Fly Fishing Traditions



Fly Fishing Traditions Blog and Website
"It's about Life & Fly Fishing"

Friday, December 4, 2015

Tale of Two Days



This is a tale of two days on the Lower Yuba river, the "Opener" and the "Day After". The Lower Yuba river above the Parks Bar Bridge opened up on December 1st after being closed for 3 months. The river above the bridge is closed to protect spawning Chinook Salmon. The "Opener" is a much anticipated event that most local fishers have blocked out on their calendars, called in sick or just plain played hooky from whatever they should be doing. In other words there are a typically a lot of anglers on the river. This story is about a bunch of fish to the net on the "Opener" versus "A Few" on the next day. I'm not much of a fish counter so let's leave the counting to that.

Here's how the opening day went. I made it down to the river early with my good fishing buddy "Frank Rinella". We've fished the "Opener" for many years, it's sort of a ritual. Something we both look forward to. We hit the river at about 7:30 and took a survey of the river where we launched the boat. There was a drift boat with two wading anglers in a different run a fair distance above where we were. There were two anglers fishing the tailout of the run we were in. I noticed 2 more anglers hiking upstream. We really had one choice, get it the boat and fish the run right in front of us. This run is known for the spawning beds for salmon just upstream at the head of the run. This run goes from the drop off at the base of the riffle upstream to a nice run that is about 5 feet at the deepest and then tails out. It is about two football fields long. We had about 200 yards to fish for ourselves. Pretty darn lucky.

We had to rig up and get to fishing before the crowd closed in on us. Frank set up a nymphing rig with a Troutbead and a San Juan Worm and startted fishing. I had to put my rod and reel together and get set up. Franks was into fish immediately. It took me 10 minutes to get rigged as I kept getting distracted netting his fish. As far as my rigging up I really had a couple of things I could do, but there were salmon beds upstream and a few salmon in the riffles splashing around. So the choice was obvious to me. My Egg Rig!

I tied up a three fly rig. I started with a 9 foot 3x tapered leader, extended with 3x Fluorocarbon tippet to a painted Troutbead, natural color. I tied another 18" piece of 3x Fluorocarbon and tied on a black rubberleg stonefly, I then added another piece of 4x fluorocarbon and added a size 18 Flatulator, (BWO). When all tied up the flies are about 14" to 16" apart. I then placed two decent sized split shot at the first tippet knot above the Troutbead. This is sort of my standard rig for fishing the runs below most any spawning beds. The egg goes closest to the leader, followed by by an attractor and then a imitative mayfly on the point. I mostly fish this rig without an indicator and just stay tight to the flies. I often add an indicator to the rig but I typically start out "Tight-Lining".

Once I got rigged up Frank took a break and watched me fish. I had similar luck. We fished this run and found a bunch of willing fish. They slashed at the Troutbeads at will. Quite a pod of fish. They averaged about 12" to 13". 3 out of 4 took the beads, I caught 2 on the Stonefly, Frank caught a couple on the San Juan Worm. Not one on the mayfly. The fishing was fast until the sun rose over the ridge and shined on the river. It slowed down almost immediately. Not that it stopped, it slowed down. We fished this run and headed downstream in the boat. The rest of the day turned into a fish here and a fish there and then shuting down at about 2:00.

The summary for the "Opener" was great, a bunch of fish to the net, mostly in the first 2 hours,  mostly about 13" (the largest about 15"-16", mostly on Troutbeads. Fishermen all over the place and hard to find open water.

So on to Day Two. Frank and I decided to come back the next morning and fish until about noon. Basically start at the same spot and get there about a half hour earlier. We expected the crowd to thin out considerably and not be as crowded as the "Opener". We got there as planned, rigged up pretty much exactly as the day before. No one on the river. We had the river to ourselves, at least early on. We started with high hopes, we fished the same run as the day before, we got our clocks cleaned. Not a bump. This was after changing rigs, flies, techniques the works. We could not buy a fish. (actually 1). We took our lumps and headed down stream. The count for the half day was three. Three is easy an easy number to keep track of. A Bunch is hard.

So, the tale of two days, A bunch to a couple. I guess that's fishing, it's also about sore lips and  fishing pressure!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trinity River Steelheading

I had the chance to fish the Trinity River a while back with my long time friend Blake Larsen and another old friend and guide Mike Hibbard. Mike typically guides the Trinity from mid September through January or February every year. He is one of the most respected guides on the Trinity River. We had a great couple of days to say the least.

Here is a video of our trip with Mike Hibbard. Thanks again for being the quintessential steelhead guide. You can contact Mike at www.mikehibbardflyfishing.com

 
Trinity River Steelheading from Clay Hash on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Which Stance for Fly Casting

The stance you use for casting can influence the movements that follow, such as how you move your casting arm and add force with your shoulder and body.  As with grips, each stance provides somewhat different advantages and disadvantages.


The Squared Stance


When starting from square one with beginning students using a squared stance, facing the target without dropping either foot back is a good idea. Why? The biggest advantage of this stance is its simplicity in relationship to the alignment of the casting arm.  Without moving your body, you can easily attain an elbow-forward arm position throughout the casting movements.  Such simplification of primary movements is important in achieving the consistency for which we strive and a building block for good form. Once good form and timing is achieved the squared stance is the preferred stance.


The Casting Side Dropped Back Stance


Another good option is the casting side dropped back position. This is often the second step for beginning casters once they have their elbow- forward arm position form down. If right handed, you drop your right foot back, as if preparing to throw a ball. It is recommended to start the students with the casting side dropped back 45 degrees.  The main advantage of this stance is in developing timing.

With the casting side dropped back position you are able to watch your back cast to see when to start the forward cast.  One thing to watch out for is that this stance may lead to rotating that side forward during the forward cast. This additional body turning sometimes rotates a caster’s arm and fly rod out of alignment, thus angling the fly line away from the intended direction. Having to realign your arm and rod for the forward cast can also complicate the movement, particularly if using an elbow forward half-throwing motion. So be aware and don't lose good form.

Although timing can be taught in various ways, it is said that most students, in fact, do learn timing best by turning to see the fly line straightening in back. However, it is probably best to have them drop the casting side back just enough to see the back cast, a peak so to speak, then return them to a squared stance when the timing has been corrected. Remember turning to watch a back cast is usually done when practicing, and seldom done when we’re out fishing.  I heard the expression. “Watching your back cast is bad form, except in bear country”.



If you’re casting a slow full flexing action rod, like a bamboo or older graphite, opening up your stance can be used with a lengthened hand movement for better form. 


How About the Stance for Long Distance Casting?


When it’s time to start practicing long distance casting it’s time to go back to dropping the casting side back.  Watching the loops coming off the rod tip on a back cast is the best way I know to learn how and where to stop the rod butt to form small loops in a long line on the back cast.  By this time, arm alignment should be fairly well ingrained.  This open stance offers another distance advantage, inviting long hand movements for a wider casting arc.


The Casting Side Forward Stance

Occasionally I’ll see a person casting to a specific fish and attempting to get a really accurate cast, using a stance with the casting side and foot forward, rather than back.  It is said that turning the casting side forward enhances accuracy by bringing the hand and arm that directs the cast into closer alignment with the eyes and the target.

Summary

It’s not a bad idea to start students with the grip and stance that works best for most people.  If you are a beginner, try the squared stance, with your thumb providing support behind the forward cast.  If you find yourself having trouble with timing, drop your casting side back enough to make it easier to watch your back cast.

If you are more experienced, I would encourage you to experiment with these grips and stances, considering the trade-offs in each change you make. Perhaps you will find something that works better with your cast than what you have been doing.

March Browns on the Lower Yuba

The March Brown Mayfly is sort of a ghost hatch on the Lower Yuba. some years you'd never know they exist and the next year there they are. This is one of the years that they are happening. How do we know. The best indication is when you spot clouds of dancing male march brown spinners hovering over the water. They are the big ones. The females are smaller. You will often see these spinners bouncing above the runs. The females The spinners that you see hatched a few days earlier.



The duns hatch and hang around the bushes and trees for a few days and then they molt into sexually mature spinners.  Their colors darken, their wings become much clearer and in the case of the males their tails and forelegs elongate. They mate and the females return and drop their eggs.

March Brown Nymphs

The march brown mayfly typically arrives with the onset of spring. It is a "clinger" mayfly and clings tenaciously to rocks in the fast water. Does the name march brown mean that the fly hatches in March, not necessarily. In our river it is more of an April event and the conditions need top be just right. Big spring storms with high flows happen and you'll never know there are march browns in the river.



In our river the march brown nymphs are very dark brown and almost black. That doesn't mean that they are available to our trout very often. They have the ability to cling to rocks like no other. They also tend to hide under and in the crevices during daylight hours. They venture out at dark They are adapted to stay out of harms way. But when the nymphs become mature they sport large dark wing pads they start to get restless as they begin to contemplate emergence. They start to migrate to slower water along the edges. Guess what, they loose they foothold and end up in the drift. This is when fishing march brown nymphs are the most effective, basically prior to emergence.







Poodle Sniffer - Black Caddis


Here's another fly tying video tying the "Poodle Sniffer" pupa to match a Glossoma Caddis

Black X-Caddis

Here's video from Blu Ribbon Flies on how to tie a Black X-Caddie

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Varnishing

Well, I've got the boat flipped back right side up and back in the paint booth. I've been taking a break from the boat for the last 3 weeks or so as I built a pole barn/shed out behind my shop. My brother Craig and his wife Toni came out and helped me build it. The weather in Idaho had shut him down so they came for visit and gave them a job helping me. I'll have a post about that process on another day.

So, right now I'm about three quarters of the way to a minimum of six coats of varnish to apply to all exposed wood parts on the boat. Ugh! I'm four coats into it and all I can say is you have to be patient and take your time. You can't be in any hurry. There's lots of prep, masking and sanding to the process. But most importantly, is the actual technique involved with the applying of the varnish.

Preparation

The first thing I had to do was to mask off the painted sides. I purchased a special 3M Scotch Blue Painters Tape for Delicate Surfaces #2080. This tape can stay in place for 60 days. I used this to mask a line right under the gunnels. I then used  48" painters masking plastic and taped it to the 1st layer of tape at the gunnels. This protects the entire paint on the exterior of the boat.

I next masked of the interior floors areas and sides that are painted with Durabak truck bed liner. The tape doesn't stick real well to the Durabak but I did the best I could.

Sanding

The Process. All the mahogany and oak parts on the boat have been coated with at least 3 or 4 coats of epoxy prior to starting the varnishing. The varnish job will be a minimum of 6 coats. I will work towards applying the initial 4 coats of varnish which will provide a solid varnish base coating. Once the 4 coats are applied I will need to do a real complete sanding of everything to make sure the surfaces are flat. It is necessary to wait for this heavy sanding as you need enough mil thickness to accomplish the flattening. Four coats should do it. Once the flattening sanding is done, I need to put on at least 2 or 3 finish coats of varnish. Sound pretty simple hey?

The initial sanding prior to the first coat of varnish and the next four coats is done using 220 grit sandpaper and/or a Scotch-Brite pad. I used 220 grit with a sanding block on the flat surfaces and the Scotch-Brite pad on the curved surfaces. I used the sanding block with the Scotch-Brite pads where I could.

Scotch-Brite pads come in various grits. I have primarily used the red pads (Fine about 300 grit). The Grey (Ultra Fine about 400 grit) will come into play on the final two coats. The sanding between the coats is mainly a scuffing to bond the next coat.

Sanding Reality - The main thing I have learned at this point is how the temperature of your workplace really affects the process. My shop has been getting down to about 45 to 50 degrees F at night. I keep an electric oil heater going in my finishing booth days and nights and have been able to maintain about 55 to 60 degrees F in the finishing booth. The main thing that the lower temperatures does is to delay drying time. The lower temperatures really only effect the time it takes to dry. My drying times between coats is running about 48- 72 hours. To be really dry it needs 72 hours. When is it dry enough?

Good question. You can "Hot Coat" varnish coats if the varnish is still soft without sanding. Sounds good doesn't it. I have been doing a sort of in-between. Let's call it a "Warm Coat". I've been letting each coat dry for about 48 hours and then using the 220 grit with a block to knock down the "nibs' and then block sanding with the red Scotch-brite pad. At 48 hours the coat is still soft enough the it clogs the sandpaper, but works well with the Scotch-brite pads.

To be able to sand with sandpaper the varnish needs to be hard enough to create fine dust and not clog your paper. In my case this will take a minimum of 72 hours, maybe longer. Being I am currently at my fourth coat I'm letting the 4th coat completely dry before sanding it flat.

Varnishing

Let me just start out with, "Varnish is intimidating as hell". There are hundreds of articles on the web with horror story after horror story about applying varnish. There are 4 important rules for varnishing that I have gleaned from the web and from to talking with experienced painters. Here they are and believe me I learned them the hard way.

