Friday, December 11, 2015

Rascher Hunting Pants (Wool)

Unfortunately I have yet to make it out afield this year and the cold wet El Nino winter that was predicted has yet to materialize.  In anticipation of it though, I have purchased another pair of warm pants from the German hunting apparel company, Rascher.  These will be my second pair of pants from this company, my first were written about here.  Those pants have served me well both in the uplands and the wetlands.  Unlike the old pair these new pants are all wool throughout and are lined for maximum warmth.
Just like the old pair, these pants include a cargo pocket with a knife holder on the right hand side.  The cargo pocket is secured via two buttons.
In addition there are three zippered security pockets, two rear and one key located in the front right hand pocket.  I like these feathers as I can be assured that my keys won't fall out of my pockets while kneeling or resting.

While the virgin wool is soft to the touch, the quilted lining adds not only warmth but additional comfort.  The lining runs the entire pants.
These Raschers include some elasticity for expansion at the waist. I found the sizing in the last pair rather snug and had to return my order and exchange it for one that was one size up to feel comfortable.  The wool pants however were sized more closely to American standards.  I ordered my normal size and felt it is a tad tighter than I'd prefer but not too bad as to exchange them.  I did order a pair for my old man who wears a size up from me and I tried those but felt them a little too loose. 
Not surprisingly construction of these pants are very good.  There is double material on all the highly worn areas such as the seat and at the knees.  It is also double stitched at that these areas as well.  These Polish made German pants do not come cheap.  They currently retail for $298 but I managed to get 30% off after receiving a coupon in my inbox.  If the last El Nino winter is any indication of what we can expect, I suspect these pants will get quite some use this season. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Some More Time In The Backcountry

The heatwave has dissipated somewhat and it's finally starting to feel like fall.  With that in mind we set out with our backpacks to try out luck at some wild trout.  With headlamps we hiked through the night and made our way into the backcountry.   
Awakening to a cold morning just above freezing, we sluggishly made breakfast and set up for the day's fishing.  Already set up with dry-dropper rig, I was too lazy and my fingers too cold to re-rig with a more appropriate nymphing set up.  That did not stop Chul though as he re-rigged with a Czech nymph.  I waited until well past 10am before I started to really fish hard when the sun finally hit he water activating the sluggish fish.
We both managed several fish all on dry flies until the wind picked up and put down the fish.  Fishing was slow but we manged a fish here and there.  Apparently from our conversations with several other fishermen, we didn't do half bad as they all struggled to get fish to bite.  Seemed like all of them were nymphing and couldn't get many if any to take.  So we decided to forgo the last day and pack out Saturday.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Summer of Suck Continues

Spent some time at one of the locals only to find the once great stream is now devoid of any fish.  Thanks drought.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

MVL In A Sorry State

Orange County's once premier private bass lake has died.  Golden algae has devastated the fish population.  Mass die offs happened earlier this year, halting trout plants.   As a result Mission Viejo Lake recently began planting tilapia and catfish.  Since neither Chul or I had ever caught a tilapia on a fly, we thought we'd give it a shot.  What a waste.  We have never seen the water in such a sorry state.  It's quite a shame.  All the fish we saw were died ones floating on the surface.  One at the docks which was a tiny sunfish and later a 2 pound catfish.  We were told the tilapia were holding deep.  Without a fish finder and armed with only 5 weights with 150 and 220 grain heads it was pointless.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Cognet Le Capucin

Cognet is a French company dating back 1835 and has been a family business since 1902.  They gained a worldwide reputation for their famous Douk-Douk knife.  Among their lineup is Le Capucin, a classic French shepherd's knife. 
Carried by the Romans, the friction folder design is one of the oldest known knife design still in existence.   With origins from the Pyrenees, this knife is also known as "the knife with two pins."  The name comes from the fact that it has two pins, a pivot pin and a stop pin. 
Le Capucin derives from the fact that the end of the knife's handle resembles the hood worn by the a group of Friars, the Orders of Friars Minor Capuchin.
Somewhat antiquated by today's standard, the friction folder is a simple design made from a single piece of wood without any liners, backspring, or lock thus creating a very lightweight knife at 1.5 ounces.  
The blade is said to resemble a sage leaf.  It is flat ground and forged out of XC75 carbon steel.  Although there is no nail nick there is plenty of steel to grip to open the blade.  Markings on the steel are kept to a minimum with only a discreet Cognet logo on the steel.
The handle accommodates my medium sized hands and there is plenty of room for larger.  Le Capucin comes in several variations of handle materials from horn to wood but I choose the olive wood version. 
A close up view of the two pins.  While I love any knife (or any product) with a story or history, it seems the French knives keep getting my attention. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Maserin Mushroom Knife 804/OL

