30 May, 2009
29 May, 2009
Recently, I've noticed the my Orvis Silver Label XT waders are exhibiting an odd behavior. There's a drain hole beneath the additional layer(s) over the knee area. And it doesn't seem to drain -- only allows them to fill up. I first noticed it in the Au Sable on UP trip in the left leg. Then both legs were filling up on the Boardman two weeks later. They don't leak inside, but it's a "Michelin Man" effect on the river. And I'm thinking it's also not overly safe.
So, I stop at the fly shop where I bought them. Manager tells me he had a pair years ago and they had the same problem. He doesn't think Orvis will do anything, but he'll call them to discuss. He then adds that this sort of thing is why they don't sell Orvis waders anymore.
I've had a number of Orvis products that have been excellent. It's a company I've always thought well of. If the fly shop doesn't get me anywhere, I'll be taking it up with them directly.
Perhaps it's time to look more closely at those Redington CPX waders I've been hearing all the good things about...
27 May, 2009
- Au Sable
- Manistee (Big, below Tippy Dam)
- Pere Marquette
- Sturgeon (Central UP)
- Thompson Creek
For a relative newbie, I think that's pretty solid. A few are on my hit list for the coming year:
- Pine (NW lower peninsula one just below Manistee
- Little Manistee
- Big Two Hearted
- Manistee (Big, upper portions)
That should keep me busy exploring! With all the bad you hear about Michigan in the news, our natural resources are really unmatched. To have all these world-class rivers within a few hours is pretty amazing. I must say the Pere remains my favorite, but I'm also getting to like the remote little UP trout streams. And while the Huron doesn't have trout -- it's five minutes away.
26 May, 2009
22 May, 2009
21 May, 2009
While I love being on some obscure river up north, I find a baseball game on a summer evening every bit as cathartic. Comerica Park is a great destination and to me is about as good as the city of Detroit delivers. The people are friendly, the view of the skyline as the sun sets is wonderful.
And then there are the hot dogs. Though it's a simple pleasure, there's nothing like a real natural casing hot dog from the ballpark. Not the generic steam table ones at every stand. You have to hunt down the "real thing" and grilled onions just finish the deal. Grab a cold beer to go with it and you have a complete meal. Healthy? Nope. But damn tasty.
Didn't hurt that the Tigers won, and I got to see Zumaya pitch -- always a treat when he's on. A different sort of outside, but nevertheless it's outside.
19 May, 2009
Sorry, nothing too profound today. FYI, look for pix from UP trip soon -- I now have them collected from others on the trip so I'll do a post soon with a bunch.
18 May, 2009
14 May, 2009
13 May, 2009
According to a study published by Andersonville Development Corp. when you spend $100 with a locally-owned business, $32 leaves your community and $68 stays. Contrast this with a non-locally-owned business where $43 stays and an astounding $57 leaves your area. This study is a little dated (2004) so I wonder how dramatic the difference is for Internet-based business -- I'm sure it's astounding.
So, think of it this way -- if you spend money locally, it may cost more for the purchase, but it saves you in the long run. That business pays taxes, which helps keep yours down. Their employees spend money in the community, which keeps costs competitive. I own a home in a town where the largest employer is a public university who doesn't pay taxes, so this really hits home with me. And it didn't hurt to be able to have my local bike shop set-up my disc brakes on the mt. bike properly after I couldn't quite get it right. Or have the guy at the fly shop teach me how to tie a new knot.
A little off-topic, but I'm also a believer in trying to buy locally sourced produce. In addition to usually being more fresh and healthy, it also requires less fossil fuel for transit. But the Michigan Food & Farming Systems consortium also says that if every Michigan family bought just $10 per week in Michigan produce, it would keep $37 million a week from leaving Michigan. That's stunning. And in a state that's in the news almost daily for it's faltering economy, that's not chump change.
This is not to be elitist, or high-falutin'. Do I sometimes fall short of this goal? Yup. But I find that if I'm conscious of making these decisions, it's really pretty easy to spend more money locally. Change comes not from a few making sweeping modifications, but from many making incremental improvements.