(1) How you treat the varnish in the can
(2) How you get the varnish out of the can
(3) The brush that you use
(4) Your brushing technique

How You Treat the Varnish in the Can

Don't shake varnish! Varnish should always be stirred, stirred slowly enough that you don't whip it into a froth. If you shake the can or stir too vigorously you will be incorporating air into the varnish. Air in varnish is bad. You must stir varnish if you are using satin varnish as it has flattening agents that must be thoroughly incorporated.

If you are using gloss varnish you do not need to stir the varnish other than to incorporate added thinner.

Decant Varnish into a Smooth Sided Container

Do not apply varnish directly from the supply can. If you dip the brush into the can and then "scrape off" the excess on the lip of the can you will send a cascade of frothy varnish back into the can. This froth will be picked up with the next brush load, carrying a cargo of air bubble to your varnished surface of the wood. Transfer the varnish from the can into a smooth sided plastic container.

Thin varnish prior to application. I learned this the hard way. Thinning a newly opened can is impossible since there is no room for the added volume of thinner. Further thinning in the can is subject to inaccuracies since you can't easily determine how much varnish remains in the can. Only by decanting the varnish into a separate container can you accurately add the appropriate volume of thinner. The first coat of varnish should be thinned by 20% to 25%. (This does not apply if you are applying varnish over sanded flattened and epoxied wood.) Subsequent coats should be thinned by 5% to 10%. Thin after you have decanted the varnish into the application container.

Remember, the whole point of thinner in varnish in the first place is to make it easier to spread. The varnish needs to be thinned to adjust flow-out to current temperatures and humidity conditions.

By thinning varnish you are simply adjusting the viscosity of the varnish. Added thinner makes the varnish easier to apply by reducing the viscosity so that it will flow out and level better, thus allowing air bubbles to float to the surface and pop before they become encapsulated in the curing film. Brush marks will also level faster when the varnish is properly thinned.

One thing that lower temperatures in my shop contributed to is a thicker application of varnish. It has made keeping a "wet edge" difficult. I placed my can in hot water prior to starting but it just doesn't stay warm enough. Thinning will help solve this problem.

Use a Natural Bristle Brush Made for Applying Varnish


A varnish brush should have a good "reservoir" so as to allow you to "flow-on" a good quantity of varnish before you need to return to the container for more. Here's a contradiction to what you may hear. Never use a synthetic bristle brush or a "foam brush", or a paint pad.

A good test of a proper varnish brush is to dip the very tip of the brush into mineral spirits. If the brush wicks the mineral spirits up into the bristles, its a good brush. A "Badger Hair" brush is often recommended.

Brushing Technique

The brushing technique is very important. The varnish should be applied by "flowing" it in one direction. Never brush back and forth! If you are right handed begin at the left of am imaginary area about 12"  to 18" square. Make a single long stroke from top to bottom (across the grain). of your imaginary square applying light to moderate pressure. The bristles of your brush should flex slightly. They should not bend to the ferrule of the brush. Then, returning to the top of your initial stroke and using the same brush stroke, begin to drag from the top down. Once you have filled in your imaginary square, brush from right to left. from the dry to the wet (with the grain) to smooth and flatten the varnish.

Move the brush slow enough so as to not incorporate air bubbles into the finish. Continue in slightly overlapping pattern of brush strokes until you have covered the area. Tipping off in this fashion further levels the varnish and breaks any air bubble that may have become trapped in the finish. Again move the brush slowly. Brush only with the tips of the brush.





Chironomid 101 - Part l - Chironomid Facts and Tips


As they used to say in the TV show Dragnet. "Just the facts, Maam" Here's some Chironomid facts and Tips to get us started with Chironomid 101. It's an introduction to this important stillwater bug.

Chironomids are the food source eaten more often than any other. I attended Phil Rowley's Stillwater Scholl where he compared them to M&M's. You put a bowl of M&M's on a table and you just grab handfuls and keep eating. Trout do the same when they feed on chironomids. Let's look at some facts about chironomids.

Seasonal Availability


  • Larvae are available all season long, 12 months of the year
  • The emerging pupae and adults are available two times a year. They become a main food source for stillwater trout in;
(1) April through June
(2) August through October

  • With that said about the pupae, chironomid larvae or "bloodworms" are available for trout all year long and are a main food source for all stillwater trout all year long.
  • Bloodworm patterns are a good choice during low light conditions and after recent windstorms.
  • Chironomid Pupae patterns can also be used throughout the season as they have elongated emergence cycles. Trout will often take chironomid pupa patterns regardless of the season.
Fishing Tips for Chironomids
  • When trout are found in water 20 feet or less, use a floating line and slip indicator. Start with suspending the flies one to two feet off the bottom. make sure you are just above any weeds.
  • Experiment by moving the fly up one foot at a time to locate feeding fish. Sometimes 6 inches can make a difference.
  • In water 15 feet or less also try using use a floating line and a long leader. This is called the "Naked Technique". Use a fly line like the Rio Indicator Line that has a orange 18" tip which will be your indicator. Takes will be seen as a movement by the orange tip rather than felt.
  • When using the "Naked Technique", your leader should be 25% longer than the water is deep.
  • When using the "Naked Technique" you must balance 4 variables.
(1) Leader Length
(2) Retrieve Speed
(3) Pattern Weight
(4) and the time to allow the pattern to sink
  • Wind drift larva and pupa patterns by quartering across the wind and allow the ripple to swing through the water column. Watch the orange tip of the fly line for any movement.
  • When fishing for chironomids in water over 20 feet deep use a full sink line, a type VI or VII and retrieve the fly vertically through the water column. Cast only the amount of line and leader as the water is deep. Count the flies down and use a shorter leader.
  • Remember that when presenting imitations for the chironomids larva and pupa, the retrieves must be so slow that they are almost static.
  • When fishing on the surface, pay attention to whether the trout are taking skittering or stationary adults. Present your flies accordingly.
  • When trout are taking chironomids on the surface consider using a soft hackle retrieved slowly through the area of rising trout.

