Saturday, October 25, 2014

Duck Club Invitation

I've never hunted a private duck club before so I was excited when I received an invitation to hunt The Little Ramona Duck Club from my new hunting buddy Jeff.  I met Jeff on an online forum when I posted a picture of one of my past hunting trips and he inquired about my Merkel Model 8.  He had thought it was a Sauer, a gun that he had once owned in the past.  This struck a conversation regarding fine doubles and we became fast friends.  He asked if I would like to join him at his club and I jumped on the opportunity.
After about three hours sleep I awoke in the morning to meet Jeff personally for the first time near the entrance of the club.  After a few pleasantries and war stories we made our way to the blind (14).  Half way to there Jeff realized he forgotten the duck stamp in his car.  So we unpacked the gear once we made it to the blind and raced back to the car to get it and raced back before legal shooting time.
Only a handful of club members showed up today which meant most blinds were available but this blind was one of the more sought after ones.  The club assigns blinds for two weeks after that you move 5 blinds away.  Jeff hunted last week on the opener and managed a handful of teal and spoonies.  He did clean up the algae from his decoy spread the day before to ensure a landing spot for the birds.  When he returned again today he was disappointed to see the algae return covering the all his previous week's labor.  This meant birds would unlikely land in the spread making calling somewhat useless and also meant we'd be pass shooting for the most part.  Had he know the pond was covered in green stuff he would have taken another blind.
The morning was slow with the occasional flyby by a teal but with the low light and speed at which they came in there were no shots fired.  Eventually we'd see spoonies fly but none in shooting distance.  Typically Jeff doesn't take shovelers and lets them pass.  Since he figured not many "good" birds were around we'd take them.  Not long did one buzz through our pond.  We both fired and it fell from a lung shot.  Since it was before 7:30 and it fell beyond our pond, club rules didn't allow us to go get it at this point.  So we marked it and would go fetch it when we were allowed.  Of course this did not go well with Kaiser as he it made him whine even more.  Kaiser is not much of a blind dog.  He never was trained to sit patiently (not that he would even had I trained him to) while hunting.  He simply is too impatient and wants to run and hunt.  I warned Jeff about it and asked whether I should leave him home but he assured me that he didn't mind.  Not knowing Jeff, I was still slightly uneasy and not sure if he was just being polite I really didn't want to tick the guy off on our first meeting.  Especially since I wanted to be invited back!  I brought Kaiser though figuring he will be annoying but if we had a cripple or bird in the tules he would make up for it.  That is exactly what happened when the time came when we could leave our blind.  We worked the area we though the bird fell and after about twenty minutes of searching Kaiser the hen shoveler our of the cattails.
Hours would pass with no action.  Jeff seemed annoyed and apologized trying to reassure me but that was not needed.  I was hunting for free and in a place I have no access to, not to mention I didn't have to endure the tedious process of the "sweat line."  I was all good. If it's slow, it's slow. Nothing we can do about so I just enjoyed the company.  Jeff and I have a lot in common and we think alike so time goes fast when conversation is easy.  Eventually Jeff saw a flock of geese in the distance and he followed them down into a nearby pond.  So we loaded our heaviest loads and headed there to jump shoot them.  Jeff misjudged their landing.  They landed on a closer pond than he thought. So he had me stay put as he would back track around the brush and try and drive them to me.  When he got to them they flew the opposite direction so he took them and nailed three all specklebellys.  There were small Canadas among them but Jeff managed to avoid them shooting the king of geese instead.  I saw one drop and saw another one cripple which Jeff gave a follow up when he reloaded.  Kaiser and I walked around to help with the retrieve.  Jeff had already picked up one and let me know they were specks and Kaiser picked up the one I saw fall.  Jeff let me know he hit a third bird and couldn't find it.  So Kaiser was tasked to find him.  Eventually Kaiser found him and gave chase as the bird tried to lift off.  Finally he caught up to it and brought the bird to me.  As it was in the high 80s we were sweating and returned to our blind.  After a quick rest in the shade of the blind we called it a day at 11.  All in all it was a good day.  Kaiser got his first taste and retrieve on geese.  The king of geese no less so I was happy even though I didn't get to pull the trigger on them but that's okay.  Thanks Jeff.  We really enjoyed ourselves and thanks for putting up with my annoying dog. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Antigravity Batteries XP-1

