Monthly Archive: November 2014

How To Fish Still Water

In lakes, fish don’t burn energy fighting a current and can afford the effort to cruise around in search of food. More often, however, they stay close to a dependable food source. A nearby place to hide is also important, in case large predators threaten.

  • Feeder streams: Also called inlets, these provide food, cool water, and fresh oxygen. Fish often congregate at a stream’s mouth to feed. During the summer, they stay at the mouth and sometimes swim into the stream to stay cool and breathe easily.
  • Drop-offs: Before and after a cold front moves in–when the barometric pressure and water temperatures change quickly–fish often hug steep drop-offs.
  • Rocks: Provide shelter for crayfish, minnows, and insects that game fish love to eat. In cold weather, exposed rocks soak up sunlight and warm the water around them, attracting fish.
  • Shelves: The shallow, narrow edges of deep alpine lakes produce insects in the oxygen-rich water where trout search for food.
  • Weed beds: Aquatic plants provide food, protection from predators, and shade.
  • Submerged structures: Underwater rock piles. trees, and brush attract bait fish and larger fish looking for food.
  • Shade: Trees offer shade where warm-water fish find food and protection from the summer sun. Trees and overhanging brush also spill insects into the water and attract trout.

Telltale Signs Of Trout

  • Bulges: When a trout feeds on insects just below the surface, the water bulges upward. Sometimes you may even see the fish’s back and its dorsal (top) fin.
  • Fish snouts: Occasionally, insects on the surface are so thick that trout poke their snouts into the air and tread water as the current washes the bugs into their mouths.
  • Rings: Trout and bass create rings when they take insects off the surface. When rings appear again and again, you’ve found feeding fish. Choose a fly that matches the kind of bug they are eating.
  • Splashes: If trout are splashing as they rise to the surface, they’re probably feeding on caddis flies. The insects pop from the water into the air so quickly that the fish have to launch into high speed to catch them.

Tackle For The Backcountry

Forget the bulky fishing vest and wicker creel. Light is best when it comes to backcountry fly-fishing. Here’s a general guide to what you’ll need.

  • Rod tube: Most aluminum tubes weigh more than your rod and reel combined, so opt for plastic. Cost is usually about $20. You can also use a section of PVC pipe from the hardware store.
  • Pack rod: Listed as a “travel rod” in catalogs, it comes in three, four, or five pieces. A 7-weight rod (usually 8 1/2 to 9 feet in length) is the all-purpose size for catching everything from trout to bonefish. A few models also work as spinning rods. Prices range from $160 to $700.
  • Fly reel: There are lots of lightweight aluminum models–one trout reel weighs as little as 2.7 ounces–priced from less than $100 to more than $400. A single-action model is all you need for the backcountry. Make sure it has good drag, which refers to the “braking” capabilities you’ll need when the fish tries to run with the line. A jerky drag may snap the leader.

  • Polarized sunglasses: The lenses reduce glare on the water so you can see beneath the surface. Plus they protect your eyes from hooks and ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Fly line: The fly line carries enough weight to cast the featherweight fly. You want to match the line weight to the rod. For example, use a 7-weight line on a 7-weight rod. A “weight-forward” line is the easiest to cast; look for “WF” on the box. An “intermediate” line is the most versatile because it sinks slowly for fishing beneath the surface.
  • Leader: The section at the end of the fly line that connects to the fly. “Compound” and “knotless” (good in weedy areas because there are no knots to get hung on the plant life) are the two most common.

Besides your box of flies, you may also need:

  • Waders: A pair of ultralight, stocking-foot, nylon waders will do, even in icy alpine lakes and streams (if your socks and underwear are insulated enough to keep you warm). For wading on slippery rocks, you can glue felt soles to a pair of high-top sneakers.
  • Hemostat or needle-nose pliers: They help you unhook the fish. Most multitools contain pliers.
  • Strike indicator: The “bobber” that signals when a fish has your fly.
  • Floatant: Grease that keeps dry flies floating.
  • Paper towel: The best way to keep a dry fly dry. Fold the towel, and squeeze the fly to remove water and fish slime.

Forgotten distortion delights

Charles Darwin would have been pleased to witness the ascension of best distortion effect pedals of all time as they evolved from simple fuzz tones to sophisticated mini processors with multiple gain and filtering stages, electronic switching, and, in some cases, effects such as chorus and delay. These three boxes from the ’70s and ’80s provide an overview of how quicklydistortion technology advanced in the days before the rack revolution sent stompboxes scurrying back to the primordial pond.

Electra Overdrive

Though best known for its ’70s-era guitars that featured interchangeable effects modules, Electra also produced a variety of pedals. One of its simplest offerings was the Overdrive, which, despite having a modern-style FET footswitch, was a basic op-amp clipper with a Depth (gain) control. The Overdrives specialty is a fuzzy grind that becomes more massive as you turn up the gain. Though strong in output, the Overdrive is dynamically weak–it doesn’t clean up well when you turn down your guitar. But if all you want is brute-force distortion and aren’t concerned about “tube” tone, the Overdrive is a hip find.

Washburn AD-3 Stack in a Box

A quantum leap from the Overdrive is this little powerhouse, which sports a much more complex circuit utilizing a pair of 558 op-amps and eight transistors. The AD-3’s Distortion, Level, and Tone controls provide a wide range of fat-sounding grind. This pedal can do the creamy tube thing, but its forte is wicked-sounding distortion with sustain for days. This is a shredder box par excellence, and with the Tone control at about ten o’clock and the Distortion anywhere close to maximum, you get thick, buttery burn that still allows the natural voice of your guitar to come through.

Ibanez SS20 Session-Man II

In 1987, Ibanez introduced its first multi-effects pedal, the SS10 Session-Man, which featured distortion and chorus that could be combined in series or parallel. Sporting the same Pepto Bismol paint scheme, the SS20 is a distortion/delay unit that similarly allows for series or parallel operation. As with the original model, the SS20 has a latch on the left side of its metal housing that flips the footswitch open for quick battery replacement.

Distortion and delay go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and the SS20 combines them in novel ways. The Distortion, Distortion Tone, and Distortion Level controls provide textures that range from mild tube-style overdrive to saturated tones with lots of sustain. By pegging the Delay Time control (which tops-out at only about 250ms) with the Mode switch in the Series position, you get tanky distortion effects that sound like they’re being pumped through varying lengths of concrete pipe. Select the Parallel setting and you can mix the distortion and delay to create anything from bouncy, reflective echoes (with a hint of distortion) to heavy, in-your-face grind with a pronounced slap-back shimmer–reminiscent of what you might hear if you had Slash and Scotty Moore wailing on the same part in unison. There are also two trimpots under the footswitch cover for adjusting delay level and feedback. The former is mostly useful for turning off the delay, but high feedback settings allow you to preset the SS20 to unleash wild, runaway-delay effects at the touch of a button. Not easy to find, but a must-have box for anyone who yearns to grind on the wild side.

Echoes of the past: Danelectro Reel Echo and Spring King

Tape delay and spring reverb were mainstays of popular music during the ’60s, and many major manufacturers produced one or both types of effects. Some of these products–such as the Fender tube Spring Reverb and the Market Electronics/Maestro Echoplex–are now considered classics, and command high prices on the vintage gear market. But these old boxes are typically bulky and fairly delicate, and often require regular tweaking to keep them operating properly–all factors that make them less than ideal for gigging guitarists.

Danelectro‘s Reel Echo and Spring King pedals purport to provide classic delay and reverb tones, without the hassles associated with vintage boxes, and at a fraction of the cost. These best reverb pedals for guitar are very solidly constructed, can be powered by a 9V battery or the optional DA-1 AC adapter ($9), and sport cool paint jobs and retro knobs and switches. Sonically, they are clean and quiet, and though they don’t offer true-bypass switching, I didn’t notice any tone sucking or audio degradation. Both pedals have standard mono 1/4″ inputs and outputs, but the Reel Echo features a second jack that outputs just the dry signal for stereo effects.

Reel Echo

The Reel Echo was obviously modeled on the classic Echoplex tape delay–it even has a graphically-represented “tape” path, a sliding tape head-shaped knob for adjusting delay time, and a Sound On Sound switch. Despite the cosmetic resemblances, however, the Reel Echo has its own unique sound and feature set.

There’s nothing new about getting a tape-delay sound out of a digital processor (in fact, one of the more successful examples is Danelectro’s own Dan Echo pedal): a clean digital delay is modulated slightly to simulate tape flutter, and high frequencies are gradually filtered off successive repeats. The Reel Echo’s Warble feature handles the first task, and a Lo-Fi knob lets you dial in varying amounts of high-end roll-off. To add to the fun, there’s also a tone switch that toggles between tube and solid state settings, supposedly mimicking the differences in voicing between the two types of tape delays. (Note that these controls affect the delayed sound only.)

On the upper section of the pedal are two footswitches and associated LEDs. Pressing the Echo switch engages the effect and lights the Tempo LED, which flashes in sync with the delay time–though there’s no tap-tempo function. The other footswitch puts the Reel Echo into Sound On Sound mode, which resembles the Echoplex’s sound-on-sound function in name only.

SOS. The Echoplex records onto a three-minute continuous loop tape cartridge, and its Sound On Sound switch disengages the erase head, allowing you to overdub indefinitely onto that loop. The Reel Echo’s Sound On Sound switch disengages the delay input–in other words, you can record a short phrase (up to 1.5 seconds, the pedal’s maximum delay time) with the repeat knob turned up enough to make the phrase play indefinitely, then press Sound On Sound and play along with that phrase without adding to it. And speaking of regeneration, you can get the Reel Echo to self-oscillate, sort of like an Echoplex (think “flying saucer”), by cranking the repeat knob all the way up. However, if you attempt to have the saucer “take off” by changing the delay time, all you get is digital glitching–that’s one classic Echoplex effect you can’t get with the Reel Echo.

Head To Head. The Reel Echo works best when connected between a guitar and an amp. When patched into an amp’s effects loop, there was a noticeable degradation of signal quality. (It did, however, work quite well as an outboard processor in the aux loop of my recording mixer, so go figure.) The pedal’s input is flexible enough to handle pickups ranging from mellow to mega-hot, and the unit worked well when chained together with other pedals.

Does the Reel Echo sound exactly like an Echoplex? Of course not–but it does capture a great deal of the original’s vibe. The Warble effect sounds more like a very nice chorus than tape flutter to me, and only the first half of the lo-fi knob’s range is particularly useful. Still, I was able to get some great sounds by using them in combination with the tone switch. My favorite setting was Warble on, lo-fi off, and tone switched to tube.

One very important characteristic that the Reel Echo does have in common with the Echoplex is that it is fun and inspiring to use. Add to that the Reel Echo’s no-maintenance and hassle-free performance, easy portability, and bargain price, and you’ll want to rush right down to your local music store without delay … delay … delay.

Spring King

The pale-yellow Spring King is an analog device containing an actual reverb tank with three eight-inch springs. Its three brown chicken-headed control knobs couldn’t be simpler to use: Volume controls the input level to the reverb tank (not the overall volume), tone darkens or brightens the color of the reverb, and reverb determines how much effect is blended with the dry signal. The front panel also contains an oval-shaped rubber Kick Pad. This isn’t connected to anything, it just provides a convenient spot to give the Spring King a good whack should you decide to add some clamorous “boings” to your performance.

After donning my baggies and waxing my board, I put the Spring King through its paces. I patched the pedal between a Les Paul and a Rivera Thirty-Twelve amp, and the first thing I noticed was that even with the King’s volume control all the way down, the unit still produced a slight cinder block room sound. Though that wasn’t a particularly pleasing effect, I was quickly able to dial in more desirable sounds by increasing the volume and setting the tone and reverb controls to twelve o’clock. That brought the King to life, and soon I was surfing through a surprising variety of tonal possibilities.

The key to getting the best performance out of the Spring King is adjusting the input volume properly–too little level and it sounds tinny and wimpy, too much and it gets nasty. The other two controls are also effective over their entire ranges. The tone control provides a nice palate of coloration from dark and muffled to bright and ultra-sproingy, and the reverb control gradually introduces more wet signal into the mix, rather than heaping it on all at once.

The Spring King’s tone can’t compare to, say, a Fender tube spring reverb, or even a full-sized spring reverb in a good guitar amp. After all, there are no tubes to give it that sort of smoothness and warmth. Nonetheless, Dano’s new box has lots of personality–and at $199, the King rules!

Danelectro’s Reel Echo and Spring King pedals provide oodles of antique ambiance in cool, cost-effective packages.

Kissing Cousins

  • Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler
  • Little Lanilei Reverb Pedal

Using Waist Cinchers – 4 Things You Should Remember

Waist training, also known as waist cinching or tight-lacing, is the process of slowly slimming down the waist in the course of many months with the use of a corset consisting of steel bones. The process of waist training came into prominence first during the Victorian period. It faded in the later years, but in the last few years it has again gained much limelight – thanks to rising awareness about obesity, an attempt to shape the body by ordinary women and use of best waist cincher by many celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. If you have are going to begin waist cinching, you should remember the following 4 things in order to train your waist in a proper manner.

Determine your body shape

The first step is to determine your body shape, and know whether you have a pear, an apple or a ruler shape. The female body is generally categorized into any of these three shapes. Once you determine this, you will easily be able to under which type of corset would be ideal for your body shape.

Look for proper body support

The best types of cinchers can gently push up your bust, lengthen your torso and provide your spine with proper support. You can wear these as fashion accessories under your dresses and be able to slim down your mid section and the waist in order to change your body shape in the most dramatic manner. These dresses provide your body with compression and can enhance the circulation, perspiration and thermal energy of your body. A waist cincher can reduce the amount of toxins and fats in your body and can help your muscles to operate in the fullest possible extent. You can appear smoother, slimmer and sexier.

Fabric

Look for cinchers which come in a blend of more than one layer of fabric. This way, the waist area of the outfits can ensure pressure. If it gets decompressed easily, it is not the ideal corset to go for. The corsets of the best type are very strong but soft in feel. This ideal combination of strength with softness makes cinchers the right blend of power and beauty.

Construction

Look for cinchers that are equipped with satin coutils and also made of steel bones. The more the amount of steel bones in the outfit, the better it can be for you. Look for bones at the opening of the back and in between the eyelets. Otherwise, the eyelets of this outfit will drop off once you tighten the cincher. Look for the presence of two steel bones, one on each side of each seam. This is especially important in case the corset is of a bigger size. The more the number of panels in the design of your corset, the better it will be for you. This is due to the reason that the panels can lead to a rise in the number of steel bones in your corset and improve its shaping. You need to avoid using corsets that come with 3 or 4 panels on every side, as these are inferior in quality.

Ten Classic Backcountry Fishing Holes

There are two problems with telling someone about a great fishing hole:

1) You’ll have to share what was once your secret, secluded spot;

2) your friend could go home empty-handed, then soil your reputation by telling everyone you steer people to fishless waters. We’re willing to take that chance, so here are some prime backcountry spots to fish, or simply to relax by and watch ‘em jump.

(Note: Some of these rivers are long, so when planning your trip, you can call ahead to the appropriate land management agency and ask about good camping and fishing spots. Or better yet, for the most up-to-date information, phone the nearest fly-fishing shop or outfitter. They’ll know what’s biting, what flies to use, and where you should hike in.)

  • Adirondack Park. New York: This park’s 6 million acres hold scores of streams and ponds that are accessible only by trail. Contact: The Adirondack Sport Shop, Wilmington, NY; (518) 946-2605; www.adirondackflyfishing.com.
  • Big Thompson River, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: If you get tired of catching rainbows, brookies, and cutthroats, you can stop and watch the bountiful wildlife this area features. Contact: Front Range Anglers, Boulder, CO; (303) 494-1375.
  • Buffalo River, the Ozarks, Arkansas: Great for smallmouth bass. Contact: The Woodsman, Fort Smith, AR; (501) 452-3559.
  • Eagle and Forney Creeks. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tennessee: There are about 700 miles of trout streams here, all far from the windshield tourists. Contact: Little River Outfitters, Townsend, TN; (423) 448-9459.
  • Kerman Lake, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada, California: Easy hiking through the aspens on the way to catching brilliant and challenging cutthroats and brook trout. Contact: The Troutfitter, Mammoth Lakes, CA; (760) 924-3676.
  • Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, Idaho: Beautiful canyon, beautiful fish. Who could ask for more? Contact: Silver Creek Outfitters, Ketchum, ID; (208) 726-5282.
  • Rapid Creek, Black Hills, South Dakota: A blue-ribbon stream that’s home to brown trout and rainbows. Contact: Scheels All Sports, Rapid City, SD; (605) 342-9033; www.rapidnet.com/~jtuxford.
  • Red River, New Mexico: The hiking is easy and the fishing is good year-round. Contact: Los Rios Anglers, Taos, NM; (505) 758-2798.
  • Slough Creek on the Upper Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: If the trout aren’t biting here, keep hiking because Yellowstone is filled with great backcountry water. Contact: Yellowstone Angler, Livingston, MT; (406) 222-7130.
  • White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire: Besides being a great hiking and backpacking destination, the Whites are home to plenty of mountain trout ponds that are usually stocked by helicopter. For a list of 53 ponds, contact: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Concord, NH; (603) 271-3211.

For More Destinations: Falcon Publishing Co. (P.O. Box 1718, Helena, MT 59624; 800-582-2665; www.falconguide.com) produces a series of fishing destination guidebooks. Some of the featured locales include: Alaska, the Beartooth Range in Montana, Florida, Glacier National Park in Montana, Maine, Montana, Yellowstone National Park, and Wyoming. Prices vary but average about $15.

How To Fish Moving Water

Fish face upstream with their mouths in to the current so they catch bits of food–mostly insects and bait fish–caught in the flow. They like spots where the current isn’t too strong; otherwise, they burn too much energy trying to stay in place. Fish also need a hiding place nearby, in case they sense danger.

  • Pools: Deep, slow, and wide, pools generally hold fish in the middle, where a lot of food sweeps down on easy currents. Fish also stay on pool edges, where two currents meet. Such an edge is called a “seam” and looks like a line on the water; fish generally stay on the slower side of the seam. The “tail,” or lower end of a pool, is shallow; it’s here that you’ll find large fish behind rocks and at the point where the water abruptly changes from deep to shallow.
  • Bends: On deep, winding streams, fish usually stay on the slower inside of a bend so they don’t have to fight the current. On shallow streams, look on the outside of the turn where the current makes the water deeper and funnels food to fish waiting near the edge.
  • Brushy banks: When overgrown with grass or brush, they make great hiding places. In summer the vegetation drips with insects. Muddy banks that overhang a stream are especially good for trout.
  • Deadfalls: Fallen trees break the current and provide places to hide.
  • Pockets: Areas behind rocks, which break the current and sweep food to fish. To locate submerged rocks, watch for bulges in the stream surface and small patches that look slick against the rest of the current. In slow-flowing streams, fish may be in front of rocks, where the flow has created a depression on the bottom. In faster streams, clusters of rocks often form funnels that carry food to fish waiting downstream on the edges of the current.
  • Side channels: The current generally is slower than in the main stream and the food is abundant–good conditions for larger fish that cannot afford to waste energy.
  • Riffles: This shallow, choppy water generally downstream of deep, slow pools usually holds a few small fish. Look for patches of smooth water that indicate depressions deep enough to hold fish.
  • Eddies: The swirling water gathers food and attracts fish but makes it tricky or difficult to fish.
  • Weed beds: Up against the weeds there’s plenty of fish food and places to hide.

What’s That Smell? (Hint: It’s Not The Fish)

As far as a fish is concerned, humans–particularly males–have a stink that can seriously turn off a trout. This is why in British Columbia, some professional guides use lemon-scented dishwashing detergent to remove the human smell from flies and lures. In the United States, several companies make solutions that either eliminate or mask the human scent. Using one of the biodegradable solutions before you start fishing is probably a good idea.

If you want to go natural, rub mud from the stream bank on your hands before you start fishing. Rub some on the fly, too–just enough to cover your scent but not so much that it affects the action of the fly. Applying fish attractants or crushed bait to a fly, however, is generally regarded as unethical.