27 April 2014

Unplug an Outboard’s Plugged Tattletail


Made two trips with no water coming out of my outboard’s tattletail, but no sign of the motor overheating. And my ever-handy pipe cleaner could not remedy the situation while I was on the water.

Feeling quite uncomfortable about the situation, at home I put the lower unit into a 55-gallon drum, which I filled with water, fired up the motor, and again tried to unplug the tattletail with a pipe cleaner – no resistance and no success. Then I sought help, and my old pine-cone-kicking buddy, Tom Tramel, suggested I try a two-foot length of weed-eater cord. That I did, and now the motor is peeing nicely out of the tattletail – and I feel much more secure about it!

And that two-foot length of weed-eater cord is now coiled in the boat’s tool-box – a practice I heartily suggest ALL of you follow!





Have I ever mentioned bananas herein? They are reputed to bring terribly bad luck to a fishing trip. ‘Course, that’s just superstition – or is it?

When I lived in the Delta I knew several guys of immense fishing talent who would come close to immediately turning the boat around and heading back to the dock if a banana was discovered aboard. I never had that problem – except once – but I was a firm believer.

The bull reds had recently been raising merry hell in the shallows near the West Delta shoreline, and a guide-buddy told me that they offered an almost no-brainer fly-fishing opportunity. I phoned another friend to line up a trip, and he arrived the next morning – with his brother.

As we idled away from the marina, the brother began grilling me with a lot of questions – so much so that we were well down the pass before I noticed that he had removed a banana from a sack and was about to begin eating it. I then shrieked in terror, snatched the forbidden fruit from him, and tossed it rather violently overboard. His startled look at me confirmed that he did not know the curse he had put upon us.

The day before, the bulls had bit with abandon. That day – in the same place and under the same weather, water, and tidal conditions, we had one tentative strike.

Go figure.



Long-lasting Key-ring

Over the years I have gone through a LOT of key-rings. Most of them didn’t break – they just quit working like they were supposed to. One, however, was exemplary, and after 23 years of stellar service with numerous immersions in Gulf water on wade-fishing trips along the way, I guess its time was about due.

“It” was a 200-pound-test ball-bearing snap-swivel made by Sampo: capacity 11 keys and a well-worn Susan B. Anthony dollar (So I wouldn’t ever be broke!), with room to spare. Way back yonder it cost around $2.00 – its replacement was something like $3.60, and although I bought it around 12 years ago, I doubt I’ll ever need to buy another one. Incidentally, as I walked out of the store where I bought it, I noticed a rack of cast-metal key-rings ornamented with a cloth tag on which was embroidered a fish. Cost: $6.70 – estimated life-span in a saltwater environment, possibly six months. So if you like to drop subtle hints that you fish – or if you don’t but you want an idiot-proof and long-lasting key-ring, try a big ball-bearing snap-swivel. Besides being quite practical, it will give you something to fiddle with when the fish aren’t biting!



*Ice is the key to unlock a stuck ferrule

            Many trips this summer will begin from an air conditioned vehicle and end in a hot boat. During that time the rod’s ferrule will have expanded, and it will be become difficult at best to break it down. Before applying a pair of pipe wrenches to it, take a handful of ice from the cooler and hold it against the ferrule for a couple of minutes. It WILL then break very easily, and I must credit Mr. Dennis Vidrine of Lafayette for enlightening me about this techinque after 55 years of not realizing its pretty obvious effects.



*Simple Fly-rod Holder

            Secure spots for fly rods are scarce in boats. If yours has a fiberglass cap like many bay-boats do, here’s a suggestion that worked for me for years.

The only parts necessary are the plastic “clips” designed to hold VHF antennas in the “down” position. Two are enough – three might be better, but certainly no more are necessary. Mount them on the inside of the boat just below the top of the cap and in such a manner that the rod will be clear of any other stuff that might be nearby. Mount them so that the reel-end of the rod is forward, one clip near the grip and one near the ferrule is good-enough spacing (Be sure the reel-end will not contact the trolling motor when it is laid down!). The rod should snap into the clips securely and be well out of harm’s way.



*A Better Way to Wire?

Many fly-fishing folks have problems with fishing with wire. Here’s an easy and effective solution.

Begin at home by creating a haywire twist in the end of some 60-pound single-strand wire. Then cut it to an overall length of about a foot, and using a large nail or a pencil, bend back the other end in a tight loop about 3 inches long. Make a bunch of these and store them in a zip-lock sandwich bag.

Now create a bunch of 20-pound class tippets with a doubled double-surgeon’s loop from a Bimini twist in one end and a #3 black Berkley Cross-Loc ™ snap on the other end with a Palomar knot. When the need arises all you have to do is loop the class tippet to the loop in your butt-section (You have one there, don’t you?), attach the snap to the wire’s haywire twist, and then fasten the fly to the wire’s loop with another haywire twist. That’s the only “knot” you will have to fashion in this assembly while you are fishing.

And it all casts pretty well, too.



* The next time you see your family doctor, ask him for a full-dose prescription for cipro and/or doxycyclene. Then, if you receive a cut or puncture while fishing in saltwater one day and wake up the next morning with pain and red streaks emanating from the wound, the pills will give you a good head start for preventing a bad case of vibrio vulnificus.

And that’s some bad stuff that you don’t want to mess with!



* Generally speaking – especially in saltwater, “No strikes, no fish – change spots, not flies”.

Generally speaking!



* It really is important to wet your knots before you seat them, and spit does seem to work better than water – I guess it’s slicker and therefore allows the knot to draw up better.

* Use mono with floating flies (and poppers!) and fluorocarbon with sinking flies. Fluorocarbon – especially in stronger breaking strengths – will sink a fly or impair the action of a popper. Or so it seems to me.

* Try to envision how you want your cast to end up right before you make it – just like you would do before a golf shot.

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