Filtering by Tag: Orvis Austin
So here it is. I’m actually glad my laziness got the better of me as I’ll be able to do this in one sitting versus boring you all to tears with each individual step. I assumed this would take much longer than it did.
After a bunch of research I decided on a SeaArk 1652 MVT (tunneled hull version). 16’ seemed about the right amount of boat, length wise and the wider the better. The decision to go with SeaArk was made after talking to several smaller boat builders in the Midwest, as they all seemed to, at some point in the conversation compare their boats to SeaArks in build, materials, etc. Alvin and JD had already made a couple trips to Currant River Marine (CRM) and under their advice I called Freddy to see what he had available. Long story short I was soon on my way to Currant River Marine in Doniphan, MO with my engine in the back of the Xterra. After a 16 hour drive they hung the engine, we ran the Currant River for a few minutes, and I signed some paperwork. By 5pm I was checked in to a cheap hotel ready to get a zero dark thirty start for the 16 hours back to Austin.
Freddy and the gang were worth every minute of the drive and their knowledge of lower-unit-less engines and boats is beyond awesome. I look forward to my return for a new engine.
Like I said in the previous post, I was going to do the exact same thing to this boat that I had done to the blue one. The SeaArk had a slight V in the Hull and I decided that needed to be addressed first. I had 4”x 4” 90 degree angle aluminium welded into the ribs to create a flat surface to build the flooring on. The flooring was Cedar planks that I sanded, epoxied, sanded, epoxied, sanded, epoxied and then sanded one more time with a final coat of spar varnish for the UV protection. I love wooden boats. My grandfather used to build them. I couldn’t not have the wood floors again, however, they are a huge pain in the ass to fit. I’m a huge fan of brute force and ignorance and in my diving days solved many problems with the idea that if a hammer wasn’t working a bigger one would. Fortunately, I was able to use the same tools my grandfather had used in his boat building; unfortunately his knowledge and experience did not magically pass through the tools as I had hoped it would. He died many years ago and I thought of him a lot while using them mostly during my many moments of frustration in not being able to beat the wood into submission with a larger hammer. The floors look great, however I can see every moment of frustration when my patience (or lack thereof) got the better of me. Guests don’t seem to mind.
Once the side pieces were cut and fitted to the ribs of the boat the rest went pretty quickly. I also can’t help but to think of my daughter, Poppy, who supervised the last boat, she was only a few months old and was pretty easy to occupy. She’s now almost 2 and has ZERO ability to sit and keep my company.
So that’s the floors. I was, at first, going to do lean bars and knee braces however after the first couple trips I’ve found out they aren’t really needed. It’s my opinion that maybe they create a false since of security for the anglers and without them my clients seem to have a better awareness of themselves and their movements while in the boat as long as I communicate my intentions while on the oars which is better for a lot of reasons. Speaking of the oars, I also didn’t have to create the “frame” like I had before. Oar locks u-bolt directly to the gunwales, which I need to move about a foot forward (boat forward) to give the front guy a little more room.
I, of course, have a laundry list of things to do still with rod holders being the first and some sea deck type stuff for the front casting platform (it gets hot) but since the boat was new there was no need to paint and do all that other nonsense that kept me so busy on the last project. Having the blue boat in my past made doing this boat so much easier, mainly because it was new…
Please contact me with any questions that I most likely did not answer. Alvin, JD and I would be more than happy to share what we’ve learned. We all run different rigs each having their own pros and cons.
Dressing for Success: Or at least being able to stay on the water without suffering from heat exhaustion.
While Alvin and JD get to escape the summer heat of Texas, the rest of us will still run trips in the usual manner, however we’re going to be a little more inclined to do “half days” as opposed to the “full day trip” focusing on the early morning and late evenings.
During the next couple months we (as guides and fisherman) expect the brutal heat while on the water and do everything we can to prepare ourselves for it. Many of us guide and have “real jobs” on the side. Our preparation for the heat of the day not only keeps us fishing and guiding but allows us to not need a day off from our ‘day on the water’ to recuperate. Clients that show up dressed for the sun and heat in my experience catch more fish because they are able to fish hard from the first cast to last cast. Sun block, while an important part of the equation, can only go so far.
