Thursday, January 18, 2018

Choosing the Perfect Generator

If there is one thing that the wind storm of October 29th, 2017 taught me, it’s the importance of having a generator to run critical appliances during an extended power outage. If not for a friend allowing me to borrow his generator, 7 days without power would have caused all of the food in my freezer to spoil.

Determined never to be caught in such an awkward situation again, I recently purchased a generator of my own. Purchasing a generator was not a task I took lightly and my final selection was done after completing considerable research on several of the most popular generators on the market. The first thing anyone will notice when selecting a generator is that there are a vast number of makes and models available. Finding the perfect fit is accomplished by determining a balance between, price, weight, wattage, decibel (db) rating and fuel type.

Generators come in two main categories, stationary and portable. Stationary generators are large, powerful, expensive devices designed to run entire households, businesses and hospitals. Portable generators are relatively light, easier on the wallet and of course transportable. In this article, I will be discussing portable generators.

Determining Power Needs 
There is no question that a generator is practical during a power outage but aside from that, generators are also valuable for providing power while tailgating, at “off-grid” cabins, when RV camping or running and charging tools at construction sites. For me, I needed a generator that would provide emergency power at my home and when not needed at home, provide electrical power for a small “off-grid” cabin. Generally, higher wattage generators cost more, are heavier and consume more fuel. For these reasons, it’s important when selecting a generator to first determine how much power (wattage) is need. To answer this question, determine what electronic devices you plan to simultaneously run as well as the wattage of the largest appliance requiring power. Most electrical devices require more power to start than they do to run, so be sure to look at an appliances start-up wattage as well as its running wattage. For my situation, I only needed enough power to run a couple lights (180w), charge my cell phone (25w) and run a refrigerator (700w), coffee maker (1000w), microwave (1000w) and a selection of power tools during construction projects, circular saw (1400w) and table saw (2000w). Since it would never be necessary to run all of these appliances and tools in unison, I calculated that a 2000 watt generator would likely provide me with all of the power needed. The Internet contains charts listing the power requirements of hundreds of different appliances so when determining exact power needs be sure to conduct a Google search for “wattage calculator”.

Fuel Choices 
Generators run on a variety of different fuels including, natural gas, propane, diesel, regular gasoline, mixed gasoline and even solar. To simplify the available choices, two fuels stand out as the most viable options, propane and regular gasoline. Deciding on one or both of these fuels (some generators can run on both propane and gasoline) is really up to the individual. Dual fuel generators cost more, single fuel generators cost less. Also, how often will the generator be in operation, once a year or practically all the time? Gasoline has a shorter shelf life than propane and if planning to pull out a generator 1-2 times a year for emergency power, a consumer could potentially want a propane model. For me, running a generator practically all of the time, for a variety of different purposes, regular gasoline seemed the best option both for its widespread availability and ease of use.

Finding a Balance 
Now with an understanding of my anticipated power needs, I then began looking at the next two critical factors, weight and decibel rating. Since my generator was going to be transported between home and camp, it was important to select a model I could easily load and unload from my truck. Also, because the generator was going to be used at my cabin, I really wanted a model that was quiet, thus maintaining the serenity of the locale.

Making a Final Selection 
After compiling all of the information, I began searching the Internet for a generator that would fit all of my anticipated needs. After looking at several different brands, I finally settled on four of the mostly highly reviewed and consumer recommended models. On this list were the Honda EU2000, $899, 59 db, 51 lbs, Champion 2800, $899, 58 db, 95lbs, Yamaha EF2000isv2, $989, 51.5 db, 44.1lbs and Generac GP2200, $599, 60 db, 46.6 lbs. Given how close all of the generators were in what they were able to provide and the similarities in costs, my final decision was made by eliminating the Champion model because of weight, eliminating the Yamaha model due to price and eliminating the Generac model because it received a lower consumer recommendation than the Honda.

As such, my final decision on a generator was the Honda EU2000, a machine possessing the perfect mix of all of the key ingredients and power I needed. An important additional item is that if not concerned about a generators weight and decibel rating, a considerable amount of money can be saved. For example the Champion 3650 is a loud 68 db and heavy at 98lbs but provides well over 3500 watts at a bargain price of $319.

Cautions and Dangers 
Generators are NEVER to be operated inside an enclosed area, as they emit carbon monoxide that can kill people and pets in minutes. Care should even be taken not to run a generator in close proximity to an open door or window, as dangerous fumes can still enter interior spaces. Generator can safely provide power by either using extension chord(s) to provide power to a homes electronics or by hard wiring directly into a homes fuse box. Portable “emergency” generators (2000w and lower) tend to be used by a majority of homeowners using extension chords. Larger generators (2000w and greater) tend to be hard wired, as this is a safer and more convenient model. Homeowners wishing to hardwire their generator should have the installation completed by a certified electrician and thoroughly understand how the generator is connected to the house’s electrical system and the power grid.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Pike Fishing Primer

I am excited at having been chosen as the new Central Maine writer and I look forward to chronicling my outdoor adventures with family and friends throughout this region for many, many years to come. It is my hope that through this sharing, I am able to provide knowledge and information that enriches the outdoor experiences of my readership and helps nurture our sporting heritage and traditions. Thanks for following along!