Chironomid Larvae Patterns

Size - 3/8" to 1" - Hook sizes #8 through #16 - A size #12 2x long is a good average size larva pattern

Shape - Slender, segmented and worm-like

Color - Many species are able to generate hemoglobin in order to survive in oxygen poor conditions.
  • As a result scarlet red or maroon coloration is common.
  • Larva can generate hemoglobin as conditions dictate which affects coloration. Candy Cane schemes of red and green are common on some lakes.
  • Olive and bright green are other common colors
Chironomid Pupae Patterns

Size - 3/8" to 1 inch, hook sizes #8 - #18
  • Chironomid tend to be larger in mud bottomed, algae type lakes. Sizes #12-#8
  • In clear water lakes, Chironomids are smaller $10 -#18
  • A #12 is a average pupa size and a good place to start.
  • If trout do not appear to be selective to size try using one size larger so your fly will stand out from the naturals.
Shape - Comma-like shape.
  • Many pupa patterns use scud pupa hooks to suggest the profile
  • Most patterns have a bulbous thorax, slender segmented, tapered abdomens
  • In clearer water or on lake with much angler pressure consider using slim realistic patterns.
Colors - Black, maroon, brown, olive, shades of green, tan.
  • On dark days, use dark patterns.
  • On bright days use bright patterns
  • Pupae use trapped air and gases to aid pupal ascent and the adult transformation. This gives pupae a distinct silver glow.
  • Pupae can change color as they absorb or replenish trapped gases
  • Chironomids pupae have prominent white gills. The Chaoborus pupae do not.
  • Use Super White beads in algae stained waters. They tend not to fouls as much as synthetic or natural materials do.
Chironomid Adults

Size - The adults are smaller than the corresponding pupa.
  • Sizes #10 - #16 covers most adults
Shape - Similar in look to adult mosquitoes.
  • Chironomid adults do not bite like mosquitoes.
Color - Colors mirror those of the pupa. recently emerged adults are bright. Their body color darkens once it hardens.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Kingfisher's First Float


Well, after 7 months of dedicated work, countless hours of sanding and layers of epoxy and marine spar varnish, I was able to find out if my new handmade drift boat floats. It did, and it did so better than I had dreamed of. Let me explain. I had a few concerns prior to launching the "Barca de Trucha", (Trout Boat). Little nagging questions.

First, the boat is 17 feet long from the bow to the stern. This is about 18" longer than my Hyde Low-Profile. It is also wider by about 6 inches, I was concerned that it would be a little to big for the Lower Yuba. An air craft carrier in a small bay so to speak. It isn't. It floats like a leaf, lighter and more responsive than my Hyde. Being so, makes it feel smaller, I always referred to my Hyde as a sports car. Nimble and quick to the response of the oars. The "Barca" is just as quick if not quicker.

Second, it seemed to be a work of art more than a working drift boat. Once I floated it down the river it just felt right. It will be a working drift boat come what may, scratches, dings, scrapes, it will be a fisher.

Third, Rope Seats? The rope seats look real cool, but what would they feel like, Uncomfortable? Pinching your rear? Well, definitely not your padded plastic seat. They felt fine. I wore lightweight shorts and was comfortable. The ropes will need to be tightened until they stretch out properly, but other than that definitely a passing grade.

The first float came with a sense of pride. Every piece of wood, every screw, every coat of epoxy and varnish was placed with care and thought. There is a sense of pride that is sort of like catching a fish on a fly rod you've built with the fly you tied. Now I can add "the boat I built". I've always been a craftsman and this is just another extension of that. I take pride in what I do, I do was I say, I keep my word and promises. My Mom and Dad raised me that way. This is just another mission accomplished, a plan come to fruition. I thank my Mom, Geri, for encouraging me to pursue my passions. This is is just who I am.

I am looking forward to many years of fishing in this new boat and coaxing many fish to the net. More stories, more time with good friends and family on the rivers of the west. It was worth all the time and effort! No regrets!

Photos from Launch Day


Ready to Head down the River


Ist ferry across the riffle


Zack the Photographer


My lovely wife, Laura, enjoying the inaugural float


Running a Chute


Zack getting ready to take the plunge


Taking our time down the river


Zack, Thanks for your help and encouragement along the way!


Made it to the takeout with nothing but smiles!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - I'm Done




I started the "Kingfisher" build in September of 2014. Today is April 20th, 2015. It's been quite a journey. I purchased the plans from Jason Cajune and they were worth every cent! The varnish has been curing and hardening for about two weeks, The build has taken me about 7 1/2 months, not bad from what I've heard. This includes 3 weeks off to build a pole barn/garage, so the actual build time was a more like a strong six months. I have probably averaged about 40 hours a week, so I've got something like 1000 hours into it, but who's really counting. My trailer should be arriving next week, so the trip to see if it floats is about a week away. 


Photo Gallery of the Kingfisher


The finished boat is 17'0" long. It has a beam of  6'6". The width at the bottom is 4'10". It should float high and dry and be real stable.


I had a decal made with my "Fly Fishing Traditions" logo imprinted on it. The sides are 3/8" Okoume plywood that have about 3 coats of epoxy and layers of fiberglass cloth. The main body of the boat is painted on the outside with "Blue Water Marine Paint". It is a silicone copolymer topside enamel. The color is "Super White. The bottom and 4" up the sides at the chines are coated with "Linex" bedliner, smooth Black. The gunnels are black oak with 3 coats of epoxy and then 6 coats of flat "Last n Last" satin varnish.


The transom is "Rounded". Constructing the rounded transom was the most intimidating part of the construction. My plans had a squared off transom so I had to figure this out myself. It was bent around a form using 3 layers of 1/8" Okoume plywood. The rounded transom has 3 coats of epoxy and 6 coats of varnish. It turned out great!


The interior of the boat has decks and sides of Okoume mahogany plywood. The rowers seat and the fore and aft seats are made from white oak. The floors, dry boxes and the lower portion of the sides are coated with bed liner that was applied with a roller. The oars are Sawyer square topped counter balanced oars,


The fore and aft seats are made with white oak. The base of the seat was steam bent using 3/16" x 2 1/2" strips. The seats have 2 coats of epoxy and 6 coats of varnish. The rope for the seats are 3/8" diameter double braided poly. The seats are mounted on "Springfield" swivel bases with a bracket that allows them to be removed.


The rowers seat slides in a track and can be adjusted forward and backward. Rubber retainers hold the rowers seat in position. The deck in the background has a dry storage box that is accessible by opening the hatch doors. There are dry boxes on each side.  



The rear knee brace is made by laminating 3 layers of 1/8" Okoume mahogany plywood. I constructed a steam box to steam the plywood and then placed them in a plywood form to conform to the desired shape. I call it a "George Jetson" knee brace. There are two cup holders integrated in the middle section.


