Checking Out The Fishing Gift Box
Posted by

A big thanks to Diane McNamara from Fire It Up PR, for reaching out to me about the Fishing Gift Box! Press Release segment below:

Actor John Ratzenberger Launches

(Las Vegas, NV – May 26, 2017): Actor John Ratzenberger and entrepreneur David Polinsky continue to expand their online shopping portal The with the addition of the Fishing Gift Box.

The Fishing Gift Box includes a monthly collection of the best lures, spinners, jigs, soft plastics and terminal tackle on the market, delivered anywhere in the continental United States. Both salt water and fresh water boxes are available with a recipe created by renowned chefs nationwide.

“I’ve been fishing my whole life and I’m still amazed at how advanced the tackle has become. I wanted to help my fellow fishing enthusiasts and take the guess work out of what to pack in your tackle box,” says Ratzenberger.

The subscription price for the Fishing Gift Box starts at $19.99 and lives on platform. Based on a proprietary technology platform, is unique to any other subscription box service by offering a choice of multiple categories all on one site. Subscribers have the flexibility to change, pause or cancel their membership at any time. There’s one monthly flat fee, no yearly upfront payments, every purchase ships free and earns rewards points towards free boxes.

So Dan was kind enough to have a fishing gift box sent to me and I must say it was pretty cool!

Some cool stuff in there!

So, they claim that the box is valued at around 50 bucks and I would say that’s pretty close. Some of you sticklers might price items out more advantageously but just looking it over and comparing to items off the shelf at a big box store, I’m OK with their declared value. If you choose the most expensive plan option, a one-time purchase, it costs you $29.99 and Im pretty sure you get that, at least.

It’s cool that they include a list and a description of each item.

The folks at The Fishing Gift Box claim on their website you will receive lures, soft plastics, jigs & spinners, terminal tackle (hooks and swivels, etc.) and recipes. That’s what I received so they delivered as advertised.

Honestly, I love the recipe card. I’m pretty good at catching fish, but woefully not creative when it comes to cooking fish. A recipe card is a pretty nice addition!

Overall, I’d say this is a pretty cool idea. It might make for a pretty neat gift too! Personally I think it would be fun to have a surprise every month but some folks might be concerned in receiving products they won’t use. It’s a great option to be able to choose freshwater or saltwater as well. For a 12-month plan it will cost you $19.99 per month. To go month-to-month it will cost you $25.99

This fishing gift box didn’t have any junk in it, it was fun to receive and open, and I think the price is fair. It gets the Desert Rat Seal of Approval!

Be sure to check out The Fishing Gift Box to learn more!

Catching Up With Krimson
Posted by

It’s been almost a year since I sat down with Krimson so I thought it might be cool to catch up with her. I knew she had some interesting stuff going, and figured DesertRat readers might be interested as well.Thanks to Krimson for taking the time out to chat!

1) You’ve been busy since last time we chatted. How have you been?

I have been very well, 2016 was a very busy yet successful year for me and I’m off to a great start to 2017. I had a very successful hunting season, filmed my first music video and I am now currently in the works of getting my own outdoor show. I can’t wait to share so many new things with you all!

2) You’re releasing a new single and video? Tell us about it

I just released my newest single and music video “Elements”. Truly inspired by the beauty of the outdoors, this piece was exclusively filmed on my hometown island of Kodiak, Alaska. I was very fortunate to grow up so involved with the great outdoors and that is truly what inspired this piece of art. Watch the video or give the lyrics a read at

3) What’s involved in making a video like that?

Like anything else, it took a lot of hard work and dedication. It was a long week of running from one scene to the next in 20-degree weather to capture all the beauty on Kodiak. I was flown to a mountain top as the helicopter circled, recording my performance. I was then rushed to the next scene, where again the helicopter circled me as I was in the rigging of one of our family commercial fishing boats. We then filmed in all the lush forests and rocky beaches of Kodiak. The whole experience was truly an adventure, one that I will never forget. However, it took far more work than what meets the eye.

4) How can people hear more of your music? How can they support you?

All my music, including my newest release “Elements” can be found on my website at where you can also support my career by downloading my music, ordering a CD or even donating. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to stay updated on all my latest news, and share the word with all your friends and family. I intend to do great things for society and the hunting community;my fans however, will ultimately help make that change.

5) Didn’t you just shoot more than one record Black tail? Tell us more…

Yes, this past December I shot three record Sitka Blacktail Deer in one day, with a bow! All which were recorded on film. Rain and snow had been relentless for days and we were breaking into the first few days of December, so the temperatures were dropping quickly. After the storm, we happened to get a beautiful cold and clear day which enabled the deer to find warmth and food that was melting from the snow. Needless to say, it was a phenomenal day full of great experiences. Read more of my hunting stories at

6) What hunts do you have lined up this year?

I plan to hunt Moose this September, which is one of my favorite hunts. I also plan on doing a Mountain Goat hunt with a bow, which is something I have wanted to do for years. I was also recently drawn for a Kodiak Brown Bear, in the best area in the world for Spring of 2018. Less than 1% are fortunate enough to be drawn for this hunt and it just so happens to be when I will be filming for my outdoor show! God has something great in store for me and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

7) Any hunting videos in the works?

Yes, I have been in the process of getting my own outdoor show. It will be the first Female Hosted TV Show filmed in Alaska with episodes full of hunting, fishing and living the ultimate organic lifestyle; everything from picking berries to cooking organically & more, it’s a show that will appeal to all ages, genders and interests!
Millions of people have never and will never get to experience Alaska like I have. I want to bring these experiences to people all over the world, because I have a lot to share with you on Kodiak Island.

8) Are you looking for companies to collaborate with?

Yes, I have already begun gaining relationships with excellent brands and I hope to collaborate with many more. It’s very important to me to represent the best gear on my show, because let’s face it – if a product can remain durable on the treacherous weather patterns of Kodiak, there’s nothing it can’t handle!

Thanks again to Krimson for taking time to talk to Outdoor Hub! We can’t wait to see her grow and succeed in the outdoor industry. Meanwhile, check out her new video:

22 Nosler vs. 22-250
Posted by

Like lots of folks, I get lazy in the summer. That means I was glad to take Scott Milkovich of up on his offer to post an article up on comparing the .22 Nosler to the tried and true .22-250. I like to shoot as much as the next guy, but my expertise is nowhere near what Scott’s is, so I’m glad to feature him as a Guest Blogger on a really cool topic. With so many calibers to choose from these days, it’s nice to have a knowledgeable opinion presented. Thanks again Scott! ~Desert Rat

The 22-250 Remington, the most successful .22 caliber centerfire, has a long history of being the top dog in the predator hunting world. With the introduction of the 22 Nosler, how do the two compare?

The 22-250 cartridge is one of the easiest rifle rounds to shoot as far as recoil. Its versatility is unmatched and it has been the staple in predator hunting cartridges for many years. The downside to this American predator icon is that it usually comes in slower twists like 1 in 12” and 1 in 14”, with a few rare factory rifles having 1 in 10” twists. This means it’s only able to effectively shoot the lighter 22 caliber bullets. Lighter bullets mean more wind drift at greater distances.

The 22-250 in a bolt action rifle is a great tool for small varmints, but serious predator hunters know the advantage of a semi-automatic rifle. Shots at moving bobcats or having multiple coyotes come in to a call are common. The ease of staying on target and quick follow-up shots make the AR-15 an ideal predator hunting platform. While it’s not impossible to find the 22-250 in the AR platform, it’s definitely rare. There are a few out there, but the only true production rifle company is closing its doors.

Enter the 22 Nosler. The shortcomings of the 22-250 mentioned above are why the 22 Nosler has gained so much interest in such a brief period of time. It was just introduced at the 2017 SHOT show and hunters are already embracing the cartridge. Nosler’s campaign, “Supercharge your AR in two steps”, is a simple and cost-effective concept. Many hunters already own at least one AR-15, so if they want to use the 22 Nosler it’s not expensive for them. Simply change the barrel and purchase a new magazine. That’s it.

The barrels are becoming available through many sources, but Midway USA was the first to offer them as a drop in. With a few simple tools that any AR-15 owner should have and 15 minutes of time you can switch your barrel to the 22 Nosler. The magazine needed is the same one used for 6.8SPC or 6.5 Grendel, they are very common and can be found for less than $15 each.

The 22 Nosler is its own parent case, similar to a 6.8SPC, but with a rebated rim. The case has 25% more capacity that of the .223 and 35% more energy on target. One thing that one must considered, with the rebated rim you’ll need to use a 223 bolt. There’s more surface area, which means less chance of failure from the bolt than that of the wildcat cartridges using the 6.5 or 6.8 brass/bolt.

Approaching 22-250 velocities in a smaller cartridge, the 22 Nosler makes the round capable of pushing a 55gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet at 3,400 fps out of an AR-15 fitted with a 20” barrel. Now, some will say that you can get almost 4000fps out of a 22-250, but the norm is closer to 3600-3700 fps. Another upside is the ability to use heavier bullets and the versatility they provide. Most barrel makers are using a 1-8” twist, which still stabilizes the 55gr bullets and allows the shooter to use a wide variety of heavier bullets as well.

Comparing the 22-250 and the 22 Nosler with the same 55gr Ballistic tip bullet from Nosler, the data shows how impressive the smaller cartridge really is. The chart below shows how similar they really are at 200 and 300 yard, with 100 to 200 yards being the most common distances for coyotes, fox and bobcats. Beyond 300 there’s a little more drop for the 22 Nosler, but nothing that can’t be dialed or held for by a competent hunter.

Speaking of versatility, the 22 Nosler has been used in the PRS Gas Gun Series by a few competitors and it’s gaining popularity in that venue. Running a heavy bullet such as the Nosler 70gr RDF and up to 77gr bullets, this caliber can be competitive with the heavier, more cumbersome AR-10 style rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or the 6mm Creedmoor.

The new cartridge relies heavily on the overwhelming popularity of the modular AR platform. It’s cost effective to upgrade existing setups through the swapping of an upper, or even just the barrel, and a magazine. It may never match the 22-250 in speed, but the versatility of the 22 Nosler has already turned many heads in the predator hunting and precision rifle community.

Scott Milkovich is the author and is the owner of Specialized Dynamics, a custom AR-15 shop who specializes in predator hunting rifles and also shoots precision rifle matches. Checkout his work at

Some Beginner’s Advice on Saltwater Fishing
Posted by

Author’s note: Originally published over at

Despite growing up in eastern Canada only two hours from the Atlantic coast, I made it to the grand old age of 50 before going saltwater fishing. Even more unusual is that my first ever saltwater fishing trip began in Arizona and took place in the pacific waters of Panama. I thought there may be some benefit on posting my observations, as a rookie, in case other fishermen and women were ready to make the leap to saltwater.

This trip was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, made possible when a dear friend invited me along to what is an annual excursion for him. The price was right, my family was supportive so away I went. This trip was a full five days of fishing multiple species both inshore and offshore, with Pesca Panama – an amazing outfit.


It kind of goes without saying, but my first big observation was scale. I had grown up fishing brook trout and smallmouth bass and yellow perch, etc., and I had caught a ton. That being said, I don’t think I’d ever caught anything over five or six pounds. In Panama, other than baitfish, I don’t think I caught anything under 25 pounds. Ocean fish are big. The first fish I boated was a 120-pound tuna caught on a spinning reel. Before I was done, I would also boat a tuna estimated to weigh 275 pounds. Next, the ocean is big. “Well, duh” you’re probably thinking… but it’s humbling to be offshore with no land in sight. Further, big fish mean big tackle. Bigger than anything you’ve ever handled. That means more effort, and I’m going to talk about that too. Whe you’re casting a lure that is 10″ long, your arm gets tired quick; and if you hook up, it’s probably going to be a big one.


Without a doubt, this was my biggest takeaway. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no fitness fanatic, and I’m not in good shape. That being said I kept thinking “This would be even more fun if I was in better shape”. Ten minutes of casting huge poppers and I thought my forearms were worn out. When I hooked my first tuna (120 pounder) on a spinning reel, I literally thought my arms were going to fall off about 15 minutes into the fight. We all took a turn fighting it, then I ultimately landed it. On Day One my friend and I boated five tuna – the most of our five boats. By lunch on Day Two I had fought and landed a 275-pounder and Tim had fought a behemoth calculated at 316 pounds. After that guy was in the boat, Tim and I told the crew “No more tuna. Let’s go get something smaller”. I never thought I’d tap out on fishing! I loved catching those tuna, and I think if I was in better shape, I would’ve wanted to keep hammering them. I’m not sure how you get in shape for a fishing trip, but I intend to find out. Stamina is a big part of it, from casting poppers to “Reel, reel, reel!!!” when you’re beat – I think it is more about stamina than brute strength or even cardio.

Guides and Outfitters

I joined a group that had been coming on the same trip for 8 or 9 years. They knew the operation well and it quickly became apparent to me that Captain Mike Augat runs a highly proficient operation in Pesca Panama. Every single part of the trip from food to quarters to transportation to the boats and their crews was of the highest order. Mike’s operation is flawless from start to finish. Mike runs such a good operation and it is readily apparent that if one were to use a less capable operation, the trip of a lifetime could turn into a nightmare pretty quickly. Our crews knew where and how to fish. The boats and tackle were in tiptop shape. The food was amazing, the beds were comfy and every step of the journey went like clockwork. I shudder to think what a trip would be like if even one component was off – great food, but poor crews; shiny new boats but hassles getting to them from the airport; great fishing but bad food. When you’re that far away from home and spending that kind of money, everything has to be just right. Pick a good outfitter. Check references and check them again. Research them, Google them and research some more. Having a good outfitter will ensure an amazing trip, even if the fish aren’t biting like they normally do. Our crews were constantly working – adjusting tackle, checking bait, offering water and soda, cleaning the boat. The lodge (barge in Pesca Panama’s case) staff were constantly checking on us. An empty plate or cup barely would barely hit the table before they were scooping it up and asking what else they could get for you.

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Equipment – like any trip, I asked a lot of questions. “Did I need a jacket? Did I need rain gear”. I asked about bug spray and sun block and what to wear for shoes. Remember, this was all new to me. My coworker bought me a floppy brimmed hat which was invaluable. I bought a fishing “neck gaiter” and I am glad I did. It kept the wind off my face when barreling across the open water and the sun off of my neck when we were fishing. I bought a long-sleeved “performance” shirt, which I scoffed at in the store, due mostly to the cost. I’ll have more with me next time. They keep you cool, and keep you from getting burned. Finally, on someone’s recommendation I brought along kneepads. I would recommend them as well, although I didn’t use them the entire trip. For the first couple of days, until I got my “sea legs”, I spent a lot of time bracing my knees against the gunwales and the kneepads definitely helped. Later however, I found that the Black Magic Fighting Belt they used actually pushed into my kneepads and the result was the kneepads ending up all askew anyway. Eventually I ditched them but I’m glad I had them to start.

Species – I spent a lot of time researching the varying species I might catch. Between photos and reviews and YouTube, I had a pretty good idea of what I might catch, how big different species typically were, and knew some basics regarding tackle and technique. It also allowed me to arrive with a “wish list” in mind; as I caught different species I knew which ones I wanted to go after next.

Language – This may surprise some readers but I thought I would throw it out there for consideration. If you’re planning to fish somewhere where “their” language is not “your” language – take the time to learn some basics. In my case, I had taken several Spanish classes over the past few years, but to say my Spanish was “rusty” would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong – the Pesca Panama crew members spoke great English but I was hungry to learn and I think if I could have spoken some Spanish with them, I would’ve learned even more than I did. Plus, it’s just fun to be able to communicate with folks in another language. Next time I will definitely be brushing up before I go.

For my first saltwater fishing trip, I couldn’t have been more happy. It was amazing and truly the trip of a lifetime. When I learned I would be going, I had intended all along to write about my observations as a newbie. Maybe not about the “how to’s” like you might expect – but all of the other stuff. If you’ve never fished saltwater, don’t wait 50 years like I did. Seriously. You’ll be amazed.

Weatherby Conservation Partners: We Are The Mule Deer Foundation
Posted by

The Mule Deer Foundation does great work and Weatherby is an amazing partner.

MDF is dedicated to the following goals:

• To restore, improve and protect mule deer habitat (including land and easement acquisitions) resulting in self-sustaining, healthy, free ranging and huntable deer populations.
• To encourage and support responsible wildlife management with government agencies, private organizations and landowners.
• To promote public education and scientific research related to mule deer and wildlife management.
• To support and encourage responsible and ethical behavior and awareness of issues among those whose actions affect mule deer.
• To support regulated hunting as a viable component of mule deer and black-tailed deer conservation.
• To develop programs that focus on recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation

If you support these goals, or the strike a chord with you, consider getting involved

See what MDF is doing in your State

Fishing in Panama, Part 2
Posted by

I’m hoping you had a chance to read Part 1 of my once in a lifetime fishing adventure in Panama. When I left off, my friend Tim and I had spent a day and a half boating big tuna – from 120 to 316 pounds – and we were beat. It was late morning on Tuesday and we asked the crew if we could go catch something smaller after lunch. Happily, they obliged, agreeing to head back and do some inshore fishing.

In our fishing grounds there are lots of small islands, Coiba (a large island), little lagoons, breakwaters and deep pools, reefs and other structures offering a bunch of different fishing opportunities employing different techniques for different species. Often, we were trolling live bait; when we got to certain spots we would cast huge topwater lures (poppers), and a variety of other lures as well. Casting those big poppers is a technique in and of itself – a few minutes and your arms start to tire!

Near Coiba Island, Panama

Tuesday afternoon, Tim pulled in a really nice rooster fish and then we headed back to the barge for afternoon snacks, cocktails and an amazing evening meal. Wednesday had us inshore fishing again. As a nice surprise treat, the other boats decided to meet at a secluded lagoon for lunch – a part of Coiba National Park.These places were beautiful – literally like a scene from a movie. At one spot there was a small backwater and there were fresh crocodile tracks heading out to the shore

Coiba National Park, Panama

We had a swim, a cold beverage, a great lunch prepared by the crew and we were back at it again. Wednesday I boated an amber jack and also a blue jack (as they were called locally). The blue jack was the prettiest fish of my trip.It never ceased to amaze me how the crew could find fish so consistently, and the diversity of species found in these waters.

Blue Jack, Panama

When we headed out Thursday morning, I told Tim I was on a mission. I had yet to catch a rooster fish, or a dorado (mahi mahi). I wanted to catch at lest one of those guys. Thursday ended up being a busy day on the water! Not only did I catch a nice roosterfish and a great dorado, but I caught a cubera snapper and a red snapper as well. Both snapper were well over 25 pounds, the rooster was 40 ish and the dorado was around 50. Rooster fish fight like a giant smallmouth bass, and are a real challenge to get in. The dorado was caught in a small tidal pool (which they said was unusual) and fought a bit like an Atlantic Salmon – doing nice runs, and even tail-walking up out of the water a time or two. Rooster fish aren’t great eating, but dorado are, and that guy ended up being filleted for later.

Dorado, Panama

Cubera snapper, Panama

Friday was only a half day of fishing, since we had to get on the Air Panama flight back to Panama City that afternoon. Tradition with our group dictates that the anglers all kick some money into the pot, and we have a rooster fish contest. Bragging rights go to the winning angler, cash goes to the winning crew. We fished hard, and I landed a nice rooster. My competitive nature was stirring, and I was really hoping he would be the winner. We were supposed to take measurements but somewhere along the way it turned into photos, and the honor system. We headed back to the amazing cove for one last lunch, swim and beverage. Friend Sean on another boat had also landed a nice rooster. After mulling over the photos, he and I declared the contest a tie. 2 crews would split the bounty!

Rooster fish

We got back to the barge which had made the trip inland ahead of us and was waiting at the marina. There we showered and packed, and the staff from Pesca Panama transported us to the terminal in David, and got our flights all squared away. That night in Panama City, we partook of another group tradition – an amazing meal at a local steakhouse. From there the group splintered and went off according to their interests (energy levels?) We chose a niceplace with a piano bar downstairs and a Spanish guitar player upstairs. It was a great ending to a very, very cool adventure.

Great Video from #PROJECTMULEDEER – “Fawns”
Posted by

I’m a Volunteer with the Mule Deer Foundation and must say that they do great work. Here is a cool video that highlights the new life of Mule Deer across the West. From what the does need to insure a successful birth, to critical fawning grounds, you will learn not only what the Mule Deer need to survive, but thrive in today’s fast paced and ever changing world!

Posted by

Covington, LA (April 19, 2017) – SPOT, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. (NYSE: GSAT) and a leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, announced today that its SPOT family of products has surpassed a milestone of initiating 5,000 rescues around the world since its launch in 2007. These rescues have taken place on six continents and in over 89 countries.

Recent rescue Connor Gallagher was solo hiking in Colorado at an elevation of 11,000’ and activated the S.O.S. button on his SPOT Gen3 device when he began to see the early signs of hypothermia.
“Without the SPOT Gen3, I’m not sure if I would be here today and I am extremely thankful for the West Elk Mountain Rescue team that helped me,” said Connor Gallagher. “I highly recommend SPOT to anyone who is planning to head out on a long trail. I am forever thankful for the little orange block that saved my life.”
Other rescues include a lone worker who pressed his S.O.S. after suffering from a seizure while on a logging job site; a man who was transported to a hospital via helicopter after a skiing accident in Switzerland; and a woman who was in a snowmobile accident in Canada and was airlifted after suffering severe injuries.

“For nearly a decade, we have dedicated ourselves to offering affordable, lifesaving technology that people can rely on,” said Jay Monroe, Chief Executive Officer of Globalstar. “We are proud that SPOT has been universally accepted as the leader in satellite messaging and that we have been able to provide peace of mind to families, co-workers and loved ones worldwide. This 5000 rescue milestone is a result of the hard work put in by the entire team at Globalstar, our partners at GEOS and the Search and Rescue community.”

SPOT products work virtually everywhere in the world offering peace of mind through satellite-based connectivity to hundreds of thousands of people including hunters, hikers, fishermen, snowmobilers, motorcyclist and many others who enjoy the outdoors and travelling off-the-grid. SPOT users have the ability to track assets, use location-based messaging and get help when beyond cellular coverage.

“We are happy to be a part of such a large number of rescues and to continue to provide such an important service for owners of SPOT devices as well as their family and friends,” commented Mark Garver, CEO of GEOS Safety and Response. “People should be able to focus on their travels and adventures when off the grid. Our 24/7 emergency response center and certified team at the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) ensures that should an emergency occur, we’ll get you out quickly and safely.”

SPOT customers are currently initiating nearly two rescues a day. SPOT excludes test messages, false alarms, lost or stolen units and duplicate messages from rescue count.

SPOT Gen3® gives you a critical, life-saving line of communication when you travel beyond the boundaries of cell service. The latest generation of award-winning SPOT devices, SPOT GEN3 lets family and friends know you’re okay, or if the worst should happen, sends emergency responders your GPS location – all with the push of a button. Features include: custom tracking (2 ½, 5, 10, 30, or 60 minute tracking intervals available), motion-activated tracking, continuous tracking and extended battery life.

SPOT Trace® helps customers keep tabs on their high-value assets like boats, ATV’s, off-road bikes and RV’s. Users can receive theft-alert SMS texts or emails when movement is detected. Customized tracking intervals and notification features, such as power off and daily status messages are included with Basic Service. SPOT Trace’s battery life of up to 18 months and available line power option lets users confidently monitor assets on and off the grid, in near real-time via the SPOT App. fin

GEOS Search and Rescue is an additional membership offered for as low as $17.95 per year, providing financial relief of possible expenditures occurred during a Search and Rescue incident. The additional membership can cover up to $100,000 of incurred expenses in a given membership year.

SPOT Rescue Infographic
To view rescue information in more detail, download this infographic which breaks down incidents by region and activity.

SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc., provides affordable satellite communication and tracking devices for recreational use. SPOT Global Phone uses the Globalstar network to transmit two-way voice and data communications. SPOT messaging devices use both the GPS satellite network and the Globalstar network to transmit text messages and GPS coordinates. Since 2007, SPOT has provided peace of mind by allowing customers to remain in contact completely independent of cellular coverage, having initiated over 5,000 rescues worldwide. For more information, visit

This summer, SPOT is making it easier than ever for customers to own affordable piece of mind when traveling outside of cellular range. Now through September 4th, SPOT Gen3 and SPOT Trace devices are 50%. Go here to learn more: SPOT Summer Sale

Casting in Comfort – How to Dress for Fishing in any Climate
Posted by

Once in awhile, I feature a Guest Blog. Thanks to Walt Lyman from REEL Lifestyle along with Denis Isbister and Dreu Murin both from Wild Fish Wild Places who collaborated on this great piece on what to wear while fishing – hot or cold! Thanks again, guys. ~DesertRat

Let’s face it – the last thing you probably think about when planning a glorious day fishing, is how you look. But not thinking about what you are going to wear can end up taking some of the fun out of your day if you get caught unprepared for the elements. Whether the weather forecast calls for a hot sunny day or you’ll be braving a frosty morning, conditions can change without warning and you need to be prepared.

We’ve enlisted the help of our buddies from Wild Fish Wild Places, fishermen extraordinaire Denis Isbister and Dreu Murin, to provide you with their advice on how to dress to get the most out of any fishing trip. Here’s what they said about various conditions:

In extreme heat and sun conditions we wear “compression pants” Under Armour style leggings under our REEL Lifestyle board shorts for complete protection. Days of exposure in hostile environments like the Amazon will leave you fried regardless of how much sunscreen you apply. The light breathable pants keep you completely protected and cooler.

Cold in the morning and hot during the day is what we deal with on most of the fishing trips we go on. For these conditions we utilize a set of waterproof breathable bibs over our REEL Lifestyle board shorts and a waterproof breathable jacket over our hoodie. When it heats up you peal the top layers and are still protected if some weather shows up.

Cold weather fishing requires more layers and more preparation. If boat fishing we have found long wool “wader” socks that come up and over the knee with Muck boots, fleece wader pants and a good set of insulated waterproof bibs. Your top layer should be a tight fitting thermal, heavy hoodie and insulated waterproof jacket to be prepared for all of the elements. If you are using waders to fish in these conditions the same layering process is key. We’ve been stranded in the middle of Alaska when the float plane couldn’t pick us up for a couple days and we were safe due to the meticulous layering process.

Here are some more tips to keep in mind:

Dress in Layers:

• Always carry a few layers when you head out fishing. Weather conditions often change without warning and multiple layers will protect you against the elements. Layering is especially important in remote environments and boat outings. You can become stranded and find yourself facing prolonged exposure to the cold.

Keep the following layers in a dry bag and you are ready for almost anything:

Base Layer – You can skip this one in the summer but consider a pair of wicking thermal underwear to keep your core warm in cold weather. During the hot months, skip the long underwear and throw on a REEL Lifestyle tank top or t-shirt.
Mid-Layer – Wear a long-sleeve and pant layer to remain comfortable in moderate and fluctuating temperatures. The long-sleeve will protect against sun damage and help you remain comfortable on the chilly evening boat ride home. Add a standard hoodie like the zip or pull-over version we have and you are set.
Heavy Layer – Hardcore anglers will fish through the worst of weather. Add a heavy layer like the Sherpa lined hoodie to insulate and remain warm. Put waders on over everything to remain dry and you can fish through most anything mother nature has to offer.

Always Wear Sunglasses:

Sunglasses are about much more than tinting your field of vision to make your eyes more comfortable. In the fishing world, sunglasses will improve your fishing vision and provide a critical layer of protection for your eyes. Think of them like a hard hat on the job site. Hooks are flying through the air and your eyes are at serious risk of injury when uncovered.

There are so many options on the market it can seem overwhelming. Which are the best? Start with a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. A copper or amber tint is a good general tone that covers a good chunk of light scenarios. Ideally, you will have interchangeable lenses, multiple pairs or a photocromatic pair that adjusts automatically based on natural light. Regardless of your choice, wear them at all times while you are fishing. It might save you a painful trip to the hospital.

Don’t Forget Your Hat

The hat is as much a tool as a fashion statement on the water. Wear a hat with a good brim to shade the sun and improve vision. Hats also protect your face and ears from some damage. Take it to the next level in extreme sun and wear a face guard like the Buff in our storefront. You will prevent over exposure and the potential for future skin damage.

Rep a Brand and Look Great

Pick your favorite fishing brand and wear it with pride. At REEL Lifestyle, we provide options that are both functional and great looking. You can wear our stuff on the water or around town, in the heat or the cold. Wear it hard and wear it out while you chase your favorite fish.

Fishing in Panama Part 1
Posted by

In mid-January I was contacted by friend Tim Williams and he asked “Whatcha doing April 1-8?”. I responded that I wasn’t sure and asked what was going on. “Fishing in Panama” he replied. And that’s how it started… Travel for me is a logistical challenge. My wife has some health issues that necessitate a caregiver almost around the clock. I was in the midst of a season of hell at work, my Passport had expired and of course – there was the issue of cost.

Well, Tim made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. My wife agreed to “rough it” for a week, with my daughter’s help and that of a fill-in caregiver. My co-worker Amy encouraged me to go, insisting she’d hold down the fort at work. Finally, I learned my passport could be renewed relatively quickly. With all that, the game was afoot.

Some context, I rarely travel. I rarely fly, and hadn’t ventured outside of the continental United States. Any trip that far and to a foreign country would be a big deal; a fishing trip? That was the makings for a trip of a lifetime.

Soon my flights were booked, my bags were packed, my family and coworkers were ready, and my trip had finally arrived. We flew from Phoenix to Miami and then from Miami to Panama City, arriving in Panama in the early evening. Some of the group was there already, some had travelled from Phoenix, some we had met with in Miami and some were at the Panama City airport. We were picked up at the airport and transported to the Hotel El Panama. We got checked in and then regrouped for an evening out. We enjoyed some amazing food at an authentic Panamanian restaurant, had a few libations and then turned in for the night. The next morning we were taken to the other airport in Panama City (Albrook International)to take an Air Panama flight to the city of David, about a 45-minute flight.

We were then picked up at the David airport by Captain Mike Augat and some staff from Pesca Panama who transported us down to the marina in Pedregal. There we boarded the five fishing boats which took us down the river towards the ocean. The intent was to intercept the converted barge which would serve as “home” the next five days.

The barge is ingenious. While other fishing operations have to return to the mainland every night, Pesca Panama utilizes a “floating lodge” which travels with the fleet of fishing boats. This makes the daily trips back and forth from the fishing grounds much shorter. The barge sleeps 16 or so guests, has a full bar and dining area and crew quarters too. There’s a galley, a small “living room” and provisions for laundry, crew quarters, etc. Staying on the barge itself was worth the trip! So we rendezvoused with the barge just before lunch; then we settled into our rooms, had lunch and headed out for an afternoon of fishing.

That first afternoon was relatively uneventful but it was a great opportunity to start getting our sea legs, catch some bait fish, start to get into the rhythm of throwing poppers and of course – to get to know our boat’s Captain and Mate – Tomas y Felix. The meal that night set the tone for the week – lobster. Yummm

Breakfast on the barge was always delicious, with some of the best coffee you’ve ever had. Locally grown, dark and rich. We typically ate around 6ish, and were in the boats by 7. Monday was our first full day of fishing, and tuna (yellowfin) was the name of the game. Spirits were high, we were excited, and away we went.

We headed towards Hannibal Bank, a go-to for big fish in Panama. The crew watched the birds and porpoises for feeding activity, and soon tuna were sighted feeding as well. Live bait in the water, and spare poles casting poppers. It wasn’t long before we hooked up and someone handed me a rod.I was fighting a tuna on a regular spinning rod. A few minutes in and I literally thought my arms were going to fall out of their sockets. Tim and the crew each took a turn fighting the tuna, then it came back to me and we got it into the boat. My first fish in Panama was estimated to weigh 120 pounds. Prior to that, I had never caught a fish bigger than five or six pounds – in my entire life. Then it was Tim’s turn. He landed two in quick succession that were estimated to go 150 pounds. After lunch he boated another that went 150 pounds. Finally, it was my turn again. I fought a tuna for about 45 minutes on big tackle. We got him in the boat and they estimated it at right around 200 pounds. At the end of the day, Tim and I had boated five tuna total – about 800 pounds’ worth. Most boats landed tuna that day, but we came out on top!

Another amazing evening meal, camaraderie and a cocktail or two – and I was in bed anxious for Day Two.

Day Two found us chasing tuna again. Back out on Hannibal Bank, “running and gunning” – watching for tuna feeding and chasing into the schools of feeding fish. It was a hectic pace, and pretty damned exciting. Then I hooked into something big. I was buckled in, and it was just like something Hemingway wrote about. A harness braced the stout rod into a lap plate and hooked onto the reel. Tim encouraged me. The Captain kept maneuvering the boat to try and gain the upper hand. They gave me water. They poured water on the reel. Then we saw color in the water. Then we got it close. Tomas and Felix got one gaff into it and then another. It seemed all they could do to get it into the boat. Soon Tomas was on the radio and I heard “Monstruo, monstruo!” – a monster. They estimated that fish to be better than 270 pounds. Later based on actual measurements, Captain Mike declared it at 275.

We weren’t done though! Now it was Tim’s turn! Tim hooked up and fought a fish for over an hour, and then he was exhausted. Tomas and Felix took over, with both of them on the rod at the same time. It would be another 45 minutes before that tuna was in the boat. It was bigger than mine, calculated based on taped measurements of length and girth to be 316 pounds. After lunch, Tim and I agreed and issued a plea to the crew that I never thought I would ever hear – “No more tuna. We’re done. Let’s go after something smaller after lunch”. We were beyond beat. We had an awesome lunch on the boat and then the crew obliged and we headed inshore for something a bit smaller.

Desert Rat note – this is too big a story to tell in one sitting. Look for Part 2 coming up soon!