Monday, April 21, 2014

Marmot Limestone 6P Tent Review


    I recently returned from a great week long camping trip with the family and thought that I'd do a gear review on a piece of equipment that has seriously blown me away.  First off - to all those that follow my blog strictly for the fishy posts - I did try to do some red fishing but the constant 30mph winds and downpours of drenching rains real killed that idea.
  Looking on the plus side however, the rains and chilly winds that battered the coast over the five days that the family and I spent camping allowed for some great family bonding.  It also allowed us to thoroughly test out the new Marmot Limestone 6 Tent and boy did it get a test.
  Our last tent was a Target special that had served us for the better part of a decade but for the last two years my family and I discovered that in rainy weather it was little more than a water collection device.  On our last adventure to the hills in the upstate of South Carolina we had so much water in our tent that our sleeping bags acted as gigantic sponges and we all braved a restless night only to awake and find we all had an epedimic of trench foot.  Only a good two hours near the fire allowed us to again become functional humans
  That is why when my wife and I saw that REI (An outdoor store we love) had a Marmot Limestone 6P for sale, we jumped on it like a tick on a hound dog.
(Incidentally, for those camping on the Carolina coast, or any heavily wooded area, ticks are a real serious hazard.  Just ask my poor little boy who got a few - including one on a place no male should ever have to use a tweezers... ouch!!)
  Anyway... The Marmot Limestone 6 person tent came in two colors; the traditional o.d. green and the new bright orange.  Being a guy that doesn't necessarily like to be a beacon in the woods for every passerby, I opted for the green but the orange is still a sharp looking tent.
  The setup was ultra easy, with two main poles and two short struts that slide into fantastic rod socks on the outside of the tent, it all came together in a few minutes.  The rain fly also was literally a snap as it hooked directly to the main tent at the anchor points.
  Once the tent is set up, we went in and were completely blown away by the space we had.  Our last tent we could barely stand up but in this baby there is just about enough headroom to put in a ceiling fan. Another feature we really enjoyed was the added vestibule in the rainfly for keeping hiking shoes and dirty sand shoes dry before we got into the tent.  With the onslaught of rain we had, this little feature got plenty of use.  Nothing is worse than mud and sand on the floor of your tent and this nice addition allowed most of the dirt to remain outside.  As anyone who has ever camped with kids knows - this is no small accomplishment.
  As for the tent handling the rain - all I can say is that it did its job way better than I would have expected.  In fact, not a single drip of moisture ever fell from the rainfly or seeped in from the sides or floor.  On one of our days it rained so HARD that even the tarp we had spread over out picnic table leaked on us, the Marmot Limestone Tent however- which was fully exposed to the 30mph winds and rain - repelled the water all day long.  When we went to bed it was awesome to find our sleeping area bone dry.
  Simply put - the Marmot Limestone 6P Tent is a fantastic rain proof shelter I would recommend to anyone!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Free Art Giveaway & An Interview

    So you missed my last art contest, no worried because thanks to Hammer Creek Fly Fishing you now have a chance to win yet another piece of fishy art from www.Hexfishing.com.  All you need to do is click over and enter to win - extremely easy only you better hurry!
While you are there check out the interview Kyle did of me.  It was a flattering experience to be asked to comment on my art.  Doing my best not to sound like a complete idiot, I answered a variety of question on both my art and my life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rainbow Fin Winner

Congratulations to Gidgett Andree, who entered the contest via Facebook, for winning the 'Rainbow Fin' painting.  All entries from the G+, this blog, and facebook where giving a random number and then with the help of Random.org - a winning number was selected from the digital hat.  Thanks to all of you that entered and rest easy, there will soon be another contest up for you to enter.  Congrats Gidgett.
If you are not following Hexfishing on Facebook by now - click over and get connected.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Real Men Fly Fish

Do you need another reason to pick up a fly rod? 

“Now Hurry up, We’re burnin’ daylight.” 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Hammer Creek


     If you are like me then you enjoy discovering new and interesting sites that can be used to further your knowledge in the art of fly fishing.  Hammer Creek Fly Fishing is one of those sites you are going to want to bookmark. Not only is it extremely well put together and organized but it has an extensive library of original fly tying videos that are top notch.  For a guy like me that is always consulting youtube for tying advice, I strongly recommend bookmarking this great site.
    Kyle, the owner of Hammer Creek, has a love for fly fishing that has driven him to create this site and so when he asked me to come up with an original logo that would stand out beyond the hum of all the other sites, I jumped at the opportunity.
   Starting with the name and the industrial feel of the site with its great photography and black and white imagery, I began to explore creating a unique trout logo with gears and a eye catching appeal.  All told I think we went through about four solid revisions until we settled on this highly original logo.
   One element incorporated into this design that you might find interesting is how I created the gears.  Using the accessories end of a Chevy small block as inspiration I was able to cobble together a very intricate set of gears and flywheels.  Its not your typical spots on a trout but I think it sure gives the logo that rough industrial feel we were going for.
  Click on over to Hammer Creek Fly Fishing and tell Kyle hi.  Check out his videos and follow his blog.  You wont leave disappointed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Turkey Hunt Turns Into Bass Hanging


    I went out this morning with the intent to bag some turkey but as with most of my hunting expeditions - I left empty handed.  I have been trying to get a turkey for the last three years to no avail and I have come to the conclusion that Ben Franklin was right; the turkey is one of Americas wiliest birds. I might not agree with his idea to make the Turkey the national bird - I believe the Eagle is doing a fine job - but It sure is a difficult bird to hunt.  Either that or my disgraceful turkey call need a lot of work.
  So with the temps rising into the 80's and it becoming abundantly clear that the birds had returned to their roost, My buddy and I left our respective blinds and strung up the rods.  Luckily for us there is a two great ponds on the property loaded with bass.
 Today I left with nothing under a 1.5lb bass to show for my efforts and every single one was caught on a top water bass popper I carved from wood and hand painted.  It was truly a rewarding feeling to see this #1 bass bud I carved be attacked by numerous large mouth bass.
So I might not have bagged a bunch of feathers but at least I didn't leave feeling like a turkey.
I need to make a few more of these because unfortunately this one was lost at the pond.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Painting Tiger Trout


  This morning with a cup of coffee and a bit of time to kill I came up with this painting.
Tiger Trout are one of those rare natural occurrences that hatcheries now use to their advantage.
By fertilizing a brown trout egg with Brook trout milt, these beautiful and sterile fish are born with a very aggressive and predatory nature that allows stream keepers to use them to control fish populations without causing long term harm to the streams in which they are placed.
The colors that hey are born with very as well and can range from the brilliant yellows and oranges of a brown trout to the dull skin color of darker species but the one thing they all have is the unique striping that sets them apart from all other species.


This painting will soon be posted up for sale at www.hexfishing.com and can also be viewed at www.facebook.com/hexfishing .  If you would like to know how you can own this original painting then shoot me and email.
"March Tiger Trout"
Watercolor on Paper
10in x 9in
For Sale

Don't forget to enter the contest for a FREE original painting at http://ayearonthefly.blogspot.com/2014/03/win-free-painting.html - Contest ends on the 10th of next month!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Win A Free Painting!

Here is your chance to win a FREE painting.  In an effort to boost the followers of my newly created https://www.facebook.com/hexfishing page, and my updated HexFishing.com site, I am offering this "Rainbow Fin" free for your help in getting the word out.  Like and share this bog, hexfishing.com, and our Facebook page and you will be entered to win this brand new - original painting.
  Make sure you leave a comment below or on our hexfishing Facebook page and you will be entered.

