- Strip your reels, give them a good cleaning, re-oil and lube moving parts and re-spool with fresh line.
- Check your rods for cracks and broken eyes.
- Give your lures a look over to see which ones need new hooks, split rings or a touch-up with a paint pen or brush.
- Sharpen any dull hooks you may find (or just create some sort of excuse to buy new ones like I always seem to do)
- Organize all your tackle. Yes, no matter how much you think you can keep it organized while out fishing, something gets misplaced somewhere it shouldn't be.
- Give your boat hull a good look over to make sure there is nothing structurally wrong with it.
- Charge all your batteries and make sure they work!
- Check all boat wiring to make sure nothing is loose.
- Top off the oil in your boat motor and check spark plugs to make sure none are fouled.
- Lube boat motor where it calls for it i.e. pinon shaft, prop shaft, etc.
- Check and replace propeller and blade on trolling motor if needed.
- Make sure all electronics, as well as you trolling motor, are working properly.
- Hook your motor up to the water hose to make sure she fires right up without any issues. (Believe me, sitting at the dock trying to get your boat to start after launching it is no fun)
- Lastly, give your boat a much needed cleaning, top her off with gas and some Stabil ethanol treatment then head out to your favorite lake for some pre-spawn action.
The unusually warm temperatures (yes, even down here in the South it is way above normal!) this winter have me itching to get out on the water while I am home next week and catch some of those largemouths I hear are biting as if it isn't February 2nd. Before doing so however, I have got to go through my fishing equipment and, most importantly, give my boat a look over. That being said, I just wanted to share some tips for preparation this year, just in case you haven't been lucky enough to have already been out on your favorite lake.
With my hotel room in Pikeville, KY being my studio and the Go Pro being my camera, I finally got around to making the last video for this series on scent control. During the previous 2 parts I talked about what I do to eliminate my body scent and keeping my clothes and equipment scent-free. In this final part, I talk about some of the things I pay attention to when it comes to hitting the woods to actually hunt. I apologize in advance for the bad camera work (held it in my hand the whole time and didn't pay enough attention to where it was pointing) as well as the less-than-stellar audio from the Go Pro's mic, but hopefully everyone enjoys it and sees some new ways of looking at things.
Even a cramped storage closet and bad lighting couldn't stop me from getting the second part of my scent control video blog series out to you guys. I pretty much covered everything I do when it comes to clothing and equipment and hope that it gives some new ideas and tips to everyone. Watch it and leave a comment, you know you want to!
I mentioned in this past weeks video blog "Scent Control - My OCD: It's All About the Body" that I make my own scent away spray now. I had originally found the recipe in Field & Stream years ago and just never got around to making any. So without further ado, he is the recipe, via Field & Stream, that I use:
2 cups (16 oz) 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
2 cups (16 oz) Distilled Water
1/2 (.5) cup Baking Soda
1 oz Unscented Shampoo or Soap (I prefer a clear type of the scent killing kind)
Gently combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until the baking soda dissolves. Pour this mixture into a 1-gallon lidded container, such as a milk jug. Let it sit for three days with the lid on loosely to allow gases to escape.
Fill a plastic bottle that has a trigger sprayer with the scent killer. It must be clean, so buy a new one from a hardware store or online (usplastics.com).
Want to make your own wipes? Just follow the Field & Stream link above to read how. You can also check out this thread on Archerytalk.com for other recipe ideas. Now what if you also want to make your own cover scents? Well if you head on over to NCHuntandFish.com, forum member Rye has a started a thread on how he makes his own as well as where he buys the essential oils from. Hopefully this helps you guys out who use scent away sprays and cover scents religiously.
As hunters, one of the most important things we have to take into account is our scent. Whether it is just making sure to only hunt certain stands in a certain wind or getting very in-depth in eliminating your scent like me, we all have our ways of making sure our quarry can't smell us (or smell us as good as they could). What was originally going to be one article has transformed into a 3-part video blog series, mainly thanks to me accidentally hitting the back button while typing it up and losing all my hard work. First up is my take on fighting body odor and I have a few things I need to point out. One, I touch on wearing sweat wicking clothing in it, but I'll be going more in depth into that segment of my scent control regiment in the next part of this series. Second, what I forgot to say is that I use the unscented wash to have no outside scent at all and that, before a hunt, the soap I'll use is the bacteria and scent killing ones you see at your local hunting stores; just wanted to clarify that for any of you that might not know what I was talking about or understood why I do the things I spoke about. So give it a watch and be on the lookout for the other ones in the coming weeks.
