Is Fishing Cruel? The Global Code of Practice for Recreational Fisheries Pseudoscience and Dangers to Fishing

One of my favorite SoCal trout streams

Recreational fishing faces many threats - loss of fish habitat, drought, radical environmentalists, increasing regulations, a public that is increasingly unfamiliar with angling, and so on. One particular threat that all anglers should be aware of has emerged from Europe (with attempts being made to enact it in Canada), in the form of fishing regulations that ban catch and release fishing for being supposedly cruel.

While this sounds absolutely insane (it is!), let me quickly explain the theory behind such regulation. Certain individuals opposed to recreational fishing believe fish feel pain in a manner similar to humans (despite evidence to the contrary), and as such, no one should fish for "sport" (defined by catch and release angling), only for food. Never mind the detrimental impact such a policy would have on isolated streams and lakes, especially in densely populated regions like California! In fact, anglers can be fined for releasing fish in some parts of Europe, particularly Germany. 

There is a very nice documentary looking into this issue, and how local anglers are dealing with it in Germany right now.

Much of this nonsense stems from a "Global Code of Practice" or "Best Management Practice" for fishing that is being pushed throughout various part of the Western world. The key fallacy behind this is man and fish simply are not the same, and attempts to equate the two, in terms of pain/suffering are intrinsically wrong. I highly encourage everyone to read the excellent writeup on this threat to angling at High County Angler's Fall 2017 edition (
The author, fisheries biologist John Nickum, rightly notes the pseudo-science behind such "Global Code of Practice for Recreational Fisheries", the agenda disguised as "science", and the stupidity of the anthropomorphisms behind such beliefs. Definitely go read it! It's on pages 46-47 in ezine. 

To really delve into the science behind fish not perceiving pain in the same manner as humans, take a look at the role of C-fibers and Adelta fibers in the nervous system. Fish have a distinctly different arrangement (or even a lack thereof) of these, rendering their nociceptors perception vastly different from humans. C-fibers, the unmyelinated fibers responsible for severe, chronic, burning pain in some cases, are either absent or severely reduced in fish. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough!

Properly done, fishing is not cruel, and catch and release fishing is certainly not cruel. In fact, catch and release fishing is vital to the health of a fishery where recreational fishing is allowed. Finally, without recreational fishing (fortunately, it's part of California's Constitution to allow fishing), many waterways would be less robust and there would be less funds and interest in caring for them. 

Thick and trouty

Outdoorsmen (and women!), be they hunters or anglers, have traditionally formed the backbone behind protecting and preserving habitat and species for future generations to continue to enjoy. Few people care as much about the health of a fishery as the anglers that spend countless hours on the water. Many wildlife sanctuaries are funded by hunters and anglers, who directly benefit from a healthy, robust ecosystem with game and fish to pursue, be it for take or (in the case of fishing), catch and release. In many situations, the goals of recreational fishing and environmental organizations do align (i.e. CalTrout and TroutUnlimited partnering with the Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund) Unfortunately, there is an element with some environmental circles, mostly from animal rights activists, that is completely opposed to any recreational fishing (and often to human life in general). Such groups should never be supported or assisted in any manner, and anglers of all stripes should be alarmed when policies such groups push become law. Remember, it's a crime to interfere with the act of legal fishing or hunting in California, be sure to report anyone doing that! 

Fall Fly Fishing in San Bernardino Mountains

The fishing was slow, but the scenery was great. 
I'm not familiar with this particular creek, only fished it once before on a different stretch. Moving a little too quickly for my gear. Next time!

Downstream (Somewhere outside of Los Angeles)

What is just around the bend? What is located just downstream (or upstream)? What secret does the next pool of crystal-clear water hold? These questions push me forward on countless trout fishing expeditions, often in the local mountain ranges, the "Saints" (San Gabriels, San Bernardinos, San Jacinto).

