Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Top 5 Deer Hunting Dos

Here is another guest post! I've really been enjoying getting to learn all these tips from other outdoorsmen! Do you have any topics you would like covered? Let me know in the comments!


The Top 5 Deer Hunting Do's

Are you starting deer hunting and want to know about the best possible way to attract as many as possible. Well, these five tips are here to help you.

Cover Your Scent

One of the ways that you can tell if your deer hunting season is going to be a success or not, is through your ability to fully cover up your scent.  Deer are able to smell a human from a mile away.  They will also be able to detect the smell that you leave on the ground and in the air as you walk around. 

The good news to this is that you will be able to easily cover up your scent and prevent the deer noticing you with a scent eliminator.  These eliminators will generally be sprayed on the bottom of your boots and on your hunting stand.  As the name suggests, they will eliminate the smells that deer pick up as human.

You should also look at bathing with scent-free soap.  This should be done before every hunting trip and will ensure that you do not leave any strange scents in the air.  Of course, even with these precautions, you need to ensure that you stand downwind from the deer to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

Fool The Deer

There are a lot of hunters that do not believe in tricking the deer with decoys or calls.  If you are one of these hunters then you are actually missing out on a lot of action.  It is important that you consider these tools and determine which ones you should use.

Be Attractive

Using deer attractants is another strategy that a lot of veteran deer hunters have been using to increase their success rates.  The open market has a wide range of deer attractants that you can choose from including deer feed, deer urine and much more.  The use of attractants will enable you to have more deer close to your stand which you can take down. (Editors Note: Be sure these are legal in your area before you try!)

A great example of when you should use these attractants is a drag rag which has been soaked in doe estrus during the peak rut season.  Bucks will generally follow the trails directly to your waiting stand.  However, it is never too late to start using these attractants as part of your hunting strategy.

Decoys are also another way that you can be more attractive to the deer.  The modern models that are available are very lifelike and will trick the deer fairly easily.  As long as you have set up your decoy correctly, you should see an increase in visitors to your hunting area.

Other methods that can be used to fool deer will include the use of a call.  This could be a grunt tube or a bleat can.  The rattling of antlers can also door a deer into your range for the perfect shot.  Of course, before you start using these tricks, you need to ensure that you know how to use them correctly.

Be Quiet

There are many hunters that think covering their scent will be enough, but they would be wrong.  Deer not only have an excellent sense of smell, they also have excellent hearing.  Deer are able to detect movement from as far as a quarter mile on a non-windy day.  If they hear your movements, it could take them 2 hours to return.  A deer bling can help and here are some of the best deer blinds of 2017

One of the ways that you can avoid making noise on your hunting day is to set up your stand a few days in advance.  You should also walk carefully and step with care when you make your way to the stand to ensure that you do not spook any of the deer that are around.

Know When To Hunt

Knowing when you should be hunting is vital and it is important to remember that anytime is not the time to hunt deer.  Deer are the most active during the early hours of the morning and close to dusk when the sun is starting to set.  If you are going to hunt during the evening, set up your stand around feeding areas.  For morning hunts, set up your stand along the route to bedding. 

It is important that you not apply all of these strategies at the same time.  If you are in rut season, anytime will be a good time to hunt since the buck are likely to show up at any time in any location.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Best Tips For Staying Awake While Hunting - Guest Post

Here is an interesting guest post on how to get the rest you need for a successful hunt. It is an important consideration that I had never thought of.


If you are interested in staying awake as much as possible and maximizing the amount of sleep you get during the hunting season, read on. We will explore how to do it and the best way to ensure that you are not sleep deprived while hunting while at the same time ways to ensure that you get as much hunting time as possible.

Catch Up With Sleep
The number one strategy to ensure that you maximize the amount of time you have during the hunting season, you need to make up for the so-called "sleep debt" in the weeks leading up to the hunting season. Humans need at least one of sleep to properly function and stay alert for two hours. With this regard, if you are getting less than eight hours of sleep, there is an accumulation of sleep debt that needs to be made up for. In this regard, prior to the hunting season, try as much as possible to make up the debt.

