28 October, 2008

In Praise of the Hundred Dollar Shotgun

Always had good luck with the hundred dollar shotgun. My first was a vintage Winchester 1200 pump, bought from a friend. A little cleaning (ewwww - gritty!) and it's been a great all-rounder for clays and hunting. Then a Stoeger Uplander side-by-side for upland birds. It's a little fussy (likes to be CLEAN) but comes up super-fast and shoots where you point it.

Recently my buddy Paul picked up a Remington 11-48 for a hundred bucks at a gun shop. A little rough, and needed some parts and some love. But it's built like a truck.

I'd been thinking about a semi-auto for clays. Was really eyeing the Beretta 391's. But even used, they're a grand. Plus, you whack them into a tree ducking under a fence or something, you feel bad.

Sure enough, I'm in Cabela's a couple weeks back and they have not one, but TWO 11-48's. The cheaper one ends up around a hundred bucks. It's in VERY nice shape. A little clean-up, some attention to the wood and VOILA! Looks like a TWO hundred dollar gun.

Only issue is it's got one of those awful PolyChoke adjustable chokes. Looks like a snake digesting a rat and totally distracts sight picture. But that's an easy enough fix. Shot clays with it last week and worked great!

Picture above is a portion of Paul and my collection of hundys. My new 11-48's in the center, with his 11-48 and Model 31 pump (SUPER smooth!).

Moral of the story? Don't need to drop a grand to bust clays!


22 October, 2008

Feelin' the Steel

Outstanding day yesterday fly fishing for steelhead on the Big Manistee with friend and colleague Jim, and Jon Ray from Hawkins Fly Fishing (http://www.hawkinsflyfishing.com/).

A little cold, but not so bad. Beautiful time with leaves just past peak color and sunshing. Decent action on the river, especially in the morning.

Jim hooked and landed the first, so he won that honor. Lots of juveniles, but they're still a great fight. I learned a lot more about the relationship between steelhead and spawning salmon, how to find them, and what to do when you find them. If you want to learn, fishing with an outstanding guide like Jon is a really great way to do it. Plus, he's a good guy who makes the day even more fun.

Thanks again to Jim and Jon for a great Fall day! And, if this sounds like a plug for Jonny Ray -- it IS! Check him out!!!

Tight lines!


13 October, 2008

Random Stuff

Took a great Fall ride yesterday with neighbor Mike -- about 25 miles and kept up an 18 mph pace. So nice to ride with someone to push me. But can feel the season winding down. Need to find something to maintain that aerobic fitness. And, yes, I know I can ride when it's cold, but I WON'T. Strangely I love all these cold-weather things and am very cold-tolerant when skiing, fishing, hunting, etc. But, for some strange reason, I turn into a wuss on my bike in the cold! Just hate it.

Did review summary data yesterday from my Garmin computer and I've ridden over 1,200 miles this season, and (if you believe these things) burned over 90,000 calories! That was kind of cool to see.

But I was eyeing my super-cool, super-fat Line Prophet 100 skis that I picked up at season's end yesterday and I think I started to drool a little. Yes, ski season's coming. Sure hope for another epic snow winter like last year! Had some beautiful days in Utah (like Alta, at left) and in Michigan, too!!! Hope for more of the same this year.
Steelhead fishing next week with Hawkins Outfitters. If you're eager to try for this challenging fish, even if you're a newbie, spend a day with Jon Ray. I learned more with him than in a whole season on my own.