June 14, 2004 and we finally we are off to Colorado! Our route took us through Junction, Fort Stockton, and onward. Around Ft. Stockton, we noticed the engine was sputtering like water or trash in the gas as we had just filled up at Junction and had no earlier problem. We called Bill Cardell, with Flying Miata, and he helped track down part of the problem (and we did make it to his shop in Grand Junction). We were scared we would spend the night on the road but we made the first stop in Roswell, N.M.
When we finally made it to Bill’s Flying Miata shop he worked on it all day and found a bad connection on the 02 sensor. Very nice people and definitely came to our rescue.
From Grand Junction, we drove to Glenwood Springs, took the cable car up to the top of the mountain, then spent a couple days around the area. The next night at Redstone, a tiny little town of one street we toured the Redstone Castle and took in some of the local cuisine. Great food!
From there, we took a scenic drive towards Crested Butte and ended up in Gunnison. Part of this drive was a bad decision on Glen’s part (who else?) as it was mostly meant for 4 wheelers. In Gunnison, we were offered free tickets to a Chuckwagon dinner complete with locals playing guitars and singing. It was definitely worth the price. The next night we went to a concert in the park.
The popularity of high-end fishing rods has continued to evolve through the years. In the past, you were forced to choose mostly between mass-produced rods and custom-built rods. My Dad had a nice workbench where he built up custom rods on Fenwick blanks with decorative thread wraps. Now, the serious angler on the Gulf Coast has a number of great options. Today, we take a look at Laguna Custom Rods.
We were looking for new rods to be used primarily wade-fishing for trout. I am familiar with a number of professional guides who use Laguna so I decided to visit their shop in Katy to check them out.
Laguna Custom Rods is a cool shop founded by two hard-core professional tournament fishermen who wanted the best. The blanks are manufactured in a separate facility but the final production work is all done at this location. The showroom is through the front door with the shop on the right. You can see for yourself first-hand how the rods are assembled.
Hunting wild hogs has become a mainstream sport in Texas due to the proliferation and destructive nature of this invasive species. Being a non-game animal, there are very few restrictions on how they may be hunted. They may be pursued year-round by almost any means necessary. So, what makes a good hog hunting rifle?
The answer to that question is dependent upon your intent. If you are a professional intent on eradication you have different needs than the weekend warrior who simply wants to have a good time and harvest some free-range pork along the way. In this article we will discuss hunting pigs for sport, not high-volume eradication.
First of all, despite all the hype and hysteria, most wild hogs are not all that difficult to kill. For decades, deer hunters have harvested plenty of hogs with whatever rifle they took to the stand that morning. I think much of this misinformation comes from people who come across a pig and blast away with 55gr FMJ ammo out of their AR-15. Bad ammo choice along with faulty bullet placement will lead to poor results every time. To be sure, a mean, old, full-grown boar is a formidable beast! However, proper bullet selection and accurate shot placement will drop most wild hogs dead in their tracks. I’ve done it many times. Dead Right There, as we say.
The perfect hog hunting rifle for me is a lightweight, easy to carry, accurate, suppressor-ready, 6.8 SPC short barrel AR-15. Mine is a premium build using the best components I could find:
Wilson Combat 11.3″ match-grade stainless barrel
Samson Evolution 10″ handguard
Geissele Super Semi-Automatic Enhanced trigger
PRI Combat Latch
FailZero Bolt Carrier Group
Crux Ark30 titanium suppressor
Magpul single-point QD sling
For optics, I run a Trijicon AccuPoint 1-6 Circle-Cross during the day and a FLIR ThermoSight PTS233 at night – both on QD mounts. My preferred method of hunting pigs usually results in shots of less than 50 yards to I don’t have any problems with accuracy swapping between scopes. The Trijicon AccuPoint 1-6 Circle-Cross allows for super-fast sight acquisition (put the hog’s head in the circle and squeeze the trigger) and excels in low-light conditions.
We added a pair of Bennett self-leveling 10″ trim tabs to our Gulf Coast Classic 18 and could not be more pleased with the performance! One of the best investments ever at only $123. They have made a dramatic improvement in our hole shot while fishing the flats.
Like most boats, our Gulf Coast will run on plane shallower than its draft. That frequently leads to a bit of apprehension as we slow to a stop – will we still be floating? Kind of tough to gauge the depth at speed when you can clearly see the bottom is only about a foot deep. The follow up question is, can we get out of here?
Our Gulf Coast tends to squat quite a bit as it takes off. We raise the jack plate all the way up, trim the motor in tight, and punch it. This immediately causes the bow to rise, the stern to sink, and the motor digs into the bottom. Sometimes we can get out by easing off the throttle, and then trying to surf the follow up wave. That extra 2″ of lift can make all the difference. Other times, we can “spin” or “snake” our way onto plane. Sadly, other times we are forced to idle out a ways before we can get up.
Amazingly, the Bennett tabs have proven to be a revelation. It took a while to mount the starboard tab because we debated endlessly where to place it. In reality, there was only one good spot but it is crazy how you go down the rabbit hole of moving it 1/8″ one way or another. Probably spent an hour on the starboard tab and five minutes on the port tab. A cordless drill, screwdriver, and 3M 4200 is all you need.
First trip out we were coming out of the marina and I goosed it. I wasn’t entirely impressed by any improvement to be honest but I chalked it up to being in the deeper water. Second test, we were in about knee deep water, and again I wasn’t that impressed. It seemed like the prop was catching lots of air and the hole shot was so-so. Jack plate all the way up, motor trimmed in tight, same as always. To be fair, the bow rise was greatly reduced but we were kind of sluggish taking off.
Third test, knee deep water or shallower, but this time I bumped the jack plate down just slightly. Like a half-second bump, maybe lowered the motor less than an inch. Hit WOT and wow! The boat jumped up and forward like out of a slingshot! Stayed flat, bow flat, stern didn’t squat, and it just leaped onto plane. Amazing difference. I found the sweet spot for our rig.
My brother took the wheel and experienced the same sensation. Night and day improvement in hole shot performance.
The Bennett SLT10 Self-Leveling Tab System is highly approved!
We made a weekend trip to Port O’Connor post cold front. For our part, the fishing was fairly slow with bait hard to find. Perhaps we didn’t hit all the right spots but we ended up scratching out a few fish.
Interestingly, all of my reds were caught on top-water! Always a blast watching the fish hit a Super Spook Jr!
The Jackery Solar Generator 1500 is a great choice for both work and play. Living on the Gulf Coast has taught me the importance of having backup power for when the electrical grid gets knocked out by a hurricane (or freak ice storm!). Jackery is a leader in clean, green, portable power solutions and their Solar Generator 1500 kit includes the Explorer 1500 battery pack along with four SolarSaga 100W solar panels. Featuring over 1500Wh capacity and 1800 running wattage, this awesome device includes a variety of output ports to power electronics, home appliances, and tools.
Unlike a traditional gasoline powered generator, the Jackery Solar Generator 1500 can be used inside as there is no dangerous carbon monoxide exhaust. It is also virtually silent, which is a real plus while camping. Who wants to be enjoying the great outdoors with an old noisy generator hammering away in the background?
One of the things that I like best about the Jackery is its versatility. The Explorer 1500 can be charged by solar panel, 110V outlet, or vehicle 12V port. So even though it is marketed as a Solar Generator, you can easily charge the battery pack from a 110 outlet or from your vehicle. The unit can power up to 7 devices at the same time via one USB-A port, two USB-C ports, three 110V outlets, and a 12V vehicle port (cigarette adapter). In addition, each SolarSaga panel includes USB-A and USB-C ports that can directly charge electronics.
Jackery produces a robust product line and the Solar Generator 1500 is near the top of their offerings. Your choice from the 160Wh Portable Power Station all the way up to the powerful 2000Wh. You can purchase the power stations and solar panels separately or buy the Solar Generator kit which includes matched Explorer Portable Power Station, appropriately sized SolarSaga panels, and the ancillary cables to put it all together.
In direct sunlight, the MPPT technology can charge the battery from zero to 80% in approximately four hours. That is quite remarkable. The Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) charge controller optimizes the match between solar array and battery pack for improved efficiency and faster charging. A while back I added several USB rechargeable lanterns to our emergency kit. It is awesome that even while off the grid we can recharge the Jackery battery pack through the solar panels and then charge up all of our lanterns, flashlights, and cell phones in preparation for the evening. Personally, I don’t take a tv camping (isn’t the point to get away from tv?) but you can easily watch the big game by plugging a television set into the battery pack, hooking up an old-fashioned tv antenna, and watch the game in HD from the woods or lake.
The Explorer 1500 weighs 35.2 pounds and is slightly larger than a car battery (14 X 10.4 X 12.7 inches). There is a built in handle for convenience. The highly efficient SolarSaga 100W panels are easy to set up. Simply unfold them, place them facing the sun, and plug in. Adapters are included that enable you to connect all four solar panels to the battery pack. A zippered pouch on the back of each unit holds the power cable and the USB charging ports. A handy kick stand is available to optimize placement. When folding the solar panels, magnets click together to hold it in place.
An LED panel provides all of the data you need to manage the device. Jackery has done a wonderful job designing the display and all of the controls. It is very simple to understand the input, output, and battery status. Each output section has a small switch to turn the respective power ports off / on. The entire Solar Generator 1500 kit has a clean, professional, high quality appearance.
The Jackery Solar Generator 1500 is an awesome choice for outdoor adventures and home preparedness. We were without electricity for three days during the 2020 ice storm that knocked out the power grid in Texas. It is a comfort knowing that I now have this fantastic backup power supply at the ready.
Jackery Solar Generator 1500 MSRP $2,699.
Jackery is celebrating their 9th Anniversary by giving away some fantastic products including solar generators. Enter the picture contest # Outing With Jackery.
It frequently amazes me that hunters often feel the need to light up the woods as if it were daylight. I am the complete opposite in that I want just enough light to safely drive from camp to hunting area with minimal disruption. When driving my F-150 I turn off all of the lights other than the amber fog lights. After some research, I purchased the Kaper II L16-0075GR Green LED Hunting light to install on my 2017 Polaris Ranger XP 1000.
I bought the light right before the 2020 deer season so I simply spliced in a cigarette lighter plug and temporarily mounted the light in an existing hole in the Polaris metal roof. Worked well enough for its intended purpose but was not the way I like to roll. I wanted to mount the light in the grill area and install a proper wiring harness and dashboard switch.
Once again, I turned to Amazon and settled on the Nilight LED Light Bar Wiring Kit. This kit includes long wires, heavy 14 gauge wire, fuse block, dual leads, and lighted dashboard switch.
I knew where I wanted to mount the Kaper green LED light but wasn’t quite sure how to access the area required to tighten the nut. Turns out the lower grill insert simply pops out! Super easy installation drilling one hole through plastic. Mounting hardware is all stainless steel.
Be prepared for the next weather event with the Jackery Solar Generator 1000.
The polar vortex hit Texas in February 2021 with a vengeance, inflicting freezing cold temperatures that partially knocked out the power grid for days. We were without power in our residence for almost three days but some homes were offline for much longer. Fortunately, I have a Honda EU3000is generator that I faithfully start each month and let run for 10-15 minutes. It has always immediately fired up and run smoothly. Until February 15, 2021 when it would not start despite my best troubleshooting efforts. Unbelievable! Thirty months of flawless performance until the very day I needed it. That is when I determined to get a backup power source, preferably one not dependent on a carburetor.
Research quickly led me to Jackery – the industry leader in portable power stations and solar generators. Their best solution for me was the Jackery Solar Generator 1000 which consists of the Portable Power Station Explorer 1000 along with two Solar Panel SolarSaga 100W chargers. The two solar panels can be connected to the power station at the same time using the included adapter. Each SolarSaga 100 also includes a USB-A and USB-C port so that you can charge mobile phones and other small electronics directly from the solar panel. Free, clean, green energy!
J.B. Dillon Chambers full quill ostrich boot review. Great boots at a fair price!
Living in Texas, I have purchased my fair share of boots through the years. Through experience, I have come to rely on certain brands for specific functions. Specifically, Lucchese dress boots, Ariat (with rubber soles) for general ranch work and light hunting, Wolverine for serious hunting, and Red Wing work boots. J.B. Dillon now joins my list of preferred cowboy boots!