Just wanted to share what $25 in PVC pipe, plastic electrical conduit boxes, rubber cement and a can of flat black spray paint will allow you to make (Special thanks to Cheesycam for inspiring me to create my own stuff!) As you can see, the smaller mount I made is for my Go Pro and will allow me to get some low angle shots not only for video but also an interesting view for any time lapses I try to do. To make it was simple (All of this was 1/2"): 3 PVC electrical conduit 45-degree bends and a tee PVC electrical conduit box. I also grabbed 3 end pieces to put in the ends of the 45-degree bends to help level them out. The key to this is I didn't rubber cement anything together, meaning I can take it apart and have it not take up much space in my pack. Quick note: I am hoping when I make a small slider for the Go Pro that I can just figure out a way to use this mount on the rails, which will help me save some time and a little money (the gears have been turning in my mind the past few days about this!).
The second mount is a shoulder rig for our current main cam, a Canon HFS20. I finally got the quick adapter I ordered in the mail this past Friday and put it on the rig; it is going to make switching the camera from my tripod to tree arm to this shoulder support very easy and time-saving. This support was just as easy to make as the Go Pro one, using 3/4" PVC pipe pieces and a L-shaped PVC electrical conduit box. The list of fittings used for it is as follows: 1 tee, 3 45-degree couplings, 2 90-degree couplings and 2 caps. I also grabbed a 5-foot long piece of 3/4" PVC pipe since I didn't have any laying around. I did cement some things together to help with stability, but I can still take it apart and pack it up. I probably won't carry this with me every time we go in the woods, instead using my tripod as a shoulder support for some footage, but if we come back to the truck before getting our game out, it will definitely be used for recovery shots and what not. Plus it gives me a another way to get some interesting shots. Hopefully that gives some of you photographers and video guys (and gals) out there some DIY ideas to try out. If you've got any projects you've completed and want to share with us, post them up in the comments. And since it is the beginning of August, this blog entry is one of those that kicks off our monthly comment contest, meaning you have no reason not to leave us your opinion or drop a bit of knowledge!
In my honest opinion, a good flashlight is one of the most important pieces of equipment any hunter (or outdoorsman) can invest in. Every hunter knows you need a reliable firearm, matched ammunition and good comfortable clothing; however one of the most over looked pieces of equipment is the flashlight.
I have to admit I was in this same category for quite awhile. Last year while I was bow hunting with Cory and our friend Chris, I shot a doe about an hour before dark. We heard the doe go down out of sight; however by the time we got the climbers off of the trees, found the arrow and packed all of our gear up, it was already pitch black out. We found a blood trail and started to track the downed deer. As the blood trail became scarce I found myself on my hands and knees in areas trying to find the next spot of blood. This difficulty was due to the lack of a good flashlight. The lights we were carrying were not bright enough to make the tracking easy.
Once we had admitted defeat we got Chris and headed back to the trucks (a solid mile away) with our gear so we could fetch a brighter light. We walked back to the area we thought the deer had gone down in and started to scan with our light and we found her quite quickly. Let me pause for a quick tip: When looking for a downed deer in the dark, scan with your light from left to right slowly and look for the white under belly and the glow of the eyes from the light. This trick has saved me more than once!
After that trip I decided I needed to spend the money on a good flashlight so this would not happen to me again. Over the past couple of years the technology of flashlights has advanced immensely. The market is flooded with terminology such as LED (Light Emitting Diode), which can make the average outdoorsman cringe with tech lingo. Some of the things to look for when shopping for a solid light are as follows:
1) Multiple brightness settings, a low and a high will be fine for most people.
2) I prefer a light that runs on regular AA or AAA batteries as these are usually less expensive than other batteries and you can use a rechargeable battery as well as they are easy to find at any store!
3) I would recommend an LED light that has an output of at least 100 lumens. I purchased a Browning Hi Power light that can be found here for about $75. In my opinion, the brighter the better!
The Browning light I purchased runs on two AA batteries, is 145 lumens (measure of brightness) and reaches out to about 150 yards. It is also compact enough to fit in a cargo pocket and does not weight a ton! With my new light it makes getting to a stand in the morning much easier not to mention tracking and finding downed game!
So if you are looking for your next hunting investment, think about making it a good quality flashlight.
