Johnston Gun Leather

Have a look at my new site Brown with black thumb push off in cowhide for Ruger LCP(new in addition to this one, not replacing it!) – http://www.johnstongunleather.com.

I’m starting a holster making business and have started with one of my favorites, the Ruger LCP.  I’m getting orders on other guns and may be able to make one for the pistol you carry, so shoot me an email at chad@johnstongunleather.com to discuss your order.  Please take a moment to check out my new project!

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Zero Tolerance 0350 EDC Knife Review

For today’s gear review, we’ll be looking at the Zero Tolerance (ZT) 0350 EDC pocket knife.  Why review an EDC knife on a fly fishing blog, you ask?  Simple, because fly fishing is awesome, and this knife is awesome.  Awesome and awesome always go great together.  Here are a few thoughts on this great tool.

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1. The Speed Safe.  This is ZT’s patented assist-open mechanism, and it’s as sharp as the blade.  One small, but deliberate, flick of the opener with your index finger, and this blade flies open.  It might actually have recoil, I can neither confirm nor deny.  If you need to get the blade out quickly, for whatever reason, this knife can support that need.  Get ready for ooh’s and awe’s if you flip it open around other people.  The speed and sound (not hurt by the look of the knife) will grab people’s attention – which could also be a bad thing, depending on how you look at it, and what you’re looking for in an EDC knife.

2. The size.  This first thing you need to understand about ideal EDC size is that there are as many ideals as there are people.  This is a larger knife, measuring in at 7.75″ overall and 4.50″ closed with a blade length of 3.25″, but certainly not the largest I’ve seen people carry.  This is actually one of ZT’s smaller blades, so when you put it into that comparison, the knife is a compact, yet very usable and heavy duty EDC.  It sits very flat in my pocket, and after alternating between this one and my Leatherman Wave, it almost feels as if it’s not there at all.  For me, this is the ideal size.

3. The weight.  Similar to size, weight is up to personal preference.  I wear shorts almost everyday, because I live in Florida, and I can, so weight for me is an important factor.  If you wear combat boots to Publix, this knife probably wont be big or heavy enough for you.  The knife weighs in a 5.8 oz, and even though that’s more than double of the highly esteemed Kershaw Skyline (2.3oz), it’s also more than double the knife.  By the way, if you want a super light, super awesome knife that has a lot of value to price, the Skyline is a winner-winner-chicken-dinner.

4. The G10 handles.  Okay, so G10 handles are half about function and half about tacticool.  But I don’t care.  This is a lightweight handle, that’s very tough, and grips phenomenally.  I’m a big fan of the grip and feel of this knife.  Plus it sounds cool when you slide it out of your pocket.

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5. The blade.  The metal used here is S30V stainless.  Mine has the DLC black coating as well, which has some scuffs from normal use, but has held up pretty well after about a year of use.  This is the first and only blade I’ve had with S30V, and my overall impression is that the edge retention isn’t as good as I’d like it to be in a $150+ knife ( I didn’t pay that for it), yet it’s very easy to sharpen.  So while it dulls quickly (relatively), it’s an easy blade to put an edge on.

6. The design.  The  ZT 0350 is a Ken Onion design, and most people will feel the same about the overall design as they do with size and weight.  For me (and most sane people) this is one of the best looking knives on the market.  The shape is not only pleasing to the eye, it’s pleasing to the hand.  If you have girl hands, or it they’re larger than Shaq’s, you might not like it.  But if you’re a normal male human being, this knife was made to fit.  It does have an ambi thumb stud, which I find to be a bit pointless, and would be about the only thing I’d change if ZT gave me the password to their design software.  The blade is awkward and difficult to open with the thumb stud and doesn’t really have a point with the flipper.  Plus it makes it that much more difficult to clean.  But now I’m just whining.

7. The price.  ZT’s aren’t cheap, either in quality or price.  Retail on this blade (at a local gun shop where I saw one yesterday) is $160.  I saw one online today for $140.  I pad about $95 brand new for mine on amazon.com about a year ago.  Here’s a tip.  If you have a knife fetish, get an amazon prime account and get free 2-day shipping on everything they supply.  You can find some outstanding prices on knives there, and get them quickly.  If you buy more than a few a year, it will more than pay for the membership.

IMG_05818. The overall.  Obviously, I love this knife.  It can be used as a highly effective tool in multiple applications, and could even be used as a decent self-defense weapon if you had to.  The most likely self-defense situation I’d see myself using it in, would be against a pissed off shark that I tricked with my fly out on the gulf, but then again, I don’t often take it on the water much because salt water hates metal.  If you do take it on the water, keep it rinsed with fresh water at the minimum, and consider coating with a light layer of gun oil (or similar).  Highly recommended is the ZT 0350 DLC EDC knife!


Innovate the fly

I’ve said it before: I’m a total Apple geek.  I think I may literally have one of each of their products.  Over the past couple years, I’ve begun to use my Macbook and my iPad constantly, switching back and forth between the two for various duties.

It occurred to me today: will the future of the iPad look more like a computer, or will the future of the computer look more like the iPad?

I’m not talking about the all-out replacement of the laptop with the tablet.  Some think that will eventually happen.  It might.  But what about something different than that, where the two actually come together as some totally new expression of a new type of device?

Think about it, because there are other things that are going on that are also going to make this possible.  Soon, there won’t be anywhere near the current need for drive space nor processor speed, because not only will all your storage be “in the cloud”, but so could the process of computing. The device could not only borrow space from somewhere-out-there to store data, but it could also borrow processing power from the cloud and then whip the finished product back onto the screen of the device in your hand.  If that’s true, smaller, lighter, more efficient hardware will result.  Here’s what I’m waiting for: to install iOS on my Macbook as the base operating system.  That would be sweet.  But we’re years away.  I guess.

It seems far fetched, but it’s thinking out of the box, and it’s the beauty of innovation.  It’s what’s happening in the world of fly fishing as well, even if on a different level.  For most (myself included at times) it’s hard to imagine innovating such a simple (and even traditional) thing, such as fly fishing.  Fly fishing, specifically, even carries an aura at times that it’s the one way of fishing that has, and always will, remain “pure” – free from the filth of technology, and cheating.

But that’s just not realistic.  Fly fishing won’t innovate for the sake of innovation, like some industries – maybe like the ones that drive the genius of Apple.  No.  We’ll innovate as a result of always chasing that bigger fish.  Even if we have to radically revolutionize, we’ll add, we’ll try more, we’ll experiment.  All for the sake of that perfect cast, the violent strike, and the screaming run of the reel.


Fishing Report 8.24.12

It was the calm before the storm today.  At least, potentially I suppose.  The wind this morning was a bit of a nuisance coming from the northeast, but it was nothing my TFO rods couldn’t handle.  We started in the cove today, but a) I lost my anchor, and b) the wind was pushing me fast into the mangroves (because of the aforementioned “a”).  So we journeyed to the Caladesi beach.

Holy Mackerel.  Not much action today, honestly.  Some lady’s, one guy caught a red.  But then this mack-daddy hit my fly like a train.  I had a “drift belly” in my line on the water and when he hit the fly, the line sliced through the waves and he was mine.

I was using a tried and true variation of the Salt Fly Addict White-n-Flashy clouser, and the tide was outgoing.  I also noticed cooler water temperatures, probably from all the recent rain we’ve had.


A couple morning casts

Today on the way in to the office, as I often do, I made a stop at the Dunedin Causeway for a few minutes of fishing, as my little way to get the day started.  I have this one spot I go to, where there’s no walking involved and I don’t have to get dirty or wet at all.  I’ll often hit it in the morning before work, and sometimes in the middle of the day while I’m out grabbing lunch.  I’ve only ever caught one fish there, and I realized today that as crazy as it sounds, it’s not even why I go.

My life is busy, loud and hectic, and every once in a while (okay, quite often actually) I need to fade it all out with sounds that you can only get in one or two places, and sounds that you have to be intentional to hear.  Out there – especially in the morning – all I hear is the sound of my rod slicing through the wind, my flyline shooting through the guides, the dolphins coming up for air just yards in front of me and the water gently lapping against itself in the waves.

Those sounds are like music to my ears, and I need to hear them often.

Sure, I love the sound of my reel screaming as a fish runs, or the water boiling as the fish tries to break free of my fly.  But I don’t always need that, and I’m often satisfied my the quietness of the moment where I hear very little but the silence.
If you live here, like I do, get out and make a few casts.  Don’t worry about catching.  Just enjoy the silence.


Weekly Tippet

Here’s a quick tip, especially aimed at someone who is just looking to get into the sport of fly fishing.

Remember the Rod-Line-Reel Ratio:

If you’re just starting out, there’s a ton of things to get, each with options-a-plenty. The amount of options, and the amount of cash you can shell out, can get overwhelming really fast. Don’t feel like you’ve got to get the best of everything, right at the start. In fact, if you’re on a limited budget, this is the order of importance for an effective fly fishing outfit.

1. The most important piece is the rod. Get the best rod you can afford, and try out a bunch of different ones. Every fly shop I’ve ever been to will let you try them out, especially Tampa Bay on the Fly.  If you’re fishing the salt, you’ll most likely want to start out with an 8 or 9wt, as these are both excellent all-around rods.  For entry level-prices that give you more than entry-level quality, check out St. Croix and Temple Fork Outfitters.

2. Next on the list is line. That is, the next most important place to invest your cash is the line, for effective casting and catching. Read reviews and ask around. Everyone will have a different opinion, but what I’ve found is that there are a number of great lines out there, and as long as you stay in the $70-80 range, you’re probably going to be very satisfied.  Also, talk to people at the fly shops you frequent, telling them what kind of fishing you intend to do.  Based on just a little information, they can point you to the best type of line for your needs.  Scientific Anglers’ Bonefish line is an outstanding choice for most Florida situations.

3. The least important piece is the reel. Don’t get me wrong, the reel is important, and you want a decent one (especially if you’re fishing in the salt). But it’s just not as important as the rod first, and the line second. Get a reel that you can get by with now, and graduate to something better later. A great choice might be the Redington Pursuit, in either a 4/5/6 or 7/8/9wt, depending on your rod/line weight selection.  I have two of these in the 7/8/9, and each are spooled with line costing more than the reel itself.

Focus first on the rod, then the line, then the reel, and you’ll be on your way to discovering the greatest sport on the planet.


Lifeproof case for iPhone 4s Review

Those that know me, know I have two modes of geek: fly fishing and Apple. I’m a volunteer ambassador for each, often rescuing the innocent and ignorant from their spinning and PC ways. Consider that with the following two facts:

1. Fly fishermen love to snap photos of their catches and adventures, and…

2. The iPhone 4s has a wicked-awesome camera.

The problem, of course, is that the iPhone isn’t water proof. That perfect photo may not be worth the $200 you just dropped, nor may it be worth the 2 year “relationship” you began with the phone company that charges way too much for data. While Apple didn’t consider this sea-bound need an essential, others did. Others, namely the folks over at Lifeproof cases.

Here’s what I love about my Lifeproof case:

1. It’s actually waterproof. “Yo, what about the use of headphones,” you say? Well, they thought of that too. The case comes with a headphone jack extender (only necessary when either your headphones wont reach through the hole, or you want the phone to remain waterproof while headphones are in use). It screws in the top and keeps your phone case sealed. Lifeproof has a few videos on their site which they recommend you watch that explain how to ensure the water-tightness of the case, and are done by a dude with a cool accent. The case allows the phone to survive the spray, a good rinsing when you get home, and will even allow you to catch your fish in still pictures or video under the water (if you can catch any fish).

2. Color options. The iPhone has color options, so why shouldn’t a case? The Lifeproof case comes in white, black, pink and purple. Each has a grey accent and is probably my only complaint. I have a white phone (yes it has stainless steel too), and I’d prefer the option for an all-white case, without the grey accent. No big deal, and the grey accent is sharp looking, but I wish the option was available.

3. It looks like it belongs on an iPhone. Okay, am I the only one that thinks putting a case on such a beautiful device, such as an iPhone, is nearly associated with criminal activity? I think I must, because I see most iPhones out there being hidden behind some horrid monstrosity. Let’s be real. The iPhone, even when the retina display is powered-down, is the sweetest looking phone on the market. No one else even comes close. As a result, if I’m going to put a case on it, I need the case to reflect the beauty and style of the phone. Frankly, I’ve found one other case in all the world that seems worthy (www.freshfiber.com). Granted, this is not due to extensive research because I’m usually on my kayak fly-fishing…er, I mean at the office working. But these aren’t protecting my phone from being fried by the water, and that’s not letting my snap my quarry. The Lifeproof case, however, is an attractive and slim design, adding only a small amount of overall size to the phone. I’m very happy with the well thought out design of both fashion and functionality.

If you have an iPhone 4/4s, and are on the water any where near as much as I am, what the heck are you waiting for? Check them out at www.lifeproof.com and follow Lifeproof on twitter at @Lifeproof.