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Outdoor Journal: Some ideas to thank dad

Thursday, June 6, 2013
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Last month, we honored one of the two most important people in our life, Mom. In a few weeks, we’ll be honoring the other, Dad.

For any fishermen/hunters, your dad was the first to take you fishing and hunting. Now if your dad’s an outdoorsman, I’d like to suggest some gift ideas I’d like to see on this special day, any of which I believe your outdoor mentor would like, also.

I’ve divided my choices into fishing and hunting, and if you see something on this list you’d like, cut this article out, circle what you like and put it under one of those magnets on the refrigerator door.

FISHING

For the freshwater bass/pike/walleye fisherman who likes to pull big bass and pike out of those weedy places, the XPS Extreme Trigger baitcasting rods by Bass Pro Shops will do it all. This is a power pole constructed from feather-light 60-million-modulus Powerwall IM9 graphite blank. Features include Fuji aluminum oxide guides, clear-coat finish ultra-premium grade cork handle grip with power hump and a full-contact, soft-touch, reel seat that puts your fingers on the blank to feel a light bite.

The XPS Extreme Trigger rods are offered in six feet to seven feet, eight inches with medium and heavy actions.

These rods usually retail for $100, but now are on sale for $70.

An Extreme rod deserves an Extreme reel, and Bass Pro Shops has one. It’s the Lite Baitcasting Reel that weighs less than six ounces. This reel is compact, but has the power to land big fish.

The Extreme features carbon black composite side covers, magnetic brake cast control, seven stainless-steel bearings plus Powerlock instant anti-reverse, aluminum V spool, a four-washer drag and a hardened aluminum drive gear, a superfast 6.3:1 gear ratio that takes up 24 inches of line for every complete turn of the carbon fiber handle. The Extreme’s price of $80 makes it a good buy.

The combination of this reel and the XPS Extreme Trigger rod will make dad quite happy on June 16, which just happens to be the day after the state bass season opens. Check this combination out at www.basspro.com.

Every fisherman needs a few more lures to add to his tackle box, and here are a few that I know work. The first is a Z-Man Chatter Bait Pro Series. Last year, I fished a late-October partner’s tournament with Mike Galcik of Schuylerville on Lake Champlain. I was using plastic baits, and he was using a Z-Man Chatter Bait. I netted 10 bass for him before I borrowed one of his chatter baits. Our team catch that day totaled 26 pounds for eight bass, most of which were caught by Mike. They work, and pike like them, too.

This bait has a unique hex-shaped Chatter Blade that creates plenty of vibration to attract the fish, and it also serves as a weed guard. I was amazed at how easy it came through the weeds.

It comes with a fish-attracting red eye, and this series comes with a Twin Rattlez which also makes it the perfect stained water bait. Add it to a SilaFlash EZ skirt with highly reflective holographic strands that literally sparkle as they pulsate on the retrieve. The Chatter Bait is offered in one-quarter-, three-eighths-, one-half- and five-eighths-ounce models and 11 different colors. It sells for $6 (www.zmanfishing.com).

I always say that a good lure has to catch the fisherman first, then the fish, and the Lunkerhunt Bento Minnow definitely hooked me.

This little soft but durable plastic bait has a tantalizing split tail and holographic core that really resembles a live minnow. The reports I read on this little bait were all very positive and on all species of freshwater fish. The Bento Minnow is offered in three-inch (six-pack) and 41⁄2-inch (five-pack) and five color choices. They sell for $8 (www.lunkerhunt.com).

I know there are anglers who shy away from fishing crankbaits in weed and wooded underwater coverage, but Sebile has come out with what they refer to as a “Gravity Snagless Hook System.”

I had some doubts until I watched a video that changed my attitude. The lure is the Sebile D&S Crank. The point in the system keeps the hook point in line with the bait’s flattened tail until the fish strikes the bait. When the fish bites, the hook goes upward, freeing the point to penetrate the mouth.

The pivoting hook and tail on the body act to lock the fish’s lip in place until you net/grab the fish. This system also allows for easy hook removal.

The body cross section of this lure is designed to maximize buoyancy in the front of the bait and can dive to depths of 20 to 28 feet. Another attractive feature is it has noisy rattles in the tail. The Sebile D&S Crank bait weighs seven-eighths ounces and comes in nine color choices. Manufacturer’s suggested list price is $15. Watch the video at www.sebileusa.com. You’ll see how well it works.

How many times have you glassed a big buck or strutting tom hundreds of yards out and wished you had a camera? Here’s a way you can take that picture up close with your iPhone/Smart phone. All you need is binoculars or a spotting scope and the universal Smart Optix.

This adjustable unit combines these two together, allowing you to take the photo. This unit also is designed to work with all protective phone cases using micro-adjusting wheels for outdoor use and an innovative locking system, all of which weighs just 12 ounces.

It’s constructed of polycarbonate/ABS material that’s both strong and durable for all outdoor adventures. The price is $60. To learn more and see it in action, go to www.smartoptix.com.

HUNTING

Savage Arms recently introduced a new caliber rifle that’s on the top of my Father’s Day gift list — the .17-caliber Hornet 25 Walking Varminter Series with four models to choose from.

This .17 is a new centerfire, not a rimfire, which I will detail for you shortly. The Varminter features the smooth AccuTrigger, 22-inch matte-finished carbon-steel barrel, drilled and tapped for scope mounting, has a detachable magazine and four-round ammo capacity. Total weight is 6.9 pounds.

The Savage Varminter series has an MSRP ranging from $585 to $775. I’ve always had good luck with my Savage rifles, and I know this .17 Hornet belongs next to my Savage .308 Hog Hunter (www.-savagearms.com).

A good rifle deserves good optics, and the Nikon Pro Staff 3-9x50mm should be just right. Varmint hunters, especially those that do their coyote hunting before and after daylight, will appreciate the up-to-98 percent light transmission this scope offers from it’s 50mm objective.

Other features include hand-turn 1⁄4 MOA click adjustments, one-inch tube diameter, and it’s fully water-, fog- and shock-proof due to it being nitrogen-filled and O-ring- sealed. This model comes with your choice of a Nikoplex or matte BDC (bullet drop compen­sator). Average retail for this scope is around $200 (www.nikonsportoptics.com).

Let’s look at the new cartridge, Hornady’s Superformance 17 Hornet, offered in a 20-grain V-MAX that leaves the barrel at 3,650 feet per second and an energy level of 592 foot-pounds. Zeroed at 200 yards, it has a drop of 6.40 inches at 300 yards.

The 15.5-grain NTX Superformance Varmint takes off at 3,870 feet per second with 515 foot-pounds of energy. Zeroed at 200 yards, this one will drop nine inches at 300 yards.

MSRP is $26 for the 20-grain, $48 for the 15.5-grain. This little fireball has coyote written all over it (www.hornady.com).

The bug season is definitely here, and the outdoorsman is going to encounter them on water and land.

One way I’ve found to be bug-free outdoors is with a ThermaCell. The model I like is the one that includes an olive drab holster. I used mine this spring while turkey hunting, and will be carrying it with me on the water, especially when night fishing for walleye.

This unit runs on a butane cartridge that heats a chemically

treated repellent mat that keeps mosquitos out of a 225 square-foot (15x15 feet) area for up to 12 hours. They are cordless, portable and there is no messy wax.

Believe me, it’s well worth the $26 investment (www.thermacell.-com).

 
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