The Latest Tips, Tricks, And Advice from Master Outdoorsman Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 9/24/07 Don't Burn out the Trailer Lights
Boat-trailer lights can burn out when the hot bulbs are submerged in water. Disconnect the trailer's electrical wiring plug from the vehicle and let the lightbulbs cool as you load gear into the boat before launching. Hang the wiring plug over a high point so that it will not get dunked. John Rice
Use Your Watch As a Compass
A watch set on standard time can be used as a compass on a sunny day. Lay the watch on a flat surface with the hour hand pointing toward the sun. Mark a spot halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. A line drawn from the center of the watch face through that mark will point south.
Keep Fireplace and Woodstove Smoke In Your Chimney
If smoke puffs into the room from a fireplace or woodstove, light a sheet of newspaper and hold it up the chimney. The bright burst of heat will reverse the draft and send the smoke upward. To be sure your chimney draws properly when you start a fire in a cold fireplace or woodstove, begin burning with small amounts of crumpled newspaper and thin strips of dry wood. Don’t add heavier wood until the smoke is drawing briskly up the chimney, not escaping into the cabin.
Added: 9/24/07 Spice up Venison With Bacon
Deer fat that is included in ground venison does not break down completely when cooked, leaving a waxy coating in your mouth. To make venison burger that tastes terrific, trim away and discard all deer fat and grind a pound of smoked bacon with each 10 pounds of lean deer meat. The bacon fat adds a clear juiciness when cooked, and its smoky taste is enticing. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Keep Your Scope Fog-Free
Taking a warm rifle outside on a cold and damp morning causes condensation to form, fogging up the inside of your scope, and you can’t wipe it clear. Instead, bring your rifle into camp each evening to dry and clean it, then lock it in your vehicle for the night. In the morning the scope will be at the same temperature as the air outside, and condensation will not occur. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Bag a Buck in Heavy Cover
Bucks traveling through open woods usually stop when they enter a patch of thick cover to check on whether anything is following. Be aware of this as you’re trailing a buck and stop well ahead of where you see heavy cover in your path. A hidden buck often feels safe retracing his steps, so set up and try to lure him back to you with a deer call or rattling antlers. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Make Rattling Antlers Easier to Carry
Natural deer rattling antlers with long points snag on underbrush and are cumbersome to transport. Saw off the long points, leaving just 4 inches of bone extending beyond the forks. Use a flat file to smooth the main beams into comfortable handles. When clashed together and twisted, the shortened antlers make loud, realistic sounds, yet they can be comfortably carried in a pocket or stuck under your belt. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Teach Your Dog to Fetch in All Directions
Don’t stand in one place as you’re throwing dummies for your dog to retrieve. He’ll learn more if you throw from a new location each time. After every retrieve, leave the dog sitting and move a short distance away. Alternate throws to the left, right, and back, sending the dog with appropriate hand signals. He will comprehend that there is always an object to retrieve in whatever direction your hand indicates, no matter where you are. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Change Hooks for Better Fishing
Remove those treble hooks from your lures and replace them with straight-shank hooks one size larger. Attach the single hook to the lure’s forward hook mount and leave the rear bare. Fish often hit lures headfirst, so you will get just as many hookups, and the release will be easier. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Catch Bass With a Mouse
The Deer Hair Mouse fly, used to catch giant trout during the lemming migration in the far north, makes an exceptional autumn bass fly anywhere in the Lower 48. Tie a strand of stiff 30-pound-test leader or stainless-steel wire under the head to make the mouse weedless. Then cast into beds of pond lilies and crawl the mouse across the pads, making it swim across patches of open water. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Get Ducks Closer With Black Decoys
Ducks often come in lower on the first pass in front of your blind if you anchor a pair of black duck decoys about 100 yards downwind of your full spread. The outlying black ducks appear to be swimming toward the decoy set and give confidence to incoming ducks, causing them to drop altitude earlier in their approach and come in low over the water. John Rice
Added: 9/24/07 Down More Birds by Waiting on the Shot
When a close-range gamebird flushes in heavy cover, hold your shot until the bird stops climbing and levels off to fly forward. At that moment, the shot is almost point-blank, with no lead required. Keep your eye on the bird, shoulder your gun as it climbs, and then shoot straight at it when the bird tops out above the cover. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Hook More Rising Fish
Instead of setting the hook when you see a fish take your fly, wait until you see your leader move. Fish often roll to sink a fly and then take it on a second pass. Giving yourself that extra moment will allow you to confirm that you have a solid hit and not a passing swipe. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Catch Fish in the Prop Wash
