Rock Climbing Gear

In rock climbing there’s quite a bit of gear depending on what type of climbing you want to do. If you’re just going indoor climbing at a local gym you’ll only need a few items, if you’re going trad climbing in Patagonia however, you’ll need a good amount of gear. Like anything else in the outdoors, rock climbing can be extremely expensive, or not too pricey, it’s all up to your style and how much you want to spend on your gear. One thing I’ll always say to splurge on, though, is the shoes. Rock climbing shoes will never be the comfiest thing you’ve worn, but some are certainly more comfortable than others. I bought the La Sportiva Katana for my first pair of shoes. The toe is pointed a bit more than most shoes I see, but I actually like that a lot. I feel it gives better grip on those tiny foot holds. The shoes are lace up which I like, the tongue wraps around the entire top of the shoe so there is no bunching, left untied the shoe still fits snug enough to climb, they grip well on indoor walls (haven’t tried them outdoors yet)and for me they’re very comfortable. I also have a pair of MadRock Flash 2.0 that I just got for free with a membership to Central Rock Gym in Hadley. These shoes are a pretty run of the mill. Nothing fancy about them but for a retail price of $82 you can’t expect them to climb for you right? They have two Velcro straps instead of laces which are needed because they don’t form to your feet very snug (if you have all around larger feet they might fit better but my skinny feet don’t fill the shoes). I absolutely hate the tongue, unlike my La Sportiva shoes the MadRock shoes have two flaps that meet in the middle for the tongue. This system isn’t very comfortable and it’s very easy to pinch the top of your foot which may not sound bad but when you pinch it and then have a seam digging into the same area, it’s a bit of annoyance. I noticed I was slipping off every little hold with these shoes but I’m hoping they just need to be broken in a bit. Something I do really really like about these shoes is the gel heal which makes walking very comfortable. Over all the shoes are fairly comfortable aside from the tongue issue. I think I’m going to end up using these shoes for mainly outdoor climbing, if I can find anything good around here. Another essential piece of gear for any climbing, in my opinion, is chalk. The purpose of chalk is to dry out sweaty hands and therefore provide better grip on holds. Chalk bags cost from $10-30 depending on size, style, and who makes them. My first one was a black diamond standard bag that was $15, my girlfriends bag is a very slightly bigger petzl bag that cost $25. I’ll never knock anything petzl makes because their stuff is phenomenal, but the chalk bag is overpriced. My new Camp chalk bag is almost double the size of the Black Diamond and was only an extra $5. If you want to get into top roping, lead climbing, trad climbing, sport climbing, mountaineering, or any other type of climbing you’ll need a harness. If you’re not sure what all these types of climbing are, look for my follow up article that should be up pretty soon explaining them. The harness I use is a Camp harness which is not a top name but works just fine for me, and my wallet. I like this harness a lot, it’s perfect for sport climbing, but probably not ideal for trad. It’s very lightweight, comfortable, and safe. It has 4 gear loops which can be used to hold various things such as; chalk bag, belay device, quickdraws, cams, stoppers, and other things. The above items will be explained in a moment so don’t feel intimidated if you’re lost. And again with harnesses you could spend $50 like I did or go for a nicer Petzl or Mammut that are nicer but sometimes have things you don’t need adding unnecessary weight.

Left to Right: Belay devices, quick draw, stoppers, chalk bag.

Left to Right: Belay devices, quick draw, stoppers, chalk bag.

 

 

 

Belay devices: These are used to safely stop a falling climber and to let them repel at a controlled rate. They are an absolutely 100% necessary piece of gear when doing any type of climbing with a rope and harness. If I could recommend one belay device it would be the Petzl GriGri 2. I however don’t have one yet because it costs $95 and I’m not ready to sink that much into a belay device. They are worth every penny however because they have an automatic brake in them and control descent for you. The first device I got was a Black Diamond ATC XP. It’s $20 and does everything you need it to, you just actually have to pay to attention with this one (WHICH YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE DOING!!!!). Along with that you’ll need a locking carabiner, the Black Diamond Big Air XP belay device comes with one for $30. The device I just recently bought is the Mammut Smart Alpine device. I absolutely love it! It’s a fairly big device but not really that heavy like you’d think. This device, like the Petzl GriGri 2, stops a falling climber automatically. If you look at the picture to the left you’ll notice it has a large side with a couple holes in it and a smaller side with no holes. The larger side is where you clip your locking carabiner. You use the smaller side to control a climber descent, with your hand off the side no rope with flow through, the more your pick up on the side, though, the more rope is allowed through. My friend and I were using it the other night for the first time and it took a little getting used to. I found it easy to use but if you’re not paying attention you can easily let out rope too quickly. Overall I’d recommend anyone get this device, and quick while it’s still on sale for $30 instead of $50 at Eastern Mountain Sports.

Quickdraws: A quickdraw is simply two biners with a runner in between. They are used to be clipped to either a bolt in the rock, your cam, or your stopper and then to your rope to catch you in case of a fall. I currently only have one because I don’t lead climb yet, but I will be taking the class at CRG within the next couple months.

Cams: A cam is a piece of active rock protection. It’s referred to as active because it has moving parts. Most cams have four lobes but you can also get tri-cams which have three lobes. The disadvantage of using tri-cams are they have less points of contact with the wall and they’re not as strong in general. But they are still good, especially for beginners, because they are much cheaper. A typical cam will run anywhere from $50 to $120 depending on size. Whereas you can pick up a tri-cam for closer to $30. For cams the best one you get in my opinion, and Climbing Magazines April 2013 101 Best Gear Tips Of All Time issues opinion, is the new Black Diamond Camalot X4. The other model I recommend is the Camalot C4. These cams are pretty similar, the biggest difference is the X4 being a full lobe size smaller. I know a couple people who trad climb a bit and they all love the C4’s.

Stoppers: A stopper is a piece of passive rock protection because it has no moving parts. It’s essentially a block with a piece of steel cable running through it and forming a loop at the opposite end to clip to. Stoppers are great to have because they come in a bunch of different sizes, some smaller than cams will do, and are very light. They’re also very cheap! I currently only have two as I start to build my rack for when I do get to go trad climbing, but they were each $8.

One more important piece of equipment to get, the rope. Obviously you need a rope for safety reason but how big? Well, most ropes come measured in millimeters ranging from 8.9 up to 10.2 is what I’ve seen. An 8.9 rope will probably hold up just fine for any climber, however if you know you’ll be falling a lot, I’d go with something thicker like 9.8 or more. A rope will probably be the most expensive single piece of gear you buy with an average price of over $200.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of outdoor bouldering then something you’ll need is a crash pad. A crash pad is a pad of foam, usually 3-4 inches thick, and helps keep you from getting seriously injured. When outdoor bouldering it’s important to have other people with you and those people being spotters. The job of a spotter is to sort of catch you in a fall, they mainly try to catch your head and will sometimes be able to keep you standing instead of falling down and possibly missing the crash pad.

If you’re brand new to the amazing, and dangerous, sport of rock climbing, please do not use this blog as your only means of knowledge. Everything on here will keep you safe but you still need a trained professional to practice with and learn the correct way to do things. There’s a ton of videos on youtube and I suggest watching those too, that way when you do seek out a pro, they have much less to go over. If you can demonstrate knowledge of basic knots and an understanding of gear, they’ll be able to get you climbing quicker and with less things for you to try remembering.

Hiking and Tenkara

Hiking and Tenkara, two completely different ways of enjoying the outdoors that can go hand and hand. I’ve been hiking since I was super young but never enjoyed it the way I have in the last couple years. Of course when I was younger I’d run all over and jump on the rocks and stuff. But now I enjoy it much more because I rarely stay on the trail, at least not for the ascent. I have so much fun climbing up the few hundred feet of rocky areas and don’t mind that I have no bigger mountaineering type mountains around me. The only mountain “nearish” to me is Mount Washington and that is still only about 6,000 feet. Still more than double the size of anything in the close area but it’s a few hours and a couple tanks of gas away. And along with hiking is my other passion, Tenkara. I’m about a year deep in my journey of learning Tenkara and have loved every second of it! Tenkara is an extremely versatile style of fishing and very simple. It is exactly what hikers and backpackers want. The best part is its super light, easily less than 8 oz for your entire setup if you do it right. Mine is even slightly lighter than that I think. I carry my “technically tanago” but to me backpacking Tenkara rod (Diawa Soyokaze 9′) weighing in at 1.6 oz. I have a random set of forceps, fishpond nippers, a spool of 5x/6x/7x tippet depending on where I’ll be fishing, a small fly box with all the flies I need for a week or more, and last but not least are the line spools. All of that weighs in at about 3 oz.  I typically carry two spools. 1 setup with a longer line and one set up with a shorter line. I prefer to carry it all in my pockets or right in my backpack when hiking instead of lugging around a bulky fishing pack. Although I love my fishing vest for local streams its not very practical for longer hikes. If you’re the type of person that likes nets, TrailLight Designs makes a titanium net weighing just 2.4oz. Its incredible how light things are getting these days. Some people prefer to get a hip pouch that slides onto their belt to carry all their fly stuff, however by not using one of these or a net I’m able to have an extremely light set up! One major thing I want to point out about hiking and tenkara is that you don’t have to spend tons of money, these activities cost virtually whatever you choose to spend. I spent about $100 to get a rod, line, spool and tippet as i mentioned in my previous article, ‘Beginners guide to Tenkara: part one’. For my day hikes I spent about $200.

