Recently I've realized that this portion of the forums may just be the best and most underutilized part, so with that in mind I decided to do a quick write up of my latest weekend trip, albeit sans pictures (like a dummy, I forgot my camera).
I was fortunate to spend the weekend camping, fishing and fly fishing the portion of the Caney Fork River just below the Center Hill Dam. This portion of the river is regularly stocked by the TWRA with rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Great fishing, absolutely gorgeous river. The water is quite cold, which makes fishing in the summer very pleasant for me (I despise the heat and love the cold), and it makes it incredibly beautiful as the cold river water hits that hot summer air and you fish in huge fields of mist. (Now you see why I really regret not taking my camera!)
Fishing report: I caught nothing, my wife caught 5 rainbow trout and 1 brook trout. They were all a bit small, so we (she - I didn't catch anything, remember?) threw them back. I had a great time fishing, we had some great weather, and got several pop up thunderstorms while wading in the river. I really need to work on my bait and lures for trout, as I've really only grown up fishing for bass, crappie, catfish, and pickerel.
Camping: Rain flies are a must, even when they make your tent hot and stuffy when it isn't raining. Friday night was warm and stuffy and dry, but Saturday it rained off and on, before raining quite hard starting around 5PM and on into Sunday morning. My little tent handled it beautifully, and kept everything dry.
Jetboil: I've had a little Jetboil for about six months now. Before that I mostly used a GSI Dualist with an MSR pocket rocket, but wanted something a little thinner (albeit taller). One thing I dislike about the system is that you heat your water and drink/eat from the same vessel. Call me crazy, but I'd rather have a separate cup/bowl/whatever. Just my preference. Easily solved by bringing along a cup, but then why not just use the Dualist? All that aside, I had an annoying issue with the Jetboil this weekend: the auto-igniter decided to stop working. I used the Jetboil maybe a week ago with no problems, but first thing Saturday morning, I go to make some coffee, and no ignition. Click click click. Nothing. Now, I always bring multiple ways to start a fire (waterproof matches, lighter, ferro rod), so it wasn't a big deal to get it lit, but it was a gear failure, and it again brought up the whole "why am I using this instead the Dualist/MSR?" Fortunately I got it from REI, so I'm strongly considering taking it back (even though the auto-igniter is working fine now that I'm home). But it definitely reinforced my mantra of always bringing multiple ways to start a fire, even if you plan on living out of a Jetboil.
Kit Bag: I don't own one, but I think I need one. Yeah, I've liked the idea of the kit bag before, even though I go back and forth on the whole chest-carry bit. It just doesn't seem ideal from a heat-loss situation in the summer, its more bulk on my chest, and using it with a pack just seems iffy (at least if its anything like wearing a MOLLE ruck with a chest rig in the army). But all that being said - I can't imagine something better for fishing. I can carry extra lures/bait, maybe a snack, my CAMERA (which I forgot, much to my chagrin with how beautiful the river was), and a few other odds and ends like my licenses. All while keeping everything up and out of the water - I like to wade in, even though I don't have waders, and am typically knee to waist deep). Now, my father-in-law also fly fishes and has a ... Well, it looks like a fanny pack, but you carry it on your chest, and its set up to keep everything you need for fly fishing right there. Its a great piece of specialty kit, and replicating that would be as easy as going to Bass Pro and picking one up, but significantly less versatile than a HPG kit bag that I could easily reconfigure for hunting, fishing, or hiking. I'm not just plugging HPG here, even if I love everything I have from them; it just really hit me this weekend how great it would be to have something like that for fishing, and how that could easily carry over to other outdoor activities.
All in all, despite not catching anything, it was a great weekend away. We had some beautiful weather, we had some good fishing, and it was a much need break where I could unplug from everything and just ... Fish.
(If you made it this far, thanks for reading.)