Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Shady Rays - Cool Shades That Look Great And Won't Break the Bank

Shades are a must whenever I'm on the water, regardless of conditions. I need protection from glare and wind, against sharp objects, and bug impacts at high speeds.

I've gone through dozens of brands from cheap stuff like Booyah's and Calcuttas (Florida - when I left ALL my shades back home) to Maui Jims and Costas. Finding a pair that fits my big mellon, provides wrap coverage and doesn't slip or fog, while meeting the aforementioned criteria is tough. The high end glasses keep going up in price while their customer service goes down. When it comes to shades, I don't have a great track record. I've placed more than one pair on the brim of my hat, only to take my hat off at 30-40mph. I've lost them in the boat, finding them scratched to hell days or weeks later. Sometimes, I just never know what became of them. I came across Shady Rays (https://shadyrays.com
) from a friend online, as they were preparing to launch their X-Series wrap glasses. The $45 price tag and the free replacement program caught my attention. I figured that even as a spare pair or two for the boat, if they were half way decent and with my history, I'd give them a try. I contacted the company, and they sent me the X-Series Emerald and Infrared Polarized glasses out ahead of their end of May release. I've been wearing them for the last two weeks, and I have to say, have been pretty pleased. They provide clear visibility comparable to glasses twice the price, with decent polarization, and that was comparing them to Orvis/Zeiss lenses that cost three times as much (which I scratched by dropping in the Salmon River, NY). The frames wrapped well providing great, non-slip coverage while underway on the boat. Both of the Shady Ray lenses are best suited for bright sunlight. I'd like to see an amber lens for low light, stream fishing. Maybe they'll consider this at some point down the road. I hate to admit it, but I did manage to scratch a pair already (hat thing), and Shady Ray's response was, "if the scratches bother you just let us know and we can send you one of your replacement pairs." So if you want a pair of good glasses that won't break the bank, check out Shady Rays.

Shady Ray's X-Series $45

• Sport frame with strong grip made for high speeds. Great for running, hiking and climbing, watersports, and other high impact activities.
• Durable matte black wrap-around frame with soft touch finish
• HD Polarized Emerald Green Mirror Lenses for crystal clear visibility without glare - razor thin and shatter-resistant with UV400 protection
• Includes Microfiber Cleansing Pouch
• Free Replacement if Lost or Broken for life (just pay S+H, max 2 per pair purchased)
• Free Standard Shipping
• Completely Free, Easy Returns if not 100% satisfied
• Every order provides 11 meals to those most in need of food in the U.S. through Feeding America

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass - On The Water

Rhode Island Requires Anglers to Clip Fin on Harvested Bass - On The Water: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that it has enacted new regulations to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass. Read more →

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Legal vs. Ethical

Johnny "Bucktails" Contello has drawn quite a lot of fire from thousands of viewers on my site and others after posting a video of himself doing it "Johnny Bucktail Style" in which to a vast majority of viewers he appears to be culling fish. 
Contello has gone pretty quiet since yesterday evening, as I don't think his video has brought him the type of response he was hoping for. While a handful of folks have come to his defense, stating that the gills were still moving and the fish were alive, that he had done nothing illegal (questionable), and that you can't prove those fish didn't survive (true), I find it pretty damned hard to argue that his actions are remotely ethical. When I asked 2-3 charter captains that quickly jumped to his defense if this was the way they handled fish on their boats, their silence spoke volumes. This is not a debate about keeping fish or CPR, it's about the ethical handling of fish you will release and intent of regulations prohibiting culling.
When that fish comes over the rail, a brief period of unhooking and quick picks are OK, but it should be released as soon as practically possible. If you've got 4,5, 6 or more fish in a short time span, if you've reached your limit, it should be a matter of unhooking them and sending them right back where they came from. Once you toss them on the deck in a pile, to go back and discard smaller fish is definitely culling. While I'm mostly C&R, I have nothing against the guys in the video keeping fish, and if I've got folks on my boat who want to keep them, I'll encourage keeping smaller fish like those he's discarding. Better eating anyway. If you catch larger fish later on, too bad. Take a nice picture with your arms way extended, the camera right in front of the fish, post it to Facebook and be happy. Those fish may be "alive," but their survival chances are pretty much zilch. They'll be belly up.
For those calling for the full weight of the American justice system to be levied upon Johnny Bucktails, I doubt he'll face any consequences beyond the damage to his reputation. He wanted to be an internet sensation, and now everyone is talking about him. In the end, perhaps the best thing the guy can do is just issue an apology and consider being more of an ethical angler in the future.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another One Slips Away

I'm always trying to work my fishing obsession around my full time Dad and job duties, so if I can kill two birds with one stone on the way to ballet lessons, I will. I needed a new #AFTCO roller tip top, so I decided to run by one of the better tackle shops in the state that happens to be about 15 minutes away from the studio. It's not my go to, as I'm never headed in that direction to fish, but over the years I'd purchased a few rods, terminal tackle and the like. The shop was a staple in the local fishing community, the owner not only stocking a range of quality products, but also supporting the growth of the sport and contributing to the community in countless ways. I was surprised to pull up and find the door locked, the shop empty and a sign on the door saying it would not be reopening. I've watched a number of local shops close their doors over the years, but I never thought this one was on the way out.

Two weeks prior I had driven up as there was a "40% Off Everything-Spring Cleanout" sale. I felt great having scored some deals on gear prior to heading to Florida. I'd have loaded up on a lot more had I not just bought a plane ticket, rented a boat and charged a bunch of other crap to my card. Now I just felt crappy.

I went home and checked online as word was just starting to spread across several fishing forums. Everyone expressed shock, lamented its loss, and wondered where they were going to get their bait from. Lots of questions were flying around. Now, I don't know the details of the store's closing, though the owner said he was exploring possibilities including someone else taking over. I sure the Cabelas built 15 minutes away a few years back and the Bass Pro opening in the state this year didn't help. Big Box Marts, Amazon and other online outlets make every retail business ultra competitive.

I can't sit here and bash people for buying from Cabelas, Bass Pro or Amazon without being a complete hypocrite. I get points for my Cabelas credit card which I never let go to waste, and have and Amazon Prime account. However, I rarely purchase fishing or shooting gear from Cabelas unless it's with points, on closeout, or isn't carried locally, and spend far more in independent tackle shops than in any large chain. Still, every dollar spent locally has far more of an impact than one spent in a large chain store. For a local tackle shop, a small drop (or increase) in revenue can be the difference in keeping the doors open or closing them for good. Is a $5-$10 difference a really big deal to you? Perhaps it is at the time, but then again maybe not. I believe we should all spend a little more time considering just where and on what we spend our money. Support your local retailers and manufacturers. Buy American when you can. Keep in mind that Cabelas or Bass Pro aren't going to hand out their CEOs private numbers and open that extra hour early for you when you really need bait.   

The irony is, I drove that additional 15 minutes to Cabelas to be told by a sales associate that they didn't carry roller guides, but they did have rods with roller guides that I could buy. Thanks for the help.      

Let's all try to Shop a little more Local, Buy a little more American!