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The Year N Review 2018 | Relive The Unforgettable Moments

Relive some of the hunting, fishing and outdoor highlights of 2018 in this Year N Review special edition of the N1 Outdoors® N1 Minute™.

Join us as we take a look back at the unforgettable moments of 2018… stick with us for a special Year N Review in this N1 Outdoors N1 Minute….

2018 held some great N1 Moments for us here at N1 Outdoors…

From Hybrid fishing on Clark’s Hill Lake… to fly fishing in East Tennessee… we even noodled some catfish… I got to share in the joy of helping my business partner, Maston, find an archery buck he thought may never be found… And my other business partner, Josh, shared his secret deer mineral recipe with all of you.

We got to work with the phenomenally talented wildlife artist, Daniel Cliburn, on a new deer hunting shirt design… and we also got to talk shop with a world record holder.

But, more than that, we got to share in your N1 Moments as well.

And that’s what makes moments outdoors so special… sharing them with friends and family.

Thank you to those who read and watch our content and purchase and wear our apparel. We hope you have a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and a Happy New year. We hope 2019 is your best yet, and remember… where the moments happen…. we’ll meet you there… we’ll see you next year.

outdoor brands arrows side by side

Are Outdoor Brands Worth The Extra Money?

So, what does price say about quality when it comes to arrows? Is a household name brand better than a lesser known one? Does a higher price tag equate to better arrow flight and more successful archery hunts? For that matter, does the name brand matter in any outdoor activity?

Well, in an attempt to answer that question, I’ll use a few examples. First, I’ll start with fishing (yes, fishing… just wait for it.)

The Price Of A Boat Doesn’t Catch Fish

I grew up camping and fishing in the High Uintas of Utah with my father. My father taught me how to love and enjoy the outdoors and how to clean out the fish you catch. There were also a few memories I will never forget.

My Pops had an old sun-dried yellow, aluminum boat with a 25 hp Evinrude motor that we putted around in. We would spend a week up there, doing nothing but fishing and filling the stringer.

outdoor brands fishing boat

When I was 9 years old, a guy saw us back up our old Suburban and that ole yellow boat into the water. He yelled, “Damn, that is an expensive rig ya got there!” Of course, he was being extremely rude with his comment, laughing as he backed his expensive speed boat into the water.

My dad just said, “some people…”

We fished for about four hours or so that day and filled up the stringer with 22″ rainbows and life was good. 

When we went back to load the boat, my dad yelled across the water to the guy with the expensive boat, “You catch any?”

The man answered, “No, the bite has been slow.” My father replied, “I hope that boat was worth it” and then pulled out our stringer. The look on that man’s face was priceless!

We laughed and went to camp and enjoyed the rest of the evening cooking up the fish we caught (in our “expensive rig”) on the camp fire. 

Your Ford Could Be A Chevy

outdoor brands chevy truck

Perhaps you’ve seen the test drive commercials where a truck’s identity is kept secret from the driver. The test driver takes it for a spin and says “it has to be a Ford.” But, then to the driver’s surprise… it’s a Chevy!

It’s the same with many of the products in the outdoors industry. There are many awesome products out there. Some are affordable and some not so much. And, of course, the more expensive item is always better quality. Or is it?

Higher Price = Better Quality… Sometimes

Many believe that better quality and performance live where the higher price tag is. In the gun industry, this argument holds up to some degree. But, at the end of the day, all guns travel the same whether you buy a $250 12-gauge pump shotgun by Browning, or a $900 12 gauge shotgun from Winchester. Both have the same pump action, same gauge, and same function. Both will serve the same purpose of taking wild game.

So why the cost difference? Could it be that it’s all just marketing?

20 Guns, 60 shells And One Duck

outdoor brands duck in flight

One Saturday morning in November, I went out waterfowl hunting  on a dyke beyond the city I lived in. When I got there, only one other guy had shown up. I thought to myself, “Hey, this may be a good morning!”

As soon as it was shooting light, a group of 20 guys (probably all from the same football team) showed up and parked right next to me. Most of the crew had 12 gauge semi-automatic Beretta shotguns and were ready to take some game. At the time, I had a model 1300 Winchester 12-gauge pump.