Take Naps
During the hunting season, the tradition has been to hunt during the weekend and work throughout the week. After all, life must go on and responsibilities must be met. This means that during the weekends when you are hunting, you tend to build up a substantial sleep debt. As such, to make up for this debt, make a point of regularly taking naps during the week in order to offset the difference. Whenever you have a chance, take a nap. For instance, the period right after work is a good time to naps in readiness for hunting weekends.

Additionally, when you experience being sleepy while hunting, take 10- or 20-minute power naps. This gets rid of the adenosine (the chemical responsible for the grogginess feeling) out of your brain.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Those glasses of wine or bottles of beer that you regularly take after dinner tend may seem fine, but unbeknown to many, they do influence the quality of sleep that one gets during. As the alcohol wears off, there is a tendency for many people to experience subtle withdrawals. The withdrawals tend to cause the awakening, negating the quality of sleep that you experience, which in effects affects your alertness while hunting. In this regard, negate the amount of alcohol that you consume in the period leading up to the hunting season. Better yet, keep off alcohol completely.

Make Your Hunting Sleep Experience Comfortable
For proper rest and sleeping, make a point of making your sleeping experience as comfortable as possible. Therefore, if you are sleeping on the ground, carry with you supplies that make the sleeping experience comfortable. For instance, carry with you sleeping pads that are rated for all weather, earplug, and a blindfold. Additionally, carry items that simulate the feeling of being at home. For instance, carry your favorite pair of pajamas or sleep time book.

Opt For Medication
If you anticipate finding it difficult to sleep while on a hunting expedition, you should consider purchasing "hypotonics" sleeping pills that have been proved to be safe and effective to use on a short-term basis. Such medications include Ambien and Sonata.

If you need to stay focused for longer periods of time then there are a wide range of things that can help with that too. CogniTune has a great, wide selection of these.

You should also determine possible medical conditions that will interfere with your sleep quality. Such conditions include sleep apnea, heart conditions, and Parkinson's disease.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Flashlight: The Most Important Piece of Outdoor Gear

I have two things I carry with me at all times, well five actually. My phone, wallet, and keys are always with me, but everyone has those! The other two "optional" things I always have with me is a good pocket knife (I personally carry a Swiss Army Champ) and a tactical flashlight.

If I had to choose between the pocket knife and the flashlight...... I don't know. Day to day, I'd probably choose the knife, I use it dozens or times a day at work. But if I am going out into the woods or on the water, it would be the flash light 100% of the time. It is without a doubt the most useful tool I own and the most critical safety device I carry.

Flashlights are not what they used to be when I was growing up. This is what I used for the first 15 years I spent outdoors:

I still keep it by my desk. Mostly for nostalgia. I have upgraded it with an LED bulb, but I never use it. It is simply inferior in every way to modern flashlights.

Like many things related to the outdoors, modern tactical flashlights were first designed for military use. Don't believe me? Check out this Wikipedia article. It is pretty fascinating.

Thankfully outdoorsmen can now greatly benefit from these advances in technology. Modern flashlights are tougher, more efficient, and much, much brighter than those common just ten years ago.

I have two main flashlights that I use often. My older one is a Mag-light LED.

I carried it everyday for several years. I liked it because it is small, light, and uses AA batteries. It is not the brightest light available, but it gets the job done.

About a year ago, I retired the Mag-light to my trucks center console in exchange for this bad boy:

It is a Slyde 6267. This thing is amazing! It is about 250 lumens, which is enough to blind something at night and illuminate shadows in the day and takes AAA batteries (I don't like buying special batteries for my flashlights). It is made super tough and is weather proof.

 The cool part is that it slides open to reveal a worklight!

 Its base has a super strong rare earth magnet, which is also extremely handy. The only down side is that it is quite heavy at 10.6 OZ with batteries (I just weighed it!)

 It stays on my hip in a Night-Eyez sheath. You can pick these up a Lowe's. They fit just about any flashlight out there.

 Everyone has different needs from their flashlight. I'm not going to go over all of them out there because I don't have to! Thankfully There is a great gear review website that did this for us. If you are looking for an outdoor flashlight check out Rangermade! That link will take you directly to their flashlight review page!

