Backyard Bass: Teaching Kids to Cast

March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Fishing - (Comments Off)
Backyard Bass is a fun game that also teaches kids how to cast and reel

Backyard Bass is a fun game that also teaches kids how to cast and reel

I know a young man, around 12 years old, who loves to fish. He absolutely loves it. He would fish seven days a week if he could. He’s got his pole, his gear, his tackle, bait, weights, wigglers and what-nots. He is ready to roll at 6am with peanut butter sandwiches, happy hopes, and great expectations.

The problem is, he has no technique. He can’t seem to cast his line where he wants it to go. He has spent hours upon hours on the river, in the rain, chill, sleet and heat and he has never once caught a fish.

What I love about this kid is that he never gives up. He just knows the fish are out there and one of these days, he is going to catch one.

To reward his dedication and to help teach him how to cast, I bought him the Backyard Bass from SavvyBoater.com. This innovative game is really fun and effective and now the whole family wants in on it.

Backyard Bass 3

The Backyard Bass Standard Starter Kit comes with three brightly colored fish and two casting plugs

The kit comes with three brightly colored fish and two casting plus. Just place the fish in the backyard, stand as far away as you’d like, and cast the plug on the far side of the fish. As you reel the line over the fish, the plug tucks itself into a clever little slot and “catches” the fish.

As your student anglers get better and better at casting, you can strategically place the fish in more difficult places – behind rocks, flower pots and chairs, for example.

You can create fun, engaging games with the Backyard Bass by assigning different colored fish point values and offering prizes to everyone who plays. Stage a family, neighborhood or school tournament to get kids together for fun, productive activities. Click here to get several game ideas from SavvyBoater.com.

The Backyard Bass comes in starter kits of various quantities starting with 3 fish per unit, and 16 fish per unit in the Education Starter Kit. The more units you purchase, the more money you save per unit. Standard colors are blue, orange and yellow. The Education Starter Kit includes green fish, too. Custom colors are available in quantities of more than 300 fish.

Endorsed by the Future Fisherman Foundation, Backyard Bass helps teach kids (and grown-ups) casting techniques and helps improve their casting accuracy. When they snag a Backyard Bass with the casting plug, they get to reel it in just like they would a real live fish.

Backyard Bass are popular with angler educators, clubs and organizations, schools, parents and families. This summer, when we drag out the volleyball net and croquet set, we’ll also have the Backyard Bass in our collection of games to keep everyone engaged, entertained and having fun together.

The Mustang auto-inflatable life vest inflates on contact with water and supports the wearer's neck and back, righting them face up

The Mustang auto-inflatable life vest inflates on contact with water and supports the wearer’s neck and back, righting them face up

A friend of mine is a member of what is jokingly called the Elk Lake Yacht Club, which is a loose and freewheeling group of folks who like to sail small boats on the jeweled lakes in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. So, when he invited me to go sailing one summer, I jumped straight on board.

I’d never been sailing before, and I can tell you, it’s not for sissies. You have to tack and jibe and constantly stay on your toes. Booms are swinging, lines are flying, and there’s never a dull moment as you constantly gauge the wind and waves. I come from a power boating background, but I can also tell you, sailing is fun.

With all that maneuvering around the boat, and to be safe in case something tippy and untoward happened – we wore auto-inflatable life vests. Also known as inflatable PFDs (personal flotation devices), these auto-inflatables are extremely easy to wear – less bulky, less hot, and equally as effective as conventional life vests.

Mustang's manually inflatable fishing vest is perfect for the angler who needs to be able to move around easily yet needs the security of a PFD.

Mustang’s manually inflatable fishing vest is perfect for the angler who needs to be quick and nimble

They are also great for fishing, which involves a great deal of shuffling around the boat, baiting lines, and leaning over the edge with nets. SavvyBoater.com actually sells an auto-inflatable fishing vest that includes six roomy storage pockets, a sheepskin hook and fly patch, and a back hanging ring for your landing net.

You’ll also find it easier to get teenagers into PFDs with auto-inflatable life vests because the smaller, less cumbersome design doesn’t “mess with their look” – or so I’m told.

Depending on your preference and activity, you can choose a manually inflatable life vest, an automatic inflatable life vest, or a belt pack inflatable PFD.