At the rounded transom there is a wooden plate with a handle integrated into it that reinforces the transom and is where the anchor rope runs through the hull. There are two pulleys that are lined up with the hole that runs through the transom that guides the anchor rope.

There are 4 hatches that access the dry storage boxes. two at the starboard and two at the port side. The dry boxes ate about 5 feet long. The cup holders are sealed t keep the dry storage boxes dry. The foot rest for the rower is adjustable to 4 different positions. There are two positions for the oar locks.


The front seat has a large pedestal with storage underneath. You can see the circular lamination of the seats. There are two cup holders tucked up in the bow section. There is a triangular casting deck to catch your fly line when you are fishing.



An ice chest fits snugly into the pedestal under the front seat.


There are rod holders tucked under the main deck on each side, starboard and port side. You can store two rods on each side for a total of 4 rods. This is a spey rod broken down in half. The rod holders will take 10 foot rods fully assembled.


All I need is a trailer and it will be a fishing machine. Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Painting the Hull



Now that I've got the boat upside down, all prepped and masked I'm ready to start painting the hull. I'm using a one part paint. It is a polyurethane enamel. It will provide a hard protective coating and with super high gloss and has very good color retention and is durable. The paint was manufactured by Blue Marine. I decided on their Super White Color.


I'm using "Blue WaterMarine Paint", which is a one part polyurethane enamel. 
The color is 'Super White'

The first step is to get everything I'll need to get the job done. Here's the list;
  • Blue Water Marine Paint, Super White
  • Half gallon plastic container
  • Stir stick
  • Toluene for thinning - 1 ounce per quart. 5-10%
  • 1 pint plastic measuring cup
  • Excellent quality brush with soft tips
  • 6" foam roller and frame
  • Disposable paint tray
  • Clean Rags
  • Tack Cloth
The first order of business was to re-vacuum the areas to be painted. I then used the two rag method and wiped down the surface with Acetone. Once wiped down, I used a tack cloth to do the final cleanup of the surfaces to remove any remaining dust particles.

Next I opened the quart can of paint and pour it into the half gallon plastic container. Measure 1 ounce of Toluene into the small pint plastic measuring cup and pour it into the larger container with the paint. Use the stir stick and stir for 10 minutes. Yeah, really 10 minutes.

Next set up the roller pan, roller frame and foam roller.Get the kind that have rounded edges at the ends. Get your paint brush.

Time for Painting

The method for applying the paint is referred  to as "Rolling and Tipping". the paint will be applied with the "Roller" and then "Tipped" with the brush. I'm right handed so I decided to work from right to left. I will be brushing left to right, which is opposite to the way I'm working. This is important. When you are "Tip" the paint you always want to go from the dry area back onto the painted area.

The boat will take two coats with a hand sanding to 320 grit between coats.

Here's how the first coat is done.

  • The fist thing to do is to load the roller with paint and then roll it repeatedly on the roller pan to have a loaded foam roller but not overloaded. I count to at least ten strokes each time I load or reload the foam roller. 
  • Starting at the transom and working to the left I roll out the paint working to the left with vertical stokes. Press hard on the roller to squeeze out all the paint. If you don't the paint will go on too thick. I work to the left until I am loosing coverage with the paint.
  • I then work the roller horizontally to spread the paint out evenly to the left. 
  • I finish this application with a vertical roll at the left edge to create a straight vertical line. You will end up with a vertical line with dry  surface on the left of the line and paint on the right.
  • One roller load covers an area about 24"tall by about 1 foot wide.
  • The paint will have lots of air bubbles in it and should be a thin even coating. 
  • Put the roller down in the tray and stat brushing from left to right. Start at the top and brush horizontally.
  • Place the brush on the dry portion of the vertical line on the left and brush to the right with a light touch. 
  • Lift the tips off the paint at the end of each stroke. Feather the paint out.
  • Continue the same method from top to bottom using horizontal passes.
  • Start back at the top and repeat.
  • That's it. Repeat the same steps all the way around the boat, move quickly and efficiently and keep a wet edge.

Prepping for the second coat

Once the paint had dried thoroughly, which was about 48 hours in my case as it was getting below 50 degrees in my shop at night, I hand sanded the surface with 220 grit sandpaper with a sanding pad. I then used a 320 grit Scotchbrite pad and hit the surface once more. 

I then vacuumed the surface and finished up with a tack cloth.

Just repeat the same process as the first coat.

Summary

I'm really happy with the paint job. It's not perfect like a spray finish but it has that hand made look to it. A few brush marks here and there but I think a job well done.




Sunday, March 8, 2015

Casting Around the Clock


It’s time to add some presentation casts to your arsenal. The three casts that are the basis of good presentations are the "Wiggle Cast", the "Reach Cast" and the combination of the two, the "Wiggle Reach Cast". We can use these presentation casts to start “Fishing around the Clock”. This is a descriptive term for the ability to present the fly from any angle to a fish in moving water.

Right now on the Lower Yuba River we are starting to get decent hatches of PMD’s. Most of the time you’ll be presenting PMD duns and emergers on water that is at least somewhat smooth. This requires delicate rods, light lines and long leaders. A 5 weight is a good all around choice. Extend your leader to 12 to 15 feet long which includes tippet at least 2 to 4 feet long. Use delicate tippets like 5x. Use a "Duncan Loop" or an "Open Mono Loop Knot" to attach your flies. I like throwing "Double Dries, using a dun pattern and trailing an emerger about 18" or 20" behind. If the fish are really spooky I clip off the trailer.

You will need to present your flies without alarming your prey. You don’t want the fish to scatter from your line, leader and fly sailing over their heads and smacking down onto the water in their cone of vision. To be successful you must put the fly right onto the trout’s feeding lane without alarming them. How do we solve this problem? This is where putting "Fishing around the Clock" really pays off.

The Clock

Think of your position in relation to the trout you are stalking as a position around the clock with the trout in the center (See Illustration Above). You will be somewhere around the outside of the circle at a moderate casting range. Not too close, not too far. There is probably a best place to make your presentation. Your position is critical. The type of presentation cast you will need to make will differ from what position around the clock you are stationed.

Presenting from Downstream

If you‘re in the downward third of the clock 4:00, 5:00, 7:00 & 8 o’clock, you will be making your cast to the trout up and across stream. This will require an slight upstream, “Reach Cast” or more advanced casts, the “Positive or Negative Curve Cast”. We'll get to the Curve Casts at a later time. Using either of these casts will enable the trout to see the fly first, with the leader just seconds after it has decided to take your fly. This is the plan anyway. A word of caution, the downstream position is the hardest to accomplish a delicate presentation over selectively rising trout.

If you’re positioned in the 6 o’clock position this is even harder. You will need to present the fly in such a way that the leader attached to the fly doesn’t land right on the trout's head. As described above, it’s like throwing a small rock on the trout’s head, no good. You need to use a big “Reach Mend” to have the leader angling towards the bank which will enable the fly to be presented first.

Presenting From Directly Across

When you find yourself in a position to present your fly from directly across from the trout, this would be from the 3:00 or the 9:00 position you will want to add the “Reach Cast”. Aim your cast directly at the place you want the fly to land, ideally two to four feet upstream from the trout. As the straight line cast is delivered and starts to unfold towards the target, tip the rod over in the upstream direction and "reach" upstream. This is really an “Aerial Reach Mend”. When the fly lands, follow the drift with the rod tip.  This will keep the fly from dragging and the fly will enter the trout’s window ahead of the leader and line.

Presenting From Upstream

When presenting your fly to trout feeding on mayfly duns and emergers, probably the best position to take on smooth water conditions, is at an angle upstream from the trout. This would be from 1:00, 2:00, 10:00 and 11 o’clock. It definitely works best when you’re off to the side a bit. This is where the “Wiggle Cast” really excels. Aim about two to four feet upstream from the feeding fish. As you deliver the cast wiggle or wobble the rod tip back and forth horizontally as the line lays out. This will result in the line landing on the water in a series of serpentine curves. As the fly floats downstream toward the trout, the curves will feed out for a frag free drift.

Once you've mastered the "Wiggle Cast" you can add the "Reach Wiggle" which is doing both. This works especially well if you have heavier currents between you and the targeted trout. To execute the Reach Wiggle Cast you deliver the forward cast as normal, as the forward cast is furling out toward the target, tip the rod upstream for the reach mend and at the same time add the horizontal wobbles of the tip to add wiggles to the line. This may take a little time to get down, but it is worth the practice.

If the trout refuses the fly on either of these presentation casts, tip your rod toward the side or the bank after it has passed the trout. Let the current swing the fly well away from the trout before you pick up to cast again.

Presenting From Directly Upstream


When presenting the fly from directly upstream from the 12:00 position you typically only get one chance. If the fly is refused the leader and then the line follows and you can’t lift them off the water without spooking the run. You really want to avoid this presentation if possible. If you can't move more to the side and this is your only play, you can use the wiggle cast from this position.

The “Puddle Cast” is more accurate then the Wiggle cast and you may want to try it. The “Puddle Cast” is executed by throwing a high inclining cast on the forward stroke and then immediately dropping the rod tip. This will result in killing the forward momentum of the forward cast and cause it to puddle down to the water in a series of “S” shaped curves. Again if possible, it is best used from the 12:30 to 1:00 or the 11:00 to 11:30 position and only from the 12:00 position if absolutely necessary.


Learn the different presentation casts are when and where to use them and you’ll soon be catching those difficult trout.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Five Essentials of a Great Fly Cast

A big mistake that many anglers make is that they only practice their casting when they go out fishing. When you have a fly tied on you are concentrating on finding and catching fish not practicing a casting stroke. Fly casting is like golf in that the people that become very good golfers spent a lot of time practicing before they go out and play. It’s the repetition that improves their game. Remember fishing is not called practicing and you must practice your casting stroke before you head out fishing.


Practice! Practice! Practice!

The Five Essentials

There are a number of fairly easy principals that apply to all fly casts. These principals are the same whether you are casting a 4 weight or a 9 weight rod. They all apply to maintaining great casting form and throwing tight loops.

The following 5 Essentials for a Good Cast are the essentials that are taught with the FFF Certified Casting Professional program. Mastering these principals will make you a better fly caster. Remember an efficient cast is the one that delivers that fly to it target with the least amount of energy expended. I like to refer to this as having good form.

There are many benefits to achieving good form including increased accuracy and increased distance. It takes very little effort to increase you distance as long as you have good form. Improved control, gives you the ability to execute achieve more beneficial presentation casts. Also, when an angler casts efficiently, fatigue is reduced as is the potential for strain of your shoulder, forearm and wrist.

Take some time in your weekly routine and find a nice stretch of grass in your yard, school or park and practice these “5 Essentials”. I’d also recommend purchasing the DVD “Casts That Catch Fish” by “On the Fly Productions” and watching it closely. 


Do both and you will soon become a really proficient fly caster and throwing great loops.

Essential #1 – Eliminate Slack

The first essential focuses on keeping slack in your line to a minimum. This means that the line should be kept under tension at all times during the cast. There are many problems associated with slack line. The most common is that the rod won’t begin to load or it will unload prematurely. Another problem with having slack in the system is that some portion of the casting stroke is going to be robbed of efficiency by having to tension up the excess slack line again before attempting to get the rod to load in mid stroke.

An example of managing slack is the simple act of lifting the line off the water. If you start with the rod tip low and you strip out all the slack and tension things up, as soon as you raise the rod up you are starting to load it and accelerate the fly line. This is good! 


Alternately, if you start with your rod tip high with heap of slack on the water in front of you, you have to move the fly rod quite a way to take all that slack out. You’re likely to run out of casting stroke causing the loop to collapse on your head. This is bad!

The elimination of slack is also effected by timing which brings us to “Essential # 2”.

Essential # 2 – Timing

At the beginning and end of each stroke there is a pause just long enough to let the line fully straighten out in the air behind you before you start the stroke in the opposite direction. That pause needs to be directly proportional to the amount of line you have outside the rod tip.

The longer the line you have outside your rod tip, the longer it’s going to take the line to straighten out fully in the air. There is a simple rule or mantra we need to remember.

Long Line = Long Pause
Medium Line = Medium Pause
Short Line = Short Pause

There are a few things you can do to check to see if your timing is correct or not.

Number One. Probably the easiest thing to do is just to look over your shoulder and see the line straightening out behind you. Take a peak as the line unfurls behind you. Watch and wait.

Number Two. If your timing is too short, it’s likely you are going to hear that whip-cracking noise. This is the one where you will be losing flies when you are fishing. You normally are going to hear this on your backcast behind you. If your timing is way too short, you’re going to be introducing a lot of slack into the system, the rod is going to unload and the line is going to collapse in a heap around your ears.

