Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feeling Disconnected....

     Usually I try to keep all my posts positive and informative about my experiences in kayak fishing and the awesome events around my community here in DFW, however I have something on my mind lately that may be contradictory to my usual posts. 

     2017 has been my least productive year on the water, as a kayak angler and I'm feeling very disconnected from the water and from fishing in general. I have had to step back and take a long look at what I've been doing wrong as an angler. I have several holes in my game, so to speak, that I believe have lead to my slump in 2017. As I look back I can see that I continually use the same techniques over and over and I have let my limited confidence in those baits take over my fishing trips. I have completely shut myself off from expanding out into different techniques because my "go to" baits have started to fail me. 

     I went through a three year period where I felt unstoppable and slayed fish no matter the body of water I was on. I believe that hot streak put me in a state of complacency and false comfort and has limited my ability to hone my skills and adapt to the environment around me. I also recognize that I have put fishing further down my list of priorities as I have concentrated on my roles as husband and father and re-devoting myself to my faith in the church. Those priorities will continue to supersede fishing always, but I know I have more to devote to this sport to which I still have so much passion for. 

     As with every other sport there is an off season to grow and get better, and that's exactly what I intend to do this winter. When I was first starting out and learning bass fishing I read books from great anglers, watched countless YouTube videos on utilizing different baits and techniques, and focused on using only lures that I know I needed to get better with. As I feel I have become a better fisherman I have slowly stopped doing the fundamental things that got me there. This winter I will get back to the basics and focus on fundamentals of fishing. 

     I hope my message doesn't get lost or confused as a my white flag because this isn't. I still have just as much passion and love for all things fishing and kayaking, if not more. If nothing else this is my mission statement for 2018, and I look forward to rising to the challenge.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bonafide Kayaks - Full Walkthrough with Chad Hoover

      With so much anticipation surrounding the release of the first round of finished production models of the SS127, I wanted to throw this video out there to add to the excitement. I have already pre ordered mine in Top Gun Grey and I'm chomping at the bit to see what changes were made from the prototype that I paddled to the now finished product. Retailer releases dates are coming up in a few short weeks, and everyone is buzzing with anticipation. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cover Up!! ***(Warning: Graphic Pics)***

     Until recently I thought I had taken adequate steps to ensure my protection from the sun. About five years ago I started getting annual skin checks from my dermatologist and committed to wearing long sleeves, pants, hat, and buff while on the water. I thought if I took these precautions that all would be well and I would have nothing to worry about, but I was wrong. 

     On my latest visit with my dermatologist she took a small biopsy from a very non threatening, very ordinary looking mole. I had expressed a mild concern for the mole to my doctor, I felt that maybe it had grown a little but it didn't seem to have the classic signs and symptoms of melanoma. It wasn't raised, dark colored, rough in texture, or asymmetrical. I just had a weird gut feeling that it had changed and my doctor took a biopsy to be on the safe side.

     I've had about 20 suspect moles biopsied in the past 5 years and so far every time I would receive a call from a nurse explaining that my mole was normal and no further action was required. After my latest biopsy however I knew it was good when my doctor herself called to deliver the results. She told me that the biopsy came back as melanoma and that we would need to schedule a time soon to get it cut out. I realize that melanoma can be common among outdoor enthusiast and that it's a risk we take for our passions, but this diagnosis was a little more personal to me. 

     By the grace of God my melanoma was caught very early and able to be treated by excision only without anything further. My procedure is now over, my stitches are out, and my wound is healing nicely. I am more vigilant than ever about protecting myself and I am more conscious about my exposure time and how much of my skin is exposed. My friends, no one is immune to harmful UV rays and annual skin checks can very well save your life.  

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.