 Wow! I got off subject! Why do I think a flashlight is the most important tool for an outdoorsman?


 You have to see to do most things outdoors. You cannot see without light. Can you find your deer stand a 4:00 in the morning without a flashlight at least occasionally helping you? I can't. Can you find a blood trail at dusk without one? Me neither. Can you tie on a fly predawn without a flashlight? Unload a boat in the morning?  Find a dropped lure in the dark? Find your truck after the sun goes down? Make a fire at the campsite at night after a long day hiking? I need a flashlight to do these things and I bet you do too. 

The fact is, most of our prep work for a fun outdoors day is done in the dark. Almost everything we enjoy is done in the early morning or late evening. That requires getting up and ready before the sun does. Without a good flashlight we can't do these things.

There is also the safety side of things. Aside from your PFD, a flashlight is the most important safety device you own. It prevents accidents by lighting your way and gets you out of tight spots by showing you the way. Once the sun goes down and you are on the water or in the woods without a flashlight, you are in trouble. 

If for some reason you do get in trouble and cannot make it out, a flashlight is the perfect signalling tool. It can be seen for miles in the dark and, aside from a cell phone or radio, is your best best for getting help. 

The thought of being in the woods at night without a light terrifies me! So much that I always have at least three lights with me when I am hunting. My standard flashlight, a headlamp, and a tiny emergency flashlight in my kit.

What flashlight do you use? Why did you choose it? let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 31, 2017

How to start Metal Detecting

Every time I think I can’t come up with something else to do outdoors, I stumble upon something fun and engaging! Have you seen the new metal detectors that are on the market now? They are amazing!

I love the idea of finding treasure (or something of historical value)! No matter where you live there is the potential to find something interesting. I live in the historic Hampton Roads of Virginia. It is rich in history from colonial days onward. Most here people metal detect for Civil War artifacts. I know one guy in my area who found a saber on his property! The second most popular use is on the beaches. This can actually turn into a small source of income as people often loose jewelry at the beach.

If you are like me and are new to metal detecting, you will need to pick up a just few things. Really, you probably already have a lot of them!

  1. Metal detector (Obviously). There are TONS of metal detectors on the market. It is beyond the scope of this post (and my knowledge) to tell you how to choose the best one for you. Instead, I recommend you head over to which is an awesome resource for researching metal detectors.
  2. Headphones. These are not going to be always necessary, but if the area you are in is noisy they are necessary. Really just about any headphones will work at first. You probably already have a pair.
  3. A digging tool. Some people carry a small folding shovel, but I prefer a gardener’s knife. It does not do as much damage to the ground (you can easily dig small holes) and it is lighter to carry. Your choice here is going to depend on your area. If your ground is sandy or rocky, you might want to go with something else.

  4. A pinpointer. Another fun gadget! A pinpointer is basically a small metal detector that only goes off when it is very close to metal. These are invaluable when trying to find something small. They cut the time to find something in half easily! Like metal detectors, there are a ton of these on the market. It would take all day to go over and compare the features of all them, so for pinpointer reviews click here.

    A bag to hold your loot (and the garbage). You will need a tough bag that can get dirty to put the stuff you find in. MOST of what you find will be junk. While I guess it is not technically littering to leave it where you find it, I like to pack it up and toss it appropriately. A lot of the stuff you find will be sharp and rusty. I’d hate for a kid or pet running through the area to get hurt on it. Plus, trash looks trashy. I use a small, old tool bag I have. You can find these in the hardware section of any department store. They are the perfect size and are almost indestructible.

A pinpointer

See, not that much stuff!

Once you have collected your gear, you will need to find a place to metal detect. I recommend starting in your yard. It will help you become more confident with your equipment and will serve as a good dry run. Who knows, you might find something valuable!

In the US there are a few places you CANNOT metal detect. Do not metal detect on:

  • Private property (without permission). This includes seemingly abandoned property, property owned by railroads, farmed and fallow fields, school playgrounds and sports fields, ect…
  • National monuments. Want to get arrested? This is how you get arrested.
  • National parks. It is illegal to take or leave anything on national parks, or to disturb the ecosystem.
  • Civil & Revolutionary War Battlegrounds.
  • Native American Lands. (unless you are a member of that tribe assumingly)

So where can you metal detect? Lots of places. Lots and lots of places.

