Tuesday, August 8, 2017

All Good Things Come To An End.

     This decision has been finalized for two weeks now but writing this post has been a hard pill to swallow. After 4 years of serving on the Wilderness Systems Pro Staff I have decided to resign from the team. I leave with nothing but respect for the products, the company, and the fine ladies and gents that make up the staff. I won't drone on with reasonings and my thoughts on leaving the team, but I will say that there was nothing negative that led to my decision. I am grateful for the four years that I spent with the team and the doors and opportunities that have opened because of it. Priorities and responsibilities in my life have changed, and I have had to respond accordingly. Again, I wish everyone at Confluence Outdoors nothing but the best and continued prosperity. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

You Betta Belize It! Part 3

     When our work in the capital city was completed it was time to relax and have some fun. Island style!!! We woke up around 5 am and packed out bags and headed back towards the coast of Belize City. When we arrived we headed straight towards the ferry station and bought tickets destined for Caye Caulker. Once aboard the ferry it was a 45 minute ride to Caulker. The ride was noisy, and bumpy, but it was great and the anticipation of getting to the island was overwhelming.
     Upon arriving on the beach it felt like we just crashed landed on paradise. The island is very small and probably the most authentic place I've ever been. There isn't a single paved road or concrete sidewalk on the entire island, just sand and more sand. Before we all split up as a group we decided to eat a bach side lunch together. I ate the fresh shrimp and conch ceviche, and it was absolutely delicious. We all had ideas in mind of what we wanted to do on the island, some wanted to swim, others wanted to shop, but I just wanted to fish.

I walked around the island for about three hours searching for a place to rent a rod and reel. I went to shop after shop but, much to my disappointment no one would rent me one with agreeing to a charter deal first. Finally at the last shop in Caulker I walked out defeated and I hear a voice from my left that hollered to me, "Hey mon, you cant have dat sad face in dis beautiful place." A little stunned, I looked at him and apologized and told him what I'd been searching for. He looked at me with a lemon pucker face and told me, "You don't need no rod an reel, just some line, a hook, and a bait." Huh!!?? I had never considered just hand lining it before. I went to the local market and purchased a spool of line, a few hooks, and a few weights. I found a cool place to buy fresh sardines for bait and even had the opportunity to swim with some very large tarpons. I found a empty pier and quickly got my new gear all tied up and hooks baited. I let out some free line and hurled my into the ocean. It wasn't but just 10 seconds into waiting I felt a hard pull and I instinctually set the hook. The fight of my first Caribbean fish on a hand line was one of the most adrenaline filled moments of my life. I remember just thinking, please don't spit the hook, as I pulled this mystery monster in. As I finally got him up to the dock I quickly realized that he wasn't a monster but he fought like one and I added another species to my bucket list, a Barracuda.

     That was my only Cuda of the day but several small "pretty" fish followed and my island adventure goal was complete. After fishing I went and got cleaned up and met up with the rest of my team for dinner. We continued to bond and discuss the awesome work that we had done during the past week and how amazing God is.
     I am so very thankful for Mr. Waller and the CSMA organization for allowing me to come along for this awesome and inspiring week of serving others and enjoying an exotic place. I very much look forward to jumping on the opportunity to come back to Belize.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

You Betta Belize It! Part 2

    Going into this trip I knew that we were going to be teaching CPR, first aid, concussion training, and injury evaluation, but what I didn't know was how needed our skills were. I realized that as athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals working in the United States we take for granted the luxuries that we have. Most high schools in my area of DFW have at least two athletic trainers, multiple AED's, and countless mandatory training opportunities. The group of educators and coaches that we were responsible for training over the next four days were incredibly grateful and engaged in everything we covered.

     We would have a daily team meeting in the dining area of our hotel over breakfast every morning to eat and discuss the days plans. I have to say that our team, led by Paul Waller, worked incredibly well together and stayed on mission for the entire trip. After breakfast we would load up and head over to the National Soccer Headquarters for the Belize national soccer teams. This is where we met and taught every day. Day 1 consisted of CPR and AED training and one of the students whose name was Ryan said something to me that will stick with me forever. After a full day of teaching Ryan thanked us for everything we covered that day than he said to me "I would love to be able to help my students more but I cannot do what I do not know." That hit me hard because I realized then that our presence there was absolutely right and we were doing good work. 


     Our team would teach for about four hours then we would break for lunch. Our driver would pick us up from the Football HQ and take us to the market everyday. We ate at the same outdoor cafe and had the daily special everyday. The daily special was rice and beans, home made potato salad, a stewed meat of some kind, and a fried plantain. It was absolutely delicious! After our bellies were full we would head back to the HQ to teach for another 4 hours or so. After we were done for the day we would head back to the hotel and get the AC cranking in our rooms while we relaxed with a cold drink and a snack of fry jacks and refried beans. 

 We continued this routine for four days with a team dinner each night. We had the opportunity to meet the mayor of the capital city so he could personally thank us for the work we were doing. Each experience was more incredible than the other. On the last day we headed out early in the morning for the island of Caye Caulker for a final day of reward for the long week of hard work. 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You Betta Belize It!! part 1


     The last month has been a whirlwind of packing, planning, and preparations for not only my first international trip, but also my first mission trip. I was presented with an opportunity back in January to join a team from the Christian Sports Medicine Alliance (CSMA) to travel to Belize to share our skills as sports medicine professionals as well as share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I have never been religious or even put much thought into my relationship with God, even though I did consider myself a Christian. My family and I started attending a church again that we really felt comfortable at, and we began to grow as a family in our faith. I began a previously non existent prayer life, and I quickly realized that my prayers were not being answered in the way I imagined.

     I have a degree in sports medicine and currently work as an athletic trainer in the Dallas area. An opportunity was presented to me to share my skills and knowledge in sports medicine through a ministry that utilizes sports medicine professionals to teach valuable skills to far reaching corners of the world where this information is not present but desperately needed. After several weeks of praying to God to use me somehow, I couldn't ignore this obvious call. I quickly reached out the the founder of CSMA, Paul Waller, and expressed my interest in serving in his ministry and to inquire about international mission opportunities. 

     Paul told me that Belize was an option for early June and that he had been there several times before. Belize is a small country in Central America with white sandy beaches, blue water, and a rich history is sports. Paul continued to explain to me that the next team to go into Belize would be meeting with the sports counsel in the capital city of Belmopan and putting on a 5 day sports medicine clinic. Topics would include CPR, first aid, AED training, concussions, and upper and lower extremity injury prevention and care techniques. Essentially what we had was a group of sports professionals that are responsible for various groups of athletes spanning all ages with no knowledge of what to do in emergency situations when an athletes life could potentially be in danger.  

     In an effort to keep this story manageable I am writing it in three pieces. Part two will be about my experiences in the capital city of Belmopan and the teaching and outreach work we did there, and part three will recount the last day of the trip that we spent on the island of Caye Caulker. Thank for reading.

Monday, May 15, 2017

ATAK 120 Rudder Install

      After several weeks of absolute chaos and busy plans, I was finally able to get my rudder installed on my ATAK 120. I absolutely love this boat and have been paddling it for several months now without a rudder with great enjoyment, but now its about to get a whole lot better. Wilderness systems has changed the rudder kit up a bit from previous years. We no longer use the cable and clamps, we now have a new synthetic cable and new method of attachment to the rudder bracket. I have to say that I like the changes and I think its a much easier install than with the rigid metal cables. Since this was my first time installing this new style of rudder I found this install video from fellow Wildy Pro Staff, Chase Tanner, to be very helpful and detailed. Check out the video! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

5 ways to Improve Your Fishing Skill
Guest Post from Jason Roy
     Have you ever gone fishing? If you have, then, how was your experience? Well, fishing is often termed as the most interactive and adventurous activity that you can ever participate in. It always calls for creativity, persistence, patience, confidence and self-belief. I once went fishing with my brother; I was so much excited because this was my first time. I decide to take the wheel and do the fishing, I spent much time at sea but only had a single fish. I was almost getting discouraged when he started explaining to me 5 ways to improve your Fishing skill;
1. Carry various Types of Baits
For you to have a massive catch, the number one tip to always consider is the number of bait you carry. Carrying one type of bait is never a good idea because it will limit your option. This is because fish often respond differently to the type of bait. If they fail to react to your first bait, then you can use the alternative. This will help you get something that will trap the fish, instead of going home with no catch at all.
2. Keep a Fishing Journal
Fishing journals often contribute massively towards your fishing skills. This works well if you do a lot of fishing because it will help you look back at what you did earlier. When you get a massive catch, putting down the type of bait you used, the area you fished, the temperature and weather will help you catch more fish the next time you go out fishing. A record will also help you identify different techniques that work and those that don’t need so that you may know exactly what to do when you get at sea.
3. Begin Fishing in Well-lit Areas
Sometimes conditioning your brain is the best way to improve your fishing skills. You can begin your fishing in a well-lit environment so as to be aware of potential areas for catching fish. This will help you catch more fish at times when there is a limited amount of light, or rather during the night. To achieve this, you can start fishing at sunset and do the fishing till darkness covers the whole area. If this is done almost all the time, you will have no stress on knowing where to get the fish at any given the time of day.
4. Plan Ahead for Special Contingencies
Well, as it is always said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is even true when it comes to fishing. Before you go fishing, you have to plan early enough to avoid any inconveniences which will undermine your skills. You have to ensure that the headlamp is in order, The baits are enough, and the fishing gear is in good order. The most important way to improve your fishing skills is embracing orderliness and planning your activities in advance.
5. Go Fishing with Experts
     This is the best way of improving your fishing skills. If you go out fishing with an expert, you will have first-hand information on how things are done. Experts will also reveal their secrets to you about how well to handle fishing activities. Whatever you learn from the experts should be whatever you implement when you go out fishing on your own. If not implementing whatever the experts did, then do more than what they did! If you want to get big fish you should choose best spinning reel for catching lots of fish. 
     No one was born with the skills of fishing; we always learn them as time goes by. Therefore if you had a nasty first fishing experience, then don’t give up, the above tips will help you improve. Learning is always a continuous process; therefore ensure that you improve your fishing skills each and every time. The best way to learn is to ask. Whenever you have a burning issue about fishing, always turn to the experts!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

When You Get Involved

    I love fishing. I love all aspects of fishing. I love the chase, I love the hook set, and the fight, and the release. I also love to take my daughter and my son fishing and pour into them my passion for fishing and all things outdoors. It makes me proud when my friends want to learn to fish and they come to me to get them started on the right path. I also love it when I have the opportunity to contribute to the community that has accepted me and made me feel welcome since day 1. 

I am not going to chain myself to a tree but I firmly believe in protecting our resources and passing down the knowledge and natural resources that were passed down to me. I have a local pond that is within very close walking distance to my house and it is the perfect place within the city to take my kids fishing, and feed the ducks, and share my love of the outdoors with them. The last few years I have noticed an increasing problem of illegal keeping of fish at our local city ponds. I have noticed a significant drop catch counts and fish activity in general in the last couple seasons. I have seen on multiple occasions’ bank fishermen with large ice chests keeping any and all species they catch. I have walked passed and seen crappie, bream, catfish, and large mouth in their cooler.  When you’re talking about a half-acre body of water it doesn’t take long to disrupt the ecosystem and allow turtles to overpopulate.
After seeing this I decided to write an email to the head of my local parks and recreation department about posting catch and release signs at all city ponds. To my surprise I received a reply email back within a few days with a positive response to my proposal. The parks and rec dept. was concerned about the fish being taken out of ponds because the city pays to stock the ponds with taxpayer money. I am proud to report that I received an email just four days later with pictures of my catch and release signs being cemented in at every city pond.
This may seem like a small victory and might not deter anyone from keeping fish, but I feel like I have made a difference in my community. I feel like I have taken small steps to ensure my children can continue to fish our local pond for many years to come. More than anything I hope and pray that my children can learn something from watching me confront an issue that I’m passionate about.