Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Ty-Rite Jr Fish Hook Holder

For years I’ve used hemostats to quickly tie a clinch knot. I’d attach the hemostat to the tag end and spin it around. The problem is, I’ve lost three hemostats in the water in the last few years. I knew that there had to be a better way.

The search was on! I looked high and low and came across this great little product. It’s called the Ty-Rite. There is a Ty-Rite Jr. and a Ty-Rite Sr. The difference is the hook size it’s designed for. The Jr. is designed for flies all the way down to size 24. I don’t fish size 24, it’s just personal preference. I don’t fish flies I can’t even see in my hand. The Sr. is designed for streamers.

The Jr. is what I chose and it works FLAWLESSLY. I have used it for flies as big as size 10.

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To use it just simply push the end in, like a pen. A small hook comes out of the tip. Put the fly hook into the Ty-Rite hook and let go off the end. The fly is now held by the tool. Thread the eye of the hook and spin the Ty-Rite in your hands and finish the knot as you normally would and you’re done. Just push the end of the Ty-Rite to release the hook. Once you get used to it you can tie a clinch or improved clinch knot in under 10 seconds.

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For $10 this is a tool you MUST have. You can likely pick it up at any fly shop. I know Cabela’s and L.L. Bean carry it. If you’re looking for that special Christmas gift for that fisherman in your family, this is it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eyrie Ruins Hiking

I wanted to get out locally and do a quick hike and test out a GPS i’m reviewing. So I thought it was a good idea to hike up to the Eyrie Ruins in the Mt. Tom Reservation. A little backstory on this piece of Western Mass history was a hotel that was built on the summit of Mt. Nonotuck in 1861. For the next 35 years this was a very popular spot for tourists.

Business started to dwindle when the new summit house on Mt. Tom was built. The only thing keeping the Eyrie house in business were annual guests and picnics. On April 13, 1901 the hotel, pavilion, and stable burned to the ground. The cause of the fire was an unwatched cremation of a few dead horses.

The day was beautiful and calm. We started our hike in the late morning and took the Teabag Trail that leads to the M+M trail. From the M+M trail we stopped at Dry Knoll (Elev 835’) which overlooked the Oxbow Marina.

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The M+M trail dumped us out to a paved road, that continued up until we got to a parking area. We followed the sign and within short distance we saw the ruins.

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Whenever you come across ruins you often think to yourself how well the structure was put together. This was over 100 years old and parts were still in flawless condition. Everything was smooth and uniformed. You might think it burned down last week, except for all the idiots who ruined it with graffiti. Do I really need to know that “Tommy” was here in ’95? I think not.

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After we got our fill of the ruins we started to head back down the road toward the lookout tower on Goat Peak (Elev 822’). Goat Peak is a popular Hawk watching spot in the area. Many people come to the lookout tower or sit on the benches and watch the hawks migrate during the fall. From the lookout tower you get a pretty decent view of the surrounding area as well.

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We took the paved road down back to the parking lot. In total we traveled 6.33 miles. On the way down we saw a deer off into the woods. We couldn’t make out the gender of it based on it’s location, but it looked full bodied so our guess was it was a buck. Most likely a small buck. He didn’t run off in fear so he must live in the area, with no hunting allowed he has no reason to fear people.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Afternoon Trout Fishing

After a fun morning hunting pheasants, I got a text from another friend who wanted to hit the river for an hour or two. We are into the middle of November and generally my trout chasing days are over until the spring, but Tenkara fishing is so much fun I just keep going out.

He met me a little before noon and we were off. I didn’t bother putting on my waders, I just wore my hunting boots and my upland bibs. I took off all the blaze orange and put on my fishing hat and chest back and we were off. I’ve been a dry fly snob the last half of the summer. I just can’t get enough of top water action.

I had to dance from rock to rock to get into position but I eventually got to spots I wanted. I tried to entice fish upstream with no success. Many fish came up to my fly but they tuned quickly away. I quickly gave up and fished the beginning of a pool downstream. There nice slack area I could drop my fly into. With Tenkara, all the line is off the water so it was simple to keep the fly in that slack area for long periods of time. I held a size 14 yellow humpy in that slack water and saw a trout swim around it like a shark. The fish eventually came to the surface to nose the fly then went back down. I didn’t set the hook I just kept it there. He came up a second time for his meal and I hooked him then. I walked down the shoreline a bit to get him to a better area to land. He was well into his fall colors, being darker. I tried the same technique and got three more bites. The bites were so soft, I yanked the hook out of the fishes mouth. It’s like they were just holding it in their mouth, not committed to eating it. He had to get back to work and I had to get home and finish some home renovations. I got the one fish and had lots of fun. I’m fairly certain it’s my last time out until spring.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Morning Pheasant Hunting

It’s been far to long since I got out to chase some pheasants. It seems that the last few years something has always happened that prevents me from getting out there. Two years ago I had my boots fall apart, then later on in the year I had problems with the transmitter on my SportDog collar. Last year we had a snow storm a week into the season. I was without power for nine days. This year my schedule at work got flip flopped around and I had to attend a class for work on one of my vacation weeks. So FINALLY I got out. I went out with my buddy Serge, who’s got a new GSP. He’s 7 months old and has a very bright future ahead of him as a bird dog. I look forward to hunting with him for years to come.

I got to the local wildlife management area at 6:30 am as the sun was starting to peak over the horizon. When I stepped out of the vehicle to take this picture the overhead display read 25 degrees.

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We started our walk on the inside edge of the field and the outside edge near the river. We each took a section. The dog was very birdy in a few areas so we knew we might be in for some luck. As the patch of land widened I turned right and a few feet in front of me was a hen pheasant. She flushed low and through some tree’s that were 10 yards away, I didn’t have a shot. I made a mental note of where she went and we would go look for her. We brought the dog up to the area and split up to meticulously work the area. I went one way, they went the other. I picked the wrong way because I heard a shot ring out.

He had missed but he saw her go down the embankment by the river. This is a common occurrence for flushed pheasants here. Many of them get flushed and seek refuge by the river. The vast majority of hunters don’t go down here, so they are safe. We do, however, go down there. Serge and the pup walked by the river and I walked the edge of the embankment. We walked a hundred yards or so but so no sign of the bird. Just as he decided to double back come back up the dog was on the bird. A shot rang out and this time it was successful.

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We continued to hunt and found numerous birds that had met there demise due to predation. In all the years I’ve hunted here I always find more dead birds than live birds. That’s not saying it’s a bad place to hunt, it’s great. It’s just that A LOT of birds get picked off by hawks, owls, coyote’s, etc....

We walked about three and a half more miles and find no live birds, so we called it a morning and went our separate ways. We walked about four miles total, which felt more like eight miles with the terrain we walked.

On the way home I received a text from a friend who wanted to fish. So off I went to the river. That’s a story for another day though.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Book - In the Heart of the Sea

It’s been awhile since I reviewed a book on here and I figured this is one that everyone should read. I read one or two books a month and most of them are good, but some are just at a higher level of literary entertainment. This is one of those books. I’m sure we all heard of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, but did you know this is the book that Melville modeled Moby-Dick after? Melville met the son of Owen Chase during his time whaling on the ship Acushnet in 1841. He abandoned ship in 1842 and lived on the Marques Islands living with the Typee natives, which inspired his first book. Enough about Melville though. This is the TRUE STORY of the whaleship Essex.

The book opens up with a good back story of Nantucket and the whaling industry. The story then turns to the Essex, which set sail in August of 1819 for a two and a half year journey to the whaling grounds on the west coast of South America. I won’t get into any more detail because I don’t want to spoil the book. I will say, however, that when reading the book keep in mind this is the early 1800s. Place yourself in the shoes of those unlucky and brave men, especially Captain Pollard and First Mate Owen Chase.

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To purchase the book from Amazon click here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

News: Hunter Found Dead After Fall From Tree Stand

This happens all to often. A bow hunter in a tree stand WITHOUT a safety device attached. The article didn’t mention if he did or didn’t have a safety device, but if he fell out of the stand he must not have had it on. Learn from this mistake and WEAR YOUR SAFETY HARNESS if you are in a tree. It’s to bad someone had to lose a life to make people aware of the risks.

From the North Adams Transcript:

“FLORIDA -- A 51-year-old town hunter who'd been missing since Saturday was found dead by a search party of roughly 60 emergency responders and family members Sunday morning near Savoy State Forest.

According to officials, Larry Lewis, of South Street, died of head trauma after falling 12 feet from a tree stand he'd set up in the forest east of Brown's Garage at 481 Mohawk Trail, in the Drury section of town.

The search party, led by the Florida Volunteer Fire Department, located Lewis' body there at roughly 10:45 a.m.

"We're 99.9 percent sure he fell out of his tree stand," Florida Fire Chief Michael Bedini said Sunday evening. "We don't know if he had a heart attack or just fell asleep and rolled off. ... An autopsy [will be conducted] to see what the cause of death is."

Berkshire County State Police Detective Unit will lead an investigation into the cause of Lewis' death, state police at the Cheshire barracks said Sunday evening.

The search began Sunday after an aunt of Lewis' contacted Bedini at 8 a.m. to report the hunter missing.

According to Bedini, she'd said Lewis was last seen by an uncle Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on South Street, and that she and other family members had spent several hours searching for Lewis on Sunday morning before contacting authorities.

North Adams Police Department's Sunday log indicates that authorities initiated a full search-and-rescue operation for the missing hunter at 8:36 a.m.

Bedini, Florida Fire volunteers and members of Lewis' family were joined by Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department, North Adams Ambulance and state police in the search.

Less than three hours later, the party of roughly 60 people discovered Lewis' body beyond a ravine on the Florida side of the Cold River.

Responders isolated this area by instructing local AT&T representatives to repeatedly "ping" Lewis' cell phone, which he possessed before going missing.

This technique provided precise GPS coordinates of the last location the phone had been in service, and was within the general area of where Lewis was ultimately found.

"[Lewis was] a very avid hunter, and loved hunting during bow season," Bedini said. "We weren't really expecting [his death]. It's something that's hard to see."

Volunteers of Savoy Fire Department also provided aid during the search, manning the Florida station while Florida volunteer firefighters took part in the search.

Bedini thanked firefighters, Lewis' family and other responders for being "a tremendous help."

Lewis is survived by his wife, Joan, and two sons, Chance and Chase.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

News: Mt Greylock Auto Road Closed

From Dept of C&R:

“Due to damage from Hurricane Sandy and potential icy road conditions, the roads to the Greylock Summit are closed for the season effective November 2, 2012.  “