Friday, April 29, 2011

Thunder Chicken Down!

I got the call yesterday, we have our first Spring Gobbler down of the season. Jay was able to take a Jake, with his 12 gauge yesterday morning. It measured out at 17.25 pounds and had a 5 1/4 inch beard. We will be going for a double tomorrow morning. Considering it will be the first day I get to turkey hunt this season, I'll just be excited to get out and hunt. Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cassie's Ramp Potatoes

This past week we have been making a lot of dishes with ramps because I picked so many last time I was out. Cassie even got involved with cooking an amazing side dish, so I couldn't resist asking her to do a guest post. So without further ado...

A few weeks ago Justin brought home a 5 gallon bucket full of ramps.I was really excited until he asked me to help him cook some. Now, don't get me wrong, I love ramps, when someone else cooks them. This year is my first time cooking ramps for myself let alone someone else. Luckily, I have consumed enough ramp recipes to have a basic idea of what to do with them.  My favorite way to eat ramps is fried up in some 'taters. So I tweaked a generic online recipe to make a pretty tasty side dish, if I do say so myself. 

Ramp Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a cake pan with a little EVOO
  3. Wash a half bag of red potatoes, then cut them up into quarters
  4. Dice up 2 green peppers
  5. Cut up and dice 10-15 ramps (depends on your preference), I left some of the green leafy parts in the dish per Justin's request. I personally like leaving them out, but they aren't bad. How small you dice the ramps is another personal preference. I like mine small and bite size so that's what I did.
  6. Combine all ingredients  and place into greased cake pan
  7. Salt & pepper to taste
  8. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of EVOO over the ingredients and bake for 45 mins or until the potatoes are tender.

Ingredient List
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1/2 bag of red potatoes
  • EVOO
  • 10-15 ramps
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - April 26, 2011

It is getting close to that time of year where most people start putting their trail cameras back out to get pictures of those early sprouting antlers as well as a few late season strutting turkeys. There is one animal that we are forgetting to mention, that I've had at least a few pictures of already this year, bears. After finding the first bear pictures no more than a week ago, I received a call from Jay yesterday talking about how opening morning of Spring Gobbler went and how a bear had already tore his camera down, this should be more than interesting to watch considering it was on video mode.This brings me what todays pictures are of and my tips to help prevent this from happening, I can't guarantee they work, but it has help my cameras stay on the tree and working.

Notice in #1 we see the bear browsing. He does that for a few pictures till something else catches his nose, as you can tell by #2 it's my trail camera, luckily though, he didn't rip it down. He just wanted to sniff it and play with it some as seen by the re-adjustment he gave it, marked by the red arrows in the #3 and #4. There are a few things that could have been done to easily avoid this. One way would be to put the camera in a "lock-box" that is thief and bear proof, but from what I have heard and read, neither of those are completely  true, but in the case of a bear making your camera a chew toy, something is better than nothing. The preventive steps I use are if you are feeding or putting out minerals make sure to place your camera first so that your hands won't be saturated with the odor of food, which will transfer to your camera. Then after that, even if you don't feed / use minerals, I spray my camera with a scent free spray that would normally be used to spray your boots and self down before entering the woods. The areas I cover with the spray is the body of camera (avoiding the lens), the straps and even the tree where I may have touched it and left my scent, this doesn't work all the time, but it has drastically dropped the number of pictures I've got of bears smelling and "playing" with my camera.

I might have forgot to follow my own rules one time while I was rushing to put my camera out. The result was Jay calling me asking where I put my trail camera, I responded, "On the tree where is always is." This time is wasn't there... 

It became a play toy, he found it 25 to 30 yards away from where it was placed. This is a fair warning make sure to be careful while placing those new trail cameras, so that it doesn't became some bear's new chew toy.

A picture of Jay as he was uncovering my trail cam from
where the bears had shoved it under some debris.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pickled Ramps

Around this time last year Jay, Skippie, Scott, and I went on an day long fishing trip, one thing you'll learn and I think I even stated in "On the Water: March 19, 2011" is that whenever you go fishing with Skippie, you never go hungry. This lunch was nothing out of the ordinary (Deer steak, potato packets, and corn), but there was a treat this time, freshly pickled ramps. I swore after having those that day I would start making my own once I started canning. This past summer was the first attempt at canning, so you can only guess what that means. I recently went on a trip and picked a five gallon bucket of ramps for friends, family, and myself. I froze some, made some potatoes and ramps, and even attempted to pickled them. I haven't had any experience with them, so I did want anyone would do, I googled how to pickle ramps and none other than Martha Stewart had a recipe for it, so I tried it.

  • 1 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 ounces ramps, trimmed and rinsed well


Stir together vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, red-pepper flakes, thyme, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add ramps; return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Pickled ramps can be refrigerated in their liquid in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


HAPPY EASTER! I hope everyone had a great weekend with their family and friends. I know I  have enjoyed the extra time with Cassie and our families. Even if you don't celebrate Easter, I hope you had a great spring weekend. I'll be back posting Monday with some more ramp related topics and a great Trail Cam Tuesday coming up. Have a great night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ramp Burgers

As many of you should have been able to tell, I love ramps! If you still don't know what a ramp is, you can find out in my post "All Ramped Up!", it will give you a little more insight. One of my first of many ramp recipes is going to be something simple, Ramp Burgers. Everyone knows how to make a burger or at least has an idea, but I am going to show you how I do without letting the ramps over take the burger.

  • 1 lbs. of ground beef or venison

  • 8 to 10 ramps (bulbs, stalks, and greens)
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Crush Red Pepper
  • Liquid Smoke

Step 1: Go dig a mess of ramps or acquire them at your local Farmers Market (if that is a possibility in your region).

Step 2: Throughly wash the ramps and trim off the roots (and greens if you do not wish to include them). I prefer to include part of the greens into the recipe as they do not have as much favor as the bulb or stalk, but they help spread the flavor throughout the burger.

Step 3: Finely mince the the ramp bulbs, stalks, and chosen amount of greens. I have found that 8 to 10 small/medium sized ramps give the best amount of flavor without overpowering the burger. Then add the minced ramps into the meat and mix into the meat.

Step  4: Add Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper, and Liquid Smoke to flavor. 

Step 5: Form meat into patties.

Step 6: Throw them onto the grill, cook to preferred doneness.

Step 7: Put on a bun, kick back with a cold beer and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - April 19, 2011

Today's Trail Cam Tuesday is going to be a little unconventional, there isn't going to be any trail camera pictures. I know how can it be Trail Cam Tuesday, without trail camera pictures? Well, I'm not exactly sure myself, but I do have some interesting pictures to show you in place of them. Now that I broke that news to everyone I am going to move forward with the story and pictures, and at the end I'm going to need everyone's opinions on a couple different things.

Two weekends ago Cassie and I (and Buster) went to change out the SD card and batteries in my trail camera, this card pull was actually when I got the pictures for last weeks Trail Cam Tuesday post with the turkeys. Not that big of a deal, except that fact if you remember the post "You know it's cold..", the case on my Moultrie trail camera already had two of the four anchor points used to strap it to a tree is broke. When I went to change the card and batteries another clip broke off, so I am now down to one anchor point and a bracket on the top of the case, but more on that later. After a little grumbling over the case and trying to figure out how to make it work, we were on our way to take a little hike, find some ramps, and let Buster burn some energy on a nice day. We hadn't made it more than a 200 yards from my tree stand when we saw stop dead in his tracks and start sniffing the ground and circling a selected area in the middle of the road. I wouldn't and really didn't think much of this as we are in the woods and a dog is going to smell a 1001 new smells every time they go into the woods, but as we got closer I realized there was something he was sniff, I'm just glad he didn't want to play fetch with it.

This is what we walked up to see, the remnants of a raccoon.
You can see the that the rib cage or lack there of is picked clean and made into a chew toy.
Looks like the coyotes or maybe even a bear had a nice snack.
A close up of the clenched teeth and whatever is left of the racoon's face.
I'm not sure what happened to this raccoon, Cassie thinks it got attacked by coyotes or was fighting with something. As for my opinion, it could have been a winter kill, that just got drug out into the road, but really there are quite a few things that could have happened, what do you think?

Back to my busted case on my trail camera and how I'm going to tie all this back into a Trail Cam Tuesday post, I know I can order a new case from Moultrie and I think I am going to do that, but this also gives me a reason to upgrade my trail camera. I have been looking at the new ones Moultrie has out, since I've had good luck with them in the past, but there also seems to be good sales on the 8.0 MP Bushnell trail camera. This is the other part of today's post I am asking for help with, what kind of trail camera do you have, would you recommend it and why?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Do We Wait for Spring Gobbler in WV?

This always seems to be a hot debate in local WV conversation and message boards. With most the states that surround West Virginia opening up on average a week or two earlier, why must we wait? This argument will go on for some time, but I was listening to West Virginia Outdoors Today with Chris Lawrence earlier this month and they covered this topic with a WV DNR Biologist. Below is the recap article, written by Mr. Chris Lawrence, of that conversation.

Chris Lawrence

Image from Trail Cam Tuesday - April 12, 2011
West Virginia's spring gobbler season opens April 25th.  It's a season that draws a lot of interest--and often because of when it opens--a lot of contention.
"I got a call last week--and I know I'm going to get more," said Biologist Chris Ryan during a recent edition of West Virginia Outdoors. "Why don't you open the spring turkey season earlier?"
The answer is purely for the protection of the resources.  Researchers with the West Virginia DNR have given considerable attention to the wild turkey population.  The research included a hen study from years ago which determined half the turkey hens in West Virginia will have gone to nest by May 1.
"May 1st is the actual mid point of when those hens go to nest," said Ryan. "Ohio just replicated the study over there and they agreed the same thing. Right in this region that's about the time they go to nest."
The data doesn't hold true for states to the south.  FloridaGeorgiaSouth Carolina, and Alabamaall have a much earlier spring gobbler season.  Ryan says they can afford to open the season earlier because, their nesting period occurs much earlier.    The theory, which has proven true over time, is hens on the nest are less likely to be killed by hunters either errantly or maliciously in poaching. 
"Whenever they set the dates and this was before my time, they actually agreed on that fourth Monday in April," Ryan said. "It's actually before the mid-point of the medium of when those hens go to nest.  But it's late enough that they're already well into their egg laying.  It's actually done to protect those hens."
Some hunters complain they hear more gobbling activity in the days leading up to the season.   Ryan says that doesn't necessarily mean the gobbling is over before the four-week season ends.   Biologists say after the first two weeks of the season, most hens are on the nest and gobblers are still in search of a breeding mate.   The gobblers are likely more receptive to a hunters call when they're desperate to find more mates.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

All Ramped Up!

I know I've rambled on about ramps many times before. Between my "About Me" page, posts, and it seems I talk about them the most on Twitter, I'm sure people are wondering what exactly are ramps. For me, they are something I simply grew up with in Appalachia. It was also something you knew you didn't want to eat if you had to be anywhere special or at least not wanting to smell of ramps for that night and the next morning. As I grew up, but I found that this wasn't completely true, as they do have a potent odor, it doesn't attach to you as fiercely as the old wives tales lead one to believe. There are festivals and dinners all around my home state of West Virginia for these delicious things. As you are reading this, I am sure some of  you are still a little puzzled as to what a ramp is. That's what I am here to try and help you with.

What are they?
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are also commonly known as wild leeks, they may also by referred to by the names spring onion, ramson, and wild garlic. Wikipedia defines a ramp as an early spring vegetable with a strong garlicky odor and a pronounced onion flavor. A perennial member of the onion family (Alliaceae), the plant has broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and a scallion-like stalk and bulb. They normally grow in clusters, strongly rooted just below the surface.

Where can they be found?
Although ramps have strong ties to Appalachia, they grow throughout most of the mid-Atlantic states ranging as far north as Canada. One of the reason for the strong ties to Appalachia is because of its physical geography. Ramps are normally found in forested areas that are shady and sandy, often near rivers and streams. They frequently grow on the north side of embankments in small clumps. They can be cultivated with planting seeds or transplanting bulbs. The seeds will take from five to seven years to harvest and if you choose to transplant bulbs it should be done in early spring and will take between two to four years to be ready to harvest.

What are their uses?
There are many thing you can do with ramps. I like to eat a few raw while I am picking them, but that is just one of the many ways one can eat ramps. Some of my personal favorites are to pickle, mince into burgers, cook with potatoes and ham, stew, raw, and a salad with the greens. For other new recipes and the abilities you can always attend a ramp festival or a ramp dinner.

Festivals and Dinners
Most service organizations and Fire/EMS department around West Virginia do ramp dinners as a fund raiser in the spring, this is always a good time for the people who aren't able to go pick their own or don't have the time or ability to. One of the largest Ramp Festivals in held in Richwood, WV. The community of Richwood hosts the "Feast of the Ramson" in April, it is sponsored by the National Ramp Association. Another Ramp Festival in WV is held in Elkins. They host the "International Ramp Festival", this event has a cook-off and a ramp eating contest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - April 12, 2011

After posting scouting tips and pictures of whitetails, I thought I'd try and go with something a little more conventional this week. I know that many of you have already had or are having your opening day of Spring Gobbler season, but we're still waiting for our opening day in West Virginia. It is actually 13 days away (April 25), and even longer for me since I have to work the first week. After looking and some of these pictures my trail camera took over the past month, I don't think I have that much to worry about.

How many do you count?

Where'd everyone go?

Hoping for a double with Jay and I that first Saturday.

Struttin' and Profilin' 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Weekend In Pictures

I am going to give everyone a quick review of my weekend in picture form. 
There will be follow up posts to give the rest of the stories behind these pictures.

The start of our trek.

We struck gold!! This one's for you JM, one of the few who will know this one by sight.

I have an odd obsession with taking pictures of posted signs.

Looks like our trek paid off.
Myself and Jay with our Certificates of Training. If you follow me on Twitter,
you'd know what these Certificates were for.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Act of Giving in Rowlesburg

This blog is anything but organized, my thoughts and posts are normally scattered and random, but I at least try to keep them on the topic of the outdoors or am able to tie the randomness back into the outdoors. This is not a political post, nor is it even my post, it's my mothers (Yes, that's right I said it, my mom's, she has her own blog. It was a quasi Christmas present this past year, just a place to rant and rave). Normally I laugh about her post or will even heed their advice, but I never thought I'd be repost this one. With everything looming over us with the government shut down, she wrote an amazing post this evening that I couldn't help but share with everyone. Taken from my mom's blog, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Listen, I present her latest post, "The Act of Giving in Rowlesburg"...

It is no secret that West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country.  It is also no secret that Preston County is a fairly poor county in WV and that Rowlesburg in Preston County is not very wealthy either. What people may not know about is the generosity of the people in Rowlesburg. It always amazes me that the people who have the least, give the most and give freely. Tonight in Rowlesburg, for instance, Brandy, an Americorp Volunteer, is hosting a Dance for Hunger.  The entrance fee is nonperishable food for the town's food pantry. She planned it so the first two hours are for kids and the last three hours are for adults. I told her I thought it was a good idea to include  the kids for part of the dance. I meant it would also give them something to do on a Friday night. She said that she thought the kids needed to learn about giving and that there is always someone out there that has less than you, so that is why she was including them.  So, on this evening when the government in our country can't decide what to do, a small economically strapped little community in one of the poorest counties, in one of the poorest states in our country seems to have figured out what to do. You take care of your own. You give what you can or maybe even more. You donate, you give away and you feel blessed in the process. So why is this such a difficult process for the wealthiest and most affluent people in our country, the folks that are always trying to get out of paying taxes and using their power to make things only better for themselves?  Some would say trying to increase your power and wealth is the American way, but is that really what are forefathers had in mind? Can America really be a great country with only the powerful rich?  I don't know, but I think it might do many politicians a world of good tonight to take a little side trip to Rowlesburg, bringing with them 7 nonperishable food items, and spending a night dancing with me at the fire hall for "Dance Out Hunger".
You know, you can call us a lot of things, rednecks, hillbillies, hicks, or bubba, but here's the thing; I'll take my redneck, small Appalachian town friends, who know right from wrong and will give you the shirt off their back if that's what it takes to help someone. Instead of the elected leaders that have, at best, questionable taste in what decisions they are making at this present time. This weekend, I suggest one thing, help someone, do something; even if it is just holding the door for someone, it matters. That's how America became what is is/was; off the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors. Somewhere amongst everything in today's world we have let that slip away.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nikon D3100

