A California Trout Stream Comes Back to Life



Most of the local SoCal trout streams that I frequent have been almost wiped clean of trout due to the drought. However, one particular stream has surprised me. Prior to the drought, it held a few fish, but the reaches I hiked to were mostly empty. During the drought, it was definitely empty of fish. However, now after the intense storms and rain we were blessed with this winter, it's flowing and full of rainbow trout. I love it! Hat tip to my friend who scouted it out again and came back with a good report on it. Take a look and if you know the spot, keep it secret, keep it wild, keep it protected:






A River Runs Through It: California

Took this photo recently on a desert trip in Southern California. The sheer amount of water flowing through here had me uber excited!



Any guesses on where this is located? Hint: It's not the San Gabriels. 

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak Bass Fishing Trip

I jump back into largemouth bass fishing each spring. Typically, I get my float tube out and use it to explore one of my favorite lakes in Southern California. However, this year, I purchased the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak. It's a two-person, inflatable kayak, with many good reviews of it online. I picked it up on sale for a little less than $80, a real deal! 



The Intex K2 comes with two sets of oars, a pump, and a skeg. The whole kayak worked great. It's a little bulky to haul any length of distance, but it easily fits into a little cart that a kind friend let me use. That cart looks a little like this. It took about 10 minutes to get the K2 fully inflated, and I didn't need to reinflate it during the 5-6 hour trip at all. The rubber walls feel tough and durable. Despite a few bumps on rocks and sticks, the ways remained undamaged. We didn't have any leaks either. 

Seats a quite comfortable and partly adjustable. Additionally, there is some (not a lot) of room to store the small backpacks and fishing gear we brought with us.

Fishing was, despite my prediction in the included video, fairly slow. I lost several fish, including one larger one that felt like a catfish (never got it out of the water), and finally caught a small largemouth. The rest of the group managed 4-5 largemouth total, with several more missed bites. Each year, fishing at this lake seems to get harder, sadly.



All in all, the Intex K2 kayak performed very well. Even with some wind, I was able to paddle it back a considerable distance. I don't know if I would take it out in a larger lake, but I was quite comfortable using it in this medium sized SoCal body of water. Using it without an anchor means you will constantly need to reposition yourself with the oars to keep fishing. Having two anglers often means one will paddle while the other will hold your position. It's workable, but takes some practice.

I'll definitely be taking the Intex 2-person inflatable kayak out again! I'm hooked! Interestingly, Intex has a small 2 person kayak, the Challenger, a much "speedier" inflatable kayak (at least from appearances). I haven't tried that one, but I'm interested in how it compares to the Explorer.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak: http://amzn.to/2oO3WZr

Fishing the Newport Jetty in Orange County, California

The Newport Jetty is one of my favorite spots to fish for saltwater species at. It's not the most convenient, but it's a gem of a spot, with a multitude of different species to catch. Of course, it gets its share of pressure from many other anglers, but I typically do well here.



This trip was a little slower than most. We only landed 5 fish or so, but the variety of fish made up for the slow action. That's one of my favorite aspects of saltwater fishing - you never know what you will catch!





The highlight of the trip was catching a spunky Half Moon fish. Beautiful finned fighter! All were released to be caught on another outing.

Tight lines everyone!

California Local Trout Fishing Water Repor




Each year, I take a trip to a favorite local trout stream here in Southern California.  In the past, this stream has produced amazing numbers of chunky, healthy rainbow trout. 

 Sadly, the drought and other circumstances appears to have hit this little creek particularly hard--we only managed a few small strikes from very small trout, and many pools appeared to be barren, silted over. 



At least a few small fish remain, hopefully healthy enough to repopulate the creek and once again bring it to life. This year's heavy rains have replenished the water source, which may be helpful as well. Enjoy the video and the photos.

Filmed with ThiEye T5E at 4K and Dobby Drone.  

Hiking and exploring new water: A little ways from home


Been taking a few road trips lately. This is from our neighboring state of Nevada. Gorgeous creek deep in the Red Rock Canyon park, unfortunately, it was also apparently fish less. The pond, at the top, did have fish, but fishing was not allowed. Oh well. Still amazing places. 


Best BUDGET 4K Action Camera 2017? ThiEye T5E Review

 ThiEye T5E
For budget action cameras, 4K video resolution has traditionally been out of reach. For the < $150 range, most cameras really only do 1080p, and occasionally offer subpar 4K (often either unusably low FPS rates, and/or “fake” 4K resolution with interpolation tricks). The closest bet so far for a “affordable” action camera is the Yi 4K, which I absolutely love, priced around $200. After that, you are looking at $400 for the GoPro Hero 5 Black, which is certainly not a bargain.

Enter the ThiEye T5E (https://tinyurl.com/thieyecam). Not only does this camera feature true 4K resolution at 30fps, it also comes in at a stunningly low price, a little over $100. When I first heard about the camera, I was fairly skeptical, given the poor track record of bargain cameras offering high-quality 4K footage. Thanks to Gearbest, I was hooked up with a review sample of the ThiEye T5E and put it through its paces. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with its performance and I think you will be too!

Features
Not only can the ThiEye T5E shoot 4k at 30FPS, it also offers 1080p at 60 fps AND 120 FPS, in addition to several other resolutions. It offers a viewing LCD on the back, WiFi connectivity with a dedicated app for remote control, and 12MP photos. The image sensor is the IMX117, a powerful sensor that is the same as the latest SJCam (7) model and is capable of true 4K. Here is a complete list of the specification for ThiEye T5E:

Specification

General
Brand: ThiEYE
Model: T5e
Type: Sports Camera
Type of Camera: 4K
Chipset Name: Ambarella
Chipset: Ambarella A12LS75
Sensor: CMOS
Sensor size (inch): 1/2.3
Function: WiFi,Time Lapse,Waterproof
Application: Extreme Sports,Underwater,Ski
Storage
Max External Card Supported: SDHC 64G (not included)
Display
Screen: With Screen
Screen size: 2.0inch
Screen type: TFT
Screen resolution: 320x240
Power
Battery Type: External
Battery Capacity (mAh): 1100mAh
Charge way: USB charge by PC
Working Time: 80min at 4K / 30fps, 100min at 1080P
Standby time: 4h
Charging Time: 2h
Primary Info.
Wide Angle: 170 degree wide angle
Camera Pixel : 12MP
Lens Diameter: 2.8mm
Video/Image/Audio
Video format: MP4
Video Resolution: 1080P (100fps),1080P(30fps),
1080P(60fps),1440P (30fps),1440P (60fps),4K (30fps),720P(200fps)
Video Frame Rate: 100fps,200fps,30FPS,60FPS
Image Format : JPEG
Audio System: Monophony
Exposure Compensation: +2EV,-2EV
White Balance Mode: Auto,Cloudy,Daylight,Incandescent
Microphone: Built-in
Functions
WIFI: Yes
WiFi Function: Image Transmission,Remote Control,Sync and Sharing Albums
WiFi Distance : 10m
Waterproof: Yes
Waterproof Rating : IP68 ( 60m, with waterproof case )
Loop-cycle Recording : Yes
Loop-cycle Recording Time: 1min,2min,3min,5min
Night vision : No
Remote Control: Yes
Camera Timer: Yes
Time lapse: Yes
Auto Focusing: Yes
Anti-shake: Yes
Aerial Photography: Yes
Interface Type: HDMI,USB 2.0
Language: Arabic,Dutch,French,German,
Indonesian,Italian,Japanese,Korean,Polski,Portuguese,
Russian,Simplified Chinese,Spanish,Swedish,Traditional Chinese
Dimension/Weight
Product weight: 0.0580 kg
Package weight: 0.4210 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 6.00 x 4.00 x 3.00 cm / 2.36 x 1.57 x 1.18 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 17.00 x 11.00 x 6.00 cm / 6.69 x 4.33 x 2.36 inches
Package Contents
Package Contents: 1 x T5e Action Camera,
1 x Multi-language User Manual, 1 x Wiper, 2 x 1100mAh Battery,
1 x USB Cable, 1 x Pack of Accessories, 1 x Waterproof Case

Accessories

ThiEye T5E comes with considerably less accoessires than many other action cameras. Just the basics, including a few adhesive pads, charging cable, microfiber cloth, mount bracket, and instruction manuel. Fortunately, it also comes with two nice goodies: a solid waterproof case, and not just one but two action camera batteries! This is the first action camera I’ve reviewed that offers a backup battery. It’s worth noting the batteries are not cross compatible with other action cameras such as the GitUp2 or SJCam (ThiEye T5E’s batteries are a little too large). Of note, the Yi 4K action camera DOES NOT come with its own waterproof case (strangely).
Performance