  • Private property with permission.
  • National forests. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Most BLM land.
  • City, County and State parks. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Most beaches (check local laws)

One Wildlife Management Area alone would give a lifetime of metal detecting, so your options are very open.

So, with a few simple tools and a place to search, what will you find?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Basics Of Turkey Hunting

Here is a guest post from Build Great Farms! There is a link to their blog at the bottom of this post, be sure and check them out!

Turkey hunting has been a popular pastime for generations, a trend unlikely to change anytime soon. Turkey hunting season is generally the Spring, at which point hunters gather to see who can catch the largest turkey and/or the one with the largest beard. The winner generally receives a trophy for their efforts. If you are considering joining a turkey hunt or merely wish to improve your performance in them, here are some tips that will help you catch a turkey.

 1. The Value of Patience 

 All turkey hunts are a waiting game as hunters anxiously await the appearance of their targets. Turkeys have exceptional eyesight and hearing, preventing you from catching them unless you are extremely quiet and still. The turkey hunting process can take hours even after a turkey returns a call, so you should be prepared to be patient before taking up the hobby.

2. Learn the Rules 

 The laws governing turkey hunts vary from state to state and among organized competitions, so you should ensure that you have a complete grasp on the rules for every event you participate in. Time schedules, bagging limits, and legal hunting grounds are all matters of particular importance that you should look into.

 3. Use a Hen Call 

 Most turkey hunters rely on hen calls to make clucking, purring, and yelping noises that convince turkeys other turkeys are in the hunter's area. A real turkey doesn't make the same sound every time, so you should try to have a variety of hen calls to mimic the vocal range of actual animals.

 4. Adopt an Expert's Approach 

 Relying on luck is unlikely to help you nab a turkey. Instead, try scouting an area at night to locate a turkey resting in a tree. Remain in the area until daybreak, and call the animal before it has a chance to go anywhere else. Turkeys are naturally social creatures that seek companionship when they wake up at sunrise, so you have to be ready to act when the turkey begins to stir.

 Alternatively, camouflage yourself in an area where turkeys are likely to feed or drink. They are bound to get hungry and/or thirsty eventually, ensuring that you have a target to go after. The best time frame to do this is late afternoon to sundown.

 5. Know Your Target

 Generally speaking, you are looking for a male turkey when you are on a turkey hunt. Male turkeys tend to be physically larger than their female counterparts, a crucial advantage when size is the factor deciding who wins. Male turkeys are categorized by beards on their chest that can grow to over nine inches long. Some turkey hunts use these beards to determine the winner, forcing you to catch a male to have any chance at all.

 It is also possible to identify the gender of a turkey you are tracking before you can actually see it. Veteran hunters can identify male or female based on coloration, with males tending toward the darker side of the spectrum. This can help you determine if a feather trail is worth following. Turkey droppings also vary by gender, with females leaving behind small curlicues while males look kind of like a question mark.

 6. Using the Weather 

 Rainy days are typically the best time to hunt turkeys, but take cover if lightning is in the area. Turkeys frequently congregate in an open field to dry out after a storm, a fact experienced hunters use to help locate them.

 Catching turkeys is a difficult endeavor, but the rush you get from a successful hunt is worth the effort. Armed with these tips, you will be turkey hunting with the pros in no time!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Teach a Kid to Shoot - Part 1 Safety

I am so excited! My kids are finally old enough that I can teach them how to shoot a gun! I have been waiting for this for years!

What I found surprising was how nervous I was for the kids safety the first time we went shooting. I am very comfortable around guns. The safety procedures come second nature to me. However, for them it was all new. Kids can be unpredictable.....

So before we started I drilled into them a few basic rules. I tried not to be too complex, they are kids after all. These are what I cam up with:

1. Keep your finger off the trigger.

I simply taught them to not touch the trigger until they were looking down the sights. I was expecting this to be one of the hard ones to follow, but they caught right on.

