Monday, May 20, 2013


It took a minute for my eyes to adjust after I climbed out of the work truck. As I squat there in the middle of the grassy road I watched the truck’s headlights disappear over the hill, and listened as the sound of the engine faded into the woods. 

A quick mental checklist and I’d be off:

Night vision- check. Dart gun- Check. Dart- Check. FLIR- Check. Cell phone- Check. Water- Check. Good to go. 

Quietly I scanned the surrounding woods with the FLIR and looked for the all too familiar hot spots of deer. 

Nothing. A long walk it is. 

I was almost impressed with how little noise I made as I trekked along the old road. Damp ground is nearly silent when stepped on. I was, however, sure I looked ridiculous. I was decked out in all camo with the exception of my feet. Those were placed comfortably in a pair of Crocs. 

Aside from being one of the most effective forms of birth control, I’ve discovered Crocs are fantastic for stalking deer. Not only are they comfortable, but they’re much quieter than my hunting boots. 

So a long walk is just what I took. And as I walked along in silence I took in all the sights and sounds of the night. It’s often easy to overlook the night as just being…well…dark. But there’s much more to it than that. 

With a setting crescent moon behind me, the dim light was just enough for me to make out the curves, bumps, and potholes along the road. To my left, a big lake reflected what was left of the moon on the mirror flat water. Hundreds of fireflies dance around in the tall grass, and off in the distance, several still-burning slash piles lit up the woods like torches. 

Like a fire in the fireplace, the crackling of burned wood echoed through the trees and the light from the flames shone softly on the billowing smoke above.  I quietly watched in passing as several embers rose up from the pile, and disappeared into the night sky above. 

Amongst the chirping of crickets and croaking of bullfrogs, a sudden swoosh followed by a soft patter could be heard in the tree above me. I was immediately met with the faint squeaking of a flying squirrel as he rudely shouted obscenities at me for disturbing him. Though I couldn’t see him, he could obviously see me. 

Through the branches of the trees above I could easily make out the stars. In fact, even with the moon barely in the sky, the milky way could be seen arcing its way across the night sky. Suddenly, a Barred Owl in the distance yelled something about “who cooks for you?” and was soon answered by another asking something along the same lines. 

Even though it was dark, the woods were alive with sights and sounds. I quickly realized that I’d stopped walking. Unbeknownst to me, I’d taken a moment to apparently soak up the setting around myself. How many times have I overlooked all of this while just riding around in the truck at night?

I looked around for another brief moment, the set about walking again. A FLIR scan ahead showed two deer in the distance, and they weren’t going to dart themselves. It was back to work, but from there on, I never overlooked the sounds and nightlights around me again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My New Kayak Trailer

Contrary to popular belief, I am still alive, still writing, and still fishing. I’ve just been a bit…busy. Things are starting to slow down a bit at work though, and my free time for fishing is steadily on the rise. 

During my recent trip back home, I became the proud new owner of a jet ski trailer. I decided to purchase the trailer after quite a bit of scheming. I own a Tarpon 160i, and the 16ft kayak wouldn’t exactly fit well on my Jeep Wrangler. To add, I’d have to remove the lights on top of the Jeep to make room for the kayak. So when I saw a good price for an old jet ski trailer, I pounced on the opportunity and bought it in hopes of turning it into something I can haul my kayak with.

The trailer was in pretty good shape when purchased. My dad was able to help me with some new tires, removing the old bunks, and replacing the taillights. I was then able to buy some 2x4’s and a few eye bolts to place into the wood. In addition, I got hold of some foam rubber padding that I cut into strips and secured onto the wood to cushion the kayak. Using some tie-down straps, the kayak is easily secured to the trailer and held tight for 4.5 hours down the interstate. 

Assembling the trailer was, however, the easiest part of what became an ordeal. I spent two days up at the tax office attempting to get a tag for the trailer after an issue with the previous owner’s registration and who I bought it from. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but while attempting to secure a bill of sale, I was forced, at age 24, to spend some time in a middle school principal’s office. But that’s a story for a different day. 

The next issue was my wiring. I was relatively perturbed to discover that my Jeep had no trailer harness attached already. This meant that I was lucky enough to install it. And after about 5 seconds of looking at wires, I realized: I’ve no idea what I’m doing. But after having my dad talk me through the process, and spending several hours crammed into the back of my Jeep, I managed to hook up the wires and attach the harness. Even though the emergency blinkers come on when I use a left turn signal, and the lights don’t work with the headlights, I consider it a success. I’ll have to do some more work before I drive around at night, but the thought of having to try wiring again makes me want to vomit. 

I am, however, glad that I’ve got my kayak with me for the first time in over 3 years. Hopefully, there will be A LOT of fishing getting done in the coming weeks and with that, a lot more reports. It’s about time I actually do something in the kayak for The Flying Kayak. Stay tuned!