Ted Peck

Outdoors talk with certified Merchant Marine Captain Ted Peck.

Peck: Dreaming of a White Christmas

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Ted Peck
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Frosty, where for art thou? Seasons are still open for both archers and pheasant hunters, but it’s tough to get inspired without white frosting on otherwise winter weather.

Bare ground and warm temperatures goaded a few conflicted souls into launching their boats last weekend. The walleye bite was better than it’s been for at least a month. Looking ahead at weather trends, the old saying “you should have been here last week” holds truly ominous overtones.

My Lund was moved to a back corner of the pole barn with a final tearful push on Wednesday. It was a teachable moment: Don’t place a moccasin in front of a trailer dolly wheel when moving a heavy boat.

We might see a brief warm spell in the next 100 days, so the boat is never fully winterized. Electronics and mouse munchies like raingear have been moved to a warmer place. Mothballs have been tossed in compartments, but necessary gear remains. Stabilizer has been added to the gas tank. Batteries are on trickle charge. The boat can be wet in an hour if weather permits and a boat ramp is open.

By week’s end we should be able to hear the sweet music of fish tails slapping the ice. There is no such thing as ‘safe’ ice. If you go out there before mid-week, be prepared for self-rescue. There are several floatation suits on the market today. One of those Frabill “I-Float” suits was an early Christmas gift from the grumpy old elf who pens this column.

The suit got a dry run field test last weekend on the River. This outing provided an unintended epiphany on the naming of the ‘I-Float’ suit. The “I” clearly stands for immobilization. When you put somebody with the flexibility of an eggplant in outerwear designed to float over 200 pounds, mobility takes a nose dive.

I felt like Ralphie Parker trying out new jammies in “A Christmas Story”. There is a real good chance the I-float suit will get re-gifted and replaced with the old Carharrt jacket with screwdrivers on a tether and a Mustang inflatable PFD.

Christmas shopping for the kids has never been easy. But it’s even tougher now for little girls who are now 30-something women. It’s in a Dad’s nature to provide for his daughters. Both of mine are stubborn and independent like their mother. But they also have a deep appreciation for the outdoors, which has provided ample justification for buying more guns and fishing tackle over the years.

There are a couple of products you might consider giving as gifts this year for persons with an outdoors nature.

The first is an emergency jump start kit marketed by Nautic Sport. It contains a lithium battery about the size of a big Hershey bar, with accessories to power up everything from a laptop to a truck. With retail price of about $150 a gift like this can bring peace on many levels.

Years ago I learned the fallacy of giving jewelry or clothes to the females in my life. One year my wife hinted strongly that she wanted a “big rock” for Christmas. By mid-January it was perfectly clear that she didn’t mean the mineral rock which provided grand deer viewing opportunities through the picture window all winter long.

In spite of conventional wisdom to the contrary, both daughters are getting bracelets for Christmas—a new product from Leatherman called the “Tread”. The Tread bracelet is comprised of 29 tools, which are mostly screwdrivers and wrenches. Essentially a Swiss Army bracelet which is a little pricey with a retail tag of $175. Seems to me like the perfect Dad-to-daughter gift.

The Tread comes in flat black or stainless steel. Believe I’ll go with the stainless model. My wife says the girls like shiny objects. Electronics are not an option. A smart phone or tablet won’t be worth a hill of beans if Kim Jung Un decides to hit us with an EMP.

Last updated: 11:46 pm Saturday, December 9, 2017

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