Friday, April 27, 2012

North Georgia Trout Fishing

I just got back from a week staying in the North Georgia mountains with some friends at Toccoa House Properties near Blue Ridge, GA. We had a great week of enjoying good food and fellowship, and although the fishing on the Toccoa River wasn't fantastic this week, we did manage to put together enough trout for a good meal Thursday night. The quiet serenity of the mountains was a welcome diversion from the busy Atlanta landscape I see during the workweek. This was my first time to visit Blue Ridge, and I will be back to do some more fishing. Also, I plan to hunt black bear this fall in the Cohutta Wilderness area which is near Blue Ridge.

My buddy Dillan Harris landed his first rainbow trout, a 19 incher, and that's a trout for anybody to be proud of in the mountains. I was glad to be able to net the fish for him. This picture tells it all.

Thursday we grilled the trout we had caught through the week, and it was delicious. I hadn't had fresh trout since I moved from Wyoming three years ago. Being near this great trout river got my fever up to get back into fly fishing, something else I haven't done for several years. So I'm in the market for a new fly rod as we speak.

My friend Brandon Palaniuk won his first B.A.S.S. Elite Series event this past week when he took the trophy at the Trokar Quest on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas. Brandon had a total weight of 78 pounds, 6 ounces and had a double digit lead over runner-up Britt Myers. Brandon took $100,00 to the bank for his win. The coolest part of the story to me was that after winning that kind of money, Brandon slept in his truck Sunday night like he does for a lot of other tournaments.

I believe Brandon is on the way to a super star career in professional bass fishing. Another pretty cool story about him can is B.A.S.S. writer Don Barone's open letter to Brandon and Brandon's response. Congratulations Brandon, and keep up the great work!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Net Gunsmith/What Conservation Means to Me

My first article for Net Gunsmith has been published! You can check it out by Clicking Here. Much more to come here. If you have suggestions for topics I should cover, please feel free to contact me.

The rest of this post also appears on my "Conservation" page and will be permanent there. I also felt like sharing it as a regular post as well. Please comment with what Conservation means to you.

Conservation is an important part of every sportsman's involvement in the outdoors. Without the commitment of every man, woman, boy and girl to the conservation of the species and habitat that they hunt or fish for, these precious natural resources would dwindle to extinction. I served as Conservation Director for the Wyoming Bass Federation for a little over a year and saw first hand the legal battle that conservationists wage with the political powers in order to defend and protect our outdoor heritage.

Hunting and fishing are some of the few sports where the participants are the chief caretakers of their "arena." You probably won't see Tom Brady painting the endzone and stripes on a football field, Kobe Bryant mopping the hardwood floors in a basketball arena or Tiger Woods mowing the fairway at Augusta. But you will see bass anglers like Kevin VanDam and big game hunters like Cameron Hanes partnering with organizations like B.A.S.S. and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, two giants in conservation. You'll see Ray Scott and Bill Dance building and designing lakes for optimal bass habitat and you'll see Lee and Tiffany Lakosky planting soybeans and other food to ensure health and survival of whitetail deer in Iowa.

Though the media pervades a very negative image of the "Bubba" hunter as a bloodthirsty savage with an unquenchable desire for violence, in reality sportsmen and women are the key ingredient to managing and preserving every game animal on the continent. Even non-game animals such as feral hogs, coyotes and other varmints have such a following that their pursuers spend money, time and other resources in habitat management and population control.

Don't let the tree huggers deceive you; hunters are the original conservationists.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Practice makes...sense.

Some groups with the Hoyt Alphamax.

Since my last archery butt whooping at the Christian Bowhunters of Georgia 3D Tourney in March, I've made a conscious effort to really get my bows and myself dialed in. I've spent time working on flaws in my form, as well as fine-tuning my setups to where I'm much more comfortable shooting them. Both of my bows are relatively new to me, and getting them tuned up has mostly been a trial and error process to this point. I plan to have both of them super-tuned once I get my new ProLine strings.

Wearing the camo finish off my Easton Axis 400's.

Fortunately I live within a few miles of a 3D archery course, so Wednesday afternoon after turkey hunting all morning I went to the range with my Hoyt CRX32. Since this was my hunting setup, I focused on kill shots instead of shooting for points. In other words, I shot the foam deer, antelope, bears, hogs, etc as if I were shooting for vitals instead of the 10 ring. I love the sound of a heavy Easton Axis arrow whacking a foam target!

Hopefully a good omen for September!

Hopefully this method of practice will not backfire on me when it comes time for my next tournament...I would hate to go into kill shot auto pilot when I need to be focused on the 10 ring. But the reason that I shoot 3D, besides the fact that it's just plain fun, is to become a better bowhunter. I don't have any aspirations of being a top-level target archer, though I give each competition my best. My main goal is improving my shooting under the high pressure situations that having one shot at a target and non-stop smack talk from my buddies creates.

Is it working? Well, I'll let you know this fall!