Making resolutions to ring in the new year has been around for more than 4,000 years now. How did it get it's start? According to 43things.com:

Revelry and resolutions have been essential to ringing in the New Year since 2000 B.C. when Babylonians held semi-annual festivals around the spring and autumn equinoxes. Back then, people marked the beginning of a New Year by paying off debts and returning borrowed goods. The practice carried over into Roman times with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to a double-faced deity named Janus, the god of beginnings and endings. When the Roman calendar was reformed, the first month of the year was renamed January in honor of Janus, establishing January 1 as the day of new beginnings.

One of my goals this year is to get you to do one of my resolutions with me. I'm not going to ask you to lose weight, stop smoking, drink less coffee or send me money. What I am going to ask you to do is this:

Take three people, who have never been, kayak fishing this year. 

Seems simple enough right? Not only will it bring others into the sport but it will also allow you to share your passion of the outdoors in a new way with these folks. 

Every time I take a new person out for that first paddle, they remark on the quiet, the peace and how close they feel to nature. Something about gliding across the top of the water where the sounds aren't horns and radios but birds and fish calms the soul. Why would you not share that? 

Take an afternoon or three and show someone why you love this sport. It will pay dividends down the road. 



Last Minute Shopping Ideas for the Kayak Fisherman

You waited and waited. Surely something would pop into your head. What do you get the kayak fisherman who has everything? Time is ticking quickly and you need to make a decision stat!

One thing that a fisherman always needs is more tackle. Maybe it's hooks. Maybe it's swimbaits but either way, he'll find something he needs. When it comes to tackle, the first place to stop and where you can still get it right now is Tackle Warehouse. They won't get there goodies they select by Christmas day but chances are they won't be on the lake Christmas Day.

Speaking of gift cards, if you know your giftee has been checking out some electronics or gadgets but you aren't sure which one it was, get a gift card for that too! The two places I trust the most with my time and money for kayaks and gear are Mariner Sails and HOOK1.

Not really into the gift card thing? You might have time to get to a local sporting goods store and pick up some baits. If you really don't know which ones to get, try asking a sales associate. At some of the outdoor specialty stores (NOT WALMART), the associates will have an idea of at least what they like. Try to get soft plastics in watermelon color and hard baits in a silver or white pattern. Most importantly of all, get a gift receipt. They may say to your face they love it but just in case, give them an option to return it.

Still at a loss? If it's not gift cards and not lures, a handful of cash works wonders.

May all your Christmases be bright and your stockings stuffed with soft baits and football jigs. Or cash. Cash is always good. 
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Duck Dynasty and Freedom of Speech

Photo Courtesy of benswann.com
It's been all over the news. Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty said some things that his employer, A&E, suspended him for. I have seen lots of takes from both sides that have seemingly polarized the country. The right, the left and in between have exhaustively argued over what he said. Some have even pointed to other parts of the interview that have been glanced over that touch on subjects like race. I don't know Phil and I am not going to support or decry what he said. What I do want to talk about is another lesson that up and comers in kayak fishing (and other sports) can learn from this example.

All week people have questioned why Phil doesn't have the right to say what he wants. In actuality he does but the First Amendment only protects him so far. When you are talking about individual liberties, Phil can talk about all of the things he wants with whomever he wants. When you are talking about an employee, whether exempt, non-exempt or contracted, of a company, most have had to agree to abide by a code of conduct and/or sign a contract. Employment can be ended based on a breach of said contract. In most cases, it is loosely termed as anything that could bring bad light upon the employing entity  and left at that. Lots of wiggle room. They also generally have a clause that says doing so can lead up to and/or include termination. A&E is most likely acting on that. I am not saying it is right or wrong but what I am saying is that this is a company looking out for its image as it deems needed, to stay in the good graces of what it perceives is its viewing demographic.

That's lots of contract and employment jargon so let's use another example.

