Tips on how to catch elusive fish (Part 2)

In a previous blog entry, we discussed how some fish will try to make you work a little harder than others when trying to make a catch and what you can do to get through these trouble spots.

Here are a few more tips:

Chase catfish at night: Catfish are warm water fish that, by midsummer, are looking to feed heavily. This makes the optimal fishing time between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. when the fish are moving out of the deeper waters to find food.

Go long: One way of raising your chances of catching more fish is so simple it's easy to overlook. Casting out further away means that you're covering more territory and giving yourself more options. One of the most effective ways to add distance to your cast is to use a lightweight line.

Watch the birds: Saltwater anglers are known for using the birds to find an ideal spot to catch fish but there are intricacies to this art. For example, some inshore birds like terns will favor smaller bait like sandeels and bay anchovies. But watching where the gulls head will lead you to larger bait fish like mackerel and herring. Meanwhile, cormorants will chase anything that's moving in the water. Offshore birds like petrels can lead you to shrimp catches but they also tend to feed on shrimp and plankton.

The best approach to using birds to your advantage is patience. Watch them long enough to see if a pattern unfolds and reveals whether there are fish in the nearby area or if they're as hungry as you are. A flock of birds suddenly changing course to a specific destination is usually a good sign. But if a large group of birds looks like it's resided to fly off and seek out something promising, it may serve you to follow their lead.

Remember, ePal has all of the boat parts and fishing boat accessories you'll need to make the most of your time on the water. Contact us today!

Tips on how to catch elusive fish (Part 1)

Providing the best fishing boat accessories is just one of the ways ePal helps its customers. We want people to love their time on the water as much as we do. But sometimes having the best equipment isn't always enough. A little cunning can go along way too, especially when it comes to getting fish to take the bait.  

Here are a couple of tips on how you can enhance your chances of filling your boat with a tasty bounty: 

Avoid getting rocked: Sometimes it's unavoidable that, when fishing, you run the risk of being "rocked," as a bold fish snatches a lure or bait and then buries its head in the rocks, kelp or weeds. Usually, you're not left with many options other than cutting the line, but there are a few tricks you can try. 

Instead of pulling back on the line as instincts would suggest, sometimes doing just the opposite works. Dip the front of the rod toward the water and allow the line to go slack, which may lead a fish to think it doesn't need cover any more and will cause it to retreat from its protection. Alternatively, you can pull back gently on the rod and pluck the line like it's a guitar string, sometimes annoying the fish to the point of trying to escape you. As a last resort, weight the anchor and move to a new position to try to yank the fish free from a different angle. 

Make use of flooding: Bow-fishermen have long made use of flooded waters. Carp and gar are particularly known for swarming overflowing banks in search of food, often inching along and leaving their backs exposed for some of the easiest shooting there is. 

Nevertheless, the value of a good fishfinder and other boat accessories can't be overstated either. Contact ePal today for all of the fishing and boating products you need. 

What to do when your boat is sinking

The subject of a boat sinking often goes overlooked because of the common assumption that a boat sinking is a rare event or the consequence of recklessness or negligence. Sometimes this is the case. But inclement weather, malfunctioning parts or a poorly designed vessel also frequently contribute to a boat going under. Aside from the headaches even the thought of such a mishap can cause, especially when one thinks about the fuel or oil pollution fines that may be heaped on top of the property loss, what's most important is knowing what to do in the event of such a disaster. 

Here are a pair of tips: 

Find the leak: Once you find the leak, you can try to plug it with balled up clothes, boots or anything else that may fit to stem the flow. Also, moving as many items and people as possible to the opposite side of the boat will help slow the leak as well, even if the boat doesn't tip enough for the hole to clear the water.

Put on the life jackets and make a mayday call: This seems like a common sense piece of advice but scary situations often produce bizarre and panicky behavior. Perhaps the greatest counsel anybody could offer for such a tense moment is to breathe deeply and maintain your calm. But hailing the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16 to provide your location and the number of people aboard along with preparing for the inevitability of being immersed in water are crucial as well. Also, don't forget the ditch bag you use to store signal flares, a waterproof handheld VHF and a personal beacon locator. 

Also, if you're looking to learn about what marine accessories would best serve you in such an unfortunate situation and advice on the most dependable boat parts for your vessel, ePal has everything you need and more. Contact us today!

3 tips on how to release a fish

Catch and release has become a more popular practice with fishing for a number of reasons. Some species are required by law to be returned to the water, some release fish in the interest of conservation and others simply refuse to kill something they won't eat. Nonetheless, knowing how to release a fish properly is most important, otherwise the fish may end up dying anyway. 