It didn’t help matters that none of them would get in the reeds to hide (and it didn’t matter cause there was so many of them!)

One kid yelled “DUCK!”

 

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All 2o of them, including myself, faced north, and sure enough, one duck was coming in slow like he was about to land. I then got to experience 20 men unload all three shells from each gun. It was like being on the line at the Alamo!

Not one person peppered that duck! I pulled up to shoot after all that ammo spent from the others, shot once, and sacked it.

They all looked at me like I had committed a crime.

Needless to say, I was getting more value out of my $250 gun then all twenty of them who had a $1,500 gun (and I didn’t use near as many shells:)

Outdoor Brands Shouldn’t Make Or Break Your Fun

Whether it’s guns, bow hunting arrows and broadheads or outdoor apparel, I think we all could say that we are guilty at some point or another of being caught up in the allure of brand name gear. For example, some bow hunters are willing to spend $185 for a set of six arrows, when there are arrows on the market for only $55 for a set of six. And, if compared to each other, just like in that Ford and Chevy test, you might not even be able to tell the difference.

Enjoy the outdoors. At the end of the day you should not be afraid of shooting your bow at longer distances, just because you’re afraid to lose a $25 arrow. You should feel comfortable shooting at various yardages ranging from 10 yards up to 85 yards, as long as you are taking an ethical shot that will give you a good chance of a clean kill.

Some bow hunters won’t shoot past 70 yards while practicing, while some ethical hunters will shoot further, just in case that dream buck walks out and you may not have another chance of getting any closer.

The Outdoors Should Be About The Moments

As we make unforgettable memories outdoors, hopefully we can focus on getting more people engaged and enjoying themselves more than we do on what brand of equipment we have. 

So, don’t get caught up in the brand name of your outdoor gear. After all, the outdoors should be fun, affordable and enjoyable. 

austin hurst pic

black crappie flyrod picture

Black Crappie And White Crappie | Know The Difference

Whether you are a master at crappie fishing or just catch the occasional white or black crappie, they are exciting fish to catch as well as to eat.

But have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between the different species of crappie?

There are seven different species of crappie:

  • Triploid (Magnolia) crappie
  • Gold crappie
  • Stock hybrid crappie
  • Natural hybrid crappie
  • Black-nosed crappie
  • White crappie
  • Black crappie

The two types of crappie we will focus on in this article are black crappie and white crappie.

Basic Crappie Info

Before we explore the differences between white and black crappie, let’s take a look at some basic information about crappie.

Crappie are freshwater fish and are part of the sunfish family. They can be found in various waters in the US and Canada.

Crappie have a sustainable population due to the equilibrium that exists between their reproduction rate and the rate at which they are harvested each year.

Crappies love to eat smaller fish that exist in their habitat. When fishing for crappie, you can use a wide variety of baits, including minnows and jigs.

Although crappies can be found in smaller schools by anglers, they are typically known to move in large schools. 

Black and white crappie are similar in many ways, but there are some key differences that will help you differentiate between the two species.

Black Crappie

Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) are found in fresh waters, mostly in North America. They are typically found in bodies of water with very low current, where they hide under timber, thick weeds and other vegetation. When fully grown, it’s not uncommon for black crappie reach weights of two pounds. 

Here are some other interesting black crappies specs:

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Black crappie have a distinguishing darker pattern than white crappie.

Black Crappie Size

Black crappies that are caught will typically measure in length from 4 to 10 inches, but can get much larger. The current record for the longest black crappie is just over 19 inches. an be anywhere from about five inches to over 19 inches. 

Weight

Black crappies typically weigh ¼ lb to about ½ lb but they are also known to reach up to 4 lbs.

Food

Black crappies are known to feed in the early hours of the morning. They also feed during the midnight till about 2 am. They often feed on insects and crustaceans and larger black crappie will feed on other fish such as minnows and shad. 

Reproduction

Black crappies are renowned for their fast reproduction rates. Therefore, after each spawning season, black crappie population increases significantly in lakes and small ponds.

Female black crappie are known to produce at least 11,000 eggs and can produce in excess of 180,000 eggs. As soon is spawning is over, the male black crappies secure the nest for about two to three days until they hatch.

Habitat

Black crappies live in lakes, water reservoirs, and large rivers. They love to reside in low-velocity areas with clean water and love to have an abundant cover like vegetation. They also love sand bottoms which are located in freshwater bodies.

Life Expectancy

Black crappie mature at an age of two to four years, but the typical life span lasts about seven years. 

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White Crappie

Like the black crappie, white crappie (pomoxis annularis) are typically found in various freshwater bodies in North America. White crappie are also similar to the black crappie in terms of weight but tend to be slightly longer than black crappie. White crappie tend to be found in large schools and often hide under rocks or in areas of heavy vegetation. 

White crappies are known to attain maturity within 24 months and some reports reveal that they can survive for about six years on the average.

Here are some white crappie specs that might interest you:

white crappie picture
White crappie have a lighter color than the black crappie.

White Crappie Size

Mature white crappies typically measure in length from 9 to 15 inches. 

Weight

White crappies basically weigh ¼ lb to about ½ lb, however, according to the IGFA, the all-tackle world record white crappie is 5 lbs. 3 oz. 

Food

Juvenile white crappie feed on zooplankton and insects, but once they mature, will often feed on smaller fish, such as minnows, as well as crayfish.  

Reproduction

Spawning for white crappies occurs in the months of May and June at a water temperature of 56°F. Female white crappies can produce from around 5,000 eggs to over 90,000. Male crappies keep the nest secure by guarding it. 

Life expectancy

White crappie can live for up to nine years.

Habitat

You will mostly find white crappies in large rivers, water reservoirs, and lakes. White crappies have a very high tolerance for murky waters and can be spotted in areas which have low velocity like pools and also river backwaters. During the morning hours and in the evenings, white crappies are usually located in the open water. However, during the day, white crappies prefer to stay in waters that are quieter, shallower, with surrounding structure.

Black Crappie Vs. White Crappie (The Differences)

Now that we’ve covered some basics about both black and white crappie, let’s look at some ways that they differ.

white crappie dorsal fin spines
White crappie have 5-6 spines on the dorsal fin, whereas black crappie have 7-8.

Coloration:

Coloration is the most obvious difference between black and white crappie. Black crappie have a darker look while the white crappie appear lighter in color and this is the reason why they have those names. However, while many think that the “white” and “black” refer only to their appearance, it more specifically refers to the markings of each fish. 

Body Markings Of White Crappie And Black Crappie

The body markings on white crappie and black crappie differ. White crappie have vertical “bars” and have brighter stripes running directly from their upper body down to their lower body. However, black crappie have much darker body markings that do not adopt a precise pattern on its sides. The black crappie’s black markings appear to be more random, or speckled.

Length

What seems like a difference in length between black and white crappie is often more about shape. Black crappie typically have a more compact, rounder and flatter body while white crappie are more elongated. 

Dorsal Fins

The dorsal fins are a major determining factor. If you look closely, a white crappie typically have 5-6 spines on their dorsal fin, while a black crappie will have 7-8. 

Fin Position

The position of the dorsal fins from the head of white crappies is somewhat farther away, while in the black crappies, the dorsal fins are positioned nearer to the head of the fish.

crappie with damaged dorsal fin
Crappie themselves are predators, but they are also preyed upon. This picture shows a black crappie with what was probably an attempt by a blue heron or eagle to snatch it out of the water.

Habitat Preferences

Many experienced crappie anglers will say that there is a higher possibility of finding white crappies hidden in bodies of water that contain a large number of rocks or thick vegetation, while black crappies seem to prefer clearer water containing sand beds.

Mouth Structure

White crappie have a larger mouth than black crappie. Another difference in mouth structure is that the mouths of black crappie turn more upward than white crappie.

In Conclusion:

While any kind of crappie is both fun to catch and also delicious, we hope this article has provided you with some helpful information on how to tell the difference between them. Whether your crappie fishing adventures find you chasing white crappie or black crappie, we hope you get to put a hook N1 and have a “crappie” day!

Be sure to check out our N1 Outdoors® fishing and hunting apparel!

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