The manually inflatable life vest uses a rip chord that the wearer – or other, nearby individual – pulls in the event of an emergency.

Automatic-activated inflatable PFDs inflate when they are immersed in water. They operate on a small bobbin or tablet that dissolves in the water and causes the inflator to activate and fill the inflatable cell. They are an ideal choice for situations where you don’t expect to go in the water – such as sailing or power boating – but want to be prepared for the unexpected.

A belt pack inflatable PFD fits around your waist like a belt, staying out of your way until activated and is manually inflated by pulling the activation cord. Manually-activated PFDs are a great choice for activities such as paddling, wade-fishing and swimming where there is a reasonable chance you will end up in the water and are confident you will be able to pull the inflation cord when you need it.

Shop Savvyboater.com for wide selection, top brands, and great value. For more information on how to pick the right inflatable PFD, read their articles on Choosing the Right Life Jacket and How to Select and Maintain an Inflatable PFD.

An auto-inflatable life vest gives you excellent protection in case the unexpected happens, and are available in U.S. Coast Guard approved Types III and V.

No excuses. Your life, and the lives of your passengers, depend on it.

 

Get the Best Seat In the Boat With a Trolling Motor Extension Handle

March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Fishing - (Comments Off)

There we were, happily puttering around the lake, taking in the sights, enjoying the fresh air and relaxing in each other’s good company. My sister, Raine, and I took her aluminum boat, with its sweet little outboard motor, for a cruise on Montana’s Placid Lake last Fall – just for the fun of it. We packed a little picnic, tossed in a bunch of cushions and towels, and headed into the calm blue waters. It was perfect.

Get the best seat in the boat with an extender handle from HelmsMan

Get the best seat in the boat with a HelmsMan extender handle from

Except for one thing. My poor sister was practically sitting on top of the motor. Starting the motor is no problem for Raine, and steering the boat is easy enough. But sitting that close to the motor is smelly, noisy and uncomfortable. I, meanwhile, got to relax in the front of the boat on a foot-high pile of cushions, enjoying the view and sipping a mimosa.

Good thing my sister’s birthday is coming up. What she really needs is a HelmsMate Trolling Motor Extension Handle.  With one of these ingenious trolling motor extensions, you can position yourself in your boat more comfortably, and still maintain full steering and throttle control, as well as clear access to your kill switch.

When you’re fishing, the HelmsMate Trolling Motor Extension Handle not only positions you more comfortably in your boat, it also gives you better trim capabilities, so you can maneuver as strategically as the fish you’re angling for.

The trolling motor extension handle also gives you easier access to gear and supplies (read: ham sandwich) that you have balanced toward the middle or front of the boat.

The HelmsMan comes in 5 models, with fixed or extendable lengths and an optional U-Joint

The HelmsMan comes in 5 models, with fixed or extendable lengths and an optional U-Joint

Lengths of the trolling motor extensions range from 18” to 51” and models are available in fixed or adjustable lengths. There is also a model with a Universal U-Joint that offers easy push/pull steering for offset seating.

Your Choices:

1. HelmsMate T:                  Fixed 18” handle length gives you extra reach

2. HelmsMate TE:             Extendable length of 18”-24” gives you a true, direct-steer feel and lets you customize its length for a perfect fit

3. HelmsMate Basic:          Fixed 30” handle length gives you extra reach

4. HelmsMate Straight:     Extendable length of 36”-50” gives you a true, direct-steer feel and lets you customize its length for a perfect fit

5. HelmsMate U-Joint:      Extendable length with U-Joint, adjustable from 37″ to 51″ with a jointed extension handle and an all-metal joint. Push and pull steering and easy twist throttle control. Lockout sleeves are included for converting to a straight handle.

The HelmsMate Trolling Motor Extension Handle lets you enjoy improved comfort and boat trim with full steering and throttle control without having to sit next to the motor.

One of my favorite things about shopping at SavvyBoater.com is they give me free shipping. The HelmsMate Trolling Motor Extension Handle is in stock and will ship in one-two days. It is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. I like it.

 

Trailering My Boat: From Humiliation to Happy Launches

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Trailering - (Comments Off)
EZ Slides make it possible, and easy, to launch your boat without submerging the trailer

EZ Slides make it possible, and easy, to launch your boat without submerging the trailer

You should see me launch a boat. My goodness. It used to be a fiasco. Men would flock to my aid from nearby boats, cars, and docks. Yes, I was that bad.

