OPT7 LED Headlight Conversion On Our ROV

Last year, as we began exploring deeper water depths for our research, we began having problems with visibility. We though about what sort of things we could do to improve our situation, and one of the team members told us of how they had done a headlight upgrade to their personal vehicle and the results were great. So, we began looking at the possibility of doing an OPT7 LED headlight conversion on our ROV (Remote Operating Vehicle). Well, we finally got around to the task last month.

As you might imagine, being able to see at extreme depths underwater is critical for a research team. Since we work in a zero natural light environment much of the time, if we don’t have adequate lighting from our ROV headlights, it is impossible to see much of the marine life more than a few feet in front of us. After the OPT7 LED headlight conversion, we are able to see at much farther distances than previously.

opt7 LED headlight conversion

OPT7 LED Headlight Conversion Went Smoothly

Luckily, thanks to the help of one of our researchers who had converted the headlights on his car, along with the information that we found on www.lightheadz.com, our OPT LED headlight conversion went very smoothly. After we had selected the OPT LED’s, we contacted the manufacturer of our ROV, and they assured us that the OPT7 headlights would indeed fit.

Removing the old headlights wasn’t too difficult, either. The hardest part was removing the water-tight enclosures that each of the headlight bulbs are in. The wiring on the old bulbs was very similar to the new OPT7 LED bulbs, so wiring in the new headlights was a snap.

Last week was the first time that we got to test out the new OPT7 headlights. I am extremely impressed with the increased visibility that we now get from our ROV. We can now gather far more data and collect many more species of marine life, thanks to the new bulbs.

Additionally, the lower power consumption of the newer OPT LED bulbs allows us to stay under water longer, if only by a few minutes. But, each time that we are doing a dive, every minute counts, as the dive time is short. Those extra few minutes of dive time allow us to better observe the sea floor. In fact, we have observed several fish and shrimp species in the past month that we haven’t been able to see in years, thanks to the added visibility and dive time that the headlights provide.

OPT7 LED headlights help observe rare fish

We have had such great success with the new lights, that there has been talk among the team of upgrading the research boat with OPT7 LED bow lights, to increase nighttime visibility on the vessel. We will have to check with the maker of the boat to see if an OPT7 LED headlight conversion is possible.

We can’t wait to see what the discoveries we will make in the coming summer months thanks to the new ROV headlights. We’ll be sure to keep you posted should we make any new fish species discoveries in the deep blue.

Installing A SeaStar Solutions Hydraulic Steering System On Our Research Boat

I have worked for many years in the field of marine research. Recently in the last several months, I began to investigate the idea of installing a new steering system on our research vessel. We were having issues with the steering becoming stiff and not a responsive as we need it to be. Our boat is an older vessel and I felt that an upgrade would not only help the mobility of the boat, but the functionality would improve with an upgrade in terms of performance. After many years of being out on the water, the easier and less fatiguing that the steering functionality of the boat can be, the better for me and the other people who steer the boat on a regular basis. So I began to do some research on products for improving our steering system in the marketplace, and I came to one conclusion, that a Seastar Solutions Hydraulic Steering System was the best choice for our boat.

hydraulic boat steering kit

Why We Installed A SeaStar Solutions Hydraulic Steering System

I was looking for 3 items which led me to the choice of a Seastar Solutions hydraulic steering system:

1. Cost – I needed a system which was not going to break our research budget. At around $600, the Seastar Solutions hydraulic steering system was a good fit. Our team performed the installation as well, so it saved a large amount of money on labor, and we had the satisfaction of making sure our boat is well taken care of by our team.
2. Performance – The Seastar solutions hydraulic steering systems have a great reputation of outstanding performance. After installation, the difference in ease of use and movement of the wheel were light years better than our old system. The Seastar name has been synonymous with quality for many years.
3. Quality – Seastar solutions has been in business for almost 60 years. This speaks to the quality of their products. When we purchased the Seastar hydraulic steering system, we knew that we had a quality product which would last for a long time. Seastar has been innovative in the development of these hydraulic steering systems for many years now.

I found SeaKnights to be a great source for researching which boat hydraulic steering kit to buy.

Hydraulic Boat Steering Kit For Our Slow Research Boat

Our research boat is a slow boat by anyone’s standards. For boats with 150HP or less (which is our boat), this BayStar hydraulic boat steering kit is designed specifically for these lower horsepower motors. Very similar to a car, you would not put a $10,000 steering system into a low end car. This hydraulic boat steering kit allows our slow research boat to move fluidly and easily without having to fight turning the wheel. Also, during idling, the boat does not “wander” as with the previous system.

Bottom line for me is that this Seastar solutions hydraulic boat steering kit is the perfect fit for our slow boat and would be a good fit for any boat with 150HP or less looking to upgrade to a quality system at an affordable price. I have had no complaints in the several months since we installed it, and do not anticipate that we will have any in the future as well.

Choosing The Best Ice Shanty for Sale

If you love fishing in the winter, an ice shanty or ice hut is a must for you. It keeps you warm and lets you enjoy this fun outdoor activity without succumbing to the freezing cold. But, with so many options, how do you choose the best ice shanty for sale? We’ll help you decide.

best ice shanty for sale

Having the best ice fishing shanty out in the cold ensures that you never miss the fun of prime fishing season, irrespective of the weather. Over the years these ice shanties have evolved from simple shelter to more technologically advanced gears that we see these days.

Variety of Ice Shanties For Sale

There are mainly 4 types of ice shanties for sale which are popular among fishing experts. They are Windbreakers, Hub-style shelters, Flip-style shelters and the cabin or hut style ice shelters.

Windbreakers are inexpensive, lightweight and easy to carry in any place.

The hub-style shelter is tailor made for the requirements of the ice fishermen. External poles serve as the frame for these ice shelters and they resemble your camping tents.

The third and very popular amongst the anglers is the flip style shelter. These types of shelters are built on a sturdy plastic sled base and can accommodate up to 4 persons.

The fourth option is the cabin-style ice shelters. These are similar to flip style shelters with adjustable poles and plastic sled base. These shelters are the largest models available in the market and accommodate up to 8 persons.

Choosing the Best Ice Shanty

There are various types of ice shacks available in the market and buying the best ice shanty for you can be overwhelming some times. Below are the factors to be considered while buying the best ice shanty for sale that suits you the best.

Thermal Materials: Many modern ice shanties include thermal materials. They help to prevent hypothermia or frostbite in the subzero temperatures and let the sunlight enter inside the shelter. Depending upon the weather condition, this thermal cover is not always required and adds extra weight to the ice shanty’s overall structure.

Size Matters: Size of the shelter dictates how many anglers you’re planning to invite along. It’s feasible that you and your friends can be accommodated in a three-person ice shanty. The extra space will allow you to make room for other equipment.

Weight: If you are a mobile fisherman, weight is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for the best ice shanty for sale. The lighter your shack, the more likely you’ll be able to pack it quickly and go fishing.

So what are the best ice shanties for sale? Below are some of the ice shacks on a budget that we believe to be the best!

Eskimo Fatfish – A Very Popular Ice House for Sale

The Eskimo Fatfish is made from durable fabric meaning you don’t have to worry about the cold coming in, or more essentially, the warm air leaking out. Eskimo has been manufacturing quality fishing gears for more than five decades. They offer the largest selection of ice shanties at affordable prices, which start from $155. They also offer hand ice augers, power ice augers, chisels, and other fishing gears.

Frabill 6180 Predator – A Sturdy Ice Hut for Sale

The best part of the shanty is the whole structure is based on a sled, makes transportation a breeze. The Frabill is a family-owned business that has been producing high-quality fishing accessories since 1938. You can buy variety of ice shanties from Frabill that include flip-style, cabin, and hard-top. They also offer portable aeration systems, landing nets, apparel, bait traps, and other accessories.

Clam 9127 Vista – A Solid Ice Shanty for Sale

If you are looking for an ice shack that not only withstands the freezing cold, but also the gusty wind?Clam 9127 Vista is the perfect choice for you. Made from heavy-duty Denier fabric, this ice shelter is made to last very long.

Otter Outdoors XT650 – A Top Choice For Ice Shacks for Sale

Brave harsh weather conditions with the Otter Outdoors XT650 Ice Shelter. It is roto-molded and perfect for ice fishing. The design of the shelter makes transportation a breeze. This is made with a durable aluminum frame that can resist extreme weather condition.

So, as you can see, you have plenty of options when it comes to ice fishing huts. While you shouldn’t go for the cheapest one that is available, you also don’t require spending a fortune to buy the best ice shanty for your needs.

For more reviews and recommendations, we recommend that you check out the Outdoor Products U.S. Network.

Musky Rods: St. Croix Continues To Impress

During this past summer, I fished with what was possibly the worst musky rod that I have ever used, as well as what was likely one of the best musky rods I have ever used. Today, I’ll detail my experience with a new St. Croix and tell you why they continue to be some of the best musky rods available for sale today.

Not All Musky Rods Are Not Created Equal

While attending a University of Green Bay Musky School in 2016, a student had asked me to test out the musky rod he had bought specifically for that trip. It was a well-known brand, but having never cast a musky rod of that brand I took him up on his offer. The muskie rod loaded nicely and cast rather well, even if it was a bit “tipsy” for my liking.

Once I tried doing a figure-8 with this muskie rod, I was shocked with the musky rod’s very poor performance. In addition to the musky rods soft tip flexing too much to properly handle the big lure, the muskie rod labored through the cold water so much so that I wasn’t sure if I could finish the figure-8. And here we stood on the waters of Green Bay, where over 40 percent of muskie catches tend to come from a figure-8 if done properly. A figure-8 made with that musky rod was simply too much work. I gave the musky rod back to the naive student right after that single cast, told him I thought it was an OK muskie rod, and happily returned to my own musky rods.

Muskie Rods From St. Croix

The problem with inferior muskie rods is that rod “drag” while in the water comes from both too-soft of a tip flexing, and also from there being a wider musky fishing rod diameter and line guides. Bigger muskie rod blanks and components are not nearly as streamlined and therefore they can’t “cut” the water effectively.

muskie rods

St. Croix Rods revolutionized the muskie fishing world several years ago when they introduced the Legend Tournament muskie rod series. Fishermen soon learned that St. Croix’s proprietary (ART) Advanced Reinforcing Technology, (IPC) Integrated Poly Curve and (FRS) Fortified Resin System make a huge difference.

St. Croix Legend Elite Musky Rods

St. Croix raised the bar even further during the 2015 sport and fishing show season by introducing the all new Legend Elite musky rods series. Tiger musky anglers who saw the new musky rods were thrilled at how much more “action” the muskie rods appeared to have, along with how much lighter in weight they were compared to previous Legend Tournament musky rod models. The fishing actions of the new St. Croix Elite musky rods were even faster.

musky rods

More “action” means that the St. Croix Legend Elite musky rods take less effort to cast. A quicker fishing action equates to easier casting effort, and also allows for easier bait or lure manipulation, more reliable hooksets and significantly decreased drag in the water. Due to it’s lighter weight, you will be less fatigued on a long fishing day. The St. Croix Legend Elite muskie rods add better guides, a higher grade graphite, and FRS and ART features that are also on the St. Croix Legend Tournament rods.

Musky Rods: Top Choice

Now, whenever I tiger musky fish, I find that I subconsciously reach for the St. Croix Legend Elites before others. This is most likely due to their add action and lighter weight, which makes them simply more fun to muskie fish with. Also, in some instances, a tiger muskie strike felt like my bait simply getting “heavy”, so fishing with a more sensitive musky rod helped to successfully catch these light-hitting muskies.

The St. Croix Legend Elite musky rods do have a hefty, but worth it, price tag. Each musky angler must decide for themselves whether the benefits of the St. Croix Legend Elite are worth the extra cash. In my opinion, they absolutely are. The wide use and acceptance of the St. Croix Legend Tournament muskie series is what inspired the folks of St. Croix to come out with an even better muskie rod, which they have no doubt succeeded with the St. Croix Legend Elite. Without a doubt, St. Croix has raised the bar yet again and set a new standard for musky rods.