November 10, 2006

Pack It Up

I hate to say it but I think today might have been my last day of the season fishing open water. I was fly fishing the Otter Tail River this afternoon for walleyes and pike, and only managed to hook up on two small hammer handles. I admit that it was pretty slow out there. While a cold front was rolling in, I watched ice starting to reform around the edges of the pool after the warm week we had melted down most of it. The cold breeze didn’t bother me much this afternoon, and neither did the ice freezing up on my line and guides. I had come prepared and brought my insulated pants, fleece cap, and windproof fingerless gloves. No, it was the sense of the changing seasons and the urgency that I should be fishing through the ice, not in open water. Even though I was all alone in on that river, in perfect solitude, my mind was preoccupied and the day was not enjoyable as it should have been. Sometimes, with my busy work schedule, these days on the water are few and far between. As I was standing by my truck cutting the fly from my leader, packing up, reflecting, I should be grateful for every chance I get to spend on the water, standing in a river, waving a stick.

November 6, 2006

Portable Mods

I’ve been tinkering the past few weeks. I’m in the process of modifying my portable ice house. There have been a lot of good ideas being shared by the members of Fishing Minnesota. I am fortunate to have that resource to bounce ideas back and forth. After much thought, I decided that I want a partial insert to install in my flip-over. While, many FMers opted for a full-length insert in their sleds, I wanted something that would still be able to utilize the open configuration of the sled, and have the option of easy removal. I fabricated an insert that will fit about one third of the length of my sled. It is constructed from ¾” plywood and I carpeted the entire surface with some excess indoor/outdoor from my front porch. I opted to install two 12V power points and two LED switches. I mounted the switches and power points on a roughly 4” x 6” aluminum flat mounted on top of a cut out in the insert. This allowed for easier installation of the threaded collared switches. I installed a couple of brass plates to serve as a common ground and power junction to a fuse block for the connected accessories. The fuse block runs to the switches. I’ve installed two strings of 6’ long LED rope lights along the tubing hoops on the ceiling of the shelter. I am also going to install two 12V computer fans on the ceiling as well, to help circulate heat. I will finish the ceiling with some reflectix insulation.