First off, I backed the Jeep too far into the lake. The exhaust pipe was percolating the water. I then waded around the boat, knee deep in mucky water to unhook and prepare the boat.

Trailering the boat was even harder, just trying to get the whole thing even as the boat bobbed loosely in the water. Boat drivers were lined up behind me, waiting their turns. It was mighty embarrassing, to say the least.

All the while, I was causing excessive wear and tear on the carpet bunks, as well as corrosion to the trailer lights and components.

The truth is, I didn’t need half a dozen men coming out of the woodwork to help me with trailering. I needed EZ Slide Trailer Pads from Ironwood Pacific.

EZ Sliders are made from a slippery composite that allows easy launching and trailering

EZ Sliders are made from a slippery composite that allows easy launching and trailering

These little beauties are made from a slippery composite that, when mounted directly to your trailer bunks, allow for easy launching and loading – without submerging your entire trailer under the water.

This system is great, even if you’re a wiz at launching and trailering your boat (as I’ve become).  The great advantage is that you don’t have to be working knee-deep in the water, and neither does your trailer.

Click here to see detailed specifications of the EZ Slide Trailer Pads from Ironwood Pacific. In short, the EZ Slides work for metal boats that weigh up to 4,000 pounds and fiberglass boats that weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They are available in black or white, and come in ten-inch lengths with widths of 1.5, 3 and 5.25 inches. The length of your trailer will determine the appropriate kit for you. The kits come with a 5-year warranty and are made in America.

EZ slides should be spaced 12” to 18” apart. How many EZ Slides do you need? Click here for a calculator end simply enter your number and length of bunks.

BunkerEnders help protect the carpet on the bunks

BunkerEnders help protect the carpet on the bunks

To avoid excessive wear and tear on the ends of my trailer bunks I also added a set of patented BunkEnders also from Ironwood Pacific. Made from the same slippery composite as the trailering bunk slides, and easy to mount, the BunkEnders  prolong the life of the carpet on my bunks, saving me from costly replacement. This is the simplest and most cost-effective product on the market to protect against premature carpet wear.

Link here to view a short video (1.23) that shows the EZ Slide Trailer Pads from Ironwood Pacific in action.

The slippery composite material on the EZ Slide Pads and BunkEnders makes trailering my boat a happy snap, instead of an embarrassing nightmare, especially on shallow ramps. The carpet on my boat trailer also looks better and will wear much, much longer, making me, my boat, and my trailer an efficient and snappy production when launching and trailering.

~SavvyBoater.com

Boat Props: How to Choose the One For You

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Boat Propellers - (Comments Off)
How to choose the right boat prop for you?

How to choose the right boat prop for you?

If you’re like me, you love your boat and you want your boat to love you, too – and to show its devotion in responsive performance. Give it the coddling it needs from time to time, including attention to the hard working propeller and your boat will respond in kind, with many happy hours on the water.

Alas, there comes a time in the life of many boat propellers to hang up the blades. There are only two reasons you would need to replace your boat prop: damage and performance.

1. Damage: Boat props can run into all kinds of trouble under the water, including contact with silt, sand, rocks and debris, not to mention irregular edges caused by cavitation or ventilation. Please don’t run your boat if your prop is damaged. It’s time to get a new one.

2. Performance:  If your prop has the wrong size, pitch, material, cup, rake, diameter, hub or number of blades, your boat won’t be performing at its best. There are ways to test it … and to fix it.

Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be. Let us take the mystery out of choosing a boat propeller, with the Boat Prop Help Guide.

The propeller is the most technical and intricate component of your boat. It is also one of the most critical to your boat’s overall safety and performance. By taking the time to select the right propeller, you’ll be able achieve optimum performance, safety and enjoyment from the use of your boat.

The "pitch" of a prop is the theoretical distance it travels in one revolution.

The “pitch” of a prop is the theoretical distance it travels in one revolution.

5 Questions to ask yourself to choose the best prop for you:

1. What’s Your Need for Speed?

What is more important to you: faster speed out of the hole or top-end speed?

A 3-blade prop will give you higher top-end speed and four blades give you a faster hole shot.

2. How Important is Speed of Acceleration?

The pitch of a propeller – the theoretical distance a propeller travels in one revolution – affects the performance of a prop more than anything else. A boat prop with lower pitch characteristics will give you better top end RPMs, improved hole shot, and better acceleration.

3. Is Yours a Racing or Performance Boat?  For racing or performance maneuvers, you will want to look at propellers with a “cup.” A cup is a curl that has been cast into the trailing edge of a propeller blade. The cup retains water longer than a regular blade, enhancing thrust and efficiency. This works on props that are surfacing, due to transom height or trim angle.

4. Do You Use More Than One Prop?

Most boats employ a fixed hub, where the hub is integrated into the propeller core as one unit. This is the most cost-effective solution for running a single prop. If you need to change props for different conditions, you will want to consider a removable hub. This allows multiple props to fit onto one hub.

5. Is Price An Issue?

Stainless steel blades will give you higher performance, strength and durability over aluminum blades. The aluminum choice, however, is less expensive and still gives satisfactory performance in most situations.

Not sure if your boat prop is performing up to par? Click here for easy steps to test your propeller’s performance.

Read more about choosing boat props in Savvy Boater’s Boat Prop Help Guide.

AnchorLift: An Anchor Puller Does the Work for You

February 19th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Docking & Anchoring - (Comments Off)
The AnchorLift buoy lets the power of your boat pull up the anchor, and the buoy holds the anchor at the water's surface.

The AnchorLift lets the power of your boat pull the anchor up; the buoy holds the anchor at the water’s surface.

I’m breaking a sweat. It’s hot out, I’m anxious to get underway, and I’m hauling up my anchor, hand-over-hand, one grueling foot at a time. The rope is accumulating in snarls at my feet, my back is killing me, and one slip of my grip and the anchor is heading back to the bottom, with me entangled. All this because I don’t have an AnchorLift, an ingenious tool that raises your anchor for you. As far as anchor pullers go, you won’t find any match for its value, performance and warranty. Here is how it works – fast, safe and sort of fun, actually. The AnchorLift is comprised of a buoy – which also marks your anchor – and a little gadget called the anchor lift. Thread your anchor line through the body of the anchor lift. Then throw the anchor and buoy overboard and let the anchor out to the desired depth. Here’s the fun part: When you’re ready to bring up the anchor, start your engine and motor toward and around the buoy. When you feel the anchor break free, motor forward 5-10 mph with the buoy bobbing behind. The buoy literally floats the anchor to the surface of the water, and a sliding bolt in the anchor lift holds it there. At this point, simply steer slowly toward the buoy, reeling in the slack rope as you go. Voila! Your anchor is at your fingertips and you haven’t broken a sweat – or your back – in the process. If all this sounds complicated, it isn’t. Click on this link to view short video (1:55) to see the AnchorLift anchor puller in action. With an AnchorLift from Savvy Boater, I don’t have to be the human anchor puller anymore. The buoy and the power of my own boat do the hard work for me.

Key Features of AnchorLift Anchor Puller/Retrieval System

  • Will float anchors or traps up to 80 lbs
  • Stainless steel sliding bolt locks the anchor at the surface
  • Constructed from marine-grade nylon reinforced with stainless steel at all wear points
  • Requires 3/8″ to 5/8″ anchor line
  • Also works with crab and shrimp pots
  • Acts as a marker buoy in case of a quick anchor release
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA

The AnchorLift also comes in extremely handy for those angling for large fish, such as sturgeon. A 300-pound fish can easily snap a line. If you knot your anchor at the bitter end, and rig the line around a bow cleat, you can easily throw off the line and go in fast, hot pursuit. The knot will keep the AnchorLift on the line and the buoy will mark your anchor when you return with your prize. I’m also remembering the old days in Puget Sound, crabbing with my father in the early hours of the morning. An AnchorLift would have come in handy when hauling up 50 pounds of fresh crab at a time. Now if Savvy Boater could just come up with a way to reel in a salmon while I relax with a sandwich and a cold drink …

SavvyBoater.com

Finding Special Covers for Boats with Towers

February 14th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Boat Covers - (Comments Off)
A semi-custom fit cover protects boats with towers with secure fitting and anchoring

A Carver cover for boats with towers fits well and protects your boat from debris and the weather.

You’re a high-performance person with a high-performance boat and you need a high-performance cover. Whether your skiing around buoys or jumping over wakes, when the sun sets on the day’s adventures, you will want to protect the boat that got you there.

If you drive a V-hull runabout boat, tournament ski boat, or deck boat with a ski or wakeboard tower, you’ll have some special concerns about how to protect your boat from the elements.

Savvy Boater carries the best covers for boats with towers, manufactured in America by Carver Industries. With a tower boat cover from Carver, you’ll be able to choose a cover that fits your specific boat with a tower. Carver boasts over 30 years of experience fabricating products that withstand the rigors of boating.

The main concern in protecting boats with towers is sealing out moisture, so Carver designed their covers for boats with towers with two extra-long tower slots to accommodate virtually any tower configuration. These openings are then completely lined with marine-grade hook & loop fasteners to keep the boat fully protected. The unique styling of the boat covers conforms well to windshields, and reinforcements at key stress points prolong the life of the cover. These covers are also suitable for trailering when properly tied down and a heavy-duty tie-down kit is included with each cover.

Carver’s covers for boats with towers also come with:

  • 2 Rope Ratchets
  • Easy Installation Instructions
  • Includes 6″ to 8″ of overhang below the rub rail
  • Trailerable when properly secured
  • Seams are folded 4-ply so there are no rough edges to scratch your boat
  • Double stitching and weather resistant, anti-wick thread adds strength and durability
  • Double reinforced tie-down loops are sewn into the hem
  • Strong 1/4″ draw cord is encased into hem for snug fit
  • The pride of being made in the America

Find covers here from Savvy Boater for:

 

Choosing Your Fabric and Color

These aren’t arbitrary decisions, fabric and color. The fabric you choose will effect the protection of your boat based upon climate conditions, such as humidity and salt. Click here for Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Boat Cover Fabric. (You’ll also learn the secret to choosing a color that is the most fade-resistant.)

Sun-DURA™ is Carter's exclusive 100% solution-dyed marine-grade polyester for boat covers

Sun-DURA™ is Carter’s exclusive 100% solution-dyed marine-grade polyester for boat covers

Available Fabrics: Covers for Boats with Towers

Covers for boats with towers are available in two fabrics: Sun-DURA™ (7-Year Warranty) and Performance Poly-Guard® (5-Year Warranty).

Performance Poly-Guard®, Carver’s exclusive 100% marine-grade polyester. Highest tear strength available. Strong and durable 8 oz. weight. UV and mildew resistant. Excellent resistance to fading. Extremely water repellent. Breathable to help allow interior moisture to escape. 5-Year Warranty. Made in the USA. Available in three muted colors: beige, haze-grey and white.

Sun-DURA™, Carver’s exclusive 100% solution-dyed marine-grade polyester. Strong and durable 7 oz. weight. UV and mildew resistant. Superior resistance to fading. Extremely water repellent. Breathable to help allow interior moisture to escape. 7-Year Warranty. Made in the USA. Available in nine colors, ranging from khaki to vibrant yellow or red, to black, with many popular colors in between.

You take the time to protect yourself when you go boating. Protect your boat as well. You’ve got a special one, and it deserves a special cover.

SavvyBoater.com

 

Aqua Lantern lighted markers and buoys offer protection and beauty at night.

Aqua Lantern lighted markers and buoys offer protection and beauty at night.

When the sun sets at night, lakes, rivers and oceans become dark and mysterious places … and often dangerous places. If you use lighted marker buoys, however, you can protect yourself and your property from imminent dangers caused by darkness and adverse weather conditions.

You can also turn nighttime waterways into beautiful, magical places with battery-operated, lighted marking and mooring buoys.

When you need the best in lighted buoys, look to those made by Aqua Lantern.

Yes they’re pretty, but these lighted marker buoys were created with safety, practicality, and dependability in mind. In fact, lighted aqua buoys are a key safety component to your boating experience; as they help other boaters navigate safely around your dock, your floating swim platform, and your boat or personal water craft. They can also safely mark your shoreline swimming areas.

