The Flying Kayak

Hunting, Fishing, Rambling, and Complete Outdoor Hilarity

Month: July 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Empty Magazines

It was a hot and muggy night as the Dodge Ram rumbled its way down the bumpy dirt road. The pattering of mud could be heard underneath the truck as the tires ran over wet patches from the rain earlier in the day. With AC/DC’s Back in Black blaring for all the nocturnal woodland creatures to hear, I struggled to hold the thermal monocular to my eye with every bump.

We’d already had a very successful night. Several groups of pigs had been seen well within range and we had even managed to kill a few of them. In fact, we were on our way to dispose of the butchered carcasses when we were interrupted.

“Pig…Pigpigpigpig”. I could see the shape of a pig glowing white hot in the thermal imaging through a corn field. A big pig.

Brian Johnson was immediately hushed as the radio was silenced and the truck skidded to a halt.

“Hand me the FLIR and the spotlight”, said my friend as he climbed out the driver side window to look over the truck’s roof.

I quickly readied my SKS, flipped on the red dot reflex sight, and waited for the light to come on. Only a moment later, the corn field was lit up in the spot light…

And that was it…

Just corn. I could see no pig. No sign of life. Just row after row of corn. Many yards into the field, I could see a lone stalk barely wiggling.

“Shoot in the middle of the light”, whispered my friend.

It honestly takes little convincing to get me to take a shot. I do usually like to take my  time and ensure I’m making a good shot, but…I’ve got a 20 round magazine for a reason. And I’m a firm believer in “Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em”.

It was all over in less than a couple of seconds. My ears were ringing and I could already tell my shoulder hurt from not placing the stock correctly in my haste. The faint echo of gunfire disappeared through the humid night air, and two corn stalks leaned a bit before toppling over after being severed by lead.

“Did I get it?”

“Let’s find out.”

With pistols drawn and a flashlight/FLIR in hand, we slowly made our way through the rows of corn in search of the boar. We could hear something rustling a few yards ahead, and we cautiously made our way forward. Being charged in thick vegetation by a wounded boar would be a poor way to end the evening after all. The corn rows suddenly opened up into a cleared area about 15x15ft big; A direct result of the pig rooting around. And at the far end of the clearing lay a big boar, dead as a hammer. He was hit multiple times, but most notably twice in the chest and once just behind the eye.

Though we never weighed him, we estimated him to weigh at least 200lbs. His tusks were quite puny, right around an inch long, but he was a trophy for me. Of all the pigs I’ve killed and helped kill since February, this was my biggest and my first with the SKS’s new upgrades (which will be shown in detail in a future post).

The only thing better than a good pig roast and a cold beer with friends and family is remembering that I got to do all of this at work. I’ve just got to keep buying ammo and emptying magazines. Thanks for reading!

Mullet Scales

I few weeks back I was lucky enough to get to do one of my favorite summer-time activities: Mullet snatching.

I realize that if I really wanted to fill the cooler with fish, a cast net is probably the best bet. But there’s just something about actually hooking a mullet on the rod and reel that’s exciting. They fight remarkably hard and the big ones will actually peel out quite a bit of line.

So while on my fishing trip to Port St. Joe, my dad and I got a bit of a late start and missed the early morning bite. After throwing just about everything in the tackle box for trout or reds, I noticed the huge schools of mullet that were balled up in the shallows. From past experiences, I almost always carry at least one snatch hook with me, and I was thankful to have brought one with me that day.

The first time that I ever went mullet snatching, I just used a big treble hook. I managed to hook a few fish, but lost far more than I landed. Even worse, I must have hit 10 times as many fish and only pulled back scales. My casting distance was pretty limited too since I was only throwing a bare treble hook.

After a bit of engineering, my snatch hooks changed a bit. First I solved the casting distance problem by wrapping the shank with lead wire. But, I was still having trouble landing and actually hooking fish. The problem with big treble hooks is that they have very thick points. This makes it harder to actually penetrate scales and get a good hook up. Small enough trebles might have narrow enough points to penetrate, but often lack enough of a gap between the shank and point to actually get a good hook up. Once we noticed this, my dad and I tossed out the treble hooks and started making our own custom hooks.

Scales

Using a fly tying vice, we tie three large soft plastic bait hooks back to back. The wraps are secured with liquid cement and if more weight is desired, we add a bit of lead wiring.

A good stiff rod with braid is ideal for mullet snatching. The stiff rod will help you really set the hook and the braid won’t stretch like mono does. The only thing left to do then is actually find the fish. Look for big groups of them and cast beyond the school. Try and judge how close the hook is to the back of the school and once it’s in position, set the hook. I mean -really- set it. A good, near herniating hook set will almost always result in a hook up. If you’ve casted far enough, the best hook set is directly overhead. Point the rod straight at the school and then set the hook toward the sky. Just be sure you aren’t too close when trying this hooking method. If you’re too close, you’ll be wearing the treble hook in the face. For close casts, set the hook sideways and ALWAYS wear glasses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Matrix dodge a soaring snatch hook.

Once you’ve got a good hook up, just hold on. They’re a hoot.

Happy 4th!

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s still the 3rd, but I won’t be near a computer for a few days so I decided to post this now. By this time tomorrow I should be floating down a spring-fed river with a bunch of friends and my computer will be the furthest thing from my mind.

I hope everyone that reads this blog has a safe and happy 4th of July. If you’re doing anything outdoor related during the holiday, please remember to be thankful that we even have the freedom to enjoy the outdoors. Remember those that sacrificed for our country and as always, God bless America.

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