ThiEye T5E adventured with me on a variety of recent hiking, drone flying, and outdoor trips. Overall, it performed excellently, and helped me get superb footage under different conditions. The audio quality (something I don’t typically worry about as I almost always replace it with music) is also quite good., when recording outside of the case. I recorded at several different resolutions and found them all to look great, especially the 4K. In fact, in head to head comparisons between the ThiEye T5E and the Yi 4K camera, I seriously couldn’t see a major difference, certainly not one to justify the significant price difference. In some tests, the ThiEye T5E images looked a little bit sharper than the Yi 4k.This really impressed me, and speaks volumes of how nice this budget 4K camera is. I notice much image quality loss, even with uploading to YouTube. You’ll notice in my video review that it’s set to 1080p; I took all the 4K footage and rendered it down to 1080p for editing purposes, but you can certainly keep it at 4k if you wish.
A couple of critques I did note: On my very first trip with ThiEye T5E, I encountered a SD card formatting error, requiring me to reformat when I returned home. That was frustrating, but after reformatting the microSD, I haven’t had any issues.
The gyro stabilization is definitely less intense than the SJCam S6 Legend or GitUp2. I wouldn’t rely on ThiEye T5E as your primary drone camera if you are flying with a non-gimbal drone like the Hubsan H501s. On land, it does a decent job though. Just like the Yi 4k camera, the EIS gyro feature is only available at 1080p, 60 fps; not at 4K.
The menu on the ThiEye T5E is a weak point-it’s usable but otherwise uninspired and clunky. While several action cameras have recently offered innovative menu designs (Yi 4K, SJCam M20+, etc), the ThiEye T5E menu is a throwback to older, less easy to navigate menus. It’s simply listed under settings, with multiple “frames” to scroll through, requiring a lot of clicking to edit settings. It gets the job done, but isn’t fun to navigate through it.






Photos looked very sharp and crisp, capturing both dark and light environments well. Additionally, the WiFi dedicated app worked great. I didn’t have crashes or problems operating it on my Android smartphone. I was able to remotely operate the camera with ease and review playback videos without an issue.



Video Review



4K Test
Audio for on/off recording is nicely audible even through the case. The camera boots up fairly fast, and I didn’t have issues with lost footage (thinking I was recording when I really wasn’t due to audio errors). The camera itself features a solid build, with a nice locking switch for the battery. The waterproof case and other accessories have nice design and feel high-quality. Overall, the accessories are solid, and the video quality is excellent.

Conclusion

ThiEye T5E action camera is a relatively unknown camera on the action camera scene, but I think you are going to see a LOT about it soon. Once word gets out about how nice it is, for such an affordable price, you can bet you’ll see it in YouTube videos frequently. It reminds me of the excitement around the GitUp2, still a solid camera, from a newcomer on the camera scene, that absolutely took off once everyone found it. ThiEye T5E’s high quality true 4K footage, plus perfect price point, almost guarantees it will be a success. This isn’t the only ThiEye model, expect to see more innovative cameras from these folks soon! Let me know if you have any questions about the ThiEye T5E camera, either through my YouTube review, or below. You can buy ThiEye T5E through Gearbest here: https://tinyurl.com/thieyecam
Other action cameras: http://bit.ly/2m6Ao4e

Gearbest Sale and LA River Fishing


Digging through my fishing photos from 2016 I came across these snapshots. Taken at a carp fishing expedition at the LA River, they show the river pre-rain storm. 


Can't wait to get back out and fish! It's been a little too long since my last trip. Taking a look at these older photos helps wet the appetite for wetting the line. Thankfully, we have had tons of rain to keep the rivers and lakes full this year so far. Here's to hoping for more!

Also, GearBest is hosting a huge sale in just a few days, their Third Anniversary Sale. Great time to snap up some bargains on drones and fishing gear.





Check 'em out, and get ready for a fun-filled 2017 with plenty of fishing trips reports, action camera reviews, and stunning outdoors footage!



SJCam S6 Legend: New Action Camera from SJ


One of my favorite action camera companies that offers many affordable GoPro alternatives is SJ. They introduced me to their first el cheapo action camera, the wonderful SJ4000, which I've used in many videos since then. I've also enjoyed using their SJ Cam M20+, which offers good video stabilization, on a recent trip to Alaska. Now, SJ is back with yet another affordable action camera, this time offering a few more premier features, the S6 Legend.


