22 August, 2012

Gun Lust

I don't need it, I don't need it, I don't need it.

But I've always loved the Browning Citori 525. Couldn't really see much difference in the 625. Then at this year's SHOT Show I saw the new 725. For a brief moment, the heavens parted and an otherworldly light shone on this beauty.

Browning did an extensive redesign on the venerable x25 to make the 725 truly special. A lower profile receiver, paired with a redesigned barrel rib, and a new grip make the 725 fall to hand like a finely handcrafted bespoke gun. The action's butter-smooth and the trigger is as crisp as some custom range queen  rifles.

I can just see this superb firearm upping my sporting clays averages or busting pheasants in the field on a crisp early Winter day. Probably too nice for bunny busting or ducks. But I've got the Remington Versmax for that!

A beautiful piece of craftsmanship. And, at $2,500 (Field model) certainly not overpriced. If you're in the market, I would definitely check this new introduction out.


15 August, 2012


Regular readers will know that the swinging flies bug has bitten me good and hard! This year I discovered the potential of swinging flies for smallmouth. Now swinging isn't limited to the Fall steelhead run or some brief windows in the Spring. Now I can add the early and late smallmouth seasons! This is exciting as I get a few more outings throwing a two-handed rod, plus there's some solid smallmouth fishing in my back yard.

This all started with a deal on a very lightly used TFO Deer Creek Series 6-weight switch rod. Add a Ross Evolution 3 reel, and a Scientific Anglers running line/skagit head with a Rio VersiLeader and you have my rig.

So far, my only fish had been hooking, and losing, a rather nice carp. Until yesterday.

On a vacation to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I had the opportunity to wet a line in the Manistique river. After no success in the upper section where I usually fish (which was productive in steelhead season), I moved to a lower, smaller, and faster stretch. I also switched over to a pattern in my box that looked just like some minnows I'd seen on my way down river.

Third drift - I get a soft ticking that feels like I'm hanging up on the rocks on the bottom. Then that ticking gives way to the stubborn pull of a smallmouth bass! If I was generous he might have been ten inches, but that's really not the point. One thing I've found in fly fishing is that a huge step is targeting, hooking, and landing one on your own. For me, getting that first one solo is often a turning point. Looking forward to much more swinging as the Fall approaches.


09 August, 2012

Final Touches

I love my CZ-452 Trainer .22LR rifle. It shoots precisely. It has beautiful lines. And, it didn't cost much.


The trigger guard is an absolute piece of crap. The stamped steel guard is rough and just looks really cheesy on an otherwise super cool gun. I'd found a milled replacement on a rimfire forum, but it appeared the company had gone out of business.

Recently while on that same forum, I saw a mention of a DIP trigger guard. Could it be? Could I finally be able to finish this sweet little gun with a trigger guard that's as nice as the rest of it? Yup, looks like it! I have one on order! Sadly it's backordered, but heh, I waited this long!

Upon closer inspection, I found two other interesting products. I've never been crazy about the stock plastic magazine well. But, it's an internal part and seems unlikely to see much stress so it was never a priority. Well lookee here - it's an aluminum magazine well! Wa-HOO! On further inspection, there's also an extended magazine release. Awesomeness! Didn't even know I wanted one until I saw it.

Can't wait for the trigger guard to arrive! And maybe some nice cold shooting weather along with it!


07 August, 2012

Signs of the Seasons

The past two days have started off with cool mornings - even had to throw on a fleece to walk the dog this morning. This morning I noticed a marked increase in migratory geese. Starting to see reports of salmon in the NW Michigan rivers.

It's here.

While I have certainly learned to appreciate Summer in recent years, Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons in Michigan. Already thoughts of swinging for Fall steelhead, watching the colors explode in the woods, duck and pheasant hunts, football tailgates, and epic powder days are swirling in my head. It means my Fall trip to Montana is coming soon, and that the reality of standing in a Winter Wonderland in the middle of a remote river chasing chrome aren't too far off.

But then reality strikes. It's supposed to crack 90 degrees today. And tomorrow. This will be made a bit easier by the comfort of a changing season on the horizon.


03 August, 2012

Little Stick, Big Fun

When I originally purchased my Scott A3 8'6" 4-weight, my intent was to use it for smaller water and fish on the trout streams of Northern Michigan. Catching a 6" brookie on a 6-weight seems just ridiculous. I figured this would make an evening on the South Branch of the AuSable so much fun.

Little did I know that this rod would be the basis for a rig that's become my go-to local set-up. This all started with an evening throwing poppers to a bluegill bed off the front of my buddy's pontoon boat. Since my 7-weight A3 was all I had with me, that's what I did it with. Let's just call it overkill.

At that point, I decided that perhaps my little 4-weight was more versatile than I'd considered. With this in mind, I acquired a Ross Evolution 2 reel and spooled it up with backing and a Rio Coldwater Clouser line. It's actually the rig shown in the photo at the top of the blog (and yes, that looks like the upper Manistee river and no I wouldn't normally run that line on that river).

This Spring, with gas prices still steep and free time at a premium, I made myself a goal of getting out more regularly to fish for smallmouth bass. A little poking around on the Huron river found me a nice little spot that nearly always yields some fish.

Sure, there are plenty of dinks -- bluegill, sunfish, rock bass, and smallies. But every once in a while I stick a good smallie and that makes my day! A 12" smallmouth on a 4-weight puts some nice bend in the rod. My biggest to-date went about 14" and I've also gotten a softball-sized sunfish! The best part is that it's literally a few minutes from my home. Got an hour to kill on a week night? Go fishing! If you don't have a little rig like this, build one up and have some fun!