If all things go to plan I have a tentative trip coming up in a couple weeks.  I'll be in some remote, unpopulated parts of the country.  Even though I'll be accompanied by another Rover for most of the trip I thought it prudent to have the ability to jump start my vehicle without the help of another.  I learned about the Antigravity Batteries on an offroad magazine I read in the newsstand.
After reading some good reports on offroad forums I decided to pick one up.  I've had the battery die on me before on a trip in Utah.  Luckily there was one other camper (the only other camper) in our campsite who was just about to leave that we were able to get a jump from.  Ever since then I have always had cautious.  Antigravity makes two models, I purchased the XP-1 which allows me not only to jump my auto but power my technology as well such as a laptop, iphone, Contour, or any other device that uses a USB port.
In addition to being a power source the battery also has a flashlight with a strobe SOS beacon function.   The unit small enough to fit in your back pocket.  So it will take little room in your vehicle.  According to the manufacturer the battery can jump start V8 15 times in a row and 30 times for small engines.
The unit comes with a case to hold the battery, jumper cables, wall charger, car charger, cell phone chargers, and adapters.  Retail is $159.99 but if you look hard enough you can get this unit for little over $100.  Like a tire repair kit, first aid kit or even a pistol I believe it's a necessary addition to anyone who takes roads (or what pass for roads) less traveled.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dog Walk Cut Short Tonight

I let Kaiser off heel and suddenly he gave chase at something into the night.  Not knowing what he was going after, I whoaed him and I shone my 200 lumen Surefire E2D to see what it was.  This cub must be part of the pack I've been hearing at nights.  With no weapon on me not even a blade, I didn't want to stick around to see the rest of the family.  We started to back peddle slowly, he cautiously followed.  Once we turned the corner and out of line of sight, Kaiser and I decided to get our exercise by jogging home.

No Easy Day Out

We wanted to feel a tug and with tide charts predicting a decent tide in the morning we headed off to the bay. The past few days  I've been tying up some monster flies I intended to use on bass and decided to try them out on the saltwater version.  I got a good strike early but was too late to set the hook.  It proved my only chance of the morning.  Chul managed a micro dink sand bass.  Other than that the only "excitement" was the warden was out checking licenses.  We headed to the mouth and with a pretty good swell hitting the jetty we were sure we'd get into some calicos but it was not the case.  We gave up after a few hours to head for a Malaysian lunch.  I can't wait until the bird season starts.
Roti Canai
Mamak Mee Goreng and Curry Chicken

Friday, October 3, 2014

Copic Airbrush

Recently while at the local fly shop Jaime let me know about the Copic Airbrush system.  This airbrush is unique in that instead of using paint it uses markers.  Advantages are seemingly endless, no more cleaning nozzles, or paint jars, and it's quick drying.  The system uses Copic markers, which hundreds of colors exist. 

The system is power either by compressed air from their proprietary air canisters or by an air compressor.  To use the latter one must buy the system with the air adapter which is simply an empty air canister, that acts as a grip, with an attachment point at the bottom.  There one can attach the air hose assuming it's the right size.  Unfortunately I have an old Badger 180-11 which uses a completely different size.

For the past few days I have been running around the county looking for an adapter. The local hardware stores, art supply houses, hobby stores, and craft stores were all no help.  It was not until one mentioned I look into a particular airbrush store did I finally find an adapter.
The adapter that was so hard to find.
The store was an interesting place, the employees were all tatted up with side ways caps, the patrons looked to be gangbangers ready to tag up the freeway overpass.  Even though they had something like six employees all doing nothing I stood around for ten minutes waiting for them to at least acknowledge me.  Finally I was helped and I was able to buy this $4 part.  It's a Badger to Iwata adapter.  Iwata uses the same fittings, Badger uses a smaller one.  So if you have an Iwata compressor you're probably good to go.
Just a couple of my old man's handmade and painted lures.  He probably made over forty.  Some Z plug types and such.
I've been playing around with the airbrush for the past couple days and despite getting a faulty but semi-functional unit (they are sending me a new one and I still get to keep this one I have).  My initial intention was to use it for poppers but I've noticed that many are using airbrush for feathers and other fly tying material.  So I plan on making some colorful patterns on my flies in the future.  It's been awhile since I airbrushed, I used them back in middle school when I built WWII model tanks.  When I stopped building models my old man used the airbrush to start painting his handmade lures that he used to chase big Stripers in our local lakes.  I need some more practice to make my painting look right.