12 May, 2009
On the way back from the UP trip, I got to experience my first real "hatch" on a trout stream, spending an evening on the Au Sable during a Hendrickson hatch. Most of my recent fishing has been sub-surface with either weighted steelhead rigs, streamers, or nymphs. The bugs were as thick as snow at times and it was a really amazing experience. Plus, it was a really good opportunity to put the things I've learned from others and from reading to work. My casting was solid -- I was consistently able to put flies where I wanted them using standard and roll casts. By mending, I could get a natural drift. It felt really good to be able to think of a strategy and then implement it.
Ah, but all was not perfect. I didn't actually CATCH anything! I had a few takes and some interest, but no closed deals. I think part of it was learning to detect strikes. After a few days of steelhead fishing, where it's like hooking an angry freight train, trout were so subtle and polite. A simple "gloop" was about the only indicator.
The beauty, style, and subtlety of trout fishing was very therapeutic. Smooth delivery, cadence, and technique all seemed key, but not stressful. A really relaxing experience and perhaps the best way I could imagine to spend a pleasant summer evening.
11 May, 2009
A friend gave me a Graveyard 31t front sprocket (way cool piece of BMX gear) this weekend. So this set me off on a quest to start comparing gear ratios and see what I might need to run in the back. After trying about 14 online calculators, I gave up. Seems to me it shouldn't be that hard to devise a calculator that lets you input wheel size, crank length, front and rear gearing and gives you a simple multiplier ratio.
At any rate, I think a 16t rear freewheel should do it. Appears to be a little lower than 41-20 and significantly lower than 41-18 stock. Yikes. Why is it always the simple things that become the most complex?
On the upside, the rear wheel is SWEET! Seems completely bulletproof. And the White Industries ENO eccentric hub seems the perfect solution for chain tension.
08 May, 2009
Took the new (to me) single-speed mountain bike for a spin last night. I'm digging that thing (SE Racing BMF). Big 29er wheels roll over obstacles effortlessly. It's just simple and stupid fun to ride.
And, it's proven to be a fun tweaking platform. Found an online deal on disc-brakes (Avid BB-7's for you gearheads) and cables. After a quick review of an installation video on YouTube, I got the front brake installed and set-up. Looks way-cool and cleaner than the rim brakes, works GREAT.
Steve Sauter at Great Lakes Cycle is working on my back wheel to get some more strength and also to convert it to a White Industries ENO eccentric hub so I have a chain tension solution. Once that's done, I'll install rear disc. Also picked up a little larger freewheel for rear to see if I can get the BRUTAL gear ratio (41-18) down a bit. A friend who's a lifelong flatland BMX guy thinks he has some extra smaller front sprockets, so that might help, too. I'm thinking 34t should do it.
Fun project bike, fun to ride, and scratches my itch for an updated mountain bike. Pix coming when I get a bit further along.
UPDATED: Picked up rear wheel today -- WAY cool! Steve did a great job. Having him do the front so I have a bulletproof set. Hoping to install freewheel and new chain this weekend.
07 May, 2009
06 May, 2009
With the help of the guys at Old Au Sable, we found a great location, got some solid pointers on flies, and encouragement that an "epic" Hendrickson hatch was going to happen that evening. I can't say enough good things about Andy and his staff. If you're headed through Grayling and have even a passsing interest in fly fishing, these are great folks with a terrific shop. Very willing to help newbies!
So, Paul and I drive to the first access point they suggest. NOBODY there!!! Woo-hoo! Wader up! My fly efforts have been mostly wet nymphing or various steelhead techniques. This was my first true attempt with a bit of knowledge and the right equipment on the dry fly. The hatch was surely on -- the bugs were so think they almost looked like little snowstorms at times. And they looked just like what I had tied on. Paul got a couple small ones, while I had some solid interest but no takers.
But, what a cool experience. Easy relaxed wade down a superb river. Leisurely casting (after a few days of more vigorous chuck n' duck and indy fishing for steelies). An entirely pleasant way to spend a nice summer evening. Of course, the two mile hike back upstream to the truck in waders wasn't optimal, but I'll chalk it up to a learning experience. I will definitely be back!
I'll be back with more on UP trip this week -- including lots of photos!
01 May, 2009
I love exploring in the UP. It's such a different place from any of lower Michigan. And this will be a good time to test some of the knowledge I've acquired since my trip up last Fall. Eager to try the new chuck n' duck rig, and the teeny-tiny trout rod on some of the little streams back in.
Photos and reports will follow!