web analytics

Tag Archive | "Eric Payne"

Boat and equipment check list 

Eric Payne with a large early season bass caught and released

Eric Payne with a large early season bass caught and released

by Jack Payne

Spring fishing has started for a few anglers and this is the perfect time for a good check- up of your boat, electronics and your fishing gear. Some of these tips are second nature and a number of them anglers overlook causing significant pain. I spoke with Vohn at Matteson Marine and he pointed out some really good tips.

The first thing is checking the tire pressure. After sitting all winter it is a good bet that the air pressure has lowered. Keep the pressure near the maximum manufactured suggested levels.

Bearings need grease. As a minimum you should pull the hub and actually check the bearings every two years, more often if you drive a lot. Even with a grease zert or a Bearing buddy system, it pays to check the bearings for wear and to investigate the quality of the grease.

If the bearings are still smooth and roll easily then you can add grease and be done with it. There is no reason to pack the cavity completely full between the two sets of bearings.

The lower unit lube should be replaced each year. There are two plugs on most motors. Remove the top plug then the lower plug. Have an empty coffee can or milk jug handy to catch the lube.

One item that is overlooked by most boaters is the seals for the impeller. Most manuals suggest replacing the seals every 3-5 years. Many boaters wait until their engine horn or alarm sounds or until they have a problem.

Sucking up mud, sand or silt is one major cause of failed seals. Another is fish line. If the seals get cut, damage can occur quickly. A nice steady stream of water should be shooting out the side of the motor.

Fresh gas is a must and most two cycle motors run their best with a mid-grade octane. Low octane gas can cause problems especially on the older motors. Your manual will state the suggested octane.

Mercury Motors suggests running a stabilizer with your gas if there is any chance of the gas sitting longer than 30 days in the tank. Gas purchased at the local stations often has ethanol added. Ethanol will break down in time therefore a stabilizer will help.

Check your batteries, most are good for 3-5 years. If they are wet cell batteries then top them off with fluid. Charge up your batteries and make sure that each battery shows more than 12 volts on a meter. A good battery should read 12.5 or higher on a volt meter.

Check all of your fluid levels on your engine. Power steering and oil levels are often forgotten.

Last, with the boat in the water check out you carpeted bunks or rollers. If you have carpeted bunks make sure that the carpet is still in good condition. If worn or tore up replace it. If you have rollers make sure that each roller turns smooth. If not it is an easy job to replace.

Check the rod tips and guides with a Q-tip. If it snags up then most likely the guide or eye will need replacing. A burr or cut on the guides can translate into a frayed fishing line. It might be time for a new St. Croix rod.

Reels need a good cleaning. Get rid of the sand and debris. Loosen and tighten down the drag, lubricate the gears. Add fresh line to each reel. Mono line should be replaced at least once a season, braid might be good for a few seasons depending on how often you fish and retie.

Check the hooks on each lure. Make sure that they are razor sharp. If a pond is available then cast each lure and tune it so they run straight. Organize your tackle box so that each item is easily found. Take an inventory and stock up on the lures that you are in low supply of.

I find more hidden tackle each spring, thus saving me money when I clean out and inventory my equipment. Take a little time now and check out these items or have the pros do it while saving time and money during the fishing season.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off on Boat and equipment check list 

Savor the taste of your deer

Eric Payne with a dandy buck.

Eric Payne with a dandy buck.

by Jack Payne

As daylight finally arrived, the sound of crunching leaves were heard. After much anticipation, a nice deer appeared in the firing lane. Quickly the Ruger M-77 was shouldered and the Leopold scope centered behind the deer shoulder.

That quickly and the season was over. Now the next phase of the work begins. What is the best way to get the deer out of the woods? What needs to be done to protect the great taste?

Starting in the field right after the tagging of your deer becomes the critical time to insure a quality meal. Take your time when gutting the deer to avoid punching a hole into the intestines.

A toboggan works well but a deer cart is much better. We hauled ours through a river, into a swamp, over logs and it always worked great. Center the weight towards the front of the cart for the least amount of work.

Once the deer is home or in camp it is important to clean the cavity thoroughly. A hose or a pail of water to wash out the blood and dirt will pay dividends when the deer hits the frying pan.

If the weather is warm then a couple of ice bags stuffed inside of the cavity will quickly cool down and protect the meat.

Skinning the deer and boning it out helps a lot if it’s warm. Skinning a deer only takes maybe fifteen minutes when the hide is still warm. Quartering the deer or better yet, boning it out and placing it on ice in a cooler will preserve the meat until you are ready to process it.

“Care must be taken with the hide and cape if a mount is desired,” said award-winning taxidermist Charlie Walker. After a deer is shot care must be taken with the head.

“Don’t cut the hide short if a shoulder mount is desired,” said Walker. If not sure then leave it for the processor or for the taxidermist.

