February 24, 2011

Is the bark worse than the bite?

Recall the High Gravity challenge from awhile back. Here's a new addition to the mix, Pit Bull High Gravity Ice. Coming to you from Pig's Eye brewing, you know it can't be good. Rolling in at 10.2% ABV, this malt liquor rides in the middle of the pack for potency among high gravity beverages.

Pit Bull High Gravity Ice
The taste test challenge is complete with the results soon to follow. Stay tuned. Find out who's number one.

February 23, 2011

Don't Tread On Me

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Don't Tread On Me
Goddamn, well I declare
Have you seen the like?
Their walls are built of cannonballs,
their motto is Don't Tread on Me

February 21, 2011

February 18, 2011

Welcome to the Family

Some big news on the home front unfolding recently. I've been invited to join the Pro Staff teams at both Ross Reels and their parent company, Scientific Anglers. I'm pretty psyched about the new partnership!

Ross Reels
Scientific Anglers

So does this mean that I've sold out? Absolutely not. All this means is that I'll be corporately supported by two companies in which I already own, use, and enjoy their gear. Does this mean that I'll be a walking commercial, shoving propaganda down your throat? Hell no. That's not how I got here, and that's not gonna change. Like has been the case, I typically stay away gear reviews. But if there's a piece of gear that I can't live without, you'll see photos of it in action, and you'll probably hear about it whether you like it or not. Will I answer people's questions about Ross or SA gear? Of course, to the best of my ability. If I don't know the right answer, I'll direct you to someone who does.

As most any fly fisherman knows, good gear speaks for itself, and doesn't need any advertising. Ross Reels and Scientific Anglers have consistently been at the forefront of this industry, and their products reflect that. If I thought it was any other way, I would have passed the hat along to someone else down the line. Besides, with Minnesota based 3M owning Scientific Anglers, who can root against the hometown team?

February 17, 2011

Product Review: Rise Fishing Co. Level Series Fly Rod

Rise Fishing Co.
I recently received a 7 weight Level Series Saltwater Fly Rod from Rise Fishing Co. to put through the paces of roughfisher branded abuse.  Here are the specs from Rise:

Model     Length     Line     Action     Sections     Price
90-7wt     9'0"           7          Fast         4                  $249.99
9’ 7wt – The 7wt rod will perform short casts with tight loops yet has enough backbone to punch flies in to the wind with accuracy. The rod also excels in throwing poppers to largemouth bass, presenting small shrimp flies to dock light snook and even nymphs to steelhead.

Level Series Fly Rod
First Impressions:
From the moment I opened the shipping carton I was impressed. The rod was encased in a sturdy cordura covered rod tube, complete with carry strap, embroidered logo, and a nice feature: a laminated pouch to put a business or identification card. The rod was stored within a 5 piece rod sleeve, with a screen printed graphic logo, including model and line designation. The next bonus you'll notice when removing the rod sections is the included spare rod tip. It's always great to have a handy insurance policy along. The fit and finish of the rod is superb. From the hand finished cork grip and fighting butt, to the laser engraved reel seat, to the ferrule alignment marks, no detail is left out on these models. The best part is, the alignment dots on the rod sections actually lined up! I've been irked by other premium rods that I've owned where the dots weren't lined up properly, even ones that were wrapped and marked by hand! I especially like the spartan appearance of the rod: a straight up midnight blue with gloss finish and black wrapped titanium carbide guides. The blank is as dark blue as the abyss! The simplicity of this rod is the true beauty, often times, rod makers will throw all this extra junk on a blank to try to woo the eye of the angler. In my honest opinion, this makes rods looks gaudy and cheap, though their price tag may be far from it. I don't want to pay extra for stuff I don't need.

Level Series Fly Rod
Level Series Fly Rod
Let's face it, there's not a whole lot that can be determined of a rod from the wiggle test, yet we all do it when we pick up a rod. When I picked up the Level Series rod for the first time, I figured on the rod being fast. After all it didn't "wiggle" much and the brochure said it was fast. Well after stringing up a reel and line, I can confirm that the action is indeed fast. Having predominantly cast medium-fast progressive rods for the majority of my angling career, I must admit that it took me a few casts before I got the rod to load in its sweet spot. To be fair though, I was casting a long bellied steelhead taper, whereas I should have casted a line with a more traditional shorter length head with this type of rod. Once I let a little bit more of the belly section out of the rod tip, this rod picked the line up off the water with ease. Within two false casts I already had 60 to 70 feet of line out of the guides with a single haul. That's damn good, considering that a hack like me typically relies on my roll cast and single-handed spey casts to get my fly downstream. If this rod can make me cast like a champion, then imagine what it could do for you. While I didn't put this rod through it's entire test yet, it did handle the basic overhead and rollcasts quite well. Loading the rod typically wasn't an issue, and aside from a few sloppy dump casts, the accuracy of my casts were placed right where I wanted them. Even in the wind. I like how this rod casts and feels, as it will find perfect duty out on the carp flats. However, for my primary needs as as nympher, this probably wouldn't be my first choice as I prefer a longer rod (9'6" or 10') and one with a softer tip and progressive action. But that is comparing apples to oranges; this rod is made for running and gunning. It's hard to believe that a rod of this quality is retailing at only $250.

Rise Fishing Co.
Thinking points:
This rod did everything I asked it to. It definitely met my expectations, and for $250 retail, picking up a rod is a no brainer, whether it be a primary or back up rod. And while this rod may not make it as my daily driver, anyone looking for a fast action carp rod need look no further. This rod will hang with the big boys out on the flats, and then some.

Caveat Emptor: The Level Series rod was provided courtesy of Rise Fishing Co., in exchange for review and extensive field testing.

February 14, 2011

Build It

If you're looking to waste a few minutes online (or an hour) and you like guns, I've got the perfect site for you. Developed for airsoft no doubt, Dr. Noob provides the ultimate fantasy for most any gun build. They even have a full assortment of Magpul furniture, Troy hand guards, battle sights, and most other popular AR accessories to play mock up with.

M&P15 OR
It's actually a pretty nice tool to see a virtual build of your gun with various accessories before you lay down the cash for a new set of rails or optics. That way you can verify that your new set up will be tacticool before you even install it. The above image is a snapshot of my future build.

February 8, 2011

Friends In Low Places

Sharp-tailed Grouse
A nicely preserved Plains sharp-tailed grouse skin, harvested from central North Dakota. Soft hackle heaven.

Sharp-tailed Grouse

February 7, 2011

Bo Knows Bonefish

Bo Knows Bonefish, and Redfish, and Stripers, and Carp, and....

Switzer Sweets
Switzer Sweets
If you don't know who Bo Jackson is, sit down and take a history lesson Junior.

A couple of prototypes I've been working on for Amanda Switzer, featuring a custom Cream Soda dubbing blend.

Cream Soda dub
Switzer Sweets
Switzer Sweets
Switzer Sweets
After some extensive field testing, I will release the final version as Switzer Sweets. My guess is that these flies will be just as deadly in freshwater as in the salt.

February 4, 2011


M&P 15-22 MOE
I want, no NEED one of these. Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 MOE Edition Rifle, for the mall ninja in all of us.

February 2, 2011

Voodoo Chilly

Ice fog, "vapor snow", and truck doors that won't shut. The culprit?

I didn't even think it was that cold out. Something must be wrong.

February 1, 2011

the brownline 2011.02.01

Some reading materials to fight the long, cold winter blues: