Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ice Fishing Season

If any of you follow me or my blog, you know that this time of year is one of my favorites.  I always enjoy freezing my butt off on a frozen lake trying to catch fish!  I know that standing over top of  a hole in the ice, in freezing cold weather, hoping that a fish bites the other end of my fishing line may not sound fun to some people, but there are a few things that make ice fishing much more enjoyable that I want to share with you.

My #1

ice fishingFirst and foremost, the JawJacker! This contraption has made a sport I love into a new and exciting event every time I go fishing.  Here in Idaho we can use up to 5 rods per person which can quickly turn into a lot when fishing in  a group.  I always like to have my rod I use for jigging, but with my other 4 rods I always have them in a JawJacker.  The JawJacker not only acts as a safe rod holder so I don't lose my rod down the hole (Which has happened a time or two before I owned the JawJackers), but the JawJacker also increases my success rate and literally keeps me active the whole time I'm fishing.  If the JawJacker is legal to use in your state I strongly recommend you picking one up for one of your extra ice fishing rods! You wont be disappointed I can guarantee it! Here is a video of one reason I use the JawJacker:

Three years ago I really started to get back into ice fishing.  Out of everyone  who came fishing with me, my favorite person to take out on the ice has been and always will be my wife.  As much as she loves me, she didn't necessarily share my same passion for ice fishing seems how she isn't a huge fan of the cold weather.  Luckily for me, she gave me the ultimatum and said that if I wanted her to come fishing with me, I would have to buy an ice fishing shelter to keep her warm.  I picked up the Eskimo Quick Fish 6 which I have been completely satisfied with.  This fishing shelter is a quick set up and take down as well as provides plenty of room for me and a few friends to fish in comfortably.  The only time I've had a problem with it was when I took on of my friends ice fishing and he decided to pick up my ice auger inside my shelter... Long story short, he accidentally brushed the auger blade against the side wall of the shelter and left a 6 inch slit in the shelter wall.  We got the slit fixed up and it has been great ever since.
ice fishing
My Eskimo Quick Fish 6 and JawJacker
The last thing I will mention in this post that I feel is such a game changer for me is having a custom ice fishing rod!  I have bought all sorts of different rods and tried lots of different companies.  I have found a small hand full that I really feel do the job well while I have also found a huge amount which I feel are a complete waste of money.  I am currently in the process of having another custom ice fishing rod made from Cal Piccolo which I will be sure to write about later this year!  The thing I like about having a custom rod is a little bit of the superstition factor, as well as the concept of being comfortable with your gear.  The more you are comfortable with your gear, the better you and that gear will perform the way its supposed to.  Plus if anyone has seen the movie Grumpy Old Men, you will understand that ice fishermen have their lucky ice fishing rods... and my custom rod is just that!
ice fishing
Ice fishing

 This brief list of ice fishing gear makes my ice fishing trips a lot more than just sitting over a hole in the ice waiting for a fish to bite... I wish that I could say since I've had this year I've never had a bad day of ice fishing, but I can honestly say that since I've had this gear it has made the bad days of ice fishing into better ones!
ice fishing
A bunch of Brook Trout I caught this year

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Some People Don't See...

Families Hunt Together
Good Memories

What some people don’t see in pictures like these...
Growing up hunting, I never quite understood how some people could look at my hunting pictures or hunting trophies and criticize them because they themselves don’t hunt.  Often times I would hear comments like, “Oh that is so sad” or “That poor animal”.  Even though I could explain how we used the meat and never let anything go to waste, I never felt like I was really getting my point across of why I viewed these moments so differently than some of those who don’t hunt.  Then it dawned on me one day that when I look at these pictures and trophies I literally see something different, something special, and something a person who has never hunted would ever see while looking at the same picture.
Girls Hunt TooPictures like these remind me of driving and laughing with my daughter, singing the songs from Frozen at the top of our lungs.  I remember us “sneaking” to get closer to the birds, when in reality we were standing out like a sore thumb!  I remember her jumping up and down thinking that she was the one who shot this bird and made her dad so proud.  This picture literally brings a tear to my eye thinking about how the moments when I recognize how much she just wants to make her daddy proud of her.  When I look at this picture I laugh at the memory of her wanting me to, “cook it for mommy, and baby, and grandpa, and grandma… and mommy”.  So when some people look at this picture and criticize it or make comments about how my daughter is a killer, it is clear they don’t understand. 

Idaho Bull ElkWhen I look at this picture, I see a memory of months of excitement building up to opening weekend.  I see the look on my wife’s face when she shot a rifle for the first time, the laughs she laughed when she hit a milk jug full of water at 300 yards away.  I see late nights talking about the ethics of hunting and what to do in every situation she could think up in her mind.  When I look at this picture I also see her excitement the night before the hunt which kept her from sleeping though the night.  I see us walking hand in hand down the trail at 4:30 am watching our breath float into the air on the cold morning of the hunt.  I can see the excitement in her eyes when she saw this bull elk at 300 yards away feeding up the canyon.  If I look at this picture for just a moment I can almost re-experience the moment when she fired her first shot, shaking, worrying, and anticipating what would happen next.  I see her disappointment and anxiety when I told her she missed and she should shoot again.  I remember the moment vividly of when she fired her last shot, watched the bull jump, and then watched him stumble to the ground!  This picture brings back the joy we felt when she put her hands on her first trophy ever.  I remember the words, “I never realized how big elk were” and her excitement when she called her family to tell them she had just filled her tag.  This picture brings back the memory of the long but exciting trips back and forth to pack out my wife’s bull elk.  So… no I don’t just see a woman with a dead animal, I see much more than that.

Family Deer HuntAnti-hunters, non-hunters, and those who just don’t understand, will never look at these pictures and trophies the same way a hunter will.  I can look at pictures and remember such good memories with my family and friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Us hunters view these pictures the same way some families look at pictures of a trip they took, vacation they went on, or some event they did.  I can look at a picture of another hunter and see the talks they must have had with their children during this experience and appreciate what parenting is going on.  I see many talks about God, respect, values, and everything under the sun.  So the next time someone looks at a picture of a successful hunter and does not see the same thing you do, take a moment to explain to this person what YOU see in that picture and why it means more to you than it may mean to them.  

I want to clarify that I am not saying that hunting pictures and those memories are more important or better than other pictures of other memories such as a family vacation etc.  In no way is either situation “better” than the other and that is my main point to this post.  Any picture of any memory needs to be cherished and respected.  If people went on a criticized a families picture at Disney Land and chastised them for “wasting money and time” this would be completely inappropriate.   While I’ve heard these same remarks from people about my hunting pictures, I just hope that I can help them understand why these pictures mean so much to me.  
This is one of those pictures that means a lot to me that may not mean much to someone else!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

3 Rules to Follow With Online Purchases

I will share a quick story of why I feel this post is important and I hope you can learn from my bad experience of not following my own advice! 
I recently purchased a set of name brand camouflage online and based my decision of the information posted on the manufactures website.  I purchased the camo in a set sale that allowed me to get both the pants and jacket at a decent price which was a great deal for me.  I saw one red flag which I chose to ignore which I would eventually come to regret… On the website there was a link to be the “First Person To Review This Product”…  It was odd to me that this company which is well known wouldn’t have a single review posted on their website concerning this product. 

Upon receiving the gear I was completely happy with the camo pattern, material, and cut of the pants yet was concerned with the cut and style of the jacket.  The jacket did not fit well and the functionality of it was not built for hunting in my opinion.  The length of the jacket was very short which barely came to my waist line.  The jacket was also very wide at the bottom which compounded the problem about the jacket being too short in the torso.  Between being too short and too wide, every bend or reach I would do, lifted the jacket above my waist line which didn’t seem to convincing to be “Scent-Lok”-ing (and yes I am making a reference to the product I purchased).  The tags on the gear stated, “Guarantee Performance, Quality, Satisfaction” which gave me the assurance that if I tried the gear and didn’t like it within the proper terms then I would be guaranteed my concerns would be rectified. 

I used the gear twice which produced the results I had predicted, being completely satisfied with the pants yet completely unsatisfied with the jacket.  When I contacted the company they originally told me that the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee did not cover the decision on me “liking the product” or not and that there was nothing they could do for me.  When I wrote the exact words which were posted on the tag, the company then told me the only option I had was to pay to send the product back and then get a $50 credit toward another purchase.  I asked them about the cut and style of their jackets and they told me that all of their jackets all followed the same basic pattern and that if this jacket didn’t fit me right then more than likely all of their jackets would fit the same way…   Due to the price of their jackets  and clothing, the option to pay for the product to be sent back and only getting the $50 credit toward another purchase was not a reasonable option for me.  As upset as I could have been I decided that I really couldn’t be upset at the situation and just knew that I wouldn’t be buying anything else from this company due to the style not being made for hunting in my opinion.  Even though I wasn’t happy about it, I couldn’t get to upset with the company. 

BUT THEN… I decided that it would have been very useful for me to have a review which said how this jacket fit prior to me purchasing the jacket.  I got on their website and clicked their link to be the “First Person” to review this jacket.  I wrote about how I am 5’10 and 180 pounds (not to abnormally sized) and wrote about how the jacket did not fit well.  I wrote about how the jacket barely came to my waist line and how wide the jacket was at the bottom allowing the nice cool October breeze to flow right inside my jacket completely defeating the purpose of having a jacket on… I pointed out that if a breeze could easily flow up this jacket, that I felt my scent wouldn’t be successfully “Scent-Lok-ed” inside.  After submitting my online review a page came up thanking me for posting my review online.  The next day I visited the website to see if my review was posted but didn’t see anything… A few days later I got on again and realized that my review was never posted… I kept checking off and on over the next few weeks and was completely disgusted that the company chose not to post my honest review to help prevent a customer from having the same frustration as I did.  I am sure that this goes on way to often with companies, but I can’t tell you how disgusted I felt that this company gave me the impression that no one had written a review for this jacket when in reality there may have been one, if not many people, who wrote a similar review which could have prevented me from wasting my money on a jacket that is designed for the mall instead of hunting! 

Moral of the story is that I will never buy another item off line without researching reviews written about the product.  If there are not reviews on the company’s website I will be searching online reviews from other sources and hopefully finding useful information before making the same mistake twice.  I will admit that I usually do my research and look at other bloggers and their reviews, but when I saw a sale on some gear I needed, I acted impulsively and came to regret it… My advice is to not make the same mistake I did and do your research outside of the company’s website.  I know I myself have posted some reviews on some gear and this is not an attempt to push my own posts, but check out many different sources to make sure the information you find is consistent before making your purchase!  Here are my 3 quick rules to guide your online purchases based off my bad experience:

1- Do you research to find various reviews.


2. Call the company and clarify what their "Satisfaction Guarantee" really means and covers.


3.  Don't act impulsively... If its an amazing deal and you think you will miss the opportunity, make sure you still do your research before making the purchase!