The S6 Legend offers a few unique features: Mild or Heavy video stabilization, 4K video recording at 25 fps (sharp, but it's interpolated), touch screen controls, and a full-fledged camera app for smartphones (something GitUp is still lacking). Here's the run down on the S6 Legend specifications straight from SJCam:

Wild Rainbow Trout in Los Angeles, California


Southern California's wild rainbow trout represent the remnants of a species slowly vanishing from the region. Some may be distantly related to the endangered California steelhead that still roam the ocean, seeking to return to coastal rivers and streams. Others are the descendants of rainbow trout stocked during the early days of pioneer settlements in the region, bringing life and vigor to cold mountain streams previously uninhabited by sportfish.

The drought has not treated these fish kindly, yet in remote creeks a few still survive. On a recent journey after the welcome rainstorms, I journeyed to one such location, and was pleased to find these finned, glistening trophies. All were safely released back into their pools, after a quick photo or video. You may recall the Trout Box post I wrote about several years ago, and it made a re-appearance on this trip, offering a safe location for photographs with less handling. 


I've read that the drought, which has affected around 90% of California, continues to recede, now dropping to around 50%. These numbers are encouraging but show just how dry the state is. Here's to hoping and praying for more precipitation to keep these streams and their rainbow treasures alive!


Happy New Year.

Fishing the Kern River in November



I took a short fishing trip to the fabled Kern River in California. Accompanied by my friends, we explored the deep canyons and rushing waters of this river system, hoping for the chance to catch a wild rainbow trout. Despite our best efforts, we only managed one strike on a barbless fly before we had to make the long drive back to Los Angeles. I spoke with many other anglers along the trail and they all reported similarly poor fishing. Fortunately, the beautiful scenery more than made up for the fishless day on the river. 

Tight lines!

Watch out GoPro: Xiaomi Yi 2 4K Action Camera Review


Xiaomi Yi 2 4k: http://bit.ly/2m7YIH3

Few brands have dominated a market so closely as to become synonymous with the item itself-GoPro is one such example. However, as their plunging stock price attests to (from $86 down to $10 in 2 years!), the public has finally realized that yes, there are wonderful alternatives on the market today.


Sure, many of these are considerably lower quality and don't have the amazing features like true 4k 30 FPS that the GoPro Hero 4 Black offers. But what if I told you there is a action camera from a reputable company, with not only basically the same specifications as the GoPro Hero 4, but offered additional features, and sold for only ~$225 (half the price)? That's where the Xiaomi Yi 2 4K camera steps onto the stage. Stick with me as I take a look at this amazing action camera. 

Need a brushless hiking drone?

If you are looking for a powerful, yet compact brushless quadcopter that can carry an action camera, check out my review of the XK X251
Be on the lookout for more videos of hiking and fishing trips filmed with this guy coming soon!
XK X251: http://bit.ly/2olpHQl

Hawkeye Firefly 7S: New Action Camera Review


The Hawkeye Firefly 7S is a brand-new action camera, with gyro stabilization, 2K resolution, and GoPro mountain compatibility. In addition, it's priced insanely low, just $80 at the time of this review. I tested the Firefly 7S courtesy of Gearbest on multiple fishing and outdoor trips, keen on determine how this camera compares to other popular action cameras, like the GitUp 2 or the M20+. Curious? Read on!

Lobster season + Backpack review



Hasn't been a lot of fishing videos lately as I've been focusing on the recently opened Spiny Lobster season here in California. These critters are a exciting challenge to go after, especially as the water temperatures cool off. Take a look at them in my latest video!

ELECAM 360: A Budget 360 Camera


I've watched several impressive 360 degree action camera videos, mostly from GoPro, and was stoked when Gearbest asked me to review the ELECAM 360 camera. It's an affordable 360 camera, made by the same folks behind the nice ELE Explorer and ELE Explorer Pro cameras.
Click below to read my full review of this new 360 camera:


Silverwood Lake Fishing Trip: First of the Year

Just got out to Silverwood Reservoir and did a little topwater fishing for striped bass. Managed to land a skinny 18" fish on a fantastic topwater strike. Check out the video here!

Hiking Gear Reviews: Fishing Monocular, Compact Hammock, and Solar Lantern


Gearbest hooked me up with several new outdoor gear items to review, and I wanted to share them with you all here. I'm a huge fan of the monocular (http://goo.gl/A5wIby), it will come in handy when I'm hiking and exploring distant fishing spots. Enjoy!



Eken H8R Action Camera Review: 4K and More?




Remember the popular Eken H9 action camera I reviewed and subsequently used on many fishing videos? Eken has released another action camera, this time the upgraded Eken H8R. GearBest hooked me up with this camera and I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you all. Feeling like just watching a video instead? Check out the below sample footage and video reviews!