Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

It has been a few weeks since I hit the carp waters. This morning I decided to hit it up before I headed into the office to meet my business partner. There were a few things going against me today. First I left the home way too late. I didn't arrive at the water until after 10:30. Way too late. By the time I was stream side the winds had already began picking up. Sight casting was going to be tough. Next the vegetation growth was out of control. My usual casting lanes are now gone, leaving only a few places left you can even cast a fly rod. Not only that but just navigating through it all was as if I was in some tropical jungle. I really needed a machete. Ultimately I managed to cast to a couple of carp but had no takers.

The day was a bust although I did find some baby bluegills nests. Unfortunately I was able to get any to bite. There was either a large bluegill or a normal sized bass near it that I managed a quick glance before it vanished in the deeper waters. Looks like I won't be fishing these waters for the rest of the summer

Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Disassemble A Darne Shotgun

To field strip a Darne, first place the gun on safe and open the action.

Underneath the sliding action there is a tang, push it upwards and the ears will pop forward a bit. Don't slide the action too far back you won't be able to reach this tang as the comb of the stock will get in the way. On subgauges its even more difficult as there is less real estate to get your finger under the action.

Slide the action all the way rearward. Once all the way rearward, you may need to push the ears forward a little, pulling the action upwards a bit.

Then you can remove the entire action from the rails by sliding it off.

Inside the receiver there is the barrel release. It works like a seesaw. Push the side closest the barrels downward.

Now the barrels can be removed. Depending on your Darne, you may or may not be able to do this without much force. Some shotguns are easy and you can remove them with simply your hands and just pull them off while others require tremendous amount of force to jar the barrels free. If the latter is the case then you hold the shotgun stock with one hand and the other on the barrels. Then you can tap the end of the barrels (not too hard) on the carpet to free it. The first time you do this its quite awkward as forcing your barrels down onto the floor is very counter intuitive and rather scary.

Once you've done that, you have now the gun field stripped for cleaning or inspection.

To reassemble reverse the order.

Place the bites in their slots. Then pull the barrels forward.

Once the barrels are put back, push the rear side of the barrel release downward.

Line the sliding action with the rails.

Pull the ears all the way back slide the action forward. You may get some resistance. If you do you'll need to wiggle the ears slightly forward and back until the action slides onto the rails and locks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rascher Hunting Pants

I finally received a pair of Rascher hunting pants I ordered months ago. These are hunting pants are made from Rascher, a German hunting apparel company that specializes in traditional German hunting wear. With over a hundred years of experience, Rascher is designed by hunters. These pants are not only thornproof but wind and waterproof as well. Made with microvelour with a Cordura face, these pants are thick. Definitely designed for cold weather. My intention was to use these pants for big game hunting (although I don't do much of it), but these pants are also suitable for upland or duck hunting as well.

Like just about anything designed by Germans, these pants are well thought out with many features.

One of the main reasons I bought these pants was the integrated knife pocket. Traditional Bavarian hunting knives, like the Linder trachtenmesser seen above, do not have sheaths that attach to the belt. Knives are worn in the pant pockets. This is never done here in the States and no pants have a knife pocket so I would have to carry that knife in some sort of pack and not on my person directly. I did not want to do that so I started looking for German hunting pants.

These pants are made of microvelour and Cordura.

The pants are also loaded with pockets including a cargo pocket.

With a button closure, you can secure larger items in the cargo pocket.

The opening at the edge of the cargo pocket is where the integrated knife pocket is located.

Trachenmesser fits perfectly in the pocket.

The front, just like any pants, has traditional hand pockets but the right side also has an additional security pocket with zip safety. You can rest assured that cars keys, money clip, or whatever will not fall out while trekking through the brush.

Both rear pockets have zipper closures as well so you can secure your wallet or hunting license.

The waist allows for some elasticity as we all get fatter when we get older.

The Cordura is a thick material and good protection against all the nastiness one may encounter in the field. These pants are not early season pants at least not here in California. Being microvelour as well these pants are warm. My father's intention is to hunt British Columbia when he takes possession of his custom made Martini Hagn single shot later this summer. If I join him these pants will becoming with us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Custom Made Knife Sheaths For My Hubertus And Boker Knives

I just picked up a pair of custom made leather knife sheaths for my Hubertus Small Game Knife and my Boker Bird Knife. I'm alittle disappointed that the sheath for the Hubertus is so wide. I'd preferred to thinner more inconspicuous knife holder. When I bought the Hubertus earlier this year I looked all over the place for a sheath for it. Unfortunately I could not find one in leather. The current fashion is everything tactical and leather has lost favor. No stores carry it and if they do usually its made in China. No thank you. I really wish this whole tactical craze would just go away and bring back the good old world stuff back. So I looked for a leather maker to make me a custom one, I found one not to far from my house.

Here is a view of what the pouches look like with the flaps open with the knives inside. I chose to have tabs rather than buttons just because I prefer them.

Belt loops are 1.5 inches plenty for my Filson belt I wear while wingshooting.

Each sheath cost me $35. Although I'm not too crazy about Hubertus sheath for the cost I can't complain too much.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Charlton Reel Maker Dies

I just read that last month the fly fishing community lost another valued member. Jack Charlton passed away from cancer. Jack made high quality, high end reels. My father bought one in the 90s and has been in my possession since from graduating college in 2000. Unfortunately this Charlton Elite Series 8500 1.2 has yet to catch a fish. It has been only fished once as opportunities to use such a big rod are minimal in SoCal unless you have access to a salt water boat capable to hitting the open water which I don't.

I had considered taking it with me on my two trips tarpoon fishing in Costa Rica but in those days it was not long after 9/11 so bringing reels in your carry-ons was forbidden (I'm not sure if it's still the case). Considering that at that time Jack had retired (he did come back and started making the Mako Series of Charlton reels years later), I figured that the reel was irreplaceable so I didn't want to potentially risk losing it.

Here is the view of the back side of my Charlton Model 8500 1.2 with it's very large drag knob. This is designed for easy manipulation while fighting large fish.

Currently I have this reel loaded with 450 gr line that's been fished once on Bryan Webb's old boat the "Sea Spider" at Catalina Island. We were targeting yellowtail but all I managed was Calicos on my 8 weight. Unfortunately when I switch to this heavier set up, the fishing died down and I was unable to get a fish on this reel. Spools are easily removable and take only a few minutes to change by turning the silver disk counter clockwise. Currently I have a spare with a floating line.

Here is a view of the drag system. At one point Charlton offered cork drags that were sealed in the reel to prevent the cork from swelling and eventually deteriorating. This drag is carbon fiber has many advantages over cork. Carbon fiber has a high heat characteristic as such does not expand as heat increases as fish make long runs.

This reel came with, without a doubt, one of the nicest pouches I've ever seen. The interior is lined with padded suede-like material. It's almost couch-like.

Rest in peace Mr. Charlton.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hoonie 2 (H2) Fly

Hook: Gamakatsu SC15
Tail: Arctic Fox Peach
Body: Ice Dubbing Orange- tied with a dubbing loop
Rib: Copper Wire
Wing: Arctic Fox Peach
Eyes: Dumbbell eyes
Thread: Danville Flat Nylon Orange
Antennae: Krystal Flash (optional)

The Hoonie 2 or H2 fly has never been published although the creator had submitted it to Gary Bulla for his website. For whatever reason Gary never added it. This fly was created by my friend Kyung Kim who invented the original Hoonie fly (tying instuctions are on Gary's site), which has always been one of my go-to bay/surf flies. This fly is a bigger variation of that great fly and can be tied to hooks up to size 1. The Hoonie 2 also known as the H2 is a ghost shrimp pattern and can be tied in not only orange but white, pink, chartreuse or any variation thereof. You can add krystal flash to the tail (and even the wing) if you choose but use it sparingly. I personally never liked flies with a lot of flash. I often leave it out when tying this fly and have still slayed them.

Tie the body up to the eye but not over the eyes. Reinforce the eyes with the wire just like the picture above. Speaking of the body, although I use Ice Dubbing in a dubbing loop for the body, Kyung has told me that the original pattern was never dubbed. I asked him then what did he use. When he originally gave me the fly about 6 or 7 years (or more) ago, when I looked at that fly I thought it was a dubbed body. Unfortunately Kyung has been away from the whole fly fishing scene for a while now and he has since forgotten what the originally material was, although he did say it was some sort of chenille style material. I remember looking at the fly he gave me and it did not look like ice chenille, it simple didn't have those fibers sticking out. Kyung told me if he ever figures it out he'll let me know. Either way, the pattern works and works really well. So well that the majority of the flies in my bay box are Hoonies or Hoonie 2s.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cold War Era Zeiss Optics- 30x60 B Monocular and Dialyt 8x30 B

Having grown up during the cold war era, I am always biased toward gear that has come from that time. If you know me I'm particularly fond of anything German especially those items marked "Made in W. Germany." The following two Zeiss optics have a special place in my heart.

The first is a Zeiss 30x60B and the second is a Dialyt 8x30B. Both are rubber armored. Rubber, being a natural material, has a tendency to be problematic since in can dry out, crack or rip among other things. In fact my own 30x60B needs a new lens cover (as you can see by the photos below) as it has gone brittle and torn. The Dialyt has had its skin replaced already once. This is probably why, for the most part, soft rubber has gone out of favor.

With all its weaknesses, I still love rubber armored optics. Its so Cold War, it takes me back to the days of Checkpoint Charlie, Regan, Gorbie, USSR, West v East Germany, Stasi, Kremlin, etc. To me those were the days...

I remember back in those days being a youngster going to the now long gone South Coast Gun Club with my father shooting his HK 300 and 770, looking through this spotting scope checking our groupings from 100 yards away. So this scope has sentimental value to me.

As you can see the rubber lens cap is now falling apart. I've contact Zeiss and I will be getting a replacement. I'm not sure if I should just send the whole unit back to replace the entire rubber and have the unit serviced while there. This unit is over 25 years old and although the armor is still good, I hate to think that in future when the rubber does go bad that replacement parts have become obsolete.

Another view of the broken lens cap.

The unit sits on a removable motorized focusing motor drive. It takes 4 AA batteries and focuses via these two buttons. I remember being a kid and absolutely loving this feature. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

View from the top. The rifle sights help, since being so high powered and therefore having a very narrow field of view, getting your optic on the intended target.

With a 60mm objective it is quite bright, bright enough for star gazing which I used to do as a child.
The next Zeiss is a Dialyt 9x30B in green armor. This unit is older than I am. In fact my father bought this years before I was born. As a child I used to try to play this Zeiss when I played army. I can tell you my dad was none to happy when I did. Now as an adult I can see why.

This Dialyt has been on countless wild boar and deer hunts back in the day.

Honestly I find this style far more attractive than its modern counterparts. Although I do like and own modern Leicas, they do not evoke the type of emotional response like this Zeiss. I think this has such a classic appearance it just timeless. It is my opinion this binocular looks much better paired with a double rifle on safari than any modern Zeiss, Leica, or Swarovski ever will.