If Bob Jones works at WalMart as a cashier, would WalMart allow him to keep his job if they have a recorded conversation of him, while at work, using derogatory terms towards customers who dressed a certain way, in front of the actual customers dressed that way? Fill in your own stereotypes for that scenario.While you can say what you want as a representative of you, you cannot do so while acting as a representative of the company you work for and expect no recourse, especially when it becomes public. When agreeing to do Duck Dynasty, Phil stopped being just Phil. Celebrity demands a different set of rules for those who pay you. You are now representing that entire company. Why do you think all of those companies dropped Tiger Woods? He can sleep with whomever he pleases legally but with Woods as the face of those companies, some of them chose to disassociate with him. It may seem they are not the same but in actuality they are. An action or statement happened that made the companies nervous and/or displeased as to how it would affect their image.

Herein lies the lesson: If you are on a Pro Staff, work for an outdoor company, get promotional items, money or other benefits from being associated with a company, be careful what you say and do. Whether it is truth, fiction or somewhere in between, whether it is a one time thing that happened because you had a few too many at the bar or just an off the cuff comment where you ostracize a lifestyle, it can bite you.

What you say in your homes, amongst your family and friends is one thing but understand that if that becomes public or happens in public, you might risk losing relationships with companies if they feel differently than you or it causes their association with you to shine a bad light upon their name. And the bad light thing is purely a company decision.

As you seek to advance your numbers of commercial partners, understand it tightens the reins on what rights you choose to exercise, at least if you plan to stay employed with those companies.

Be purposeful with your speech. You never know who is listening. 
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Advent and Fishing: One Day

Though it's not always worn on my sleeve, I have a deeper, spiritual side. It's personal and not paraded. I realize people have many different beliefs and often association with religion has its own stereotypes that don't necessarily line up with my own beliefs. All that being said, if you're checking out the blog and Christendom is really not your thing, I understand. This is a kayak fishing blog and that's why you read it (I think). Today I have a guest post at thedailycake.org that is designed around the Advent season. I wanted to also post it here to share just a little bit of me. I'm usually pretty veiled with topics like this but it's important to say publicly how you feel now and again. Hopefully you'll see it as a look behind the curtain. We'll be back to regularly scheduled topics later this week. 


One day. One day I will catch that elusive fish.

For the better part of my life I have been a fisherman. For the last ten years it has been mostly from a kayak. Day in and day out, paddling, hauling gear, making casts and waiting has been my routine. Reel in, cast out and wait some more. Repeat the process several hundred times and the day is complete. Chasing a record setting fish seems like a lot of work for something that few believe will ever happen, especially from a kayak. It has a lot to do with my mode of transportation.

I’m not the pedigreed guy in the fast glitter boat. I’m the guy sitting on a piece of plastic, paddling through God’s country in search of something I’ve longed for. Day after day. The same thing. And it hasn’t happened yet. But it will. One day.

I don’t think it is coincidence that I often find God in the wilderness I trek. From the beautiful scenes of earth rushing to meet clear flowing streams to the Great Blue Herron stalking its dinner in the marsh, I see Him. The beauty of it all reminds me of Him. Every whisper through the wind calls out “I am here.” Every song from a bird, breeze from a wind and shade from a giant oak reminds me.

God has a special place in His heart for fishermen.  Who surrounded His Son during the deadliest three years of His life? Fishermen. They know the lulls. They practice patience on a daily basis though some are more excitable than others. (Admittedly I lean more toward a Peter temperament). Fishing soothes my soul. It connects me with God on a level that is hard to explain.  I paddle ever so slightly to take it all in.
Slowly soaking in the masterpiece of creation, I patiently wait for one.

The patience I must evoke while searching for the one record fish reminds me of James, telling Christ’s followers to be patient like the farmer waiting on the rains. It’s also akin to the thousands of years awaiting the first coming of the Savior that Isaiah told of. The excitement, the doubt, the second guessing and then faith triumphing in that manger truly must have made all that waiting and searching seem like seconds rather than centuries.