Number Three. Alternatively if your timing is too slow, and you are pausing too long, gravity is going to take over and your line is going to fall to the ground or water behind you. When practicing that’s usually going to mean that you’re going to end up hooking the grass behind you. If you were fishing you’d be snagging the rocks and bushes behind you and you’re going to lose more flies.

What is Right? By contrast you are going to know when you timing is right, when you’ll actually start to feel a little tug on the tip of the fly rod as the taunt line starts to bend and load the rod. A loaded rod is simply a bent rod. The rod bends against the weight and inertia of the fly line.

“Note” Learning to load and unload a fly rod efficiently is probably the single most important aspect of learning to fly cast.

Essential Number Three – The Variable Casting Stroke

The casting stroke can be thought of as the total distance the rod tip moves through during each stroke. This is the path of the rod tip. Think of the distance in a straight line of the rod tip.


The casting arc can be thought of as the angle the rod or the rod butt travels through each stroke. Think of a protractor or a pie of pie.

The total stroke incorporates the sort of piston like movement of your forearm. The backwards and forward movement of the rod is call “translation” (the distance in a straight line). The rotation at either end with the wrist is called “rotation” (base of the casting arc). Those two things combined make up a casting stroke. As mentioned you can think of this casting stroke and visualize it as a piece of pie.

One key to performing really nice loops is to get that rod tip moving in as straight a line as possible. In order to do that you’ve got to employ a casting arc that accommodates the bend you have in the rod. Put another way the longer line you have out the longer your casting arc is going to have to be or a larger piece of pie.

This is a vital concept that you have to get your head around. It’s called the “Variable Casting Stroke”.
For instance a short cast of say 15 feet is going to be performed with a short casting stroke. A small piece of pie. A medium cast of say 30 feet is going to be performed with a medium casting stroke. A medium piece of pie. While a longer cast of say, 45 feet, is going to have a longer casting stroke. A big piece of pie. You hungry yet?

There is a simple rule that ties this all together.

Long Line = Long Stroke
Medium Line = Medium Stroke
Short Line = Short Stroke

Tailing loops result from too narrow a casting arc. Big wide open loops are caused by too wide of a casting stroke.

At this point, it is time to put two of the essentials together. We previously talked about pause and timing.

Short Line + Short Stroke (Small Piece of Pie) + Short pause
Medium Line + Medium Stroke (Medium Piece of Pie) + Medium pause
Long Line + Long Stroke (Big Piece of Pie) + Long Pause

Essential Number 4 – Application of Power

The fourth essential has to do with application of power. The power should be applied smoothly throughout the stroke. By that we mean from the moment you start, right through to the stop, power should be applied smoothly. This is called “constant acceleration”. Start slowly and finish fast.
Think about throwing a dart. You start slow, accelerate to the point you stop and release the dart to the target. If you do it right, bulls eye.

Another good one is to imagine a ripe tomato placed on the tip of your fly rod. If you wanted to throw the tomato forward in front of you would have to accelerate the tip forward slowly and progressively to a stop to fling the tomato forward or the tip would slice through the tomato and end up on your head.

The next question is “How much power do you need to apply?” The answer almost always is, “Just enough power to nicely aerialize the line and allow it to turn over.” No more, no less. Many casters use far too much power in their stroke, and it’s probably one of the most common faults in fly casting. It’s also one of the main causes for tailing loops.

Try taking some power out of your casts and you will greatly improve your loops. Work on “Constant Acceleration or Progressive Power”.

Essential #5 – Straight Line Path

The fifth and last essential is to maintain a straight line path of the rod tip. Remember, the line always follows the rod tip, therefore if you can keep the rod tip traveling in a really nice straight line and employ crisp absolute stops, you’re going to get really nice loops. This Essential #5 is very closely related to essential number 3 which was the “Variable Casting Arc.”

Straight Line Tip Path + Rod Tip Stopped High = Tight Loops

In most cases a tight loop is desirable. A tight loop is much more aerodynamically efficient than a large rounded loop. A tight loop is easier to control and also much more accurate.

Large Convex Tip Path – Large Round Loops

Large open loops are much more difficult to control and are more air and wind resistant. Large rounded loops are created when we scribe a convex arch (an upward arch) with the rod tip.

Tip: If you find yourself getting caught up in the grass behind you, it’s a sure sign that you are dropping your rod tip far too far back on your backcast. Try casting back higher, aiming your cast high up in the sky on the backcast and this should clear this up.

Concave Tip Path = Closed or Tailing Loops

Another path the rod tip can travel is the concave path (up down and up). The concave rod tip path can leads to closed or tailing loops which can end up with tangles and flies hitting the rod.

Stopping the Rod

The stop is the single most important aspect in becoming an expert caster. 


The more efficient and crisper you can make the stops, the more effective and efficient your loops are going to be. The straight line path of the rod tip and a crisp efficient stop is what governs loop shape. The crisper and more complete that you can make the rod stop, the better your loops are going to be.
Although it almost sounds counter intuitive, crisp stops can be achieved without overpowering the cast. Many beginners find this a difficult concept to understand and try to put too much power into the stroke thinking that they are going to get a hard crisp stop by doing so. It just isn’t necessary. 


Practice with the minimum power, maintaining constant acceleration of power and then apply crisp, tight stops and you will get really good loops.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat - Prepping the Hull for Painting

It's time to get ready to paint the hull, I've done about all I can do on the interior of the boat and it's time to work on the outside for a while, This will entail flipping the boat upside down to work on. To get ready for painting the hull I had do do quite a bit of work prior to getting it done.


Getting a little ahead of myself. Here's the hull after it was painted.

The critical path went something like this
  1. Flip the Boat over
  2. Sand or use a cabinet scrapper to prep the bottom of the gunnels
  3. Flow coat the underneath side of the gunnels once they are prepped.
  4. Run a fillet of epoxy peanut butter at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.
  5. Run another flow coat of epoxy on the underside of the gunnels and coat the fillet
  6. Sand and flow coat the rounded transom with it's last coat of epoxy
  7. Finish sand and the underside of the gunnel, the sides and the rounded transom progressively to 220 grit.
  8. Mask off the gunnels and the rounded transom to get ready for painting the hull.

