Apr 212017
 

The off and on spring rain stayed “off” today and provided for a great spring bike ride in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s finally starting to feel a little bit like spring, but there are still plenty of rain showers and clouds to go around. When you get a nice day around here, you take advantage of it. It’s a nice time of year for cycling in the Gorge if you read the weather correctly and dodge a few showers.

Hood River Valley 4-21-17

The pear tree blossoms are blooming in the Hood River valley and this weekend is The Dalles Cherry Festival, so it’s a big spring weekend. There are going to be a lot of people checking out the blossoms, so be careful if you’re driving, or especially if you’re riding a bicycle around the Columbia River Gorge.

Hood River County 4-21-17

We got the kayaks and kayak gear out and will be getting ready for the fishing season’s first trip. The weather and wind are uncertain for the next few days, so we will be getting the gear ready to go for the first available fishing day.

Apr 162017
 

Well, we were on the road again for the first back to back bike riding days of 2017. I don’t care what anybody else says, we had a harsh winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Usually, winter stops the kayak fishing because there really isn’t any realistic chance of catching a fish worth being out in some really bad weather, but winter only slows down the bike riding because there are usually a few days a winter month you can get outside and ride. Not this past winter. Anyway, it’s great to be out riding bikes again.

Heading out for a bike ride in the Pacific Northwest

Yesterday was a beautiful day, today was kind of overcast and breezy, but not bad at all.

Heading for Mt Hood on a bike ride in the Pacific Northwest

We want to get out on the mountain bikes, but the long winter has really hurt our fitness levels, so the fastest way to get back in shape is to get some road miles in. The roads are hilly enough and all the good mountain bike stuff is, well, in the mountains. Not much fun pushing the bike uphill. If the weather stays decent, might get some fitness back. Kayak fishing season starts soon as well. Being fit and as healthy as you can be is really important.

Apr 152017
 

It’s been a long winter and we are finally starting to see some decent weather here in the PacNW, time to get out for some spring bike riding. Because of the harsh winter, the opportunities for outdoor exercise, except for shoveling snow and digging out stuck vehicles, were few and far between. It’s going to be a longer and tougher struggle to get back into decent condition after being stuck inside for months. Anyway, we got started on the road back with a nice ride around the local back roads.

Spring bike riding on Pacific Northwest back roads

The trees are still pretty bare, but nature kicks into gear pretty quick in the springtime around here. With all the snow we’ve had this winter, there is a lot of snow melt rushing down the local creeks and rivers to the Columbia River.

Rushing creeks full of water from melting snow

Hoping to get another ride in tomorrow and start getting back in shape!

Apr 152017
 

We’re not going to lie to you, getting old pretty much sucks, but once in a while you catch a break. The lifetime senior National Parks that costs $10 for anyone sixty two years of age is a pretty sweet deal. Almost every National and State Park has some kind of fee. If you spend a lot of time traveling, camping or fishing, these fees can really add up. The National Parks Pass gets you in all National Parks that charge a fee and maybe a discount on camping or boat launching. You also get access to a lot of other government land. For example, in the Columbia River Gorge there is Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington and right across the Columbia River in Oregon, is Mt. Hood National Forest. With the senior Parks Pass, you don’t need a Northwest Forest Pass, which is $30 every year. Also covered are U.S Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas. A lot of those are around water and you get 50% off camping.

Lifetime Senior National Parks Pass

State Parks are not covered by the National Parks Pass, so you’ll usually wind up with a couple of annual State passes as well. We did mention that the fees start to add up… The price of the senior National Parks Pass is supposed to go up to $80 later this year. Supposedly, it will be at least a few months before there is any price increase. For the price, if you are over sixty two, a $10 pass sounds like a pretty good deal.

Apr 142017
 

Kayak fishing has come a long way since we first started kayak fishing in 1998. My friend and surfing buddy, Mike Casinelli and I started kayak fishing in 1997 or 1998, hard to remember, but the first photos and videos we have of kayak fishing are from 1998. I’ve been going through some old photos and found these pictures from June 1998. We’d probably had been out a couple times before that without camera gear and minimal fishing gear until we got an idea of how the somewhat tipsy Dagger Cayman kayaks were going to work out on the open ocean. We had a good deal of ocean experience with different watercraft, so we were mostly trying to figure out how to catch fish from a kayak. There weren’t too many guys kayak fishing in those days, so we had to figure out a lot of the stuff on our own. We loved being out on the ocean, kayak was a new way to spend time on the water when the surf was flat, we were stoked about that, and the cost of kayak fishing was peanuts compared to even the smallest boat, that was a big plus as well.

Kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

We started out not really knowing what we needed for a full day out on the kayaks, but started to get it dialed in the more we went fishing. In the photo above, you can tell we must have only been a few trips in because of the gear we’ve got. We dumped the landing nets pretty quickly and used started using gaffs instead. I’ve got my entire tackle box strapped behind my seat, that would soon devolve to about a half dozen lures and a few spare hooks and sinkers. The old school burlap fish bag was good for boats, but we started using stringers on the kayaks. When we went through the surf to launch, we didn’t take anything that didn’t fit through the hatch and below deck.

Ron Barbish kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

On this trip, we were fishing a couple miles off Oceanside, CA, probably around a couple artificial fishing reefs off Oceanside Harbor. We didn’t have a GPS, but we fished near a commercial party boat which usually fished the artificial reefs. You never know what kind of fish you’ll run into around the reefs, this time out we ran into a lot of barracuda. Not great eating fish, but a lot of fun to catch and some of them were pretty good sized fish. The best way to catch the barracuda was by trolling around the reefs. If you trolled too slow, you wouldn’t get any bites. As soon as you sped up, the fish would bite immediately. When the wind came up, trolling at a pace fast enough to get the barracuda to bite was a good bit of paddling.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

The Dagger kayaks were pretty narrow and were a handful to paddle in the ocean with a chunky wind swell going. Even though we were a couple miles out and were doing a lot of heavy duty paddling to troll fast enough to get the fish to bite, we knew we had the afternoon west wind to help us get back to shore.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

Here’s Mike trying to unhook a pretty good size barracuda. Barracuda have sharp teeth and are slippery and slimy. With seals and sharks around, having your kayak all slimy and stinky from bringing fish on board was not the best idea, so we tried to unhook the barracudas without bringing them on the kayak.

Going through these old photos of our very first kayak fishing trips has gotten us thinking about the fishing season ahead. We’ve gone through some our camera gear and are starting to get the bass fishing stuff ready to go. If the water warms up and the weather cooperates, we may even get out for the first time next week. We’ll see. After a long, cold, snowy winter, we are really ready to get back out on the water.

Mar 262017
 

Today we have to report on more Panasonic Lumix camera problems. I have two Panasonic Lumix cameras; a DMC-LX5 and a DMC-LX7.

Panasonic Lumix camera failures. LX5 has faulty control wheel, LX7 has OIS system failure

The cameras are well taken care of, never dropped, handled roughly or been exposed to rain or snow. Both have now failed with less than two years of use. Keep in mind, these are not cheap cameras. They cost about $350 USD each when purchased. The LX5 lasted a couple years before the rear control wheel that changes shutter speed and aperture stopped working. The camera is now limited to operation in “Intelligent Auto” mode, something any cell phone or $100 camera can do.

Panasonic Lumix LX5 failed control wheel

Since repair quotes from Panasonic cost 2/3 the price of the camera, and thinking I was just unlucky and Leica has always meant “quality” to me, I bought a Lumix LX7 to replace it. After about two years, about the same as with the LX5, the LX7 started showing “System Error OIS” messages and the camera can no longer be used.

Panasonic Lumix System Error OIS

Both the LX5 and LX7 Lumix cameras failed at about the same age; two years. Both problems, the LX5 control wheel and the LX7 OIS System Error(the OIS is image stabilization) are hardware issues; either low quality parts or poor craftsmanship. Panasonic Customer Service is not known for it’s excellent customer support and it certainly is not cheap, especially since they are replacing poor quality original parts with other poor quality parts, this time with no warranty, looks like these two Panasonic Lumix cameras will be headed to the landfill because of $10 worth of mass produced electronic parts.

Information about Panasonic factory repair. The repair estimate for each camera is $232. The cameras cost $350 new. The Panasonic Support online chat does not work, there is no email address and each telephone call regarding repairs is $9. That is piss poor customer support.

What about all the five star reviews for Panasonic cameras on the internet? If Panasonic gave me a free camera and wrote a review after using it for a few weeks, I’d give it five stars, too. How about a review of a Panasonic camera that cost $350 of your own money and only lasted two years? That would be about one star. Maybe a half a star. Needless to say, this will be the end of the Panasonic products for me.

Like all the product reviews here at watermanatwork.com, we pay for all this stuff with our own hard-earned money. I burned $700 on poor quality, big name cameras. Think about that if are planning to purchase a Panasonic camera.

Mar 242017
 

We are going through some old La Jolla kayak fishing videos and grabbed a still from one of them. This one is from August 2006

La Jolla yellowtail 8-29-06

Looking through the videos, 2006 was a pretty good year kayak fishing at La Jolla.

Mar 232017
 

We’ve been cleaning out one of the WatermanAtWork storage facilities when we came across this factory pack of Rick Griffin Murphy surf stickers. The stickers look to be in mint condition and the glue on the back of the stickers may still be good, but they might be worth a little more in the condition they are in.

Rick Griffin Murphy surf stickers

Rick Griffin Murphy surf stickers

Rick Griffin’s work was well known, especially among the surf crowd.

Rick Griffin Murphy surf stickers

Good times.

Mar 212017
 

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter and we are anxiously waiting for the first real stretch of spring weather. The abundant snow has mostly melted away in the lower elevations, leaving plenty of mud, puddles and raging creeks and rivers. Good time of the year to look at the many waterfalls in the area. We will try and get out on the backroads to look for some of our favorite waterfalls off the beaten path as soon as the rain lets up a little.

We will also be getting out kayak fishing for big springtime smallmouth bass as soon as the water in the Columbia River gets warm enough. There are a lot of questions regarding this season’s fishing here in the Columbia River Gorge, especially with the salmon and steelhead fishing. After last season’s poor showing for the fall salmon run and the Trump administration’s plan for the environment and outdoors, there are a lot of anxious fishermen.

We here at WatermanAtWork are going through some considerable professional and personal circumstances that may result in lower than normal blog posting for a period of time. We’ve got some real cool plans for the future that will result in lots of exciting and new adventures, but between now and then, there may be some gaps, so we hope you will bear with us until we get going with future plans.

Mar 052017
 

We were sidetracked by a quick road trip but we are now back at the WatermanAtWork.com World Headquarters, where we are happy to report that the weather is warming up and most of the winter snow has melted! We thought this day would never come, it’s been a tough winter. We flew back east for a few days where the temperature one day actually reached the high seventies, which broke weather records by a long ways. It didn’t last long because the following day it was snowing, nearly a fifty degree temperature drop! On the way back to the Pacific Northwest, there was still plenty of snow in the Rocky Mountains.

The snowy Rocky Mountains of Idaho

It’s always nice flying west around sunset because the setting sun takes a long time to dip into the clouds.

Headed west towards the Pacific Northwest

We are back to work editing video and are hopeful the the snow in the weather forecast does not materialize so we can finally get outside.