Monday, May 27

Fuji FinePix HS25 EXR Digital Camera

Has a fellow who enjoys to combine a good flick of the fly rod and snap on the camera I often find myself in situations that have the potential to get my gear wet. So a real nice Nikon like the D5200 or D7000 is out of the question as well my price range and the old Fuji XP series compact was starting to show the signs of age.

 I decided it was time for not one but two new cameras with altogether different purposes. Enter the Gopro hero 2 for chest mounted action shots while playing salmon or wide angle landscape shots between casts and the Fuji Finepix HS25 EXR a camera I hoped would solve a problem I had been having for some time.

The XP series of Fuji cameras in my opinion are good at two things, close up shots of fish and producing good underwater video in low light. You see there in lies the problem, when ever I would see anything more than 5 yards away the the XP series camera came up short. I needed something for less than $500 I could afford to replace, be able to get down range with while still getting quality shots of the fish and the friends holding them.

The HS25 boasts a zoom equivalent to a 720mm telephoto lens however it obviously lacks a full frame sensor so comparing it to pro gear is not really fair but it is actually quite good. I took the pictures below without a tripod on an auto setting at full zoom with less than desirable lighting. Basically unhanded the rod picked up the camera and here are the results.

The FinePix HS5 pretty much fixed my five yard problem with the quality zoom. The other side of the coin is the HS25's close range and macro capabilities which are stunning for the price. The frog below could easily sit on a dollar coin.

I think this camera could also do quite well for people who tie their own flies, it takes shots of small insects in rather fine detail and the flies you may of tied can be showcased online in excellent quality a nice bonus for the internet fisher.

There are a few other points to note as pertaining to fishing and photography has opposed to just the photography side of things. As a fisherman on a fishing trip I would rather not be forced to carry a easily damaged 400mm lens that costs twice or three times that of my HS25 to get the odd shot of a passing eagle or moose. The HS25 will grab the passing wildlife shot without much fuss and it works great along side the Gopro capturing most everything it will not. The HS25 sadly has rather poor video capabilities but with the Gopro on hand  it's not to much of a problem, the two really balance each other out very well.

As well the camera comes out of the box with a default 16 mega pixel mode turned on and the manual does not say anywhere that for long range photos the camera should be set on 8 mega pixels to capture finer detail. Perhaps such important info could of been listed in the zoom section of the manual, just saying the eagles could of been better.

The HS25 does have a nifty way to correct the problem, by holding down the function button for a few seconds a menu will appear where in you can set up the function to be a switch for changing the pixel settings quickly or you may set up manual mode to a 8 mega pixel setting and switch back and forth on the upper dial. I did read through a few complaints about the HS25 using AA batteries but to be honest with the Gopro I have three batteries that need charging so the ability to have one camera where I can change the batteries with out the need to charge or leave the river is nice and I also did read it was a reason for the cameras price to be lower than it's big brother the HS30, a nice bonus.

To wrap things up would I recommend the Fuji FinePix HS25 to a serious wildlife or a want to be full time photographer, no but i most certainly would to someone who has a Gopro and wants to fill in the blanks. I guess I could say the thing I am most certain on is as a fishing accessory the HS25 complements my fly rod as well as the reel that hangs from it and the next time a lovely, shining, wet fish is looking into my lens I'll be ready to take a quality snap.

Thursday, October 6

Product Review: Stringease Fastach Easy Clip Swivels

No matter the species less is more when it comes to connecting hardware and when I am after a few brook trout dime sized split rings and shiny gold snap swivels admittedly decrease my chances.  Enter the Stringease Fastach Clip Swivels, small, sleek and black they made a visual impact on me straight away but I couldn’t help to wonder how they would perform out on the water.

 Back in June I Started to fish the swivels set up on two rods. First while spending some time casting around the weed edges and large stones of a shore line I came to find just how strong these little guys are while snagging then turning over several smaller rocks.

