Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ever Developing Plan

As the Rebel Trout Trek draws nearer and I continue to research streams, I'm realizing the plan must remain very dynamic.

General areas are set, and lodging reservations are made, but the more I  read about spots, the more I find "can't skip" waters that aren't already on the plan.

As importantly, some of thsos western mountain flows really change from week to week this time of year. Some are red hot right now, having just settled from snowmelt. Others in the same areas remain blown out. The latter group may be the best ones in a few weeks while ones that are fishing really well now might be low and a bit warm.

I'm bookmarking a bunch of fishing reports as I continue in my research and will be looking at them daily from the road as I look ahead.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Stuff Season

If you're a fisherman, the end of June and the first half of July can be a pretty fun time of the year. Not because of some hot bite, although I'm certainly not denying that those exist. Right about now is when word starts trickling out about cool new fishing products that will be released in two weeks at the ICAST show. Put on by the American Sportfishing Association, ICAST is a huge trade show and the place where fishing tackle manufacturers introduce the next year's product releases to retail and wholesale buyers and to the fishing media. This year's show is July 14-17 in Orlando.

Rods, apparel, lures, kayaks, reels, terminal tackle... you name it. If it is sport fishing gear, several companies that make it probably will be at ICAST, and some will have new products to show.

Many products aren't revealed until the media and buyer preview reception of the New Product Showcase, which takes place the evening before the main show floor opens. That said, many companies favor a PR and sales head start over the surprise factor, so a couple of weeks before the show they begin trickling out information about products and select samples. With today's electronic media and especially social media sites, word of anything noteworthy pretty well spreads immediately.

Because I attend the show and write about products in magazines and on websites, I get a lot of emails alerting me about cool new stuff, along with a few packages containing things to field test. In fact, I'll share some of the stuff that looks extra cool to me between now and the end of the show. I got information just today about the Plano A-Series QuickTop Tackle Bag (pictured above). I'll write more soon about this really cool hybrid box, which has some feature that make it stand out from anything before it.

In truth, though, if you pay attention to fishing news website or follow pro anglers or guides or fishing tackle manufacturers on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, you've likely heard about several new products in recent days. That will grow dramatically over the next couple of weeks.

Most stuff won't actually be in full production and in stores for several months. Now is just when the products get announced and the companies start trying to build interest so they can fill store shelves once the products do hit production. For me, it's a really fun time of the year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fly Lesson Video

I noted in a recent blog post that Asher and I recently took an instructional flyfishing trip on the Chattahoochee River with Unicoi Outfitters in nearby Helen, Georgia. This little video shows the great job that Jake did teaching Asher, who had never flyfished previously. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Basic Route

If you check out this blog from time to time, you've likely learned by now that a little later this summer (beginning July 20), my 10-year-old son Asher and I will be making a 3 1/2-week, cross-country trip to explore western trout waters and will be blogging our journey for Rebel Lure Company. The above mapquest route planner provides a look at where we'll be traveling.

The route depicted is far from exact. I typed in several places where we will stay in sequence, but it doesn't include things like the three-day loop around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington or various fishing side trips. For similar reasons, it may not be that actual route I'll end up choosing in some cases. That said, it does depict the basic flow of travel fairly well.

The western loop portion begins and ends at Cabela's worldwide headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska (Point P), where we'll pick up some gear we will be using on our trip. Fishing, excepting Asher's stop at Dry Run Creek in Arkansas, begins in Deadwood, South Dakota (Point D) and ends in Laramie, Wyoming (Point O). By my best estimate, with side trips included, we'll travel between 7,500 and 8,000 miles.

Best places to follow the Rebel Trout Trek will be at rebellures.com and on the Rebel Lures Facebook Page, but I'll also be posting thing's here, on the Jeff Samsel Fishing Facebook page, on my Twitter and Instagram feeds and on the North American Fisherman website. Asher will also be blogging our travels, so if you want to keep up with things from a 10-year-old's perspective, bookmark Asher's Blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Students Winners in Fatsack Outdoors Summer Bass Bash

Any high school or college student who showed up the inaugural Fatsack Outdoors Summer Bass Bash over the weekend on Lake Hartwell walked away a winner. It was a no-lose situation, with zero entry fee and top prizes of $2000 for the college division and $250 for the high school division. In addition, all registered anglers enjoyed dinner, a High School Fishing Academy session, the chance to meet tour-level pros and a packet of tackle donated by sponsors.

Developers of a journal keeping, instructional and social fishing app that is unlike anything else out there, Fatsack Outdoors puts a high priority on providing opportunities for young anglers, and the company intends to build upon the success of the Summer Bass Bash with future high schooland college events.

The high school division winner, Noah Pescitelli, opted to fish alone. Although Pescitelli traveled an hour and a half from home to fish the Fatsack Outdoors Summer Bass Bash and had only fished Lake Hartwell a couple of time, no one who knows anything about this young angler was surprised when he brought a bulging bag to the scales. A very accomplished high school angler, Pescitelli also operates Kickin' Their Bass TV, producing popular instructional, gear review and fishing montage videos. In fact, he's already produced and posted a really cool Vlog about the event. Check it out!

Also, while Pescitelli had only fished Lake Hartwell a couple of times prior to Saturday, he knows spotted bass extremely well because his home lake is Lake Lanier. Pescitelli's winning bag stretched the scales to 15.44 pounds, and he noted that most of his action came first thing in the morning.

The college winners, who brought in 15.70 pounds, were no surprise either. The team of Deion Latimer and Baylor Ronemus, representing Clemson University, brought some serious Hartwell understanding into the Summer Bass Bash. Anyone who has fished Hartwell tournaments for long knows the Latimer name, if not from Deion, from his older brother Brian or his dad. Plus, Clemson is right on Hartwell. Ronemus is from the Augusta area, so he grew up fishing Clarks Hill, which is two pools down from Hartwell on the Savannah River.

Latimer and Ronemus enjoyed their best action early in the afternoon. In fact, at noon, they only had two fish in the livewell and Latimer admitted that they were beginning to get concerned.

Not surprisingly for Lake Hartwell during the summer, most anglers who talked about the fishing reported catching their fish either on topwater lures or on finesse worms rigged on shaky heads or dropshot rigs.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

One Month Countdown

This time next month I'll be streamside at Dry Run Creek in Arkansas, hopefully watching Asher do battle with a giant trout. We'll have left way early in the morning and driven 650 miles on Day 1 of the Rebel Trout Trek, and Asher will be fishing a creek he's been hearing about for several years from his older brother Nathaniel. No fishing for me at Dry Run. It's a youth-only stream. That's OK. I know from experience with Nathaniel that it's a ton of fun walking streamside, watching and taking photos.

July 20 will be the first of 24 days that Asher and I will travel together. Dry Run Creek and possibly Norfork Dam tailwater, which Dry Run dumps into, will be the only fishing stops that are not in the western U.S. From Arkansas, we'll drive all the way to the Black Hills of South Dakota before we begin fishing again.

Beginning in the Black Hills, we'll fish daily, sometime hitting a few spots in a day, as we loop through the northwestern U.S and visit many classic trout waters in eight different states. Many are places I've long dreamed about, but have never even seen. All fishing will be on public waters, in places where we can simply wade in or launch float tubes.

We'll both have waterproof cameras around our necks and GoPros in our pockets everywhere we fish, and each evening we'll be blog and share stories from the streams from places we've seen that day. I'll do my best to keep up with things on this page, but the best places to track the stories as they unfold and see images and videos will be the Rebel Lures website and Facebook page.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day Weekend Start

It wasn't a planned outing. My wife was taking a few of my children to swim in the pond that we often visit, and I felt I was near the end of my productivity, writing wise, for the week. So I grabbed Asher, my 10-year-old, and we grabbed a bit of gear and drove separately to the pond (so we could stay longer, if we wanted to, which we did).

Planned activity or not, I'll count a couple of laps around the pond with Asher as a very nice start to Father's Day weekend. We fished with little Rebel critters lures (him with a Bumble Bug and me with a Micro Craw and then a Crickhopper Popper). We each ended up catching five fish. All except one bass caught by Asher were bluegill, and most were decent sized fish. We also had a bunch of smacks from smaller bluegills. Beyond the one bass caught, we didn't see any others, so I'm thinking that most of the pond's bass have moved a bit off the banks.