MidAmerica Boating
The Original Boating Newspaper
The Newspaper
Articles Summaries
Feature Articles
Boats for Sale
Sell Your Boat
Dealers and Marinas
Media Kit
Resource Links
Mid-America Boating: the premier resource for North Coast boaters.
Feature Articles Editorial coverage on what's new in boating.

January 2004

Personal Locator Beacon and Outdoor Tool
By Lary George

You probably have been exposed to the idea and value of having an onboard search and rescue device for your boat in the form of an EPIRB (Electronic Positioning Radio Beacon), about $1695.00 for a good one. The latest and best new variant of the EPIRB is the GPIRB (GPS Positioning Radio Beacon), about $2495.00 for a good one.

Another variant of the GPIRP is the portable PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) can give tremendous flexibility to where you go and where you are, whether for recreation, adventure or work in remote areas. Portability is a key for the PLB. The PLB acts similarly to an EPIRB or GPIRB, and operates on 121.5 and 406 MHz in conjunction with a GPS. Such a product is the Northern Airborne Technologies GyPSI/eTREX, about $2495.00. The package is designed to be small, lightweight and multiuse.

The GyPSI/eTREX consists of a 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon for satellite detection with 121.5MHz homing beacon. A companion Garmin eTREX GPS Receiver provides Lat/Lon data in addition to 406 MHz distress transmissions. The GyPSI can work without the GPS data, and the eTREX GPS can be used for navigation and position finding independently. The package comes with a carry pouch for the GyPSI/eTREX receivers and a six foot NMEA interface cable for the GPS. The units are waterproof to 3.3 meters and are individually battery powered for independent portability. Once activated, the GyPSI will broadcast for more than a day, even in very cold conditions! The signal will be received in less than an hour from virtually anywhere the unit has been activated.

The system relies on coverage from COSPAS-
SARSAT and GEOSAR satellites far above us. Precise transmissions allow the satellites to compute the position of PLB’s ground based transmissions. These transmissions notify an international network of rescue centers around the world to deploy search and rescue forces. The addition of the GPS provides much more precise location information so that rescuers with less searching - especially when in challenging conditions. This is a system that will work in adverse topographical and weather conditions. This is not a toy!

Knowing that you can be located anywhere on the planet for emergency purposes can be very comforting. Being away form civilization on land, sea, or in the air are reasons that you could use a powerful, flexible tool that will allow you to be located. The reasons can be anywhere from medical emergencies, disaster situations in remote areas, or just being able to located in areas where cell phones will not work or are out of range to reach help. Such conditions include approaching fire, broken bones, sudden illness, and landslide, threatening disaster conditions or medical emergencies.

If you need the portability factor in location for any reason that may involve personal safety, or safety of life in any location, the PLB is a good choice. The PLB is a technology that has already saved many lives worldwide. You can see the GyPSI product at: http://www.nat-inc.com under the "products" section, click on "beacons" then toggle down to the GyPSI/eTREX for specifications.
The primary use of a PLB should be considered a tool for the purposes of use only in dire situations. But, the PLB offers a degree of flexibility in that the system can be used for navigation by utilizing only the GPS.

Beacon activation by an individual for false or misleading purposes can result in a stiff fine or even imprisonment. I cannot emphasize enough - - This is not a toy!

Lary George, Continental Sales, PO Box 15331, Ft Wayne IN 46885, is a Manufacturers Representative in the Great Lakes Territory. ljgeorge@juno.com

Icing Winter Walleyes
By Tony Pollack

Icing winter walleyes on Lake Erie’s Western Basin in January and February provides an excellent opportunity to not only land a trophy or two, but also to sooth winter doldrums. A case in point:

It was mid January. My boat had been in storage since the end of October. I was reciting lines from past and current issues of my favorite fishing and boating magazines, and had spent hours cleaning and servicing rods, reels and boating paraphernalia. I was anxious to do some serious fishing. But, I had a problem: the ice on local ponds and reservoirs was a bit iffy.

Salvation, however, can be strange and mysterious. So when long-time fishing partner Dick Martin – grinning from ear to ear -- rapped on my door very, very early one morning I hustled him invited him in for breakfast.

