Mar 152019
 

I posted in the previous blog post that we had hit into some great largemouth bass fishing. The fishing has settled down a bit to what would be considered “normally” good fishing, but for a few days, the largemouth bass fishing was on fire with plenty of big fish and lots of kayak fishing action. The wind was mostly calm and the weather was decent, so we were fishing just before sunrise.

Kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com just before sunrise on a cloudy desert morning

The kayak fishing conditions in the early morning on the Colorado River were perfect; dead calm and largemouth bass ready for action at the crack of dawn.

Early morning kayak fishing action with watermanatwork.com

It was classic bass fishing; prowling the nooks and crannies of the Colorado River looking for the fish. The river water temperature has risen to the high 50’s, that probably has a lot to do with it. For a few weeks of cold river water the largemouth bass fishing was really slow. When the water warmed up a few degrees, the big largemouth bass were ready to eat.

Big Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

For a few days, when you found the bass, it was big time bass fishing. Most of the fish were two pounds or bigger, there were a couple fish over five pounds for sure and I think the biggest bass had to be about ten pounds. That fish was huge! It hit my 4″ grub just before daybreak and I could tell it was a big fish. I’d lost a monster bass the day before, I didn’t want to make it two in a row. This big bass ran along the bottom to the middle of the river and made a jump.

Huge Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

It looked like the fish was so big it was having trouble getting into the air! After a long battle on my 12 lb. spinning rig, I got the fish closer to the kayak. When the bass got a look at the Hobie, it took to the air again.

Huge Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Two big jumps and the fish was still hooked. I eased the bass towards the kayak, grabbed it by the lower lip and pulled it in the kayak. This bass was huge with a big mouth. If it’s not the biggest bass I ever caught, it’s right up there.

Big Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Caught a lot of nice fish and a lot of nice fish got away, the bottom line is that there was a lot of bass fishing action.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com


When the fishing is this good and the conditions are perfect, it’s easy to get out there and paddle to the fishing spot in the dark so you can have your line in the water before the sun comes up. Many of the bigger bass were caught around sunrise, great time of the day to hookup a big largemouth bass.

Calm overcast conditons kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River

The largemouth bass fishing was red hot for about three days. Big fish and lots of fishing action.

Largemouth bass jumps in the kayak of watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

By afternoon, my arms felt like noodles from paddling, casting and reeling and my back, still not recovered from the 40 ton semi impact, was killing me. It’s hard to stop fishing when you say “one more cast” and you catch a fish like this.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

At the end of the three day bass fishing frenzy, I was ready for a break so no complaints when the wind picked up for a couple days. It was a great few days of bass fishing. My lures were chewed up and so was my thumb.

Chewed up bass lure and bass thumb of watermanatwork.com fisherman Ron Barbish

We are waiting out windy conditions following an unusual storm system here in the US desert southwest, we’ll be back on the river in a day or two for more kayak fishing for largemouth bass.

Mar 152019
 

A long time user of Dawia fishing reels, my first experience with Dawia customer service was very disappointing.

About nine months after purchasing the Dawia REVROS 2500H spinning reel, the anti-reverse stopped working. I called Dawia because the reel was still under warranty, they told me 60-90 days to repair. How about the part that failed, the roller clutch? I’ll buy one of those. “Sorry, out of stock, call back at the end of the month”(three weeks away).

Anti-reverse fails on Dawia spinning reel. Bad roller clutch.

Three weeks later; I call Dawia and order the part. Credit card charged, ten to fourteen days. About fourteen days later, no part, so I call Dawia. “Oh yeah, just sending it out, it will be ten to fourteen days”. Like most other consumers, it’s getting pretty easy to know when you’re getting screwed, but what can you do? My respect for Dawia drops considerably at this point.

Dawia roller clutch anti-reverse not working

About two weeks later, two months from initial phone call, I call Dawia about the part and sure enough, they are just getting ready to put it in the mail and it will be “ten to fourteen days”. There’s not much more a business can do to show the level of respect for their customers than by lying to them whenever the need arises. Another credit card dispute and disappointing experience as a fisherman.

Why is this important to the average fisherman? The Dawia REVROS 2500H cost about $60 when I bought it and it lasted nine months. The reels in the photo below(the reel on the left is comparable to the REVROS 2500H) I bought on eBay for about $15. They lasted over two years under the same fishing conditions as the Dawia that lasted nine months.

Spinning reels purchased on eBay

What makes the Dawia worth four times as much as a reel that lasted more than twice as long? The Dawia has a nicer finish and smoother operation due to a couple better bearings, since it is broken and out of service, none of that matters. Dawia’s poor customer service is worse than no customer service at all. Is an eBay reel as good as a Dawia? 50-50. Are four eBay reels better than one Dawia for the same price? I don’t know if we will start using eBay fishing reels, but we are done with Dawia, that’s for sure.

Mar 072019
 

Sorry for the long delay between blog posts, but we have run across some great kayak fishing conditions and fantastic largemouth bass fishing out in the Arizona desert. There is minimal or no phone coverage. We want to get out there every day we can because we are catching big fish and getting great video. Here is a big largemouth bass I caught after losing another big one the day before.

I’m posting this on my phone from the edge of internet coverage. Fishing conditions look good for the next few days, we are back on the water. Check back because we have some great stuff and we are going back for more.

Jan 222019
 

If you follow this blog or know me personally, you would know that I was injured in a serious accident. I was stopped for a flagman in a night construction zone on US 97 near Chiloquin, OR when I was rear ended by a forty ton semi truck doing 50 mph that did not even slow down. As you might imagine, I took quite a shot. I was knocked unconscious and could barely move. I had no broken bones, but a couple inches either way, both the flagman and I would have been killed. My truck was destroyed, most of the stuff in the camper was crushed.

Rear ended by 40 ton semi doing 50mph while stopped for flagman in road construction zone

This is one of the last photos of the truck; 25mpg, solar power, equipped to spend up to a week off grid.

Last mountain bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

Here’s the truck on the last bike riding/camping trip on the mountain roads around Mt. Adams in Washington.

Last bike trip to the Cascade Mountains for the Toyota pickup truck

To make matters worse, both my insurance company, Progressive Insurance, and the insurance company of the reckless truck driver, Gallagher Bassett, have refused to pay for any expenses resulting from the accident. I can’t say much more about this due to legal issues, but if you have either of these insurance companies, I beg you to go elsewhere. My life has been turned upside down, but I am working my way back.

Number one is my health. I took a real beating in the accident. For about a week following the wreck, I could barely move. The worst injuries are to my back, neck, hips and legs, especially on the left side. While I suffered no broken bones, doctors have told me my ligaments and tendons are stretched and it will take a long time to recover.

With no medical coverage from insurance and with all the financial fallout from the accident, I can’t afford any medical treatment so it is up to me to work myself back in shape. It’s been about three months since the accident, some of the soreness and pain has dissapated, but the majority of the pain in by back, hips and legs is still there. At times, it feels like my left leg is going to pop out of the hip socket. I have not had a complete night’s sleep since before the accident, those nights add up and start to have an effect on you.

My rehab routine consists of walking, stretching and basic calisthetics to try and restore flexibility and strength to my lower back, hips and legs. I have not been able to ride a bicycle since before the accident and judging the progress I have made so far to regain fitness, I think it will be at least another two or three months before I am able to even try and ride a bike.

I’ll be documenting my rehab process for anyone else who suffers similar injuries without having a pile of cash, maybe help them on what can be a long road back. That won’t be all that exciting, but I’ll be back with more mountain biking from great riding spots soon. Mountain bikers are used to being knocked down once in a while. We always get back on the bike.

Dec 282018
 

The kayak fishing here in the southwest desert may be a bit slow, but we have taken the opportunity to update the watermanatwork.com website. We have not updated the site for awhile, we will be doing so over the next couple weeks or so. If the fishing picks up, it may take longer…

Large Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve added HD videos of kayak fishing in the desert southwest from the 2017-18 kayak fishing season.

Click HERE to check out the latest HD desert southwest kayak fishing videos.

Dec 192018
 

We are doing a bit of remodeling here at the watermanatwork.com World Headquarters. We’ve started off by adding a new category to the watermanatwork.com blog called WatermanAtWork Journal. It will be a running journal of some of our experiences as we travel around the United States and beyond in search of adventure. Not quite sure how it will go, but we seem to run into a lot of things in the course of our travels so stay tuned!

Oct 312018
 

As some of you already know, I was involved in a serious vehicle accident a short time ago. I was stopped for a road construction flagman when I was rear ended by a semi truck. I can’t go into more detail because of legal issues, but the photo below will tell you most of what you need to know.

Rear ended by semi truck while stopped for construction flagman in Chiloquin, OR.

As you can see in the photo, my truck was totaled and my possessions spread out all over the highway. Although I was extremely lucky to not be killed, I have suffered significant injuries, the extent of which I still am not sure of.

There will be a, hopefully, short delay in the many projects we had lined up for the winter months while I try to regain my physical well being. Stick with us, there’s stuff coming up, it might be a little slower than normal.

Jan 242018
 

We are back in from the desert with new blog posts. Since we got the solar power system hooked up, we can stay out in the desert for quite a while. As long as the water lasts, we are out there looking for the winter desert fishing spots. Civilization is expensive and there is a lot of traffic.

AZ desert kayak fishing camp.

New blog posts posted on mountain biking in the desert, fishing for largemouth bass at Fortuna Pond while we wait out some high wind and kayak fishing for largemouth bass at Mittry Lake where we are starting to have some success finding the fish. Check ’em out.

We will have some kayak fishing for largemouth bass videos coming up and will have more info about the cool solar power system. We’ll try to keep in touch wherever we can get mobile phone service, so keep checking in. Back to the desert!

Nov 232017
 

We needed a new laptop computer here at watermanatwork.com to do photo and video editing and we’ve described the shopping experience in a previous blog post. After the usual internet research we decided to take a chance on a company we’ve never heard of. The company was Eluktronics and they sold Clevo computers. The laptop we bought was the Eluktronics N850HK1. It has a powerful Intel i7-7700HQ 2.8-3.8GHz Quad Core CPU, 16G DDR4 2400MHz RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti video card with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM and a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVM SSD; a powerful system for a laptop computer, more than enough for our editing needs. We’ve been using it daily a few months now and have got a pretty good idea what we like and don’t like about this computer.

We like the power and speed the system provides for everyday use and working with resource hungry programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Photoshop. The dedicated video card and above average LCD display panel makes for great viewing and video game performance. The backlit keyboard is nice, very easy to use in dim or dark rooms while still visible in daylight. It’s a pretty clean looking computer, all black without bold graphics, very thin for all the stuff that’s inside. It’s got enough USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 ports for peripherals like wireless mice, external drives, cameras and phones. The USB 3.0 is great for storage devices like external drives and memory sticks. The built-in SD card reader is fast enough to download digital photos and 1080 video. Wireless connectivity is good. Speakers are pretty good for a laptop, with headphones the sound is great. The Clevo drivers provided by Eluktronics work well with Windows 10 Professional and no additional boatware.

Eluktronics/Clevo N850HK1 laptop computer

Battery life is what you would expect for a laptop with power hungry components like this one. For general daily use and internet browsing, we got about 3.5-4 hours of battery life. For gaming, even with a game that uses moderate CPU and GPU power, we only got about an hour of play before we needed to start looking for an electric socket. For checking email, cruising the internet or light to moderate computing, the battery life is fine. For power hungry tasks like photo/video editing and gaming, the computer needs to be plugged in.

For the most part, we like the N850HK1 and for the first month or so, it was love at first sight. As we used the computer more and more, some things cropped up that we didn’t really like and there is one major build flaw with this computer that, if we knew of it in advance, we most definitely would have not bought it.

We are not big fans of the touchpad/button setup. The touchpad seem over sensitive, the smallest touch sends the cursor flying across the screen. To be fair, we are not huge fans of touchpads in general and usually use a wireless mouse. The 2TB hard drive that comes installed is a Seagate 2TB 128Mb cache 5400 rpm. It is very slow with noticeable lag when writing or reading to the drive. Seagates are not known for their reliability, but there are very few options over 1TB that will fit into the 7mm drive slot, virtually no hard drives running at 7200rpm. The only real replacement option is an SSD. 2TB and larger SSDs are a little out of our price range, we will probably replace the 2TB Seagate hard drive with a 1TB SSD. The computer is generally pretty solid, but the top that houses the LCD panel is very thin. I bends in the middle between the hinges and if the computer is squeezed in a bag or backpack, the keyboard presses against the LCD display panels and leaves marks on the panel. We use a thin piece of packing foam between the panel and the keyboard to prevent this from happening.

N850HK1 keyboard presses into LCD panel. Thin packing foam helps prevent this.

These things are minor issues and if this was all we didn’t like about the computer, we’d probably be happy as possible. There is one major flaw that really has an impact on the laptop’s functionality that makes this computer a disappointing purchase. A powerful CPU like the i7-7700HQ generates a lot of heat, especially under full load. Unfortunately, the cooling system is not capable of keeping the processor within reasonable temperatures when the CPU is under full load. In the HWMonitor screen grab below, you can see the CPU runs about 45°C at idle and 98°C at 100%, which is way to hot for this processor to be. This CPU will “throttle” or shut down at 100°C, so that is too hot. At 100%, this CPU should be closer to 3.8GHz, so it may have already entered the throttling stage.

Eluktronics/Clevo N850HK1 CPU running hot at 98°C

If you run a computer CPU at temperatures close to the thermal shutdown temperature, it’s going to make for a short life for the CPU. There was an issue with running a Windows 10 Performance power scheme and in Performance Mode of the Clevo Control Center at the same time, this caused the CPU to run extremely hot. You must have “Performance” selected in one program and something other than “Performance” in the other. Even with those settings, the CPU runs up to the thermal shutdown under full load. We tried undervolting the CPU. Undervolting can really help an overheating CPU as well as extend battery life with very little performance penalty, but a sensible undervolt on this CPU did nothing to help the high temperatures when under full load.

Undervolting the Eluktronics/Clevo N850HK1 to try and reduce maximum CPU temps

The problem is that the CPU copper heat sink, dual cooling tubes and fan are just not able to keep the CPU within acceptable limits when under full load. The similar GPU heatsink and fan have no problem keeping the video processor cool, even while playing graphically demanding video games.

N850HK1 CPU and GPU heat sinks and fans

This Intel has Turbo Boost that will allow the processor to run at 3.8GHz. Maybe it’s just my desktop, server and workstation building experience that tells me when I look at the N850HK1 CPU heat sink(on the right) on top of a 3.8GHz processor, it just doesn’t look like it’s going to get the job done.

N850HK1 CPU and GPU heat sinks

I repasted CPU with Arctic MX-4 to replace the poor thermal paste application from Eluktronics. Most of the thermal paste was on the motherboard, hardly any between the CPU and heat sink. Repasting the CPU lowered the idle temperature by more than 15°C, but did nothing to reduce the max temp under full load. The only way to keep the CPU from frying itself was to dial down the Maximum Processor State in the Advanced Power Settings of the Windows 10 Control Panel to 98%. That essentially disables the CPU Turbo Boost and limits the maximum processor power to about 2.8GHz. This is a real performance hit because you are losing nearly 1GHz of processing power, we are getting less than 70% of the CPU power we paid for.

The inability to use the CPU at full power is a major disappointment, both with the hardware from Clevo and the setup by Eluktronics, the reseller. Eluktronics told me that this overheating problem is only with my computer. Browsing Clevo laptop computer forums does not really back this up; overheating is a major concern with many Clevo computers. Even if this particular computer is the only Eluktronics laptop computer that has an overheating problem, that means Eluktronics assembled this computer and sent it to me without even basic testing. When I received the computer, the temperature at idle was 65°C, way to high for a computer like this. That was due to a crappy thermal paste job on the CPU. Since they offer an “Extra Cooling Solution” of Arctic Silver 5 at additional cost, they clearly know the stock cooling is inadequate. When I repasted the CPU with Arctic MX-4, which by most accounts is superior to Arctic Silver 5 and dropped the stock cooling temperature at idle buy nearly 20°C, Eluktronics voided the one year warranty on my computer because I was “tinkering” with it. They did offer to RMA the computer, but I travel frequently which makes it difficult to do. Before I purchased the computer, I told Eluktronics that I would be depending on the reliability of their computer out of the box, to which they replied “no problem”, which was 100% BS.

There is a huge question mark with Clevo resellers like Eluktronics who cut corners on final assembly and quality control. Would we buy another Clevo laptop computer? Even though we like many things about this nice looking and powerful laptop, due to the uncertainty regarding Clevo vendors like Eluktronics, we would not take another chance with a Clevo reseller hoping to get a 100% working computer who voids the customer warranty for fixing problems that should have been taken care of before the computer was sold. We are a small business and try to purchase from other small businesses whenever possible, this was a significant factor in our decision to go with Eluktronics, a small business we had never heard of. We took a chance and got burned, next time we have an opportunity to patronize another small business, we’ll keep that in mind. Bottom line, if you like to gamble, get a Clevo from Eluktronics, maybe you’ll get a good one. If you need reliability and customer service, go somewhere else.

Nov 212017
 

You may have noticed, it’s been a long time between blog posts. I’ve just gone through some things nobody should ever have to go through, but people probably do every day. It was a path that lead down memory lane that had happy times, along with memories that look different in hindsight.

Esker Lakes Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada 1968

Lake Erie walleye

Antique South Bend 550 fishing reel

I criss-crossed the United States a number of times by plane, train and automobile

Shelby, Montana

Riding the rails, trying to get some sleep

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Now we are back and have some adventures planned that will be starting up in the next few days. We are packing up and planning to visit some of the most interesting places in the United States, so stay tuned…