Christ was truly only with those who sought Him for three short years. All of that waiting to realize Him for a brief moment in time. A moment that made all the difference and is why we once again wait.
And as I continue to fish, awaiting the record, we Christians also wait. We are patient.  
I paddle on and you continue with your journey but we know. We all know.


He is coming!
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Santa Claus Knocked Me Out

Santa Claus knocked me out. More specifically, The First Annual Santa Claus Classic. I'll have a full tourney report later next week for Cap City Kayak Fishing but for now, here is my story. 

I knew Saturday was going to come early. This weekend was my son's birthday and we wanted to do it up right so we went to his favorite restaurant and then to see the new Hobbit movie. The movie got out and we arrived home Friday night at 11PM. I had a 3AM wake up call to get loaded and down to Austin by 5AM. Unfortunately at 1:30 alarms started going off and it wasn't my clock. It was my back. I had a burning, searing pain between my shoulder blades. I couldn't turn my head and I had to roll carefully to get up out of bed. This was not good. I had Robert Field down from Dallas, already set up in Austin and I couldn't let him down. I gulped some Aleve and Tylenol and closed my eyes for a few minutes. The alarm went off again, this time an actual clock, and I got out of bed in more pain than previously. 

I struggled. 

I ran through my mind whether or not to keep stretching and hope the medicine would kick in or call Robert and admit defeat. After 35 minutes of agonizing physically and mentally I decided to load up, fight through it and go. It was for charity after all. 

I sent the red bearded Aggie a text saying I was about 30 minutes behind schedule and he said no problem. 

We checked in, chatted for a minute and headed to the launch spot. I took forever to get unloaded and the sun was starting to peek out before we launched. Thankfully Robert has a lot of gear to set up as well.  

The weatherman predicted gusts up to 30 mph and cold. As we launched we chatted about the cold part being right but the wind seemed to be a non-factor so far. I know better than to say that out loud.

We headed for a well known creek and started tossing baits. I adjusted and fussed at my seat and my back for over an hour. I also got a face full of water and some water down the front of my waders when trying to get out for a shore break. Cold and miserable I battled on for another hour. With little to show for it and a boat parade already formed we decided to move. As we rounded the corner at the mouth of the creek the wind proved the weatherman right again. We paddled for what seemed like six years against the wind to go try some deeper water. We wasted an hour before regrouping. 

At this point I was biting my lip from the pain. The medicines I had taken seven hours previous were useless. We decided to grind out the rest of the tourney in the creek, out of the wind. As we ventured back into the mouth we saw we weren't the only ones with that plan. 

The plan paid off pretty well. We landed five keeper fish in the creek that measured for the tournament. The Hag's Tornado F4 in Purple Haze was my go to. I used my Smith Optics Tenet Glasses to sight cast all of the fish I caught, including the keepers. The five were good enough for 5th Place which was pretty cool. What I didn't count on though was the other fish I caught. I thought at the time it was a big bluegill. It turns out it was a redear. It wasn't the state record I thought it was (and subsequently made myself look like a fool) but it was big enough to qualify for a big fish award from Texas Parks and Wildlife. I'll send off the paperwork this week to get it documented. The redear measured 13.5" long. It was released unharmed and feisty!

The after party at Joe's Crab Shack was festive and merry as always. Boxes of toys for Toys for Tots overflowed and the Lone Star beer did as well. (I can't have it because of my celiac but many others enjoyed it.) A lot of good happened but at the weigh in I was spent. I probably seemed like a scrooge and a bit aloof but I felt like Freddy Krueger had julienned my back. Paddling against that heavy wind twice, meds not working and being cold all day meant for a Grumpy Cat looking Chris at weigh in. Sorry fellas. I feel awful I wasn't more talkative but I was done. 

I'll get the full recap with some video from Robert up in a few days but until then, check out the only smiling pics of me known to exist from Saturday.







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Kayak Tournament Discussions Missing Something

Amongst all the banter back and forth about tournaments this month, a valuable piece of tournament fishing is being lost. Winnings, camaraderie, food and fun are all reasons people fish in tournaments but one I think is often overlooked. As kayak fishing blossoms into a nationwide and worldwide sport we are failing to recognize this one thing: innovation.

Kayak fishing isn't the first to go through this stage and won't be the last. When Ray Scott first launched the idea of competitive bass fishing in June of 1967, he saw innovation and adoption immediately. In an article for Texas Parks and Wildlife, Scott talked about it:

“One boat had the trolling motor mounted on the bow instead of on the stern, where everyone put them in those days,” Scott says. “People were standing around in the parking lot looking at it, and the owner, Stan Sloan, explained that he figured it was easier to pull a chain than to push it. Sloan won the tournament, and at the next one, all the trolling motors were on the front. I realized we don’t learn new things from our usual fishing partners."

That's an interesting thought. When I think about how I have rigged out my kayaks, it is from seeing new kayaks at events like tournaments and get togethers. Others have also looked at different ways I have modified and rigged my kayaks to get ideas. As the cycle of ideas goes around, improvements are made and ideas are hatched. Sometimes these ideas are picked up by manufacturers and they can then mass produce a finished product for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes it becomes a DIY project that is adopted by thousands. Seriously. How many of you have looked at the plans for the PVC cart on the Palmetto Kayak Fishing website? How many of you have made it or a variant of it? (I first saw those plans after I saw one in person when fishing with new friends. They referred me to the site.)

We can get referrals and ideas from the internet but it really doesn't take on that super cool / gotta have it fever until you have actually seen it in person. Then, at those gatherings, we decide whether it's worth trying.

Kayak tournaments won't be going away, love them or hate them. A great benefit of them that no one seems to be talking about though is innovation. Keep an eye out next time you are on the water.You just might see something that could help you out.   


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Peer Pressure Kayak Purchases

Please stop.
Take a deep breath.
Count down from 10.

I'm going to save you some possible headache if you'll take 5 minutes and read this. I hope you take this advice to heart because I sure didn't. I've bone headed this scenario twice and finally learned my lesson. I'll try to save you the same trouble.

Here is how it starts:

Talking heads (yes me included), start telling you about all these cool new kayaks that are coming out. We show you fancy pictures. Then maybe you find a walk through video. "Man, that's a cool yak." You see some pretty cool features you like. "I might buy one of these!," you think while you try to figure out when the next lump sum of cash is coming in. Tax return? Christmas cash? Returning all the crappy gifts you got for your birthday and the three extra blenders from your wedding gifts.

Then you go look at the fishing forums. I wonder what the kayak guys think of this boat? So maybe you ask the question but you ask it too vaguely. Typing in "What do you think about a Great Fork Spearyak 13?" is too vague. What do you want to do in the kayak? What limitations do you have? I could go through a big long checklist here but I have already created it. Check it out:

Think about these questions and think about the answers specifically to the kayak you think is so cool. Does it fulfill my wants list? If so, it could be great. If not, better keep looking.

At this point you may be too deep in the hype and advertising to even listen. I know I was. I had decided that even though it wasn't everything I wanted and it might not deliver, I was going to buy Boat X. So I did. I bought into all the pomp and circumstance surrounding it. While it is a very good kayak for some people, for me it was awful. I hated it. It didn't do what I wanted it to do, I felt some of the things talked about were oversold, and the hype sucked me in. I was more attracted to a brand name than the function. 

What could have avoided all of this headache? A demo. 

I should have paddled the kayak first. That would have told me everything I needed to know but I didn't. I was anxious, in a hurry and didn't want the deal to get away. Whoops.