In addition to protecting your property, lighted marker buoys are also super smart, reliable, convenient and dependable. Here’s how:

Solar Energy: The photocell in the solar panel automatically turns the lighted buoy on at sunset and off when morning comes.

High Visibility: At 20 inches in height, the Aqua Lantern Solar Lighted Buoy is a highly visible, both by day and night. Your lighted marker buoys are visible from 3⁄4 of a nautical mile at night, and will glow all night long, up to 20 straight hours in dark or adverse conditions.

Ingenuity: The daylight sun generates power to the batteries, which power 5 super-bright light emitting diodes (LEDs), which have a life span of 100,000 hours, or 20 years.

Durability: The rechargeable battery pack on the lighted marker buoys will last for 2 years and can be charged by the sun as many as 500 times before they need to be replaced.

Stability: The unique bell shape design keeps the buoy vertical in the water. It is rotationally molded with durable high density polyethylene.

Colorful: They come in a variety of bright, vivid colors, including red, orange, yellow and green for marking, and white for mooring.

Lighted marker buoys offer unbeatable illumination, durability and the convenience of solar power.

Lighted marker buoys offer unbeatable illumination, durability and the convenience of solar power.

With outstanding reliability and brightness – and a one-year warranty – Aqua Lantern buoys represent the best in solar illumination. You get brightness that most people don’t expect from a solar lamp with unbeatable reliability and battery life.

In addition to the important safety, reliability and convenience they offer, lighted marker buoys can turn your nighttime boating environment into a fanciful water wonder land.

Learn more about the Aqua Lantern lighted marker and mooring buoys at SavvyBoater.com.

Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Boat Cover Fabric

January 15th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Boat Covers - (Comments Off)
Carver boat Cover

Carver Boat Cover

It’s time to store your boat, whether for the night or the season. And you have an important choice to make. More than size, style or color, the most important choice you make when storing or mooring your boat is the boat cover fabric.

To give your boat the best protection possible from the elements, and prolong the life of your cover, you’ll want to consider three things: location, location, location. Where you store your boat is the single most important factor in determining the proper fabric for your cover.

Savvy Boater offers easy-to-follow fabric comparison charts for two of the best boat cover brands, Carver and Westland Boat Covers. Here are five of the most important things you should consider:

1. Humidity: If you live in a hot, humid climate, say, Florida for example, you’ll be exposed to issues of mold and mildew. If you choose a boat cover fabric with low breathability, the combination of rain and sun will cause mildew to grow on your cover and possibly even in your boat’s interior. This is very bad news, as mold can be toxic. Our favorite fabric for humid environments is Carver SunDura.

2. Rain & Snow: If you store your boat outside, in a wet climate, the weight of rain and/or snow can accumulate and create pockets where water will collect, making your cover – and boat – vulnerable to damage, leakage and even mildew. You will want to choose a boat cover fabric that offers strength, water resistance and breathability. Our favorite fabric for wet environments is Carver SunDura.

3. Salt: Mooring your boat in salt water? That’s a whole other ball game.  You’ll need a boat cover fabric made of 100% marine-grade acrylic, which offers extreme strength & durability and best resists the elements of salt and wind. Our favorite for salt is Sunbrella, and is offered by both Carver and Westland.

4. Towing: If you’ll be towing your boat under its cover, your main concern will be durability and tensile strength. But don’t forget the weather conditions. If you’ll be driving in sunny weather, you’ll want UV protection. If there is wet weather in the forecast, you’ll want a boat cover fabric that is water resistant. Try Westland Sharkskin Plus for towing.

5. Aesthetics: Fabric colors will eventually fade with time and exposure to the elements. The lighter color you choose, however, the more resistant it will be to fading, regardless of the type of fabric you use. You’ll want to stick with white, beige or gray to minimize fading.

Bonus Tip:

Support Systems: If you’re storing your boat outside in wet weather conditions, consider adding supports to your cover. These “tented” systems allow water to drain off, rather than collect in pools, prolonging the life of your cover.

Find comprehensive charts to compare boat cover fabrics at Savvy Boater, marine accessories for all your boating needs.

Fishing may be a solo activity for you, but a community of those who also love fishing is a click away. SavvyBoater has been keeping an eye on one fishing forum that has tons of personality because of the woman who started it. Jennie Logsdon Martin fishes and blogs prolifically on the thriving Ifish.net forum/website. We asked her recently to tell us about her background and love of fishing. She gets very personal on ifish.net, which is one of the chief draws of the site.