2. Never point the gun at anyone. 

This was the hard one. Kids are naturally oblivious to anyone and everything around them. Keeping a gun safely pointed is tough for even most adults I've taught, so this does not come as a surprise.

What ended up helping was when I told them to imagine a laser beam shooting out of the barrel that cut anyone it touched in half. Being Star Wars fans, this game caught on quite well with them.

3. Pretend the gun is always loaded. 

This was another easy one. They don't know enough to tell if it is loaded or not anyway, so treating it as if it was always loaded came fairly naturally.

Using these simple three rules, and going over them religiously, has kept all of us safe and let us enjoy the process without worry.

In Part 2 I am going to talk about the gun I chose to use when teaching them, and why I chose it.

Would you like to see a video of our first shooting session? Here it is! (The shooting is at the end of the video.)

Monday, February 6, 2017

How To Consistently Catch Fish - Step 1: Act Like A Fish

Most people who want to learn how to fish give up in frustration because they do not catch much. It is very discouraging to fish for several days and either catch nothing, or only catch very small fish. For twenty years I tried and failed to be a good fisherman. Oh, some days I would catch a nice one, but most days I would catch nothing. Several times I gave up, going a couple years without fishing.

Things changed about a year ago. I learned a few simple things that has helped me consistently catch fish. I still don't catch monsters, but I do catch keepers every time I go out. Your heard that right, I have not gotten skunked in over a year.

The tips I am going to share in this guide are simplistic, no brainers to some. Seasoned fishermen will scoff, even disagree. However, if you are a beginner fisherman or a frustrated fisherman, I can guarantee you will catch more fish and have more fun if you follow my plan.

There are some things you need to keep in mind:

First, like all hobbies, it takes some money to get good at fishing. You will not need to spend a lot of money, but you will not be able to do it for free.

Second, this guide is for warm, freshwater species and inshore salt water species. If you are want to catch cold water species, like trout or salmon, look elsewhere. Those species require a different technique.

Third, this guide only entails what I did to succeed. Every successful fisherman has their own technique. You will eventually find your own. Don't be afraid to experiment.

On to the guide.....

Step 1: Act Like A Fish

Fish live in the water. In order to catch them consistently, you need to get of the land and in the water.

Now this is not the case for small bodies of water, and I know some people are very successful at fishing from shore. However, your odds go up dramatically when you get off the shore and on the water.

Plus, it's just more fun!

This puts you in control of the situation. No longer do you have to wait for the fish to come to you, you can go to them. You can go out and find the fish. Once you have found one, you are almost sure to find others. It is that first fish of the day that is the hardest.

This means you either need a boat or some waders. Each have their benefits, depending on the situation. I use both. Although, if I could only choose one, it would be the boat.

When I say boat I do not mean a $20000 bass boat (although they are great!). In fact, it is foolish to invest a lot of money into your first boat. The simple fact is that no matter what you choose, you will most likely realize that you want or need something else.

I recommend a kayak as your first fishing vessel. They are inexpensive, can go almost everywhere larger boats can go, and can actually grant you access to places no one else can go.

Easy to transport, easy to use, kayaks rule!
You don't have to spend much money on a kayak, I purchased my first one at Dicks Sporting Goods for just a little over $200. It was not a dedicated fishing kayak, so I added a crate to hold my gear and a couple rod holders. That cheap little kayak has helped me catch more fish than anything else.

I mentioned earlier that I also use waders sometimes. Waders are slightly less expensive that a kayak and much easier to store and transport. If you live in an apartment with little storage, they may be your only choice. You can get a decent pair of chest waders for about $100, expect another $50 -$70 for a good pair of wading boots, a necessity.

Waders works great on rivers and some bays. They let you get out to deeper water and explore the shore line from a different perspective. Fishing while wading takes a little more skill than with a boat. You must move slowly so as not to spook fish. I will say that landing a large fish while belly deep in water is one of the most exciting things a fisherman can do. Being in the water with a large fish is wonderful and frightening at the same time!

