Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anthracite Outfitters Blast and Cast 2010 Vol.1

Tactical Anglers Sniper Jacket & Seal Skin Shirt Review

Recently we have become members of the Tactical Anglers family and Pro-Staff and a few weeks ago we received a nice box of goodies from them.

In this review I am going to be talking about their fleece jacket and seal skin shirt.

Lets start with the shirt. The seal skin shirt is considered a base layer or can be used as a rash guard under a wetsuit for an additional layer. The shirt is fitted and has stretch to it which makes a perfect skin tight base layer with a stretchy collar that fits nicely to your neck.

I have been ice climbing and mountaineering for the better part of my life and have used some of the finest outdoor gear from companies like The North Face, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear and I will put this shirt right up there with some of the biggest names in the outdoor industry, it works that well. It actually has a better fit then most traditional base layers that I have and that is due to the tight fit of the shirt in order to be used under a wetsuit without creating a pressure point from getting bunched up.

A lot of thought was put into this shirt and it use in the angling community, that is what separates from other base layers, it was designed with the angler in mind.

We spent Saturday on the river with a client with temps going from the low 40's up into the 60's, sun, rain and wind for the afternoon and I basically wore the Seal Skin shirt with a fleece vest for the better part of the day and not once was I cold or hot, it regulated my core temp all day and only when the rain started to come down heavy did I put on a jacket.

Bottom line this shirt works.
The fleece jacket is right up there with the shirt in quality and fit, with a bit of stretch to it, it has a more technical fit then most fleece jackets on the market and is "smooth fleece" on the outside with tight pile on the inside cutting down on bulk and adding some wind and water resistance to the jacket which is a nice feature. It has a pocket on each sleeve for small items, warmer pockets and inside pockets as well. Its not short on storage space for you items, either.

Again the design was with the angler in mind, it has great freedom of movement and is a little longer so it will not ride up while casting or kneeling down to deal with a fish.

We have used the jacket in cooler night temps during some rain while chasing trout and it performs as well as it fits, perfectly.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anthracite Outfitters, Product Review: Tactical Anglers Fishing Clips for Sweet Water Application

Confidence (from "New Oxford American Dictionary" on my computer): the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

Recently I have started using the Tactical Anglers "Tactical Fishing Clips". {as seen attached to the lure in the above image} My findings based on the performance of the clips and moreover, the performance of my lures attached to the clips, bring one word to mind... Confidence.

Before I ever fish a new lure or piece of terminal tackle I always watch its behavior in close. When I first received the Tactical Angler Fishing Clips I took them and my go to lures and for about 3 hours scrutinized the plug and clip combination's behavior in the water. The clip I focused on was the 50lbs. clip. This is the most practical size for my walleye and smallmouth lures. The first lure I attached to the clip was a 3/4oz bucktail jig. I was shocked to see that there was no restriction of the jigs movement akin to using a non-slip loop knot. The jig bounced through the column as if there was no clip there. The walleye also don't appear to notice the clip either fishing the jig as usual...

After I gained full confidence in the behavior of the jig attached to the clip, I switched to my swimming plugs. Those plugs being the standard balsa 4-3/8" rapala, a Shallow Shad X-rap XRSH-08, and a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow in the 5 1/4" floating. I spent a good amount of time with short casts and varied retrieves so I could watch the plugs behavior. Again I was thrilled with what I saw. The XRSH-08 and the Crystal Minnow behaved as if I tied direct via a non-slip loop knot. The light balsa rapala was actually enhanced by the slight bit of weight the clip added to the lure. One of my favorite and often surprisingly effective techniques is to cast the rapala short, in the dark, no more than 20' off the river bank. Then as the mellow current grabs the lure, I just subtly twitch the rod tip so the rapala displaces as much surface water as possible in order to create rings in the surface. Walleye pound the snot out of it in inches of water. Well when I employed this technique with the TA 50lbs. clip attached I found the lure's behavior in this technique to be enhanced as well a slight audible click created between the clip and the lure eye. The head of the lure rides a bit lower in the surface so the same rod tip motion causes more water to be displaced. All of my standard techniques and lures produced as well as they have before I started using the TA 50lbs. clip...

One of the many functional aspects of the TA 50lbs. clip is the efficiency of changing lures. It took me 3 minutes with my eyes closed to get the feel for changing lures. In situations where the walleye are at your feet at night, the use of any light is ill advised. I would never in a million years trust that a duo-lock snap was fully closed unless turning my back to the water and using my red light on my head lamp to verify the plugs security. Anytime a lure isn't in the water it can't catch fish. Yeah, I know that's like saying the team that scores the most wins, but if you took and added up the seconds one looses changing plugs it would add up to hours a year. Once the TA clip is attached to the plug with an audible metal on metal "click" it's attached securely. Trust me, the lure aint going anywhere unless you break it off!!!

