Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pioneer Air Bow - UPDATE

Several weeks back, I wrote about a new weapon system that is and will revolutionize the hunting and shooting industry for years to come.  Just as cams on a bow, rifling to muskets and repeating arms drastically changed the landscape of shooting sports in the past, the Airbow will do the same.

This week, I want to dive into more of the details of this new weapon to inform those of you who may be curious to the change that is coming when the Airbow ships in April.

1.  "It's a pneumatic weapon, so I have to buy CO2 for it?" Nope!  It is air operated but not CO2.  You can use a pump to charge the cylinder or a scuba tank.  So there is no additional cost for charging the cylinder to ready it to shoot.

2.  "This is a gun.  No way it is even close to archery specifications.  it shoots 450 feet per second!"  Well, here is a surprise.  The speed is generated by using full length arrows.  A crossbow is fast at short distances but loses it speed rapidly due to the short bolts.  A regular compound or re-curve bow shoots slower from the launch point but retains it speed over distance due to the length of the shaft of the arrow.  The Airbow has the initial speed of the crossbow while also having the retained speed of the compound bow by using full length arrows. An integrated pressure regulator guarantees consistent shots at 450 feet per second.  BUT, this translates to only 168 foot pounds of energy (FPE) which lines up nicely with most crossbows (170-185 FPE) and compound bows on the market today which is under 200 FPE.

Additionally, "A crossbow applies up to 185 lbs ("draw weight") but has a power stroke less than 18". A compound or recurve has the longer power stroke but a draw of 50-90lbs. The Airbow applies 150 lbs of energy in the form of compressed air to an arrow over a 25" power stroke. More energy over a longer time which is Truly Revolutionary." - Chip Hunnicutt who is the Marketing Manager for Crosman.

3. "It's still just a gun!" Well, yes and no.  Fact remains it is propelling an arrow.  In my home state of Louisiana, the law is rather clear that anything propelling an arrow is deemed an archery weapon.  Crosman's genius is using air to push the arrow instead of a string.  In a typical archery set-up, the string is pushing the arrow which creates the "archers paradox".   The paradox is the waggle of the arrow as it flies.  It is generated due to the way the arrow is pushed forward from the rear by the string.  The Airbow uses air to push the hollow arrow just behind the broad-head or field-point.  This creates an enormous increase in accuracy.

4. "Ok, it's NOT a bow!!" I have been amazed to read on Crosman's twitter feed the people who are immediately against this new system just because it is a major leap forward and a complete change from the way we have understood archery in the past.  Wasn't compound bows a major leap forward?  Are people still going out and hacking a Willow tree down to make that recurve bow?  No!  Nothing stays the same...ever! We are always moving forward.

The truth is, there are many people who can no longer pull a bow due to disability, age or accident.  Are we saying that we are going to be soooo pure to archery that we cannot allow room for an innovative product to allow these amazing people to enjoy a sport they loved once again?

I write this blog for a growing percentage of people who are what I like to call Handi-Capable.  They can no longer do it the way they used to, but they can still do it if the right tools are in their hands. Let's face it, 15 plus years of warfare has left plenty of our great people who served our country well injured and maimed. The Airbow can help level the playing field for them and many of us who also cannot operate a typicl archery weapon.

I want to applaud Jim Shockey and Crosman for having the guts to think outside the box.  To push the envelope on what is possible or feasible and at a price-point that is do-able.  Is it different?  Yes! It is wonderfully, fantastically, amazingly different.  So different, that more people like me can and will enjoy the thrill of the outdoors.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fishing Hotspots for the Handicapped

As temperatures warm and our thoughts are turning toward the wonderful world of fishing, finding a good destination when bound to a wheelchair or with limited mobility can be tough.

Fortunately, housing developers have been following a fad for the past 10-20 years that could be just the answer to scratch your fishing itch.  Builders have been creating housing startups with a pond as it's central feature.  Some have even included wonderful sidewalk pathways around the ponds making wheelchair accessibility amazingly easy.

As the fad has ran it's course, builders have attempted to "one-up" the others by adding features such as rocks, bridges, waterfalls, etc.  All of these are fabulous fishing features that give fish the elements that they really like and thrive in.

Most of these ponds were heavily stocked upon creation and after about 5 years contain some truly monster sized fish.  In Florida, I had the pleasure of fishing such ponds and was blown away with not just the size but the variety of what we caught.  It seems that in Florida, people don't like to flush their pet fish.  Instead, they turn them loose in the pond out back. But remember it's Florida, where everything can breed year-round.  So guess what?  That pet Oscar Fish is now 3-5 pounds and has one serious attitude.  We also caught Tilapia using bread that were huge.  It was a tremendous fight using a cane pole and a cork.

Be sure to know a property owner in the development and gain permission before fishing.  I have found this relatively easy to achieve.  Most people will go out of their way to help a disabled outdoorsman.

Check out Kyle Naegeli better known as "The Fish Whisperer".  He is fishing just such a pond.  I love seeing young people outside doing this stuff instead of having their head stuck in their phones.
I am amazed at some of the stuff Kyle has gotten these fish to do.  He has even trained the Bass in one pond to eat out of his hand...amazing!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Fishing Checklist

Handicapped Outdoors
I want to begin by thanking all of you for making last week's article the biggest article for Handicapped Outdoors ever.  The readership continues to expand and that is because you are sharing the article or talking about with your friends.  From the bottom of my heart - Thanks!

Groundhog Day 2016 and Phil didn't see his shadow, meaning an earlier spring is on the way.  Reality is, here in the south, we have enjoyed several spans of warmer than average days.  Last week was mostly in the 70's with mild nights.

Lake shore
All of this spells two marvelous words - Big Bass!  February is the month of transition in the south when deep Winter and early Spring begin sparring for dominance.  The Sun's angle is increasing daily as well as it's warming strength.  All of this should signal a fisherman to begin inspecting their gear and making it ready for some of the best fishing of the year.

After a long layoff from fishing, I like to go through a checklist to make sure my gear is in top condition.

1.  Line - The first thing I like to check on is the condition of my line.  I use braided lines that can wear over the course of a summer.  I typically like to change lines at the beginning of a new season.  I leave the backing on the reel but replace the braided portion with fresh line so I get the very best hook ups possible.

Zoom Fluke
2. Soft Plastics - I am a believer in soft plastic baits and I depend on them a lot.  I like to empty my fishing bag of all of the soft plastics to take inventory.  I have certain plastics like, Zoom Flukes that I love and this is the time to see how many I have or will need.  Discard those that have become irregular in shape or discolored.  I also use this moment to inspect my bait boxes to see if any of the plastics melted inside them during the heat of the previous summer.  If so, I throw out the old box and replace it.

3. Hard Body Baits - I know all of you keep your tackle perfectly ordered all year long and never are guilty of throwing a bait in the wrong box during the heat of battle.  BAH!  We have all done it, right?  This is a great time to re-organize your boxes and double check if anything should be replaced or discarded.

4. Hooks - While organizing, I make sure to double check the status of the hooks on every bait.  Check for rust, bending and replace where necessary.  Treble hooks have become rather easy to remove and replace using split ring pliers.
This is also a great time to double check the hooks you use for soft plastics.  Sharpness is of massive importance.  Some people like to sharpen their hooks, while others would rather just purchase new ones.  For me, it's just a matter of making sure I have plenty in the sizes I like to use.

5. Terminal Tackle - Weights, beads, rattles, jig-heads, needle-nose pliers, etc.  Make sure your brother-in-law hasn't borrowed what you think is in your bag.  Just the moment you need it and it isn't there, you'll thank me for this checklist - LOL!

Jig and Skirt
6.   Spinner-baits/Jigs - Check the skirts on these amazing baits.  Skirts have a tendency to dry and crack over time, so this is a great time to replace those skirts that got mauled the year before or are just brittle and falling apart.

7.  Duplicate - I cannot emphasize this enough.  If there is a certain bait you catch fish with routinely and you only have one of them in your's a mistake.  Having a backup is a minimum in my experience. Personally, I am all about letting someone else catch fish too, so I keep 3 or more of my very best baits on hand so that when I am catching I can share the wealth.

8. Reduce - There is nothing wrong with getting rid of some things that you just aren't confident in to begin with.  If you never use a particular lure or set-up, let it go.  You can always try it again when a particular situation calls for it.  Why lug around stuff that you are never going to use?

Reel Parts
9. Drag - Your reel is everything!  Being certain it is set correctly is critical.  After adding the new line, I like to check that the drag is set correctly.  This is big fish season.  Allowing a big fish the line it needs can be the difference between landing it or watching it swim away with your bait hanging out of its face.

Enjoy the changing of the seasons, warmer days and lovely sunsets and may there be bass under all your Lilly-pads!