Sex, Lies, and Frustration

Monday, April 22, 2013 , 2 Comments

I apologize for the lack of fishing posts as of late. I promise I have been fishing--just not catching, or at least nothing notable. Within the past few weeks I have been trying to take advantage of the walleye Spawn here in Kansas. I have seen a lot of fish. Several over 6 lbs. However, I have not hooked into a single one. I have fished for walleye over much of my life so while it is a species I target less than others I am by no means a novice. However, most of my fishing has been on natural lakes further north.  Since I only have a kayak where I live currently it limits my ability to fish for walleye. The exception is the spawn when the fish are in as little as a few inches of water. Up north it is illegal to fish for walleye during the spawn so this is a relatively new thing for me. But here is my opinion, backed by a little research and personal experience. 

Back to this year, again I have easily spent 15+ hours on the water. I have tried jigs, slip bobbers with minnows, curly tail grubs, crank baits, and an assortment of flies including clousers and wooly buggers. The standard walleye patterns pus a few for good measure. No fish.  When I moved down here anglers told me how during the spawn the fish would attack lures to defend their nests. I am going to call this myth one. The truth it seems is the fish don't give a fuck about anything other than spawning. Seriously, I have personally witnessed dozens of occasions where the lure/fly passed right by the nose of spawning fish, no interest in the world except the spawn. Perhaps this is a myth carried over from bluegill and other species, who will defend their nests voraciously. Second myth, the spawn is a great time to fish for walleye. Again I am calling bullshit on this one. In perhaps the cannonical guide to walleye fishing, Walleye Wisdom, by In-Fisherman with contributions for Al Linder, Gary Roach, and Doug Stange--all angling giants in their own right, the authors note the following angling opportunities for walleye: Pre-Spawn as largely neutral, with small males slightly more aggressive; Spawn as a negative opportunity, with very poor fishing conditions with feeding minimal to nonexistent. The only exception they note is walleye in river systems who continue to feed throughout the spawn, perhaps due to greater energy expenditure caused by fighting a current; Post-Spawn, negative to neutral. My thoughts on this are many of the fish that are caught by anglers during the spawn are either pre or post-spawn fish, as individuals with spawn at different times over the course of a week or two. That being said the fishing has never been phenomenal. I have never witnessed nor heard of anyone doing exceptionally well. A fish is picked up here and there but it is never non-stop action. So why the attraction, why so many anglers on the banks? Partially due to myth I believe and secondly, and the reason I will keep fishing the spawn is it is the greatest opportunity to catch a walleye from shore. They may not feeding much, but they are easily within casting distance and the opprotunity exists to catch not only a walleye in 2 feet of water, but a big walleye. At the end of the day thats what draws us. The fish are there for sex, we may be there due to lies, and the fishing is frustrating: but the hope of that 8 lb+ walleye will continue to draw us back, year after year. 


Product Review: FITS Socks

Monday, April 15, 2013 , , 2 Comments

A product review of socks on an outdoor blog may seem like a strange thing but after putting these socks to the test over the past few months I am impressed to the point where I must review and recommend them. If you fly fish often and in the pursuit of your hobby find yourself often wading in frigid water, you know the frustration of finding quality wool socks which will keep you warm, stay in place, and not wear out. I have tried many brands but all have been disappointing to a certain degree--generally due to wearing out too quickly or loosing their shape, except FITS brand. 

FITS are made of two ply Merino wool in Tennessee. Merino is a very soft wool with excellent durability for a variety of athletic purposes. It shines in its ability to wick away moisture and keep you warm, even when wet. To take greatest advantage of wool wear it directly against the skin. Now what makes FITS Merino wool stand out is the incorporation of nylon, polyester, and spandex to create a sock which conforms very tightly to your foot and calf to ensure it doesn't move or wear out. The socks retail for around $20. I use them whenever I throw on my waders or go hiking. Truly the best wool sock I have ever owned. 


.17 HMR Accuracy Test

Monday, April 01, 2013 6 Comments

It has been an incredibly long time since I have tried various ammunition in my .17 HMR, and last time I did I was relatively new to the firearm and still learning its disposition. As such I decided to do a test of various .17 HMR brands and bullet styles and compare accuracy. The test proceeded as follows: for each particular cartridge 3 targets were set up at 100 yds. Wind was 14 mph. To the first target I fired 10+ rounds to zero it in, then I fired 5 rounds each at the other two targets, the better results of the two
targets are displayed below. The gun was a Savage 93R17 BTVS set up on sand bags. See below for the results: 

The first trial was the Hornady 17 grain V-Max. Honestly I expected this one to preform the best and was somewhat disappointed by the results compared to the others. Note the group wouldn't be too bad if you omit the one flyer, which I blame on user error. Still not nearly as tight as others, however, even with the omission. 

Federal Premium 17 grain V-Shok. These were the best results by far. Nice tight group easily a quarter or nickel could fit over all five shots. Was impressed as I had never fired Federal's .17 HMR. Definitely will be purchasing again. 

Remington 17 grain Accutip-V Boat Tail. This was the first time I had fired this particular round as well and was impressed. In particular I was interested in how the boat tail design would preform and I have to say I was very pleased. I have no doubt that this round could preform equally with the Federal Premium, mentioned above. 

Hornady 20 grain XTP. I expected this to be the worst performer going into today. With a little more weight and the hollow point tip I just didn't expect as high of accuracy. Needless to say, while not a top performer I think it is safe to say it preformed very well. 

 CCI 17 grain V-Max. The first thing which is noticeable is the obvious flyer. Again I attribute that to me as I must have pulled. Without the flyer, not bad results either.

Closing remarks: firstly, the .17 HMR is an incredibly accurate cartridge, period. Not a single round was fully outside the first circle at 100 yards with 14 mph winds, and I wasn't using a vice. If you compare the clusters to the quarter in the picture I think all groupings were good to decent, and I only say decent because I know what this round can achieve. Secondly, my Savage is far more accurate than I am. I shoot often, about once a month, but am far from an expert in the shooting sports or target shooting. Third, the above are my results in my gun. Be sure to test your own firearm with various brands and weights, while not .22, the price of the HMR is still low compared to centerfire rounds. The best thing about the .17 HMR so far in its evolution is there is yet to be a cheap or dud round to be found, quality control and accuracy seem paramount. Finally, in the future I hope to test some of the 15 grain and FMJ style rounds as well. When I do, I will be sure to post my results.