Trinity Oaks is a charitable organization dedicated to providing hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation activities to those in need or at risk. They offer up to 100 events per year to veterans, families with special needs, and underprivileged youth.
One such event is the StarKids 2020 fishing trip to Port O’Connor. Six children who have lost a military or law enforcement parent were invited to attend this incredible outdoor adventure.
Please consider supporting Trinity Oaks, a 501(c)3 non-profit.
The Waterloo Salinity is my favorite rod for fishing the mid-coast for speckled trout and redfish. It is a great combination of reasonable price and outstanding performance. The Waterloo shop is conveniently located in Victoria and offers a wide selection of rods, reels, and accessories.
I currently run a Salinity 7’0″ spinning rod – Medium/Moderate – with a Shimano Stradic 3000. We primarily fish artificials although we might occasionally throw shrimp or croaker (although, I really hate messing around with bait!). The Salinity has the power and control to cast top-waters, spoons, and soft-plastics in all conditions. Walking a Spook Junior or bouncing a DSL, the Salinity gets the job done.
My 7’0″ Salinity casting rod is fitted with a Lews. This is my first Lews and I’m still getting used to it so a full report on this rod will have to wait. However, given the number of days I have fished the spinning version, I’m confident the casting Salinity will do just fine.
The cork split grip handle has become my favorite style. I have these split handles on a number of rods, including other makes.
In the picture below, we were wading the outside of Contee when I spotted a tailing red up in a grass pocket against the shore. Given the prevailing SE wind and distance to target, I had to put everything I had into the cast. The bone/silver Spook, Jr landed within a bucket of my aim, and, the red exploded on it! It wasn’t until later that night did I learn that my brother had captured the cast.
Full Disclosure: My family was an Evinrude dealer for years. Although my allegiance has switched to Yamaha, I had many great days on the water powered by Evinrude and hate to see this latest development. Evinrude experienced bankruptcy with OMC only to rise from the ashes. Hopefully, they will return.
Evinrude built the world’s first outboard motor.
VALCOURT, Quebec, May 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BRP (TSX: DOO; NASDAQ: DOOO) announced today it has re-oriented its marine business by focusing on the growth of its boat brands with new technology and innovative marine products. We will discontinue production of Evinrude E-TEC and E-TEC G2 outboard engines. Our Sturtevant, WI, facility, will be repurposed for new projects to pursue our plan to provide consumers with an unparalleled experience on the water.
We remain committed to our Buy, Build, Transform Marine strategy which has been underway since 2018 with the acquisition of Alumacraft and Manitou boat companies in the U.S., followed by the acquisition of Australian boat manufacturer Telwater in 2019.
“Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately. This business segment had already been facing some challenges and the impact from the current context has forced our hand,” said José Boisjoli, President and CEO of BRP. “We will concentrate our efforts on new and innovative technologies and on the development of our boat companies, where we continue to see a lot of potential to transform the on-water experience for consumers,” he added.
Discontinuing outboard engine business and signing an agreement with Mercury Marine Following our decision to discontinue E-TEC and E-TEC G2 outboard engines, we have signed an agreement with market leader Mercury Marine to support boat packages and continue to supply outboard engines to our boat brands.
We will continue to supply customers and our dealer network service parts and will honour our manufacturer limited warranties, plus offer select programs to manage inventory. These decisions will impact 650 employees globally.
Pursuing new opportunities within Build and Transform phases of strategy With this announcement, BRP will be positioned to expand its presence in the pontoon and aluminum fishing markets through technologically advanced solutions. We will leverage our track record of ingenuity through our R&D resources to enhance the boating experience with unique new marine products, such as the next generation of engine technology with Project Ghost and the next generation of pontoons with Project M, code names for new products we expect to transform the industry.
Maximizing operational and functional efficiencies Lastly, we will consolidate Alumacraft operations from two sites to one. All Alumacraft operations will be transferred to St Peter, MN and our site in Arkadelphia, AR will be permanently closed. In addition, we want to upgrade the boat production facilities to reorganize manufacturing sites and apply the modularity model used elsewhere. This move is designed to enhance productivity and efficiency and to allow us to respond with even more agility to demand.