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:

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:

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 ( 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!

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:


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
Max External Card Supported: SDHC 64G (not included)
Screen: With Screen
Screen size: 2.0inch
Screen type: TFT
Screen resolution: 320x240
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 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
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,
Russian,Simplified Chinese,Spanish,Swedish,Traditional Chinese
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


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).

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.


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:
Other action cameras:

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.