The Talus Ridge OutDry

The Talus Ridge OutDry

I spent $90(regularly $145) on my shoes that are Columbia Talus Ridge Outdry, they keep the water out(sort of) and keep warmth in. Very comfortable and sturdy. They are rated for carrying up to 30-35 pounds of gear and are meant for harder dirt surfaces. They will not excel in the Rockies but are great for the Appalachians. Highly recommend these shoes, very comfortable.

The Merrel Bare Access 2

The Bare Access 2

A bit heavier than some other shoes like the Merrel Bare Access 2 at just under 1lb 13 oz but they’re stronger so to me it’s a fair trade off. Shoes like the Bare Access 2 are trail running shoes and thats all they’ll ever be. I took them for a few trail runs this week and iI’m impressed by the lightness of these shoes. They have 4mm of a Vibram sole so they’re certainly a barefoot runner. Very flat bottom providing pretty good traction, though the Talus Ridge have better grip. Overall I would recommend these for anyone trail running or looking for an extremely lightweight shoe. I got the shoes(Talus Ridge) with a higher weight rating than I needed because I usually pack a bunch of stuff I won’t use in my pack if I’m going out for a quick day hike just as a conditioning thing. And the pack I carry is usually about 25-30 pounds. However the last time I went backpacking, which was only my second time ever going, I had my pack at just over 5 pounds not including my water. I carried a lightweight pot, 3 esbit tabs, 3 REI stormproof matches and striker, a shaved down plastic fork, a shaved down tooth brush with just enough toothpaste for my overnight, some pasta for food, about 2 liters of water if I remember correctly, the clothes on my back, and a very thin fleece blanket. The reason I took the fleece blanket was to have something to lay on that night. I used my pack as a pillow and kept on my clothes to stay warm though I think the temp was about 60 at the lowest all night if that. The best part about the trip was the trout I caught for 2 out of the 4 meals. Unfortunately on this trip I didn’t bring my camera or even my phone to take some pictures which was a bit of a bummer because I saw some pretty gorgeous things. I wanted to see just how lightweight I could go on this trip. And keep in mind that was my second ever trip, this summer I’m hoping to go a lot more! I’m hoping I can go with actual gear this time though. There’s nothing like sleeping right under the stars, but there’s also nothing as annoying as waking up with bugs all over you. Still can’t decide if I want to get a lightweight tent or go with a Hennessy Hammoch but more on that when I actually decide. As you can see Tenkara and Hiking go together perfectly for me, how does this work out for you?

Keeping nature natural.

Lets talk about how to keep yourself, the animals and their homes safe when you’re out fishing, hiking, or anything else outdoors. When you’re out in the woods you should be trying to leave no trace of you being there. This means packing out all your food and garbage. When I’m out fishing, for instance, I see people cutting their tippet off their fly line and just tossing it in the water. Fish can get tangled in loose line, fish can ingest this line and get seriously ill, the line can wrap around logs causing other fisherman to trip and fall into the water, it takes away from the beauty of the stream, and plenty of other reasons. It’s so simple to just put it in one of your pockets and carry on with your day. When I go fishing I don’t even use floatant, it says non-toxic right on the bottle, it leaves an oily film on the water which may be non-toxic but is far from normal conditions of the water. Not only does this oily film often sabotage your day of fishing by spooking fish, but more importantly, you’re bringing something completely foreign into the natural stream. If you’re really having trouble keeping a dry fly afloat and false casting just won’t do the trick, tie that same pattern but with some cul de canard(CDC). CDC is the feather from a ducks rear end. Ducks float because of the natural oil in the feathers, no floatant needed. These feathers keep your fly high in the water all day. Another thing that’s important when fly fishing is to wash your waders, especially if you’re like me and have felt bottomed waders. The problem with waders is they can carry all sorts of insect species from one fishing spot to your next fishing spot. Some of the species may be compatible with the stream, but some may be invasive species which can reak havoc on the ecosystem. A simple solution to this is to just wash off your waders when you return from a fishing trip. This can be done with a regular garden hose, or you could even wash them off in the shower. Something else to take into consideration when outdoors is the safety for you and any person or pet with you. I’ve been told by many people that dogs can attract dangerous animals like bears and even some big cats. But I’ve also heard from at least as many people that their dog has actually warded off these incredible predators. And if you follow Brian Greens backpacking blog (briansbackpackingblog.com) you’ll notice from a number of his posts he takes his dog with him every time. There’s tons of information on hiking with your dog all over the Internet so if you’re looking to take your furry friend along definitely check out things like how much extra food they’ll need, water, and if they’re a big enough dog to carry their own backpack. Keeping you and your dog healthy also means having a well trained dog, you don’t want to end up chasing them through the wilderness and getting hurt. In addition to training and eating you’ll need some sort of first aid. I know I saw one specifically for dogs in an outdoors store but I can’t quite remember where, it was either REI or Bass Pro Shops.

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Something I’m a big fan of is bush whacking. This is where you don’t take the path that everyone else has formed but instead go straight through the trees, brush, rocks, and whatever else. At my local mountain there’s a trail to the top that takes about 2-3 hours from the main gate. This path is very long and isn’t steep at all. I prefer the way I go up, it’s extremely steep, requires some free climbing, and definitely gets the adrenaline pumping. From the bottom to the top of the mountain the vertical climb is only about 1000 feet so it’s nothing major but is still an absolute blast to climb up. Something I try to do even though I’m bush whacking is to leave nature the way I found it as much as possible. This means going over obstacles instead of moving them, bending branches out of your way instead of cutting them, and looking for natural foot and hand holds instead of digging into the ground. Another thing to really consider is not only how to keep other animals safe but to also help protect them. Some simple ways of doing this are things like picking up garbage on the trail, not dumping out food, and getting other outdoor enthusiasts to do the same. There’s millions of things you can do to preserve the great outdoors and no one article will begin to cover a fraction of them, but with just these few things you can keep nature beautiful and safe for the wildlife and us.

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What do you do to leave no trace?

Cheap kayak mods for fishing.

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The kayak with paddle clips and rod holders

I got my first kayak last summer after wanting one for a few years. I bought a cheap, 10 foot, Potomac 100 because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it a lot or how much I’d use it. I lived in Tennessee when I bought it and I took it out 2-3 times a month so I definitely got some use out of it. I have since moved back to Massachusetts where I’m originally from but with it being winter up here everything is frozen so I haven’t taken it out in a couple months. I’m dying to be out on it! When I bought the kayak it was a no frills piece of plastic but now it’s a “frills” piece of plastic. All it came with was an oval compartment in the back and 2 bungee straps on the front. The first thing I added was a couple clips to hold the paddle. I just sat down and held the paddle where it was easily reachable and out of the way, then marked it and drilled 2 holes per clip. I used some big pop rivets(don’t remember the exact size, just the biggest most pop rivet tools will handle) and clipped them right in. I also added two rod holders. They were $10 each at bass pro shops. I bought the kayak specific ones because the bottom is closed off, not open like most other ones for boats are. This is great because you would be getting extra water into the kayak. I also picked up 2 rubber gaskets for $2 each. Mine just sit around the edge of the holder to seal the 3 screw holes and the main hole for the rod holder. They also sell gaskets with a tab that plugs the hole when not in use. Those gaskets were $5 a piece and seemed a little unnecessary to me, I didn’t want to be fumbling with the cap if the water suddenly got very rough or I had to get out of the path of a boat quickly. The next thing I did was get myself an anchor. It’s a 3 pound claw style anchor that has a ring to hold the claws in when not needed. It came with 25 feet of synthetic rope and a buoy about 5 feet from the end opposite the anchor. I got it at bass pro shops for $35.

The anchors current home because I have yet to find a solution

The anchors current home because I have yet to find a solution

The way it connects to the kayak is with a carabiner that I clipped to the rear handle. The problem i found with that was that I always faced away from the wind and current. Sometimes it was good but other times it wasn’t ideal. I went back to bass pro shops and got an anchor trolley that I think was about $25 or so. That thing is phenomenal! It has a couple carabiners with pulleys that you use to attach it to the kayak, only 4 holes. It came with a length of 550 paracord and a ring that you run the anchor line through. Once you have that part set up you install what they call the claw. You basically run the paracord through it making a W shape. This keeps that ring held in place and allows the wind and current pull to be in the front, back, or anywhere in between on the kayak. It was a great addition and I’m glad I have it. One of the next things on the list for my kayak is a drift sock for when I do want to be pulled around by the current. I’ve been looking around and they seem to be about $50 or so plus $10 max for the rope. Something I see a bunch of people doing to their kayaks is adding fish finders and GPS’. Call me old school but that seems to take the fun out of it. Who can’t catch fish if you can see them right below your boat. I understand their place in a guides boat where your business depends happy customers, But on a kayak it seems like a waste of $300+ once you buy the unit, the mobile sonar pole to stick in the water, and waterproof box to protect that big ole battery. And you’re a gear junkie, which you probably are if you have a fish finder, there goes 10 or pounds of gear you could’ve safely carried. With everything I do I take the approach of Tenkara, sort of. I do everything with simplicity but adding a few extras for comfort. For kayak fishing all I needed was a kayak, rod holder, a pole, and a life vest. The other things were just to make my day on the water a little more comfortable. Just like simplicity helps in the outdoors, it helps in everyday life, just don’t over complicate things. Well that’s my kayak, what have you added to yours?

Snacks I don’t hike without that you can win!

I’m a big fan of snacks that give you a little energy and are convenient to eat on the go. My long time favorite snack has been the Clif Bars Energy Bar. 20130202-182746.jpg
It’s relatively small but fills you up for when you’re really hungry. A lot of times while working I’ll have one for lunch and won’t be hungry again until dinner. I eat them for breakfast a lot too because they’re easy to grab, require no preparation, and give me a quick boost of energy so I’m wide awake for work or school. Along with the energy bar, the crunch bar is fantastic too.

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It’s a bit messy to eat because crumbs get everywhere but is absolutely worth the mess! Also from Clif Bars are the shot bloks which come in a couple different flavors my favorites being citrus, mountain berry, and strawberry.

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They’re conveniently packaged in a line of 6 chews so you can cut off the top and pinch the next one out. No need to touch them at all which is good because they can leave your fingers a little sticky and attract bugs. They are very easy to pack too because they’re about the size of 2-3 pens held together so they slide into any little crevice. Another chew that’s similar is GU Energy’s GU Chomps.

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They are packaged in a wallet sized pouch of 8 chews. According to their website these should give 10-15 minutes of energy per chew. My current favorite energy chew is Honey Stingers organic energy chew.

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These things are super tasty with 6 different flavors on their site. They have about 10 per package which seems to be just the right amount for a trail side snack. Something you never want to deal with is an upset stomach when you’re miles from your car so avoid eating big snacks and big meals. A snack that should be in everyone’s pack whether its a day hike or multi day trek are the Keebler cheese or peanut butter crackers.

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They’re super light, taste awesome, and pack easily. I usually get the 4 pack for hikes because 6 or 8 is too many for a snack(I ran out of 4 packs but had a few 6 packs left for this post). If you like jelly beans definitely try Sports Beans from Jelly Belly.

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They have regular energy beans in a couple flavors as well as extreme energy beans in a couple different flavors. I really like that they come in a resealable package so you can eat a few here, a few there, and not have them all over your pack.
Time for the first contest of this blog. Up for grabs is all of these snacks, you’ll get each of the following; Chocolate Chip Clif Energy, White Macadamia Nut Clif Crunch, Strawberry Clif Shot Blocks, Fruit Smoothie Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, Watermelon Gu Chomps, Keebler Cheese Crackers, Orange Sports Beans, and if you fish a few hand tied flies will be included as well. All you need to do to win is comment with your opinion on these snacks and some other ones you think I should try. I’ll pick the most informative answer and contact you via email. GoodLuck!

Rock Climbing and the Rice Workout

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Indoor rock climbing actually. Central Rock Gym here in Hadley, Ma is an incredible place for anyone who wants to learn how to boulder, top rope(belay), or lead climb. The place is huge!