For some time now I've wanted to start mushroom hunting.  Unfortunately due to the drought conditions, it has made mushroom hunting in Southern California pointless.  So I'll have to wait until we get some wet years before I can go out and try my new folding blade.
Having never hunted mushrooms I looked at several knives before choosing on the Italian Maserin 804 in olive handles.  While there are mushroom knives more expensive, this Maniago hand-made Maserin can be considered a "higher" end model at $82.95.  Most quality models from reputable companies like the Italian made Mercury, or French made Opinels start at around $30.  Unlike most mushroom knives the 804 comes with a sheath.  Also included is a warranty card.
Generally all mushroom knives come with a blade, a brush, and a ruler.  Price differences lie in how those features are incorporated into the knife and it goes without saying so does fit finish and teh quality of materials.
If you've never seen a mushroom knife, a unique feature of most mushroom knives is the design of the blade.  Most blades have some kind of curve and like most Maserin mushroom blades this model has a two tier concave design.   The locking blade is made of 440 stainless steel.  There is a large nail nick but I find it unnecessary as there is plenty of steel to hold on to while opening the knife.
The handles are made of olive wood held together with four pins.  At the butt of the handle houses the rotating concealable mushroom brush that is made of nylon.  On one side of the handle is an etched metric ruler to add in positive identification.
On the other side it is plain without any etchings or markings.
Typical in most mushroom knives I've seen the handles have no bolsters.  Both the liner and backspring are stainless steel.  The lock is located at the middle of the spring.  The liners do not extend all the way down the scales as it stops where the rotating brush is located.
In the Swiss Army Knife fashion there is tweezers hidden in the handle.  Easily accessible for picking twigs or debris off mushrooms.
A two position belt cordura belt sheath is included.  Carrying the knife vertically accommodates belts just over 2.5 inches while if you choose to carry the knife horizontally you'll be lucky to fit it in a one inch belt.  While there is a two button closure the bottom button is perfect length for this knife.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good Meal But Bad Fishing

Chul helped me out on a house project so I treated him to dinner and afterwards we attempted for an hour to coax a few bass on a popper in the darkness but had no luck.  Maybe next time.

Quick Session

Spent about an hour on the local brown water managed a carp within the first few minutes.  After that I did some exploring of new sections of river that was loaded with carp sunning in skinny water.  Winds were already blowing hard when I arrived so I didn't spend too much time fishing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Morning Carping

Spent couple hours in the late morning chasing down some carp.  Managed three to hand before I started filming off a mini tripod.  Once I did that it seemed like the fish got video shy and refused to take even at the most perfectly presented fly.  I could have sworn some of those were taken but it seemed only to spook the fish off.  I later learned my hook had broken off and would have at least doubled my tally for the day had I known.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hiked 18 Total Miles To Catch One Fish Among Us

After monitoring weather reports, we decided to hit up the backcountry as cooler weather was predicted.  This cooler weather though came at a price, thunderstorms in the high country.  Despite knowing this we risked the tough fishing in the hopes we could fool a fish or two.
We left Thursday afternoon hoping to beat the holiday weekend traffic.  We arrive at the trailhead and with headlamps readied began our hike into the canyon as the sun was setting.  Knowing a full moon was in our future I packed a few mouse patterns in the slim hopes of getting an aggressive trout to come up at night.  We made camp and I threw a few casts without any success.  We noticed even with our headlamps the water was murky and visibility low.  Fishing tomorrow was going to be tough.
The plan was to hike in deep to an area we never seen before so we awoke made our breakfast and started our trek.  We tried not to let the murky water let us down but add the fact that it was going to be warm did not ease our minds.
Fishing was tough.  I tried every method possible- dries, dries and dropper, indicator nymphing, high sticking, Czech nymphing, drop shotting, streamer fishing with both floating line and sink tips.  Nothing.  To add insult to injury, cicadas and hoppers were abundant which would have been epic fishing had the conditions cooperated.
Chul finally hooked up with our only fish of the trip on a caddis pupa.  We pumped the stomach for contents and the fish was loaded with caddis pupa, larvae, mayfly nymphs of various sizes and a cicada.
We tried fishing a bit upstream until we decided to call it quits and head back to basecamp.  My new lightweight Patagonia Rock Grip boots I bought specifically for backcountry fishing disappointed me as it caused both heels to blister.  These made fishing even more miserable.  Moleskin didn't even help.  When we arrived back at camp we started preparing our freeze dried meals while we waited for the food to rehydrate we fished the twilight hours in the hopes of getting a trout to rise.  None were willing.  In fact we only saw four fish come up at this time.
In the morning we awoke, packed our gear and fished on the way out.  In retrospect we should have simply hiked out in the cooler early morning weather as the fishing was no better than the previous day despite the water clearing up to some degree.  We made it back to the truck treated with cold Gatorades, mango and oranges from the Yeti.  Our call to avoid driving home on Sunday was a brilliant move as the lower section of the river was an absolute zoo.  We headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch before heading home in time for the light show.
Happy Independence Day!