For some time now I've wanted to start mushroom hunting. Unfortunately due to the drought conditions, it has made mushroom hunting in Southern California pointless. So I'll have to wait until we get some wet years before I can go out and try my new folding blade.
Having never hunted mushrooms I looked at several knives before choosing on the Italian Maserin 804 in olive handles. While there are mushroom knives more expensive, this Maniago hand-made Maserin can be considered a "higher" end model at $82.95. Most quality models from reputable companies like the Italian made Mercury, or French made Opinels start at around $30. Unlike most mushroom knives the 804 comes with a sheath. Also included is a warranty card.
Generally all mushroom knives come with a blade, a brush, and a ruler. Price differences lie in how those features are incorporated into the knife and it goes without saying so does fit finish and teh quality of materials.
If you've never seen a mushroom knife, a unique feature of most mushroom knives is the design of the blade.
Most blades have some kind of curve and like most Maserin mushroom blades this model has a two tier concave
design. The locking blade is made of 440 stainless steel. There is a
large nail nick but I find it unnecessary as there is plenty of steel to
hold on to while opening the knife.
The handles are made of olive wood held together with four pins. At the butt of the handle houses the rotating concealable mushroom brush that is made of nylon. On one side of the handle is an etched metric ruler to add in positive identification.
On the other side it is plain without any etchings or markings.
Typical in most mushroom knives I've seen the handles have no bolsters. Both the liner and backspring are stainless steel. The lock is located at the middle of the spring. The liners do not extend all the way down the scales as it stops where the rotating brush is located.
In the Swiss Army Knife fashion there is tweezers hidden in the handle. Easily accessible for picking twigs or debris off mushrooms.
A two position belt cordura belt sheath is included. Carrying the knife vertically accommodates belts just over 2.5 inches while if you choose to carry the knife horizontally you'll be lucky to fit it in a one inch belt. While there is a two button closure the bottom button is perfect length for this knife.
Spent about an hour on the local brown water managed a carp within the first few minutes. After that I did some exploring of new sections of river that was loaded with carp sunning in skinny water. Winds were already blowing hard when I arrived so I didn't spend too much time fishing.
Spent couple hours in the late morning chasing down some carp. Managed three to hand before I started filming off a mini tripod. Once I did that it seemed like the fish got video shy and refused to take even at the most perfectly presented fly. I could have sworn some of those were taken but it seemed only to spook the fish off. I later learned my hook had broken off and would have at least doubled my tally for the day had I known.
After monitoring weather reports, we decided to hit up the backcountry as cooler weather was predicted. This cooler weather though came at a price, thunderstorms in the high country. Despite knowing this we risked the tough fishing in the hopes we could fool a fish or two.
We left Thursday afternoon hoping to beat the holiday weekend traffic. We arrive at the trailhead and with headlamps readied began our hike into the canyon as the sun was setting. Knowing a full moon was in our future I packed a few mouse patterns in the slim hopes of getting an aggressive trout to come up at night. We made camp and I threw a few casts without any success. We noticed even with our headlamps the water was murky and visibility low. Fishing tomorrow was going to be tough.
The plan was to hike in deep to an area we never seen before so we awoke made our breakfast and started our trek. We tried not to let the murky water let us down but add the fact that it was going to be warm did not ease our minds.
Fishing was tough. I tried every method possible- dries, dries and dropper, indicator nymphing, high sticking, Czech nymphing, drop shotting, streamer fishing with both floating line and sink tips. Nothing. To add insult to injury, cicadas and hoppers were abundant which would have been epic fishing had the conditions cooperated.
Chul finally hooked up with our only fish of the trip on a caddis pupa. We pumped the stomach for contents and the fish was loaded with caddis pupa, larvae, mayfly nymphs of various sizes and a cicada.
We tried fishing a bit upstream until we decided to call it quits and head back to basecamp. My new lightweight Patagonia Rock Grip boots I bought specifically for backcountry fishing disappointed me as it caused both heels to blister. These made fishing even more miserable. Moleskin didn't even help. When we arrived back at camp we started preparing our freeze dried meals while we waited for the food to rehydrate we fished the twilight hours in the hopes of getting a trout to rise. None were willing. In fact we only saw four fish come up at this time.
In the morning we awoke, packed our gear and fished on the way out. In retrospect we should have simply hiked out in the cooler early morning weather as the fishing was no better than the previous day despite the water clearing up to some degree. We made it back to the truck treated with cold Gatorades, mango and oranges from the Yeti. Our call to avoid driving home on Sunday was a brilliant move as the lower section of the river was an absolute zoo. We headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch before heading home in time for the light show.