3 tips for kayak fishing beginners

Human-powered and inexpensive, the sport of kayak fishing is becoming more and more popular with outdoors enthusiasts looking for a way to stay in shape while enjoying a fishing trip. If you're thinking of getting into kayak fishing, here are some things to consider first to help you get the most out of the experience:

  • You should know something about both sports. If you're an expert kayaker but have never fished in your life, or if you know your way around a rod and line but have never stepped foot in a kayak, make sure you read up on and practice the sport that you have less expertise in before attempting to take on anything too difficult.
  • Consult with retailers to determine the ideal kayak for you. The style of kayak you'll need will depend on many factors, including whether you intend to fish in lakes, rivers or the ocean, what type of fish you will be pursuing, and what type of fishing you do. This can all get pretty complicated, so don't be afraid to consult with the experts to help you find the right boat. Some stores will allow you to take a kayak out for a test run before buying; take advantage of this opportunity if it's offered to you.
  • Customize your kayak. Once you have determined which model you're going to buy, you can start planning the marine accessories you will add on in order to make your fishing experience easier. Some of the most common custom additions are methods of keeping important items within reach while you're on the water, such as paddle holders or clips.

For more information about the boat accessories that can help get you started in a new outdoor sport, contact ePal through our website's chat feature or at 1-877-245-8649.

Marine cuisine: 4 tips for cooking on a boat

We must admit, our curiosity about what it would take to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner onboard a boat is what led us to the topic of this post. After some research, we do not recommend ever attempting such a thing. However, there are some simpler recipes that you can easily prepare during long sea voyages as long as you come prepared. Here are some tips to help your onboard cooking experience run smoothly:

  • Make very detailed lists. One of the main differences between cooking on a boat and cooking on shore is that on a boat, you can't just run to the store for things you forgot once the cooking is underway. Before you set out, make sure you meticulously go through everything you'll need to accomplish your recipe and leave nothing behind.
  • Prepare for limited space. Everything, from the kitchen to the storage areas, is smaller on a boat. It can help to bring multipurpose utensils so that you have to store fewer overall. Also, if there is a refrigerator it's likely to be small, so bring mostly food that can be stored outside the fridge for long periods of time.
  • Expect the motion of the ocean. Rocking back and forth while cooking can cause chaos in the kitchen. Remember to bring cutting boards and utensils that use non-slip material and don't cook anything too prone to spilling (leave the big pot of soup or chili for your stove at home).
  • Don't bring too much alcohol. The effects of alcohol are stronger at sea, cans and bottles take up a lot of space, and drunk boating is dangerous, so go easy on the booze.

For top-quality, affordable boat accessories, check out ePal's online store. We are available to offer advice through the chat feature on our website, or at 1-877-245-8649.

6 little fishing tricks everyone should know

There are some fishing problems that can be solved with a big equipment purchase, but others just need a bit of ingenuity. As the idea of "life hacks" becomes wildly popular across the internet, many outdoors enthusiasts are shaking their heads and thinking, "We've been doing this all along" — little tricks for reusing items or making them more effective are at the heart of wilderness adventuring. Here are some of those tips to keep in mind the next time you're planning to head out on a fishing trip:

  • Make your bait more effective by sticking a nail into the end of plastic worm bait to make it bob and twist more in the water, making it look more like a real worm to gullible fish.
  • Run your reel under hot water to help newly spooled line to conform to the shape of the reel, preventing it from coming unspooled and coiling off the reel. 
  • Use stainless steel to remove fish odor from your skin. Soap and water are actually less effective for removing those tough marine odors than simply running your hands over any household stainless steel item — use a pan, a faucet, or a piece of cutlery, whatever you have around.
  • Freeze fish guts before throwing them away to keep the smell from building up in your garbage can.
  • Attach a wine cork to your eyeglass or sunglass strap so that if the glasses fall off during the struggle for a catch, they will float and can be easily recuperated.
  • Use a safety pin to hang hooks from so that they don't become tangled up in storage. 

If you're looking to go a bit further than these techniques, let ePal help you find the right fishing boat accessories for your needs. Use the chat feature on our website to contact us at any time. 

4 cold weather boating safety tips

Not everyone puts their boats in storage for the winter — some hardy souls either choose to keep pleasure boating through the season, or are required to by their job or circumstances. Either way, following proper safety protocol can mean the difference between a pleasant outdoor adventure and a harrowing tale of survival. Follow these tips to make sure you stay safe onboard this season:

  • Tell someone where you're going. Whenever you head out on the water in the winter, make sure to leave information on your intended route and when you plan to return with a responsible individual. This way, if something happens to you, someone will know immediately. This person can also contact you in case of adverse weather or accidents along your route so that you can avoid these problems.
  • Always carry a communication device. A functioning marine radio is crucial to be able to communicate with other vessels and avoid accidents, and to call for help in case of an emergency. ePal carries several types of marine radios that can be found here.
  • Carry flares or signaling devices. In winter storms, it can be hard for other vessels to find you if your boat is hidden in the snow after an accident. That's why carrying flares or an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) is so important in the winter.
  • Wear a life jacket and water-resistant clothing. Falling into icy water causes a shock to the system that leads to cardiac arrest and drowning. Being well-outfitted with a life preserver and appropriate clothing is absolutely necessary for survival in this case. 

If you're preparing to undertake a winter boating expedition, contact ePal for advice on the marine equipment and safety gear you'll need. We strive to provide customers with the right equipment for their needs and will personalize our recommendations to your needs. 

3 essentials for winter camping

If you're the type that gets cabin fever quickly when winter weather keeps you in the house for too long, you may be planning an expedition into the cold for one of the most daring outdoor activities there is — winter camping. But as you probably already know, adventure can turn to disaster in a heartbeat if you're not prepared, especially if the winter temperatures where you're planning to camp are particularly low. Here are a few things to make sure you take care of before you head out:

  • Clothing: Making sure you have all the necessary layers of clothing to take on the elements can be a matter of life and death, or at least a matter of frostbite versus intact extremities. Insulated boots (not normal hiking boots) are a must, and can be reinforced with several layers of socks and high gaiters. Mittens are warmer than gloves because each finger isn't isolated from the others and can build a pocket of heat together. Finally, make sure your outer layer is wind- and waterproof, but make sure to keep down jackets away from the campfire, since they are extremely flammable.
  • Gear: Your sleeping bag should be rated for temperatures colder than what you expect to experience, and a mummy-style bag with a hood is best for keeping warmth in at night. An especially thick sleeping pad will help keep the cold from the snow under the tent from seeping in as you sleep.
  • Information: This is perhaps the most important and the most often ignored step: Make sure you have all the information you may need, in terms of weather conditions, distances and locations, risks and hazards, emergency contacts, etc., before you head out so that if an emergency does arise you'll immediately know what to do.

If you're looking to get suited up and hike the frozen trails, or if you're looking for marine accessories at a good price, contact ePal for advice today!

How to avoid the most common boating accidents

A real seaman never goes out on the water unprepared. To lower your chances of a fatal boating accident, it helps to know the most common types of incidents so that you're aware of what you might come up against someday. Use this list as a starting point in your preparations:

  • Collision with another boat: It may seem strange, since boats have lots of room to maneuver out of each other's way, unlike cars on a road. But this is exactly why it's important to remain vigilant — if you assume a collision is unlikely, you're more prone to causing one through lack of attention to steering. Aside from simply paying close attention to your surroundings, it can help to have a marine radio on board to communicate with other vessels in the area. 
  • Falls overboard: This is the number one cause of fatalities in boating accidents and can be avoided by simply requiring everyone onboard to wear a life jacket at all times. Yes, they're a bit awkward, but so is losing a life unnecessarily. ePal has a wide selection of life jackets for very reasonable prices.
  • Flooding or sinking: A sinking boat is every boater's nightmare. To avoid ever coming up against this problem, make sure your boat is regularly maintained, with no cracks or leaks anywhere. You should also take the time to check the weather before you head out and if there are storms in the area, make sure to be safe rather than sorry and stay at home.
  • Grounding: Running aground is incredibly frustrating, as you may need to be towed off whatever you're stuck on. To avoid this, consider investing in a depth indicator.

Here at ePal, we know you're not intimidated by the idea of an accident, you just need the proper marine accessories to help avoid one. Contact us today for advice on outfitting your vessel for the best and worst times.

How to decorate your home in a nautical style

Do you ever find yourself disappointed when you step off your boat to head home, wishing you could stay forever on the high seas? You may want to consider redecorating your house with a nautical theme. As home decorating projects go, this is relatively easy to achieve — you probably have some nautical knick-knacks at home already — and will let you feel like you're out on the water even when you have to stay home. Here are some starter tips:

  • Rope: As a keystone of the nautical experience and one of the most versatile materials there is, rope is a must-have in any marine-themed home. Use it as a banister for the main staircase, as a tieback for curtains, or wrap it around table legs for a subtle nautical accent.
  • Clocks, thermometers and barometers: The presence of these beautiful wood-accented marine weather instruments is not only stylish, but practical as well, as they will tell you when it's a good time to go out on the boat. ePal has a wide selection of thermometer/barometers and clocks in its home and office section
  • Natural decorations: Anything pretty you find out on the water you can use to decorate your house. Shells, driftwood, sea glass, and even well-preserved, clean-smelling seaweed can be used to lend oceanic flair to ordinary household fixtures. Try gluing shells to light switches, or displaying a driftwood collection on the mantle.
  • Stripes, anchors and more stripes: When in doubt, choose fabric accessories — such as throw pillows, bedsheets, dishtowels and napkins — with nautical pattern prints. Red or blue stripes, anchors, and semaphore flags are good bets that are carried by many home retailers.

Whether you're looking for form or function, ePal has something for you. Contact us for advice on purchasing marine accessories.

How to navigate a "No Wake" zone

A common question from boating novices is the one that inquires about "No Wake" zones. 

"No wake" indicates that a vessel is traveling at or beneath an idle speed, a pace at which the boat and its wake, a term used for waves, aren't likely to cause injury or damage to another person, boat or property. What has become somewhat controversial about "no wake" scenarios is that the designs of many boats aren't exactly conducive to them, especially if the hull of a boat comes with a deep-v. Also, operating stern-drive vessels can lead to further engine complications that exacerbate the situation. 