Just wanted to share some quick safety tips since much of the US is under the gun when it comes to 90+ degree weather this week and those of us enjoying the outdoors have to be careful when dealing with temps like this.
With archery seasons (and gun in the lowcountry of SC) for whitetails, mulies and elk starting up in August and September across much of the country, I thought I'd start a multifaceted topic about some of the techniques the Inside Out team uses when it comes to scouting, particular when it comes to Odocoileus virginianus. Each post will be short and sweet, trying to hit the core of each particular "practice" and if you the readers want more in-depth information or a detailed look at a certain thing we do, just leave us a comment so we can give you what you want. With all that being said, let's dive right into what I think is a key principle to our whole process when it comes to scouting for any hunting season really: When and where.
While some people focus on just pre-season scouting or putting miles on their boots after the season is out, we look at it as a year round affair. We are looking for last season's rubs and just new areas (along with our regular spots) that look like good deer territory while small game hunting in January and February. Then comes the weeks leading up to and the entire turkey season, during which we continue to check out both old and new areas, looking for last year's sign while chasing a wiry ol' Tom; maybe even stumbling upon a shed antler or two. Then comes what I think is the "fun" part: Summer. We are out there in the heat of June, July and early August checking out creek crossings, trails, fields (where applicable), hardwood ridges, etc. getting an idea of the deer activity in those areas. We look for any changes to habitat, become acquainted with the terrain in new spots and pick out, as well as set up, potential stand sites. Then we like to give all the areas we have been in a month long break before the season starts, hopefully allowing mother nature to get back into her normal, non-human interfering routine and to wash away any of our residual scent. Then it's time to hit the woods in our camo, weapon in hand, to try and put some meat or a trophy on the ground. With that comes scouting while walking to and from stand sites or during midday hours when we have to get our legs moving. And it's not just wood scouting that occurs during the season. We'll change tactics not only based on what we are seeing while in stand or walking around, but also on what we are seeing while driving or what is being heard throughout the hunting community.
It's a full-court press on understanding our quarry that leads us to take this approach and I have to say that it works. These practices have lead to more deer encounters during the season and my two largest bucks on the wall have come directly from in-season scouting the day of or day before they were harvested. So if you take anything from all this, remember that scouting shouldn't be just a one time thing, and definitely not just in one place. Get out there and explore year round, the results might just surprise you!
During my past weekend's surf fishing trip, we did not have much success. The fish were just not biting very well. We did catch one blue fish that was of average size and quite tasty! I'd like to dedicate this post to explaining the rig that we use.
One of the most common surf fishing rigs is the Double Drop Rig (DD for the sake of simplicity in this post). The DD rig is quite simple, there are three snap swivels, two of which are for hooks and the last being for a sinker. These DD rigs can be found at Bass Pro shops here. They are available in wire or mono configurations. I've usually found it is good to use the wire as it gives you some added strength against many of the toothy saltwater fish that you are likely to catch while surf fishing.
The tackle that you need for the rig are some 2/0 hooks and a 5oz pyramid sinker that works in almost all situations. Wow, that is a huge sinker! I've experimented with smaller and this size seems to give you the best cast-ability as well as staying in place in moderate currents and waves. For extremely wavy conditions or when currents are unusually strong you can try one of these break away sinkers.
I usually use cut mullet when rigging these DD rigs. Any of these products can be found at your local beach fishing retailer. Wal-Mart and Bass Pro in Myrtle Beach always have everything I need. Depending on the location, sometimes your local family owned tackle shop will have the gear you need; however, it has been my experiences that they are sometimes a bit more pricey. On the flip-side, they are usually more conveniently located to your fishing spots.
Also, your local tackle shop will probably have a few tips for you when surf fishing. Ask the clerk if they have heard what folks are catching. Usually if the blue fish are running everyone is catching blue fish and they may have some advice as to the time of day and tide (high vs. low) that the fish are biting the best.
Watch your local weather station to determine when high and low tides are and you can plan your fishing trip around those times to maximize your chances of success.
Sometimes the great ideas that we have just need something to bring them to the forefront. The Inside Out team will be putting our talents to work and sharing our knowledge and love of the outdoors with anyone who wants to listen.
Curran's Outdoor Adventures
GoBlog (Get Outdoors)
Grants Blog (Growing Deer TV)
Hunt Like Your Hungry
inFOCUS (Campbell Cameras)
inMotion (Heartland Bowhunter)
Make It Happen Outdoors
Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
The Rivah Blog
The Will to Hunt
Wired to Hunt