People who own a certain brand will inherently recommend the kayak they paddle (or pedal). It says they really enjoy the kayak they have and it fits what they want to do. A little quieter are the people who don't really like what they are in but made a HUGE ordeal when they bought Boat X so now they are a bit bashful. Somewhere in that mix are people who are looking for something else but don't want to say anything because they so highly recommended a different boat. 

The plain truth is, sometimes when you think you know what you want, and then you go paddle it, you change your mind. The time to change your mind is BEFORE money changes hands. Getting recommendations will be easy but it will be diverse. If you are going to ask questions on a public forum, make them as specific as possible. 

"How does the Spearyak 13 handle in wind on large open water?"

That is a direct and specific question. 

Additionally, make sure the person giving you the advice/opinion has actually paddled the kayak you are talking about. I've had a couple of dozen people ask me about the Predator from Old Town. I have looked one over but have not paddled one. I am very upfront with that info and recommend whenever possible a person to talk to about it. 

I now find myself with a primary kayak that not a ton of fishermen in Central Texas are paddling. I own a Malibu Stealth 12. It met more of my wants and needs than any other kayak I looked at. I think several eyebrows were raised when I didn't get another Hobie or a Wildy but for the fishing I do across the state, salt, fresh, the way I transport, the specific places and ways I fish, this was the best kayak for me right now. Will I always be in it? Don't know. Was it a better decision than one I would have made three or four years ago? Dang skippy. 

All of that to say, if at all possible, please demo a kayak before you buy. If you need to find someone who might can help with that, message me on Facebook. I'll try to do my best to find you a shop or person within an hour or so that has that kayak. If nothing else, I can find you someone to talk to about it. 

Be smarter than I was and be happier in your kayak. Don't peer pressure kayak purchase. 


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I am all for charity, giving and the true meaning of Christmas. Tis the season to help another out and good will toward men. Right now though, I am going to give in to my own wants and needs. Give me five minutes to get this out of my system and then I promise, I'll go back to picking out some Toys for Tots for the Santa Claus Classic (which is a cool benefit tourney on Lady Bird Lake I'll be fishing with Robert Field this weekend).

I've made lots of lists of cool gadgets, kayaks, accessories and more. Some of the stuff on the lists I already have and some of it just doesn't really work for how and where I fish. It does work for the masses though, thus, the lists.

Today I wanted to publish my personal wish list. One thing per category. Chances are I won't get any of this stuff but looking to the future, this is what I am looking at. I definitely wouldn't be heart broken if some of this showed up. Keep in mind this is MY list. That being said, I'd love to hear what's on YOUR list. So Little Drummer Boy slap me down a drum roll cause here we go:


Accessory


Leverage Landing Net-Kayak Model- $69




 I need one of these. I have two nets and they both are too small and not long enough. This net would handle both of those problems.


Electronics


Hydrowave Mini- $139





If it gets me just one more cull fish per tournament, that pays for itself in a couple of weeks, if not just one.
It runs on a 9V so I don't even have to splice it in. Sweet!


Propulsion


Bending Branches Angler Pro- $299




Since going back to paddle yaks, I need a better engine (paddle). This would be a great edition without completely emptying the bank account. It would make a good dent though.


Clothing


Bomber Gear Blitz Splash Top- $100





You have to take the cold weather seriously. I have plenty of summer gear but my winter gear is sparse to say the least. Be comfortable AND dry? Yes please.


Kayak


Wilderness Systems Commander 140- $1049




I have my two Malibu Kayaks which I really enjoy but for those brutally cold days I would love to own one of these. Being able to stay dry, stand and fish, as well as being a breeze to load and unload are just a few of the reasons this made my wish list. When I think stable, dry and easy to load/unload, I think Commander 140.