 Really I had no concern with the potential strength or lack thereof with anything from fastach has they produce for musky anglers and I prefer lighter lines such as a 6lb fluorocarbon however a smaller gauge of the wire which retains a greater strength is a definite improvement over those old brass snaps to which we grew accustom. Satisfied with their strength I wanted to check their quality and considering most of the swivels I purchase unfortunately do anything but swivel consistently I was rather anxious to do a bit of trolling.

   As the spring turned to summer and the shallows began to warm many trout headed for the temperate stability of deeper water. By this time salmon fishing was in full swing and the trout ponds seemed to empty with the suddenness of broken mono.  Still the odd few take to the lakes and ponds for a try at a dog day brookie; trolling the edges and trenches twisting lines like hounds guts. Except for the one boat with the gear from stringease who remained twist free and trout happy.

The Fastach swivels gave us no problems during our trips trolling and even though I admittedly haven’t used everything on the market Stringease does in fact make the best I have sampled.  In fact I like these swivels so much that after fishing them over the span of the trout season I have decided to stock them in my new store opening on the first of May 2012.      

 What I most look forward to with the stringease products is the ice fishing. I love running three rods and keeping one as kind of a what if rod. You know…a rod with a different bait or lure every few minutes; the rod you think about as you sit working your main setup…what if I tried this or what if they are in the mood for that are the usual thoughts from which it gets its name.  For such an ever changing set up tying knots and opening snap swivels become a chore with frozen fingers which is why  I can’t wait to break out the stringease Fastach clips this coming trout season.

  I keep near to 100 different types of trout enticing tackle in my box and on days where the bite is not so easily induced I like to move through options quickly and the stringease gear will defiantly help me do just that. Overall I like the way one must attach tackle to the swivel also the small and tough design fits my kit very well. As for the price they are worth every cent, one couldn’t go wrong with a box full and I for one will be keeping these sweet new additions in my arsenal from here on.  

Tuesday, August 23

Product Review: Fenwick NightHawk Fly Reel

 The Fenwick NightHawk fly reel is absolutely one of the best deals I have found this season. With a spec list resembling reels from the $300 to $500 range and the looks to match the Fenwick NightHawk 79 has no doubt gained this anglers attention

The NightHawk is constructed from 6061-T6 aluminum witch is the same material used to build high end reels such as the Orivs Mirage and at 6.3 oz  it's lighter than a Loop Evotec G4.  The NightHawk 79 also comes with a large arbor exactly matching a Pfluger President 2090.

Another one of the real nice features for the investment is the quick pick up retrieve something any fisherman who has miles of line hanging below their reel and around their feet will  appreciate. The handle is unfortunately a little weak for my tastes being plastic and it is far to small, personally I think a little rosewood would of been a nice touch and  sensible choice of hardware.

The Fenwick NightHawk 79 has a line capacity of 150 yds with #20 backing and a 8 weigh line, plenty of capacity to handle any Atlantic salmon situation. The NightHawk comes equip with a multi disc drag and after landing several salmon with the NightHawk I can confirm the ultra smooth claim made by the company is accurate.

My only gripe with the drag system is the light setting is to stiff for confidently catching trout under three pounds however it is defiantly a hold it's own big fish or  trolling reel. Using the drag knob on the NightHawk feels much like a dial from a high end gun safe. Each click is easily distinguishable from the next as well as countable allowing you to dial in on perfect setting each and every time.

The appearance of the Fenwick NightHawk is a very sleek black a nice change from the bright colors adorning my local rivers and it is a real nice match for the 8W Fenwick HMX fly rod giving the total package a good look and function  for under $500.

With all that being said lets reveal just why I think you want to add a Fenwick NightHawk to your arsenal... it only cost $189. Incredibly it cost $250 less than a Orvis Mirage and $300 less than a Loop Evotec G4. While the Fenwick NightHawk boasts a low end price with a top end swagger in the spec list other reels like the Pfluger Trion are far inferior for up to $100 more.

 If you already have a high end fly reel the NightHawk is a solid choice for your back up and if your new to the fishing game or are not loaded with disposable income the Fenwick NightHawk is a great way to get into the river without spending a small fortune. Till next time keep your eye on the fly...FishinDan