Flipping the Boat

I enlisted the help of three friends to flip the boat over. It has been residing right side up on a 4' x 10' table with rolling casters. The first task was getting the boat on the floor of the shop. I worked the boat to one end of the table. Imagine launching a boat from a trailer. Once I got the stern on the floor we just lifted the bow and slid the table out from under the boat. I had furniture blankets on the floor. The gunnels are coated with at least two coats of epoxy but I still wanted to have blankets under anything on the boat that contacted the floor. The steps went sort of like this.
  • Place furniture blankets on the floor in position so that as the boat is lifted up on one side and supported on one gunnel (half-way flipped) the blankets are under the spots of the center section of the gunnel. Pretty much in the center of the boat at the oar locks.
  • I also placed furniture blankets that are folded up in multiple layers under the stem and transom so that when it is flipped it is cushioned under these areas.
  • Two people are on one side of the boat and two are on the other.
  • The boat is lifted by two people so it is resting on one gunnel, basically half flipped. The other two people help support the boat in the vertical position.
  • It is then tilted over to the upside down position and supported by the two people on the other side of the boat.
  • Once the boat is flipped and is resting on the floor, lift the bow up and slide extended sawhorses, about 5 1/2' long, underneath so the bow is supported by both gunnels. Cover the tops of the sawhorses with padded materials. I used old towels.
  • Repeat the same procedure for the stern of the boat.
  • The boat should now be flipped upside down and resting on the padded extended sawhorse.
  • Ready to go to work.

Prepping the Gunnels and Rounded Transom for Flow Coating


One problem when flow coating the gunnels when the boat is right side up, is that it is almost impossible not to have drips or runs of epoxy on the underneath side of the gunnels. I found that the best approach is to use fast set hardener in small batches and tend it until you can't mess with it anymore. Even doing this I had some runs and drips. The best way of getting rid of these drips and runs on the underneath side of the gunnels is to use a cabinet scrapper. The scrapper removes the material you need to remove quickly and efficiently. Once the runs and drips are knocked down I then final sanded them by hand. I used 120 grit followed by 150 grit followed by 220 grit. They turned out pretty darned nice. Note: Remember to use cabinet scrappers to do the dirty work.

I finish sanded the rounded transom next to get it ready for its last flow coat of epoxy. Most of the rounded transom will not get painted and the mahogany plywood will be varnished.


This photo shows the detailed and sanded underneath side of the gunnels and the epoxy fillet at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.

Flow Coating the Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Once the underneath side of the gunnels were sanded it was time to flow coat them. I masked off the gunnels at the center of the 1/4" round over all around the boat. I didn't want the epoxy to run back down the face of the gunnels. I also flow coated the rounded transom. This is basically the last of the flow coating of epoxy on the entire boat. Wow, it's been a long time coming.

Sanding the Sides, Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Now that the flow coating was completed on the hull it was time to finish sand the entire exterior of the boat. I used a random orbital sander and sanded the sides to 220 grit. Being that the rounded transom is curved I used a flexible pad and hand sanded it down to 220 grit. I hand sanded the underneath side of the gunnels to 220 grit.

Clean Up and Masking

The last steps were to vacuum all the surfaces and then wipe the surfaces down with acetone and then start masking. Once the surfaces were vacuumed, I used the two rag method for prepping the surfaces. One rag is used to wipe down the surface and a clean rag follows.

Now it's masking time. I used 1/4" wide green masking tape that is used in auto body shops to mask the line that I will paint to. Once the 1/4' tape is laid down I use a masking machine with 3M 3/4" blue tape and 12" wide masking paper that comes on a roll. I taped off about 12" from the 1/4" green tape along the gunnels, the rounded transom and the Linex material that wraps up the sides about 4".

After the sides were masked to isolate the portion of the boat to be painted I checked to see that the tape was set tight at the paint line.


You can see the green 1/4" wide masking tape at the line to be painted. It is taped to the Linex that runs 4" up the sides. I then used a masking machine to finish up.

Next Up - Painting

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Hatch Trim & Hatches

I enjoyed the holidays with my family and got back on the build with installing the hatch trim and making the hatches.


There are 4 deck hatches and two pedestal hatches. The 4 deck hatches access the dry storage boxes. There are dry boxes on each side, each with two access hatches.

I first had to make backing that glues underneath the deck plywood along the edges. This reinforces the decks and gives up something to attach the hinge screws. The hatch backing is made with strips of 1/4" Okoume plywood that are about 2" wide. I made the strips and cut them to length. I had to make special strips that were about 5/8" wide that butted to the deck rail that runs lengthwise under the deck. Once these were cut I set them aside to flow coat with epoxy before gluing them in place under the deck and around the hatch opening.

I them had to make the hatch trims. These are strips of white oak that are 1/4" thick  x 1 1/4" wide. I made a list of the sizes required for each hatch opening and cut them approximately 2" longer than the finish length. Once all the pieces were cut to length I had to cut a saw kerf on one side near the top edge create a slot to install hatch coaming. Hatch coaming is a type of gasket seal. The saw kerf is about 3/32" deep x 3/32" wide. It is cut on one edge about 5/32" from the top edge. I set up fingerboards on my table saw and cut the saw kerf on each piece. I then set them on a table to flow coat them with epoxy.


Here is a piece of the hatch trim. It is 1/4" x 1 1/4". The saw kerf is on the top right.

Once they were flow coated and finish sanded it was time to install them. The hatch trim pieces fit inside the hatch openings. The bottom of the hatch trims are set flush with the bottom of the hatch backing and stick up above the deck about 3/4". The pieces are glued in place with thickened epoxy. Once the pieces are glued in place. (4 for each hatch) I cut sticks that were wedged inside to hold them in place. I did this for the 4 deck hatch openings and the two pedestal hatch openings.


Here's a photo of the hatch trim installed on the front pedestal. It sticks proud of the opening by about 3/4". The back is flush with the back side of the opening. It was glued into the opening with thickened epoxy.


This photo shows the hatch trim installed at one of the dry box openings. The opening has been filleted with epoxy peanut butter to seal the deck opening.


Hatches

I next had to make the hatches. They are constructed with white oak trim that has a rabbit to accept a 1/4" Okoume plywood panel. The stock was milled to 5/8" x 3/4". I milled a 5/32" x 5/32" rabbit on one edge to accept the panel. The hatches must be large enough to fit the weatherstripping. The next step was to mitre the pieces for each hatch. I then cut the plywood panel to size.
I glued the miters and the rabbet to accept the panel with thickened epoxy. I clamped the assembly all at once.




Here is one of the pedestal hatches. This is the back side. It looks sort of like a tray.


Here is the front side of he same pedestal hatch. It has been flow coated with epoxy and sanded. It will get one more flow coat of epoxy and then multiple coats of varnish.