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Archive for July, 2013


Pan Perfect

Kids and panfish just seem to go together.
 
I was a wee lad of eight and fishing with my dad for the first time on Lake Puckaway in southern Wisconsin. We’d been on the lake for two hours, and hadn’t seen a fish. I was thinking that fishing wasn’t for me. Then my bobber plunged under.
 
“Lift your rod,” dad said. I pulled it up and felt a tug and a wiggle. “Now reel it in, he urged.”
 
Hands trembling, I cranked my reel, and soon saw a bright gold flash, then a squirming yellow perch. My heart racing, I ma-neuvered my prize catch into the boat. Just like that perch, I was hooked.
 
I don’t think any of us could forget our first fish. And chances are, it was a panfish: a bluegill, sunfish, perch, crappie, bullhead or any of a number of small fish found in lakes and rivers.
 
Some varieties, like bluegills, sunfish and their close relatives are easy to catch because they hang out near shore, bite readily and aren’t fussy about bait. Bottom dwellers, like perch and bullheads can require more effort. All can provide many hours of fun.
 
The Rod and Reel
 
When angling for panfish, use ultra-light equipment for best enjoyment and sensitivity. Eric Guider, who supplies Shimano products for Dunham’s, says the Shimano AXULSA Ultra-light Spinning Reel combined with an FX 5½-foot Ultra-light Rod is perfect for panfish. It’s easier to feel fish bite with a short, light rod, and you-get more fight out of small fish when using light equipment.
 
Shakespeare offers a wide selection of tackle designed for both young and old when panfish are the goal. Their Kid’s Combos are great for wee ones, and Ugly Stik combos are ready for action. Pflueger Microcast and Trion combos are good choices as well. You’ll find all of them at Dunham’s.
 
Fishing With Live Bait
 
Some fishermen won’t angle with live bait and contend fish are more likely to swallow the hook because the meal is tasty. Some research suggests that’s not true. And when fishing with children, live bait can be a plus, because it gets results.
 
A worm looks tasty to most little fish, although crappies and rock bass in some waters prefer minnows. In general, it’s best to use bait that’s native to the area, since it’s probably a staple of your prey’s diet.
 
A baited hook hanging from a bobber is usually the best way to catch bluegills, sunfish or crappie. Use a small bobber that won’t spook fish, and a number 6 hook a couple of feet below the bobber. If the fish are less than hand sized, a number 8 hook might be better.
 
Scott Ingram of Lindy Fishing Tackle suggests rigging a Thill Premium Slip Float on your line below a bobber stop. When you need to change depth, you can move the stop up or down, and a slip bobber lessens the chance of spooking fish when casting. It works great with both live and artificial bait.
 
A bottom rig – a split-shot sinker, swivel and hook – dragged along the lake bottom often attracts perch and bullheads. Angling for these guys with a bobber works too if you gauge the depth of the water and fish near the bottom.
 
Fishing With Artificial Bait
 
Some fishermen prefer to go after panfish with artificial bait. And some have no choice, since live-bait fishing isn’t allowed on certain waterways.
 
Jim Burrows of Pure Fishing believes the right kind of artificial bait can be as effective as live bait and points out that artificial bait won’t die. He even uses them when he takes his grandchildren fishing.
 
Because fish are unpredictable critters that can go into a funk at the slightest change in weather, it’s good to have a variety of artificial baits on hand when you’re angling for panfish. Matt Jensen of Rapala says any of their ultra-light series of hard baits is a good choice. If crappie or sunfish are lurking, he suggests you try Blue Fox Vibrax baits. They’re proven performers.
 
There are many ways to catch panfish, and your Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose gear that’s best for you and your family. I can’t wait to get out to some of the local lakes with my granddaughter again this summer, and she’s as anxious as I am. Landing game fish is a thrill, but introducing a youngster to the joys of fishing is equally rewarding.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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Out of the House and Into the Go-Kart

Summer means one thing—getting out of the house. That can mean anything from a week spent camping to a day trip to a state park. Whatever the outdoor excursion, a go-kart can make a fun and exciting addition to your ad-venture.
 
Go-karts are great for your use on your private property, but have you ever thought of where else it can go? You should always be sure that the terrain you take your go kart on is safe and, of course, legal. Lindsey DeLong of American Sportworks said customers are sometimes surprised by where their go-kart can go.
 
“Several states accept go-karts as off-road recreation at various public places like parks, lake communities and national or federal trails and forests,” DeLong said. “Chances are (go-kart owners) might be surprised at some of the great options for family outings within a reasonable day-trip driving distance.”
 
“Over the years, customers of American SportWorks go-karts have taken kindly to trail riding and ‘mudding,’ along with driving in, through, around, or over most all manner of flora and fauna, field and stream, dirt and gravel,” DeLong said. “We do get some great customer feedback, and there is a wealth of information available on the Inter-net, like YouTube videos of customers having a blast.”
 
Before venturing off to the unknown, check first with government websites or local authorities to be sure what is allowed and where you can ride legally. And remember, unlicensed motorized vehicles cannot operate on sidewalks or roads. No paved roads? No worries! The messier terrain off-road is where American Sportworks go-karts were meant to be. Just remember to stay safe and respect the environment.
 
All American Sportworks models are recommended for riders ages 13 and up. Proper gear should always be worn and safety precautions should always be followed.
 
The models include the deluxe, electric start Carbide which has a 150cc single cylinder, air-cooled, 4-stroke en-gine and a one-year engine warranty. The Marauder comes with a 208cc, 4-stroke engine and a three-year engine warranty. The Black Widow also comes with a three-year engine warranty and has a 136cc, 4-stroke engine.
 
The whole family can enjoy the fun and thrill of a go-kart ride, not just the kids! Take Dad out for a spin and make this Father’s Day an adventurous one with a ride on your very own go-kart.
 
-Off-Road Warrior
 
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Forget Yelling “Fore”

Find the Short Grass with Game-Improving Clubs
 
As a golf fanatic and part-time instructor, I’m frequently asked by new golfers, “What kind of clubs should I buy? What do you recommend in the way of beginner or complete sets?” I typically reply that it makes sense not to go overboard with their first set of clubs and to pick something that delivers performance, feels comfortable in their hands and is pleasing to their eyes. Two companies I frequently recommend are Adams Golf and PowerBilt.
 
Adams Golf
 
“Adams Golf is a leader in the area of game-improvement sets for beginner golfers,” said Randy Brown of Adams Golf.
 
In addition to iron-only packages, Dunham’s carries a variety of complete sets by Adams Golf, including their very popular TightLies. Ideal for newer golfers, the TightLies set includes an oversized driver, oversized woods, irons and wedges. The set also includes a putter and a golf bag. They are available for men and women.
 
Also popular are the company’s V3 irons, which include 4-6 hybrids in graphite shafts and 7-Approach Wedge in steel shafts.
 
Both the TightLies and the V3 are considered “game improvement” clubs, meaning they are designed to be easier to hit by those of us who aren’t PGA Tour players. As such, the weight has been moved away from the face and toward the sole of the club, making it easier to get the ball in the air. The oversized faces on both sets deliver a bigger sweet spot, helping to mitigate those dreaded off-center hits.
 
By the way, don’t think because you aren’t spending a ton of money on clubs that you are being short-changed. As Brown ex-plained, the TightLies and V3 irons feature the same components, quality and craftsmanship found in their uplevel offerings.
“Our goal is to make golf enjoyable for every golfer of every level. One way to do so is by making clubs that are easy to hit by the average, or even newer, golfer,” Brown said.
 
PowerBilt
 
PowerBilt clubs are what we use in our afterschool golf classes. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles and for young golfers, it’s my #1 recommendation, since my students are already familiar with the clubs. They are available for children younger than three and up to age 12. Adult sets with the full complement of clubs and either a cart bag or a carry bag are also available at your local Dunham’s.
 
See, golf doesn’t have to be expensive … but it can be a fun activity you can play the rest of your life.
 
-Par Shooter
 
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Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Anywhere You Want!

The variety of boats available for those looking to get out on the water this summer is as vast as the customers looking to pur-chase them. From kayaks, to stand-up paddleboards, to canoes, pedal boats and beyond, it has become incredibly easy to find the right boat based on need, ability, and various features.
 
But with such a wide array of boats and features to choose from, how does one go about finding that perfect boat to enjoy the summer to its fullest? Noel Basque of Pelican attributes a quality boat to its hull design.
 
“Designing a hull requires investment in R&D and industrial design so lower quality kayaks tend to have simple hull designs that allow them to float but not much more,” Basque says. “Hull design involves trade-offs, but a well designed hull will put a premium on one feature while optimizing others so that the paddling experience remains enjoyable.”
 
Another feature to consider in a quality boat or kayak is its construction. For example, Old Town kayaks are Roto Molded, meaning they’re made in an enclosed steel mold containing polyethylene powder. It’s put into an oven and heated until a plastic is formed.
 
“With this process we can make our kayaks thicker on the ends and bottom then thinner on the deck, where we do not need so much material,” said Mark Palinsky of Old Town. “This is all about product durability.”
 
The Swiftwater 10.5, manufactured by Perception Sport, has a versatile design made for handling both lakes and rivers con-taining rapids. It has both a large cockpit, but it curves over the paddler’s legs so that the operator is able to control the boat with his or her body, which is paramount in handling tougher conditions.
 
In fact, all Perception Sport boats are one-piece, meaning there is increased durability.
They’re built with a high-end plastic that has built-in sun protection and are very stiff, resulting in a very high tolerance for abrasion. The stiffness of the kayak also leads to increased performance.
 
“This is one of the biggest differences in quality because it affects how the boat handles abrasion, how easy the boat is to con-trol and how well they perform,” said Greg Larson of Perception Sport.
 
If searching for the perfect fishing kayak for Dad this summer, look no further than the Patriot or Blast, which are both made by Perception Sport. These boats, built exclusively for fishermen, have special features added to ensure that its operator is in complete control of the boat and his tackle.
 
“We have some models like the Patriot and Blast that have fishing rod holders built-in or added, and have a very flat bottom that adds to initial stability for fishing, hunting, bird watching or general recreational use,” said Greg Larson of Perception Sport.
 
The features of boats and kayaks not only differ between brands, but each brand has various features that differ with each line of product. For example, Pelican kayaks have features on their higher-end models that allow for more experienced paddlers to venture out for longer periods of time. They also offer more seating comfort, adjustable foot pegs to suit each and every body type, storage space, and knee pads or thigh braces which allow more comfortable paddling and increased control.
 
The Old Town Trip 10, a Dunham’s exclusive model, carries a weight capacity of between 275 and 300 pounds. The bonus feature of this model that you won’t find on every kayak is the rear hatch system for gear storage.
 
“The rear cover opens into a large compartment that has what is called a bulkhead, or divider that seals that part of the boat off from the rest of the hull,” explains Palinsky. “This helps keep your gear dry, and provides extra flotation to the whole boat.”
 
Pelican also has several choices at Dunham’s this summer, including the Vibe 80 stand-up paddleboard for small paddlers, the Ultimate 100SE kayak, and the Escape 100 kayak, which offers adjustable foot pegs, stern Quicklock storage, a cockpit table with day hatch and bottle holder, and comfortable seating.
 
So whether you’re new to kayaking or a seasoned sailor, Dunham’s has the variety of boats with features perfect for everyone. With summer at its peak, don’t waste it away watching from shore. Get out and paddle!
 
See you in the woods!
 
-Paddle Bum
 
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