Fishing in South Texas and Cobrabraid Review

I’ve officially lived in Texas for over a year now  and thanks to friends and coworkers we have finally figured out where and how to fish down here.  The coast is only about an hour and a half from where we live which is great because we love us some speckled trout and red fish!  Of course, we don’t have a boat, but that’s ok because Laguna Madre (the bay between South Padre Island and the main land) is very shallow and we can wade fish.

I had never been wade fishing before but now I LOVE it!  I love the salt water, the sun, and spending time with Drew.  The water is the perfect temperature.  And of course setting the hook and reeling in trout is always fun!

Speckled Trout must be between 15-25 inches to keep (except for one a day that can be greater than 25 inches).  So far I haven’t bagged a big enough fish but I still like catching and releasing the smaller ones.

Of course Drew has brought home all the bacon. I’m still learning the gear and the feel of fishing while wading. I did get to try out some new gear while fishing…

I recieved a Cobrabraid 550 Paracord (“p-cord”) Survival Bracelet from the Outdoor Blogger Network. The point of the bracelet is that you always have a good length of rope on your wrist incase you would need it in any emergency (or non-emergency) situation. The Cobrabraid Bracelet is the Small Bracelet in DigiCamo. They also sent along a Key Chain in Purple Camo which I was not expecting!  They must know me and know that I loooove purple!  The Key Chain is currently attached to my (purple) tackle bag.

As part of the Cobrabraid Bracelet review, I was asked to wear the Bracelet in the field and actually USE it! Take it apart to use the Paracord! I love that they included this in the review guidelines cause I would never have done it otherwise.

I wore the Cobrabraid Bracelet out fishing because I knew I would find a reason to use it. D and I fish side-by-side and he had both the net and live bait bucket attached to his wading belt. The rope he was using for the bait bucket was too long and getting a new shrimp involved me pulling in the bucket while D was trying to fish. Then when we would hook one, the rope that connected the net to D’s belt was too short! There was my chance to use my Cobrabraid Bracelet!


The rope holding D’s net was falling apart and way too short.


I had to take apart the Cobrabraid Bracelet while standing in the bay and holding my rod/reel. I found where to start but had to use pliers to get it going. There’s no way I could’ve done it with just my finger nails. But that’s ok because I don’t think it would ever unravel on its own while you were wearing it. Once I got it started the Bracelet unraveled quickly! I saved the connecter pieces to re-make the Bracelet later!

I was able to quickly wrap the rope around my belt and tie it to the bait bucket.   It was the perfect length.  The bucket was accessible to both of us but not so long that it was a pain to grab a new shrimp.

Then I used the long bait bucket rope for the net and used the old short net rope for my Plano dry box (which held my camera)!  Perfect!  I went back to fishing and we had a great morning out on the bay!

My Cobrabraid Bracelet is still unraveled and attached to the bait bucket and that’s where its going to stay.  I can’t wait to go back and try to get some take-home trout 🙂

I received the Paracord Bracelet free of charge from Cobrabraid to test and review. The opinions expressed above are my independent thoughts and experiences.

What I’m Wearing

  • Seamless headband by Buff in Bihar.
  • Fishing Shirt by Columbia.
  • Most comfortable swimsuit ever by Speedo (available at Academy).
  • Convertable fishing pants by Worldwide Sportsman (available at Bass Pro Shops). Yes I am wearing my husband’s pants because I don’t have a pair that fit!
  • Sunglasses- not sure the brand but they are polarized and I got them at Bass Pro for about 15 bucks!

Women’s Duck Hunting Essentials Part 1: Clothes (and Haley Vines Review)

Where are the Ducks?

My husband saying "Where are the Ducks?"

Duck hunting is not easy.  But it sure is fun!

Me and my Bogie, pretending she's a duck dog and not a lap dog.

Me and my Bogie, pretending she's a duck dog and not a lap dog.