While on the water whether I’m fishing or guiding during the summer, you’ll find me covered from head to toe in clothing. Big straw hats, Buff sun masks, long sleeve shirts, pants and (yes, gloves). I’ve hyperlinked what I’m wearing in the picture. It seems to counter common sense that wearing so much clothing when its 105 will help keep you cool but it does. With the advances in outdoor clothing these technical garments create a barrier from the sun and “wick” moister (perspiration) in a way that you actually sweat less and what you do sweat evaporates in a more controlled manner. I’m not going to “cut and paste” a bunch of scientific evidence into this article as it is my experience that when I dress in this manner I’m a better guide for my clients and a better husband/father when my day on the water ends and the real work starts upon getting home.
Proper hydration isn’t something you can fix the day of. We all should be drinking water on a day-to-day basis. Bottled water won’t solve a dehydration or volume depletion problem the day of and while on the water, it can actually create serious complications (wearing my paramedic hat now) by flushing out electrolytes that well, are pretty damn important to being alive. As a medic this time of year we see a lot of people that don’t drink enough water on a day to day basis only to have it bite them in the ass after a full day in the sun. I’ve seen some scary cardiac rhythms associated with dehydration in “normal enough folks” that could have been avoided by just drinking a normal amount of water during the days before and wearing appropriate clothing. Shorts and t-shirts won’t cut it.
I think we all could easily drop a small fortune on gear without out a second thought. Personally it doesn’t take much to convince me that some shiny object to replace my perfectly good “older” shiny object is a must have for an upcoming trip (I’ve got a few coming). If you look at clothing as “gear” than it’s easy to justify a couple outfits for the elements. Rationally speaking it makes absolute sense to wear clothing that will keep you in the game longer whether it’s the trip of a lifetime or an afternoon on the Lower Colorado River with us.
See ya on the water!
I started this a while ago; I remember where I was when I stopped typing. This blog post was going to be about a fun trip I had just returned from with Jef and Clay. As I typed it out that Saturday morning Alvin’s early phone call stopped me from finishing it mid sentence. This still will be about an awesome fishing trip to and awesome place with awesome friends, Alvin’s phone call that Saturday morning was the news that Clay had died the night before, it will be a little different than the original was going to be. Over the last 2 years (I guess) Clay had been pretty tied down with school. The paramedic program Clay had completed (I speak from experience) ain’t no joke. I very clearly remember being told early on that if you wanted to complete this 5-semester program, put everything on the back burner, friends, fun, hobbies, etc, etc, I did it and so did Clay. Clay had come through the pipeline and had been working as a Medic, we took a fishing trip that we had been talking about for as long as Clay had been in school.
We were trying to figure out a trip to New Mexico when Jef mentioned broken bow. Broken what I asked? Beavers Bend State park is a quick 6-hour drive from Austin. Jef set it all up and a few weeks after first talking about it we were cooking up IH-35 headed towards Oklahoma. There are people that know a lot more about this place than I do but I’m typing this and “they” aren’t. Maybe they would argue this but there was nothing tricky about this stream. For what it is spillway creek is awesome as was the fishing. This is a man made 4-mile stretch of water with every type of water imaginable, Pocket water, Fast water, slow water, undercut banks, and big…really big fish.
I’ll qualify how good the fishing was with this. The fishing was so good we didn’t take a single “grip & grin” we all had cameras we just never got around to pulling them out, we were too busy catching fish. Clay and I were fishing a hole when the fish started rising; I sat on a rock and heckled Clay as he caught one after another for about 30 minutes. Normally we would have fished it together taking turns, being up there for a few days allowed us to relax from our “pound it” mentality. I’m happy I sat on that rock and gave Clay a hard time. We fished together and alone. We fished Streamers, Dries and nymph’d. The fish were where they were supposed to be and it was magnificent. We fished 3 days and 2 nights. It was cold, ice in the guides cold. The days reached the lows 30’s and the nights dropped down into the teens. The cabins we stayed in were awesomely adequate. We ate like kings every night, then would settle in around the fire for cigar or 2 afterwards.
Clay was in rare form, or I should say back to his old self. Without the stress of school and now employed he was happier than I’d seen him be in a long time and he kept us laughing the whole time. Take from this what you will, Go check out Broken Bow, Ok. Stay the night and bring a buddy. The fishing was really spectacular and we didn’t really work that hard at it.
You are missed Clay,
Being the greenest member of this group when it comes to guiding I had a less than comfort level with the Guadalupe, professionally speaking. With a couple trips around the corner I asked Alvin to play Client for a day and join me on the Guadalupe on his next day off. First, this says a lot about Alvin. He knew it was important enough to me to do and as the Boss his “open door” policy meant that on his day off (a cold and windy one at that) he would spend it with me on the water and away from home. Honesty, any of the guys would have done it. Good dudes for sure!
So now that I’m done kissing ass I’ll say this. I’ve got no problem rolling into a joint I know nothing about and catching fish. Fish gotta eat, and I’m good enough to catch them, as I did last month in the “middle of nowhere” Kentucky. This “lunch with the boss” was all about AWG clients. I’ve fished the Guad enough to know the “fishing” aspect this trip was more logistics.
With an open seat on the boat and my spot for the day being understood (just row, Winston) I invited a dude who, in my opinion, is Central Texas fly-fishing, Mr Diefische. If you follow Diefische (I think you should) you know that last year he unlocked the Guad and will probably do so again this year. He is a great writer, a solid fisherman and humble, as the day we were about to have is long. Fun dudes to have on the boat for sure!
So we pushed off around 1200 and to make a long story short, 4 hours later we had managed 1 fish. I had 2 dudes that knew that river as well as anyone. We fished flies we knew work and when they didn’t we changed it up to others. We didn’t “throw the kitchen sink” at them instead we focused in finer on what we knew had worked in the past and fished a little harder.
I was out for other reasons than just catching fish, so for me the day was hugely successful. Tail Waters are tricky; they seem to have an on/off switch. This was a good reminder that when the fishing is off the fish don’t care who is in the boat. As we said our goodbyes I remembered what my friend Jake said once “a skunk day will show you more about the character of your fishing buddies than anything else” but we didn’t get skunked so who cares what Jake and those “chi Wulff guys” think.
A good reality check sure does sting sometimes.
I first need to say that I enjoy building my own leaders. Most likely the store bought ones are better. (However, I cut those up too.) Also it gets expensive if you’re as tough on stuff as I am. Many in our community enjoy tying flies, I don’t. I enjoy building my own leaders. My nymph rig is not my own as I’ve cut and pasted what I like from others I’ve seen. It also needs to be said that Indicator Nymphing is pretty new to me. Having not grownup around tail waters I learned other ways.
My biggest issue with bobbers is that they destroy my leaders. Okay, “destroy” is probably the wrong word. My leaders seem to get all jacked-up from them though. You’ll notice a couple things in my rig. First, I run my bobber “inline” and secondly, I use a swivel. If you don’t see it, trust me it’s there. I’ll leave the swivel alone for now to let that digest. The nail knots of old fly-line secure the bobber where you want it on the butt section giving you your desired depth. However, you can make adjustments to your depth by just sliding the nail knots up and down the butt section. I’ve tried this on tapered leaders without much success. I think the declining diameter of the butt section allows the nail knots to slip. For comparison, this leader recipe will be pretty darn close to an Orvis 9’ 5x knotless tapered leader.
I use 3-4 feet of 30lb MAXIMA Ultragreen Mono (0.22”) for my butt section. MAXIMA is great stuff and has the stiffness required for a butt section. I’m pretty diligent on my lengths, for various and complicated reasons, so when I say 3-4 feet it is 3 feet or 4. I cut a longer section to work with and thread the bobber on inline. Then with old fly line tie in 2 nail knots on either side. Make them good and make them tight. I do 5 turns in mine. After you’re done with that, tie your perfection loop in one end and cut down your leaders butt section to the desired length keeping in mind the knot. (I’m a perfectionist and, yes, I will start over if it’s an inch off.)
For my mid section, I use Berkley VANISH Fluorocarbon. It’s supple and a good transition to the tip. With a 30lb butt section I’ll use 10lb test (0.11”) tied in with an improved blood knot. Capt. Dave Hunt, a tarpon guide whom I’ve fished with, instilled in me the importance of choosing the right knot for the right application, which I appreciate. Because of the drop in diameter between the two, I feel the improved is a better choice but I could be wrong. To finish off the mid section I use a swivel.
If you’ve never used a swivel or a tippet ring you should give it a shot. I am constantly breaking off, knotting up, cutting back…etc…etc… my tip section. The swivel helps with the cold finger tie-in if you have to completely redo your flies because of a tree, besides the extra little weight is good and I promise the fish don’t care. The business end of the rig is completely up to you.
For my tip section, I will tie to the swivel 1-2 feet of 4lb Berkley VANISH (0.009”) then my Frogs Hair Tippet 5x with a good ole’ double surgeons knot. I like the Frogs Hair because I get a deal on it and I’m nerdy. The gamma technology and their proprietary process is fun to read about and just like the Vanish it is made in the USA.
So there ya have it! Take it or leave it, use it or don’t. Just go fishing.