Fishing Bait


Hag's Tornado Baits- $4




Look, I know I am constantly talking about Hag's but these are my favorite baits in the world. I go through F4 and F8 Tornados in Watermelon Chartreuse like it's my one and only job. I do throw other baits but I haven't been on a fishing trip in several years where I haven't thrown a Hag's. Ask anyone who has fished with me what I throw. They'll agree. You can buy me as many of these as you can afford. They will get used. I promise. Top three colors for me: Watermelon Chartreuse, Purple Haze, Hag's Secret.



So that's it. Sure a lot of these items are pricey. Remember that part where i said, "Chances are I won't get any of this stuff but looking to the future, this is what I am looking at"? That's why. If they were all $20, I'd probably have them by now. Except the Hag's. I'll never have enough of those.

What's on your list for Santa? Dream big! You never know what might show up at your door. :)

Also, note to Santa, most of these things can be found at mariner-sails.com or kayakfishinggear.com (Mariner Sails and HOOK1). Thanks big guy!





Got A Kayak. What Else Do I Need?

Every year it happens. For the last decade that I have been around kayak fishing, the Christmas season brings a great new flood of people to the sport I love. Thousands of new anglers, looking for a way to get on the water or maybe a different way to get on the water, ask for and receive a kayak for Christmas.

Often times these gift kayaks are not the $2,000 super decked out angler editions. They are sit-in or sit-on kayaks purchased at major chain stores. You know what? And hear me say this: THAT IS JUST FINE!

You don't need to have a BMW 7 Series car to drive on the highway and you don't need the Hobie Pro Angler 14 to get on the water. Would it be nice? Dang skippy. Is it necessary? Not even close.

I fished my first six, almost seven years out of a $200 sit in kayak from Academy Sports and Outdoors. And it was great. I fished differently then than I do now but every kayak owner fishes a little differently and some of that comes from the type of kayak they fish from. The important things to remember are safety, time on the water and customization to fit your needs.

These throngs of people often find their way to kayak forums and ask the same questions. That is when they get a good taste of what our sport is about. Sharing. More specifically, sharing information.

The questions typically revolve around accessories, where to try, and what is all this I hear about tipping over?

Today, I want to give you some of what I have learned both from the school of hard knocks and by others in the sport who have mentored me.

So I got a new kayak:

What accessories do I need? 
MTI Dio F-Spec


PFD (Life Jacket)- Most people go straight for the paddle. The only reason I recommend a PFD first is safety. If you blow all of your money on a fancy paddle and end up paddling in an $8 PFD that fits like an albatross, you won't be paddling for long. Choose a good PFD and always wear it. Check out the NRS, MTI and Stohlquist PFDs. I also recommend a knife and a whistle to attach to the PFD so you can call for help or cut your way out of a tangle or hung anchor. If you are going to paddle at night, get a 360 degree light. The YakAttack Visicarbon Pro with Flag is a popular choice amongst kayakers everywhere.The PFD and whistle are legal requirements in Texas. The light is also if you are out at night.

Paddle- This is your motor. Use this paddle guide and find the right one for you. If you only have two upgrade things you can buy, they need to be a good PFD  and a paddle. That seems like a no-brainer but lots of people skimp on the first and sell their kayak shortly after from non-use.

Park-N-Pole in a Trolley
Anchor Trolley- It seems strange to buy this before an anchor but believe me when I say you will be much happier if you do. An anchor trolley allows you to use a drift sock, stake out stick and anchor while positioning yourself to take advantage of the wind, not be a victim of it. This also will allow for a quick release if you get into trouble. This is the one I use. Inexpensive and easy to install.

Anchor- This is the most widely underpurchased item under $50. Anchors exist in all shapes and sizes. The most popular one is the collapsible anchor. If you are going to be in water eight feet deep or less, I suggest a YakAttack Park-N_Pole. It can double as a push pole, GoPro camera pole and many other things. Very versatile and it floats. It comes in three different lengths to fit exactly what your needs are.

Anchor Rope (and accessories)- Most anchors don't come with rope. If you are going to be fishing in any current or wind at all most people will recommend 2X the length of rope for the depth you are fishing. So if your fish are in 20 feet of water, you need at least 40 feet of rope. If you are fishing on the coast it is recommended 3X the depth. I like 3/16" rope but choose what you like. Just don't buy 1/16" rope and expect to raise a big anchor easily. While you are there in the rope section, pick up a carabiner and rope float to attach to these as well.

Rod Holders- These come in different varieties. You can get flush mount, rocket launchers, trolling rod holders for baitcasters and spinning, rail mount, and the list goes on and on. Look at some rigging pictures, sit in your boat, see where you can reach and then go buy one.

YakAttack BlackPak
Milk Crate- You can buy one or ask a retail grocer for one. Either way, you can strap this down to the back of most kayaks and hold tons of tackle and gear. You can also add some PVC to be additional rod holders. Cheapest investment you'll love forever. Eventually you may want to upgrade to a YakAttack BlackPak. This is the king of all packs to haul gear and hold rods.

Everything Else-These things will get you going pretty well. After you have the above mentioned items, you should look at, in no particular order: a fish finder, stabilizers (depending on the kayak), drift sock, stake out stick, VHF handheld radio, scupper plugs (for sit on tops), waders, paddle gloves, really the list goes on and on.


Your fishing adventure is just that. Add things as you can and see what others are doing. Go to get togethers. Visit kayak shops like HOOK1 if you are in Tennessee or Mariner-Sails if you are in Texas. Talk to guys who have years or even decades on the water. Talk to the new guys. See what's new, what's a need, what's a want and go for it. And if you buy something that doesn't work out, there is always the buy-sell-trade forums. Most of all, have fun and catch some fish!
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Baby It's Cold Outside




The Arctic Armageddon is covering most of the country at this point and while it's on everyone's mind, we should talk about survival. Many of us will venture out to fish in the cold because our water temps are still warm enough to not need an auger. In doing so, we need to be prepared.

Numerous articles give you info about how to layer, stay away from cotton, wool is your friend etc etc. If you need help deciding how to dress, please seek one of those articles out. It will be different for every region so I won't attempt to make a generalized list here.

What I do want to bring to the forefront is universal however. If you get swamped, submerged or turtle into the water, how long do you have before death can occur?

The PFD Manufacturers Association compiled all of the data and shared some scary numbers.

"Cold water (less than 70° F) can lower your body temperature, causing hypothermia. If your body temperature drops too low, you may pass out and then drown. The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air."

Water that is just above freezing temps (32.5F) has a survival time of less than 15 minutes.
Water up to 40F slightly increases that time to 30 minutes.
Water from 40-60F (where most of our waters are now) can cause death in 1 hour. 
Water from 60-70F has a 2 hour time window. 
Above 70F is typically survivable from the temperature though exhaustion can set in and cause drowning. 


What this assumes is that you stay in the water. If you get soaked, then back up on your kayak and the wind is blowing, the water in your clothes will not stay at that temp. It'll drop like a rock. 

The best plans are to carry a change of clothes, have a buddy near by and if you do turtle, get your butt back to the car. Once there, strip down, towel off, put on the dry clothes and blast the heater. 

Don't be a statistic by being stubborn. If you get soaked, get out. 
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My life is busy. I think most of us feel that way. I rationalize it in different ways, to make it ok, until a loved one makes a comment and then I realize I might need to slow down. It especially has weight when it’s your grandmother. I know she has seen her father, her husband, her kids and grandkids go down the same path. She said it so lovingly that an onlooker might have missed it. I know her charms. I also know when she is doling out worry. It was just a gentle nudge but it is all I needed to get to thinking about things. Over the last couple of days and many hours in the car, I’ve boiled it down to five simple things that will allow me to live life and have no regrets.



Say What You Mean-


People don’t get to know you when you are always holding your tongue, bottling up your true feelings. If someone has hurt you, let them know. If you don’t agree, say so. Speak up for the wrongs in life and celebrate the right. In all these things you will now be saying, do it with politeness and humility.