Nevertheless, none of these realities make adhering to "no wake" zones impossible. 

First, most boats have two separate 5 mph speeds. One involves the throttle being adjusted forward of neutral for what is known as "idling in gear." This is where the engine is turning at roughly 600 rpm. The other, and more broadly known, 5 mph involves the engine spinning at about 1,300 rpm, where there is more thrust but the boat is squatting, which means a larger wake even without increased speed. 

The difference is as significant as your respect for the federal law, which requires you acknowledge wake regulations. Here is another tip to consider when looking to reduce your wake: 

Act quickly: Slowing down in advance is your best option for successful compliance. Some may even consider it your only option as backing off the throttle just as you're lining up next to a small boat likely means that you are already in the zone with a prominent wake. 

Sometimes, a little knowledge can be one of the most useful boat accessories you can have. Nevertheless, if you're looking to add new boat parts to your vessel, shop ePal! We have the expertise and extensive selection of dependable and affordable marine instruments to meet all of your needs and desires. 

Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP Fishfinder/Chartplotter Base Combo – 83/200 455/800 Transom Mount

Boating adventures are major national past time. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the United States commercial and recreational saltwater fishing sector produced more than $199 billion in sales in 2011, while supporting 1.7 million jobs. There's no clearer way to explain how popular boating is.

Nevertheless, with this popularity often comes an overwhelming amount of opportunities. Boat, boat accessories, boating and fishing locations, boating blogs and more, there is always a new item or opinion about an item asking for your attention. That's why we take such care at ePal to ensure that our product reviews and web content is dependable and consistent with our values.

That's why when it comes to attaining the best view beneath your boat via the help of a fishfinder, we'd recommend almost anything from Lowrance Elite-7. The CHIRP Fishfinder/Chartplotter Base Combo – 83/200 455/800 Transom Mount is an especially desirable piece of hardware that makes finding fish easier as it includes CHIRP, compressed high-intensity radar pulse, sonar to its award-winning built-in Broadband Sounder™ and DownScan Imaging™ fishfinder technologies. The significance of CHIRP sonar is that its amplified sensitivity, which leads to more precise target resolution and effective noise rejection for a sharper imagery. 

What is so appealing about the Elite-7 Line?

Just a few of the winning features included in this product, along with the CHIRP Sonar, is that it allows you to more accurately target the location of fish at greater depths and do so while your boat cruises at faster speeds, keeping you from overlooking any schools that would be easy to miss. Added benefits of looking for fish with CHIRP is that you are able to handle multiple frequencies from a single transducer of a number of makes and models. 

What are the standout features about this product?

The Elite Fishfinder/Chartplotter comes with DownScan Imaging™ that supplies images of fish beneath your boat that may as well be professionally taken snapshots. Also, the extremely detailed United States map built into the system displays more than 3,000 lakes and rivers along with coastal contours to 1,000 feet that also come with optional chart upgrades through the the microSD card slot, which include Lake Insight™, Nautic Insight™ PRO and HD, Navionics® Gold and HotMaps® Premium, Fishing Hotspots® PRO and Jeppessen C-Map Max-N. But if the standard upgrades don't meet your needs, you can also upload your own map from the real sonar data you record through Insight Genesis™.

Manually adjusting settings doesn't need to be a nuisance any longer either with the Advanced Signal Processing (ASP), which will tackle that matter for you and leave you with more time to review the recorded sonar histories that include structures, the transitions of the fist and significant locations. 

Overall, we'd say this quality of marine electronics is ideal for both commercial and recreational purposes. It's simple to use, dynamic in its features and, perhaps best of all, comes at a great prices when you buy it through ePal!

3 Boat Safety Tips

One of the unfortunate realities about boating is that sometimes accidents happen. What can be most frustrating about those mishaps is that sometimes they are entirely avoidable if safety guidelines are adhered to. That's why there is rarely ever an inappropriate time to stress the importance of safety on the water. 

Here are a few tips for you to remember:

Create a Float Plan: Letting someone who is not going along on a boat trip know all pertinent details is a savvy way of protecting you and your passengers from any unforeseen mishaps. A good float plan will include the names, addresses and contact information of the trip leader and all of the passengers. The boat type and registration information, the trip itinerary and all of the communication and signal equipment available on the vessel are all also crucial pieces of information that would help locate the boat if it becomes damaged or lost. 

Life jackets: Although use of the life jacket is one of the most obvious safety tips, it is also one of the most repeated because of how resistant people can be toward using them. If your hesitancy is due to life jackets being too bulky and uncomfortable, they now come in all kinds of designs intended for an array of activities from water sports to fishing. There are even comfortable life jackets designed for pets.

Use the free safety check: The United States Coast Guard offers complimentary boat examinations to confirm the integrity of your boat and its safety equipment in regard to both state and federal regulations. There are also virtual safety checks available online to use. 

Remember, ePal has all of the boat accessories and marine supplies you'll need to make the most of your time on the water, including safety equipment. Contact us today!