There are also more dangers. I've had snakes come right to me, plus there is always the danger of slipping into a deep hole. A very large fish can literally drag you into deeper water. Be careful and act smart while wading.

You are not guaranteed to catch fish just because you have a boat, or wade out to the fish. It is, however, the first step to becoming consistently successful.

How To Consistently Catch Fish - Step 2: Go Small and Use Magic

Most people who want to learn how to fish give up in frustration because they do not catch much. It is very discouraging to fish for several days and either catch nothing, or only catch very small fish. For twenty years I tried and failed to be a good fisherman. Oh, some days I would catch a nice one, but most days I would catch nothing. Several times I gave up, going a couple years without fishing.

Things changed about a year ago. I learned a few simple things that has helped me consistently catch fish. I still don't catch monsters, but I do catch keepers every time I go out. Your heard that right, I have not gotten skunked in over a year.

The tips I am going to share in this guide are simplistic, no brainers to some. Seasoned fishermen will scoff, even disagree. However, if you are a beginner fisherman or a frustrated fisherman, I can guarantee you will catch more fish and have more fun if you follow my plan.

There are some things you need to keep in mind:

First, like all hobbies, it takes some money to get good at fishing. You will not need to spend a lot of money, but you will not be able to do it for free.

Second, this guide is for warm, freshwater species and inshore salt water species. If you are want to catch cold water species, like trout or salmon, look elsewhere. Those species require a different technique.

Third, this guide only entails what I did to succeed. Every successful fisherman has their own technique. You will eventually find your own. Don't be afraid to experiment.

On to the guide.....

Like most long time anglers I have hundreds, even thousands of dollars invested in lures and terminal tackle. I've gone through many fazes. There was my topwater faze where I purchased just about every topwater lure made, from the Jitterbug to the Hula Popper to the Tiny Torpedo. Then there was live bait faze that came with about 20 pounds of sinkers and every hook size and shape possible. At one point I was convinced the only was to catch fish was with carved balsa crank baits. Thanks goodness that one did not last long!  More recently there has been the very expensive fly fishing stage and the productive, but ultimately frustrating ultralight stage.

All of these techniques are fun and can be very productive, but none of them are productive consistently. Plus, if you are going to catch fish consistently you need to carry a hundred or more lures, and the lure specific rods, with you so that you can find what the fish want.

When I began fishing from a kayak I was forced to limit the amount of gear I could carry. I was limited to about 3 rods and two Plano stowaway boxes. Now that I have a little more experience  I carry even less.

You see, I have learned that you only need two lures to catch fish all day, every day.

They are.....

A small crappie jig and a Gulp! swimming mullet on a 1/4 oz jig head.

I know, I know, you don't believe me. But it is true! I catch 90% of my fish on these two lures. The other 10% is caught on live bait. And let me reiterate, I always catch fish and I did not used to before I began to exclusively use these.

One of the best lures ever invented.
Lets talk about the crappie jig first. The lowly crappie jig is most productive in fresh water. It should be fished with a long ultralight rod and with a maximum of 6 pound test line. I prefer 4 pound test. My favorite color is white, but I think the color is less important that its size and action. Be sure the grub tail swims with the slightest twitch.

Caught with a white crappie jig on 4 pound test line.
Many people think that you cannot catch large fish with a lure so small. This is a myth. Next time you catch and keep a large fish, open its stomach. In it you will most likely find all sorts of stuff, most of it small. At first, it will seem like you are only catching small fish, but the truth is you are catching the fish that would have ignored your large bait. The large fish that attack a large bait will also attack your small bait. Plus, you have a smaller chance of spooking a wise, old fish with the small bait.

Another nice fish, courtesy of the white grub.
I switch to the white crappie grub when my magic bait does not work. Magic? Yes, rabbit out of the hat, levitating magic.

There is one lure that out performs everything on the market. I am convinced it works even better than live bait in most instances. It is messy, delicate, and expensive. But, it is also imbued with the magic essence of the fishing gods. What is this wonderful bait? Gulp! Alive. Specifically. Gulp! Alive 4" Swimming Mullet.

Discovering this bait was one of the best things that ever happened to me (from a outdoorsmans perspective). Actually, I take that back. Discovering this bait was one of the best things that ever happened to me period.

fishing october 0191

Just place this lure on a 1/4oz jig head and start using it. You will catch fish. Inshore fish especially love it. I like to slowly retrieve it along the bottom using a medium fast action rod and ten pound test line.


This summer I did several tests with this bait. I rigged two identical poles, one with Gulp and the other with a lure that looked and acted like Gulp, but was not Gulp. I made a cast with the Gulp, then a cast with the Gulp look alike. Each time I did this I caught all my fish on the Gulp, and barely got a strike on the "Not Gulp". The tests were very definitive in my mind.


Gulp is not perfect, however. It must be kept marinading in the special magic Gulp juice. So, every time you have to replace an old one you get all Gulpy. And replace you will. I feel lucky if I catch three fish on one bait. They are very delicate. Small fish will nip off its swimming tail quickly.

fishing october 006
Gulp! (as a trailer on a bucktail)
It is also ridiculously expensive. I use between $10 and $15 of Gulp every time I go out. For me it is the difference between catching fish and not catching fish, so the expense is worth it. By the way, don't think you can cheat and marinade other plastics in the gulp juice and it will work the same. Gulp baits are like sponges that soak up the heavenly Gulp juice. Regular plastics just get coated with the stuff and then wash off after the first cast.

first day of school 083
It should be noted that not all Gulp! products are created equal. Some, like the sand fleas and earth worms are almost useless. Others like the Pogy and Mud Minnow are OK, but not great. Still others like the Peeler Crab and Swimming Mullet are real winners. Gulp has a real problem with creating action, their stuff is stiff.

first day of school 080

Of course, it is not just the bait. You have to find the fish and make a good presentation. We will cover that next.....

The Suicide Of The Small Outdoors Shop

A recent thread on the TKAA forum caught my attention.

TKAA (Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association) is the best place to find information about kayak fishing in the Tidewater area. The forum members are smart and helpful. The threads do not get bogged down with flame wars and there are no overly opinionated, know-it-all-jerk-faces who ruin the experience, like so many other fishing forums have. You should check them out!

Back to the subject:  The original poster stated a desire to start a small business specializing in kayak fishing equipment. He wanted some advice on doing so.

Most of the responses were encouraging, but skeptical. Competition and overhead were two of the obstacles brought up.

I'd like to add another obstacle. It is a roadblock to all small outdoors stores, not just tackle, bait, or fly shops.

Sportsmen are becoming fed up with the uninformed, rude, crappy service commonly found in these small shops.

It is not competition that is going to eventual kill the small tackle shop. Everyone knows when they enter a small shop that their prices are going to be higher and their selection is going to be smaller. I don't patronize small shops for their selection or prices. I do it for their service.

The expectation when shopping in a small shop is that you will be treated with kindness, that service will be prompt, and the sales staff will have a clue what they are talking about!

When I go to Bass Pro, I expect the staff to know nothing about hunting or fishing. Every time I try to ask a question I get a blatantly wrong answer. Once I overheard a sales man trying to convince a hunter that you needed at least a 7mm Mag to cleanly kill a deer in Virginia. (For those who don't hunt, a 7mm Mag is a very powerful round, almost overkill for the small deer in Virginia.)

The other day at Dicks Sporting Goods, I was discussing dolphin fishing with a staff member. He thought I was talking about the porpoise. I could understand this confusion from someone who never fished, buy anyone familiar at all with ocean fishing would know the difference.

In a small shop, I expect the salesman to know his product. However, in recent years I have found this to not be the case. When visiting a tackle shop in South Carolina, I asked a question about a reels gear ratio. The salesman looked at me like I had two heads. In the Outer Banks I asked what bait was recommended for surf fishing. The salesman just shrugged.

An even bigger concern than not knowing the answer to my question is that I have found small shop owners giving me wrong or bad advice. When purchasing a kayak recently, a $1200 purchase, the salesman answered many of my questions wrong. I only found out after doing my own research at home.

If this happened once, I would understand, but is happens every single time I go into a small shop. It does not seem to matter where or when I go.

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