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    The REEL Outdoor Lifestyle

    Summer Safety Tips for Water Lovers

    Summer Safety Tips for Water Lovers

    Tips to Make It Safe on the Water this Summer 


    There’s nothing more fun in the Summer than getting out and enjoying being around bodies of water! Most of us plan our vacations around the water, and rightfully so. I mean who doesn’t want an umbrella drink and a beach in our view?  People are on boats, paddleboards, waverunners, jet-skis, out swimming, snorkeling, and so much more.  But as much fun as it is, it can also be very dangerous and it’s important to make sure there’s also concerns around keeping things safe. Drowning deaths are a threat year round but certainly increase significantly with increased access to water.  And while drowning is certainly a greater risk for young children, it is still the leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 24.  



    Swimming lessons for young children are incredibly important.  When children learn to swim at a young age they will have less fear, and probably more respect for water as they grow.  Most local YMCA’s offer swimming lessons at a reasonable cost and they are available year-round.  However, lessons are not just for kids.  If you are not a strong swimmer or have some fear of the water, consider enrolling in an adult swimming class to improve your swimming skills.  It is possible that by becoming a stronger swimmer you may even be able to help another person who is in trouble in the water one day.  When wading into the water, always remember to tread carefully watching out for currents and sudden drops.  



    Whenever any person, child or adult is around the water, on a boat or some other water related craft, they should be wearing a life-jacket or personal floatation device (PFD).  Most deaths related to boating are caused by drowning and could be avoided by wearing a PFD.  It is important that you choose PFDs that fit properly and are not being adjusted to fit.  They must be snug around the chest and shoulders.  Women should be sure to wear PFDs that are specifically made to accommodate a bust and not choose a unisex model.  Always check your vest for rips, tears and holes.



    When boating, skiing or paddleboarding on a lake or off a beach it is important to follow the local rules.  Adhere to speed limits, be sure to give other boats or jet skis plenty of room and be aware of the wake that you are creating.  Also, just like with driving, your safety doesn’t just depend on your actions, the behavior of another boat operator can impact your safety.  Be sure to be observant and ready to change course at the drop of a hat if someone is on course to collide with you. Same goes for tides, undertows, etc. at beaches, these are very important factors to know before you run into that ocean water!



    We know, booze and the beach is quite a great combo. But, water and alcohol simply don’t mix, more so the overuse of alcohol that is. When you are out on the water you need to have your wits about you to remain safe.  Whether you are operating a boat or jet ski, are being pulled behind one, or are simply surfing or paddling, being under heavy influence of alcohol or drugs can be a mistake you might not make it back from. Same rules apply on water that apply on roads.



    There are operating procedures that are important to know for every watercraft. before you set out on the water make sure you know exactly what you are doing.  If you don’t feel 100% confident, look for a local class to take on basic boating safety. You can find a class near you here. Again, it’s not just your own safety on the water that matters, your passengers, the passengers on other boats, and the people in the water deserve your caution as well.  



    Being on the water in the Summer doesn’t mean it’s always sunny.  Be sure to check the weather forecast before planning any trip out to the beach or on the water.  Conditions can change quickly and you need to know what to expect.  When it is sunny out you need to make sure you wear adequate protection, such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.  In addition, make sure you stay hydrated during hot sunny days.  Too much sun on a long day can take a toll on our bodies.



    When fishing on a boat, the rules above apply.  But here are a couple of other things to think about when fishing.  Always bring along a first-aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory medication, and a bee-sting kit if you are allergic.  Remember that hooks are very sharp and you want to avoid getting them stuck ANYWHERE let alone your hand.  When you catch a fish, always grab it towards the end as it will wriggle and you may get jabbed with the hook.  Before you make a cast, always make sure nobody is behind you.


    The bottom line for every area of safety around the water is basic common sense.  That and caution.  Just as with any sport or activity, it’s always as safe as the person engaging in it.  Remember, accidents do happen and at all times, remain calm and call 911.

