Thursday, December 28, 2017

Essential Kayak hunting tips for beginners.

If you have followed this blog for long, you know I am a big believer in kayaks. I absolutely believe they are the most fun you can have fishing. The excitement of being down there with the action and having a large fish pull you around is absolutely unmatched in the outdoors. Couple that with the ability to go places boats cannot and the ability to go there silently makes them the perfect fishing platform.

I am not the only person who recognizes this and kayaks are getting more and more popular. Innovations are being made and the boundaries are being pushed in what they can do. Gone are the days that kayaks are used solely for touring. You name a water based outdoor adventure and someone has probably done it in a kayak.

One of the last frontiers we are seeing with kayaks is hunting. A few years ago I started seeing my friends go out duck hunting in their kayak. Some have even attempted larger game, gaining access to hard to reach public land for deer, turkey, and varmints.

You can sneak up close to game in a kayak

Like kayak fishing, kayak hunting requires careful planning and gear selection. It takes a lot of effort, but the effort is often well worth it.

The first thing you need to look into is the laws concerning both boating and hunting. It can get complex depending on your area. In my state, it is illegal to shoot deer from a boat. You also must have safety lights, even on a kayak, at night. Your state or country will have different laws, so just go over them carefully before you do anything else.

After you make sure you are doing everything legally, you need to make sure you do everything safely. For this you will need some gear. The most obvious is a PFD. If you are in a kayak you should be wearing one. Period. Other than drowning, the biggest danger is hypothermia. Hunting is mostly done in cold weather. A dunk in a lake with your normal hunting cloths in near freezing weather is deadly. You will get very cold very quickly. You need to be wearing a good pair of insulated waders with a belt (so they do not fill up) and a dry top. A dry top is a pullover type jacket that is designed to keep you dry. They are somewhat expensive, but just as necessary as a PFD. Another option would be a complete dry suit. Although they can be on the spendy side.

Another consideration is your kayak itself. A small kayak might not cut it. It needs to be able to carry you, your gear, and your kill. Check its weight rating and add at least 150 pounds to your weight. Can it handle it?
Some of my closest wildlife encounters have been from a kayak

Ok, so you have squared away the legal and safety stuff, now onto the fun stuff!

The main purpose of a kayak when hunting is to get you to a good spot, a spot no one else has access too. Sometime this means an hour or more paddling. Be sure you have a good seat so you can sit comfortably. A good paddle is also important. I like a long touring paddle, but you will need to try several to find a type that fits your style.

Depending on your quarry, you may need some specific hunting gear.

Duck hunting requires the most gear. They sell some amazing camo for kayaks. You can turn it into a small floating blind if you wish! Some people I know tow a small raft for all their decoys and camo. Waterproof storage of ammo and your gun should also be considered. My kayak has a waterproof opening in the center that fits a shotgun perfectly, however not all do. You need to carefully consider this.

I need to throw a blanket in there to protect my baby
Deer and other larger game come with their own needs. Most importantly, how are you going to bring your kill back? For small game there are specially designed coolers to keep your catch on ice. Larger game will need to be lashed to the deck of your kayak. This can get very tricky. You need to have the straps and a good plan for accomplishing this. Having a deer fall off your kayak or causing you to capsize is a nightmare I don’t even want to think about!

Using a kayak to hunt can give you the edge you need, especially on public land. However, it does come with a lot of extra considerations. Do your homework. Make a plan. Get the right gear. You will not regret it!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Gear Spotlight: Big Daddy Car Roof Bag

Wow! I have been going through a lot of changes lately! Two fairly big ones that affect this blog.

First, I got a new truck! I drove my old ’99 Toyota Tacoma for most of my adult life and loved it. However, it had a major rust problem. I could put my fist through some of the holes in its frame. Considering I drove my kids around in it, I just did not feel safe in it any more.

So, I got a Honda Ridgeline!

Big upgrade. It is nicer than the Toyota in almost every way. Safer to be sure, but also much, much more cargo capacity.

Change #2: We are moving out of the city and into the mountains!

Yea, this is the big one.

I’m not going to go into details, but moving is complicated. The company is paying for the move, so we have movers. Naturally, there is a gap between when our stuff leaves and when it arrives. So for this three or four day period my family, complete with three dogs, will be living with just what we can fit in that new truck.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention that the moving company will not move some things. Namely firearms and ammunition……. I have a lot of those. So, they need to find a place in my truck also.

As you can imagine, I am looking for ways to expand the storage in my truck. There are many options, but for me the best bet is going to be the Big Daddy Car Roof Bag.

This thing is amazing! First of all, I don’t need a roof rack to use it. It works with roof racks, but if you don’t have one, no problem.  It uses straps that install through your cabin making it super secure. It is also fairly easy to install. Easier than a traditional rooftop carrier to be sure.

It is also large. 14 cubic feet large! That is the size of the trunk in my wife’s car! We will be able to get most of our “extra” stuff up there. If you are going camping it would fit your tent, four sleeping bags and mats, plus your food with room to spare! 14 cubic feet might not sound like a lot, but it is!

Now, some rooftop bags have a problem with leaking. Not this one. It is rubberized and sealed. The stuff inside will not get wet. Period. This was a big sticking point for me. We will be moving in the dead of winter and it will be our household stuff up there, it cannot get wet.

I don’t plan on using mine often so storage of the actual bag when I’m not using it is a concern. Thankfully it is fully collapsible and stuffs down into a stuff bag. Much smaller than a sleeping bag. Easy peazy! I can just store it with my camping gear.

I should probably mention how inexpensive it is. Very inexpensive. You can buy them from their web site for £69.99 (about $94) or on Amazon. Here is a link to the Amazon listing. They are out of stock on Amazon right now, but I have been told that they will be back in stock mid January. This comes with everything, including all the straps you need plus a roof mat and stuff bag!

If you are looking for roof top storage for your car or truck, I recommend trying the Big Daddy Car Roof Bag. I think it is a good choice!

While you are on their web site, check out their other products. They have a lot of unique, well designed products, including a kids camping cot. I think we will see a lot more out of this company in the future. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to Catch Yellow Perch

If you are just starting to take up fishing or an active fisher for years, this articles information will make you a top perch fisherman. You will be able to learn the necessary technique that will allow you get a good catch, and you will not have to return empty-handed when you learn how to catch yellow perch in this article.

Yellow perch is United States and Canadian fish found in freshwater. These fish are referred to more simply as just "perch", a light yellow overall body colour with dark vertical lines down each side. Its size varies from between 4 and 15 inches in length (Commonly a maximum around 40cm) and usually stops at four pounds. The meat flavour is very sweet, easy to fillet from the fish, and tastes excellent deep fried in a flour based batter.

Perch is a regular name for several various types different fish species, it's common relatives are European redfin perch, and Balkhash perch. They are a carnivorous freshwater fish and are usually found in rivers, lakes, ponds, farmers water storages and streams. Their diet consists of shellfish, small fish, and water breeding insects. They are by far the most popular freshwater fish among fishermen, they commonly travel only in schools and become most active during dawn and at dusk, both times are commonly associated with when they are most prone to seek food.
You do not need a thick fishing line and a long fishing rod to catch perch.

You only need a 6 lbs line and the lightweight fishing rod to get started. The yellow perch also love live bait, and you can use baby perch as bait which is very productive. You have the absolute best opportunity to catch perch in live bait. Ensure small hooks are used as yellow perch are not a big fish, so you will need a small hook to ensure your fish always hooks up after taking a bite at your bait or lures. A small hook and a small piece cut from a live worm will do wonders for you.
Fish in and around rock beds, and also weed beds, as these fish often use areas such as this to hide, waiting to feed on other small species, including their own.

The best advice is not to fish for perch swimming in large open waters. It also implies that you won’t find this fish in a large open body of water. Often the most productive fishing can be had in the morning or right after dinner, just before and during sunset.

Perch will frequently school with other small fish such as smaller bass. Generally where you find one, there are many others around the same area. Trolling a lure or casting a weedless lure directly over weed beds can make the fishing better too. Synthetic fishing lures often work extremely well, but you have to pick the right type; otherwise, you're wasting your time. A lightweight jig as well as a set of poppers is what we recommend.

Although methods of fishing for perch have changed over the decades, their love for food has not. Live bait in the form of smaller fish is usually much more effective than using artificial fishing lures. One of the best baits to use is soft shell crayfish. This kind of bait works throughout the year. If the soft shells are not available, then freshwater minnows definitely work perfectly in the cold water, while night crawlers regularly work better with warmer water, you can also use google to find a fishing store online to obtain lures and fishing information.

A crappie rig provides an excellent way to catch perch, they can also be used to test and see whether fish are biting your area. Personally, I like to rig up various live baits in a simple crappie rig and troll to see what is striking. Once I know, I will double up the bait on the rig and start taking on the fish, loading up the boat. Nothing is more exciting than times when you are able to nail two big perch in one go.

If crappie rigs are not your cup of tea, a simple slip based bobber setup used floating and waiting for a strike, will also work very well.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Choosing a Log Splitter: Gas Powered or Electric?

The most trustworthy tool for splitting your logs into firewood size chunks is of course an axe. It’s simple and easy to use. It has no moving parts so there’s not a lot to break. And, if you do break a handle, on most models it’s replaceable.

Axes have two major drawbacks however.

The first is that they are slow. You are very limited with how much wood you can split when using an axe. Even if you work quickly, you will eventually run out of steam.

The second is that as you age, you might not be as strong as you once were. Swinging an axe might even become too much of a physical burden. 

And, if you injure yourself, forget about it. You just won’t be able to effectively split wood using an axe.

Luckily, we live in the time of engineering. We don’t need to rely on simple tools and can instead use a much more efficient approach: log splitters.

The Case for Going Gas-Powered

There are two major types of powered log splitters -- gas-powered and electric. And, they both have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks.

Gas-powered splitters are for serious business. They are designed to churn through more logs in a day than you could probably handle with an axe in a week.

Most gas-powered splitters have a much higher ceiling for the amount of work you can get done than their electric splitter counterparts.  So, if your only consideration is doing as much work as possible in a certain period time, going with a gas-powered option is a no brainer.

They do have some negatives though depending on your situation.

The major setback on gas-powered splitters is that emit lots of fumes. If you are working inside a garage or barn, or somewhere without a lot of decent ventilation, you are not going to want to use one.

Also, they tend to be very heavy and expensive. So, they are not for casual work.

You should only really considering use this type of splitter if you know you are going to get your money’s worth and you have a way to lug it around.

The Case for Going Electric

If a gas-powered splitter is a little too much for your needs, then you should consider all that electric splitters have to offer.

They are much more efficient than trying to work with an axe. You’ll work faster and you don’t need to be in prime physical shape to get your work done.

They tend to be lighter than their gas-powered counterparts, and you can use them indoors since they don’t have any kind of exhaust.

In most cases they are not quite as powerful as gas-powered models, but they will be able to handle most of the work that anyone could throw at one for personal use.


When it’s time to put down the axe and look for a more efficient wood splitting solution, you have a couple of choices to make. Do you want to go gas-powered or electric?

For most people an electric splitter will be enough. But, if you have more serious jobs, you might want to splurge and go with a more powerful gas-powered option.

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