Friday, June 5, 2020

GoPro Hero 8 Black with Media Mod and Video Review

After 3 years I decided to upgrade from my GoPro Hero 5 Black and purchased the newish GoPro Hero 8 Black with the new Media Mod.  After reviewing it, I can say I'm super excited about my new camera set-up.  If you've watched any of my YouTube videos, you're probably aware of the terrible audio that was present while I was speaking to the camera.

This was because the camera shook in the housing.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a convenient way to change the way I held the camera so I just tried not to move much, which became a distraction.  The first thing I noticed about the GoPro Hero 8 was it used two fingers to mount the camera to a grip and eliminated the need for a protective housing.  It worked just as I figured.  The audio is clear and crisp without the screeching noise.  The new Media Mod, further enhances this with a mic that records sound from multi directions, so there's no fade or loss of sound when you look away from the camera.  It's not  as clear as a dedicated microphone such as a Rode Mic but it's a very nice upgrade and it includes several ports that can be used to further enhance your camera if you decide to go with additional accessories.

GoPro Hero 8 black with Media Mod attached

One of these new features is the ability to mount accessories directly to the camera via two cold show mounts.  This was one of the reason's I never purchased the 3.5 mm mic adaptor and attached an external microphone in the past,  There wasn't a clear place to mount it.

cold shoe mounts

That one flaw was pretty serious for me because I feel like, the most important part of an action camera, such as GoPro's, are their ability to be grab-and-go cameras.  They should be super convenient, simple to use and compact enough to bring along on backpacking, camping, hiking and fishing trips without being a burden to carry or need special care to protect.  I have a Nikon DSLR, but stopped bringing it on my trips because it doesn't fit those merits.

fingers mean mounting directly to camera, no housing needed

All I can say is, "WOW"!  The new GoPro Hero 8 Black with Media Mod is such a huge improvment for me.  The improved stabilization, high frame rates (4K up to 60fps, 2.7k up to 120fps and 1080 up to 240fps) plus the color grading right from the factory make the GoPro Hero 8 Black a must for outdoor enthusiasts looking for simple but functional options to record their adventures.  Matched up with the Media Mod and you have a very serious action camera with some top shelf capabilities that can grow into many niches with the after market accessories that are available.

Check out the video for a complete review and see why I'm excited to bring this on my adventures this year.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Fly Fishing the White River, Arkansas

Just got home from a super trip fly fishing the White River, Arkansas.  After last years trip in April my buddy and I planned a return this May.  However, the rona thing casued us to phostphone until May.

The caddis hatch was on the down side but we found some rainbow, cutthrout and brown trout willing to eat dry flies but the nymph bite was great all day.  My buddy brought his hog island, which was nice since we only had low flows until about 2 pm each day.

The Corps of Engineers would bump the flows up to about 4 or 5 units each afternoon.  This provided a chance to throw streamers.  Althought, we would have rather had the lower flows and nymphed...but you take what you can get.  Trust me we were super happy to be fly fishing the White River and not a complaint was heard. 

Add caption

Check out the two videos below to seehow great th fishing was, inspite of it being at the end of the caddis bite.  We'll be back up next year, but probably a few times before that also.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, May 8, 2020

Fly Fishing the Iowa Driftless (w/ free maps) and video

Hey guys wanted to put up some resource's that I have found very useful during the last few years travel to the Iowa Driftless.  These are free to use and provide maps, stream type, access, and a ton of other information that is really helpful.

Iowa DNR - Trout Streams Map
Winneshiek County Trout Streams Map
Allamakee County Trout Streams Map

 The first, is the Iowa Dept of Natural Resources page.  They have a great website that provides a ton of information about their trout water.  Definitely want to give this a look if you're traveling to the areaa.

Second are the free maps.  You can download the map via, pdf link or you can grab one at the Decorah, IA visitors center or probably any visitors center in the area.  I just mentioned Decorah, IA becasue I picked up mine there a few years back.
These colored maps are super helpful.  They are packed with stream information, parking access, type of trout (wild vs stocked) and provide a written description on the back for each stream.

Video from the trip

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Fly Fishing the San Juan River, New Mexico (wade and kayaking trip)

The thought of traveling to the San Juan River had been on my mind for a couple of years.  I made a quick trip with a friend in September during the busy season, when the water was high, but we only fished from his fly craft.  I really wanted a place I could go during the winter when most destintaions aren't worth the travel.  I've been following Fisheads and their fishing reports for a couple years.  This year they have been talking about how great the fishing has been.  Trusting in their info and after talking with them, I made the decision to book a room for 5 nights.

I'm always hesitent to trust in fishing reports, especially from lodges and guides that have a financial interest.  But I can say without hesitation, Fisheads provides a trusting report.  The fishing was, maybe even better than what they said.

I decided to wade the quality waters for 4 days and kayak the river one day.  The weather was excellent, 30's in the morning warming into the 60's each afternoon.  The skies stayed cloudy most of the day but the sun peaked in for a few hours each afternoon.  It rained almost every night, which made haveing a room really nice  Not to mention, the New Mexico state parks closed the parks to camping during my trip.  That would have sucked!

There were very good midge and baetis hatches almost every afternoon.  Earlier this year, I picked up a new Orvis H3f 10' 4wt and matched it with the new Scientific Anglers Amplitde Infinity  fly line.  This setup was perfect for how I fished the Juan during my trip.  I started each day nymphing the various runs but when fish started rising I'd switch to a dry fly until they stopped.  The fishing was good in the morning on midge larva and emergers.  The afternoon was better, but maybe because I was fishing dries and seeing the takes, which is exciting.

Day 1 started at the Texas Hole after checking into Fisheads.  As you can imagine, after driving 18 hours, I wasn't there until after lunch.  It was Sunday and the only day there was any sort of crowd.  All the likely, good looking water, had someone posted.  But that allowed me to roam some and I was able to pick up a few fish.  But it got great after everyone went home around 4pm.

I spent Day 2 at Munoz day use area.  I had never seen it and got a little turned around walking in but considering there was only one other truck in the parking lot, it wasn't a big deal.  I knew what I was looking for, my buddy and I fished this access back in Septempber from the fly craft.  When I found the river, I knew where I wanted to start.  In fact, I lost 4 fish in the first 25 minutes, which was super frustrating.  However, it didn't take long to find number 5 and he stayed hooked.  It only got better as the day progressed.  Fish were actively rising to sz 22 midges, go figure I only had sz 20's which got some eats but more refusals.  I was thankful I brought my tying kit along.  Later that night, I whipped up some smaller dries and emeregrs for the rest of the week.

Day 3 was spent at the dam.  It was the only day I felt crowded.  There was lots of good water but it seemed like that's the first access people drop in.  The dam didn't really open up until it started to rain pretty heavy near lunch.  Even with the crowd there was still plenty of fish willing to visit the net.  But I'd not return to the dam during my trip.

Day 4 I bounced around some.  Started at Texas Hole but only spent a few hours there as it began to get crowded.  I really just went to throw small streamers and hoped to find a trophy fish.  When that didn't materalize, I moved back to Munoz.

There was only one car in the parking area, but I recognzed it and knew where those guys would be fishing.  I had run into them at the dam on day 2.  They were from Utah and super friendly.  I was surprised to find the spot I wanted to fish open.  But later found out, they had a run in with a 30" brown the day before when it attacked a 12" rainbow one of the guys had hooked.  So they started off throwing streamers hoping for one magical streamer eat.

Munoz fished better that day than the previous day.  Probably because I had a better idea where fish were holding.  Definitely because each night, I'd ty up a few more patterns based on what I had seen in person, rather than heard from a fishing report.

I really thought the Juan would be a perfect destination for a kayak.  On day 5, I dropped it in and floated the 3 miles from, Texas Hole to Cusher.  It was as awesome day.  The Juan is perfect for a kayak. During normal flows, you can drift and repeat as many times as you care to paddle back up and start over.  I did that a few times in Texas Hole throwing streamers before moving down.

The weather was nearly perfect and the fishing was excellent.  I caught fish on streamers, nymphs and dries.  I honestly, can't think of anything negative to say.  Other than, I wish I floated it twice.  Next time, I'll float Texas Hole every morning until the guides show up and then relocate.

Day 6 was definitely the worst weather day.  It rained really hard during the night.  The winds were over 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.  The temperature dropped as normal but didnt't heat up as quickly as it had during the beginning of the trip.  As such, the bug activity wasnt very strong, which probably made it easier for the trout to find my dries among the few naturals on the water.  The dry fly bite was intense but short lived.  It was pretty insane from 10am to 1pm.  After that it made more sense to drink a beer and take an extended lunch.  It had been a fantastic day and trip over was nice to relax and reflect.  That pretty much ended my trip.  I still needed to pack up.  The return drive was still 18 hours, plus an hour time change to eastern time.  It was a long drive for sure but so worth it!  

The Juan will be at the top of my list for winter destination trips  Where else can you catch rainbows and browns on nymphs, streamers and dries.  While enjoying great weather and possibly even find a true giant.  But you're guaranteed a killer time!

I'd open the video in YT and watch but you be u!
Part 1 here:

Part 2 here:

Monday, February 10, 2020

Fly Fishing Arkansas and beyond...

So it looks like 2019 rolled right into 2020 without me really noticing much of a change in my fishing lifestyle.  Most of my recent adventures have been with-in 5 hours of my home, which has been great.
LMFR bow

Streamer eater from Norfork

My camping trips have been during the week to the Little Red, White, Norfork and Lower Mountain Fork River in OK.  The fishing has been great and the crowds have been cooperating but that's probably because I go during the week when responsible people are doing responsible things, like working.

But not me, I prefer to be irresponsible and spend my time on the water during the week and at home on the weekends.  I feel good about it!

LMFR bow

dry fly

With all the rains we've gotten in Arkansas lately, it has been nearly impossible to fish in the state.  I'm fortunate to have a lesser known, at least nationally anyway, tailwater in Oklahoma to visit.  The Lower Mountain Fork is pretty well know around the Texas, SW Arkansas parts but not many from outside that area will travel to fish it.  The great thing is they release from the spillway so even on high water months when the COE is generating there is wadeable water for about 5 miles.

You can also camp right next to the river so that's a real bonus also.  But the best part is the small catch and release area that has some large, beautiful holdover bows.  The river is also known for it's bug diversity and occasional dry fly fishing.  Basically, you can get into something that's pretty exciting on the LMFR If you don't mind sharing the water with a few strangers.

In fact, last week after fishing bwo dries to several rising bows, I was able to sight fish a exceptional rainbow during the last hour of day light.  It was truly, a cool experience and great day by any standard.

Next month, I have a trip planned to the San Juan, followed up by the White and hopefully a backpacking trip into the Great Smoky Mountains.  Those are just a few to get the season kicking.  Super excited about 2020 and hope you guys are also!

Latest YouTube Video from my first trip in 2020.  More to follow...

Keep up with me here::