This leads me to the strength of the clip. Many a time smallmouth and larger walleye have mutilated duo-lock snaps on me. Many a time when locked up on sticky bottom I stretched out duo-lock snaps. Well that's the least of my concerns with the TA 50lbs. clip. Since using the TA clips I have brought back snagged jigs with the hook broken or straightened and the TA clip unscathed.

I began this piece with a definition of the word "confidence". When it comes to the security, and functionality of the Tactical Anglers Fishing Clips the definition I started with is what comes to mind for me. In my angling world every cast could produce a trophy. In my angling world trophies are just a cast away. In my angling world confidence is a must. The last thing that concerns me in my sweet water angling world is where my lure attaches to the Tactical Anglers Tactical Fishing Clip.

Speaking of fishing...I'm going fishing...

Hope this helps.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rolling with the Kid: North Branch of the Susquehanna River condition and trip report 7/28/10 to 7/29...

Dan and I took the opportunity to take his 11 year old son, Bryce, out on the river for his first overnight run. Bryce after helping man Anthracite Outfitter's "kayak fishing" booth at two river festivals this summer, expressed interest in running on his first overnight kayak fishing trip on our waters on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. Neither Dan nor I wanted this request to get stale, so we worked out a Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon trip. Bryce was gung-ho and we got after it.

Bryce learned to cast in the surf using a 2oz. hopkins spoon hanging from a Penn 4500ss on a G-Loomis 7'er seemingly at the same time he was learning to speak. Casting from the kayak was an easy transition for him.

The river this season is running low and warm. Consequently the smallmouth bass are congregated around moving, oxygenated water. With the low flow the insects that emerge to winged adults this time of year are being condensed en-mass, and are easy eats in dark time. Basically, we're finding the smallmouth need to be triggered with an explosive and equally abrupt stop and go retrieve with swim baits, crank baits, spinner baits, and even flies being presented with a big down current belly and 3' strips.

The smallies show no signs of feeding, as jigs and soft plastics presented slowly aren't getting touched. Shortly into the drift and coming through our cherished boulder field I was working a paddle tailed swim bait rigged on a weedless, weighted worm hook. I fished a handful of casts just keeping light contact with the boulder tops with a slow drive in the reel. After a few well placed casts didn't show any fish I let the swim bait get down and began working it back to the kayak with abrupt, yet smooth snaps of the rod tip every time I felt the bait contact the boulders on the bottom never taking drive out of the reel and only speeding up to take up slack. On the second cast employing this technique, when the bait was about 5' away from my yak I noticed a bulging V-wake and instantaneously my rod tip went down and my reel sang as the drag yield to the weight of the take. I instantly thought musky, however, after a number of surging runs, some under the yak, I brought a juiced up 5# channel cat to net. By far the best fight I've had on the river this season...

By the time I got the photo snapped and the fish back in the drink we had drifted up on our next slight, elevation change with decent moving water. It was hot, and wading with the fly rod was such an inviting thought that I indulged in it. I pulled up the yak and waded out to about mid-thigh depth. Again, by swinging clousers on a deep down current belly with a 3' long stripping retrieve I got the smallie's interest. If the fly was just allowed to come around on the swing there were no takers. As soon as I accelerated the fly along its path with the stripping retrieve they responded.

Dan and Bryce headed down river a bit and pulled up too. I eventually caught up and took Bryce out in the current to work with him on some technique. The boy was on point...

It was a good opportunity to work retrieve and current technique but unfortunately we were to far below the quick water where the congregation of smallies were. We got back on the paddle and made for camp.

We put a bit of a hustle on to get camp set so we could eat...

I should mention that we were pre-frontal and were on the edge of weather. After dinner the white mayflies (ephoron leukon) started to come up in good numbers. This could be a good thing if one is moderately well versed with a fly rod, and can be in slack water when the cats come up to vacuum the spent flies after they mate. These are dry fly caught channel cats from the week prior, I was hitting from 11pm to 2am...

It's a bad thing when there's lightning and being on the water is potentially deadly. It's bad because there is such a volume of insects that the fish get tunnel visioned and only key on the bugs. If one isn't dropping a good fly replica on the film leading the v-waking fish vacuuming the surface, they're going to have a hard time catching. I know, sight fishing with dry flies for channel cats from the kayak in the dark is as surreal as it sounds. Here's what the water surface looks like in the after math of a white mayfly hatch...