One of the factors restricting more women from duck hunting is lack of comfort. It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s a lot of work before you ever even get the opportunity to pull the trigger. But it doesn’t have to be this way! All it takes is a little planning and the right gear to make sure you are comfortable in the duck blind. In this series, I’m going to tell you all the gear I wear or bring when I go hunting. This is part 1 of a 3-part post on MY DUCK HUNTING ESSENTIALS.

My first duck!

My first duck!

The biggest difference between me and my husband when it comes to hunting is that I am much more susceptible to being cold than he is. He is usually too hot under all his layers! Flexibility and ease of movement are also very important to me. That shotgun is not light and I need to be able to move it quickly! Many of my duck-hunting essentials are also essentials for any outdoor venture, but duck hunting also requires protection from cold water. Here are my duck-hunting clothing essentials:

Patagonia Women's Capilene 3 Midweight Bottoms in Ozonic Blue 49.00

Patagonia Women's Capilene 3 Midweight Bottoms in Ozonic Blue 49.00

Patagonia Women's Capilene 2 Lightweight Crew in Turquoise and Seafoam 45.00

Patagonia Women's Capilene 2 Lightweight Crew in Turquoise and Seafoam 45.00

BASE LAYER
Probably the most important of the layers I wear. I’ve tried a lot of different brands and fabrics. Obviously you do NOT want to wear cotton as a base layer and there are so many other options to choose from these days! My favorite: Patagonia Caplilene. Patagonia Capilene baselayers are all assigned a number based on the weight (aka how warm it will keep you). 1 is the lightest-weight and 4 is the heaviest-weight, for very cold conditions. I wear Capeline-2 long-sleeve top and Capeline-3 bottoms. These work perfect for any outdoor adventures in the south. And these are the ONLY base layers I own. No matter the season, they work for me! The BEST part about these Base-Layers? They are flexible don’t restrict my movement, at all! Yes they are bright blue.  If it’s cold, I don’t need a camo base-layer because I probably won’t be stripping down that far. But if it is warm enough I may not wear this base layer and go right to my mid-layer.

Prois Ultra Hoodie in Realtree 79.00

Prois Ultra Hoodie in Realtree 79.00

Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Vest in Palm 39.00

Columbia Women’s Benton Springs Vest in Palm 39.00

MID LAYERS
My mid-layer is the one that I will adjust based on the current weather. My mid-layer is my most versatile layer with several options. It will usually be camo in case I get hot and need to take off my jacket but don’t want to be seen by the game I’m persuing. For my mid-layer, I will wear a non-cotton moisture-wicking shirt with a vest on top. My favorite? Prois Ultra Hoodie and Columbia Benton Springs Vest. I like the vest because it is flexible (unlike a down vest) but I will be looking to replace it with the Haley Vines camo Soft Shell Vest (with shooting pad!).  The Prois “hoodie” is actually a long-sleeve shirt that I reviewed last year.  Now if it is really REALLY cold I will also wear my Columbia camo fleece or my lightweight down Patagonia sweater. Only problem with that down jacket is that it’s bright purple! So it’s usually saved for camping/hiking/field work and not for hunting.

I generally don’t wear a pants mid-layer but I’m eyeing these Drake Under Wader Pants that hubby has and loves.

Drake Men's MST Fleece Lined Pullover in Realtree MAX-4 Camo $79.99

Drake Men's MST Fleece Lined Pullover in Realtree MAX-4 Camo $79.99

OUTER LAYER
The most expensive layer is the outer-layer. The better quality jacket you have, the more comfortable you will be. I’ve tried SEVERAL different jackets. A standard canvas Carhartt jacket was not warm enough, even though it was lined, and way too bulky. The Carhartt was more suited for muddy field work when I didn’t want to destroy an expensive camo jacket. My husband’s old warm cotton jacket from when he was a kid was nice but not ideal when you may have to deal with water. I have 2 go-to otpions for a warm hunting jacket. The first is my Drake waders jacket(which I often where even when I’m not wearing waders). The bottom half is all fleece and fits nicely under chest-waders. The top-half is several layers thick, soooo warm, and even water resistant! There are 2 handy pockets on the top part of the chest, one that zips (where I keep my camera) and one that magnetically closes (where I keep spare shells).  Both are accessible when I am wearing waders. I LOVE this jacket.but if its really REALLY cold I need a jacket that is full top-to-bottom.

Diva Outfitters Natural Fleece Pants $80.00

Diva Outfitters Natural Fleece Pants $80.00

For bottoms I have again, 2 go-to options, which both have their pro’s and cons. The first are my Diva Outfitters Fleece Pants. I love that these pants are made for women, by women.  The shop owners are super nice and passionate about hunting.  I usually hate the pink trend in women’s hunting clothes/accessories (what’s a girl gotta do to get some purple in her camo?) but the little hints of pink in these pants are sweet and perfect.  Not enough that is screams “Hey I’m a girl ya know!!” but just a little reminder that these are not my husband’s pants.  These pants are a soft and warm heavy fleece.  Now you wouldn’t normally think of fleece pants as an Outer-Layer, but these pants are thicker than normal fleece and offer amazing warmth and wind/rain protection. I don’t know the technology behind it (an inner layer? a coating?) but I know it works. The best part of these pants? ELASTIC STIRRUPS. I have NO PROBLEM putting on my waders and keeping my pant legs down where they should be. I also wear these deer hunting. My only issue is that they tend to slip down too far on my hips. This is a problem I have with most all my pants due to my body shape but these especially cause they are kind of heavy.  Wearing a belt and wide suspenders solves this problem but I still have to take off the right suspender strap when we are getting ready to hunt/shoot so I can line my shotgun up in my shoulder correctly.

Haley Vines Catalog jacket and pants $250.00

Haley Vines Catalog jacket and pants $250.00

Haley Vines Catalog jacket and bib $250.00

Haley Vines Catalog jacket and bib $250.00

Now, what about when it’s COLD cold? This is where my Haley Vines Waterproof Insulated Jacket and Bib come in. These are the warmest clothes I have EVER put on. I just got them late last year so I’ve only gotten to use them on two duck hunting trips but let me tell you, I am SOLD. This set is so warm, cozy, comfortable, fitted, and water-resistant I don’t know what I did before it. You can check out the entire Haley Vines collection on their website: HaleyVines.com and be sure to check out their catalog!

Me in my Haley Vines Jacket and Bib, right out the box!  So warm.

Me in my Haley Vines Jacket and Bib, right out the box! So warm.

Haley Vines Review for the Outdoor Blogger Network

Pro’s
WARMTH- sooo so warm. I usually have to take the jacket off on the hike in to the blind because if I didn’t I would overheat quickly.  In fact I would add a word of caution: don’t wear this suit unless you can easily take off the jacket to cool down.  It’s THAT warm.  I did wear the bib under my waders (which means I can’t take the bib off in the field) on the one day that it was very very cold and didn’t overheat as long as I could vent my head/neck/chest.

PROTECTION- I’ve worn my jacket while hunting in a flooded rice field AND while hunting in a salt-water bay. Both times I ended up face-first in the water. The first time I wasn’t wearing this jacket and I was FREEZING. Luckily we were on our way back to the trailer because if we had not been, the hunt would’ve been over. The second time I fell in the water I was wearing this jacket. I got the outside SOAKED but I barely felt it! We continued hunting and I was still warm and dry inside my jacket. Even when the sleeve cuffs got a little wet inside, it wasn’t unbearable because the jacket stayed warm.

FEEL- I cannot describe in words how amazingly soft the lining (and outside!) of this bib and jacket are. Even hubby was a little jealous when he touched it. It’s quite luxorious and feels like you are wrapped in your favorite fuzzy throw blanket instead of wearing practical hunting clothing.

FIT- Haley Vines really did their research and got the shape of these pieces just right. SO well suited for a women’s body. Tight and loose in all the right places. The big creates a very flattering shape. The pockets are also in the right places and soooo warm, especially when my hands are wet.

COMFORT- So soft and so comfortable, I don’t like to take them off! The bib’s suspenders are elastic and don’t dig into my shoulders.

STYLE- Yes, I look damn good in my bib and jacket. Even wore the bib by itself over a flannel shirt to go shopping (granted we were shopping at Mack’s Praire Wings)- watch out boys!

Me wearing my Haley Vines bib.

Me wearing my Haley Vines bib.

Con’s
COST- At $250 a piece, this set is NOT cheap. But it would be worth it to save up all year and buy at the beginning of hunting season next year. If you are going to spend top-dollar on any part of your hunting wardrobe, make it your jacket.

SIZE- I bought the largest sizes available and they are just a tiny bit too small. I’m generally a size 16-18 and all my weight is in my mid-section/torso. I struggle a little zipping the bib and the jacket on top of the bib. This tightness restricts movement a little, but I can deal with it fine. I would love to see Haley Vines sell the jacket and bib in one more size larger.

Warm and Comfortable.

Warm and Comfortable.

Well there you have it! My Duck Hunting Clothing Essentials! Being that Duck Season is pretty much over, the next posts in this series will wait til the beginning of next duck season.  But right now it’s time to look forward to some warm weather!  Thanks for reading!

Flashbang Holster Review

**Warning: This post may contain pictures not suitable for children or work environments (bra pictures).  Use your own discretion.**  

Photos are for educational use on my blog only and may not be copied without my permission (but feel free to share the link to my blog post).  All opinions are my own and I was not contacted by or compensated by the makers of this product.

I got my new revolver a few months ago and I’ve been practicing at the range but I hadn’t had a reason to have a holster until my Concealed Handgun License came in. And last week, it finally did! After 10 hours of classwork, 2 tests, fingerprints, background checks, and a ton of paperwork, I can finally legally carry my revolver! So I needed a holster. Hubby bought me one similar to his, an in-the-waistband (IWB) holster. I tried it out but it ALWAYS showed. My mid-section has a lot more curves than his and the gun just stands out in a fitted shirt. I assumed most women carried small and slim semi-automatic handguns and I had made the wrong choice when I picked out a revolver. But then I started to do a little research and when I read about the Flashbang, I was smitten!  The Flashbang is a holster made to fit onto/under your bra!  I ordered it from Lopoer Law Enforcement and it took forever to get here. I guess they are a small operation but I was a little disappointed with how long it took. Nevertheless, it made it to my house!

Here is the Flashbang with 2 extra straps to adjust for different bras.  You can change out the straps by using a screwdriver and it’s very simple.  Also pictured is my S&W .38 special (model 642) and I luvs it.  Note: the snaps are INCREDIBLY hard to snap and un-snap when you first get your holster.  It will take about 5 times snapping and unsapping before it is loosened up enough to be able to do so quickly when you are putting the holster on.   It will loosen, you just have to really bow up on it and work it out at first.  Like really, I had to use our table and a lever (flathead screwdriver) the first few times!  Once it’s loosened it will easily snap on and off but not so easily that you risk the holster coming off once it’s on.  There is also no risk of the holster coming off when you draw.  It’s really an amazingly designed holster.

Here is the view of the other side of the holster, the side that will rest against your body.  It’s a strong and smooth yet thin holster.  My .38 (which is a J-frame) revolver fits perfectly and snugly.

Here is the holster in place.  I HIGHLY recommend using the smallest strap possible to prevent the holster from moving around.  I wore it for a week with the longer strap and it moved around when I would bend forward.  Now that I switched to the medium strap it’s perfectly snug and doesn’t move.   Another important tip is to tuck the barrel side UNDER your bra.  Now every girl is going to be different but if you are large-chested like I am, its most comfortable with your holster resting under your breast.  It takes a day or so of getting used to but once you have the correct strap length, it won’t move and you start to forget it’s there.  By the way, it’s really fun to practice drawing my revolver from this holster because if you do it quickly it makes this awesome *clack* sound!  I can’t decide if that would be a pro or con if you were in a situation where you had to defend yourself, but I think it would be a pro!  It could certainly throw someone off!

I’m wearing the holster and gun here in a shiny shirt and there is no evidence of anything under my shirt.  This is because you are hiding the holster under the center of the bra, which is usually not seen through even tight shirts.

Again, no sign of the holster.  I even asked my husband (who knew I’d gotten my holster in the mail) if he noticed or felt (when we hugged) anything different and he was clueless, haha!

From the side, no sign of the holster.  By the way the only editing I did was to block out a company logo 😛

Here is how  I normally wear the holster, with the handle out and down.  I can QUICKLY and easily draw my pistol like this.  Now this is an example of the tightest shirt I own, a cami/undershirt.  In this shirt the butt of the handle does stick out a little bit.

You can see the butt of the handle sticking out on the left side of my body here.  It just looks like a fold in my clothing but it is noticeable.

Again, the butt of the gun is barely sticking out on the left side of my body in this picture.

You can barely see the gun in this picture as well.  But there is an easy solution if this bothers you when wearing tight shirts…

I would just slide the handle of the gun under the other side of my bra.  I haven’t gone all day like this yet (I usually don’t wear super tight clothing without something else over it) but it felt fine.

And you can see: no evidence of the gun.
I should also mention how the draw works. The holster is like a clamshell in that you pull the gun DOWN to draw. It’s quite simple and smooth.

Overall, I’m REALLY happy with my holster!  I’ve been wearing it regularly with few problems.  I will have to shove it back under my bra once or twice a day because it does like to work its way out when I’m moving big bags of soil or loading stuff into a truck.  It gets a little sweaty (just like the rest of me) when I’m working outside but there’s no getting around that.  I’m thinking about covering the part of the holster that rests against my body with some moleskin to see if it decreases the sweaty feeling.  But it’s certainly tolerable and definitely worth it  knowing I have a way to defend myself at all times.  I really like my new holster and I especially like being able to carry all the time!  The only situation I could see not carrying with the Flashbang would be when I’m wearing a long dress in which case I would want a thigh holster.  So I am a very satisfied customer.  I hope this helps if anyone out there is looking at buying this holster and I will try to answer any questions you might have!  Thanks!

**UPDATE** March 2012 ** I’m still wearing my Flashbang on a regular basis and I still LOVE it!  I made a post about going to the range and using it here: https://beatuproadsign.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/day-at-the-range/

Prois Ultra Hoodie (gear review)

This post is a gear review for the Outdoor Blogger Network!

I won the opportunity to review the Ultra Hoodie made by Prois Hunting Apparel for Women.

When I got the hoodie in the mail I was a little surprised. When I hear hoodie, I think sweatshirt, but this was a very lightweight long-sleeve shirt with a hood. I immediately put it on and fell in love. I think I wore this shirt for two weeks straight. It was the PERFECT shirt for the field! My favorite part?

The thumb-holes! When we’re out in the field at night trapping deer I am wearing many layers and like my gloves to cover the end of my shirt. I usually have to adjust my shirt several times a night to keep it tucked into my gloves, but with the thumb-holes I don’t have to!

The Ultra Hoodie was very well fitted to my body, unlike my other camo shirts that were made for men and hang off my mid-section. And it had front pockets! Which I also think all long-sleeve shirts should have!

The Hoodie aslo came with the Prois product catalog which I read cover to cover. It was so inspiring, I’ve never been moved by a product catalog before! The catalog features women from all over the country who are outdoor and hunting inspirations. And the models wearing the products were beautiful but not trashy. It makes me feel like the people behind Prois really know their customers. You can see the whole catalog here.

The Ultra Hoodie is surprisingly versitle. It’s very warm under my fleece jacket and stays against my skin. But when we drop on a deer my adrenaline starts rushing through my body, I strip off all my outer layers down to my base layer. And even when sweating, I was not hot in the hoodie by itself. It breathes really well. To me, that means its the perfect bottom-layer for cool weather.

The temps have risen down here in Arkansas and its too warm to continue to wear my new hoodie. But you can count on me living in it when it gets cool again next winter!

I received the Ultra Hoodie free of charge from Prois to test and review. The opinions expressed above are my independent thoughts and experiences.