Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spreading The Word

     Today I had the opportunity and the privilege to speak to an outdoor education class at a local high school. I was nervous going into this because I wasn't sure of how responsive the kids would be. I know that not everyone is as passionate about kayak fishing as me, my wife tells me all the time. I knew that I was fully prepared and had a very specific game plan about the structure of my presentation and I had full confidence in my knowledge.

The great folks at Mariner Sails set me with party favors to pass out to the kids, kids always love free stuff they can play with. I got to school early and I brought my full set up of a normal fishing day with me. I could tell as soon as the kids walked in that they were interested, just by the way they were staring and whispering about my kayak. I was a little worried that it would be all me talking and no back an forth with the kids.That worry was soon alleviated when I saw how actively engaged the kids were and they were firing great questions off left and right. 

     About half of the kids liked to fish and about a third had kayaked before, but combining them was something completely new to these kids and they were pretty excited about it. I had a few of the boys tell me thank you afterwards because they fell like this is something that they could bond with their dads over. After the presentation was over I sat with the kids for about about another twenty minutes answering questions and going over different parts of the yak.


     All in all it was a great day. I fell like we both learned something from this experience and I was able to expose some of these kids to something that was totally unknown to teem before. I know specifically that look on some of their faces, that wheels are turning look. I see that look every time I'm around a group of kayak anglers when we are trying to problem solve rigging. I actually saw that same look in some of these kids faces and it was priceless. I'm all set up to speak with another class next in six weeks and I cant wait.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wound Closure: A Quick Easy Fix

     Mistakes happen, situations occur on the water that are out of our control. We can't always prevent accidents, but we can prepare for them. One of the easiest and fastest fixes is knowing how to properly apply steri strip bandages. Steri strip bandages are thin adhesive strips that can close a sizable laceration in seconds. I carry them in my in my fist aid kit always and they are very affordable at CVS or Walgreens.

     First you want to clean the skin around the wound for any bacteria that can cause infection and clean away any dirt or slime that will prevent the steri strips from sticking. I find that a small alcohol prep pad works best for this.
     Next, may sure the area is dry to allow for proper adhesion of the steri strips. You may need to cut the steri strips down to a desirable length based on the location of the wound. Press down the steri strip on one side of the laceration and use your free hand to pinch the wound as close to closed as possible and pull the free end of the steri strip down and apply light pressure to make sure you have a good hold on the skin. The two sides of the cut skin should be touching or as close as possible. 

     Repeat this step until you have successfully closed the entire length of the wound. Apply as many strips as necessary to fully close and secure the wound. Next, apply vertical strips to take away tension on the horizontal strips for a solid closure. 

     Lastly, I always smear a little triple antibiotic ointment over the wound to further prevent any infections. Cover the strips with an appropriate bandage to prevent any peeling off of the steri strips. I prefer Tegaderm, it provides an almost water tight and air tight seal. However, any bandage covering will work.
     For me, preparing for these unwanted situations and having the proper supplies allows me to fix what needs fixing and stay on the water longer knowing that I have taken every step possible to secure my health and safety.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Easy Peasy!! WS Ride 115x Fish Finder Install

       This past weekend I installed my new fish finder on my Wilderness Systems Ride 115x. Kayak fish finder installs are usually kind of intimidating for me. I haven't done that many to be fully confident, yet I've done enough to have half an idea to try it myself. Fish finders cost a lot more than your average accessory and its the last thing I want to screw up. I am also that guy that hates drilling holes in my kayak for fear of making a irreversible mistake. All of those fears, hesitations, and limitations are eliminated with this kayak. Although it isn't formally named yet, the removable fish finder console that I call "the powerhouse", turns this kayak into a game changer for guys like me.

     The set up and install was so easy, it really doesn't even add credit to you as a "kayak rigger." I bought the Lowrance Elite 4X DSI from academy on my way to the Dallas Boat Expo on Friday. The review on this unit will come later but for now it should be a formidable upgrade to my previous unit. The step I took was to hook the unit up to my battery to make sure it would turn on. Check!

     Next I took the Powerhouse out of the kayak and drilled a one inch hole in the top to all for wires to pass through.

     From here its literally as easy as screwing in the base of the unit over the wire hole and stuffing the battery and wires into the Powerhouse and mounting the transducer on the bottom of the Powerhouse into the pre-drilled holes.

       After that, all you have to do is place the Powerhouse back into its designated place and tighten it down. After drilling the initial hole for the wiring the hardest part of this whole install was stuffing the foam plug into the back of the unit to keep it water tight. 

     This install requires no knowledge of electrical work, splicing, making plugs, or any other skill that you may not have. Don't let a complicated install prevent you from having a nice, clean set up on your kayak. If you're looking to upgrade or in the market for a new kayak, the Wilderness Systems Ride 115x may be exactly what you're looking for. Mariner Sails of Dallas has plenty of new colors in stock, and they are happy to set you up with a demo.