Image Credit: Nikon USA
If you remember way back when in December I posted "The Goods", it talked about what I had received over the holidays and what I had planned on doing with the gifted cash. If you don't remember I'll bring you up to speed,  I spoke about wanting a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera). I spoke specifuially about getting the Nikon D90, it is an amazing camera, but when it came time to actually make the purchase, I found something a little different. It was still a Nikon, but it was the Nikon 3100 in a bundle pack that came with another lens, SD card, and a Nikon Camera Bag with Instructional DVD. The differences in the two cameras are things that as for now, I won't even need to touch, so with the ability to get more useful items with it and still stay a little under budget I couldn't resist pick it up. The lens I got with the bundle is a AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm, this is a great addition to the kit lens since I will be attempting to shot nature and wildlife, amongst other things.  Now that I've got my camera, now I just need to learn how to use it more proficiently to be able to cross another goal off my list for 2011.

For an added bonus, I'm going to include a few of my first attempts with this camera...

Street Light


Mile Marker #3

Beaver Skull

Cemetery and Oak

Buster in B&W 
Ok, so the last one was taken by Cassie, but the others are mine. I am in the process of 
opening up a Flickr account and then linking it to a photo tab at the top. 
Any comments, suggestions, or help are always welcomed!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why do I Blog? - Writing Prompt

Last week the OBN presented the writing prompt, Why do we blog? I pondered this for a day or so, thought mine was pretty simple and straight forward, so what was the point to write it, but I keep find myself wondering back to this topic. So to get this idea out of my head and on to the blog for everyone to read here it is...

I had been reading blogs about everything from hunting and fishing, canning and cooking to cameras and photography. But one thing always bugged me, I couldn't find any blogs centrally located in WV, at least one that encompassed everything I was reading about. During this same time period, I was active on a few message boards and hand writing a journal about fishing and hunting trips, ramp patches I found, and our attempts at QDM (Quality Deer Management) on Bell Hill to name a few things. As the summers would hit full stride my journals always seems to take a nose dive but the amount of pictures would raise, but trying to go back and look at the pictures and try to write in the journal about a picture that wasn't there just seemed to annoy me, so I started to think about what I could do make this process easier.

That's when the idea for Foggy Mountain Meanderings began, I thought a blog would be a good way to keep track of my adventures as well as allow some of my family members and parents to keep tabs on what I was doing as well as letting the out-of-state family members see what was going on during hunting season if they didn't make it in. I never expected to have anyone else look at it outside of a few family members and friends. I looked at it more as an online journal, I wasn't even sure I'd tell my hunting/fishing buddies about it, it took a while but they found out and actually help with my blog.

I registered Foggy Mountain Meanderings back in August, but didn't actually start blogging until the beginning of September. This one was just about remember the past weekend and reminiscing about an old saying my grandfather always told me. Then it progressed to talking about our annual trip to Romney and some pre-season scouting and the ups and downs of the bow and rifle season. Once all that came to an end, I found something that change this whole blogging thing, the Outdoor Blogger Network. It took me nearly a month to convince myself to submit my blog, but I wasn't sure my blog was even worthy of being in the same directory as the blogs that were listed on the OBN and  I had been reading. But with Cassie's assurance and my newly crafted "Goals for 2011", I had nothing else to say, back pedal or do than simply to submit my blog. Since then, in a very short time, I managed to found a great group of outdoor blogging buddies. Not to mention the OBN has been expanding more rapidly than ever. From the looks of it, I wasn't the only one that it took a while to submit their blog. I will continue to record my journal mainly so I can remember my adventures and keep my friends and family updated, but now it seems there are a few more people than I thought that cared about what a kid from a small, river valley town in West Virginia does when he goes out to woods or to the riverbanks.

Now that I've diverged off topic I'm going to try and wrap this up. I'm not even sure I answered why I blog, but hopefully this gave you a little more insight into why I blog even if I didn't answer the question directly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trail Cam Tuesday - April 5, 2011

It might be the warmer weather (in between the snow storms), it might be the fact that I am sick of the cold dreary weather, or may just be the fact that that calender says it's Spring; but my mind is is starting to kick into overdrive with the thoughts of turkeys, trout, and ramps. With many of you having the same thoughts dancing through your heads might be thinking that I am going to take this opportunity to put up some more pictures or even a video of turkeys, but you're mistaken. There is one more thing I like to do this time of year, while I am out picking ramps and hunting mushrooms I like to continue to scout whitetails. Because before you know it (OK so give it another two months ofrso) they are going to start looking like this...

Make sure when you're out in the woods this spring, either hunting turkeys or ramps/mushrooms, keep your eyes peeled for some signs of last year's bucks. It always seems to be easier to find those old rub lines or scrapes from last year. This lets you know how the deer were traveling around the area and hopefully gives you a little look into how they are going to travel this year. Finding these patterns may help you when deciding where to do some new pre-season scouting with mineral licks and trail cameras or even where to place or relocate a tree stand.

Monday, April 4, 2011

On the Water: April 3, 2011

One evening I was on Twitter when Joe (AKA SoCalSalty) said that he hoped and thought that I needed to get out and take some time to relax and fish or at least do something with the weekend. But with the dismal weather reports and my two go-to fishing buddies out of town at Hatfield and McCoys Trails, I wasn't sure much was going to happen. I thought I'd chalk this weekend up to some household chores and try to finish unpacking/organizing everything.

First Catch Magic
As the weekend progressed I thought this decision was for the best due to the fact that the weekend started with thunderstorms and snow, then progressed to an inch and a half of slush, snow and muck on the roads Saturday night. I woke up Sunday looking outside thinking I might be able to squeeze a short trip in this morning, but as soon as I went to get my gear ready a pop up rain/hail storm coated the area, again another sign that I had made the right choice to take this weekend off. But after a few hours of working around the house, I got that ever so gentle nudge and blessing to go out and fish this afternoon since the weather was break and as she put it I was going "stir-crazy" being inside the whole weekend. With Cassie's and Joe's suggestion that I get out this weekend I didn't even let the weather deter me. I was out the door...

And man was it worth it. I headed to one of my favorite fishing hole close my house on the Cheat River. After a fresh stocking this past week, I was slightly worried that my hole would be filled with people, but to my surprise, there wasn't anyone there. The whole stretch that I love to fish was wide open, there was a ton of people out, but I think this stretch was a little to far out of the way for most people to want to attempt to go to.

Another "great" self portrait.
After I finally made to the water, I could have really cared less about catching fish, it was nice just getting out. To my surprise, a little first cast magic hit. It wasn't the biggest catch of the day (measured out at 16 1/4"), but it was the icing on the cake today to have caught a fish on my first cast. Especially on the a weekend that I didn't think or even plan on fishing. The picture to the left doesn't even do this fish justice, but the coloration on this fish was amazing, so lively and bright. After the hooking up on a great looking trout on the first cast, I didn't matter much to catch another trout the rest of the evening. That wasn't the case though, only a matter of ten to fifteen minutes later, I hooked up with another trout. This one didn't hit nearly as hard and I had actually missed it only a cast earlier. I wasn't sure if it was a smaller, more timid trout, but I was mistake, it was actually a larger trout. I was wondering why this fish acted so awkwardly, other than the fact that it was a stocker. Upon further inspection the fish was missing a pectoral fin and had half of its jaw and upper lip missing. I wasn't sure if this fish would even make it. It very well could have, but I would feel bad if I let it go and it died. This is one of my main problems with stocked trout, they are just thrown in there, some in even poor conditions. But in this situation, you must take the good with the bad. And for those of you wondering, I did put that trout to good use. It was delicious. 

Fresh Trout Fillet with Green Beans and Red Potatoes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Big News - Billy Madison Style

That's right, I'm heading back to school. I got the official paperwork back this week stating that I was accepted to West Virginia University to attain a Master of Science in Safety Management. With the support and help of Cassie and my parents, it looks like I'm heading.....

Gear Review: Montana Fly Company

I am conducting this review much later than I had intended to be, but the first time I got out on the water this year was a little over a week ago and that was with a spin reel mainly. I did manage to get to play around everything enough though to get a review done on everything.