    The painting is a rainbow trout fin done in acrylic on a 14x11in canvass.
 "Rainbow Fin"
Acrylic On Canvass
14in x 11in

Contest will end on the 10th of next month and announced here and our facebook page. Winner will be selected via Random.org - Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Drift Life

  As some of you might have seen, yesterday I posted a salt fishing graphic just to give a little variety to the 'Salt Life' stickers that have flooded the sticker market.  Well, for all you inland anglers that couldn't give a rip about the salt - here is what I came up with.  I added the distressed look just because... well it just looked cool.  Its a short post today but I think the graphic says it all.
  As always, if you want to use any of my images, please contact me for pricing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Assault Angler Graphic and Antler Sheds

    Messing around with the sketch pad yesterday I came up with this salt fishing graphic.  After working on Angler 360's logo and graphics for their product line, I fell in love with working on salt fishing graphics.  No doubt that many of you near the sea have seen the deluge of 'Salt Life' decals on the back of trucks but If you are like me then you are a little tired of them.
  I'm not saying that they are bad, I'm just saying that it is no longer original to have a decal on your truck that everyone else has.  This graphic however says it all.
  Next month I plan on spending a little time hunting Speckled sea trout and reds off the Carolina coast from the deck of a kayak so it is fair to say my head is in a salty state of mind.  For all of you out there that hunt fins from the deck of a flats skiff, I figure that this graphic might speak to you.
It goes without saying that if you would like to use this graphic - please contact me for purchasing and usage rights.


  On a completely separate subject.  The other day I took my kids out exploring and my little boy spotted this gem in some isolated woods.  I know there is guys out there that pay big money for dogs that can hunt up shed like this one but for my money I will take my little Eagle eye boy any day.  For a little kid that loves the outdoors it was a find of a lifetime.  I love living in the south!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bass Off The Bottom


    Its not a style of fishing I usually go for but when a guy asks 'hey, you want to go fishing?' you just don't say no.  Besides that, a change of pace is a welcome thing so last week I bundled up in 30 degree weather to go to an up-state reservoir to do a little trolling for trout.
   No, I'm not insane and yes I know that the picture is not of a trout.  It is a bulky large-mouth bass boarding on five pounds and it was by far the best fish of the day.  The story behind it is just about as interesting as the size of the bass.
   While trolling a back water at about 50 feet the boats sonar began to pick up a rising rock pile so as quick as we could we cranked up the down-riggers to about 20 feet and then dropped them back down to 45-50 feet.  As soon as that weight hit the forty foot mark I saw the rod bounce but thinking it was just the weight settling out I let it go and set the other rod.  Then the rod double over and I thought I had hit the rock pile at 50 feet and unleashed the rod from the rigger.  As soon as I pulled on the rod I knew it was no rock pile but since we were trolling for trout I thought I had one huge brown trout on the line.  Never in my wildest dreams would I believe that a bass would hit my trout spoon at forty five feet in the middle of winter.
    The state record for both brown trout and lake trout were both pulled out from this lake so the thoughts of big trout were dancing in my mind as I fought the fish and the rest of the crew cleared lines and weights.
    As soon as the fish cleared the water we knew we had no trout on the line.  To date it is the largest bass I have ever hooked.  The lyrics to "Five Pound Bass" by Robert Earl Keen played in my head as we gently netted the fish and celebrated a great fish.
    Prior to this great catch, my fishing partner was having a little fun at my expense because I had been fish-less all day.  He on the other hand he had hook three small trout on his side of the boat.  His sarcastic laced 'Its not a contest' line however never again crossed his lips after my bass hit the boat.
  My many thanks to Sam for taking me and Marty out and despite a bone chilling cold day, we all had a blast!

Side note:
  You might have also caught that I said that this trip took place last week so the thought that might cross your mind 'why did it take so long to post?"  The truth is the very next morning, the family and I left for Phoenix for my sisters wedding and I just haven't had time to warm up the computer till now.  I did manage to post these pics on my HexFishing Facebook Page so If you like Hexfishing then you had the early scoop.  If you are on facebook then click over and get on board - The button on the right of the screen with the giant stonefly will take you there.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Troutalope, Streamer King, Music, & #GlassIsnotDead

    On a Monday that again finds winter weather smacking us in the face I thought I'd give you a few links that could occupy your time.
  First off I got this awesome sticker in the mail the other day from www.troutalope.com.  I helped to design this logo for Steven and now that he had them made into stickers I just had to have one.  It looks sweet on the back on my jeep.  Click on over and pick yourself up one for a more than fair price.  You will be the envy of all your fishing buddies.

