Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Storms And Rainbows On The Fly

Arizona Winter Storm.
Friday night brought the first real cold front and winter storm through Southern Arizona leaving the weekend looking bleak, cold, and rainy. That is fine during the week, but this came at the beginning of the first weekend I have had opportunity to get out quail hunting in quite a while. Without four wheel drive on my truck I didn't want to risk going out in the desert and getting stuck so I decided not to go hunting. Saturday morning, my wife went shopping and left me at home with nothing much to do. I looked outside at the clouds that were threatening rain and the wind whipping through the trees and thought to myself, "A smart man comes in out of the cold and wind. I should put in a movie turn on the fire place, and relax". Then my fishing addiction kicked in and my brain immediately answered back "Be a man! It isn't raining! Put on a coat, grab your hat, load the fishing poles up, and go fishing!"


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning To Fly Fish For Arizona Urban Trout

Fall has finally hit the deserts of Southern Arizona. Around the middle of October the sun starts hanging low in the southern sky and the oven like summer heat starts giving way to milder winter temperatures making it very pleasant to be outside all day long. Even in the dead of winter the temperatures only dip below freezing on the coldest of mornings and then warm back up to the pleasant area after the sun rises.This is the time of year that the lakes start to cool off and the warm water fish get very lethargic and hard to catch. For this reason Arizona Game And Fish does bi-weekly rainbow trout stockings in all of their urban lakes during winter months so that anglers always have something to fish for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Saga Of The Western Field Shot Gun Part Three: The Repair

The Saga Of The Western Field Shotgun Part One
The Saga Of The Western Field Shot Gun Part Two: The Test

I highly recommend that anyone having problems any more complicated than cleaning issues with their firearms take them to an experienced gunsmith for repairs. Bad things can happen when overconfident people do things they are not qualified to do. Having said that, I am never one to follow my own advise and I took it upon myself to repair the broken firing pin in my Western Field 16 gauge shot gun. I have always been fairly good at "seeing" how things come apart and go back together. As a result of this I tend to be a bit over confident that if I take something apart I can put it back together again and it will work the way it is supposed to. In the past I have had very few instances where I took something apart and couldn't put it back together again, and this was no exception. Mossberg made a simple yet elegant design that worked then and, with the exception of adding a bar to the pump and changing the design of the firing pin, has changed very little over the years since.
My Fully Disassembled Western Field 16 Gauge Shot Gun


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Arizona Turkey Poachers

Hunting laws are put in place in order to preserve animal populations at healthy levels, and give certain species a fighting chance at survival. Hunting licenses and tags are sold by the responsible state organizations such as the Arizona Game And Fish department. In Arizona, and many other states, little to no tax dollars ever go into the coffers of these organizations. hunting and fishing licenses are their sole means of income and provide funding for hunter education and training, maintaining open tracts of land for the purpose of conservation and habitat restoration/preservation, and provides grants for projects that help to reintroduce or bolster endangered populations of animals. Poaching of any kind undermines these activities and constitutes theft from the public as a whole. The crime of poaching is worsened when it involves a rare or endangered animal like the Gould's Turkey.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Tough Opener For Arizona Quail Hunting

Quail Hunting Cowboy Style
The sun was still low in the sky and barely visible through the thin cloud cover when I parked the truck on the side of the road just in front of the gate blocking the entrance to an old gravel mine that backs up to the steep mountains on the west. The gate looks formidable but if you climb the dirt embankment and follow the low rock wall for fifty feet on either side you find out that it is little more than just a gate across the road. About a half a mile to the west Back down the rutty dirt road nestled into a rotting wood and wire structure, once used to sort and load cattle into a trucks, stands an ancient looking squeaky metal windmill that still pumps fresh ground water into a large metal cistern. The tank is just as old as the windmill and long ago became far more patch than original tank, but it still holds water. The mine and the windmill are situated at the back of a small relatively flat bottomed valley. Low steep mountains surround this little slice of desert heaven on three sides and create a well protected sanctuary for the Gamble's quail I am after.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The First Cast Of A New Fly Fisherman

I have always admired the classic image of the lone man in his wide brimmed hat standing knee deep in an isolated forest stream whipping out impossible lengths of line and skillfully playing fish after fish back to his net. I have always wanted to be a part of this idealistic vision of who the fly fisherman really is. I have pondered over countless paintings depicting the vibrant colors of wooded streams in the fall and photographs of giant rainbow trout with impossibly small feathered hooks in their mouths and day dreamed of being out there and doing that. Over the years this reason or that excuse has kept me from taking the necessary steps to learn how Fly fishing is done. To be honest I have been quite intimidated by the great deal of skill and knowledge involved in the sport. In my own twisted little thought process I felt that it was almost necessary to have a masters degree in entomology in order to know what fly patterns to throw when. Because of that, I have been content with the more mundane fishing techniques like the bait and wait method used for catfish or the plastic and rubber lures used for bass fishing. A few years ago I moved into a neighborhood that has a fair share of retirees from the north or east that live in southern Arizona during the winter months and fly fish for stocked rainbows in our small man made community lake. Watching them out fish everyone else ten to one, or better, peaked my interest in fly fishing again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Saga of the WesternField Shotgun Part Two: The Test

In "The Saga of the Westernfield Shotgun Part One" you heard all about coming across an old Mossberg made store brand shotgun. Well, here is part two of that story.

Saturday morning found me, my brother, a half dozen different guns, and a varied collection of targets bouncing along a one lane dirt road heading for some mountains off in the distance. We decided to take my truck over Tim's Jeep because it has AC. The trade off was the 4x4 capability of the Jeep, but the high was supposed to be around 108* F, and at 7:30 in the morning it was already in the high 80's or low 90's so the air conditioning won. with the warning from Tim that the road we were heading down had an extremely long stretch that was made primarily of sand. I figured as long as I was careful it wouldn't be a big deal.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

OBN Quick Fire Interview

Rebecca, over at the Outdoor Blogger Network, was kind enough to ask me to fill out her questionnaire and become one of the privileged bloggers who have been featured in the OBN Quick Fire Interview. Please go check it out, and don't forget to say hi to Rebecca on her blog The Outdooress as well. She is a terrific writer, and I have really enjoyed reading all about her many adventures in fly fishing and other outdoor activities.

Thanks for the interview Rebecca!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Space Shuttles Final Flight

The Space Shuttle Endeavor made its final flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles California where it will be retired from service, and put on permanent display at the California Science Center. At the request of retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who commanded the Endeavors last mission,  NASA approved a slight detour of the shuttle and its 747 carrier aircraft to perform a low level flyby over down town Tucson and The University of Arizona. This request was so that Mark Kelly's wife, Former Arizona congress woman Gabrielle Giffords, could see it fly one last time. For more details check out this ABC news article. This fly by took place at 11:15 this morning and the flight path took the shuttle directly over the building I work in. Unfortunately I was not expecting it to be quite that close to my location, so I did not have a camera at the ready, but my wife took this awesome picture from where she was.
Endeavors Last Flight

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer Time Fishing

Aiden fishing for bluegills.
Finding the time to go fishing, this summer, has been a challenging at best. Whether it is an out of town visitor, a car to fix, a party to go to, or gremlins disabling the alarm clock during the night, there always seems to be a reason not to go fishing. The truth of it is, the chores had to get done, I would not give up any of the wonderful friends and family that came to visit us, nor would I miss any of the great parties I went to instead of the lake. As far as the alarm clock goes, gremlins seem to have a very easy access to my bedside table. In spite of all of these...distractions... I did managed to get in a few good mornings out at my little urban lake.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rick's Review: Oakley Polarized Crosshair Sun Glasses

I am not A fashion guru, nor am I an expert in high end sunglasses, but, being a professional buyer has taught me to be extremely critical of the things I buy. I have learned to look for the value of a product over price by comparing things like quality and reputation along with the final price tag. When it comes to buying my own gear I have well over a decade of product research experience I can call on to guide me in the right direction with unfamiliar products. I am also well versed in price comparison, and acutely aware of the tactics used by sales personnel to part unwary buyers with more money then they intend to spend on a product. I also tend to be prejudiced against a lot of the high end brand names. I feel that most high end brands have a similar quality to the medium level brands and that when you buy those brands you are paying more for the name then you are for the product. So when I finally settled on a pair of sunglasses that both my wife and I like the look of and had the features I wanted, I was surprised to find myself the proud owner of a pair of Oakley Polarized Crosshairs.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Saga of the WesternField Shotgun Part One

Every once in awhile opportunities present themselves in irresistible ways. Those opportunities are almost always troublesome, but have a way of working out in the end. A couple of weeks ago, such an opportunity presented itself in the form of a Westernfield shotgun  A friend of mine approached me saying he had a friend that wanted to sell an "old store brand 16 gauge pump action shotgun in pretty good condition". With a $50.00 price tag on it I knew that if the gun really was in decent condition, that was an unbeatable price, so I told my buddy I was interested in seeing it.A few days later I get a phone call from my buddy saying he has the gun, and he wanted to bring it to me to look at.When he gets to the house he hands me a Western Field M550B 16 gauge pump action with a six shell capacity and an adjustable choke.
Westernfield M550B 16 Gauge  (Mossberg 500B) 

Monday, July 30, 2012

WOW! It has been a month to the day since I last posted on here. 

My nephew Aiden with a catfish I caught.

Things have been super busy for me lately. I have never been this swamped at work, and my wife's business is finally picking up again after about a two year slump. On top of that we have had a couple of surprise out of town visitors come and stay with us. The first is a friend of the family that just got out of the army after serving two terms in Iraq. and the other is our exchange student from Germany from two years ago. These are some pretty awesome problems to have, but they do (in a good way) cut into fishing and hunting time. 

I have a few things in the works for the next couple of months, and I hope to have a blog post every week in August, so stay tuned for my first experience buying a really old shotgun, a couple of gear reviews, and I will tell you all about the rigors and challenges of mid summer urban fishing in Tucson that will include a really cool story about taking my nephew fishing that is sure to bring a smile to your face.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Attitude Of Arizona Quail

They Are Every Where!!!
Here in Arizona the quail can have a real nasty attitude. In the summer time, they are known to be especially nasty. Relentlessly teasing and mocking any hunter that comes along, knowing they can't do anything about it. Every time I am within earshot they start quietly cooing in an attempt to elicit a reaction. Then they go to running around right out in the open just to see if I am paying attention. If that doesn't work they go to whispering subtle derogatory suggestions on my ability to aim. If that still doesn't get a reaction they move into the personal insults about body odor, and fashion sense. Being a forgiving and patient person who is confident in my shooting abilities and personal hygiene I do not give in to this type of juvenile taunting, even from those nasty little quail. But a couple of weeks ago those pesky birds started to get really personal by saying nasty things about my truck. It took everything I had, but I held my cool and didn't respond. Then they started talking about my mother, and well I just can't have those little featherd punks talking about my mother that way! I decided that something had to be done to put those birds back in their place!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Proper Shotgun Mount

Typical Arizona Quail Hunting Landscape
The bottle of water just touches your lips as several Gamble's quail flush from a bush just in front of you and everything goes into slow motion. Your grip releases from the bottle and your arms snap your shotgun tight to your shoulder. Your cheek automatically goes to the comb and you lean slightly forward in perfect form as a violent flurry of whistling feathers take off in every direction. The brass bead sight is the only visible part of the far end of the barrel when you sight in on one of the fat white rumps sailing away from you at lightening speed. It all comes together perfectly. Just like you practiced it thousands of times at the range. You know this bird is going to fold up as you pull back on the trigger, but all you get is the solid resistance of immobile metal as the water bottle hits the ground.You track the bird over a thick stand of mesquite trees and a  heartbeat passes as what just happened sinks in. You lower the shotgun slack-jawed at the realization that you made the most embarrassing of rookie errors by forgetting to release the safety.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fishing With Grandpaw

When we were young, my brothers and I would spend weekends with our grandparents. It was always a special event. They would take us out to dinner, or to a movie. Sometimes we would even go shopping for new clothes.But nothing even came close to the excitement of getting to go night fishing with Grandpaw (His spelling).  He would announce the trip by leaving that old plywood box on the kitchen table. Weathered and beaten from several decades of heavy use, it was expertly designed, and carefully crafted to keep that old Coleman lantern safe from harm. It had special cut outs inside that fit the base and lid perfectly and kept them fro moving around and braking the glass. Like Grandpaw, that old lantern had always been there and Grandpaw made sure it went with us on every fishing excursion that was expected to last into the night.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fishing Through Life: The Beginner Package For The Fly Fisherman on a Budget

I have been watching fly fishermen around the small lake that I fish in for several years now, and I have been reading a lot about fly fishing on some really great blogs. One thing that I have noticed is that they tend to out fish everybody else by a factor of two or three to one, and they tend to get more varieties of fish as well. When Bill Trussel over at Fishing Through Life gave me an awesome tip about fly fishing for blue gill I was quite embarrassed to tell him that I didn't know the first thing about fly fishing. But I want to learn more, so I took a chance and asked him if he would be kind enough to write up a post geared towards some one who didn't know the first thing about fly fishing. I am both proud and humbled that he wrote up some awesome pointers on what to buy and who carries it along with some tips on where to go to learn how to use the equipment. If you are interested in learning how to fly fish go check out Bills post Fishing Through Life: The Beginner Package For The Fly Fisherman on a Budget.

Thanks for writing this up Bill, It is quite an honor to receive such great advice.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday Morning Bass Fishing

 I don't have a lot of opportunity to get to the larger lakes around southern Arizona, and I do not own a boat, so when I do get to go I usually have to fish from shore. The lakes here are basically large canyons with an earthen dam at one end, and the shore lines are usually sheer rock walls that rise hundreds of feet out of the water with some worked over areas for boat ramps and picnic areas. Fishing from shore usually means being limited to a couple hundred yards of brush lined shore, swim or play areas, or playing Spider-man from a cliff face a hundred or more feet above the water. Needless to say, this is not a very productive, or safe way to fish, so when a buddy of mine asked me if I wanted to take his canoe and go with him to Arivaca Lake last weekend I jumped at the chance to be able to actually fish a body of water.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rick's Review:Bass Pro Shops® Johnny Morris® Carbon Black Bass Caster Low-Profile Baitcast Reel

I grew up with spinning reels and have always put the handle on the left side of the reel and worked the pole with my right hand so I would't have to switch hands on the pole. When I started to use bait casters I would borrow them from friends who always had "right handed" reels. This meant the reel handles were on the right forcing me to cast with my right hand and then switch the pole to my left to work my lure presentation which has always felt awkward to me. When it came time for me to buy my own bait caster I looked at the local shops, and the only reels they had were right handed reels so that is what I bought. Over the years I have learned how to control the rod with my left hand rather well, but it still feels awkward and I never stopped wondering if I would do better with a "left handed" reel.
      

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MANY THANKS!!

I want to thank Brookfield Angler For the wonderful complements they gave to Devin's Fishing ReportsC.A.S.T. Crew, and myself on their blog. What an awesome welcome to the blogging world! and I cant wait to check out the other two blogs they recommended!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quail Hunting Scare

     Setting his shotgun against a branch, he rolls up his sleeves and pushes the wide brimmed mesh sided hat aside to wipe the sweat off of his brow. He is surprised at how quickly the cool of the morning gives way, and the sun turns into a heat lamp. The "dry heat" of Southern Arizona felt like a furnace even this far into the middle of October. It has been two hours since leaving the truck and he has not seen a quail yet. The only evidence that any one else exists out here are the occasional empty back packs, blankets, clothes, and garbage that the illegals seem to leave everywhere when they cross the border. He had heard about the border crossers, but can't shake the question of why people who have nothing would leave such a variety valuable items just laying out in the desert to rot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My First Quail Hunt

Last October my wife had to go out of town on business, and took our two kids with her leaving me with a whole weekend and very little to do. I don't get a lot of opportunity to go to a larger lake so fishing was the first thing I thought of, but I didn't want to go alone. Tim, my younger brother, is about half crazy, always fun to hang out with, and loves fishing almost as much as I do, so I called to see if he wanted to go down to Arivaca Lake with me. His response was "It's quail season, and those little buggers are making fun of my shooting skills. I was going up by Red Rock to go hunting, but you can come with me, if you want."

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Urban Fishing Addiction



There is nothing more intoxicating than the electric thrum surging though a fishing pole being whipped into a large arc as the hook is set on a huge whiskered channel cat taking the foul smelling dough ball at the end of the line, or the quick, soft, barely perceptible tick of a beady eyed bass sucking a well presented lure into its gaping maw as it is slowly bounced passed his hiding place. I can not remember a time when I did not love fishing, any kind of fishing, for any fish species. It doesn't matter when I go, where I go, who I go with, or how the weather is, I just want the opportunity to put a line out and try to coax one of those scaly little water breathers to take my bait. This is a difficult addiction to have in dusty valleys and water starved canyons of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona.
Not a bad size for a small urban lake. maybe 2lbs and 16" long.