Q & A with Savvy Boater of the Month Jennie Logsdon Martin

ifish.net founder

Jenni Logsdon Martin, Inspirational Fisherwoman and Blogger for IFish.net

SavvyBoater: You started ifish.net as a blog then it evolved into a discussion board, correct? Then to a magazine? Why did you start writing? And how have your online and fishing lives evolved since 1998?

Jennie: I started ifish.net in 1998 as a sort of challenge from my internet mentor and friend, Don Gach. Don asked me to do a website and his advice included doing it on something that I adored. That, of course, was fishing. He also challenged me to get it listed on search engines. Back then, it was much easier to get things listed on search engines. There were so many!  I was successful. People found ifish.net and wanted to join in, so I created a discussion forum. This forum was pretty archaic, compared to what we have now.

Then, a sports writer for the Oregonian found me, and due to that, more people joined in. It just kept growing as TV series wanted to air stories on ifish. Ifish.net just grew and grew until folks from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were using it to find out about what people wanted, and television news sources were using our data, and… it just snowballed on us!! I had no idea what I was doing, but I learned, and I had to learn fast! I had no marketing or sales experience, but I began to sell advertising in order to pay for the hosting fees, etc. I only sold enough to pay for the expenses, and to keep us going as a community. It was my love!

Due to health problems, I began to have trouble keeping up with things, so in 2010, I made the difficult decision to sell my ifish in 2010. The company I sold it to created our new online magazine.

I started writing as a child. I have a stack of journals I’ve kept all these years. My writing is now public, but my writing remains mostly for myself. I don’t write with people in mind, really. I write to understand myself and to thank my Heavenly Father for all my blessings. I write to note things I’ve done, my feelings about life, family and friends, and quite frankly, I write to explore the wonder in life and repeatedly convince myself that everything I have been blessed with is real! Pinch me!

Since writing publicly, I have been invited to join the Outdoors Writer’s Association of America, been on the cover and included in “Chicken Soup for the Fisherman’s Soul”, and won a couple of neato awards!

SavvyBoater: Do you work on ifish full-time? Is it your primary occupation? Had you held other jobs prior to ifish?

Jennie: I am physically disabled with Marfan Syndrome, so I don’t work full time, although sometimes it sure seems like I do! Sometimes Ifish.net will go down, or have problems, and then I work long, long days. After that, I have to take days in a row off, to recover. But, that’s life having a web site! It’s just like that! I’m involved in many facets of the fishing world. I would say that fishing is my primary occupation and my “Busman’s Holiday”. Believe it or not, I spent the first half of my life as a performing classical pianist. I played all over the United States, including being honored to perform for President Reagan and President Bush in Washington D.C. So exciting!

SavvyBoater: Tell us about how you became such an enthusiastic fisherwoman. It pervades every aspect of your life, it seems. What is it about fishing that drives your passion for it?

Jennie: I was born with a passion for water, whether it be a mud puddle in the driveway, a slough running through a friend’s back field, the rivers, the lakes, or the ocean. I even adore my hot tub! When I was very young, I didn’t play with dolls so much. I was always game to join my Dad in a boat on the Willamette River, fishing for Spring Chinook, or climb up on his shoulders, while he would cross the white water of the Sandy River in Oregon for steelhead. We spent each summer at Diamond Lake fishing for trout. I have such great fishing memories!

From there, it was fishing with friends in the mornings before work or piano practice, and it continued on, until it turned into a joke for many. Jennie the fisher.  During concerts, an opera singer I accompanied would introduce me as “Jennie the Fisher girl” or, would state right before intermission, “It seems it is time now that Jennie go catch a fish. She’ll be back in 15 minutes. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee.”

SavvyBoater: You write about your two sons, who also fish. How have their fishing lives evolved?

Jennie: I’m afraid they don’t fish with me, except on rare occasion. Unfortunately, my eldest passed away at 26, just one year ago. He, too, was affected by Marfan Syndrome. Andrew, the oldest, was the most apt to go fishing, and he had the most luck I’d seen anyone have. He’d catch salmon after salmon and just never be very excited about it. He’d say, casually and without spirit, “Got another one…” Bill and I would be trying our hardest with all the newest gear and techniques, to catch but one! But, not Andrew… He’d be limited out and bored by the time we’d get one!