By the time we polished off plates of sausage patties, eggs, home fries and a pot of coffee, he’d made my day by telling me the ice was good and they were catching nice walleyes off South Bass Island.

Our favorite tunes played on the truck’s radio as I loaded rods, reels, ice auger, and boxes of jigging spoons into the back. An hour later, island ice guide Pat Chrysler was hauling us out to a heated shanty. The ice was thick and clear. "With any luck at all, we should have good fishing from now until ice out in late February or, perhaps, early March", I thought to myself.

The thing to remember here is that if you are going out on your own, don’t do like so many ice anglers who just pick a spot and hope for the best. A better approach involves splashing a little water from the minnow bucket and setting up a portable fish finder over clean ice. If nothing shows up, move on. It shouldn’t take more than then or fifteen minutes to locate a school of fish.

Icing limits of eating- or trophy-sized walleyes involves a little more than locating fish and dropping a lure down a dark hole. Odds are that if you stick to one bait or one tactic you'll be hard pressed to limit out in a short period of time, especially when the action is slow. Experiment with different jigs and action, and always use lively minnows.

Settling into the shanty, I lowered a half-ounce Swedish Pimple with a wiggling minnow dangling from each hook. Martin opted for a jigging Rapala loaded with lively shiners. Other popular jig baits include Crippled Herrings, Jig-A-Whoppers, Cicadas, and Cleos in various colors.

As luck would have it, Martin connected hooked the first fish—a chunky 5-pounder. Quickly changing from a Little Cleo to a Rapala tipped with active minnows, I confirmed that that was the best bait at the time by taking a twin Martin’s first fish.

Winter walleyes are susceptible to vertical presentations, and a day on the ice often times means a lesson or two in just how effective a vertically fished lure can be when it comes to catching this popular game fish.

Sometimes the 'eyes respond to a vigorous lift-and-drop technique, taking the bait as it falls. Other times, they prefer a tight jiggle. An effective combination involves dropping the lure to the bottom, raising it a few inches, jiggling it four or five times, then quickly lifting it 18 to 24 inches and dropping it back on a tight line. When the bite is on--like the morning of our first trip, this tactic can be deadly, especially when two rods are fished simultaneously.

There are, however, times when walleyes are sluggish, and prefer baits having little or no movement. When this happens, proven tactics include long pauses between jigging motions, and/or fishing a "dead" rod. In either case, a well-designed jigging spoon will waver back and forth or roll around in place. This is--more often than not--the best action to trigger a strike.

When the weather cooperates and Lake Erie becomes a solid mass of crystal, there is little doubt that droves of Ohio and visiting anglers can and will enjoy the excitement that comes from jigging for winter walleyes. Hot spots near Catawba and Mouse islands can be reached from the mainland.

A trip to the islands is a worthwhile experience, once the ice locks in. To schedule a flight to South Bass Island--a real hot spot, call Dairy Air Airlines (419-285-5057) or Griffings Airport
(800-368-37430). Both airlines fly to Put-In-Bay daily from Erie-Ottawa Regional airport located at 3255 E. State Rd., Port Clinton, OH. Located on Cleveland Road, just east of Sandusky, Griffing Airport (419-626-5161) also provides daily flights to and from South Bass, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. The cost from the Cleveland Rd. location is $66.00 per person, roundtrip.

For a listing of ice guides and accommodations available on South Bass during the winter months, contact the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce, at (419) 285-2832. You’ll also find useful information on ice fishing and accommodations by logging on to www.Put-In-Bay.com. For up-to-the-minute information on hard water angling around South Bass, call veteran ice guide Captain Pat Chrysler at 419-285-4631. His heated shanties make for a pleasant day on the ice.

Icing winter walleyes on a cold winter day can provide some hot fishing action. It’s an excellent time to haul in a trophy or some nice eating size fish.

Good fishing.

Home | The Newspaper | Article Summaries | Feature Articles | Boats For Sale | Sell Your Boat | Dealers & Marinas
Subscribe | Media Kit | Resource Links | Contests | Email

Copyright © Recreation Press
Website development by Victory Vision