When you’re trolling, always drag one lure in the prop wash no more than two boat lengths behind your motor. Gamefish are attracted to the propeller turbulence to check for baitfish that have been disoriented and made vulnerable. The wake also imparts an enticing action to lures and flies that are trolled in the bubbles. You’ll be surprised at how often the “prop-wash lure” will be the high scorer. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Secure Your Lure
Put a drop of superglue on your hook before attaching a soft-plastic jig, worm, or other artificial bait. The instant bond prevents the lure from slipping back on the hook with repeated casting. Soft plastics that slip on the hook quickly lose their enticing action and often must be discarded long before they are worn out. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Catch Fish by Slapping
Attract saltwater fish within fly-rod range by striking the water hard with two or three false casts before delivering your streamer fly or popper. The loud impacts scatch fish by slapping Attract saltwater fish within fly-rod range by striking the water hard with two or three false casts before delivering your streamer fly or popper. The loud impacts simulate feeding activity and draw fish to your target area, so they’re ready and waiting when you make your final cast. This technique works well on schooling fish like striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and small tuna.imulate feeding activity and draw fish to your target area, so they’re ready and waiting when you make your final cast. This technique works well on schooling fish like striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and small tuna. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Revitalize Old Lures
An occasional cleaning with regular white toothpaste can make your fishing lures sparkle like new. Rinse them in warm water, then scrub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and the toothpaste. It has a brightening agent and mild abrasives that restore lures to their original finish. This method is particularly effective on spoons with a brass, copper, gold, or silver finish, which are much less attractive to fish when dull. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Cast from a Kayak in the Wind
For easy casting from a kayak no matter which way the wind is blowing, install a movable anchor system. Mount pulleys near both ends of your kayak. Run a 3⁄16-inch braided nylon line through them and tie the ends to a strong metal or plastic ring. Insert your anchor line and tie it off to a deck cleat. Use the pulley line to move the ring forward or back, adjusting the anchor pull-point until the craft lies in a comfortable casting position for your target area. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Use Big Bait for More Fish
By August, live-bait species have grown in size, and gamefish focus on bigger prey than what attracted them earlier in spring and summer. Start using large streamer flies, spoons, lures, and live baits, and make slower retrieves. Fish in the shallows during hours when boat traffic is at a minimum and the sun is off the water. During midday, most gamefish suspend in deep water over rocky humps, sunken trees, and deeper channels. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 End Reel Tangles
Most spinning-reel backlashes happen when you close the bail by turning the handle and immediately begin to retrieve. Slack line can fall across the face of the reel, creating a buried loop that snags line on the next cast. Instead of cranking to close the bail after a cast, close the bail by hand, then pull the line tight before starting to reel in. This draws the line all the way into the roller on the bail and guarantees that it will wind onto the spool properly. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Avoid River Obstacles
When two people are canoeing downstream, the best way to steer around danger is for the bow paddler to use draw strokes to the right and left. The stern paddler should make both draw and bracing strokes to pull the body of the canoe in line with the bow and hold it as the craft drifts past treacherous areas. Use forward power strokes only to avoid emergencies. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Make Your Own Anchors
Stand a piece of 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe on a wooden board and fill it with ready-mix concrete. While the concrete is wet, insert a ring-eye bolt in the top. Once it hardens, you’ll have a tangle-free anchor that is perfect for small-boat fishing. Make a pair so you can anchor from both ends, or drag one anchor on a short line for slow drift fishing. Use different lengths of pipe to adjust the weight as needed. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Hoist Your Deer With a Winch
The winch from a boat trailer makes an easy, one-man deer hoist. Fasten it to a tree trunk or upright post at waist level with a pair of 3-inch lag bolts. Run a strong line or cable from the winch through a pulley on an overhead cross pole and bind the loose end of the line to the gambrel that goes between the hind legs. The gears make it easy to lift the weight, and the stop mechanism will hold the deer in place until it can be hung from the pole. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Don’t Call Like a Champ
To win a duck calling contest, you need to pack a wide repertoire of sounds into a very short time period. But to impress ducks, all you really need to do is quack. Instead of learning to call from a recording, listen to ducks at a park or refuge and practice the simple sounds you hear. The hunter who sparingly makes a reassuring call in the right pitch and cadence brings in more ducks over his decoys than those who get fancy and call too much. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Recover Lightly Hit Gamebirds
Keep your eye on a bird’s head after you shoot. Dead gamebirds and waterfowl fall with their heads hanging down. A bird that falls with its head up is only crippled and will run for cover or swim away. Be ready to shoot again the instant such a bird hits the ground or water. Direct your dog to pick up cripples first, leaving easy-to-find clean kills for last. John Rice
Added: 7/12/07 Find Woodcock Uphill
When woodcock disappear from low-lying alder coverts, you may think they have flown south. Don’t be fooled. Woodcock commonly move to higher ground for a while before the southbound migration begins. If you can’t find them in the alders, look for them in hillside stands of white pine or young white birch trees, in overgrown apple orchards, and among thickets of brushy cover in overgrown fields. John Rice
Make DEET-Free Bug Spray at Home
If Deet-based insect repellents irritate your skin, you can still keep away blackflies with this safe make-at-home formula. Combine four parts vegetable oil with two parts aloe vera gel and one part citronella, cedar oil, or sassafras oil (available at pharmacies). Apply the repellent liberally on your face, hands, and hairline, and wear light-colored clothing. Blackflies are particularly attracted to dark blue, brown, and black.
A Faster Way to Cut Firewood With a Chain Saw
To cut firewood with a chain saw, lay a deck of long logs on the ground, then build another deck on top of that one going in the opposite direction. Stack up several crisscrossed layers. This keeps all logs supported underneath so they will not bind on the saw when you begin to cut. Saw through the decks starting with the logs closest to you, clearing cut logs out of the way as you go through the pile.
Hang a Tarp Without Using Grommets
A “monkey fist” allows you to attach tie-down lines to a tarp or boat cover when grommets tear out or are missing. To make the monkey fist, squeeze a golf ball-“size stone inside the tarp at the attachment spot. Wrap your line twice around the squeeze point on the tarp to hold the stone in place, and tie it off. Attach the loose end of the line to an anchor point and tighten.
Freeze Pre-Made Car Camping Meals in Zip-Loc Bags
Simplify campfire dining by preparing individual precooked meals at home before the trip and freezing them in zip-seal plastic bags. Label them for easy identification. Not only will the frozen dinners help keep other items in the cooler cold, but the packets are also easy to defrost. Just plop the bags in warm water.
Build a Better Woodshed for Drying Firewood
When you build a woodshed, leave both ends open and cover only the roof and sidewalls. Air will be able to circulate, drying the contents faster, and you’ll have quick access to the best-burning wood. After the heating season is over, refill the end of the shed you’ve just emptied. Next year, start using the stack at the opposite end. You’ll always be burning the driest firewood and allowing the newest to properly age.
Make Your Own Tree-Trunk Boot Drying Rack
Cut a 3-foot length from the trunk of a 6-inch-diameter fir or spruce tree. Then, with a chain saw, split the trunk lengthwise. Lay the split sections flat on the floor and clip off all but the sturdy branches that stick straight up. To make two boot racks, nail foot-long crosspieces of 1×3 lumber to both ends of the trunk sections for steadiness. Place wet boots upside down on the upright branches for quick drying.
Added: 2/22/07 Brighten Up Your Sights
If your rifle’s open sights are getting dull, use an emery cloth to remove bluing from the top of the front sight. Then paint the bare metal with fluorescent-pink nail polish or fly-tying lacquer. The bright color will help you align the front sight deep in the notch of the rear before you shoot, which will keep your shot from going high. John Rice
Added: 2/12/07 Teach Your Dog To Retrieve On Command
You can steady a retriever without yanking on his choke collar by not sending him after every bird. In training sessions, hitch him to a stake so that he can’t take off when you throw a dummy. Toss it three times, making the retrieves yourself. The fourth time, unhitch the dog and command him to retrieve. This teaches the animal to wait for a command before fetching. John Rice
Added: 2/22/07 Call During Peak Hours
Having problems calling in a gobbler early in the morning? It’s hard to pry toms away from hens during breeding hours. You’ll have better luck around midmorning when hens start nesting and gobblers are lonely. Around 9 a.m., start moving through cover, pausing to call at least every 200 yards. When a gobbler answers, pocket your call and try to close the distance to under 100 yards. Then use soft hen calls to draw him your way. John Rice
Added: 2/12/07 Get Close To Gobblers
To get more toms to come into your setup, sneak within 75 yards of a bird before calling. Once you know his location, stay quiet. Instead of setting up and hoping the gobbler will travel to find you, use thick cover and the topography to move as close as you can without being seen. Gobblers that refuse to respond to distant calls will often investigate turkey sounds they hear nearby. John Rice
Store Your Pack Lists For Camping, Hunting, and Fishing Trips
Reader Tip: After a big hunting or fishing trip, I make a list of everything I brought, stuff I could’ve left behind, and what I wished I had taken with me. I also write a brief trip summary, including weather conditions. When all my gear is unpacked, cleaned, and ready to be put away, I tuck my list in the box, too. That way the next time I’m ready to take a similar trip, I know just what to pack, even if it’s a year later. —
Steve Cannon, Sacramento, Calif.
The Proper Way to Thaw Vacuum-Sealed Meat
Vacuum-seal bags are a great way to store frozen game and fish, but only if you know how to thaw the contents. You must poke a few small holes in the packaging first. This breaks the vacuum and permits normal defrosting to occur. If you do not release the seal, the juices will be sucked out of the food, leaving your fish or meat dry.
Prevent Camp Road Erosion With a Better Water Bar
Reader Tip: You can damage your suspension by driving over a water bar, the wooden or metal barrier used to prevent erosion on camp roads. Make a better one: Sandwich a 12- to 16-inch-wide piece of conveyor belt rubber (find it at lumberyards, quarries, or farms) between two pressure-treated 2×6 boards. Bolt it all together and install so that just the rubber is exposed. It will direct rainwater off the road but yields to tires. —
Jason Knowles, Camden, Maine
Added: 2/22/07 Hook The One You Missed
When a fish rises to a fly or lure but is not hooked, cast to the same place only a few times more. If you don’t get a strike, move on to your next spot for a while. After half an hour, return to where the fish rose and try again. Once the fish settles, it will resume its favored feeding lie and be waiting for your next cast. John Rice
Added: 2/22/07 Protect Your Rod On The Road
Those cloth-covered elastic ponytail holders are perfect for securing fishing rods when you travel. Reel your fly or lure to the rod tip, then disjoint the rod and fold it so that the tip and butt are together. Secure these with an elastic, then wrap the disjointed ends together with another band. Binding the sections together like this prevents tangles that can lead to broken tips. John Rice
Added: 2/22/07 Lose Fewer Fish
That seemingly useless metal ring on the front of your fishing vest can help you test the strength of your leader tippet. Hook your fly or lure to it, then pull steadily on the leader about a foot above the hook. If the tippet is frayed or the leader knot is weak, it will break now instead of when you have a fish on. Recheck after unhooking every fish, and switch to a new tippet before the old one wears out. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Find the Best Ammo for Your Rifle
Every rifle shoots one brand, load, and bullet weight more accurately than others. To determine which combination is best for your gun, fire at least three rounds each of several different ammo types at 100-yard paper targets. Use a felt marker to identify each group. Select the ammo that provides the tightest one, regardless of how close it is to the bull’s-eye. Now adjust your sights until the group is where you want it. John Rice
Make A Table For Your Camp Site
Give a 2×4-foot piece of 1/2-inch plywood two coats of poly-urethane and take it on camping trips. On site, cut sturdy table legs from driftwood or deadfall. Sink these 8 inches into the ground for stability, then drive a nail through each corner of the plywood into the top of a leg. Discard them at the end of the trip and cut new ones next time. You’ll find this table so convenient you’ll end up making a couple of them.
Added: 12/11/06 Locate Winter Squirrels
Squirrels are more difficult to find late in the season because they spend more time foraging on the ground and less time scampering about in the treetops. Listen for them on sunny hillsides where wind has piled oak leaves deep; squirrels will make loud rustling sounds searching for acorns. Keep the sun on your back and move slowly, watching for the shine of light on the fur of squirrels resting on sun-warmed limbs. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Reader Tip: Clean Fish in 40 Seconds
By: Tommy O’Connor, Boston, Mass.
Kill the fish, place it on its dorsal side, then slide the point of your knife in the skin below the lower jaw. Holding the blade parallel to the jaw, cut away the jaw?s under section. With the fish still on its back, detach the top of the gills from the backbone. Grab the cut-away jaw and slowly pull toward the tail. Everything, including gills and entrails, will come free. This is easier and faster than the usual method. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Hunt Early and Late for More Birds
Gamebirds move around to feed during the first three hours after dawn and the last three hours before dusk, leaving scent that bird dogs find easily. During the midday heat, however, birds rest in cool, shady places and emit few odors. You and your companions will find more action if you hunt in the early morning and late afternoon. Rest the dogs (and yourself) in the noontime hours. John Rice
Keep Your Axe Head From Falling Off (and Rust Free)
Pour a quart of used motor oil into a bucket of clean sand and store it in the woodshed. Each time you finish using your axe, plunge the head into the oily sand and rub it back and forth. This will clean the blade of dirt and debris, prevent it from rusting, and keep the shaft swelled tight in the axe head. To prevent the handle from drying, apply linseed oil annually.
Added: 12/11/06 Find Deer Migration Corridors
Once the snow cover in northern states reaches 12 or so inches, deer abandon their summer ranges for winter yarding areas. Between the two lie well-established, heavily used migration trails that usually follow sidehills facing major stream and river valleys. If you’re targeting these animals, search for places where natural obstacles funnel the corridors together, then hang your tree stand downwind of the choke point. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Salvage Lures with Missing Tails
Has a fish bitten off the end of your soft-plastic bait? Don’t discard it; fix it by tying on a new tail. Place the hook in a fly-tying vise and bind a bunch of white, yellow, purple, or black bucktail directly to the lure’s stump using strong nylon thread. Whip-finish, then coat the wraps with epoxy glue. The repaired bait will have a different tail action, but it’s still very attractive to fish. John Rice
Added: 12/11/06 Learn From the Gut
matt green, Albany, N.Y.
Many years ago, I learned to open the crops of the first few quail I bag for clues to where the birds are feeding. Now I?ve found that the same approach works when hunting deer. Each member of my group notes the rumen contents and time of kill for the deer he field dresses. I compile this information in a chart and post it in camp so those who?ve yet to fill a tag can learn when and where deer are feeding. John Rice
Balance your boat
To keep a small boat or canoe on an even keel when you’re traveling alone, use ballast boxes to offset your own weight and the boat’s load. A common plastic battery box filled with used lead tire weights (available for free or at little charge from auto mechanics) concentrates about 100 pounds in a small space. Half-filled battery boxes nest efficiently and make convenient 50-pound ballasts. John Rice
Kill the motor from any spot onboard
Attach two strong cords to the kill clip on your boat motor ignition switch and run them through screw eyes mounted under the gunwales on both sides from the stern to the foremost bow seat. Should the operator fall overboard, any passenger in the craft will be able to turn off the motor without scrambling around dangerously, simply by pulling on the cord. John Rice
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Tone Down Your Retriever’s Leap
Don’t encourage your retriever to hit the water with the high-speed leaps you see at field trials. The leaps are impressive to watch, but in real hunting conditions, dogs that hit the water hard can get hurt by submerged rocks or logs. Instead, work your dog frequently where harmless but annoying underwater obstacles slow his entry. He will quickly learn to jump with caution.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Staunch Up Your Pointer
Practice staunching a young bird dog on point by pushing his shoulders and hind end toward the bird. He will resist the pressure and push back against your hand, stiffening his point. Over time, he will think it was his idea to remain steady. As your dog absorbs the lesson, gradually delay flushing so that he learns to enjoy the anticipation of keeping the bird in place.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Help Your Dog Find Cripples
When you send a bird dog to retrieve a distant cripple, make the job as uncomplicated as possible. Walk the dog to a spot downwind of where you last saw the bird, then send him straight into the wind. Bird dogs naturally quarter back and forth when running into the wind and are much more likely to find downed birds if they are given this advantage.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Point Your Dog Into the Wind
Always hunt bird dogs into the wind. When forced to hunt with the breeze at their tails, dogs have to get past birds in order to smell them. This frustrates handlers, who think that the dogs are ranging too far. Most good bird dogs automatically limit their forward range and naturally sweep back and forth across their handler’s course when the hunt is conducted into the wind.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Train Your Dog to “Come”
By using food treats rather than force, you can teach your dog to come every time you call. Start with short distances. Command the dog to come, and give it a snack when it obeys. Gradually lengthen the range. The dog will form a habit of coming when called, expecting a reward, instead of fearing punishment if it refuses. Gradually replace the food with a friendly pat.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Flush Birds Yourself
A gun dog on point may break too soon if you block the dog’s view while you’re trying to flush the bird. Instead, you should circle out well beyond where you think the bird is, then walk slowly toward the dog. the bird is more likely to hold when you approach from the far side, and the dog will also be encouraged to stay on point and let you do the flushing.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Keep an Unsteady Retriever Steady
Retrieving dogs bring back more ducks and get the job done faster when they can see the action. Place the dog in a camouflage-covered box outside the dog handler’s end of the blind where its view of the skies will be clear. If the dog is not reliably steady, attach a very short strap from its collar to a ring bolted to the floor of the box.
Dog Training Tips from Jerome B. Robinson
Added: 7/28/06 Choose Your Pup at the Right Time of Year
When looking for a gun-dog pup, it’s advantageous to select one that was born in February, March, or April. Pups born in these months will be old enough to begin introductory field training by summer, and they’ll be large and mature enough to begin working wild birds in their first autumn. Bottom line: You’ll have an extra season of hunting with the dog.
Added: 7/11/06 Call Deer With a Tree Root
With your knife handle and a tree root, you can arouse a deer’s natural curiosity and sometimes cause it to check your location. When you are well hidden and the woods are quiet, slowly rap your knife handle four or five times against a tree root. Repeat in 10 minutes, then wait and watch. Deer within earshot may move and reveal themselves. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Train Your Dog to Shake Off Water
There’s an easy way to keep a dog from showering you with cold water in the tight confines of a duck blind-“or anywhere. When the dog is wet, raise his ear flap, command “shake,-¿ then blow into his ear. This will make him shake his head, and the rest of his body will follow suit. With practice, the dog will discover he can avoid the annoyance by shaking as soon as he hears the command. John Rice
Campfire Cooking: How to Tell When Your Oil is Hot
Reader Tip: When you heat oil over a campfire to fry fish, place an unlit wooden match in the pan to determine when it’s ready. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees–the optimum temperature–the match head will ignite and then fizzle. Scoop out the match and throw in the fish. —
Eli Ricke, Bagley, Minn.
How to Make An Emergency Rain Shelter Using a Tarp
A tarp makes an ideal shelter against unexpected rain. Stake one corner of the tarp facing the wind. Prop a pole under the opposite corner, then fasten a line from the top of the pole to a ground stake or tree. Now pull the remaining two corners tight and stake them to the ground. The resulting half-pyramid shape provides excellent drainage and stands up well to high winds.
Added: 7/11/06 Sneak Up on More Fish
Fish are extremely sensitive to vibrations and instantly become wary when they sense an intruder. After wading into a new area, stand perfectly still for two minutes. It will feel like an hour, but you’ll get more strikes. In a boat, wait two minutes after shutting off your motor before casting. Boat fishermen will also spook fewer fish by keeping the motor at a steady, low rpm as they approach visible schools. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Protect Your Rod in Boats
The safest way to carry a fishing rod in a boat is to hang it under the gunwale with the tip shielded inside a 1-foot section of PVC pipe. For easier stowage, flare the rod-tip end of the pipe by heating it until it’s soft, then press it down over the neck of a glass bottle to form a funnel shape. Mount this under the gunwale. Support the butt end of the rod in a loop of stiff cord. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Read Deer While Stalking
If you’re stalking a feeding deer, keep your eye on the animal’s tail to improve your position. A deer always twitches its tail just before raising its head. Freeze instantly when you see that motion and you’ll be immobile when the deer looks up to check its surroundings. Once the deer’s head is down, move in shadows close to tree trunks to be less noticeable. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Make a Popper
Styrofoam packing peanuts can be used to convert any streamer or bucktail fly into a popper. Prepare a few in advance and keep a supply on hand. Heat a wire and burn a hole lengthwise through the center of a Styrofoam pellet. Glue or paint eyes on it. When you want to convert a bucktail or streamer into a popper, thread your leader through the pellet and tie on the fly. John Rice
Added: 7/11/06 Haul a Deer
A child’s vinyl plastic sled makes an excellent deer dragger. Drill four 1/2-inch holes on each side of the sled so that a load-fastening rope can be laced through and over the carcass once it is placed on top. Attach a 5-foot rope from the base of the deer’s antlers to the center of a 2-foot length of 11/2-inch-thick timber. Grip this handle with both hands behind your back and start walking. John Rice
How to Split Big Logs with an Axe
Never try to split a large-diameter log down the center with an axe. (You’ll get the axe stuck or, worse, damage the handle.) Instead, whack slabs off the sides until you have reduced the remaining core to a manageable size. To split the core, strike the top of the upright log midway between the center and the edge nearest you, so that the axe handle follows the open split.
Added: 7/11/06 Fish Sun Spots
In shallow bays on chilly days, expect fish to be feeding at midday close to the northern shoreline. They gather there because the sun crosses the southern sky at a low angle in late autumn, causing shadows that cool the water along southern shorelines. The sun’s rays beat strongest along the northern shore, attracting baitfish to the warmer water. Hungry gamefish follow. John Rice
Added: 06/08/06 Six Reasons to Buy Some Pantyhose
Stretched tight, they work in a pinch as a replacement for almost any engine drive belt. Filled with chopped fish, they become a chum bag. A folded piece filters fuel or coffee. A strip makes a great jig teaser. Stuff a trophy gamebird in a leg so it reaches the taxidermist with its feathers intact. Finally, wear them to trap heat in an emergency. Field & Stream Online Editors
How to Store Ropes and Cords Without Tangling
Camping ropes, anchor lines, and electrical cords wrap neatly and easily on V-boards. Cut a 20-inch length of 1×6 board. Drill a 1-inch-diameter hole 6 inches back from the center of each end. Draw lines from the holes to the nearest corners of the board and saw out the resulting wedges. Wind the cord in the notches. Longer boards can accommodate greater lengths.
Added: 06/08/06 Feel the Bottom Without Snagging
A feeler weight allows you to drift bait close to the bottom without hanging up. Twist a small loop in one end of a 12-inch piece of stiff wire. Use a swivel clip to attach your fishing line to the loop. Next, pinch four heavy split shot to the wire’s midsection. Tie a leader with a baited dropper hook to the eye of the swivel. This rig will let you feel the bottom as you drift the bait a few inches above the snags. Field & Stream Online Editors
Test Image Alignment Before Buying Binoculars
Bargain binoculars sometimes produce images out of alignment, making it impossible to get a perfect focus. Test before you buy by focusing on a distant horizontal line, such as a rooftop. Still looking through the binocs, slowly move them away from your face until the view splits into separate images. If the line remains straight, the glass is properly aligned. But if it’s higher on one side, the prisms are faulty.
Added: 06/08/06 Reader Tip: Keep Score on a Crankbait
How do you really know which lures work best? I keep track with a Sharpie. I make a tiny dot on a lure for each fish it catches. Black will work with just about any color. I make the marks as small as possible, starting in the back and moving forward. -“kyle lyman, Nashville, Tenn. Field & Stream Online Editors
Added: 06/08/06 Make More Crossing Shots
Most upland hunters will improve their success rate by shooting a gun with a shorter-than-standard stock. Full-size stocks can limit a shooter’s follow-through motion, but a shortened stock will allow a right-handed shooter to swing farther toward the right (and vice versa), increasing the likelihood of getting a good shot at a crossing bird. Field & Stream Online Editors
Added: 06/08/06 Run Lures at the Right Depth
Fish will hit lures that pass above them or at their own depth much more frequently than they will those that pass below them. If you are locating fish on a depthfinder, rig your lures so they run slightly above the depth at which the fish are holding. Not only will you catch more fish, but you’ll lose less terminal tackle to bottom snags as well. Field & Stream Online Editors
Added: 06/08/06 How to Fight Big Fish
When fighting a big fish, resist the temptation to reduce strain on your arm by grasping the rod above the handle. Holding the rod there transfers stress to a thinner part of the shaft, where it is not strong enough to stop a powerful run or lift the weight of a heavy fish. Too much stress higher up on the shaft may buckle the rod. Field & Stream Online Editors
Added: 06/08/06 Operate a Quiet Boat
When fishing shallow water, staking the boat with a pushpole is quieter and easier than anchoring, and it doesn’t spook fish. Outfit your boat by mounting a 2-foot length of 2-inch-diameter, thick-walled PVC electrical conduit vertically on the transom with two U-bolts. When you stop to fish, push the tip of your pole down through the conduit and into the bottom. Field & Stream Online Editors