Every white mark is a spent mayfly. Here's some background on the E. Leukons. They look like a burrowing mayfly type nymph. They emerge in the thousands. Keep in mind that when a may fly hatches from a water born nymph to a winged fly, the first stage of its winged life is called a sub-imago or more commonly amongst fly anglers a dun. Most mayflies will spend about a day in the form of the dun eventually molting again into the imago or what fly casters call spinners. The spinner stage is the sexually mature adult fly. The Latin name for the mayfly order is Ephemeroptera, which translated to English means winged for a day, roughly. Matter of fact the mouth parts on a winged mayfly are vestigial rendering that organ as functional as the appendix in humans. Once mating has occurred, the females, lay the eggs and female and male alike die. When they die fly anglers call it a spinner fall and often get rightfully amped up because fish come up and gorge on the easy meal as referenced in the last image. A unique aspect of the E. Leukon is that they go from dun to spinner almost immediately after hatching, often molting on the wing. So when one sees the white mayflies coming off the water they should know that in less than 2 hours time the water will be blanketed with the spinners. Here's a sequence of what the dun to spinner transition looks like...

Given that a system was moving through and electricity was evident it would have been downright stupid to put ourselves on the water to get after the fish on top. Suffice it to say that all night long the sound of exploding water was echoing on the wind as fish were gorging on the spinner fall.

Throughout the course of the evening we got hit with three heavy thunderstorms. The first that came through caused me to have to lay diagonally in my tent as the walls were being collapsed by the 30mph + down draft coming over the mountain ridge to our Northeast. Once that blew through I reset my tent, andre-stoked the fire. Within a half hour of the first storm the second blew in but not as nasty as the first that came through. I bedded down for the night and was briefly awoken by the last of the showers that came through around first light.

I was extremely impressed by Bryce's resolve weathering the tumult of the night's weather. Given it was his first time ever afield over night in a tent he held it together and handled nature's strong arm like a man. Actually, he really must have been tired because he slept through the first storm.

When we got up in the morning Dan got the pancakes, breakfast sausage, and coffe on the flame and Bryce and I teamed up to catch. The backside of the island is more like a large trout stream at the current flow rate. I can easily cast to the far shore, but Bryce at his age doesn't have the torquing power in his hands to cast across the flow to the far shoreline. The fish were sitting on the edge of back current and were hitting a shallow crankbait on the stop after an explosive retrieve out of the slack water. I would get the fish hooked up and Bryce handled getting it in...

After we worked the oneside of the island, Bryce and I went to my pet eddy pocket on the other side. The water on the current flow isn't circulating enough to have a core of still water conducive to a spook. However, there are weed pockets there and they told me to throw a buzz bait. I got it cross current and made it make a bee line for the weeds. Sure enough, Bryce beached his best smallie of the trip...

After breakfast, Bryce had his fill of the river for this trip. Weathering the storm like the trooper he was and not getting the rest he could have he asked if we could not take all day fishing our way out. We obliged his request and fully understood. We had a downriver blow so we did some fishing on the way out and eventually got to the take out. Today he and dad are running around a water park with the under water camera and I eagerly await word of the stories Bryce told his cousins about the trip.

I would like to offer a huge thank-you to John Oast for allowing us to use his Ocean Kayak Malibu 2xl tandem. That kayak was everything we needed to bring the pup out and show him what kayak fishing life is like Anthracite Outfitters style...

Thanks again Mr. Toast!!!

Dan and I have a full plate of river trips for August and I hope to cash in on the Leukons while they last.

Stay tuned, tight lines, and as always... Safe Paddling!!!

Fish Tank

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Countryside Conservancy Presents a Hellbender Exhibit at "Celebrate Our River Day"

Dr. Peter Petrokas will be presenting a Hellbender Exhibit from 3 to 5:00pm in Riverfront park at "Celebrate Our River Day" on July 24th.

Here is a brief quote from his Hellbender brochure...

"The Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus
alleganiensis) is one of the largest salamanders in
North America, attaining lengths of up to 29 inches.
They require clear, fast-flowing streams with
abundant rocks large enough to hide under.
Hellbenders are totally aquatic, never leaving the

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Celebrate Our River Day 2010 July 24, 2010 Live Music !!

Celebrate Our River Day
Tunkhannock, PA

Join us as we celebrate and promote the value of one of our greatest resources, the Susquehanna River. Included in the day’s festivities will be live music, environmental activities for children and adults, a nature walk, a river float, food and more. Live music will be provided by Sadie Green Sales Jugband, the bluegrass group Hickory Project, and the George Wesley Band.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

4-10-10 Anthracite Outfitters Report "Fishing with Toast"

Today myself and John "Toast" Oast, both guides for Anthracite Outfitters, did double duty. We ran to Tunkhannock Pa. on a distribution run for Susquehanna Fishing Magazine,and after the magazines were dropped off we threw the kayaks in to the Susquehanna River to get after some early spring smallmouth bass, kayak fishing. This was my first kayak fishing trip of 2010 and the maiden voyage for Toast's new Ocean Kayak Trident13.


The river level has finally gotten down enough to be able to put in and take out at the same launch, which allowed us to paddle a good ways down river and still be able to paddle against the current to get back to the put in.

