Americana Outdoors E-Magazine - May 2022

Please enjoy the May edition of the Americana Outdoors Presented by Garmin E-Magazine!

MAY 2022




MAY 2022 - 38 th EDITION I n this issue ... SOS: Snowmobiler Seriously Injured After Fall Off Ledge 04 06 Bass Pro Shops World’s Fishing Fair Results in $1.5 Million Donation to Conservation When You Should Throw a High-Speed Reel 11 Garmin Announces Support for Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors and CHARGE Power Management Station 13 National Safe Boating Week is May 21-27: 3 Safety Changes You Need To Know 14 Celebrate The Outdoors with Bass Pro Shops 16 Garmin introduces ECHOMAP UHD2 chartplotter series with brand-new hardware and modern features 18 Fishing with Yamaha’s Helm Master EX 24 SPRO’s Flappin’ Frog Continues Amphibious Domination 28 Ranger Z520R: The Apex of Bass Boat Performance, Technology, and Style 33 New Engel Universal Aerator 34 Three New Rec-ute Side-by-Sides Square Off in Moab, Utah. 38 A Turkey Hunt to Remember 44




ATTENTION This is an interactive E-Magazine. Click on the links and logos throughout, directing you to company websites, products, and videos.




With a variety of hunting trips for Turkey, Axis, Aoudad, pesky old hogs, bass fishing trips to some of my favorite lakes, appearing at The World’s Fishing Fair and our team supporting big and small all over the nation This spring has been a BLUR! You’ll see some of that and more in this edition which really showcases some of our great partnerships and what they do and offer. Looking ahead as I type this, I’m about to jump into the truck for a quick stop at the Texas Team Trail on Sam Rayburn and then it’s on over to Pickwick Lake for the 17th BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. I can’t believe this will be the 17th year of that groundbreaking event. I never tire of this event and all the anglers, sponsors, and fans that I see there. Looking past that, it’s going to be JUNE…. How is that possible?! We’ll be sharing more and more content on all our digital sites and rolling out a lot of new assets on Outdoor Action TV that you won’t want to miss. I hope you enjoy this issue!





Wade Middleton President - Careco


SOS: Snowmobiler Seriously Injured After Fall Off Ledge Gabe Kitter, a 31-year-old lifelong Alaskan, has been riding snowmobiles since nearly as long as he could walk. He considers himself a very experienced rider and shared with Garmin the story that he said would be “unbelievable if you would have told it to me previous to my accident.” swamp, picking our way around the open water caused by the beaver dam. We started to work our way into the base of the valley, where we had high hopes of finding fresh animal signs.

On our way into the valley, we stopped to look at some massive tracks. As we continued to carefully pick our way down fairly steep hills, we finally made it to the valley floor. Once we had reached the bottom of the valley, we decided to make our way up the left side the valley. After a half-mile or so, we came across a bear den that looked to be a couple of days old. The dirt was pulled out, and bear tracks there were crusted over and old, which meant the bear probably wasn’t going to be milling around nearby. We decided to split up and look for fresh tracks. I decided to cover the left hillside, and Steve stuck to the valley floor. We continued our way into the valley searching for signs. We soon worked our way out of sight of each other.

The accident happened on a spring hunt in the mountains just south of the small town of Cantwell. It was me and my hunting partner’s second weekend in a row chasing tracks and covering as much country as possible early in the morning — before the heat of the sun caused the snow to become mashed potatoes and impassable. Due to the great concrete-like snow conditions, it made it easy to cover ground early in the morning. The story startswith the typical Pop-Tarts breakfast in the enclosed trailer on the side of the highway around 7 a.m. My partner, Steve, and I set out around 8 a.m. to a predetermined location we had scoped out the night before. We crossed a large

As I made my way along the left side of the valley

wall, I found myself continually crossing smaller ravines. As I started to make my way down one of the ravines — about 15’ tall — I realized the last 5’ of it was straight down. At this point in the story, it all comes from what we have put together from machine tracks and prints in the snow. I have no memory of it. From minimal marks in the concrete snow, it looks like I tried to hit the brakes but started to slide down the hill. Right before the edge, there were marks indicating that I gave the machine throttle — trying to keep the machine level while it went off the ledge. When I landed on the solid snow, I hit my face on the handle bars and was knocked unconscious. The machine continued to coast down and back up the other side of the valley at an angle. About 10’ up, the machine was at such an angle that it started to roll back down the valley. My body got wrapped up in the machine as it rolled down the hill. Roughly 10 minutes or so later, I woke up on my stomach with my face in blood-soaked snow from cuts on my forehead and nose. I immediately tried to get up and was not able to. I struggled for a couple of minutes to get myself rolled over to my back and get my coat unzipped and arms out of the sleeves. I knew at that point something was very wrong with my back. Why couldn’t I get up? Why did I have such a hard time rolling over to my back? Everything was extremely fuzzy, and I had no recollection of what happened. I was in and out of consciousness probably more than I can even recall. I looked around at the pieces and parts of my machine strung out in a yard sale fashion above me — and my mangled sled next to me. Realizing at that time that I couldn’t hear or see anyone around me, I tried to get up, and for the first time in my life I honestly couldn’t get anywhere. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get up, couldn’t move closer to my machine.