Pike Fishing Primer 
Ask most Northern Pike enthusiasts about ice fishing and you will hear a lot of stories about catching them early and late in the hard water season. This is because both during early ice (December) and in the spring (late February), Northern Pike can be found in fairly shallow water, clustered around weed beds and the mouths of tributaries in search of food. By January, however, Pike have moved out of the shallows and into deeper waters in their relentless pursuit of food. This migration makes the job of finding pike a much more difficult endeavor. To turn the odds in your favor, anglers need to first target lakes containing Pike.

Location, Location, Location In central Maine, finding a lake containing pike is becoming an increasingly easier and easier task. This is both unfortunate to angling traditionalists and exciting to those of us who simply like to catch monstrous sized fish. When in pursuit of Pike, it is important to note that not all central Maine lakes are created equal. Some lakes simply produce larger pike than others. Lakes in central Maine that consistently produce trophy sized Pike include: Great Pond, (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 20 ,E-4) Messalonskee Lake, (Map 21 ,E-1) Long Pond, (Map 20 ,E-4) North Pond, (Map 20 ,D-4) and Annabessacook Lake (Map 12 ,C-3).

No matter what time of year, Pike are still ambush feeders. Even though pike may have departed from their classic shallow water territories, they will still congregate around some type structure where they can lay and wait for unsuspecting prey. Structure in deep water includes rock piles or steep drop offs. Study lake maps to find shelfs, corners or dips that interrupt these drop offs, as they provide places for Pike to hide as they wait for bait fish to swim along these breaklines. Spot and Stalk After selecting a promising location, start drilling holes, a lot of holes. Those who lament at this tedious chore would be well served to invest in an ION electric ice auger. Light enough to be lifted with a single finger; this amazing device really simplifies the chore of pounding holes through the ice.

I like to compare Pike fishing to deer hunting. There are stand hunters and there are spot and stalk deer hunters. By drilling only a few holes, anglers are waiting and wishing that a Pike will swim by their jig or bait. Instead of using this passive technique, I recommend actively stalking the Pike by drilling 15-20 holes in varying depths along a section of promising structure. Jig each hole for a maximum of 20-30 minutes to actively locate fish. Using modern electronics, like a flasher, can help find fish faster but anglers can still have great luck by simply being proactive in their drilling and jigging.

Pike will eat almost anything and as such, have been caught by anglers on almost every type of fishing lure imaginable. With that said, however, there are certain lures that tend to work better than others when in pursuit of big, wall hanger Pike. Vertical Spoons like the Swedish Pimple and Acme Kastmaster, are favorites and their performance can be improved by adding a piece of cut bait on one of the hooks, a killer combination. Drop the lure to the bottom, lift, drop and lift 5-6 more times then hold it still. Pike often hit the lure when it stops moving. Often I let the lure sit for a couple seconds, then proceed to give it a slight twitch before jigging again. Often that little twitch is all it takes to elicit a brutal strike. Tip-ups While jigging catches a lot of Pike, anglers should not limit themselves to only one line in the water. When done in unison, jigging and using tip-ups serve up a lethal combination of techniques that put Pike on the ice. As Pike are generally curious creatures, aggressively jigging lures, creating a disturbance around a tip-up will often increase the number of catches in a day dramatically Tip-ups are an extremely effective means of presenting big bait to big Pike.

A sturdy tip-up with a large spool capable of holding 300 feet of line and having a tension adjustment, helps to keep large bait from continually triggering the flag. Generally, the bigger the Pike being targeted the bigger the bait that should be used. A live Sucker or Golden Shiner in the 6-8 inch range will be an irresistible meal to an 18-20 pound pike. Just make sure to anchor it solidly in place, using a 1/2 ounce sinker, so that it cannot escape. Big Pike are notoriously lazy and don’t like to expend a lot of energy in pursuit of a meal. This past ice fishing season, I used dead bait and had a higher catch rate than with live bait. Often with Pike fishing, it pays dividends to mix it up now and then.

Speaking of mixing it up, Google and buy the “Quick Strike Rig for Pike” and watch your rate of successful hook-ups soar! I have checked with my contact at the Maine warden service and been assured that these devices are legal for fishing purposes as long as “both of the devices hooks penetrate a single bait, so as to catch a single fish.” When drilling holes and rigging tip-ups, I like to drill my holes parallel to promising structure and set baits at two feet off the bottom. If after a couple hours, I don’t elicit a strike, I will move the tip-ups to alternate pre-drilled holes in other promising locations. FLAG!

When a pike grabs the bait line typically flies off the spool at such a rate of speed that a roster tail of water flies off the back of the spool. I usually allow the fish to run until it stops. This is when a pike typically swallow the bait. As soon as the line again begins to spool out, immediately set the hook. In deep water this technique is usually very effective in making sure the Pike is well hooked. In shallow waters or in waters with a lot of underwater structure, it is better to simply set the line as fast as possible. Once caught, Pike will try everything they can to break off and will quickly become entangled in rocks, branches, submerged trees and any other structure so they can to escape.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...