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The bouldering area is along the side wall of the building and a few hundred feet long. It has some very very challenging holds, and some rather easy ones. I’m by no means good at indoor rock climbing. I have a lot of fun doing it on the area mountains but this was totally different. I used muscles I didn’t even know I had. And with indoor rock climbing not only does it give your body the work out of a life time, it gives your mind a work out as well. You have to plan out each step and each movement of your hand, and if you make one wrong move you will likely fall down and have to start over. At CRG they use a rating system for each planned out climb. For bouldering they all begin with V followed by a number 0-10 for degree of difficulty. I was doing mostly v0-v3 yesterday but did complete one v6 and was very proud of myself. I didn’t get to check out the top roping or lead climbing because you need to go to a short class on how to do it which I missed. I’m hoping to get out and do that this week though. I think the coolest part about CRG is how willing to help everyone is. I was having some trouble on a few of the routes so a guy came over and showed me how he would do it. After watching him I got it pretty quick. The hardest part is having the strength in your fingers to hold on. All in all it was super fun and I will be going back very frequently!
As far as preparing your hands and fingers for this, just try this workout for hands of steel! For this work out all you need is a bucket and at least 20 pounds of rice. You may need more rice or two buckets depending on the size. First thing you do is throw on a short sleeve shirt and pants that you can flex a little bit in for one of the exercises. Each one of these excercises you should do 5-10 repetitions followed by as short a break as you feel comfortable with before moving to the next. And now on to the workouts!

1.) Stab your hands into the rice, make a fist, pull your hands out and repeat.
2.) Stab your hands into the rice, spread your fingers as far as possible and pull your hands out palms facing down.
3.) Push fists into the rice, rotate in one direction for 15-20 seconds, then switch directions.
4.) Push fists into the rice, move them side to side keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” side to side. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
5.) Push fists into the rice, move them forward and backward keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” front to back. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
6.) Place open hands on top of rice, take large pinches of rice quickly for 15-20 seconds.
7.) Touch your fingers to your thumb, dig into the rice, spread your fingers and thumbs out wide, and repeat.
8.) Dig your thumbs as deep into the rice as you can and repeat.
9.) Stab your hands into the rice, grab a handful of rice and squeeze as hard as you can then repeat.
10.) Follow number 9 only this time stand in an athletic stance and stop after one time. This to me is more to show you the difference in power when you’re standing rather than kneeling. And the first couple times I did it I felt it in my back, probably from the stance.

That’s it, how’d you do? Most people say this was super easy and it’s a pointless workout, but try it after you’ve rock climbed for a few hours. And trust me the soreness does not set in instantly, you’ll feel it the next morning. Good luck and maybe I’ll see you out at CRG.

Small Stream Fishing

Small stream fly fishing.

This past weekend I had to bring my truck to a friends house that lives out in the woods. On my way there I passed a very small stream passing under the road. I had some time to kill so I stopped and hiked down stream a bit. The stream was very small as you can see from the photo, but I think it will be a good place throughout the spring and fall, maybe not so much in the summer though.

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Since it is winter out here in Mass the stream was frozen in a bunch of spots making the fishing pretty tight. I only caught one fish but I saw at least a dozen, all of which being 6″-8″ brookies. For this I was using my Soyokaze with 8 feet of #3.5 TUSA level line and 2 feet of 6x tippet. I was fishing a small size 18 Ishigaki Kebari that I tied specifically for small streams. With this set up I could cast with pinpoint accuracy. In fact, where I caught the only fish of the day, I had to cast around a couple trees, piece of ice, and a boulder. I had lots of trees overhead as well. With my 9′ Soyokaze I had no problems casting around all of these obstructions. One thing I like about small streams the most is that a lot of anglers discount their ability to hold fish, they dont want to try to cast to the tight spots, or they only want to catch the monsters and think ‘big river big fish’. That isn’t always true, the smallest stream I ever fly fished was litterally a foot deep and one to two feet wide. On that stream I caught a 16 inch brown and a bigger 13-14 inch rainbow. The rainbow surprised me because most of them I’ve ever caught were no more than 12 inches. And since most anglers don’t bother with these streams I get the solitude I love! I’m a big fan of hiking in to streams just to get that solitude and hear the sounds of nature. I’ve had multiple occasions where I fished a stream for a few hours, look up, and see a deer or two drinking the water and not being bothered by me. That tells me I am doing a good job of not disturbing nature and that is my ultimate goal. Another challenge with small stream that I find fun is trying to figure out how to cast to the perfectly guarded pockets. Makes you much more aware your surroundings. So as you can see I love the smaller streams, what are your favorite spots to fish?