This Video Camera Looks A Bit Fishy

Okay, I get it. Technology continues to invade almost every space of our lives…including those endeavors once meant to be relaxing and contemplative. Yet, this fishing lure I seen advertised the other day really takes the cake…errr, I mean video.

Yup, imagine trolling or casting with a $240 fishing lure hoping to catch the big lunker, but wait…when you do you’ll have a video for social media worthy to go viral. That’s right, the latest new fishing gadget is a video camera offering 720p video quality built directly into the fishing lure. Theoretically you will be able to see the fish bearing down on the lure until the moment of truth when the world goes dark with a fish on hook. What could possibly be more exciting than having that happen?

But wait. What if you’re like me being more apt to snag the lure on a submerged log or rock and subsequently lose it. Have you ever seen a grown man cry while fishing? If I lost a fishing lure that expensive I would be inclined to jump into the lake and dive for it…and to make matters worse I DON’T EVEN SWIM!

Truthfully, I would love to see some video samples from this new fishing lure. In a world where most cameras promote image stabilization how could a fishing lure that wobbles and zigs/zags through the water to entice a fish to strike produce any sort of video quality that would not incite at least some level of nausea from the viewer? Alas, maybe I’m looking at this all wrong.

Indeed, maybe the real value in using this camera is for the fisherman to do a self-critique of his/her fishing style. Maybe the video will show how the angler is too quick to set the hook. Maybe the video will show some fault in the quickness of the retrieve. Who knows. What I do wonder is how many of these lure cameras will show up in the tackle box of legitimate anglers. After all, it’s no secret how more fishing lures actually catch shoppers in the store rather than ever catch fish while used on the Lake.

In the end, who am I to say if a person wants to dump several hundy into a single fishing lure they shouldn’t be able to do that. We all spend our time in the outdoors having fun in what ever manner is necessary to achieve satisfaction. So, if you feel inclined to purchase the Eco-Net Eco-Popper Video Fishing Lure you can find it HERE. As for me, nope…such a product will likely never find its way into my boat. Somehow, I happen to think the biggest fish this lure will ever catch is the sucker who opens his/her billfold/purse to purchase it.

The SHOT Show; Remembering My First Time

I have this friend who likes to poke fun at people who do stupid things.   Take, for instance, the time one of our buddies backed his boat trailer into the water and then got talking with some people who momentarily distracted him.   Yup, you probably guessed it…he forgot to put the drain plug back into the boat before it hit water.

Well, to make a long story short…by the time he figured out his predicament the boat had taken on lots of water to the point gear was floating on the bottom.   It’s about this time my other buddy is famous for saying, “I remember my first beer, too.”   The connotation being that someone just learning how to drink alcohol is generally not too aware of the stupidity that can result.

In many ways the concept of “remembering my first beer” sort of relates to my first experience at SHOT Show, too.   I was a rookie.   I did lots of stupid things.   I was intoxicated, so to speak, of the sheer scope of the event.   In other words, the first time I walked into the Las Vegas Convention Center back in 1988 to attend the SHOT Show a sensation of nervous excitement raced throughout my body.

Now, keep in mind back in 1988 the number of show attendees was just shy of 20,000 people.   Last year, in comparison, there was about 64,000 people at the Sands Convention Center which I’m guessing has a footprint smaller than what the larger L.V. Convention Center once offered.

I attended this 1988 show because my boss (at the time) told me to go with the intent of making some new contacts to sell them calendars.   Truth be told, I failed miserably.   I came home with a pocket full of business cards and none of them were leads for future business.   In fact, I quickly discovered how people don’t go to SHOT with the hopes of peddling products or services TO THE exhibitors (albeit, to some extent it does happen)…nope, folks go to SHOT to BUY FROM the exhibitors who spend big bucks on fancy tradeshow displays.