Shortly after launching Toast drew first blood with a nice healthy smallmouth bass...


After hitting that fish we continued down river to the confluence of the river and a feeder stream. That's where I hit my first kayak fishing smallie of 2010 on a muddler style jig with a 3" pumpkinseed grub threaded on the hook.


Both Toast and I were hitting decent smallies to about 13". That's when I switched over to a larger 1/4oz hair and feather craw jig. It's basically a muddler head with long india hen feathers tied splayed at the hook bend to mimic a crayfish. It's just down right buggy looking in the water. That's what I landed my pig o' the day on...


I estimated it to be between 18"-20".

After I hit that fish I gave Toast one to use. He wasted no time at all making good with that jig...



A few casts later I hear, "Oh my God!!! This is BIG!!!". I spun my yak to see Toast battling a sizeable fish. I paddled closer, camera ready, and sure enough he hoists his pig 'o the day...


His expression in that image doesn't do justice to his exitement!!! That fish was easy 20"...

Part of the effectiveness of our approach is that we were on a mud line seam...


The river is still a bit turbid, but the feeder creek is running clear blue-ish water. So by getting the right drift and cast as well the jig down, we hit where we expected to. Toast at one point made the remark, "This is awesome. The fish are right where you'd expect them to be." They truly were today.

So we worked that water hard and decided to pull. Right before we hit the launch I took one last opportunity to turn the camera on and capture an image that brings home the real reason I kayak fish the Susquehanna river...


So the river is fishable by kayak, and we're catch'n!!!

Tight Lines and Safe Paddlin'!!!
Fish Tank

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sculpin jigs and Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass...

Hank Hewitt a kayak fishing guide on the Susquehanna River for Anthracite Outfitters put these jigs together to present a juicy profile as well keep the ball head from rolling and the jig from either digging into vegetation cause it's too heavy, or being swept into snags because it's too light. They have a super attractive undulating look when just twitched across the bottom. Any bit of motion or current brings them to life.

Tightlines !!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Twisted Tree Furniture Fish and Trophy Plaques

"These fish and trophy plaques are a perfect marriage between my love of unique grain patterns and showcasing your catch! Each is made from woods with distinctive grains replicating the undulating movement of water."

The woods that are used to make these awesome products are great and can be used with a variety of different types of mounts whether fiberglass or replacing the back boards on your older skinned mounts. I encourage everybody to really take a look at the website and the woods they offer, truly pieces of art...

Click this link:
Twisted Tree Furniture Fish and Trophy Plaques

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at the Philly Outdoor Expo

These guys have some great deals at the show series for any angler looking to get some discounted rods, reels, tackle and hunting supplies. Anthracite Outfitters picked up a few rods for the rack for our clients and couldn't be happier with the products and service that we received at the show.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine on Delaware Valley Outdoors TV

John Oast of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and Kayak Fishing Guide for Anthracite Outfitters discusses the fishing opportunities along the Susquehanna River, kayak fishing, and Susquehanna Fishing Magazine. Filmed on Friday during the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow.

Visit Delaware Valley Outdoors on the web:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Greater Philadelphia Outdor Show Day 1 Feburary 25th

Anthracite Outfitters, Osprey Outdoor Adventures and Susquehanna Fishing magazine have their booth up and running at the show. Both locations 1439/1440. Stop in and see the Feburary issue of the magazine and check out the fully rigged Ocean kayak Trident 11 from Anthracite Outfitters compliments of John Oast.

Stop in the booth next door in 1438, their crab cakes are awesome, they ship and are a local Gouldsboro, PA business. Day one has gone off with out hitch and we are looking forward to the next 3 days here at the Greater Philiadelphia Outdoor Show in Oaks Pa.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow, February 25-28, 2010

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and Anthracite Outfitters along with Osprey Outdoor Adventures will be at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow from February 25th through 28th. The event will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

Stop by, say hello, and get your free copy of SFM and see some of the premiere Susquehanna River and New Jersey Shore Kayak Fishing guides in the region. We will be one aisle over from the casting area, booth locations 1439/1440.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Get a copy of SFM from Robbins Marine at the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show!

If heading to the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show this week in Harrisburg, stop by Robbins Marine and pick up a copy of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine... FREE!!!

2010 TU River Conservation Banquet (Lackawanna Valley/Endless Mountains)

Conservation Banquet

Host: Lackawanna Valley and Endless Mountains Chapters of Trout Unlimited
Date: Saturday March 27th
Time: 6pm till 10pm
Location: Amadeo’s Restaurant
4001 Birney Ave.
Moosic, Pa.
Price: $30 per person

Auctions and raffles including, Wildlife Art, Wildlife Photography, Outdoor Gear, and Fishing equipment. Proceeds go for River and Stream conservation projects and Youth Education.

Contact Info. Email:
Telephone: 570-562-3383