hunting partner found me and made his way to me. He arrived at a location in the valley where we’d agreed to meet, but he saw no sign of me and turned back to look for me. Once he arrived, he did a quick look over and, as expected, started asking questions. Steve quickly realized something was seriously wrong when I struggled to answer simple questions. He then used my inReach® satellite communication device to activate an SOS. Steve started communicating with emergency services while piling coats and gear on me to warm me up as the adrenaline started to wear off. It was about an hour before an Alaska State Trooper helicopter flew into the valley. Later, we found out that the trooper/pilot had assessed the situation and found he couldn’t help us on his own, and there was nowhere for him to land. The trooper patched us to LifeMed, a medical helicopter service that covers the entire state of Alaska. Once in contact with LifeMed, we were told that the helicopter was leaving Wolf Lake Airport and was headed our direction. ETA for the helicopter was roughly 30 minutes. These events took place around 2 p.m., so I had been on the mountainside for 4 hours at this point. It was 3 p.m. by the time the helicopter arrived and landed a couple of hundred yards away from me. The air medics and pilot made their way to me up themountainside in waist-deep snow. They started asking questions and administering medication to make themove down themountain as comfortable as possible. I was placed on a backboard, and then what looked to be a very large open rubber duffel bag was placed under the backboard to allowme to slide on the snow easier. The two medics, one pilot and Steve each grabbed a handle of the makeshift sled I was on and told me to hold on. It was a rough and painful 10-minute ride down to the helicopter, to say the least. I was transported by helicopter to Mat-Su Regional Hospital, where I was met by my wife, Lindsey, and parents on the hospital lawn. In the emergency

Roughly 30 to 40 minutes after wrecking, my

room, it was confirmed that I had broken my L1 vertebrae, tore the right psoasmuscle and suffered a severe concussion. Fortunately, I have since been able to make a full recovery. I’ve not only had plenty of time to recover but had the time to reflect on the things that allowed that day to go as smoothly as it did. 1. Having a hunting partner. He kept my head screwed on straight throughout the stressful situation and didn’t allow me to try and get on my snow machine and ride out myself. (I was really trying to convince him I could do it.) 2.My inReachMini devicefromGarmin.Thisallowed us to instantly communicate with emergency services and get me out of the situation we were in. The Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) also kept my wife and family informed as much as they could up until I was on my way to the hospital. With no service where we were hunting, they would have never known something was wrong until it was time to come home. 3. LifeMed and their membership. Not only did they provide me with emergency transportation in a very nice helicopter, but they provided amazing medical attention while in flight and on the mountain, for just a small annual fee. Thank you again to everyone that helped that day and the days that followed. I seriously couldn’t have done it alone. And thank you to Garmin — the whole process with the Garmin IERCC services was great. NOTICE: To access the Iridium satellite network for live tracking and messaging, including SOS capabilities, an active satellite subscription is required. Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communications devices. It is the responsibility of the user to know and follow all applicable laws in the jurisdictions where the device is intended to be used.

inReach ® Mini Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator

Need assistance? Send interactive SOS alerts anytime, globally.


Compete on your schedule to finish the Big Bite Fishathlon (pronouced fish-ath-lon). If you think you have what it takes to catch a fish on ten different baits, sign up for Fishathlon! Simple to enter – just start catching fish with one of the 10 Big Bite Baits listed below. You can use any size in the shape, rigged in any way. When you catch a fish with one of these shapes, submit a photo showing the bait and fish to Big Bite Baits on social media or via email. Big Bite Baits will record your progress, and once you submit fish catches with all 10 baits you will be sent the exclusive Big Bite Fishathlon hat. You can get started and track your progress here. 10 Baits include any size or color of the following baits: Kamikaze Swimon, Fighting Frog, Suicide Shad, Kamikaze Craw, Pro Swimmer, Trick Stick, Cane Thumper, Battle Bug, Limit Maker and Coontail. The goal: Catch 10 different fish on the 10 designated Big Bite baits. Any size/color/variation is allowed. Rig the baits any way you like, click here for suggestions. Special discount available to purchase all 10 baits to get started. Already have the baits? Then get started today! Take a photo of each fish with bait visible and submit entries here. Complete all 10 catches, and with verification you will win an exclusive Fishathlon hat free of charge.

Follow the contest and see all the details here.

Bass Pro Shops World’s Fishing Fair Results in $1.5 Million Donation to Conservation

The Conservation Capital of the World, Springfield, Missouri, was put on display as people from across the nation came to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Bass Pro Shops at the World’s Fishing Fair. Guests traveled to the Ozarks from 47 different states and Canada to attend what is being noted as the greatest fishing show and sale on earth. On Saturday night April 2, toward the end of the Fair noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris announced that 100% of ticket sales to the event and to Concerts for Conservation would be donated to conservation, generating a $1.5 million plus donation to conservation. “I have never felt more proud of our Bass Pro team, our vendors, and our conservation partners,” Johnny Morris said. “Thanks to this collective effort, and with the support of our generous customers and the City of Springfield, we are able to make this donation that will help further crucial conservation efforts for years to come. The fact that we were able to host this event and make this donation to help celebrate our 50th anniversary right here in Springfield makes us very proud and very happy!”