Here are three tips on how to safely release a fish back to the water: 

Handle with care: Cradling a fish by its lip puts stress on its jaw and internal organs. Also the gills of a fish are extremely sensitive and can be easily damaged. Holding it horizontally and keeping your hands around the lower jaw area or the belly are the best ways to prevent injury.

Land the fish quickly: Exhaustion is one of the most crucial factors regarding a fish's survival. Also, the energy level of a fish especially becomes unpredictable during warm weather when higher-temperature water means lower dissolved oxygen levels for the fish to rely on, resulting in quicker and more intense incidents of stress and fatigue for the fish. Ending the fight as quickly as possible elevates the chances of survival significantly. 

Mind the hook: Barbless hooks are ideal when planning on throwing fish back as they are easier to remove and minimize the chances of punctured fingers during the process. Long-nose pliers are also a handy tool for smooth removals. Another trick that can be used is holding the fish upside-down which sometimes helps pacify it and reduce the overall time needed to remove the hook.   

Also, if you're looking for a fishfinder or any other fishing boat accessories, visit ePal Inc. today!

A pair of tips on how to dock a boat

Docking a boat is nothing like parking a car for a number of reasons. Paved roads don't rock and an unexpected gust of wind isn't likely to twist your SUV a few inches to the right or left while you try to squeeze into a spot that is at times not much bigger than the vehicle itself. But, with docking a boat, the weather, the type of dock, marine electronics and even the number of engines involved can influence how smoothly or how clumsily a boat is docked.

That's why we'd like to offer a couple of tips to remember:

Speed: The golden rule with docking can't be overstated: Never approach the dock at a speed greater than what you'd be willing to use to hit it. Lower speeds mean less water flowing through the rudders, which will only benefit your steering, allowing you to accomplish sharper turns and achieve desired angles of approach. Solid docking means sustained periods of coasting, interrupted by the occasional fuel-injected burst to maintain momentum into a clean position. But familiarity with your boat and practice are the only guaranteed ways to learn when to inject that sudden thrust of speed. 

Wind: Firstly, be aware of your sails. An unattended sail while trying to dock in heavy winds can throw you way off your bearings and significantly increase the difficulty of a successful dock. Also, finding the most appropriate angle may never be more important in docking than when it comes to dealing with the wind. An approach aimed to cut the current that's trying to blow you away from the pier can lead to success just as paralleling yourself to the dock and allowing the wind to do a bulk of the work can.

Also, if you're looking for any boat accessories for after you've gotten it safely docked, ePal has all of the products you need. Contact us today!

Police cracking down on drunk boating

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 62 boating deaths occurred in 2013. With alcohol being suspected to have played a role in many of the incidents, and some of them having a high profile nature, Florida law enforcement has begun addressing safe boat driving concerns more aggressively, especially in regard to people operating a boat while drinking alcohol. This past Sunday, August 10, the Miami-Dade Police Department's Marine Patrol was out on the waters testing anyone who was suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance. 

"The word will get out that we're going to stop you," Lupo Jimenez with the Miami-Dade Police Department told CBS Miami. "If you've been drinking and you're operating a boat, we're going to handle it the same way we would handle a DUI." 

The police believe that there presence on the water alone is enough to deter irresponsible behavior. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission confirmed for Miami's CBS local that they are still investigating this year's most deadly boating crash to date, resulting in the death's of the operator and three others after Independence Day fireworks. The operator's blood alcohol level has not been released but it is widely suspected that he had been driving while intoxicated. And just a week ago, a father of four died when his boat crashed into a pier at Pelican Harbor. 

Along with looking to protect drivers from themselves, a heightened presence of police on the waters will provide extra comfort to families with children who are looking to avoid anybody riding while under the influence.

Staying safe should be everyone's top priority while enjoying your time on the water. And, as always, for any of your boating and boat accessory needs, contact ePal Inc. Our array of products, and knowledgeable customer service, are just what you're looking for to enjoy the rest of this summer.

Teachers teach math through boat-building

When thinking about possible summer school assignments, working on a boat at a country club probably wouldn't instinctively rank high on your list. But two teachers from Hamden Middle School of Hamden, Connecticut, have found a way to create a harmonious union between boating and math lessons.

Andrew Marzano, an eighth-grade science teacher, and Frank Kachmar, a technology teacher, have teamed up to educate eighth-grade students on math and science skills by helping them build a sailboat. Marzano said that the idea of combining boat-building with math and science lessons came to him after watching people build boats at Connecticut's Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the world. 

The three-week program was designed to meet the needs of students who have faced challenges with math and science and incorporates principles about angles, measurements and adding and subtracting fractions into the curriculum. According to the New Hampshire register, Marazano especially sees value in the boat-building initiative because it "really incorporates math, science, history and English." 

Marazono also enjoys seeing students who "work better with their hands, rather than a pencil and notebook" making the connections between math and building boats, and growing excited about the two as the project continues.

"They start to see it's not just a hammer and nails, but that it's actually something functional," Marzano said.

Michael Cox, one of the students in the program, expressed his enthusiasm for building the boats, specifically when learning how to measure the seats properly. 

If building an entire boat is a little more work than you're looking to do, maybe finding some high quality boat accessories like a handheld marine gps are more your speed. These products an more are available through ePal Inc. at great prices. Contact us today!

3 tips for safer boating with pets

There is still a good amount of time left in the summer for boating adventures. And it's never a bad time to consider the best ways to share those rides with your pets. Boating with a furry friend can be a great bonding experience, especially when you plan ahead for any complications that may arise. So here are a few tips to help minimize the challenges that come with bringing a four-legged loved one aboard:

Adjusting to the Boat: As it goes with most pets and new items, especially young pets, incrementally introducing them to the boat and water is best. Letting him or her run around the deck while the boat is docked or just turning on the engine so your pet can acclimate to its sounds and smells are great for helping your pet learn to love the experience naturally. A few small cruises to fully introduce the pet to the riding experience would ensure that a lengthy ride in the future would go smoother.  

Flotation Devices: Even if your pet is a good swimmer, falling into water unexpectedly, as dogs occasionally do when trying to leap from a boat to the dock, can throw anyone into a panic. A pet life jacket is, at least, a great way to protect your pet from his or her own clumsiness. 

Using the bathroom: Creating a space for your pet to use the bathroom may be one of the most daunting challenges. Cats are relatively easier, as a litter box can fit in most areas, but dogs can prove to be a little more complicated. If there are no planned stops on land for the dog to go ashore and handle his or her business, then a portable dog potty may be your best bet.

And if you're looking for any boat accessories or other products, visit ePal Inc. today!

Top 3 boat accessories for wake boarders

In yesterday's blog, we talked all about how to install your very own wakeboard tower. These structures make spending the day on the lake or on the ocean even more fun because towing becomes easier, safer and more exciting. For serious wake riders, a tower is a must-have boat accessory. But did you know that these towers have additional accessories of their own?

Here are a few of our favorite wakeboard tower accessories:

Bimini - This bit of shade on cloudless days will save you from cooking in the sun all day long. Don't underestimate how much being on the water, exposed to the elements and riding the wake can take out of you. Sometimes it's nice to have a spot where you can cool off, wind down and get out of the sun for a few. A bimini top is the perfect solution. This accessory can be custom fit to your boat for decreased wind resistance and reduce the number of moving parts on your tower. We recommend the bimini tops from Dallas Manufacturing and the storage packs from Kwik Tek for the ultimate experience.

Camera Mount – What's better than being able to catch some sweet shots or video of your day on the water? Whether you are opting for a waterproof version of your everyday camera or going for those wild GoPro angles having a sturdy mount for optimal picture taking is a great idea! RAM has some great inexpensive options, while PanaVise has some super durable, customizable units.

Gear rack -Being able to get your gear out of your boat and out of the way is always a bonus; especially when it can be as big and clunky as wakeboards and boots. Try installing a gear rack for your wakeboard tower for the best storage for all your riding needs.

For more information on products or boat accessories, visit ePal Inc. today!

How to install a wakeboard tower

With about a month of summer left, making the most of your time on the water is key to soaking up as much sun as possible. For motor boat owners, water skiing, tubing and wakeboarding are often a way to get the whole family involved in outdoor fun. But what if your boat is not equipped with a wakeboard tower to enjoy this summer sport?

The solution is simple: Install a sturdy and safe wakeboard tower. But how do you do that? We are here to help:

  • Center - The key to your wakeboard tower is that it is centered level over the middle of your boat. The best way to set the location of the unit is to wrap thick rags around the mounting bases and arch so that if it does come in contact with your boat, it won't scratch the paint or surface. 
  • Connect - Boating Magazine explains "Mounting points are forward on the bow cockpit gunwales ahead of the windshield and on the gunwales aft of the helm seats. First determine the aft points. Assemble the rear legs to the top section to form an arch. Snug up the bolts to hold the arch's shape. Put anti-seize on the threads to make tightening easier and reduce wear."
  • Secure - Depending on the unit that you purchase, the specifications for where the legs and arch should sit will change. The best way to ensure the stability of your tower is to follow instructions and enlist the help of a few friends. When you first assemble it, the tower will be wobbly and difficult to erect on your own, so you will want the extra pair of hands.

Once you have your tower installed, the fun can begin! Be sure that you have the best gear and boat accessories for your waterborne adventure. Rave offers a great selection of boots and boards, while AIRHEAD will have you covered on tow lines and handles. These brands and their products are available through ePal Inc. at considerable discounts. For more information or any product-related questions, contact us today!