Back in mid January, the OBN announced the winners of a Gear Review Opportunity for Montana Fly Company. I entered this gear review in hopes of building up some of my fly tying materials and tools since it was barely a year at the time since I purchased my first fly rod and reel, as well as my first vise and fly tying materials. To my surprise I received the opportunity to review some great products, and you better believe I was ecstatic. First thing I did upon receiving my package in mid-February was to rip it open like a little kid on Christmas morning any good fly fisherman, to inspected the goodies I had received.

Mountain Fly Company loaded me up with some great products to test out. I received three new spools of MFC Thread (White, Chartreuse, and Dark Gray), River Camo Ceramic Bobbin, River Camo 4" Forceps/Scissor, River Camo Hair Stacker, and a River Camo Aluminum Fly Box. Once I have everything opened up and laid out for this first inspection, the first thing I noticed was the sturdiness of their craftsmanship. This is something that is very important to me, if I am going to get something, I want something that is going to be able stand up to a little wear and tear, and I will admit I am not the most gentle person at times. After saying that, I want a product that is built to last.

  A general look over of everything: the Scissor forceps seemed to be extremely strong and looked to have many uses, the ceramic bobbin looked to be a  upgrade from the kit bobbin I had been using, and the fly box seemed to be solid with a tight closing lid. That was my only initial concern about any of this products was the fact that the fly box didn't have a tab or latch to close, but you can chalk that one up to personal preference.

After my initial excitement and fiddling around with everything it was time to start testing everything. Considering I was still looking out at about a foot of snow at the time, I knew I wasn't going to be fishing much in the next few weeks so I settled in for a little fly tying. As I still consider myself a novice fly tier, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into with this review, but much like everything else I dove in head first.

The first thing I tried was the new thread and River Camo Ceramic Bobbin. I wasn't sure how much of an upgrade this could be, I was sadly mistake. As soon as loaded the bobbin with thread and made the first wrap or two around that hook, I could tell this was a huge upgrade. It actually felt like a different kind of tool, as the thread easy fed through the bobbin with limited resistance and allowed me to spend more time concentrating on what the fly I was trying in comparison to making sure the thread wasn't going to get stuck or hung up in the bobbin. I not only recommend that anyone getting into fly tying upgrades to a ceramic bobbin immediately, but I am looking to pick up a few more of them myself.

Then not until last weekend was I am to make it out an trying out some of new new fly fishing gear, I thought that if the bobbin, thread and hair stacker were make with such quality that I wouldn't have anything to worry about with the River Camo Aluminum Fly Box and River Camo 4" Forceps/Scissor. The main thing I was worried about was the fly box, I loved the feel and seeming durability of the box, but as I had stated before I was just worried about it not having an external latch to keep it from opening. But after having it in my pocket, pack, and even had it "accidently" fall out to see if it would open, and it didn't have a problem once. The internal latching systems seems to work well enough I won't have to worry about it again, this was my only worry about this box. Other than that it has a beautiful brown trout covering over a rugged aluminum box.

The River Camo 4" Forceps/Scissor were actually what impressed me the most during this review, as they has the most used for various aspects of fishing. They obviously work well in removing hooks, but they incorporated scissor is was I found most useful. Instead of having to having to dig for clippers I was able to trim my tippet/line with the forceps that are easily attached to the outside of my pack. They even did well in purring a small branch while trying to retrieve my fly from an ill advise cast. Now a pause for some laughter, as I even had to laugh at myself for this one. This pair of forceps are far and above my new go to forceps in replacing my old medical grade forceps, as they provided me with many more uses.

I would highly recommend all these products to any fly fisherman from novice to expert. They have met and greatly exceeded the expectation that I had set forth for them.

All reviews conducted on Foggy Mountain Meanderings are my honest thoughts, feelings and opinions on said product(s), I received the MFC Thread (White, Chartreuse, and Dark Gray), River Camo Ceramic BobbinRiver Camo 4" Forceps/ScissorRiver Camo Hair Stacker and a River Camo Aluminum Fly Box free of charge, thanks to the product review giveaway from the OBN and Montana Fly Company, and agreed to provide a review in exchange for these products. Foggy Mountain Meanderings is not sponsored by or associated with Montana Fly Company and is accepting no other compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. 
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