• Journal   Canoe Vibes Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tips’

15,482 Miles and One Better Word Choice

Mark Vlaskamp Road Trip Canoe Vibes

Fifteen thousand four hundred and eighty-two miles, thirty-seven states, one hundred and twenty-two days, six full-time job offers, a couple of hundred fish, five oil changes, sixteen tubs of cat litter, and one defective brake light ticket later, I woke up on a friend’s couch back in Houston.

The sun came up, the world kept spinning, and I poured a cup of coffee.

It was over.

Continue Reading No Comments

Road Trip Apps: Tripping Apps for Aspiring Road Warriors

Apps for Road Trips | Good Apps for Traveling | Road Trip iPhone Apps

It’s official. I’m not a big tech guy, and I didn’t need my recent fifteen-minute struggle with the hotel TV HDMI cord last night to prove it. However, like the rest of the gear in my now overflowing road trip gear bag, I gravitate toward the latest high-quality products that provide the proper fit for my now unique needs.

This includes travel apps.

On the road, my cell phone has only two modes: 1) packed away for days at a time on an adventure or 2) constantly in use navigating unfamiliar highways, communicating perpetually variable travel plans, and getting content sent to different companies and posted online all while sucking battery from any outlet I can shamelessly and temporarily plug into.

While I recommend getting finances, organization, web-development, and a general plan all worked out well before you retrofit your smartphone for #VanLife, a quick retrofit session may be the kick in the butt that you need to get out of your 9-5 rut and start embracing everyday adventures.

Continue Reading No Comments

Urban Fly Fishing: Tricking Carp in Downtown Houston

Tips for Fly Fishing on Braes Brays Bayou Houston TX

Growing up within an unsupervised bike ride of Brays (Braes – see note below) Bayou*, I’ve seen countless carp swells from the Braeswood running trails. As kids, we would take our conventional starter rods and some hot dogs under the Stella Link bridge to channel our inner city Huck Finn-nature, even if only for a couple of unsuccessful casts.

It’s not a normal fishery. Brays Bayou is an urban stream, subject to all that goes with being an urban stream in metropolitan Houston, Texas. Let’s be honest: it’s a drainage ditch of poop (sewage) water fed by the treatment plants.

After some internet digging, I found the Brays Bayou hasn’t always been sporting the industrial funneled-with-concrete look. Way back in the mid-1800s, Brays was a much more attractive tree-shaded waterway lined with sporadic sand bars and filled with swiftly moving, clean water.

Regardless of the nasty nature of the water, it isn’t uncommon to see a fly angler casting along the banks. A curiosity that stemmed back to my childhood adventures led me to reach out to experienced Houston fly fisherman Matt Phillips for some basic tips for beginners looking to get into urban fly fishing Houston’s Brays Bayou. Here is what Matt had to say:

Continue Reading No Comments

Predators and Prey: The Forum Watering Hole

Lightweight Kayak Fishing PFD | Canoe Vibes | Wingman Life Jacket

I sit back and watch a certain scene play out over and over. The names, people, and outlets are interchangeable; the scene remains the same. One person is thrilled beyond containment, maybe a little naïve, and doing everything humanly possible to feign a reputable level of courage as they open up to a group of strangers, a group of slightly more experienced keyboard warriors ready to attack at the first sign of weakness.

Check out my new kayak I just purchased!
Awesome day ‘yak fishing in the local creek! Pics above.
Watch my new Go Pro video reelin’ in a personal best smallie!

I read, watch, and nod my head along with the worn out choruses that immediately follow.

LOL! You won’t catch me paddling that cheap thing.
I’ve caught fish that make your fish look like bait!
Dude, ever heard of ‘video editing software?’

Continue Reading No Comments

Professionalism: The Day I Ruined Paddling

The Day I Ruined Kayak Fishing | Canoe Vibes | Keeping Paddling Fun
Originally written for YakAngling Magazine.

I took on a deadline-based paddlesport promotional writing project once. I celebrated the opportunity like it was a presidential nomination, packed my underprepared gear bags, and headed to the lackadaisically scenic Houston waterway. I didn’t have the typical Pro Staff resume to presuppose that any of my opinions would matter – assuming that these credentials actually exist and aren’t just self-awarded gold stars based on personal relationships or longevity in the infant industry. But I’ll be damned if I was going to paddle back in at dusk without an opinion formed that would give the intellectually-comical push of a Patrick McManus column, the emotional pull of an old Bill Dance rerun, and the subtly placed sales tactics of a well-crafted promotional product listing.

But the paddling was uncomfortable, forced, and left me sitting at home staring at a blank computer screen, well before the sunset I was supposed to meet at the dock even thought about breaching the horizon. I wasn’t paddling for the thrill of it. I wasn’t fishing for the admiration of the chase, and I wasn’t enjoying the adventure; I was getting bullied around the lake by a piece of plastic that kept whispering in my ear “sell me, sell me!”

Continue Reading No Comments