A Fly With A Propeller? ?

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock but in my near 20 years of fly fishing I haven’t seen a fly with a propeller on it. These little guys are made by a small company in Trinidad, CO – Hi-Country Flies and these propeller flies are called the Original Pistol Pete. I guess we will see how they do on the Purgatorie River, Bear Lake and Blue Lake. If you look at their FB page all the people reviewing them seem to love these things. Looking forward to giving something new a try! So… have you used these type of flies? Check out their website…

https://www.pistolpeteflies.com/

Update.. I fished these things over and over on my trip to Southern Colorado and just didn’t have any luck. Zero strikes, zero anything. The vast majority of the fish I caught which was near 50 in two days were all caught on mosquito dry flies and the occasional bead head nymph. Sorry Pete but they didn’t work. But in their defense I have read reviews that people swear by them. Not sure they will hit my fly box again but never know.

I Love This Pad – The ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL – Truly Fantastic!

ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL

As I get older and older my ability to lay and sleep on a hard surface, like the ground, slowly goes away. With the upcoming gear review trip coming up a week from Monday I finally broke down and picked up a pad to sleep on while camping. After a decent amount of research I landed on the ALPS Mountaineering Rapid Air Pad XL.. yes I got the XL.. I’m not having to worry about backpacking with it or having to pack it into a small space. Nope.. it’s strictly from the truck to the tent so I went with the XL.

When end the box arrived I brought it inside and thought, seriously this box is huge. Then I reminded myself – Comfort.. We are going for comfort! Unwrapped it and quickly read over the instructions. If you have ever used a pad you know they are pretty darn basic. This pad is self inflating and has two brass valves – On the corners on one end. So it’s unscrew, inflate and screw the caps closed. The first inflation takes a few minutes and you do have to help with the inflation process by blowing into the valve and then sealing it. Leave inflated overnight and boom the next morning all is well in the sleep pad world. Deflate, roll up and secure with the two bands and shove it into the provided sack.

Like I said it‘s amazingly easy to use and I have to tell you it’s really comfortable. Not only does it inflate to get you up and off the ground but the core of the pad is a hexagon-shaped foam. Tell me that doesn’t sound fancy. Right, it does. So, overall I’m pleased with my experience with it so far and will obviously have more thoughts once I use it in a little over a week. So far, great job ALPS Mountaineering on a solid pad.

I have now slept on this awesome pad. All I can say is it was hands down the best nights of sleep I have ever had inside of a tent. Now let’s be clear… This is a good size pad and probably not something a backpacker is going to haul around for days but if you are driving up to your campsite or a short hike in this is a good option as it is incredibly comfortable.

Yes You Have Been Brainwashed! The Many Colors Of Blue Halo.

Yes… you have been brainwashed. I know it’s hard to hear but you and lots of other fly fisherman around the world have been convinced that you need to be fishing a boring, dull, drab and dreary colored fly rod. Go out to any stream, river or lake in your neck of the woods and you will see lots of brown, dark green, grey or black fly rods. And.. that’s ok if that’s what you like but…. if you are one of those people that likes a little flash or bright colors in your life look no further than Blue Halo. They have you covered with a large selection of awesome colors available. See the picture below (Yes I pulled the pic from their site but hopefully they won’t get onto me!!).

So you are saying yes I want a bright colored fly rod so I stand out on the stream but how do they perform? Well I’m glad you asked. Blue Halo rods are fiberglass and let’s be clear.. THIS IS NOT your grandfather’s fiberglass. No, No, No these are awesome, new, cutting edge fiberglass fly rods. When I got mine I thought.. Oh come on, how good can it really be? Well let me tell you.. The Blue Halo rod I have may have been delivered by USPS but in my mind the sky parted and it was dropped from heaven. Yes I know that is an exaggeration but this rod it awesome. Let’s be clear.. This rod is not the fast action rod everyone says you need to be fishing. Instead, this is a moderate action rod and it takes a little getting used to. Casting this rod is buttery smooth, slow it down, relaxing and totally enjoyable. It’s a winner in my books. Blue Halo rods are in your face bright colored but they require a slow relaxed casting motion in my experience – Let’s call it a cross between Van Halen and Smooth Jazz for you music lovers out there!

Now if you have read this far and are thinking yes I need one of these sticks, you need to reach out to Terry at Terry’s Custom Rods. He is awesome to work with, patient and will answer any questions you have. Terry is a class act and knows fly rods like the back of his hand and you couldn’t find a nicer person to deal with. Drop him a line and you won’t be disappointed.

So now we come to the point where you have to decide.. Are you the type of person that is ready to make the jump to being the one on the river whose fly rod doesn’t fit in? Or do you want to be the person wearing a tweed vest throwing dry flies with your brown fly rod? Of course you don’t – Get a Blue Halo from Terry’s Custom Rods and you will be happy…

Who Doesn’t Need A Fiberglass Rod Tube?

The newly released light blue fiberglass rod tube by Blue Halo is a real winner. Definitely unique and stands out when carrying an awesome Blue Halo rod around. Check them out at the link below and for $50 you really can’t go wrong owning one.

https://bluehalogear.com/produ…/rod-tube-4-piece-fiberglass…

Fall Gear Review Trip To Southern Colorado

First fall review trip coming up in two weeks from today. Heading out to Southern Colorado to the Trinidad/Weston area. We will be fishing the Purgatorie River, Blue Lake, Bear Lake and any small streams we can find. We are still compiling all the gear we will be taking to review so I’ll post closer to the time we leave.

This review trip will be my first time to use the Hipcamp app for booking a place to camp. It’s a great website / app if you haven’t checked it out yet. You can also look at my post about Hipcamp last week. Hipcamp provides a way for people to find private land owners that invite campers to use their land for a very small fee. We have picked out Steve C’s El Casa Allegre in the beautiful High Country of Southern Colorado. Steve has been over the top helpful with booking and giving advice on fishing locations. Steve is also reaching out to land owners on the Purgatorie River for permission for us to fish since we are doing reviews.

Steve and his wife describe on their Hipcamp post, we have 35+ acres of beautiful pine trees and large rock outcroppings and also open meadows to camp in. We have a common open kitchen area and also a common bathhouse. Come enjoy the clean air of 8,000’ and enjoy some fishing, hiking, riding or just plain relaxing.

Sounds like a great place to me and only $20 per tent site per night and that’s for 2 people. Additional people are an extra $5 per night.

More gear information prior to leaving and reviews and pictures once we are on the water.

The Cool World Of Hipcamp. An Alternative To The Public Campgrounds.

A lot of you have probably heard about Hipcamp but more than likely a lot haven’t.. In a world of vacation homes for rent littered all over sites like AirBNB, VRBO, HomeAway and others there really hasn’t been a place for people dedicated to camping. Until Hipcamp.. With a vision to change the way people camp, founder Alyssa Ravasio went about mapping all the public lands in the United States. Ummm. That in itself sounds like an amazingly difficult undertaking but she and Co-founder Eric Bach did it. Then it moved to private lands and this is what grabbed my attention when I ran across Hipcamp a few weeks ago.

From the Hipcamp website:

Hipcamp is everywhere you want to camp. Discover unique experiences on ranches, nature preserves, farms, vineyards, and public campgrounds across the U.S. Book tent camping, treehouses, cabins, yurts, primitive backcountry sites, car camping, airstreams, tiny houses, RV camping, glamping tents and more.

Camping is somewhat challenging when trying to book public campsites. You don’t know what you are really going to get or who you are going to be around. It doesn’t really feel like camping when you set up camp and an hour later Axl Rose and his band drop anchor 15 feet from you and start the night of partying. That’s not the kind of camping I want to do. I like dark, quiet places where you can sit back, relax and look at the stars and just enjoy being somewhere dead silent. So when I started searching Hipcamp and found numerous private land owners willing to open their land for near nothing in payment it caught my attention. Not only would there be a land owner nearby in most cases but the thought of being on private land adds a small level of safety that you don’t get at a public campground. At this point I was sold….

For a few days I spent a lot of time searching Hipcamp for locations I wanted to be testing gear over the next 6 months. I signed up for a free account and started saving my favorites. Then I ran into someone I knew and was telling them about my new awesome discovery. They asked if I had heard of Tentrr? I said no and thought to myself… Crap.. what is Tentrr and how could I have spent all this time and there might be something better than Hipcamp. I started my research and quickly realized Hipcamp is far better. Instead of asking you to believe me here are a few numbers to back up my opinion. Looking at the Tentrr site they list 3 states on their sites main page. New York, Maine and California. I decided to search all three states on both platforms since those must be their go to states with the most campsites.

New York
Tentrr – 273
Hipcamp – 600+

Maine
Tentrr – 86
Hipcamp – 100+

California
Tentrr – 42
Hipcamp – 300+

Then I looked up my home state Oklahoma
Tentrr – 1 (seriously just 1 ????)
Hipcamp – 83

At this point my research and comparison was done. Waste of time. So back to researching my upcoming gear review trips was back on at Hipcamp. I’m happy to say I have my spots picked out and will get them booked closer to the dates.

So, if you love to camp and love the outdoors, do yourself a favor and sign up for Hipcamp. Download the app or use the website. Whatever your preference just do it and you won’t be sorry. And shhhhh… dont tell the Hipcamp people I used their logo on my post!!

Now quit reading and get outdoors !!

A Light Inside A Hydration Bladder? – The Hydrolight 2L Back Country Lantern.

Hydrolight Outdoor Gear – 2L Backcountry Lantern – $45

Over the weekend I tested out the newly released 2L Backcountry Lantern by Hydrolight Outdoor Gear and I have to say I was overly impressed. You might be thinking… oh it’s just another hydration bladder but it really isn’t. The premise behind it is a hydration bladder with a small zippered waterproof pocket in the back so you can insert a headlamp, small flashlight or anything that lights up. When filled with water and the light turned on it diffuses the light and will really light up a small space like a tent.

After using multiple hydration packs in the past the Hydrolight holds its own in build quality. They are produced with great components and you can tell the minute you open the packaging. Highly impressed and at $45 it seems like a pretty good deal.

Round one I used water and it worked perfectly.

Round two I could probably be considered an idiot and put 7 cans of carbonated drink into the pack. Fast forward 10 minutes bouncing around in a boat and it expanded like a balloon. But… it held it’s own and never had a problem. Released the air and back to normal.

Overall it’s a great hydration pack and doubles as a lantern. Well worth the $45 in my opinion. All the people I was with thought it was a really cool product and asked where to pick one up. If I had one piece of advice for the people at Hydrolight Outdoor Gear it would be to offer some type of backpack type holder for the bladder like other manufacturers. I say this because I used it during the day as well when a light wasn’t needed and to be able to throw it on your back would be great. I’m sure this is in the works but that is honestly the only thing I would add or change.

Like I said this is a fairly new company so check them out and know if you pick one up you are getting a high quality product.

www.hydrolightoutdoorgear.com

Guest Review Of The Tenkara Rod Co. – The Sawtooth.

Today we have our first guest reviewer with a look at the Tenkara Rod Co. Sawtooth Rod. Having fished with Chris in the past I value his opinion and know he will tell it the way it is. Thanks Chris McIntire for taking the Sawtooth with you on your last trip to Colorado and we appreciate your review!

The Sawtooth Package retails on the website for $179.00 and comes with the Sawtooth 12’ rod, rod sock and tube, line, spool, 3 hand tied flies and some 5x tippet. Everything you need to get fishing.

Chris McIntire – Tenkara Rod Co – Sawtooth Rod Review

I’ve been excited to try Tenkara fishing for some time. If you’re like me, it’s hard to pick a rod over my favorites. I hate missing a fish because I’m not familiar with the gear! But this Sawtooth rod from Tenkara Rod Co. was simple to set up and get into action.

First thing: Incredible portability – easier to transport than ANY other rod I’ve owned or used. I backpacked this in it’s tube and the small satchel that holds the line and bugs.

Second: Easy set up. From opening the tube to first cast was only minutes. Rod expands quickly, tied leader into rod tip with simply loop, Tippet (included) tied with clinch knot on tippet ring and then the bug tied on too….casting in minutes.

Elegance is simple effectiveness and the Sawtooth accomplishes that in minutes.

I landed this beautiful trout on my second cast so what else is there to say? It simply works!

As I was casting I had a few thoughts. I would want at least two of these rods at different lengths for different types of water. With this sort of pricing, that’s easy to afford. The 12 foot length gives a great reach and I would want to have a shorter one to complement this one and pop them out as needed. (the set up is so fast, it would take NO time…)

I used the included tippet and found it to be a bit brittle when I tied the bug on and test tugged the line – no problem, I just grabbed my own spool and was catching fish in minutes.

I also caught this fish on the included dry fly to be able to give an “honest” review – so you can know if you get this Sawtooth Rod from Tenkara Rod Co. – you have everything you need to catch trout.

Obviously the entire world of flies is open to use but this kit is ready to roll and certified dangerous on the water as is! Thank you Bryan Pearson for introducing me to Tenkara and thank you Tenkara Rod Co. for the use of the rod! I highly recommend! ~Chris McIntire

The HELLbender Tenkara Rod by DRAGONtail Tenkara.

Quick trip to the lake this past weekend and tried out my new DRAGONtail HELLbender Tenkara Rod.. I didn’t have a lot of time to throw the line but was incredibly pleased with how it performed… but anything DRAGONtail Tenkara puts out is a winner! If you haven’t fished Tenkara before – Pick up a DRAGONtail Tenkara rod soon and give it a try… if you do fish Tenkara but haven’t fished a DRAGONtail rod head over to their website and and check them out. And lastly.. if you already own a DRAGONtail rod pick up another one. You know you need another Tenkara rod!! I’m going to be fishing the HELLbender a couple more times in the next week or so and will do a more in-depth review.

Also.. DRAGONtail is part of Moonlit Fly Fishing and from what I saw on Moonlit’s FB page they are getting ready to get a big batch of their Lunar S-GLASS Fly Rods. Website shows the regular price is $224.99 but they are currently on sale for pre-order for only $159.99. I would imagine that type of discount won’t last long so head over quick to take advantage of it. The glass rods look to come in 2wt-8wt. I will probably be picking up an 8wt once I nail down my trip to Argentina to fish for Golden Dorado!

Moonlit Fly Fishing website – www.moonlitflyfishing.com

Drop Brent a line and from my experience he will be happy to answer any questions you may have about both DRAGONtail and Moonlit products. Great guy with a great line of fly fishing gear.

Check back in a couple weeks for a full review of the HELLbender!

The DRAGONtail ShadowFire 365 Tenkara Rod

Review of the DRAGONtail ShadowFire 365. Tenkara Fishing is new to me and not what I have done in regards to fly fishing for the past 20 years. The things that gets me is the no reel aspect of Tenkara but the simplicity of it is fantastic. I decided to jump into it and reached out to Brent at DRAGONtail Tenkara for some information and guidance. If you are looking for someone that is incredibly knowledgeable and willing to answer loads and loads of questions Brent is your guy to get in touch with. I couldn’t be happier.

The fishing we were doing was incredibly difficult in tiny streams with sometimes massive amounts of grass growing waist high and hanging over the stream itself. See the pictures of the stream I’m talking about and you will understand. When looking at the stream I knew there was absolutely no chance using a traditional casting technique but rather drop and drift. This is where the Tenkara excelled.

So backing up… when the Tenkara arrived it was nicely packaged and came with a great rod sock, rod tube and everything I needed to give Tenkara a shot. What I love about the Rod is that it collapses into itself and makes transport much easier than a traditional rod. You tie on a leader – furled was my choice and then some tippet. Once you are done fishing hook the fly into the small spool and start wrapping the tippet and then leader around. Once wrapped up slide the spoil down the rod and you are ready to go. Nothing to it.

When fishing this tiny stream (pictured) the strategy I used was utilize the 12’ length of the Shadowfire rod. The fish were very spooky and you needed to stay away from the edge of the stream and hidden. I was crawling in my knees and then when still far enough away I would use the 12’ rod to hold it above the water and gently lower the fly, tippet and leader gently into the stream. The current of the stream would take the fly the length of the leader and tippet and then once at the end I would lift and place again. Working with any other Rod wouldn’t have worked as I would have been too close to the water. The Shadowfire worked perfectly and I couldn’t be happier.

Back to the rod itself.. for a $99 rod setup it can’t be beat and especially for someone new to Tenkara fishing. How can you go wrong with a $99 investment into something totally new but still in the area of something you love – Fly Fishing. So with that being said. I can’t recommend Brent and DRAGONtail Tenkara enough. Great company, great products and great customer support from Brent. Guarantee you will be pleased with your purchase. Drop Brent a line and I’m sure he will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Also… Brent also is part of Moonlit Fly Fishing and happens to make some of the greatest Furled Leaders around. I have written a review of his furled leaders a week ago so check that review out as well.

Next up.. I need to pick up a 13’ DRAGONtail HELLbender Zoom Rod for those lake and pond fishing days chasing big large mouth bass !!