Saturday, December 17, 2016

Spanish Style Chorizo-Potato Stew with Dove

Spanish Chorizo sliced half inch thick
Potato, cubed
Lentils (optional)
Smoked Paprika
Green Chili, deseeded and cubed
Garlic, chopped
Onion, chopped
Chard, chopped
Bay Leaf
Flat Leaf Parsely, chopped
Chicken Stock
Olive Oil

Debone the breast of dove.  In hot stock pan brown dove in olive oil (don't cook through) and set aside for later.  Lower heat and add chopped onion until translucent then add chorizo.  Once sausage is browned add garlic, chili, bay leaf and thyme after one minute add potatoes, lentils and paprika.  Add stock, cover and simmer until potato and lentils have soften.  Add chard until wilted and place dove into the stew to finish cooking.  Taste and season accordingly.  Ladle stew in a bowl placing the doves atop, sprinkle flat leaf parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Giving MVL A Go

Tuesday was the trout opener at Mission Viejo Lake which was postponed several months due to golden algae bloom.  The day was a perfect day for tout fishing, cool and overcast.  I recently picked up a new full sink line on his recommendation after fishing with Luc at Canyon Lake and wanted to try it out.  I figured most of these trout would still be acclimatizing to the new water and would be in shallows so I brought my 5 weight and a slower sinking line.  I'm glad I did as all the fish were in less than a few feet of water.
It took us a while but we found the pods.  They were still finicky and I only managed one trout two and a half pound 15 inch trout and a five pound catfish.  Unfortunately my fishing buddy came home with the skunk.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Consolation Prize

Took the old man down south in the hopes finding some roosters.   While we found none I did meet a new hunting buddy while checking out a field.  We ended up hunting together for the morning and managed to flush one hen pheasant.  It was a pleasure hunting with him and he's an excellent source of local information.  He's been hunting these fields for over thirty years so I'm glad I ran into him. 

The field we hunted was a half plowed barley or rye (I'm guessing).  It was pretty thick and tall.  Good cover for these birds.  Unfortunately no roosters were present at this time.  Afterwards Chuck, our new hunting companion, called it quits.  So we tried a couple alfalfa fields but with no success.  Kaiser did get birdy and managed a point but no bird was kicked up.  Might have refused to be steady and ran on him or could have been old scent.  We'll never know.

After giving up on roosters we turned our attention to doves.  In the process we managed to flush a covey of gambels while driving around.  We were unable to pursue them though as they flushed into thick cover.  Although the abundance of track was a good sign for the season and I may have to concentrate on quail for the rest of this year.  We did manage to find a decent number of doves and took home four before calling it a trip.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fall Bass Fishing At Canyon Lake Using Sinking Lines Deep

I received a rather late text on Saturday from my buddy Luc asking me if I wanted to fish Sunday.  Popper fishing is over and the morning would be fishing full sinking lines deep in up to 35 feet of water.  I missed my opportunity this summer to fish the topwater as the day Luc called me I already had a trout trip planned.
I finally got the call back.  Unlike summer fishing, we could fish later in the morning and I did not need to be at Luc's until 6am.  Fishing was fair and we both managed a handful of bass.  We missed a fair amount and had several pop the hook out.  This was due to the fact that with a fast full sinking line and several tens of feet of line out in the water, keeping the line taut is not easy.  Luc did manage a 4.5 pound catfish towards the end of the morning before we called it quits around 10am.  All in all not fantastic day but not a terrible day either.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Additions to the Film Library

I wrote about Rainer Joesch some time ago when he made his first movie about hunting Cape Buffalo in the mountains of Tanzania (that post can be found here).  Since then he has made three more movies regarding the subject of buffalo hunting.  They have been out for some time but I finally picked up a two of the three.  I would have purchased part two but the retailer did not have it in stock.  I also picked up an Ivan Carter film as well, Sunset in Botwana.
I've watched the two Rainer Joesch films so far and they like his previous film are amazing.  Most hunting films are, I'll admit, pretty lame.  Joesch's film are not.  They are filmed documentary style and the focus is not the kill shot, like in most films, but rather the whole hunting experience. When I have the time I'll do a full review of each film.  Stay tuned.  Check out the trailer for Part One:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X v. Pro Ears Pro 300

Recently I've upgraded my previous ear protection from a Pro Ears Pro 300 to a MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X.  Sordins can be seen on the heads of special operation operators around the world, hunters, competition shooters and other industry professionals who need to protect their hearing.
Unlike the Pro Ears, the MSA Sordin is completely weatherproof which is one of the main reasons for the upgrade.  I can wear these anytime in any weather environment whether at a training session, USPSA match, in the duck blind and not worry about the electronics being damaged.
For added comfort I've upgraded to gel earmuff seals.  I've worn these several times now each time through three rounds of skeet.  Though I'd admit those session were somewhat brief only about 1.5 hours with the muffs on my ears but I never noticed them or experienced any discomfort.  I've not had the opportunity to wear these any longer than that since I've not shot any USPSA matches, nor have taken any firearms course which require all morning or in the later case all day wearing of ear pros in sometime now.  I guess I'll have to really put them to the test in the duck blind this season.
In contrast I have worn my Ear Pros all morning, most recently on my last dove hunt and all day while taking a training course.  They are comfortable but you do notice them after a few hours.  The muffs are foam padded and leather lined.  The leather tends to get hot and sweaty after some time.  The battery compartments are easily accessible by simply flipping down the foam flap within the muff.  Each ear (in this model) requires rather difficult (or should I say more difficult) to find N sized battery.  The electronics of each muff run independently so it requires 4 batteries are required to run the system.
Only two commonly used AAA batteries are all that is need for the Sordins.  They are housed on one side of the muff, the compartment is accessible from a steal knurled nut.  Placing and removing batteries is more difficult in this unit.  It is recommended by some to carry some sort of rod such as a chopstick or plastic rod so easily remove worn batteries but with a manufacture claim of 300 hour battery life that may only be a minor issue.  Although during those times when I do not shot for an extended periods, when battery leakage is a concern, having an easily accessible battery compartment like the Pro Ears is a plus.
The Sordins are used by military elite units that require communication gear to execute their precise missions.  With that in mind there is a 3.5mm aux input for attaching radio equipment but for civilian applications this can be used to hook up your iphone or mp3 player or whatever you wish to listen to when in use.  A male to male cable connection is provided.
Three buttons are located on the opposite muff containing the battery compartment.  The outer buttons are for the volume control and the middle is the power switch.  Volume and power controls both ears muffs. One significant feature is the automatic shutoff after 4 hours of no button input especially helpful if you have a tendency to forget to shut off your unit or it is accidentally bumped on while in a field bag.
Microphones are fully waterproof.  Within the muffs, the circuit boards are also lacquered for added waterproof protection.
In contrast the Pro Ears have independent volume control on each ear via a dial.  You'll feel a positive click when you turn the dial on.  There is no auto shutoff in case you forget or accidentally turn the unit on.  The microphone is not waterproof so time in foul weather is not suggested.
Both hearing protection are great units.  Like all things both have their benefits and drawbacks.  For the MSA Sordin:  The muffs are thinner, it is waterproof, it has a 5 year warranty, 300 to 600 hour battery life (sources vary, European sites claim 600 hours) with only two commonly used batteries, comfortable (particularly with optional gel cups installed), Made in Sweden.

Drawbacks of the Sordin:  Low (perhaps misleading) NRR rating of 18db (although this article addresses this concern here), batteries are not easily removed or placed in the compartment, the sound is limited to 82 dB(A) equivalent sound level but can not be increased.

For the Pro Ears:  Good NRR rating of 26, amplifies sound sub 70db 8 times, 300 hour battery life,  three year warranty, Made in the USA.

Drawbacks of the Pro Ears:  Requires four not so easy to find N sized batteries (CR123 versions are available but even those batteries still are not necessarily available everywhere), each ear has independent controls that turn in opposite directions (so you may actually leave on side on thinking it is off), not waterproof.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Phoenix G10 Watch Strap

Phoenix is the original manufacturer of  British military watch straps and are original issue to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD).  These straps are currently on the wrists of British servicemen in Afghanistan and various hot zones around the globe.  Because they have a NATO Stock Number (NSN) they are often referred to as NATO Straps.  But the MoD name of these straps are called Strap, Wrist Watch but known colloquially as G10 which refers the G1098 store. Each platoon/troop/company/squadron has a G10 store which act as like local stores, these were items of equipment that might reasonably be expected to be replaced locally, i.e. binoculars, watches,sleeping bags, etc.  Items that were lost were replaced by the serviceman completing an applicable form indicating that the cost of the lost item would be deducted from his next pay. 
Unlike the most NATO straps available online are cheap imports from China, Phoenix straps are made in the UK to military specs.  The original MoD specs can be found here.  While the color for MoD spec is grey, Phoenix also produces various other colors. Hardware is made of stainless steel and the one piece (no spring loaded bar) buckle is etched with the Phoenix name.
The strap is tightly woven nylon and less likely to fraying.  Unlike cheaper imports that stitch all joints, buckle and loops, Phoenix straps are securely heat-welded into position.  Also the end of each strap and holes are also heat-sealed.  The straps are also free from additives which may act as an irritant to the wrist under humid or extreme conditions.
I had purchased these straps in an attempt to revitalize an old watch I have left idle for too many years.  In this case the Omega Seamaster Chronograph 1948 London Olympic.   Originally I thought this Regimental Bond version would go great with it.  I thought the red stripe would complement the red Omega logo and red chrono hands well.  Sadly I don't think it does.  I'm not quite sure of this combo.
Then I tried the Bond version.  This is the strap color used in the newest Bond film.  It think its better but I'm not quite sold on it.
I purchased these straps from England from Gas Gas Bones who is currently running a buy 3 get 1 free deal and I received this black strap as my complimentary band.  Ironically, to my disappointment, I think it's the one that looks the best.  The OEM strap for this watch is a black rubber band.  I wanted the watch to have a "new" or "fresh" look in the hopes it would motivate me to return this timepiece on my wrist.  With the same color, I'm not sure it will.
Olive was never intended for this Omega, in fact I was considering it for my Sinn 856UTC but it may actually work on this watch. 
The olive on my intended watch, the Sinn 856UTC.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Getting Out Before It Closes

It's been too long since I've hunted the early dove season but this season I wanted to pursue them. Sunday night, while checking on some never-hunted-before (by me) fields, proved to be a bust.  Monday morning was better but the hope of shooting passing birds was quickly quashed when early on no birds in flight were in sight.  So we were required to go find them in the bush flushing them out.  We managed to find a few and only took a few and missed too many.

Recently I picked up a new Gopro Session, I'm working out all the bugs and figuring out the editing software.  Here is some of the footage from the weekend.  Hopefully videos will be much better from now on.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Scenic Trout

A few weeks ago we spent a few days in the sierra fishing dry flies to willing trout.  The trip started out with a hiccup as Chul was required to work longer than scheduled as a result we didn't get out as soon as we wanted.  Once we arrived to our location, we found out that all campgrounds were at capacity.
Forcing us to make camp roadside, we made claim to a nice spot just off the road along the river.  With only a few hours before sundown, we rigged up after setting camp.  The evening fishing was excellent with a strong PED hatch.  With headlamps on and visibility to a minimum I broke off on a hog that ran me upstream before calling it quits.
The next morning we decided to head downstream and check a section I've yet to fish.  After a what seemed like an eternity, about an hour or so, I was finally able to get some fish to rise in the morning.  For whatever reason the first hour or so no fish wanted to take my fly despite a strong PMD hatch.
Chul on the other hand had no problem getting fish to come up.  After we began fishing together, my luck turned and fish finally started coming up and hook ups became commonplace.
Fish were taking flies so easily it was starting to get boring.  But as the heat started to set in fishing slowed but fish were still willing to come to the surface. 
None of the fish were spectacular most ranged from dinks to 12 inches.  With the dry fly fishing slowing Chul switched to a high sticking nymphs and I tried my luck with streamers.  I had two solid hits on my articulated fly but not hook ups.
We fished the evening but the hatch was less impressive than the night before.  Fishing was acceptable but hardly stellar.  The next morning we decided to forgo fishing mostly due to the winds but also so we could get out early and avoid the Sunday crowds going home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Watchbuys Roadshow Irvine July 29, 2016

My laptop crapped out on me a couple weeks ago, so I am catching up on posts.  Watchbuys finally hosted their first OC roadshow in Irvine last month on the 29th-31st.  I think most OC folks (and some San Diego folks) are quite relieved that they no longer need to drive to Century City or Pasadena to interact with the watches and guys at Watchbuys.  Since one of my old business partners has decided to get into watches I invited him along as my guest.  For whatever reason, maybe it was because my buddy with me, I didn't take as many pictures.  Nonetheless here are a few interesting pieces I've not seen in person before.

Some small independent watchmakers:
Hanhart, one of my main focuses on this visit.  Sadly I was slightly disappointed.
Junghans.  I've been wanting to take a look at these watches as they tend to be very thin: