Monday, April 30, 2012

Meet the new Maui Jim – Guy Harvey Collection Sunglasses


Meet the new Maui Jim – Guy Harvey Collection Sunglasses



Guy Harvey, world-renowned artist, photographer, scientist and conservationist, has teamed up with Maui Jim to create his own line of unique sunglasses. A few weeks ago, I received a pair of these sunglasses to review and give my thoughts to the manufacturer.

As most of you already know I am a very honest person that calls it as I see it. The Maui Jim - Guy Harvey collections are very stylish looking sunglasses for general wear. These sunglasses definitely fit a slender person’s face very well.

Every pair of sunglasses in the Guy Harvey Collection sports have a really cool looking painting on the inside temples featuring Guy Harvey’s artwork. The sunglasses come with a patented temple design that lets you create a custom retainer by threading a piece of fishing line through the built-in openings located on the arms of the sunglasses. These sunglasses offer sleek lines, a rubberized nosepiece for added comfort, and tall temples that better block the side glare you get from the sun. The lenses are made of SuperThin glass technology that features polarized which are both scratch and impact resistant, and nylon frames. The blue rectangular frames are very lightweight and durable.

Experience Guy's new Maui Jim sunglass collection. The best performing polarized sunglasses on the market look even better with Guy's distinctive art! MSRP $309.99



About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank you for making me more like Him.....


This morning I started my day like I have done for the past few weeks (wish I could say for the past few years), I read a passage from my bible, I check my emails and then I look at Facebook. This morning while reading Facebook something caught my eye that Chief Buice (he will always be the Chief to me, even though he is retired from the front lines) posted -"3 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Pastor". So Pastor Kevin and Pastor Derek thank you for making me more like Him.... Tom, Jr.

** 3 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Pastor **

copied from: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/3-simple-ways-encourage-your-pastor/

FROM  Apr 25, 2012 Category: Articles


Pastors are human too. That means, of course, that they sin, but it also means that they have ordinary human needs. While no one joins the ministry in order to receive riches or accolades, honor or power, while shepherds are called to serve others rather than themselves, such doesn’t mean that they are not given to discouragement.
Most of us, most of the time, love our pastor, and are grateful for him. Few of us, however, understand that he needs encouragement. What even fewer of us grasp is how we can be an encouragement to him. Here are three simple ideas.
First, pay attention to his labors. Though we do not have a duty to be at the church every time the doors are open, one thing that discourages pastors is our unwillingness to simply avail ourselves of his gifts. When the pastor labors in his study to prepare a Bible study lesson, or writes a blog post, and the sheep under his care pay no attention, it is discouraging. It says to the pastor, “I do not value what you do for me and my family. Your efforts have no effect because I won’t even be bothered to read, or to listen. I will download the sermons of celebrities that don’t know me. I will read the wisdom of those with book contracts.” It’s not that your pastor is jealous of the gifts of others. It is instead that he is jealous for you and your growth in wisdom. A less gifted man who knows and loves you is far more potent in your life than a more gifted man far, far away.
Second, speak well of him to others. When you speak well to the pastor, if he is prone to discouragement, it might not have the impact you wish it to have. Such kind words can easily be written off as kindness rather than gratitude, as flattery rather than sincerity. But if word comes back to him, and it will, that you have spoken well of him, to others in the church, or even to those in your community, he will have to take your good word to heart. It might also encourage those with whom you speak to have a deeper appreciation for your pastor, and that’s usually a good thing. Of course the one you should be speaking to the most about your pastor is the Great Shepherd of the sheep. Pray with gratitude for the man Christ has given you, and the man will be encouraged.
Third, pursue godliness. Because he loves you, what your pastor wants more than anything else is for you to grow in grace and wisdom, to become more like Jesus. What is most discouraging for him then isn’t how poorly he may be treated, how badly he may be honored, but how poorly his sheep are doing. He is encouraged most, however, when you are doing well. When he sees your wife’s beaming face, he knows it is because you are seeking to be a godly husband and father, and is encouraged. When he sees you turning the other cheek in your relationship with your pew neighbor, he is encouraged to know that the leaven of the kingdom is spreading among his flock. When he sees you visiting the widow and the orphan, he knows you are practicing true religion, and rejoices.
Don’t, in short, tell your pastor how smart he is, nor how brilliant his sermons are. Don’t tell him how funny he is, nor how dignified. Show him how his labor in showing you Jesus is making you more like Him. That is the desire of his heart, because that is the desire of His heart.

Thanks for reading….. BRANCH

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."


Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The one thing no one will talk about.....



So what type of fishing rod, reel and line should I be using to cast one of these new fangled contraptions called an Alabama Rig (also known as: The Deadly 5, Bait Chaser Rig, The Swarm)? For starters, you’re going to need heavier types of outfits as your Alabama Rig (hope it’s ok to call it this….) fishing rods and reels must be able to handle heavy weighted lures.

It’s not just the weight of the rig which alone can weigh up to 5/8 ounces without any baits attached to it. I add five – 3 ½ inch Paddle Tail Shad in white and five quality jig heads and you will be pushing a total weight in excess of four ounces. Some of us bass fishing guys are just not used to casting a lure that weighs as much as a wet tennis shoe. So, you guys fishing with your light-weight rods – BEWARE. Fishing with a lighter rod, will cause you to make a return trip to your local tackle store to purchase another fishing rod.

In general terms of rod selection for the Alabama Rig, you’re going to need is a minimum of 7' 6" foot fishing rod that is at least medium heavy power. The rod action should be a moderate to fast action. More than anything make sure you are using a fishing rod designed for casting (and retrieving) this particular lure. I like a rod that is light weight, tough and can handle the stress of the weight. Make sure the rod has some nice performance features; which should include a high grade 85 million modulus graphite blank at a minimum, good carbon wall construction, with strength and power. I have been impressed with the Fuji New Concept stainless steel K-guides with Alconite rings. These guides can handle a braided fishing line between 65 and 80 pound without any problems. The reel seat should be comfortable on your hands and be low-profile and a two-piece exposed-blank reel seat with a Soft Touch finish.

When choosing a fishing reel you should remember it will be handling a heavy rig with some very heavy line. You must get a top-quality reel that will be able to give you power and support the torque. I chose a reel that has at least a 6:4:1 gear ratio.  I would suggest finding a reel that is “bulletproof inside and out”! The frame needs to be die cast aluminum and have removable side plates. This allows for a thorough cleaning and allows you to adjust the braking system on most reels.  Lately, the aluminum spools that float on stainless steel ball bearings have become very popular. Quality reels will come with Japanese stainless steel bearing.  Just as important as the bearing, make no mistake a quality drive gear is number-one in my book; the gear does all the work when you really need the torque to reel in that monster bass. A dual braking system on a baitcasting reel will assist you more by minimizing your backlashes. Many companies stated their reel will decrease your backlashes. You are going to backlash your reels when cast this rig, just be prepared. There is no such thing as a backlash-free casting reel! Remember you are only tossing this Alabama Rig not overhead casting it. If you start casting it like a spinnerbait you are not going to last 30 minutes fishing the Alabama Rigs.  I do not like using the slower gear ratio reels on the Alabama Rig because you lose too much power. More than anything chose a reel that is nice and smooth so as not to tangle you’re individual baits in mid-air, and you can crank it for a few hours with minimal stress.


Braided line is better designed to handle the complexity of the Alabama Rig. It cast smooth, has a good retrieval, a very strong hook set, and will not break under pressure. The purpose of all braided lines is to have less stretch, be durable, and overall be able to handle heavy conditions and fish. The heavier line will allow retrieving those Alabama Rigs when they get hung up. I would rather straighten a few hooks than lose a complete rig.

Don’t go out there and waste your hard-earned money on junk! I want you to catch more fish so you will buy more rods, reels, lures and line.  So invest in the quality gear and catch more fish with tons of confidence. The fishing success has been incredible using the Alabama Rig and similar baits. I have heard people from coast to coast catching them. It’s a proven tournament winner bait or lure. Take what I have told you to heart and fish with confidence!

My Alabama rig combo of choice is the Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series II Trigger Rods Model: JML76HT, my reel is the Johnny Morris Signature Series model JMX10HD with a gear ratio of 6.4:1 and my line choice is the Vicious Fishing Braid Fishing Line either 65-80 pound in moss green.


About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 26 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."


Monday, April 16, 2012

Hey Dad, can we go fishing?

Below is a short story I submitted to my friend, Don Barone (The Dude) for his upcoming children stories book to benefit Tackle the Storm Foundation. To read more about the foundation go to:


Hey Dad, can we go fishing?

Every young boy wants his dad to take him fishing, and luckily, my father is a man with three main hobbies; reading, hunting and fishing. I still remember the days stopping by the Suwanee One Stop and buying two dozen salamanders and heading out to Lake Lanier. We lived just 45 minutes south of the lake. I always preferred fishing during the week because the lake on the weekends was claustrophobic with crowds of 9 to 5'er's jammed on lake with their pleasure boats, jet skies and ski boats.

In the springtime, my job was to convince him he needed a day off during the week so we could go fishing. Recently, my mom reminded me of a time when I was pleading my dad so hard that I even offered to buy the bait with my grass cutting money.  I would employ any tactic I could to get out and fish. Most of the time, this was not an especially difficult task since Dad was self-employed. So, while everyone else was working and going to school, I got to go fishing.