    Top 9 Places To Catch BIG Fish

    Top 9 Places To Catch BIG Fish

    Top 9 Places Where You Can Catch the REALLY BIG Fish

     By: Denis Isbister of WIld Fish WIld Places


    It’s no secret that I love to catch the big fish.  And when it comes to finding big fish the WFWP crew is always traveling the globe in search of the biggest and the best.  But there are so many great places and species of fish, one scarcely knows where to start.  That’s why I decided to give you some ideas of where I recommend you go to find them.


    Here are some of my favorite big fish to catch and a few of the places I recommend going to be successful at catching them.

    Rainbow Trout


    Southern Patagonia and world-famous Lago Strobel aka Jurassic Lake is home to the most prolific and largest rainbow trout in the world.  We have taken a few trips there and have not been disappointed.  


    Peacock Bass


    Everyone has heard about chasing Peacock Bass in the Amazon jungle from Brazil but if you want the real big ones it's going to take a little more work. Camping in tents on a sandbar in the Colombian jungle where the headwaters of the Amazon start is where you find the REEL big ones. Bathing in piranha filled water at night, where you have to shuffle your feet to make sure the freshwater stingrays won't stab you, that is going to be your home for the week.  


    Vampire Fish or Payara


    There is only two ways into La Macarena, Colombia, by plane or by boat and it is still FARC controlled and dangerous to boat in. The river system that flows through this tiny Colombian town is the basecamp for some of the largest Vampire fish in South America.  Check out this guy’s teeth.  They were about 4” long and he weighed about 40lbs.


    King Salmon


    If you want to catch some awesome King Salmon, head to the NakNek river in King Salmon Alaska.  The Naknek is home to one of the largest runs of King Salmon with thousands of fish making their way up the river to spawn. If you want to catch King Salmon, the season there runs from the beginning of June till the end of July.


    Lake Trout


    Lake Athabasca in Northern Saskatchewan is home to some of the biggest lakes on the planet with fly in access only during the summer months, Lakers Unlimited is your fly in lodge that handles this trip. 30, 40, 50 and even 60-pound Lake Trout have come from this rich fishery




    While you're at Lake Athabasca you might as well catch the biggest Northern Pike of your life too! But don’t expect this monster to come easy. Even the smaller Pikes will give you a fight and you need to make sure you are using the right equipment to catch this fish.  Northern Pike spawn in early spring and right when the ice is thawed is the best time to catch them in shallow waters.


    Cutthroat Trout


    A world record Cutthroat Trout came from Pyramid Lake, Nevada and the fish have been getting bigger and bigger over the last 10 years. Nowadays a 10 pounder won’t even get a second glance with many fish over 20 pounds and a few rumors that fish as big as 30 lbs were caught last year



    If you are ready to take on going after this legendary silver king, there are a few spots that you may want to consider planning your next trip.  Boca Grande Pass, Key West, Miami, Puerto Rico and Southern Louisiana are all spots to chase after one of the most bad-ass fish in the world.  With weights of between 40 – 100 lbs totally common and some weighing over 200 lbs, catching this big guy is an experience you will love.




    If you like fishing for Salmon then you will love fishing for the strong, aggressive Sheefish from Alaska (aka: tarpon of the north_.  One of the best places to catch Sheefish is the Kobuk River in the Northern reaches of Alaska.  The river stretches 174 miles and houses some of the hottest fishing grounds in the state.  To make the most of any fishing trip to Alaska, be sure to use a fishing guide.


    Where To Travel This Summer

    Where To Travel This Summer

    Top 7 Summer Destination Spots for Outdoor Adventurers

    Choosing a summer travel destination that has a body of water included can ensure that you’ll be utilizing the full summer ensemble.

    That particular ensemble should include a bathing suit, hat, suntan lotion and some sunglasses (some of us should always add a cooler and drinks on the go, just saying). These are all key items that are all very important for the right kind of summer throw down.

    The challenge is choosing exactly where to go and what kind of water fun you want to have. The U.S. has plenty of adventurous, gorgeous places to go, so let’s explore some REEL Lifestyle options.

    Hilton Head Island, South Carolina


    This resort town has sandy beaches, is a travel destination spot for golf lovers, and is a fantastic spot to hike through many meandering trails. The beautiful beaches are clean and even free of cars. You don’t have to drive anywhere as you can bike and walk as slow or as fast as you’d like all over Hilton Head. There’s a ton of water sport activities that you can do, like kayaking and canoeing, SUP (stand up paddleboarding), and even a Black Sparrow Pirate Ship adventure to set sail on. If you go in September, you can time it with Talk Like a Pirate Day which is on September 19, don’t forget! There are gorgeous hotels and tons of amazing spots to eat, drink and be merry. For more details check out Hilton Head’s site for more info.

    Pearl Lake State Park in Colorado


    Located at the northern tip of Colorado, this is a great lake for outdoor adventurers. You can camp amid trees right on the water’s edge, go on calm, relaxing canoe rides, and the lake has really great cutthroat trout fishing. There are tons of trails to hike and explore, and there’s typically a light fog that will hang over the lake in the morning giving it a mysterious, meditative feel. Perfect to reclaim and reconnect with your higher self. Learn more about it on Colorado’s website.

    San Juan Islands, Washington


    The Pacific Northwest’s beauty does not disappoint, ever. These islands are between the U.S. mainland and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The temperatures keep at about a nice even 70 degrees for a majority of the year so you don’t have to rush there during summer to take part in the warmth. San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and Shaw Island have the most things to do, and these islands also have the most hotel and food options to explore. Getting there is half the fun as you can take a ferry, or you can even take a small plane. Biking, hiking, and all kinds of outdoor adventures await. Visit the San Juan Islands’ site for more info.

    Lake Santeetlah, NC


    This lake in North Carolina sits about 100 miles from Asheville (which is one of the coolest spots next to Charlotte to check out in North Carolina), and it’s a popular destination for people that want to explore via pontoon boats, ski boats or kayaks. The town of Lake Santeetlah is quaint and the surrounding area has a small population. You can camp, visit local farms like Wehrloom Honey Bee Farm,  and the clear water offers great fishing for bass, walleye, bluegill, crappie, bream, and lake trout. For more details check this site here.

    Lake Tahoe, CA


    Lake Tahoe is near and dear to REEL Lifestyle’s heart (given that is the region where our brand was born), but it’s important to note that there’s really cool things you can do there year-round. This includes some really fantastic skiing, but summer provides some awesome things you must check out. You can camp, hike, paddleboard from King’s Beach to Crystal Bay on the North Shore side of the lake, mountain bike, or just throw back some cocktails at the fun at the Wet Woody (Riva Grill, really popular hang out for beach lovers). Here’s a great list of the top 50 things you can do this summer to get the most out of Tahoe.

    Block Island, Rhode Island


    This island sits 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and one of the best things about it is that it isn’t a major destination so you shouldn’t have to fight of hoards of people. You can instead relax and just chill out in true summer vacation style. Activities include bike riding, hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, fishing, parasailing, kayaking and sailing. The food experiences offer everything from five-star dining to some great seafood that’s served in a picnic style setting. There’s lots of events that go on in summer and here’s a good list to get you started to see if this spot should be your next summer stop.

    Catalina Island, California


    Catalina Island is about 22 miles southwest of L.A. and you can travel there at anytime during the year as the weather is warm year-round.  So if you don’t have time to hit it this summer, you can make it a destination to get to some other time in the year. It’s an outdoor adventurer hotspot with tons of tours that you can do on land or via  boat. There’s great camping and boating adventures including boat-in campsites that means you can be totally secluded from just about everyone. See their site to check out everything this island has to offer.

    No matter where you go, enjoy your #REELSummer and make it a sweet one!

    New REEL Lifestyle Girl Traveling the Globe

    New REEL Lifestyle Girl Traveling the Globe


    The REEL Lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest Life with a Global Adventurer





    Lindsey Ganahl is a native of the Pacific Northwest, and has embraced outdoor adventure as a way of life since she was a child. Professionally she's represented major outdoor gear retailers as a content marketer for five years. Her guiding philosophy is to live a life that you don't want to take a vacation from, and she achieves this by integrating microadventures into her daily life.

    Whether it's sailing on Puget Sound after work, paddle boarding on Lake Washington or camping by Alpine Lakes on sunny summer weekends, nature is not a place she visits, but is her home. She prefers spending more nights in her tent than in her house, and is frequently caught pulling "all nighters" during the week to photograph the Aurora borealis or the Milky Way.

    When she's not out adventuring she works in non-profit for a glass school founded by artist Dale Chihuly with the mission of helping artists return to nature to catalyze the creative process.

    Catch Lindsey on our REEL Lifestyle Girl Instagram channel! Follow us & our adventures: 

    Cooking Your Catch

    Cooking Your Catch

    You're out fishing, you've caught some, and now it's time to cook that fish! Huh, what's that first step?

    Not everyone knows the best ways to get cooking, so here are some tips for all you anglers that want to get that fresh fish catch on the table! 


    Nothing more satisfying than cooking your own catch.  Am I right? There is just something ceremonious and ritualistic about catching and/or harvesting your own food, reconnecting you with our ancestors and how they lived harmoniously with nature.  If you’re a novice to fishing and wish to gain an idea of how to start cooking your own catch, we’ve broken it down for you to try! Please take proper precaution while handling the tools needed to go through this process.  


    • Scaling tool/knife
    • Fillet knife
    • Ziplock bags/buckets (for guts)
    • Spoon (or gloves)


    Step 1: Keep your catch so fresh and so clean, clean… 

    If you’re out deep sea fishing or even just out on the lake while camping, and want to wait to cook your fish back home, make sure you’re putting your fish on ice to keep it fresh!

    Step 2: Fish to Scale

    Once you’re ready to start scaling and filleting your fish, make sure to rinse off the slime and use a paper towel to pat dry thoroughly. You can use the dull side of a knife to start scaling your fish, or use a scaling knife (image above).  Grab the fish from the tail, holding the dull side of the knife at an angle. Start scaling against the direction of the scale, from tail to head; they’ll start popping off like confetti! Some people prefer to hold the fish from the head and scale towards them - try them both out to see which way feel more comfortable!


    Step 3: Spill your guts!

    Time to slice. Rinse your fish again and pat dry with a paper towel. Make a cut right behind the gill cover in the fleshy part of the fish, cutting down at a slight angle past the pectoral fin, making sure not to cut the head off completely yet. Bring your knife back up towards the spine, and turn your knife at angle, having the sharp side facing the tail.  Use down pressure to begin slicing the fish by using the spine as your guide as you slice the fish all the way down to the tail, continuously adding pressure down towards the spine until you’ve reached the tail.

    Now, take your rib cage off the fillet (dark red line that runs down the middle of the fillet you just cut), and making thin, sweeping cuts at an angle as though making butterfly cuts until the rib cage and fatty tissue comes off. Turn the fish over, and repeat.   

    ECO-FRIENDLY NOTE ABOUT THE GUTS: Unless you’re deep sea fishing, it’s not a good idea to dispose of these guts in the water; it can cause disease to spread and can be fatal to other fish. The BEST thing to do is to pack them out; double bag them and use them as fertilizer! Return it to the eco-system. As for the head, you can use it to cook broth! Yum. Waste not, want not.


    Step 4: Skin it. (Optional)

    For each fillet, make a small, angled cut about an inch from the tail.  Hold the tail below the cut for leverage, and begin slicing the fillet all the way up to the top until the skin is completely peeled.  Skinning your fillet is really a matter of preference!  

    Another Method for Cutting Fish:

    You can also opt to make steak cuts to your fish for grilling, which is also a popular method.  It’s very simple! All you have to do is cut the head off (completely this time) below the pectoral fin, gut it, and rinse.  Make cuts at your desired thickness (1”-1 ½”) until you reach the anal fin. At this point, you can fillet the rest of the fish down to the tail (this way you can have the best of both worlds)! Cut the tail end of you steak cuts to remove the fat, and voila! You’re done! Remember, the fatty part and the head you can use for broth, and then use the remains as fertilizer.

    Your eco-friendly and cooking your own catch; nicely done!