Friday, December 14, 2018

VersaCarry 2018 Commander

I few weeks back I posted on Facebook that I'd ordered a Versacarry 2018 Commander holster that they are selling on clearance for $24.99, a redesign in the works for 2019. I'm kinda old school, and don't always want a hunk of kydex on my hip. The holster arrived in a just few days, and I've had the chance to carry with it a few times. For the price, I'd have to say I'm pretty pleased. The GLOCK 43 fits snugly, and the Commander holds a second magazine. The rig sits up comfortably up on my hip at 4 o'clock and doesn't really print even in a t-shirt. It's not a high-end, custom leather holster, but it well made and provides a lot of bang for the buck! I can see myself using this quite a bit. I ordered a second for another firearm. 

Coupon Code: 2018COM

                                                 Kim Kardashian's butt has nothing on this!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

That's Why They Call It.....

Yes, yes, everybody knows - fishing. Yes, I drove more miles to catch no fish than I ever have before in my life, over 1,000 miles in fact. But you know what? I'd do it over again. The plan was to head to upstate New York to fish the lower Niagara River for big browns, steelhead and lake trout. This is the time of year when the crowds begin to thin, the temperatures drop, and the fishing really heats up. My brother had hooked me up with accommodations thanks to his supply of hotel points, but wouldn't be joining me as he was stuck somewhere in the remote south west of New Zealand in Fox Glacier, but that's another story all together. The plan was for my son Danny and I to drive up to Niagara Falls, NY Friday evening, fish Saturday with Capt. Mark “Sparky”McGranahan, make our own way along the river around Art Park on Sunday, and maybe hit up a few of the tribs on the way back Monday. We were prepped for an epic father/son weekend of non-stop fishing!

Capt. Sparky called Thursday before our departure with news that the Niagara was in bad shape, and it would be pointless fishing Saturday. He didn't want us to make the long drive, only to be disappointed by a boat ride. I respect that in a captain or guide. I told him we had the free accommodation and would make the trip regardless, with flexibility through Monday should conditions improve, and he promised to keep us updated. The trip up took nine hours, as we ran into the first snow storm of the winter. It was early Saturday morning by the time we hit the bed.

We woke to clearing skies and 45+ mph winds. Fishing the Niagara was completely out of the question, and neither Danny nor myself felt like driving over an hour back the way we came to hit some smaller, more protected locations. Instead, we went sight seeing at the falls and up to Ft. Niagara. It was pretty cool visiting the fort on a cold, wind swept day, Lake Ontario pounding up against the break walls and the place all but deserted. A British regular of the 8th Kings Foot Regiment and a ten year veteran at Ft. Niagara (with the US Park Service) gave all 5-6 of us a tour and weapons demonstration. He apparently works this job year round, and I could only imagine him standing out in the freezing rain and snow during the winter months, dressed in a full 18th century period uniform, struggling to fire a flint lock musket for the 1-2 visitors that might arrive. From there, it's not that great a leap to what a real twenty year posting must have been like in the 1760s, or for the French before them. As a history teacher, I loved it, and Danny said it was the best thing he's done in Niagara. On the way to the Brickyard Pub & BBQ  (Lewistown - great place, recommended), Sparky called to let us know Sunday was going to be a no go as well.

I was bound and determined to at least say we'd fished the Niagara, come hell or brown, chocolaty water! Sunday morning, we fished Art Park along the banks of the mighty Niagara. We knew it was loaded with fish, because despite the 4-6" maximum visibility, they would surface quite regularly. We fished float rigs, cast all the flies in my arsenal, egg sacks and a variety of junk flies with absolutely no success. For the entire morning through mid-afternoon I only saw two fish on, and none landed. It was a valiant but ultimately futile effort. Danny hung in like a trooper. He doesn't whine or complain when the fish don't cooperate. He's landed more than a few nice fish by just gritting it out on really slow days. I finally yielded and we called it a day with no fish what-so-ever. Sparky texted that he was canceling all trips through at least Tuesday. To try and purge the whiff of the skunking, we drove down to Buffalo and the Anchor Bar on Main St., home of the original buffalo wing. Wings and beer (Diet Coke for Danny) cure a lot. I'd also add that Buffalo is experiencing an urban renaissance and is a pretty incredible city for architecture.

Monday started with an early departure from Niagara, with a quick stop by Johnson's Creek and Oak Orchard. The Oak was pretty busy, though the first light, great bite had died down. All of the most productive waters were elbow to elbow, and as late arrivals, we had to take what we could get. I managed to hook into a nice, big brown before too long, which I handed off to Danny. Danny's brought in some nice steelhead on the fly, was fighting this fish well for quite a bit and appeared to be getting the upper hand until it made a quick final run and broke off. We fished for another 30-40 minutes without any further bites. Now, I'm stubborn enough to fish to the last dying light, sleep in the truck and start again in the morning, but facing 6-1/2 hours more of driving and a kid that needed to be in school the next day, I was forced to accept the ultimate defeat.   

The fishing sucked, the catching was non-existant, the driving was long and tiring, and thoughts of returning to work the next day were depressing. Danny and I have been on tons of trips far more successful than this. Still, I got to get away with my boy, and that makes up for everything else!         

Monday, September 24, 2018

Securing Your Firearm with Zore

My ZORE. Own Your Gun. Lock finally arrived on 9/24 after placing a 7/27 order. They did include a Black Cage magnetic mount as a "Thank You" for the wait. The lock works flawlessly in my 9mm GLOCK 17 and 43. No problem ejecting the lock with a swift pull of the slide. I'll probably play around with the combo a bit. Higher digits require two actions to rotate the wheel, slowing down the process. Like anything, repetition is required to become really proficient under any circumstances. If you're looking for a safe locking option other than a safe or keyed device, I'd definitely consider the Zore. You can find out more at

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rock Treads - Aluminum Disk Grips for Your Wading Boots, Made in America!

Navigating slick river or jetty rocks isn't getting any easier with age, and taking a spill seems to hurt a hell of a lot more, so I was super stoked when the guys at Rock Treads were kind enough to send me one of their kits to install on a set of Korkers Omnitrax removable soles. A few weeks back I wrote up a review of the Korkers Hex Soles, so now I've had a chance to to see and try both companies' aluminum disk traction systems. I've only had the Rock Treads out once, so I'm posting this video of the product, installation and some basic feedback. I plan a more extensive review at the end of the fall run, and hopefully some information on where you might be able to check them out first hand in the North East before next season. I will say, during this one trip, my feet stayed glued to the jetty rock, on steep angles and even the snot slick stuff that was getting washed over by the tide. They provide a ton more surface area than the Korkers Hex Treads, are made of a higher aircraft grade aluminum, and as you can see from the video and pics, are considerably beefier. They're gaining quite a following among river guides and freshwater fishermen, and are looking to expand into the surfcasting scene. They'll need to introduce all stainless hardware for that, but my initial impression is that this product is a winner.

                                          Korkers Hex Treads (left) & Rock Treads (right)

                                              Slick jetty rock was absolutely no problem.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

One of the Best Nights of Striper Fishing, and I Don't Want to Do It Again.

After two months of seeing pics of huge stripers from Block Island, I finally had a night where conditions were good and I had to time to run over in my little Gemma Rose 2 and get in on the action. My friend Mike and I ran across the Block Island Sound with a few guys that regularly fish Block in their own small boat. We left Stonington CT around 5pm, and after a quick peek at Watch Hill, I turned the bow to Block and we set out. The run took us about an hour. It wasn't too difficult to figure out when we'd arrived, as there were already four dozen plus boats with more heading our way. The plan was to fish the flood until it gave way around 11pm, and then head back under the full moon before the outgoing tide picked up. We were loaded up with eels and Gravity Tackle 13.5" Soft Eels.

Rigged up, we ran to the top of the line of drifting boats and dropped our eels on 3-way rigs. It wasn't too long before I felt a huge thump and set the hook hard. My rod doubled, and I pushed my Seigler SG drag all the way forward. There was no finesse here, it was brute force on force, and eventually a 40+lb. fish emerged on the surface. I was thrilled until I saw the fish had been gut hooked. Knowing we'd be targeting huge fish, I'd switched from a circle to an Owner 8/0 baitfish hook. We cut the line and spent ten minutes trying to revive the fish boat side. My small craft and low gunnels enabled us to get right down on the water as we worked to revive it. A big proponent of catch and release, especially with large breeding fish, this was not the start I was after, but it sometimes happens.

As the last light faded, I was astonished by the number of boats that had joined the line-up. It looked like Interstate 95 at night, one lane drifting north and another running back south to start again. Everyone was hooking into these big fish.  Having lost the first fish, I went back to circles, willing to risk losing a larger fish to a missed hook set. Mike and I doubled on the second drift, and most there after. These fish were enormous, and after each fight, took time to properly revive. After the two fish photographed, which weren't the largest of the night, we stopped even taking them out of the water. We never weighed or measured a single fish. Despite this, we lost one more fish before we departed. This one was hooked top side of the lip, boated quickly, never left the water, and we spent 10+ minutes trying to revive her.

Hooking into these big fish was a thrill, and you would be hard pressed to find a more consistent bite of monster stripers than what we have experienced here the last season or two. That said, I looked at the numbers of boats sitting on these fish, thinking about how many will end up floaters a few miles out to sea. These big fish fight themselves into complete exhaustion, even when fished with heavy gear. How can you revive them when you're in a big sport fisher? They may kick the tail a few times and then head down, but that doesn't equate to survivability. I saw countless fish tossed back in off big boats after pictures, measurements, more pictures. The Gemma Rose 2 allowed us to be right down on the water reviving these fish, and we still lost two despite all of our efforts.

As we motored back on a calm clear night, I had the time to reflect on the evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to land some huge stripers, yet the mystique of  50lb. fish had disappeared. It was like going hunting in a zoo. The surf guys love the expression, "Boat fish don't count." Do Block fish I wondered? Maybe 60 is the new 50? (Especially as I near 50.) One great night of monster fish is "Epic," but night after night? What is the long term impact of these big breeders getting hammered night after night, where mortality rates, despite catch and release, have to be higher than a lot of folks realize or will admit? I'm really just trying to share my own thoughts on the night I experienced Friday, and I personal decision that is right for me. I love chasing stripers, and the hope of landing a true fish of a lifetime the next time out is always there. It was one of the best nights of striper fishing I have ever experienced, and that said, I have no desire to go back and do it again.         

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


The number of sole options for Korkers boots seems to have exploded. I recently bought a pair of the Korkers TRIPLE THREAT ALUMINUM HEX SOLES when I stopped in Mossy Creek Fly Fishing on my last trip down to VA. The hex cleats seemed like a much better option than the aluminum bars, which don't really allow for much flexibility in the soles of your boots. I've avoided wearing the studded felt soles (banned in an increasing number of places) in an effort to prevent the cross contamination that is ruining many of our streams, and have generally used the less aggressive studded cling-on soles. I also wondered how the Hex Soles would fare in a saltwater environment, rock hopping on jetties. Would they be as effective as my Korkers RockTrax? Busting ass on a jetty at night is not fun! After a several trips out in a variety of terrain environments, I have to say my overall impression is pretty positive. They excel in all of the river bottoms I waded, from smooth and slick, snot covered rocks to sharper, jagged bottoms. They grip everything and I could wade with confidence. That should easily translate to the salt, right? Here, I still have to go with the RockTrax for two key reasons. As the tide drops, you get rocks exposed that are covered in much heavier layers of seaweed and other stuff, and the spikes just cut down through this better. I also noticed that they wear pretty quickly, especially on rough, dry jetty rock, so I'll probably be ordering another $30 package of hex discs pretty soon, and using these mostly in rivers. However, if you're a predominantly freshwater guy that does an occasional surfcasting trip, these will more than meet your needs. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Ruger EC9s - An Inexpensive Carry Option in a Small Frame 9mm

With the popularity of guns like the Glock 43 (which I often carry), the M&P9 Shield, and Sigs new P365, Ruger introduced the EC9s in December, based on its popular LC9s. It's essentially the LC9 with fixed sights on the slide and one 7 round mag to cut costs down to a $299 MSRP. I had a chance to grab one for just over $200 out the door, and was still well under $300 with a couple of extended mags and an Alien Gear Holsters IWB holster. It's compatible with LC9 magazines and accessories. The extended pinky grip gives it a better feel than my flush 6 round 43 magazine. As for the fixed, black iron sights, that was a $.79 fix thanks to Testors. It's a bit redneckish, but you're talking about a firearm that costs less than many sight systems. Point is, I can see and hit what I'm shooting at. Take down is easy, though you need a paper clip or something to push out a pin. I don't like having a small pin popping out, which isn't an issue with Glocks. In addition, my Glock has been impervious to conditions out on the boat in a saltwater environment. Still, this seems to be a great little gun for less than half the price of it's competitors. I 've put 200 rounds of CCI Blazer and Winchester 115gr through with zero problems. #Ruger #EC9s #AlienGearHolsters #BigfootGunbelts