This donation — which represents 100 percent of the ticket sales from three nights of “Concerts for Conservation” and more than 100 percent of the admissions to theWorld’s Fishing Fair—is the latest development in Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops’ leadership of the largest conservation movement that our country has seen in generations. “As highlighted in our longstanding partnership, both Toyota and Bass Pro Shops have a shared interest in supporting important environmental and conservation efforts through events like the World’s Fishing Fair,” said Pete Carey, TFS Group Vice President and President of Private Label. “To bring awareness of and benefit conservation through an event of this magnitude is truly significant and impactful in this ongoing effort to protect the great outdoors.” The Fair was packed full of outdoor enthusiasts from throughout North America, in a celebration of all things fishing, hunting and conservation. Attendees enjoyed a full schedule of seminars and appearances from America’s top fishing professionals,NASCARlegends (RichardChildress, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr., and Dale

Earnhardt Jr.), Pro Bull Riding leaders (Ross Coleman, Sean Gleason, Randy Bernard, Chad Blankenship, Luke Snyder), Dude Perfect, Larry the Cable Guy and some of the leading conservation organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation and the International Gamefish Association.

Fans enjoyed three back-to- back nights of memorable “Concerts for Conservation,” featuring a lineup of country stars that included Luke Combs, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Chris Janson, Lindsay Ell, John Anderson and Hank Williams Jr. During each concert, Morris presented the performers with their own TRACKER Boat signed by the entire Bass Tracker family as a token of appreciation for their individual support of the conservation efforts. An Unparalleled Collection of Fishing Knowledge and Expertise The World’s Fishing Fair was able to honor fishing’s past legends while celebrating the present and future generations of fishing enthusiasts to come. Legends of the sport such as Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Johnny Morris and Rick Clunn were joined by some of today’s top bass fishing pros including Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Skeet Reese and others.

Austin Dillon revs up the crowd and performs donuts outside of the Grandaddy Bass Pro Shops

Top highlights of the Worlds Fishing Fair included not only lots of young people and lots of happy people, but also:

Concerts for Conservation

Fishing Legends held seminars throughout the event. Pictured left to right: Bill Dance, Johnny Morris, Jimmy Houston, Kevin VanDam, Roland Martin. The World’s Fishing Fair guest experience included a lineup of fishing seminars from top pros and legends of the sport – many compared it to attending a $500 fishing school and offered visitors the opportunity to gain firsthand fishing knowledge from some of the best to ever do it.

Watch coverage of the World’s Fishing Fair from an episode from the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook.

Country star Luke Combs receives a custom Bass Pro Shops 50th Anniversary BASS TRACKER from noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris during the Concerts for Conservation at the World’s Fishing Fair in Springfield, Mo., on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Unprecedented Selection and Prices The World’s Fishing Fair featured an incredible assortment of the newest fishing tackle and boats available at incredibly low Fair pricing. The event showcased over 200 exhibits from more than 150 manufacturers across fishing, boating and outdoor categories, and more than 500,000 square feet of tackle and equipment at incredibly low prices. The Fair also featured huge bargain tent sales of factory closeouts and overstock and truckload sales of over $10 million of tackle priced to sell.

Lots of hats like this Bass Pro Shops hat, we covered in autographs. Can you name them all?

The first World’s Fishing Fair in 1988 helped put Bass Pro Shops on the map, making it only fitting that the next iteration of the event came just in time for the company’s 50th anniversary. The 2022 World’s Fishing Fair was not only a celebration unlike anything outdoor enthusiasts had ever witnessed, but also an incredible moment for the sport of fishing, and a precedent for conservation efforts moving forward.

When it comes to reels, I like to have a faster retrieve in situations where there is a lot of cover. When I make a long cast and my bait hits the water, I want to get that bait moving right away. I don’t want to give the bait a chance to get bogged down in the grass or brush, especially when throwing it into 1-2 feet of water. The Johnny Morris Platinum Signature series has been a reel that I’ve used for the last two or three years with a lot of success. There is a slower retrieve reel that will allow you to finish in different situations. But I’d say eight out of ten times I’m using this higher speed retrieve reel when I’m fishing. In scenarios where a lot of fish are darting out through the holes in the grass or from behind all the brush, I feel like for me to win the battle, I’ve got to set the hook really quick, get them turned my way, and gather up a lot of line. That’s one reason a high-speed reel on the deck of your boat is going to help you the next time you’re out on the water. WHEN YOU SHOULD THROW A HIGH-SPEED REEL


Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Baitcast Reel

Congratulations to Sunline pro Drew Cook for winning the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series event on Santee Cooper! Drew used a one two punch sight fishing strategy enticing bedding fish with 4-inch and 5-inch versions of the Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog, both in the tilapia magic color to achieve his first Elite Series victory. Drew relied on 22lb Sunline Shooter on both of his winning setups. COOK UTILIZES SUNLINE TO WIN $100,000

Learn The Many Different Ways to Fish Sunline Shooter

Sunline’s new Sunline Braided Line Scissors allow you to easily cut through your braided line. Titanium coating makes these scissors harder, more durable and resistant against abrasion.

Garmin announces support for Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors and CHARGE Power Management Station

Latest software update enables Power-Pole control from compatible Garmin chartplotters

Garmin® International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., the world’s largest 1 and most innovative marine electronics manufacturer, today announced that select ECHOMAP™ and GPSMAP® chartplotters are now compatible with Power-Pole® Shallow Water Anchors. This added support allows anglers to stow and deploy their Power-Poles directly from their compatible Garmin chartplotter for even more onboard control. Support for Power-Pole CHARGE Power Management Station integration is expected in a future release, which will allow anglers to also monitor their battery charge from their compatible Garmin chartplotter. Power-Pole Anchor integration is available to existing Garmin customers via the Q2 2022 marine software update, which is available now as a free download at, or through the ActiveCaptain® app under the “My Marine Device” tab. In addition to a compatible ECHOMAP or GPSMAP chartplotter, a Power-Pole C-Monster Gateway is required for anchoring control.

The new Power-Pole control functionality is available for the following Garmin chartplotters: GPSMAP 8600/8600xsv series, GPSMAP 10x2/12x2, GPSMAP 7x3/9x3/12x3, GPSMAP 7x2/9x2/12x2 Plus series, and the ECHOMAP Ultra and ECHOMAP UHD 7- and 9-inch Touch series.

1 Based on 2021 reported sales

Power-Pole CHARGE Power Management Station (above) Power-Pole® Shallow Water Anchors (right)

National Safe Boating Week arrives May 21–27 with an annual reminder for boaters to champion recreational boating safety all summer long. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water suggests that boat owners need to know about three recent U.S. Coast Guard regulations that have changed, what’s needed to be carried aboard, and how a vessel is to be operated at higher speeds. As of April 20, the USCG enacted a regulation allowing them enforce fire extinguishers having a 12-year expiration date from the date of manufacture. Additionally, while the new regulation does not change the type, quantity, or requirement for Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers aboard, it does specify the minimum Underwriter Laboratory (UL) classification of extinguishers to be carried aboard certain vessels — depending on the boat’s model year. NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK IS MAY 21-27: 3 Safety Changes You Need To Know 1. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS :

Boat fire extinguishers expiration date can be two or four digits — if it is two, as in 08, that means 2008.

Vessels on the water today that are less than 26

feet and model year 2017 or older may continue to carry older, dated or undated “B-I” or “B-II” disposable extinguishers. However, when they are no longer serviceable or have reached 12 years of age since manufacture, they must be replaced with newer class “5-B” or greater extinguishers. Boats less than 26 feet and 2018 model year or newer must carry unexpired “5-B,” “10-B” or “20- B” fire extinguishers. Having older “B-I” and “B-II” types do not meet the new carriage requirements. As of April 1 last year, boat operators have been required to use either a helm or outboard lanyard or wireless engine cutoff switch (ECOS) on certain vessels less than 26 feet when traveling on plane or above displacement speed. These vessels include (1) boats that have a functioning engine cutoff device installed at the helm or on an outboard engine or have wireless ECOS, or (2) boats manufactured beginning January 2020. Exceptions to the ECOS requirement include if the main helm of the vessel is in an enclosed cabin or the vessel is not operating on plane or at displacement speed. Low-speed activities such as fishing or docking do not require use of an ECOS. The vessel operator is also exempt if the boat’s motor produces less than 115 lbs. of static thrust – or about the size of a 2-hp engine. 3. ELECTRONIC VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS (EVDSD): Solvingthedisposalproblemofexpiredpyrotechnic flares, newer electronic visual distress signal devices (eVDSD) use either a white or combination of orange-red/cyan LED lights with infrared (for rescuers with night vision) and are now U.S. Coast Guard-approved. However, for daytime distress situations you’ll still need to carry aboard an orange distress flag to avoid carrying pyrotechnic devices. eVDSD prices start at about $100 for the white light version. 2. ENGINE CUTOFF SWITCH:

Also keep in mind every visual distress signal requires regular inspection and maintenance. Batteries are an eVDSD’s potential Achilles heel, so replace them every season. Old eVDSD batteries can be cycled into a flashlight at home – where your life potentially is not at stake.

For more boating tips click here.

Engine cutoff switches (ECOS) are often activated by a lanyard connected to the operator that, when pulled, stops the boat’s engine. (Credit: National Safe Boating Council)


Garmin introduces ECHOMAP UHD2 chartplotter series with brand-new hardware and modern features 5 - and 7- i nch ke yed combo un i t s de l i ve r Ga rmi n ’ s bes t - i n - c l as s sona r w i t h bu i l t - i n w i r e l es s ne two r k i ng and ca r t og raphy con t en t Garmin recently announced the ECHOMAP™ UHD2 chartplotter series with 500W of vivid, high- contrast scanning sonar power, all-new hardware with a sunlight readable display and more. Offered in a new 5-inch as well as the popular 7-inch display, the ECHOMAP UHD2 plotters offer physical buttons for easy control and operation of functions every angler depends on for a successful outing, includingmarkingkeywaypointsor quickly toggling between different chart views. Plus, built-in Wi-Fi® enables seamless sharing of sonar and user data between two ECHOMAP UHD2 units onboard.

“The ECHOMAP UHD2 series offers our best-in- class sonar, industry-leading mapping1 and fish- finding features that allow anglers to fish like a local,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “Valued as a budget- friendly option, this new series leverages the simplicity and accessibility of a full-button design while delivering all the necessary functions you would want on the water – from lightning-fast chart redraw and crisp sonar views to support for our new Garmin Navionics+ cartography2. Packed with core mapping and sonar features, ECHOMAP UHD2 helps users pursue their next epic catch or explore inland and coastal waters with greater confidence.” Wirelessly share sonar and data across devices Whether fishing with a friend or wanting the flexibility to add another chartplotter on board,

ECHOMAP UHD2 chartplotters feature a bright, sunlight-readable display, as well as Garmin’s latest user interface and graphics for more intuitive handling and control. The ECHOMAP UHD2 series is available now with suggested retail prices ranging from $399.99 to $649.99. Visit to learn more about the full ECHOMAP UHD2 keyed chartplotter series and compatible accessories. Engineered on the inside for life on the outside, Garmin products have revolutionized life for anglers, sailors, mariners and boat enthusiasts everywhere. Committed to developing the most innovative, highest quality, and easiest to use marine electronics the industry has ever known, Garmin believes every day is an opportunity to innovate and a chance to beat yesterday. For the seventh consecutive year, Garmin was recently named the Manufacturer of the Year by the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA). Other Garmin marine brands include Fusion® and Navionics®. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual Newsroom, email our press team, connect with @garminfishhunt on social media, or follow our adventures at

built-in wireless networking allows anglers to stream sonar and share user data, such as waypoints and routes, between two ECHOMAP UHD2 units. Sonar support When bundled with an ECHOMAP UHD2, the GT20- TM transducer delivers a crisp view of structure, bait and fish – right from the plotter screen. For even greater clarity, users can add to their onboard system by purchasing a GT24UHD-TM transducer with Ultra-High Definition scanning sonar – CHIRP traditional and ClearVü – to target and identify a wider array of fish in vivid color schemes. Thanks to the preloaded BlueChart® g3 coastal charts or LakeVü g3 inland maps with Navionics data, userscanmoreefficientlypinpoint theperfect honey holeor navigate to their next destinationwith enhanced situational awareness. For advanced mapping features, daily chart updates and more, ECHOMAP UHD2 plotters can upgrade to the new Garmin Navionics+™ cartography. In addition to a host of detail-richNo. 1marinemapping1 content at their fingertips, and the ability to track up to 5,000 waypoints, the ECHOMAP UHD2 series provides impressively fast and smooth chart redraw speeds toensureanglers arepoisedand ready for their next cast. Users can also access the ActiveCaptain® community for local knowledge and information and seamlessly update and upgrade their charts through the ActiveCaptain app. Refreshed hardware and design By incorporating style elements from legacy Garmin ECHOMAP UHD chartplotters, this UHD2 series debuts an attractive hardware redesign to serve the needs of the modern angler while maintaining a clean and classic keyed interface. To weather a range of conditions on the water, Must-havemapping for boating and fishing

1 Based on 2021 reported sales.

2 Garmin Navionics+ cartography sold separately

ECHOMAP UHD2 7” Chartplotters also available in 5” chartplotters as well.


Learn more about the AFTCO Jason Christie Hooded LS Performance Shirt by clicking the PLAY button

Jason Christie Hooded LS Performance Shirt We take feedback from the AFTCO Pro Team seriously. AFTCO collaborated directly with Jason Christie to produce a performance sun protection shirt that would help his comfort and effectiveness when dealing with long hours of sun exposure on the water. Meet the Jason Christie signature sun protection hoodie by AFTCO. Jason’s direct feedback was instrumental to fine tune our already popular Samurai hooded performance shirt. Jason took additional measures to modify the hood of his Samurai shirts to improve the sun protection coverage on his face and prevent glare. The AFTCO product development team worked alongside Christie to adapt his unique modifications and produce a performance sun protection shirt with an increased hood size, neck closure system and an integrated hat visor sleeve. These specific features requested by Jason improves the surface area of sun protection on your face, neck, and ears while reducing overall glare from the sun’s reflection on the water.

FISHING WITH HELM MASTER ® EX by writer and angler Gary Caputi

when we pulled into casting range and used our secret weapon—the Helm Master® EX system our Yamaha-powered Pathfinder® 2700 installed at the Maverick® Boat Group factory in Fort Pierce, Florida.

As we approached the abandoned lighthouse that stands on a manmade rockpile along the western edge of the thoroughfare leading into New York Harbor, our boat was lifted by a large swell. Solid eight footers broke on the rocks creating a profusion of white water that cascaded around the back side and down the jetty rocks that, in bygone days, protected the lightkeeper’s boat. The conditions were ideal for striped bass and bluefish to use to their advantage when hunting. The closer we got, the more excited we became about casting into the swirling maelstrom because we knew the fish would be there. Anglers on two other boats had the same idea, but the wind, waves and current hampered their ability to hold position near the rocks. They ran their boats close enough for a quick cast but were quickly swept away. Even when the operator tried to hold the boat in position for an angler to cast, their attemptswere short lived. Conditions like these can make fishing good structure nearly impossible. We held back and watch the other boats make several attempts only to drift out of range almost as soon as they got into position. The frustration on the faces of the operators was evident, especially

If you’re not familiar with Yamaha’s remarkable Helm Master EX system, you should be, especially if you’re thinking about a new boat or repowering an existing boat. It’s quite literally artificial intelligence for your boat, and a game changer for fishermen.

The complete HelmMaster EX boat control system consists of electronic steering, shift and throttle binnacle, joystick, autopilot, GPS receiver, heading sensor, CPU and touchscreen multifunction display all interfaced into a seamless operating environment that offers an array of navigation and fishing benefits. It’s available for boats powered by single and multiple Yamaha outboards from the four-cylinder F150 to the eight-cylinder XTO® 425. In this installment of Fishing with Helm Master EX, we’ll look at some of the system’s capabilities that can come into play when fishing around structure and shorelines. Be prepared to be amazed. Back to the lighthouse. When the other boats moved away, we ran the Pathfinder within casting distance of the rocks and hit the joystick button, which transfers helm control from the steering wheel and binnacle controls to the joystick and computer. With the push of a button on the joystick base, we activated the the FishPoint® function. FishPoint maintains the boat’s GPS position with

our position while we made repeated casts into the white water. The look on their faces was akin to hearing them say, “Who’s running the boat?” When we didn’t get a bite after a dozen casts using various lures, we easily moved the boat down the rockpile so we could cast to another section. To accomplish a lateral move, simply click the joystick in the desired direction. We preprogramed the system so each click would move the boat 10 feet in any direction. To move forty feet to the side, clicking the joystick four times “stacks” the increments. You can stack up to ten clicks if you want to move further. You can also move the boat forward or backward using the same joystick procedure, clicking the joystick to the front or the rear. If your boat has two or more outboards, Helm Master EX can move sideways, but the single engine system accomplishes the task by crabbing the boat forward and back until it settles on the new spot and automatically holds there without further input. You can also disengage FishPoint and move to the new position with the joystick or wheel and binnacle controls, then re-engage it to hold in the new spot. While the swells and current tried to move us off position, the Helm Master EX stayed on point beautifully. So, what was the system doing to simplify this incredibly complex maneuver? When we activated the joystick, all outboard functions transfered to the computer. This included shifting, outboard RPM adjustment and steering. When we engaged FishPoint (bow), the system instantly established its current position through its proprietary GPS receiver. To determine the direction the boat pointed, the system coordinated the GPS system with the heading sensor. Then the computer began manipulating the outboard in response to any forces attempting to move the boat off position. As the effects of wind and current impacted the boat, the system shifted the engine in and out of gear as needed, accelerating or decelerating as much as necessary to counter those forces and steered the boat to maintain the desired location

either the bow or stern facing into the prevailing current or wind depending on how you set it up in the menu. We had it set for FishPoint Bow, so the forward casting platform would be closest to the structure. The system instantly took control of the electric steering-equipped F300 outboard so we could concentrate on fishing. The operators of the other boats watched from positions nearby in amazement as our outboard started to shift, adjust RPM and steer itself as if by magic holding

and direction. Now tell me that isn’t remarkable!

of shoreline jetties. However, the system has so much more to offer.

If you want to take control back from the computer, you can do so in several ways. You can press the FishPoint button again and then run the boat using normal joystick functionality. In manual joystick mode, pull back on the joystick to accelerate in reverse or push it toward the bow to accelerate forward. The more you push the joystick, the faster the boat accelerates. To turn the boat, spin the top of the joystick in the direction you want to turn. The more you turn the joystick, the harder the boat will turn. The joystick uses two finger operation to accomplish a lot of tasks. There is a speed limiter in joystick mode the operator can increase or decrease using the + or – button on the side of the joystick base. You can return to manual control of the boat by pressing the joystick button to disengage it or if you’re in a hurry, you can simply use the shift and throttle lever and the system will turn off the joystick. Keep in mind that when the boat is in joystick mode and you are not using it, the engine returns to a neutral center position. Running the boat with the joystick takes a little getting used to, but quickly becomes intuitive. Using automated functions like FishPoint requires almost no acclimation time. It’s still a good idea to practice various system functions before you are in an actual navigation or fishing situation, and it’s always incumbent upon the operator to be situationally aware of what is happening around the boat. The system functions used in the lighthouse scenario translate into a number of additional classic fishing situations like approaching buoys, commercial fishing highfliers, or any kind of floating structure that might attract gamefish including cobia, mahi, tripletails or other fish. You can use FishPoint to hold position in a current when fishing near bridges over tidal waters with remarkable precision, or when working the tips

Not long ago we fished for redfish in the St. Johns River Inlet in Mayport, Florida. An extensive jetty system that extends hundreds of yards out from land protects the inlet. That rock breakwater is also a fish-attracting structure, both on the inside and outside of the inlet. At certain times of the year, the rocks become a highway for redfish and sea trout migrating in and out of the river. The ability to fish those jetties effectively can make for some fast fishing. Here’s how Helm Master EX can make that a reality. In this instance, we used the system’s autopilot combined with the Speed Control function to set and run a track along the length of the jetty so we could concentrate on casting to the structure instead of running the boat. Helm Master EX interfaces with most brands of chart plotters, and Yamaha’s CL7 Multi-Functional Display is also a full-function chart plotter in addition to providing the outboard information and control unit. Using either the CL7 or your onboard chart plotter, you can set a series of waypoints using the touchscreen and save it as a trail. Once the trail is complete, activate the Yamaha autopilot pressing the TrackPoint button, then set the speed you want the boat to run using the Speed Control button on the throttle lever. Speed Control is the marine equivalent of the cruise control system on your road vehicle, but it can do some things

your car’s system cannot. Once you set your initial speed, you can increase or decrease the speed setting with the rocker button on the binnacle lever. Once you’ve done that, the boat will run the track by itself at the speed you set and when it reaches the last waypoint, it will automatically shift into FishPoint and hold that position.

Control will handle the boat while you fish. If there are spots you fish on a regular basis or might return to another day, you can save it as a trail and return to it without having to program it again. Spend a little time thinking about this one and you will likely come up with even more ways to incorporate it into your fishing. Helm Master EX offers so many benefits for anglers that it is literally rewriting the playbook for how to use a boat as a fishing tool. We’ll be back with more tips and tricks for using Helm Master EX to get the most out of your time on the water in future installments. The events described detail the personal experiences of writer and angler Gary Caputi. All situations and system applications are different. For Helm Master EX peak performance, it is the responsibility of the captain to position the boat for the greatest chance of success given the conditions.

If you are casting, you’ll want to move slowly along the length of the jetty, allowing for appropriate bait or lure presentations. If the speed you desire is actually slower than the outboard running at idle speed, the systemwill enter Pattern Shift mode and the computer will bump the outboard in and out of gear to maintain that speed. It does this quietly, thanks to Yamaha’s exclusive shift dampening system (SDS) props and precision machined lower unit gearing. Speed Control is an incredibly useful feature that plays into many more types of fishing. Even if there is a running tide, wind or strong currents, the boat will maintain the speed you set by automatically adjusting the RPM of the outboard(s). Now let’s translate the Mayport jetty scenario to some other similar situations. Imagine fishing along the shoreline of a bay or tidal river that might extend for a long distance. Or maybe you see fish holding along the edge of a channel drop off. By plotting a trail with as many waypoints as is necessary to keep the boat following the shoreline or underwater contours, TrackPoint and Speed

Part of the Essential series, the SPRO® engineers worked diligently to create the Flappin Frog, extending the company’s footprint in the world of topwaters with a frog meant to be buzzed. The skirted legs have been replaced by paddle tailed appendages that can be buzzed across the surface or retrieved in a stop- and-go pattern. They’re deadly over thick cover and in open water alike. The frog is made of elastomer material, which makes it float and stretch. They’re deadly over thick cover and in open water alike. As with the other SPRO frogs, a vital part of the Flappin’ Frog’s effectiveness is that it’s built around a Gamakatsu Nano-Coated Superline Double Frog Hook that gives a weedless presentation as increases hookup percentage without risk of bending out. The frog’s body is built of a floating elastomer material, so when a fish strikes half-heartedly or misses the lure, you can stop it in its tracks and tempt it to come back. SPRO’S FLAPPIN’ FROG CONTINUES AMPHIBIOUS DOMINATION

The Flappin’ Frog makes a ruckus, whether retrieved at rocket speed, or slowly walked back. The legs kick and buzz with only the slightest forward movement, and savvy anglers can mix up their retrieves until they find out what bass want on a particular day. The Flappin’ Frog will initially be offered in 11 of SPRO’s proven frogging colors so any angler can imitate any forage.


See the SPRO FLappin’ Frog in action!

Schwartz & Arnold from Top Ranked Montevallo Win the 2022 Barnett Reservoir Rumble

Tournament competition has concluded and all the prizes have been awarded to the Top 20 finishers at the 2022 Barnett Reservoir Rumble. Hundreds of the nation’s top collegiate bass fishing anglers competed for two days on a windy Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, Mississippi, at this nationally televised event, in an effort to claim their share of more than $20,000 in prizes and contingencies. Day one saw a packed leaderboard with several of the top-ranked schools in the nation in the Top 10 – which ensured a shootout was in store for the final day with cameras rolling to catch the action. As day two unfolded the wind became a key part of the day, making it hard for teams to run around the famed reservoir in Mississippi. However, the winds didn’t stop the number one ranked University of Montevallo pairing of Merritt Arnold and Chance Schwartz from taking home the win with a two-day total of 30.15 pounds. Coming in 2nd were fellow University of Montevallo teammates Adam Carroll and Trey Dickert, and rounding out the top three was the Adrian College duo of Matthew Davis and Dalton Mollenkopf. Day two of tournament competition saw plenty more quality bags weighed in at Madison Landing.

The overall winners of the event, Arnold and Schwartz from Montevallo, weighed in a five- bass limit of 15.78 pounds. They also take home big bass honors with a largemouth bass weighing 6.62 pounds, caught during Day 2 of tournament action. Along with the valuable prizes that come with finishing in 1st place and Overall Big Bass, Arnold and Schwartz also claimed the Garmin Tournament Rewards and ACA Logo Contingency bonuses for an additional $1,000. More in-depth coverage of the event will be coming next week as well as in the upcoming television episodes covering the event. Along with the valuable prizes and contingencies awarded today, teams will earn points for their highest two finishing teams inside of the Top 125. Montevallo finishes the event with teams in 1st and 2nd overall. Those two top finishes combine for a total of 2,490 points to be added to Montevallo’s current season total. By earning close to 2,500 points at this weekend’s event, Montevallo will likely widen the gap between themselves and the second-ranked team.

View the complete tournament standings.

Garmin quatix 7 smartwatch fuels the active boater lifestyle

functionality and premium features available for high-end editions. New to the series, Sapphire models add an always-on AMOLED display for sharper color, clarity and brightness – without draining battery. “The quatix 7 Series offers a level of versatility and utility that any mariner can appreciate, serving as everything from the dedicated first mate for an offshore cruise to a sleek and stylish timepiece that can be worn to dinner with friends,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “With several new and innovative marine features, customers can control their MFD from anywhere on the boat and even get notified of important weather and tide information that could impact their navigation. Plus, the quatix 7 Series packs advanced smart features and an incredibly enduring battery life that can’t be found in any other marine watch.” MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR MARINERS

Built for life on and off the water, new marine GPS smartwatch features always-on touchscreen display, comprehensive connectivity with Garmin marine electronics and long-lasting battery Garmin® announced the quatix® 7 Series of premium smartwatches, purpose-built for life on the water and packed with wearable tech for everyday fitness, wellness and convenience. Building on the excellence of its award-winning predecessor, the quatix 7 Series offers several new boating features designed to strengthen onboard integration, such as multifunction display (MFD) control, anchor drag alerts and more. The quatix 7 Series also boasts vibrant, new touchscreen display options that complements an existing 5-button design, allowing for unmatched all-day wearability. Complete with 3 models – quatix 7, quatix 7 Sapphire and quatix 7X Solar – the full series includes Garmin’s flagship smartwatch and boating features with added

Whether boating, sailing or fishing, the quatix 7 Series offers the advantage of seamless integration with Garmin chartplotters and other marine electronics. When paired with compatible onboard equipment, quatix 7 enables convenient control for autopilot and Fusion® Entertainment systems, and it can stream important information about the boat, including water depth, engine RPM, wind and customized data, directly to your wrist – from anywhere on board. No matter the on-the-water hobby, quatix 7 has you covered with a host of built-in activity profiles, like fishing, sailing, sail racing, kayaking, surfing and many more. Also, support for detail-rich BlueChart® g3 costal charts and LakeVü™ g3 inland maps means that mariners can confidently leave dock with enhanced situational awareness.

et quick alerts to the watch when the anchor is dragging Tide alerts: Remain mindful of the water’s ebbs and flows with integrated tide data and alerts – now viewable on the watch face Multi-band GPS: With more satellite frequencies utilized, Sapphire and Solar models enable more accurate positioning Multicontinent Topo Maps: Explore detailed contour mapping around the globe that is easily loaded and updated via built-in Wi-Fi® Boaters can spend more time doing the activities they enjoy and less time charging up at home, thanks to a battery life of up to 16 days in smartwatch mode for Sapphire models and up to 18 days for standard models. To go even further between charges, Solar models harness the power of the sun to extend battery life, granting users up to 37 days of in smartwatch mode or up to 90 days in battery saver mode. SOPHISTICATED, RELIABLE DESIGN Blending modern flair and rugged design elements, quatix 7 offers the versatility to go from the marine environment to a night on the town. Each quatix 7 watch features a striking, sunlight-readable color display for clear visibility and a sophisticated look, as well as a water rating of 10 ATM3 to withstand a variety of conditions, even underwater. Standard models are cased in a stainless-steel bezel and includes a robust, Corning® Gorilla® Glass lens. Sapphire models are cased in a diamond-like carbon coated titanium with a stunning Sapphire lens. Solar models are also cased in diamond-like carbon coated titanium, but features a Power Sapphire lens for improved solar charging. Built-to-last battery

quatix® 7 – Standard Edition Marine GPS Smartwatch

Key new features include: MFD control : Quickly access common interactions, like chart zoom, backlight adjustment and layout shortcuts at the touch of a button Anchor drag alarm: G


Vivid new display option: Sapphire models bring the watch to life with a stunning AMOLED display that remains clear and visible in sunlight Touchscreen or buttons: Opt to use Garmin’s traditional buttons or a new, intuitive touchscreen interface – or choose to alternate between both Built-in LED flashlight: When the sun goes down, the Solar model features a hands-free LED flashlight to guide through darkness STREAMLINED SMART FEATURES AND FITNESS TRACKING Purpose-built for life on the go, the quatix 7 Series supplies a full suite of essential connected features and health monitoring data, including Pulse Ox4, wrist-based heart rate, respiration and stress tracking, plus Garmin wellness insights such as Body Battery™, Fitness Age and Sleep Score with Advanced Sleep Monitoring5. Preloaded activity profiles – running, cycling, golfing, hiking, rowing, skiing, and more – record data and let users know when their training intensity is too high, too low or just right. Plus, quatix 7 Series comes preloaded with SkiView™ maps and 42,000 golf courses. Users can pay the tab with the Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution6 when stopping into the marina for a bite, and enjoy music playlists from streaming services7 such as Spotify®, Amazon Music and Deezer with wireless headphones for phone-free listening. Not to mention, quatix 7 allows for smart notifications8 like texts, phone calls, emails and more, right to the watch. The quatix 7, quatix 7 Sapphire and quatix 7X Solar are available now with suggested retail prices ranging from $699.99 to $1,199.99. To learn more about the quatix 7 Series, featured accessories and compatibility with Garmin marine electronics, click here.

quatix® 7 – Sapphire Edition Marine GPS Smartwatch with AMOLED Display

quatix® 7X – Solar Edition Marine GPS smartwatch with Solar Charging

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