  Second up is a recent design I did for The Streamer King.  The logo says it all.  You want some killer streamers then click on over and get some hand made brown trout killers.  They are the King of all streamers on the water.

And finally I leave you with a pick of my weekend activity.  Friends, steaks, beverages, Roger Creager and Rober Earl Keen On the radio, 70 degree weather, and a coozie from Cameron over at the fiberglass manifesto and #glassisnotdead- not a bad way to pass the afternoon.  Don't worry northerners, spring is on the way soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Salute The U.S. Navy Seal Frogman


  This graphic I cooked up pretty much sums it up - The US Tactical Divers are the some of the most skilled soldiers in the entire world.  In a day where there is a lot of talk about troop draw downs and reducing our armed forced size to pre-WWII levels I encourage every American to set politics aside and just remember and appreciate what these men have sacrificed for our American freedoms.  You might not have ever heard of their accomplishments but that's the point.  They come from the sea quietly, do their job, and then silently return without a word.  These men and numerous other members our our military do their jobs and you never know about it but their actions keep you safe.  You hear about the exploits of some Hollywood actor every second of the day while these true heroes are busy preserving freedoms around the world.  Take time to thank a service person today.  Tomorrow they just might save your live.

  (If you like this graphic and want to read more then check out my previous salute to the Air Cav HERE)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watercolor Brook Trout 'Feeding Brookie'

    I had a little time yesterday morning so I broke out the watercolor paints and a Bristol sheet of paper and flipped a little paint around to come up with this brightly colored 'Feeding Brookie' painting.  I am not going to cloud this work with a lot of mumbo jumbo on how I painted it or how much I love hooking into these unique fish, so instead I'll just let the painting do the talking.

  'Feeding Brookie'
Watercolor on Bristol Paper
14in x 11in
For Sale - Email for purchasing.
This painting will soon be posted on Hexfishing.com

The fly is small #16 red and green beadhead mayfly nymph I have used many times on secluded streams.  Brookies love the color red and orange.  I cant explain it, they just do.
  I hope all you enjoy the rest of the week.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Trout Tails



   How about a little abstract Trout Tails to start your Monday morning off.  I recently completed a 12in x 24in canvas painting of the 'big three' of the trout world from a slightly different view.  What started as an experiment in color ended up being this portrait of a Brook trout, Brown trout, and Rainbow trout exiting the scene.  Painted in acrylic on canvas, this painting was done more as a study for future works but as it hangs in my office I have grown to enjoy the brightness and simple lines which is a departure from my standard style.  I will no doubt do another painting with this scene but instead of trying to duplicate the natural photo realistic qualities of the fish I think I will use more abstract lines and simplify it further than it already is.  That being the case I will price this 'study' cheap.  Feel free to contact me for purchasing details.

'Trout Tails'
12in. X  24in.
Acrylic on Canvas
For Sale  

   For those of you who could care less about the painting and are wondering when the weather will break so we can get out fishing, my answer is soon.  Only a week ago we were burried up to... okay we had only about 6inches of snow but for the south it was a lot.  This week however finds us in the full bright sun-filled sky of spring.  70 degrees, flowers blooming, and the grill already warmed up for the endless parade of red meat that await.  It also means the waters will be warming up soon and that means the bass will soon be coming to surface.  
   And just in case some of you don't already know, I am now on facebook at www.facebook.com/hexfishing .  What does that mean to you?  more frequent updates on my art, special offers and contests, gear reviews, and more fishing reports.  Click over, like, and share my page.