When my boys were very small, I took them on several-too-many fishing adventures in the Oregon wind and rain. I am famous for the “Just one more cast” phenomena, even when the weather is very bad. That’s one thing you should never do with small children in tow. Take it from me. After those experiences, they changed their minds about the fun of going fishing with their mother. When their father would come home from work for lunch, I’d give him a quick kiss and a rundown on the situation at home, then I’d be out the door to the jetty to catch a salmon and a couple crabs, and run home, before he had to get back to work. I adore those memories!

One very awesome memory. I knew it was real love when my husband heard me yelling from down at the lake across from our first home. I had hooked a big bass. Probably the biggest bass of my lifetime! The line was caught up around some pilings out about six feet from shore. He came running, thinking I was hurt. When he found me safe, he went into that murky lake water in his nice white work clothes, and untangled that bass, and let me reel it in! Now, that is love!

SavvyBoater: You’ve written about surviving breast cancer. How did your bouts with cancer put a finepoint onto your life’s purpose?

Jennie: I was diagnosed with a pretty scary type of  breast cancer three years ago. It is called “Triple Negative” and it is supposedly very aggressive. However, if you make it five years, then the chances of recurrence are less than other types. I’m almost there! Two more years, and I have it made! I think of it as a challenge! Actually, my real life scare was surviving an aortic dissection, which occurs due to a genetic connective disorder which I mentioned above Marfan Syndrome. We have weak connective tissue. When my aorta dissected, I was in surgery for 13 hours — 7 hours on the heart and lung machine. I barely scraped by during that one!

After two weeks in the hospital, I still could not walk. The doctors insisted I could, and I tried but failed. I spent two weeks at home, trying and failing! I finally convinced the doc that something was the matter. Oops! They then found out I had very little blood flow to my legs. They had forgotten to test that. No wonder I couldn’t walk! They then life-flighted me to San Francisco where they fixed that with a couple stents. The very next day, I was walking again!

All of these things, including the collapsed lung that I woke up with one day last year, have made me appreciate every single breath of every day that I am alive. I have had more surgeries in my lifetime that I can count.

I sincerely believe that so many people out there (the great majority, in fact!) do not really believe that life as we know it will end. I believe that they know it in their heads really well, but they do not know it in their hearts. I don’t want to waste one minute of any day doing anything negative. I want to make a difference on this earth. The time I spend with people, I want to spend making them feel special and loved. The time I spend on the river, I don’t want to spend worrying over catching or competing. I want to spend my time fishing! After all, the quest is best!

I am blessed to live in Tillamook, Oregon, where my backyard is the Kilchis River. I can walk a couple hundred feet and be at the water’s edge, rod in hand, both when the sun comes up, and when the sun goes down.

SavvyBoater: You are unflaggingly optimistic. Do you believe your optimism has contributed to your success as an online “personality”? Do you think of yourself as a web personality?

Jennie: I would hope that if I come off as optimistic, that people would want to read it. I know there are many people who like to read gossip rags and the like. I certainly don’t want that audience! I don’t really think of myself as a web personality. I think of myself as a female who likes to fish, who lives on the Kilchis River, and likes to share the happiness the river brings me!

SavvyBoater: What’s your definition of success?

Jennie: To me, success is a personal thing. Once upon a time, I told someone I felt like I had been successful with ifish.net. They disagreed, and thought I wouldn’t be a success until I was on a sunny beach somewhere, with someone else doing my work for me. I thought about that, and I just have to disagree. As long as I am generally happy in what I do, I am successful. For me, waking up being able to walk and talk and breath is success.

I was raised being told I wouldn’t live a long life. I’m 53! That’s nearly double the life span the doctor’s estimated! I have been down in bed or in the hospital quite a bit in my life. It’s tough to watch from my bedroom window as your dog goes out fishing with your partner, and you can’t go, too.  With each passing birthday, I become more and more successful!

So, as long as I’m able to fish, well, that, for me, is success!

SavvyBoater: Thanks very much, Jennie. We hope the fish continue to bite on your hook.

See more of Jennie’s frequent posts on ifish.net.