Gear for the Amateur Angler: Wal-Mart… Really?

Local Fishing Hole

Local Fishing Hole

If the title of this article doesn’t make sense than it is for you! For us novice fishermen, we would never dream of becoming an “angler” (def. sombody who goes fishing). However, there are some things we can do to at least catch fish and look like we know what we are doing. In my persoanl opinion, I should be able to go into any well-stocked tackle box and pull out the most flashy lure and catch fish with it. After all, if it looks interesting to me, shouldn’t the fish want to eat it? Of course, that isn’t entirely true, but it should be. You wouldn’t think that an animal that eats raw worms would be as picky as fish are.

Why did I just differentiate between raw worms and cooked worms?

Does it really make a difference?

Would I eat a cooked worm over a raw one?

I guess we are all picky eaters at some point…

I found this great website for picking out lures to use where you fish:

Thanks guys at “take me fishing” for using pictures to. It makes everything easier to have pictures and words.

Shakespeare Disney Princess Fishing Kit

Shakespeare Disney Princess Fishing Kit

As far as poles, it doesn’t really matter what kind of pole you are using. I happened to pick up my neices Disney Princess pole with just a worm and bobber and caught a fish! It’s not the most masculine way to fish, but neither is getting the line tangled at the reel because I haven’t used a pro fishing pole in about 20 years!

By the way, you can pick up this Shakespeare Disney Princess Fishing Kit(R) at WalMart for $15.00! Also at Walmart, is the Zebco Floating Dora fishing pole for $11.00. If you don’t think a 5 year old girl doesn’t need a floating fishing pole, think again… You can also get Spiderman or Cars for the boys, for under $20 each.

For the adults, Walmart has many fishing “rod and reel” options ranging from the Shakespeare Microspin Spinning Combo for $20, to the Abu Garcia Revo S Cast Reel for $112.

I personnally use lures and everything from Walmart. They market most of the gear for the weekend enthusiast and not for the rugged proffesional anglers. For example, this is from their minnow kit:

The Minnow Fish’n Kits are the most lifelike and productive line of soft plastic minnow baits ever put into kit form. These kits are deadly for panfish, perch, walleye, bass, trout and pike.
Mimic Minnow Fish’n Kit:
  • Includes soft plastic minnows, jigs, spinners and all the accessories needed to catch fish all year long
  • Hand-selected by the famous Team Northland Pro-Staff
  • Comes in a durable six-compartment reuseable tackle box for compact storage

    Mimic minnow lure kit

    Mimic minnow lure kit

Memorial Weekend Camping! (it’s so hot though)

This is a huge weekend for camping in this country. I’m not sure why, maybe because it is a long weekend. Maybe because of the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, or just because that’s what we do… Whatever reason you are camping this weekend please follow these tips for a great vacation weekend with family,  friends,  and safety!  

Lakewood Camping Resort - Myrtle Beach

1. Find a good campground. A favorite campground is in Myrtle Beach, Lakewood Camping Resort. In the middle of a commercial Mecca, this campground stands out as a “traditional family values” campground. You can attend many family events including a hula-hoop challenge, campfire and Sunday morning Christian worship service. “LAKEWOOD OFFERS A HALF MILE OF WHITE SANDY BEACHES, 5 FRESH WATER LAKES, PEDAL BOATS, KAYAKS, TWO SWIMMING POOLS, 24-HOUR GATED SECURITY AND MUCH MORE” A crowd favorite is renting golf carts and “buzzing” the main roads.

Animals are fun to watch

2. Animals are fun to watch! Unless it is a grizzly bear or a mountain lion. Animals can be fun to sit and watch on a hot summer camping trip. Most camping involves cooking, eating, cleaning up, and cooking the next meal. After 3 or 4 times of that it is preparing for bed, going to the bathroom (2 blocks away in a hot, smelly bath-house) then back to bed. Then taking the kids to the hot, smelly bathroom, then back to bed. Then helping freaked out wife kill the spider then back to bed. Finally after a few minutes of sleep it’s up at the crack of dawn to fry bacon on a little tiny camping skillet.  In the midst of this flurry of activity stop and watch God’s creatures at work and play! 

Beat the heat!

3. Find a way to deal with the weather. Some years, on particular weekends, the weather can be in the 100’s during the day and lower 90’s at night. Tent camping presents certain challenges in this type of heat. Most people (wives) can not make it more than 1 night without creating an artificial environment inside their temporary housing (tent). Yes, a tent can be air conditioned! It is not the most efficient addition to make, but it will make the weather bearable for the whole family. (A TV makes the whole thing better also.)

All fun is not equal!

 4. Don’t do stuff just because you “think” your friends are doing it. You might get stuck on a paddle boat for a half hour in the hot sun with nowhere to go. If you think your group is on the paddle boats – check first. The kids got in, shoved off,  then  realized the rest of the group was playing goofy golf! As you can see by the faces, it was not money well spent… Just do what you want to do. After all, you have given up your comfortable bed and home conveniences to live in temporary housing not much better than cardboard boxes.  

Take pictures of everything!

 6. Take pictures of everything! You never know when they will come in handy. Camping can be boring at times. So, do a lot of sight seeing and shopping. When not at Walmart, do a lot of window shopping at some fun stores. Use the environment to create the best photo opportunities possible. Especially now that everyone has digital cameras and the ability to take pictures on phones, take a lot of pictures! 

I hope these tips prove to be valuable this weekend! 

Please be safe and have fun, but most importantly thank God for our troops and men and women who have served this country and gave their lives so we could have the freedoms that we enjoy today!

In God We Trust


Two Words for Extreme Backyard Fun: Zip Line!

I was recently helping a friend install a new roof on his garage. After we were done for the day, he asked me to check out his upgrades on his zip-line. Now, this is not your run-of-the-mill zip line that we all have installed between trees in our back yards… What, you don’t have a zip line in your back yard? Well, neither do I so read on… Wait, you don’t know what a zip line is? Well, let me show you! This video was taken last year at our church camp out. These great people, Kevin and Gail, host a church campout in their back yard for a church that regularly has over 1400 people in attendence on a Sunday morning. Of course there are many others that help, but they offer a lot of their time, and home, for this wonderful event.


Now that you know what a zip line is, let’s look more at Kevin’s upgrade, the new tower.

Zip Line tower

Is this going to stay in the back yard?View from the top; this WILL stay in the back yard!

He built the tower out of treated pine and it stands 12 feet high with an additional 4 feet of railing above that. There is a ladder built into the side of the tower and a smaller platform to help hook the harness to the carrier. The cable itself is 500 feet long and normally about 20 feet off the ground. But, as you see in the video the contour of their yard takes the line about 50 feet off the ground. Kevin has taken the time to fully research this hobby and ensures us that the utmost caution has been taken to keep every rider safe.

As I was watching my 10 year old son hurl down the side of the hill on this thin steel line, I timed the journey at around 14 seconds. That translates to almost 25 miles per hour! Not bad, not bad at all… The following site has some good information about zip lines. However, I must say, please research this topic fully before attempting something this large. Also, it is my rule that the person responsible for building the thing, whether it be a zip line or a hammock swing, should be the first on the test it!

Enjoy and have a lot of back-yard fun!

Follow-Up Story about Tires

So, a great ending to a good story… I finally got the new tires on the truck. It has been a long and perilous journey through snow, wind, rain and sun.

New Tire

Awesome new (used) tire

Yes, I had trouble getting traction in all elements… The interesting thing is, the truck runs great! I didn’t realize that nearly bald tires did not make for a smooth ride. I am not sure if it is the balancing or the additional weight on the outside of the tire providing addional rotational inertia… Well, nevermind that, I am sure no one cares about that much science! But, something is different. It rides like a dream and I will be keeping a close eye on the fuel mileage to see if it helps save me some gas! We all can use a little more gas now and then. I would also like to thank Rural King of Ohio (R) for expertly installing my tires for me.

I was very tempted to try and install them myself. In fact, I looked up a couple of websites that discussed self installation of tires, however, when it got to the balancing I was a little worried. You see, I am somewhat of an engineer. I understand what a little bit of imbalance can do to something that is spinning at the speeds that tires spin going down the highway. I suppose if it were a tractor or something that was spinning slower, I may have done it.

Luckily, the Rural King (R) is right up the road from my work. I also am in training for a marathon, so I drove to Rural King (R), dropped off the truck and walked back to work during my lunch hour. On the way back to Rural King (R) to pick up my truck, I saw some interesting things.


Amish on the side of the road

For one, I had to walk in the grass to avoid the Amish horse and buggy that was bearing down on me. In our neck of the woods, it is common to pass them in a car, but I think this is the first time I had one pass me. I also stepped over a turtle that had been run over. I would post a picture of that also, but I don’t think that would be good to do. “You will be missed little guy… You will be missed.”

Tires are on; I took the long way back home to test them and all is well!

Thanks to everyone involved!

Tom Davis at Wooster RE/MAX  Showcase for the referral to the tire guy

Neal, the tire guy! We really appreciate it!

Rural King (R) – I still think $15 per tire is a little steep, but good job!

Buying Tires: Why is it so Mysterious?

My Ford F150 tire

51,000 miles on a 50,000 mile tire!

So, the latest in my stories… I need new tires for my Ford F150. I have let them go to the point that they have less tread than racing slicks. I can’t get traction going down-hill on a sunny day… (that’s a little embellished).
So we got a tip from a friend that there is a “guy” that sells tires for around $12 each. Now, I am a very trusting person, but even I have trouble with this idea. However, I am very cheap or frugal as my dad used to say… So last night we went in search of this great deal. Of course, I had to put air in the tire first ( I do this about twice a day) so we could take the truck. I was sure that it was going to be some muddy farm or salvage yard and the tires might even be worse than mine. I also needed gas, but I could get that on the way.
So, we start out and I have the address in my Garmin Nuvi(R). It is saying that we will get there at 6:05. My wife then tells me that he closes at 6:00! OK, we can make it. Needless to say, we pulled into his driveway and the truck stalled and the engine quit. NO GAS! I have to say, though, I was very impressed with the garage. It was an older gentleman working out of his garage. And, the garage was spotless and well organized. He had stacks of tires all marked with the size and price for individuals and sets. Everything was very clean and neat.
We left buying (4) tires for $39! So we got back in the truck and prayed. We called some people and told them to pray. It worked because the truck started. It also drove about 7 miles to the nearest gas station.
New used tires

New Used Tires

Thank the Lord for providing for all of our needs! But the tires that I got, when we got back home, were “P” tires and not “LT” tires. I never looked at that. I was so worried about the other numbers and the size and tread that I forgot to look at the first part! So we called our local Rural King (R) and asked them if we could use passenger tires on a Ford F150. Turns out that since it is a half ton truck we can do this. So I won’t get laughed at! Cool. The tires look practically brand new and with $15 per tire for mounting and balancing plus $10 per for the actual tire I will have a newer set of tires on my truck for around $100. This is great considering that each LT tire new is around $100 if I am lucky. So if you need tires, leave a comment with your email address and I will give you this guy’s info. It is definitely worth it!

In my job, I have a need to spec out new products and vendors. In other words, I look for things to buy to build the machines that we build to meet the specifications needed for the criteria that we have laid out for that project.

Rayco RC814 wood chipper

For these machines I have had the opportunity to learn a little bit about axles and tires. For example, we use trailer tires for these frames and not LT tires. On your car your probably have P tires, or passenger tires. I also have to worry about all of those numbers and letters that are printed on the tire. Then there is the load class and the load rating. We have to look at the size and if you can get replacements easy. It has to bear the weight of the machine and then if they add any tools to the chipper it has to be able to carry that too. Then, after all that, we have to make sure that it will pass the requirements of Europe or Australia, or anywhere else we want to sell this machine.

Tire Diagram

Tire Diagram

Well, back to tires, I would hate to bore you with the pidly aspects of my job… (too late) I found a great resource for tires on the Wal-mart website. Specifically In this post they explain what all of the numbers and letters mean on the tire that is on your car! They even had this nice picture. Thanks Wal-mart!

Of course, they can’t explain every tire ever made so you have to do your research and find your vehicle and which tire would be best suited for it and the way that you drive. The information is out there, we just need to find it.