Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Max Catch 2wt Combo Direct form China Review

There's a little stream I fish.
The stream has mostly small fish.
I love fishing it with a 2wt.

So far all my 2wt fishing has been with a home built 2wt.
I learned 2 things:
  1. How cheap the components are 
  2. I don't enjoy rod building
We have an upcoming trip to Newfoundland and the place is teaming with brook trout streams. Unfortunately my 2wt is 2 piece and as a traveling fly rodder musician and photographer I need to get everything compact.

So I went about my search for a 2wt combo that won't break the bank. My logic being that I put my last outfit together for $150 ($60 kit, Martin reel and some decent Cortland line).

Now once you get to the 2wt end of fly rodding your selection greatly decreases. As well 'they' know that if you are looking for a 6' 2wt, the addiction is strong in you.

SO I started with my Guide deal at TFO, combed the internet, sought advice on forums and the rod alone was going to cost more than my whole present outfit. Combine that with wanting to get one each for my self and my wife...this was going to cost me $800!!

So, once again, I find myself scoping around eBay. On a lark I searched for 2wts. At first I was getting results that were similar to my previous searches but once I narrowed the parameters to 2wt combos under $200 I found gold.
Maximum Catch eBay Store Photo
The store and manufacturer is Max Catch. I have a sling made by them and it is OK.
Anyways I pulled the trigger.
My logic?
  1. Everything is made in China and renamed for various high end brands
  2.  At $72 USD per outfit, how bad would it have to be to be a complete bust? 
  3. Even if only the rod was any good I would still be ahead of the game!
  4. I will be using it to fish small streams for small fish...it doesn't have to be that good

So, rod, reel, line, tube, and sock x 2 delivered to my front door for $144 USD (free shipping too)

So I un-boxed it and I have to say cosmetically it was a mind blower. $72? Should have got 4.

Put it all together and did a little backyard casting. Everything looked and worked beautifully.

Took it fishing. Cast well into the wind played and landed fish well.

I loved it!!

To be fair one shouldn't be stressing a 2wt with big fish and hero casts. I am not sure how good the reel or the line will be in the long run and I have no idea what upper weight rods would be like but they claim it's  IM 10 graphite.
Here are some pictures.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Bad Day Fishing is Better Than a Good Day a Work...SAYS WHO?

So the weather was fine, the ice was off most of the lakes and I wanted to go fishing. I had to play in the morning and I had to/honoured to/get to teach a casting seminar at Cabela's till 3pm. So my options were a little short. Stocked trout is the only option this time of year so I decided to hit a place called Reynolds Ponds. The ponds are a series of large reclaimed gravel/limestone pits that have been filled in by the aquifer. Being spring feed and deep they winter most of their fish but they are also stocked yearly. There  is great shore access and back casting room. The ponds are both small enough to  let you cover a lot of water from shore they are also big enough to accommodate, canoes, kayaks, float tubes, pontoons, and row boats. It is well back of the highway, so quite secluded.

Visually it is only a few docks, benches and manicured landscaping away from the facilities at any high priced private fly fishing facility that I have been at or read about in North America or Europe

Sounds like heaven?
But instead of looking like this...

...it looks like this

Not even close. 
I could have spent the day shooting pics of  piles of crap people could manage to bring there but not manage to bring out. Most of it with bullet holes in it.

Now it is not a private for fee fishing area so I would be out of my mind to expect it to be anything like one, but with a little effort this resource just out side of the city could be a real gem for locals and visitors.

The local fly fishing association has spent a decent amount of time and public money to develop a province wide trout map and, more relevantly, spent good money  on  a few failed attempts to have fish in a pond in Birds Hill Provincial park.

Birds Hill 34 minutes from Winnipeg,  Reynolds Ponds are 45 minutes.

On this particular day I also had the misfortune of having squatter/campers on the side one of the ponds. They had been there a while and, as of 7pm Sunday night, show no signs of leaving.

They played their music loud making relaxing a challenge and dropped the f bomb with the full force of their lungs and frequently enough that the lone family with kids left.

I did manage a fish. It happen while the squatters where playing Bryan Adam's "Summer of 69"

and On top of that I had two different dogs off leash bark growl charge me one from the squatters and one from other people with no sense about public spaces
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work?? I wish I was at work

Now some carefully shot/cropped photos of this place and you get what I may be imagining for the place.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bower and William Lake

I have grouped these two lakes together as they are somewhat similar

Both lakes are located in the Turtle Mountain area of Manitoba, 1½ hours south of Brandon making them 3½ away from Winnipeg.

Bower is the bigger lake, stocked with rainbow trout. The water is prone to turbidity due to the type of lake, the wind and the power boats. There is little in the way of shore access so you would need a water craft of some sort.
There is good camping nearby with everything from rough to full service.

William is a little  east of William. The 2 species of note are Brown Trout and Small Mouth bass. The browns are stocked and bass where put in to control the perch. There is a gas motor ban and a limit on taking bass.
Great camping right on the lake but they are all un-serviced

Tokaryk and Patterson Lakes

I have lumped these two lakes together as they are similar in topography and species

Both have stocked Rainbows and Browns
Both are pot hole lakes with not much in the way of structure
Both are just east of the town of Rossburn making them 3½ hours away from Winnipeg by car
Patterson has a bait and gas motor ban while Tokaryk only has a ban on live minnows.

Because of the nature of the fish stocked (most notably the rainbow steelhead crosses) these fish grow big. You can easily catch a 20" rainbow and the browns can get as big as well.
Not much in the way of shore access so you need a water craft of some sort.

There is a campsite of sorts on Patterson but there is not much in the area for non fishing members of your family if you are planning to base a vacation around these lakes or this area of the world. I think you'd be better off camping in near by Riding Mountain National Park leaving the family with some things to do while you go fishing.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hunt Lake October 13 2014

For whatever reason, I have not been fishing since I have gotten back from the east coast. I fully intended last week but it was way too windy to get my butt blown around a lake (as well as cold and rainy).

But I was also able to entice my wife to come along.
It was a beautiful day with an air temp of 17 and a water temp of maybe 2-3 degrees. There was minimal surface action to be seen I hooked 7 fish in a coupla hours and landed zero my wife (after I told her what fly to use and where to fish it) hooked one fish and landed it.
Ya a splake. The hatchery fell on hard funding times and, while they would never openly admit that hybrids cost more to raise to swim, during that time of austerity they produced zero.

So 2-3 years after getting the funding back up we are getting hybrids...but why splake especially in the eastern lakes??

Spar look awe some, compete well and grow a decent size in the eastern lakes...haven't made or stocked any in like 7-10 years. 

2007 spar

Tigers cost a lot more to make (or the same amount but you get way less fish as the spin goes) don't compete well but look amazing and grow decent sizes under the right circumstances.

2009 Tiger (not mine)
But a splake?? I have no idea why these fish make it into the eastern stocking list. Ya they grow a little longer than specks do but they stay skinny and their fall colours?? Well you saw.
2010 splake from Lyon's Lake 
Now I am not against them per say but Hunt lake has been a great little brook trout lake for 10+ years but now it is a hodge podge of brookies with browns to deal with the perch (which seems to have worked) and now these washed out skinny splake.

Now I get the 'variety for anglers' bit. Maybe the cottage owners want bigger fish maybe the MNR is treating these lakes like aquariums, but when it was a brookie and perch lake you knew what fish was making those rings and could target them. When the other fish were rainbows then again you could use your brain and deduce what was up. When the other fish became brown you could flog the water hoping to torment one of those retired brooders on their last fin or (like me) ignore them and target the brookies. For me working the stumps and structure for brook trout was like a trip to 'world class' Algonquin Park.

If it was up to me I'd leave McHugh for Browns, Lyon's for bows and Hunt for brooks. I'd stop dropping bows into Bear lake for the pike to feed on as well as knocking off the stocking of lakes no one can get to  float planes (that's how they stock em folks) can get to. If ya want to stock them with something different (assuming they have no reproducing fish) then put in something self sustaining like smallies or lakers and then let it be.

I think I just saved us a million dollars.

Now I am just talking about the eastern region (ya know the one closest to the the largest city). The whole 'please drop some exotic tigers in our aerated pothole lake so we can have tourism' thing is outside my interest and is so full of holes I don't know where to begin...or end.

After she caught her fish she was more than interested in doing something and and the splake thing kinda took the wind out of my sails so we took pictures.

Friday, August 15, 2014

East Coast Trip 2014 part 5

If you find yourself here and are reading my final installment you may want to start at the beginning on my 32 day (2 travel 30 vacation) east coast vacation.

Day 24: Another "nothing" day. Hit the local farmers market for fresh strawberries, wild blue berries and, oh yeah, salmon fillets. Visited some different friends and ate the above along with some moose T-Bones

Unstable weather had me taking a few shots in-between showers.
2 versions of the same scene

A popular backyard game in New Brunswick is washer toss

Road 101
Day 25:
Kinda big and long day. Off to St. Andrews By the Sea. The main activity was whale watching on a tall sail ship. Normally by this time of year the water is thick with fin backs and minke but the hurricane/tropical storm early in July seems to have scared them off.
Some shots before we board.

Some shots heading out

Nice to be on the water

Terns on a 2x4
Full Boat

Salmon Farm

Ferry has right of way

Oh look, a light house

Rough Life

Optical illusion islands

We went pass the seal island.

Couple of pups

Captain Adelle
I'm On A Boat!

Whale ho!!!!!!!!!

The photos offer no perspective but this whale was 70+ feet long and bout the same number of tonnes. The fin marks the last quarter of the animals length.

When we got back to port it was low tide.

When we left this floating dock was flush with the bottom of the pier. 

After dinner we went fishing. My goal was to get Adelle a fish on the Tenkara (reel-less Japanese fly fishing)

She got a few hits and LDR's as well as landing one!

On the hike out we noticed the "Super" moon so went back to the house and brought back the cameras.

Hey Honey, remember the time we laid down in the field with fishing waders on, getting bit by skeeters to get a photo of the moon?

Day 26:
Off to a Moncton Hotel for an over night with an early start to get to Hopewell Rocks

We swam, ordered in and watched a movie.

Day 27:

Off to Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy. The main attraction is the enormous difference between the tides. On one extreme you are walking on a beach and 6 hours later it is 45+ feet under water.

 The 6 hour delay made the lighting a nightmare but you get the idea.

More shots of low tide and walking on the ocean floor

Random Ground Hog.

Next up, Adelle and Charles elected to kayak through the spires known as "Flower Pot Rocks"
The Skirts

The PFD and Paddle

I want to kayak but I didn't think that my first time should be on the ocean with a fast rising tide was the way to start but when I saw their operation and how they set people up (and how calm the water was) I really regretted not going. Well next time for sure.

Day 28:
As the holiday comes to a close we start to slow things down. So we got bubble wrap to transport our 'beverages' and such. Picked up scallops to eat when we are missing this place. In there some where was a trip to the SPCA for a cat and dog fix.
The Dogs were in kennels and so not too photogenic.

Of course I went fishing that night. The Oromocto again but a different stretch.

There were active fish but as I got within casting range some bubbas showed up and started casting their Bill Dance Largie type poppers so whatever fish they didn't catch they scared to death. So I moved down stream and managed a few more hits but only one to hand

 So I have posted many fish shots so I tried to do it differently.

Day 29:
The next day it rained so our second climb (less a mountain and more a mount) got canceled. We did go to an SPCA fund raiser that night but no pictures.

Day 30:
Errand day take back the guitar amp and rental car. Dinner with family. Preliminary packing for the flight out.

I had hoped to go fishing but the 2 days of rain have left the rivers high and discoloured.

The backyard stream

High Water

So dinner is on the menu.



The full Meal...


After Dinner it was time for a fire and of course a photo op.

So that is it a 30 day vacation on the east coast. We were away 32 but I don't think of travel days as vacation as they are more a necessity.

Posting video became a pain so I will compile when I get home.