Category Archives: Equipment

Tenkara fishing: only a rod, line, and fly

“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers”, as Herbert Hoover said.

Fishing was a mystery and a passion at the same time when I was a child. Growing up and experiencing the world of fishing from the inside fueled a lot of my interest. There are so many reasons to practice fishing as a sport, but the most important for me is the opportunity to experience some of the world’s most amazing locations available to anglers all over the world! Nature is genuinely extraordinary.

That is why I want to share with you a new fly fishing setup that I use. I don’t use a traditional fly rod, but I use what’s called a tenkara rod. It’s based on a Japanese-style fishing that originated in the narrow mountain streams of that country. It has been practiced for over 200 years now. Originally the rod was simply a bamboo/cane rod, which was cut and treated. Because of its light weight, Japanese anglers could use very long bamboo rods with a fixed-length line to reach as far as they needed.

I’m going to tell you about it as a suggestion for a way to possibly start fishing with a tenkara. It’s so easy, because the entire setup is a rod, a line, and a fly.

Tenkara rod, lines, and flies

Tenkara rod, lines, and flies

The rod weighs just 2.1 ounces, and it is telescopic. It collapses to about 20-inches, but can telescope out to various sizes. A typical rod can be as short as 10 feet 8 inches or as long as 12 feet 9 inches, which is perfect for getting into different sized fishing lakes and ponds. The end is capped until you wish to extend it, Pull the telescope until it’s completely out and then just put a little bit of tension on each section where the telescoping joints meet. You don’t want to pull to hard, because if you do you can damage the joints.

Besides the rod, you have a line that you’re going to be tying right to the tip of the rod. You can use the same length as the rod, but you can use longer lines as well. I use the 13 foot fixed line. At the end of the main line you will attach tippet, which is a very thin fishing line that goes between the main line and the fly. It is just like your standard narrow monofilament that you would tie to the fly. And of course, it’s a way to keep the fish from seeing the bright fly line and it helps deliver the fly a little more accurately.

I carry two different kinds of lines. I carry the normal line that is just round and feel great on calm days, so you can cast real easy. It is for calm conditions. There is no texture to it. And there is also a braided line, the advantage of which is that it’s a little bit heavier and it can cut through the wind.

The last, but not least, I have my fly box. Tenkara flies place less emphasis on imitation and more on the importance of their presentation. They are simpler than traditional flies. They have a reverse tackle which is facing towards the eye of the hook and a really simple design. That is one of the focuses of tenkara: it’s not so much about selecting your fly as it is having a good presentation; you can catch and release as many fish as you like as long as you are perfecting your method.

I really like using the tenkara setup. The equipment and setup is so simple. Instead of focusing on all the different flies and supplies, you focus on technique and simplicity. It is a great set up for backpacking or bicycling, and can easily be with you wherever you find yourself.

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Download Free Garmin GPS Maps Before You Drive this Summer

With the Summer period now here the chances are that you might be planning on a driving to see your relations or going to a new place that you haven’t driven in before.  If that sounds like you and you use a Garmin Nuvi GPS in order to help you get there then you should consider updating the maps on the product before you go.

Roads Change Meaning Maps are Out of Date

The reason you should do this is because roads can change meaning the maps on the Nuvi will be out of date with old directions.  So if new routes appear then it’s possible that you could take a wrong turn, go to the wrong place, or just simply be late for your planned arrival time.

In order to update your Garmin Nuvi GPS maps you have a number of official options available to you – some of which you will need to pay for, but one of which is actually free as part of the Garmin nuMaps Guarantee program.

How to Download Free Garmin GPS Maps

Free Garmin map updates are only available to certain customers, and it can be tricky figuring out if that applies to your product.  Thankfully though, Garmin have recently made the whole update process a lot easier so you can now check for free Garmin Nuvi maps by simply connecting the device to your PC and then the myGarmin website – which is where you can register the sat nav and browse all available upgrade options.

Installing Free Garmin Map Updates

If you decide you do want to install new map data then the process should take you no longer than 45 minutes over a standard Internet connection.  You can order new Garmin maps on an SD Card, but the download version usually makes more sense given the immediate impact the new routing data can have.

Lifetime Map Updates

Not everyone will be able to download a free map database though, so if you find that’s the case for you then you will typically need to pay anything between $49 and $89 US Dollars for an upgrade.

Some of Garmin’s newer Nuvi GPS models are now coming with Lifetime Map Updates as part of the package though, so it’s also worth checking to see whether buying a new GPS could be more cost-effective over a couple of years of ownership.

Whichever option you decide to choose, you will be able to drive to your Summer destination with renewed confidence and end up having a very happy holiday!

GPS News: for more information on all things related to GPS including news, reviews, and interviews please visit GPS Bites > Find out more.

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Why Get a GPS Dog Collar?

Dogs are fast and can easily get lost before you or even they realize it. The GPS dog collar was first made for hunting dogs, since they were expensive. People that were serious about hunting bought these collars and used them to keep track of their animals. Over time prices started to drop and casual hunters as well as normal dog owners starting to get these collars. There are many advantages to these collars. If you dog runs away or is stolen, then you can track him or her much easier if they are wearing one of these special collars.

How Does the Collar Work?

The collar has a transmitter and also a receiver. The transmitter is located in the collar and uses a satellite signal to send location information all the way back to the receiver. Some devices use a radio signal to get the job done. The receiver can be used on your computer or as a hand held piece of equipment. A good feature for some of these systems is that you can give your dog a safety roam area. If your dog leaves that area, then the device will instantly alert you. Some dog tracking devices will also let you mark locations, for example where your vehicle is located.

What To Look For in a GPS Collar.

Look for a buckle connector if possible rather than an easy to fall off velcro strap. Some older models do not work their best in woods. Make sure that no matter what model you choose, there is always fresh batteries in it before you go hunting.

Where Do You Buy a GPS Dog Collar?

You can not find this type of collar at your normal department stores. You can find them usually at major hunting or outdoor stores such as Bass Pro Shops. You can also find them online at places like Amazon.com or eBay. Be wary of the older models with velcro. Enjoy what a GPS dog collar can offer.

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Garmin Montana 650T Review – A Handheld GPS for Adventurers

Last year Garmin introduced three new handheld GPS devices for the Montana range.  There was the new 650T, 650, and 600 all of which come with an extra large 4-inch display and as well as offering voice guidance if you wish to also use it in your car as a standard GPS.  However, its main use is for those adventuring in the great outdoors.  Read on for a review of the Montana 650T detailing the functions that make it a cutting edge outdoor GPS handheld that is perfect for adventurers.

Montana Comes with a Large Touch Screen Display

From the outside the Montana 650T does look a bit like the existing Garmin Oregon product. The Montana’s appearance is dominated by the touch screen display which is large enough to be operated when wearing gloves which is perfect for outdoor use in rugged environments.  There is a button on the right edge of the case which lets you regulate the backlight and volume and the casing is very robust as well as being water resistant with all ports are hidden behind solid rubber caps.

Loads of Memory Storage for New Garmin Maps

There is plenty of storage space for maps with an internal memory of 7.35 GB, of which about 3.2 GB is freed up for user data that you generate whilst using the handheld.  There is also a micro SD memory card slot so you can upload additional GPX files such as way points, tracks, and geo caches.

Use the Virtual Keyboard and Clear Display

The 4-inch resistive touch screen display shows a large virtual keyboard that lets you enter text and shows clearly defined maps.  Comparing the Montana to the Garmin Oregon, this screen is almost double the size and has clearly been designed to be used by people who are going to be battling the elements where visibility could be poor.  The backlight is only used when sun light hits the display at an awkward angle but in most scenarios no additional lighting is necessary. The display is far brighter than in any other outdoor GPS device by Garmin. However, this can lead to a short battery life if you turn the display up to full brightness for extended periods of time.

Interestingly, the antenna appears on the back – next to the camera lens – so in order to record your progress via GPS it is usually best to strap the Montana vertically to your backpack straps so that the antenna has a clear view of the sky. If you carry the Montana horizontally in front of your body then you might not get a great reception which could be an issue whilst in dense forest.

Improved Software Enhancements and Easy to Use Menu

The software shows many improvements compared to the old Garmin Oregon and there are many different configuration options that are accessed using a three-page menu structure.  Each page has easy to understand icons which you can slide between using your finger.

The Garmin Montana offers the same features as the other GPS handhelds from Garmin included paperless geo caching, track and GPS navigation, Topo maps, and more.  To load new maps you can use the following types of cards: City Navigator, BlueChart marine, outdoor topographic maps, satellite images, raster, and OpenStreetMap compatibility – if you wish to buy additional maps for your Montana then you should use a Garmin Discount 2012 coupon to save yourself some money.

Comes with a Digital Camera for Geo Cachers

There is also a digital camera included with the Garmin Montana, letting you take photos as you hike.  It uses a 5 megapixel digital camera – this could be good for geo cachers as they can scan a clever hiding place, or perhaps a geologist who wishes to make an image of a new find.

Conclusion: The Garmin Montana is very similar to existing Garmin GPS handhelds, with the addition of a camera and a larger display.  Whilst this might not be enough for existing users of older models to be persuaded to upgrade, it is a superb handheld for people who do not yet own a device like this.  Prices start around $200 US Dollars although you might want to wait until the new Garmin Fenix watch hits the shelves later in the year before purchasing.

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Becoming A Backpacking Samurai

Backpacking is an outdoor activity that allows you to experience the great outdoors at its finest. Whether you enjoy hiking in the mountains, through forests, or along lakes or rivers, backpacking is the method for bringing along everything you need to survive in the backcountry. That means packing all the necessary food, water, sleeping gear, cooking gear, and other camping supplies to keep you comfortable while on the trail. Unless you want to carry several hundred pounds, you will want to limit the weight of your gear as much as possible. That is what becoming a backpacking samurai is all about.

Minimalist backpacking, which is what the title is alluding to (becoming a backpacking samurai), involves limiting the weight of your gear to the extreme. That means doing without a lot of comfort items, such as sleeping pads and extra clothes. Every piece of gear needs to serve multiple functions, and needs to be as light as possible. To become a backpacking samurai, follow the below tips when packing and planning your trip.

  • Down sleeping bags are generally lighter than synthetic sleeping bags. Substitute a down sleeping bag to save a few ounces in this category.
  • There is no such thing as lightweight water. Water is heavy. To save weight on how much water you carry, plan your hike along a river, stream, or lake, and only carry what you need, and then filter and refill your bottle when you need more.
  • It is always a good idea to pack enough food for your entire trip, even if you think you can catch your dinner at that high mountain lake you are hiking to. Rather than packing cans, go with mylar pouches. Dehydrated foods weigh less than MREs or other food items with water since they do not have any water weight.
  • Lay out your gear, and ask yourself if you really need an item. If the item serves more than one function (cook stove for cooking food, boiling water, melting snow, etc.), it is more worthy of coming along.

These are some tips to help you lighten your load when planning and packing for a backpacking trip. Follow these tips to become a backpacking samurai, and go to backpackingsamurai.com for more information on gear choices.

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