And you see, at that first show I discovered how companies had a sneaky little trick to distract you.   While you might be wanting to tout the benefits of the products and services you can offer, they have new products on display that makes your head spin with excitement and intrigue.   I quickly learned the proper protocol for SHOT or any tradeshow, for that matter.   In fact, today even more so than three decades ago, SHOT management strongly discourages any selling by roving “carpetbagging” as this practice undermines the tradeshow concept.

So, if you’re walking the show aisles and not selling, you must be buying products, correct?   Well, yes and no.   At this first tradeshow I discovered how the exhibitors wanted to “write orders” and have the product shipped to your store.   That didn’t mean they would necessarily have products for you to “grab and go” with to fill a shopping cart.   Nope, found that out when trying to leave the show.   Bags were often inspected and a “bill of sale” best be available as proof of purchase.   And samples, oh boy…a person better have a good story.

Today, however, mostly with the size of the tradeshow show tripling from those earlier years…show floor selling doesn’t appear to be as big of a deal.   While all bags are still subject to inspection upon departure, it seems to now rarely occur.

The new smartphone app is a welcome tool to both navigate and learn about what is happening at SHOT.

Okay, so what’s it like to walk your very first SHOT Show?   I guess if I had to sum it up in one word I would say “disorienting.”   Honestly, the SHOT Show is so big and vast that without a good plan of attack you just will not see it all.   A person needs paper maps, smartphone apps, and the confidence to ask someone who can help show you the way.

Aside from that the show will wear you down.   Yes, it will even make your feet bleed.   Just ask my buddy, Jeff, who chose not to take my advice and wear comfortable shoes while at the show.   His white dress socks having spent the day inside a pair of leather dress shoes made for blisters and bleeding.   Oh yeah, once the “dogs start barking” the discomfort will not stop biting likely for the remainder of the show.   Be warned and stay aware.

Another thing most people forget about is staying hydrated.   After all, the SHOT Show is in the desert and your body can wear down quickly when fluid intake is lacking.   Oh, and perhaps this is a good point in time to talk about the proper fluid, too.   Yes, the show is in Vegas and yes, the alcohol has a tendency to flow(especially in the evenings).   Alcohol does not do well to hydrate a body, in fact, in most cases it is rather counter productive.

So, by now you might be wondering why the hell would anyone want to go to SHOT.   First off, not just anybody can get in…you must be a bona fide member of the outdoors industry with credentials that seem to get more strict each year.   Oh yeah, and it costs lost of money in travel and lodging; Vegas is not the cheap destination your parents once knew.   On top of that, the tradeshow can be overwhelming in so many of the ways I just explained.

Honestly, I go for the friendships.   Over all my years I have met many outstanding people in this industry with whom I have developed very cherished friendships.   To me that is what SHOT is truly all about.   Renewing acquaintances and discovering new fascinating people to connect with in the future.

This first-time SHOT attendee was so overwhelmed by the experience I could hardly get him out of the Tenzing booth.

Of course, this is only an estimate, but I figure conservatively I have walked at least 750,000 steps while attending SHOT over the many years.   This works out to be over 300 miles of tired, sore feet walking on carpeted cement in various cities such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, Dallas and New Orleans.   No wonder I’m tired.

Yet, in 1994 a book author named John Roskelley handed me a signed copy of his new mountain-climbing book, Stories Off The Wall.   In the book he signed and wrote, “To Jim, all adventures begin with the first step…”   Advice I have not only taken to heart in my life, but subsequently offered to many others who were contemplating a new life journey.

Indeed, I would say how the first time a person takes steps inside of the SHOT Show it becomes a transformational experience; an experience that will change how you appreciate the shooting and outdoors industry from that day forward.

To all those folks who will be taking their very first steps at SHOT this year, I’m excited for what you are about to witness.   …And oh yes, “I remember my first time.”

Caught Up In The Hype Some Call Ammunition Hoarding

About two weeks ago I did something that might draw the ire of certain disgruntled folks.