Many people said I was a lucky kid and you know what – yep, they were right! Over the years Dad never stopped taking me fishing! Now, it’s my turn to return the favour, “Hey Dad, let’s go fishing next week!”



Thanks for reading..... BRANCH


About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 26 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia and.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Your name is Bubba and you play golf!!!!




Many of you know I took up golf about 6 months ago. But, I am not a big TV watcher so watching golf on TV means nap time in the past! Easter Sunday I found myself sitting on the sofa with my daughter, future son in law and my wife (Kim) watching this dude named Bubba win the Masters. "Bubba" now that's someone I can cheer for and he is a Bulldog....


So as we are watching I hear the commentary mention that Bubba has never took a single golf lesson and has never had his swing computer analysed. Then suddenly a light goes off in my head! Hmmm..... I still have a chance to improve my golf game in the near future because I have had that all done recently.


It's no secret I do not take game of golf as serious as the next guy. I just want to knock the crap out of that little white ball! Trust me I am going to have fun for 18 holes. If I am not having fun I will quit playing this game. Sorry if I offended you want to be serious golfing folks.... not really!

Today I am looking for some assistance in improving my game either on the course or online. So this morning I type in "Improve my Golf Game" and I click on the first link and it says.... "Another thing to consider is to take lessons with a pro or at a high tech store where they are able to see your swing data on a computer to give you feedback on what you are doing wrong along with what you could improve on."


Hey Golf Web Sites, you might want to update your web sites because Bubba didn't do it and he just won The Masters.....lol

Congrads Bubba & Go DAWGS!



Thanks for reading..... BRANCH

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Product Review - Lowrance Elite 5x DSI (Color) Fish finder/Chart plotter


We all know a dollar will not go as far as it use to! Finally an electronics company has come out with a quality product that won’t break the bank. Lowrance is now producing some really nice, cost effective and quality products. The new Elite 5X DSI color fish finder/chart plotter is a great example. These units take the guesswork out of locating fishing hotspots. The screen shows a high quality picture, this will help you locate and catch more fish. The DSI features allow you to tell what types of different bottoms and the structures that are underwater.

The Elite 5X DSI offers you the ability to see exactly what you want to see with a proven depth of up to 200 feet. The 4000 watt peak to peak and 500 watt RMS power allows you to capture images with your boat traveling at speeds of up to 40mph. The best picture for me with this unit has been from 1mph to 25mph.

The Elite 5X DSI offers a dual coverage imaging of 455/800 kHz that has greatly improved the imaging and guaranteed depth. Remember to selectable dual frequencies of 455/800 kHz to give you the option of a wider and deeper scope of view or an enhanced view of a certain location. You now have the ability to see in a range that is wider and deeper than you have ever encountered, but the imaging available with this fish finder is enhanced greatly. You now are looking at almost double the area you were on your older fish finders.

You will find out that the display is one of the best features of the Elite 5X DSI. It offers a 5 inch screen that has a 480 x 480 pixel count. Lowrance SolarMAX 256 color TFT display makes the clarity of the screens picture incredible. This high resolution display allows the images to be shown to you with a superior image. This unit offers a backlit screen so that you can take advantage of the fish finder/chart plotter in low light or at night. When using the night screen try the green color palette for your display, it works better with your night vision when lighting conditions are very dark.

All these new units come with “Trackback” technology. Now you can review your sonar history immediately and even retrace the steps you have already taken on your chart plotter. This will allow you to save time the next time you come back to a certain spot.



With the addition of Lowrance’s Elite 5-x DSI, you can now have a down scan imaging with a fish finder. The most exciting part of this unit is the images of the bottom, different structures, thermoclines, and telling if the bottom is a hard or soft bottom.

With the incredible new standalone Elite-5x DSI imaging fish finder, you’re equipped with a technological new edge improve your success in finding -- and fishing -- hot spots…clearly… precisely…and especially affordably.

Now the down side - The unit does not come with a manual and would be difficult to operate if you didn't have much experience with depth finders. There are some really good training videos online that are free of charge.  Be ready to spend some time on the water learning how to use the unit. Be prepared that this unit will not let you see your drop shot or a jigging spoon, like you did on your older units.  The technology of this transducer in the Down Scan Imaging units is sending the signal so fast to the bottom it will not draw your lures or a pretty fish arch. This unit does draw bait balls and brush/trees better than anything out there for $599.99 (the MSRP and price at Bass Pro Shops)

To learn more about how these units work, I would recommend watching Barry Stokes product training video from YouTube:



About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 26 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 16 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim, live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their two labs “Jake” and “Scout."


Follow me at www.facebook.com/tombranchjr and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr