Saturday, December 11, 2010

Share The Sport

Mr. Gus teaching Josh how to tie an Improved Clinch Knot.
This is a topic that I write and speak frequently about, sharing the sports and crafts we love with the younger generation.  Be it fishing, shooting, sewing or what ever, many of these skills are being lost as the years go on.  My daughter is a kindergarten teacher and she did an classroom poll of how many of them knew how to tie their shoes.  I think the number was about 5 out of 25 or 20 percent of the students.  Looking down at their feet, you could see a host of slip on or hook and loop type fasteners.

A rewarding moment came to me today during our first fly fishing clinic.  We had already learned the fundamentals of fly casting and tying a fly, and now it was time to attach the fly to the leader and get some fish!  Near the lake front I was helping Josh get things going, and asked him if he knew how to tie a knot, and he said no.  "What about your shoes?", I asked.  Another no.  At the time, he was wearing Velcro (Registered Trademark) fasteners, and he said he didn't have any other kind of shoes, nor had he ever.  Well he successfully learned how to tie his fly to the leader and was able to go wet his hook.  He went away with a little more knowledge, and I left with a great sense of satisfaction knowing I had taught a kid to tie his first knot - of many more I hope!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fishing Knots...Part 2 of 6, Improved Clinch Knot

Fishing Knots All Kids Need To Know... If you had to pick one, and only one knot to learn or teach to a rookie, this is the one. It is much more reliable than its little brother, the Clinch Knot.  The Improved Clinch knot is used for fastening a hook, swivel, or clip to a fishing string or the leader to the fly. If you are using over 12 Lb. test line, this is not a recommended knot.

Step 1. Thread your leader tippet through the eye of the hook. Wrap the end of the leader around the standing line 5 times for lines up to 8lb test and 4 times for lines from 8-12lb test. (You can also turn the hook 5 or 4 times)

Step 2. Take the tag end of the leader and pass it through the gap between the eye of the hook and the first wrap. Continue the tag end back up through the main loop just formed.

Step 3. Moisten the knot with your mouth, and while holding the hook in your left-hand pull on the standing leader allowing the knot to seat tightly against the hook. Clip the excess line.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Going again.

Mr. Gus Outdoors is going again thanks to two people, a deceased British writer and a Montana Trapper.

Cyril V. Connolly (1903-1974) wrote, "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."

Lately I have been obsessed with trapping, yes - the capture of fur bearing mammals.  During my studies I ran across a fellow from Montana who has done an excellent job with his blog, Trapping Today.  To call Jeremiah just a trapper does him an injustice.  He is a wildlife ecologist and biologist, fellow outdoorsman and a brother alumnus of Utah State University.  Please visit his site and read some of his fine stories.

I'm looking forward to continuing this endeavor.  I hope you'll follow along. - gus

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fishing Knots All Kids Need To Know - Part 1 of 6

Knot tying is one of the great skills every person, not just every kid should know!  In 4-H, knot tying would not be considered a life skill, because we learn that true life skills, are skills that carry over in to multiple areas of our life.  But tying  represents a greater ability to utilize raw materials (such as rope or twine) to fashion it together to perform a useful service (hold something together).  So instead of knot tying being the life skill, it is actually a sub-skill of being self-sufficient or self-relient.  Got it?

I think my first knot was learning to tie my shoes when I was just a wee lad.  Later on in life I realized it was a skill that set me apart from my buddies when it came to making neat things such as slingshots, tree swings and bridges to cross the creek without getting my shoes wet.  Two of the best books out there on knot tying include The Ashley Book of Knots, by Clifford W. Ashley, 1944, ISBN-10: 0385040253, and the Little Red Knot Book, by Harry Nilsson, 1995, ISBN-10: 0969873409.  As far as I'm concerned a person needs no other knot books than these two, to get 99 percent of all things accomplished with rope string or twine.  With the permission of Mr. Nilsson, I have obtained the right to reprint some of his images for this non-profit use of educating the public.  I won't be featuring all of his knots in this series, but just a few to get the average angler started.  Go get your self some 1/8 inch densely woven cord and try your hand at some of them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Muzzle Blasts Editorial, Jan. 2010

Muzzle Blasts is the official publication of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. In this month's issue, Letters to the Editor I wrote a column promoting the use of GPS receivers by all hunters and outdoors men, even the most traditional ones.

Here is an excerpt...Dear Editor, (Mr. Eric), I call this Old Tech Meets New Tech... As a group of dedicated gun enthusiasts, typically appreciating more the low-tech nature of the sport than the high-tech, we may often disregard or even scoff carrying and using a GPS receiver, and (God forbid) perhaps even putting it in our possibles bag next to our powder flask and nipple pick. The reasons that we should seriously consider using a GPS receiver is two-fold, safety and convenience. Gary’s reasoning, to find the remote rendezvous location from another city is a good one, but we should also consider other positive implications of knowing precisely where you are (or are going). I have to also mention before I go on, that the old fashioned way of map and compass will never be lost by the wayside of navigation, and will always be more reliable than any electronic device...

At the end of the article, I issued this challenge:
PS. The first reader to email me my office street name, I’ll send them an official replica of an 1837 Bank Token cast of solid pewter I bought from Track of the Wolf. I am at GPS Coords. (DMM): 28° 21.579'N, 80° 46.884'W. 

Congratulations to Jerry Boyle, Dave Schreck, Rick Buxton and Jim and Annetta Holmes for being the first to reply! Dave Schreck was the winner, but they will all receive a token (if I have enough!).  Other winners of either finding the location or giving it their best shot were: Steve Pressman, Brad Bennett, Pete Garrett.  Sorry, I'm out of tokens now.