That’s right…I placed myself in a position to hoard ammunition, by some folks’ account.   And not just any ammunition, mind you…nope, this ammo has been in the news lately as possibly eventually being banned by the ATF.  Editor’s note: Breaking news just moments ago shows that ATF has currently withdrawn it’s proposed plan to ban certain types of modern sporting rifle ammunition (AR’s)

So, I got this sales flyer from Cabela’s and it looked intriguing.   I needed to get away from the office and a quick trip to Cabela’s seemed like a logical good choice.   So, I decided to go for it.   Be there when the store opens at 9:00am.   See if the deals promised in the sales flyer would be available.   After all, it had been several years since I had last purchased any rifle ammunition.   Maybe I would get lucky.

Well, I showed up at the parking lot about 20 minutes before the doors opened.   First car in the customer parking lot.   Then another came…and another.   By the time store opening was closing in there were several cars carrying hopeful shoppers.   Perhaps 5 minutes before door opening we all gathered at the door.   Oh, there were maybe 20 of us.   Few people seemed to know each other.   It was obvious each person was there for a purpose and had a goal in mind.   Was it the same goal?   Who knows.ammobox

Suddenly the doors to Cabela’s swung open.   There was no stampede.   There was a purposeful entrance by everyone.   Much to my surprise, however, people seemed to scatter in various directions.   I paused and grabbed a cart.   Not in any particular hurry.   Besides, my shopping on this day wasn’t fueled by frenzy.

So, I walked back to the gun department and seen most of the people gathering in that general area.   There seemed to be some disarray as folks did not seem to focus on one particular sales end cap or display.   I took a sharp right turn past the dog department because I had a hunch.   I had a hunch that sometimes the folks at Cabela’s use this area to spread out their customer activity.

I guessed right.

I approached a bin that much to my surprise contained THE PRIZE!   Indeed, the ammunition on sale that I was after was in this bin.   Nobody else was within 30 yards of it when I walked up.   I hesitated briefly just to make certain my eyes were not deceiving me.   YES!   YES, this was the ammo that attracted me to come to the store on this day.   I loaded one box into my cart, I loaded another box into my cart.   I then paused to see if there was some limit on how much could be purchased.   Didn’t appear so.   About that same time the first person showed up and reached for their intended ammo purchase.   I reached back in again.

The feeding frenzy was on.   I was suddenly at the epicenter.   IN LESS THAN A MINUTE from the time I placed the first ammo box within my shopping cart the supply was all gone.   There I stood with a cart full of ammo and suddenly throngs of angry customers who where also there for the same purpose, but could not imagine the supply would be gone literally minutes after the doors opened.

I quickly left the area before more chaos ensued.   On one hand I was ashamed I got so lucky, but on the other hand I didn’t do anything that others in my situation wouldn’t also have done.   I got lucky.   I guessed correctly.   I could just as easily have walked out of that store empty handed had I made a wrong turn or dilly dallied.

Now, if you’re planning to blast me in the comments section for my actions go right ahead.   It would be different if I was habitually a person always seeking to buy ammo like this.   That’s not me!   Remember, I told you I have not purchased rifle ammunition for several years.   Yet, I wanted to experience just what the current situation really is.

I heard the store employees afterwards saying how what happened on this particular morning was worse than Black Friday after Thanksgiving.   Certainly could be.   Granted, they did not have an abundance of ammo on hand…but it disappeared incredibly fast.   In fact, it was almost unbelievable how it quickly went from a full supply to nothing.

The scenario I just related has been going on now for some time.   In some areas and with some types of ammunition the demand has eased.   In other areas of the country the scene just keeps repeating itself over and over.

I wish I could take out my crystal ball and predict when all this ammunition craziness will end.   Yeah, I suppose for many years we were spoiled when ammunition was readily available and fairly cheap, all considering.   Those days seem to be behind us, at least for the short term.   Yet, I am optimistic how someday we will once again be able to hit the shooting range without concern about how we will replenish the supply of ammo being used up from a fun day just out shooting.

I refuse to feel guilty about purchasing ammunition no matter what the caliber or quantity.   Especially when one gets lucky and scores on something in very high demand like I did on this day.