Sunday, January 10, 2021

Duke Cannon Beard Balm Review
For several years now, I’ve been using beard products.  Balms, washes, oils, conditioners and the such.  After purchasing products from corporate and small businesses, I prefer items manufactured by the latter.

The product easily emulsifies easily in my hands.  It can be effortlessly worked into my beard which gives it a healthy look and shine.  It’s a light to medium hold and a little goes a long way.  Your beard may need to be tamed again later in the day though.  I do wish it is was a heavier balm.  The scent is good.  Not overpowering and lingers for a long time.  I’d say a good 8 -12 hour scent.  One that would be good for the office and not overpower the noses of your coworkers.  

You do need to emulsify/rub the balm in your hands to be pliable for your beard or goatee.  Make sure to work it in thoroughly. A proper boar hair brush may be needed for proper proliferation of the balm into your beard.

I’m not quite sure yet if I will purchase this product again.  It is possible.  As my beard grows longer and thicker and requires a lighter balm at times, I may try the Big Bourbon balm.

Hope this helps you with your purchase and grooming.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Been a while.

Been a while since I fished the local Tailwaters.  I’ve been fishing other Tailwaters within the White River watershed - not much but they’ve been very productive over the years.

When we moved to the States, my father started fishing the local tailwater in the early 90’s.  He eventually began driving past to the other Tailwaters.  His theory is that quality fishing began to decline once they began opening the dam gates for extended periods of time.  For such reasons as flooding within the watershed, extended rainfalls, etc.  The stream bed began to be scoured and the aquatic environment changed for the worse.  Some folks opinions tend to differ.  I began fishing it in the early 00’s and it was never as productive for me as other Tailwaters.

Over the past few years, fishing has improved. Stream bank restoration and habitat improvements are planned and have begun below the dam.

I caught a few.  It’s been 15 years since I’ve fished this tailwater.  And in one hour, it was decided that I would return.  One hour and several fished played and a few fish landed.  In speaking with my father that evening, he muttered about having good days and bad days.  I know he still doesn’t think much of that location but maybe I can get him to return.  I have several friends that have been doing very well at several other points along the tailwater.  This may give me something else to do this winter.

I usually wait for warmwater fishing but this will do nicely.  Might even take the kids out to drift some flies.  Y2K and a copper and black midge were effective.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Berkley Rods
If you are looking for an entry level glass rod with a godd reputation, then look no further than Berkley.  It's a "blue collar" fly rod and some of them are coveted.  Such as the Parametric rods, Curt Gowdy line or the older Berkleys - the Stream Specialist being one of the rarest.  I'm not a pro or veteran of fiberglass rods but I love to take them on the stream.

Just as most fly rods of the day, Berkley rods were made in the US.   "In the 1960's Berkley entered into the rod business, which lead to international expansion in the 1970's".
 enjoy casting Berkley rods for different reasons.  They are straight up fun - if you've even casted an Eagle Claw Featherlight, this rod isn't as slow but it will BEND - and will especially based on the model - even a nice 7' 5 piece travel rod will land a nice 14" smallmouth bass.  And that 5 piece Buccaneer feels amazing.  It's like sitting in a recliner - no doubt that Smallie will tug for his life but you know there is some flex and dare I say "feels like butter" - smooth.  I've heard guys say a rod casts like "butter" but when I've got my rod raised up and that bass is tugging, I'm not holding on for dear life.  Everybody's experience is going to be different.

Look for the spigotted ferrules and not the tip over butt rods from later years of Berkley production.  Depending on the model or the year, the rods were produced in Taiwan or possibly even Korea.  There are other "entry level" or "blue collar" fiberglass rods out there like True Temper and even Garcia Conolon.  If you are looking for more information on fiberglass fly rods then visit the Fiberglass Flyrodders.

I even have a Berkley spinning rod.  If you haven’t noticed, I broke off the butt.  It’s been repaired and reinforced with a fiberglass stent.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Size doesn’t matter - to me . . . kinda.

Pictured above, you will find a small bass.  A Spotted Bass - I think, from a small creek.  And it took a lot of work to catch this fella.
This little one took some effort too.  These fish live in the headwaters off a good warm water fishery.  A number of fish caught have scratched and claw or even bite marks.  I know where to look for the big ones and that’s pushing 12”.  They are so skittish that you got to do your best wading and presentation.  It’s been good practice on this small headwater.

I think that folks forget to be at your best when wading warm water creeks - Fly fisherman, bait angler or lure plopping’ fella.  Walking the bank above those fish and setting up for the afternoon let’s fish know you’ve arrived.  Heck, even me wading or waking soaks the best I can will do that too.  I like to let things settle down a bit before casting.  Or, just be as calm as I can be when fishing as not to set them off with something unnatural.  

My son asked for a scale to weigh his fish.  I token him  that I don’t use one and size doesn’t matter.  Well, I guess it kind of does because it’s the larger fish I like to play too.  It’s those battles with a 16” Smallmouth that takes my breath away.  It’s almost as if I’ve stopped breathing - it’s become shallow even with a rush of adrenaline.  I try to shift into a mode that puts me at my best as I figure out how to best land it without losing the fish.  

But it’s also the little guys that give me a lot of satisfaction too.  It just depends on the situation.  Sometimes, you earth the little fellas and other times, you earth the big fellas.  Or, you’ve just gotten lucky.  Either way, you grow as an angler.  That’s what I want my son to learn.  Size doesn’t always matter.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Hawk’s Bill Crag - Public Lands

Until this weekend, I’d never been to Whittaker’s Point (Hawk’s Bill Crag).  I just don’t like hiking busy trails.  It’s the lonely trails that I like most.  It’s the isolation and quiet that I really enjoy.  It’s the trails and areas that seem to be impacted the least by people.  

The kids wanted to hit a few trails this weekend.  One of them was one of the most hiked in Arkansas.  I’m not a fan of being bunched up between people on a trail or watching someone teeter on the rock stairs in front of me.  Or, watching folks knowingly access a closed trail or cave.  Ya know, it’s just not an enjoyable start to the outdoors jockeying for position to park along a narrow dirt road, only to find you’ve been boxed in by vehicles owned by folks you’ll probably never see for hours.

But being able to access these areas is better than NOT being able to enjoy these places.

Quite a few memorable moments in my life have taken place on public lands.  Hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.  All those things and more.  It would be a shame to lose those lands or have them forever changed.

I live in an area being impacted by massive population growth.  Losing watershed protection is  impacting access to public water and water quality.  It’s also impacting riparian buffers and aquatic habitat and eco-zones.  

And that stinks for folks who enjoy related outdoor activities.

Why do I post about these things?  A love of outdoors.  And a grieving of those losses.

I really would like folks to watch Patagonia’s “Public Trust”.  Not only is Robert Redford’s name on it but it’s FREE on YouTube.  It’s a documentary about fighting to KEEP those lands public.

It covers not only those things in the past that have had a negative impact on Public Lands but also present-day issues from current bureaucracy.  I’ve being seeing a lot of negative impacts to our Public Lands:  I’ve been numb to it.  I’ve read and watched bureaucrats and administrations tearing away at Public Land protections and been frustrated but numb because it hurts and I don’t know how to be very pro-active against those actions.  

A few years ago, a bureaucratic failure caused a large scale hog farm to be approved to be built within the sensitive watershed of the Buffalo River - America’s first National River.  From the point I heard of the approval, I wrote legislators and signed petitions.  Valid petitions through the Ozark Society which have been penned by my own hand.  Not those silly things from social media.  I even attended meetings in which I got to speak with passionate people such as myself.  

That hog farm is now being permanently dismantled because of the voices of the public.  Protections are being put in place to prevent another issue such as that hog farm from entering the Buffalo River Watershed.

I also have been a part of the possible removal of a local dam on a Smallmouth stream and am currently trying to request peramaters to be placed to protect species from over-harvest and to somehow protect the spawn.  I have actually spoken with members of city council, city consultants and city planning about watershed education for that stream.  It’s a long story but once this dam is removed (Chance it may be replaced) that it will turn into nothing but a giant flotilla of canoes, kayaks and tubers like the rest of the watershed.  Folks are chomping at the bit for legal access and even pushing for a “blueway” stream (like a greenway for cyclists.  

Crossing my fingers.  Will be attending public hearings as things move forward.  

If you enjoy the outdoors, please be proactive.  Even if it’s just picking up litter.

Please watch the film.