I prefer my trigger finger to be bare anyway so this was great, but it revealed another minor design flaw.

The Velcro patch used to secure the fingers when they are folded back works pretty well as long as you don't move your hand much. While hunting, it didn't take long for the flap to get loose and... well... flap around. It really wasn't a big deal functionally, but the Velcro didn't fulfill it's duty for extended periods of time. The Glacier team could improve this area - potentially by using larger Velcro patches.

Flap flapping
The gloves did a great job keeping my hands warm while fishing in twenty-five degree weather, but hunting in forty-five degree weather was too much. Around 10:00 in the morning, I had to take the gloves off to stay cool... my hands had been sweating inside.

As a whole, I am very pleased with Glacier's Pro Angler Gloves. Keeping wet hands warm while fishing is a huge challenge to overcome. While fishing, my hands were warm... not "warm enough" but actually warm. I did have a few minor issues but nothing severe enough to make me forget how warm they are. I'm definitely going to use the gloves again for future fishing and hunting trips. Maybe someday we'll even get some snow to shovel.

I'm sure you'll be happy with a pair.

Hand modeling: Costanza has nothing on me
Disclaimer: The Glacier Gloves featured in this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I am not an expert on fishing gloves, or any sort of glove for that matter, and such a position allowed me to provide this review from the perspective of an outsider to the fishing glove industry. Lunker Hunt is not officially associated with or sponsored by Glacier Gloves and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established. This disclaimer is getting pretty long, huh? Maybe I should just stop typing it.

Bonus section for those still reading: You'll quickly learn where to NOT wipe your runny nose on these gloves. The Velcro patches leave a small but painful mark when repeatedly rubbed on cold tender nose skin.

Also click here for a similar review from Yukon Goes Fishing

Jan 6, 2012

Diamond Scales and Gold Leaf Fin

A bluefin tuna recently sold for $736,000 in Japan. The fish weighed 594lb (field dressed I suppose) and will result in a $90 loss for every sushi roll sold. Those Japanese are crazier than we thought.

At $1,238 per pound, I'm beginning to rethink my preference for fresh water fishing - sustainability be damned.

Jan 3, 2012

This One Is For Ivan

I don't care what they say about Missoula and its residents. Anyone who makes delicious canned beer like this is "A-number-one" in my book.

I couldn't resist...it even says "We Make Water Fun!" Perfect for any Missoulian who is also a Fluvialist and enjoys canned beer.