Have Close Friends-


Everyone needs someone to talk to. In a time of crisis you need to talk at some point. In times of joy you need to celebrate with someone. There will be times where you just need someone to sit with you. No talking. Just sitting. You also need to be able to reciprocate all of these for that person. A true close friend will know all of your skeletons and you know theirs. You will love each other without judgment.



Stop Working So Hard-


If you miss out on your children’s youth, don’t expect to get it back when they are adults. Those long hours at the office, to make an extra bonus or get a promotion, do nothing to develop your relationship with the ones you are supposed to love the most. I know working hard to provide nicer things is a parent’s nature. I struggle with it too. I want my kids to have a bigger house, nicer clothes, go to the best schools but at what cost? Taking a vacation creates memories with them that will live on forever. So does having dinner without Daddy every night.



Chase Your Dreams-


What’s your dream? What do you really want to do? It doesn’t have to be a profession. It could be a trip, an adventure, an accomplishment. Do you have a bucket list? Start working on that. Cross those items off. The beauty of a bucket list is if you complete it, you can create a new one! Don’t wait until you’re given two weeks left to live to try to go skydive. Don’t wait until 85 to learn to play the violin. Take chase!



Be Happy in the Now-


If you think having a bigger house, a nicer car, and the best lawn on the block will make you happy, you’re wrong. Striving to get those things will cause you to work too hard, miss out on your kids, give up on dreams and have few friends who really know you. Enjoy the fact that you have a car and are making ends meet. There are many who aren’t. Enjoy the $4 heat and eat lunch you’re eating. Many are hungry. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet and a computer. That makes you a rarity in the world. I am a spoiled American and I need to realize I have more than 99.9% of the world and I am considered Middle Class in the US. I need to be happy and quit lusting for more things. I need to take my own damn advice for once. Things are great but if I am not happy in the now, I’m doing it wrong.

Used Baits Get New Purpose



Sometimes a really cool thing happens. A phone call or message opens your eyes to something that frankly, is pretty darn cool. That happened to me last week. Clinton Holstine got in touch with me to tell me about Krippled Kritters. I had heard the name but didn’t really know too much about them. After visiting with Clinton and doing a little research, I found out exactly why he was excited to tell me about them.

Krippled Kritters produces soft plastic baits using used, recycled baits, to help in the education of anglers regarding the hazards created when plastics are disposed of in our nations waters. They also sponsor and equip high school and college anglers with soft plastic baits produced by Krippled Kritters in an attempt to help them pursue their dreams in the sport of fishing.

So that is pretty cool but it’s not that easy. It would take an army to gather all of that plastic. This is where you come in.

Krippled Kritters gives anglers a couple of options to dispose of and/or recycle used plastic baits. Anglers can bag up old soft plastic baits and drop them off during a TTZ or FAN monthly tournament or at a weekly night tournament on either Bastrop, Lake Austin or Lake Travis. You may also call any of the Krippled Kitters Team members and they can arrange plans to pick up any used plastic baits anglers need to dispose of or wish to donate. A portion of all used plastics collected will be re-poured and donated to local high school bass teams, the SFA bass team, and other young anglers associated with TTZ, FAN, or the weekly tournaments when available.

 Another way to help is to buy product from Krippled Kritters. Place an order, buy a shirt, or buy the baits. As in any business, it takes money to put out any product.   

 Since the start of Krippled Kritters in October of last year, they have donated over 3000 baits to local high school and college teams, and to the Bastrop County Kid Fish Day last April.

 Does your High School, College, or youth organization need soft plastic baits?

Contact krippledkritters@aol.com. Tell them a little bit about your organization and set up a meeting. It's that easy!


Hopefully you will see the benefit this new company is offering and donate your used soft plastics. That’s a huge step forward. Buying some baits helps too!
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