Don’t drag the head across the dirt because it’s easy to damage the nose, ears and facial hair. Forget the rope tied around the neck when you hang it up. Hang it from the hind legs will preserve the mount and helps bleed the deer out.

You can butcher your own deer or bring it away. Most places charge around $75 bucks and the meat is frozen and ready for the freezer when you pick it up.

Adding marinade to your meat prior to freezing is the best way to ensure that special taste. This is the best reason for cutting up your own deer. Marinade your meat before freezing will enhance the taste like never before.

Vacuum packing your meat really helps on the shelf life. The bags are reusable and this is a fast way to package your meat as compared to the old way of double wrapping the meat.

Sausage and jerky making is really easy but time consuming. We used to do our own but now we bring it away. Some of the local folks do a fantastic job plus you can get half dozen flavors.

Speaking of fresh venison, nothing tastes better than fresh venison in deer camp.

The sweet aroma of onions and the sound of the mushroom gravy sizzling in the frying pan were welcomed by the entire hunting party.

Fresh as in never frozen is the best. Marinade the tenderloins in Italian salad dressing or use one of the commercial products like the Lowery or Mountain Man marinades. Let it sit over night and sprinkle with Lowery seasoning salt and pepper. Slice up a few onions and sauté’ with butter in a frying pan.

Place the tenderloins in the pan with the onions and sear both sides. Turn down the heat, add two cans of mushroom gravy and let simmer. If fresh mushrooms are available, then throw in a handful.

Fresh K-Bobs is another stand-by meal each season. The best meat comes from the hindquarter. Bone off a few pounds and cut into 1-inch cubes. A marinade of soy sauce or a sweat and sour marinade adds zest to the K-Bob.

A venison stir-fry is fast and very simple to make. Back straps or a chunk of the hindquarter will suffice. Cut into 1 inches wide, three or four inch long strips, an estimated half-inch thick.

Keep you deer cool and clean, marinade your meat prior to vacuum packing and use a few spices. Venison will never taste the same.


Posted in Featured, OutdoorsComments Off on Savor the taste of your deer

Bass fishing

Eric Payne with a bass caught on a molded worm.

Eric Payne with a bass caught on a molded worm.

by Jack Payne


Thump, thump, thump and bam! A fish hit and game on. After trying to play bulldog with me on the bottom the bass finally came up and tried shaking its head to dislodge the hook. This fish was not successful in its try to be free.

Most days you will find me throwing finesse style baits, small worms, light weights, or a spinner bait. But on the dog days of summer and leading into fall it is often best to use a larger bait and fish deeper.

We were throwing the large Garter Worm or the Magnum Bass Stopper Worm from Stopper Lures. We fished this bait very similar to the drop shot rig. In our case we use a heavy bell sinker with the plastic worm tied onto a loop knot a few inches above the sinker. One angler might fish four inches up and the other angler might try a foot. See who gets the best action and duplicate it.

We like tying on a short leader, 6-12 inches long to the plastic worm. This gives the worm some movement, some added flutter and lift. We feel that we get more strikes when fishing in this manner than compared to a very short or no leader.

Sinker weight varies between three eighth and possible up to three quarters. It depends on the wind and the depth. Fifteen feet to thirty feet is our preferred depth. Deep long points are our first target and then sunken islands, mid lake humps and other off shore deep water structures.

Yes, we basically fish with our backs to the shoreline. Not what you would expect from many bass anglers. The next difference is that we fish vertically and we drift with the boat or move slowly with the trolling motor.

Once again, using a trolling motor while actually fishing is taboo with some anglers but I fish to catch fish and enjoy myself. I grew up chasing walleye and learned the fine art of vertical fishing. For many years my trolling motor was on the back of my boat and I back trolled. It’s only been a few years that I’ve enjoyed a front bow mounted trolling motor. I still run a tiller motor and that might change in the future.

When you walleye fish you learn how to fish deep water, how to find the spot on the spot and how to finesse fish or how to fish vertically. If you don’t then a live well becomes better suited as a cooler.

I really believe that anglers would catch more bass during the late summer and into the fall if they spent more time fishing the deep water. Sharp drop-offs are easy to find with your graph, many of the points that you would fish can be located by looking at the shoreline.

The idea behind a drop shot rig or the rig that we use is in maintaining contact with the bottom and keeping control of the plastic worm. I like the leader to the worm instead of it being tied tight to the line. I like the way it floats and flutters. Some anglers like it tight because they can feel any hit instantly from a bass. Try it both ways and see which way you enjoy best.

A larger bait matches the late summer forage. In the next month you will see a direct change in the size of the baitfish with less smaller fish and larger baitfish. In addition the metabolism is higher and many game fish want a larger meal while expanding less energy to fill up.

Deep water haunts with larger baits worked near the bottom will produce bass during the dog days of summer and leading into the fall. Deep water will continue to produce bass right through the turnover period just before the snow flies. Fish with your back to the shoreline and enjoy some great bass action overlooked by many anglers.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off on Bass fishing