Earlier this year I took the plunge (literally) downstream, going further along a popular creek than I had ever ventured before. It required getting wet and scrambling along some narrow ledges for a ways, but I made it safely. Even managed to avoid the abundant poison oak along the "trail."A pair of cheap gardening gloves + frequent applications of TechNu lotion seemed to do the trick (seriously, check the TechNu lotion out, it's saved me many times)

This particular stretch of creek had two fascinating sections - a lush, forested portion with many nice pools, some teeming with trout; and a second, narrow slot canyon, exposed to the intense summer sun. The scenery was arguably amazing in both, but the slot canyon really caught me by surprise. Most SoCal creeks doesn't have this kind of topography and I hadn't seen any pictures of this part before. Google Maps sleuthing hadn't gotten me prepared for it either. Take a look:

Fishing was difficult, to say the least. I'm still getting used to trying fly-fishing only on certain trout trips, and I had more than my fair share of snags, lost flys, and tangles throughout the day. However, the scenery more than made up for it, as well as the thrill of discovery. I came across many pools with rainbows swimming idylilly around, easily spooked, but still willing to hit a dry fly. I even managed to land one, and snap off a monster of a fish in sheltered pool underneath thick cover. 
I'll definitely be back for more!

Photos taken with the Zerotech RollCap Camera. You can see video footage from the trip, and other trips, on my review of the RollCap camera here:

Unexplored Streams in the San Bernardino Mountains?

Discovering new trout streams in local mountains is my passion. I spend hours pouring over old stocking records, topographic maps, satellite imagery (Thanks, Google), outdated fishing reports, and more in my search for wild trout, both in the San Gabriels and the San Bernardino mountain ranges. I don't keep these fish - rather it's the thrill of hiking to a hidden stream and discovering wild trout that offers all the satisfaction that I need to make an epic fishing trip. I rarely share these creeks, mostly due to the devastation hordes of people have done on more well-know watersheds, like the San Gabriel River and Lytle Creek. 

However, there are several creeks that I can't seem to find any information on, let alone get to access. Some of these might end up being a trip in the far future, but some appear almost completely unrealistic to ever explore. Thus, I'm posting about these in hopes anyone who has information would be willing to let me know what these lone spots are like.

Banning Canyon
San Gorgonio River
Millard Canyon and East Millard Canyon
Wood Canyon

All of these watersheds appear difficult to access, primarily due to a lack of public roads. The first, Banning Canyon, is enormous, but really lacks all info about it online. What's back there? How can one access it? I'm all ears. 

The others, especially Millard Canyon, have access roads that go through the Morongo Reservation. It sounds like they do not offer public access to this national forest area, which is unfortunate, 

A couple of reports from others, predominately hikers, have been posted, and shed a little light on the tough situation to get back there:

The USDA Forest Service also lists several trails that access Millard Canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest, including a Bear Wallow Camp, Deer Springs Trail, Kitchen Peak Trail , but state "access trailed closed".

Interestingly, the only mentions as of late about Millard Canyon are related to the Nestle Bottled Water controversy during the drought:

Other, more disturbing mentions of Millard Canyon have also been posted:

I'd love to learn more about these canyons and creeks. Feel free to post here, or contact me at Facebook here:
Or, email me: 

Lake Arrowhead: Fishing Trip and Report

Got invited to fish the famous Lake Arrowhead - a private lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. It's deep (up to 180ft), crystal clear, and has a variety of gamefish (trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish, and reportedly even kokanee).

Fishing was not easy - I'm not used to fish steep dropoffs right at the shore! Still managed to tie into a smallmouth bass. Had a bunch of little largemouth follow all my lures around, one ended up getting foul hooked, all safely released. Fished spybaits, dropshots, crankbaits, jigs, soft plastics.

Newport Bay: Spotted Bass Fishing Trip!

Fishing in local bays and harbors for saltwater bass is always fun. This time of the year, the water is warm enough for float tubing without a wetsuit on, and the fish are eager to bite. Throwing an array of soft plastics lures, I typically tie into both calico and spotted bass. Lately, I've been fishing Newport Harbor, both from the shore and from my float tube alot. The float tube is simply perfect for navigating the shallow water structure that I prefer to target, and it's easy to fit into my vehicle as well.

Video of trip
Filmed in 4K

This particular trip, I was throwing a softplastic, red paddletail worm. Picked it up for just a couple of bucks here (Aliexpress), and matched it with a jighead. Pretty decent action in the water, and the 16" spotted bass that chomped on it thought so too!

Hawkeye Firefly 8S Action Camera Review: Smooth Gyro + 4K

Hawkeye first released their Firefly 7S last year, and I was fairly impressed with it. At a very low price point, it offered premium features including a gyro and high-quality images. However, it didn't offer true 4K footage.
Fast forward to September 2017 and Hawkeye's newest model, the Firefly 8S (, has arrived, with true 4K footage at 30fps. Gearbest hooked me up with a review sample of this new action camera, and I'm happy to report it did a great job in a variety of environments. Read on after the jump for my take on the new 8S model. 

Eken H9R Review: Budget Action Camera

Hi all! I'm taking a closer look at another Eken action camera, this time the H9R ( It's very similar to the previously-reviewed H9, both are budget cameras, but this one offers slightly better 4k filming options. Partnered up to get this little camera reviewed, with an epic hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest as the background to testing it out. 


Display: 2'' Screen - the screen is easy to view and it is nice to see what the camera is looking at
Video: 4K 25fps / 2.7K 30fps/ 1080p 60/30fps 720p/120fps (H.264)  
Video Format: MOV, H.264
Photos Format: JPG
Photo Resolution: 12M/8M/5M/4M
Burst Photo: 3 Photos
Time Lapse: 2s/3s/5s/10s/20s/30s/60s
Loop Recording
Super Wide Angle Lens: 170 degree  - The distortion from the wide angle is minimal, but the focus seems to not be completely calibrated. 
Waterproof: Up to 30 meters with waterproof backing on. 
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n  - The WiFi can be used to connect to the EZ iCam app which seems to work fine, although the audio might not  work on Android devices. 
Multi-Language: English / Traditional Chinese / Italian / Spanish / Portuguese / German / Dutch / French / Czech / Polish / Turkish / Russian / Japanese / Korean / Thai 
Storage: Micro SDHC card (Not included)  
Battery: 1050mAh (1080p30 1.5 hours, 4K 25/1080p60 50 mins)  - Keep in mind that the camera does get fairly warm quickly. 
Input/Output: Micro USB/ HDMI  

Like most action cameras on the market, the Eken H9R comes equipped with mounts and accessories that are compatible with GoPro mounts. The build quality of the mounts feels solid with a good quality of plastic used, as opposed to the flimsy plastic that some other brands might use. The waterproof case and optional open backing are also well-made and easy to handle. The waterproof case keeps the camera waterproof up to 30 meters. The camera also comes with an extra battery which is perfect for weekends away from the city. 

Review video

The Eken H9R did great during a rugged backpacking trip in Washington State. A few bumps and tumbles and it still worked fine, and the image quality never changed. It was kept in the waterproof case the entire time, which can be attributed to it keeping its functionality after bouncing along a rocky trail. The buttons are easy to press when it's in the case and the camera performed well throughout the trip. 

Image Quality:
The video quality is good, and the option to film in 4K is a plus, although it's still only 30fps at 4K. The quality at 1080p60 is great and stills from it sometimes look better than images taken in picture mode. With that said, the images taken in picture mode are noisy, not up to par with current action camera photos. They are much similar to the older Eken H9 photos, and not anywhere as good as some of the newer models. No video stabilization is available sadly, another feature that would have been nice. 

Overall, the H9R Eken Action Camera performs well in active environments and is on par with many other similarly priced action cameras, though the photos aren't worth mentioning. The stock accessories it comes with work well with it, and although the actual camera feels rather fragile, the protective waterproof case gives one the confidence needed to use it in the backcountry or underwater. Check out the H9R on Amazon here:
Coupon code:
Coupon Code: 8W5LP8JB
Coupon Price: $62.99
Reduced by $7 Eken N9R link

More eken cams:
EKEN website:

Telescopic Fly Fishing Rod: Bargain Fishing Review

I'm a sucker for a great deal, and when I came across this telescopic fly rod, I couldn't resist!

Took it out on trout streams, small ponds, and the LA River. Handled small trout and sunfish without any problems. 

Good: Cheap! Collapsible easily into my hiking backpack and my carry-on travel suitcase. I don't have to worry about beating up a pricey, expensive fly fishing rod.

Bad: Action is pretty poor. I can cast it out quite a ways, but it's nowhere as nice as my more expensive fly fishing rods for a nice smooth cast. You definitely have to work at it to get decent range. Of course, this doesn't matter as much in the tiny ponds and creeks I frequent. It's also quite ugly. 

All that in mind, I'm still using this rosewood flying fishing rod. Doesn't cast amazing, but it's sufficient to get the line out there and catch fish. Already snapped the rod tip off during some rough travel (my fault, not the rods), but it was easy to repair with a spair rod tip set I have.

Interested? You can buy this telescopic collapsible fly fishing rod here:

Summer Striper Fishing

Fishing topwater baits for striped bass at local lakes is one of my favorite parts of summer. It's very weather-dependent, but when it's on, it's on. 

Travel Trip Report: Washington State Upper North Fork Lewis River fishing and More

This summer, I ventured up to Washington state. I was eager to explore many of the rivers that I had grown up near. As a teenager in the Pacific Northwest, I spent most of my fishing time chasing bass and other warmwater species, while neglecting the bountiful salmon and steelhead rivers in the region. Fishing the Eastern Sierras and local Southern California trout streams has wetted my appetite for coldwater mountain streams, and I was hoping to find something similar in the SW Washington region.
 Read on below!

Return to the San Gabriel Reservoir: Fishing Report and Video

With the winter rain, snow, and ice flowing through the Angeles National Forest creeks, a water wonderland has appeared for anglers--as I found at the San Gabriel Reservoir. Unfortunately, fish don't spontaneously appear as well, and will need more time and constant rainflows to recover. Lost one fish on this short trip, hope to get back soon and try again. 

Mission Bay Fishing Trip: Red Crab Lure Worked!

Fish were biting from the shore at Mission Bay on a recent trip. A soft plastic red crab-like lure was the ticket. Had a lot of missed strikes, but still landed 4 in 30 minutes. Great trip!

Check out the video of my trip to Mission Bay above. 

It's alive!

Scouted a local trout stream in the San Gabriel Mountains, outside of Los Angeles. In the past, I would catch many fish throughout the creek. However, with the drought, I saw most of the creek dry up and the fish disappear. Imagine my thrill and surprise when I hooked into several small rainbows in the creek while fly fishing today! Nothing huge but beautiful nonetheless. 

Local California Trout Stream Report

Local water. Local fish. 


All day trip into Southern California backcountry (does this actually exist). Fantastic times with fishing friends on the water. The fish were wary but we all still caught several. Grateful for the opportunity and for the folks that made it happen. Location? A secret. 
Video of the trip:

Shore Fishing Oahu, Hawaii: Trip Report with Video and Photos

What a trip! While I primarily fish in Southern California, occasionally I get the opportunity to fish even warmer waters-Hawaii! On this most recent trip to Oahu, I hooked and landed a variety of amazing fish, including many different chunky wrasse, a massive cornetfish, peacock grouper, triggerfish, lizardfish, and more. Fishing around the windward side, near a popular pier, proved to be most productive. I primarily used lures (kastmasters and small curly-tail jigs behind a sliding sinker), but also used squid and shrimp at times. Fishing here isn't easy-the fish do seem fairly pressured, probably thanks to the large population, but they do still bite, and bite well!
I still haven't managed to land a papio. I've worked really hard to target them, but can't seem to get one to the shore. On a prior trip to Kauai, I managed to hook one on a jerkbait, but it snapped my line really fast after an heart-pumping run. Next time!
Check out this video I made of fishing from the shore on Oahu, Hawaii. Don't need a saltwater fishing license in Hawaii-a far cry from California!
Tight lines

ODRVM 4K Action Camera Review

Photo from ODRVM Action Camera

I recently was sent an action camera from ODRVM that boasts of filming in 4K, and I took it through its paces to see how it’d do in the NorCal backcountry. The ODRVM Action Camera and its low-cost piqued my interest to see how it would hold up.

Video review: