Sunday, December 30, 2012

Number One Done

The Hand Plane is essentially done. I won't seal it until the kickboard is finished.

Back to Work

Not "work" as in "bringing home the bacon", but work as in labor of love -
Here are the kickboard and the handplane templated out.
A bit on the unconventional side and not as aesthetically pleasing as they could be, but ultimately paying tribute to the ubiquitous lunch tray and the simmons plan shape.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lindsay Lord Two-Handed Plane

As I am writing, the snow is coming down and we are enjoying a slow Saturday at home. I looked at the weather forecasts last night and started to recalibrate any plans for going flyfishing at Kent Narrows, bike riding or other temperature/weather dependent activities. Before settling in, I brought in the back half of the paulownia alaia from the garage. If you recall, I took the front half and made it into a blunt-nosed paipo earlier in the summer - now it's time to work the back half. The first 14-16" is going to be a contemporary hand plane - lots of surface area for guaranteed stoke in crappy East Coast surf. Right now I'm thinking 8" wide, but that will work itself out with the plan shape. The remaining 30" is going to be a 0.4 length to width ratio belly board (smaller than a paipo) equipped with handles. There has been a lot of buzz lately about Lindsay Lord's naval architecture book and the EPS foam boards that have come of it and this chunk of paulownia is going to pretty close to the final shape - blunt nose, fairly straight parallel rails and with a 12" width, plenty of surface area to get on a plane fairly quickly. I'm going with three handles (at least right now), one up front that would work for the right or left hand, and one on each side of the back half of the board for the trailing hand (determined by the direction of travel - turn right and the left hand is the trailer - we'll see when it's time to op test it).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

NHM - Looks like an ancient tarpon to me

With winter officially here, and our fixed position still not having moved any closer to the Atlantic (darn the slow plate tectonics), I haven't been doing much of anything related to the water. If you are out there paying attention, please accept my apologies. I've got a foam handplane and another paulownia paipo in the works so I'll be more blog 'chatty' soon.
Anyhow... sharks have been around for a while. Looks like tarpon have been too. Marlon and I watched a documentary on fossilized sea animals and they focused in on a Xiphactinus - another 'tarpon' like fish. This isn't one of those, but adds more to the argument "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukah - Great Kwanza from the Mosasaur at the NHM!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vehicular and Wave Riding Isomorphism

What a title huh? So isomorphism is a capability developing independently in different organisms not linked. The classic example is flight developing in birds, pterosaurs and bats - all can fly, but none are directly related and they are each different. Well, this isn't exactly like that, but it is close. The first pictures are of an old friend and classmate of mine - Greg Wong. We studied at UH Manoa together taking graduate Ocean Engineering classes. We also surfed and played ukuleles. Anyways - after 12 years, he drives a Surf Taco and boogie boards with his daughter and I have a Surf Taco and boogie board with my kids - different oceans and continents, but similar developments. Ok - this is a horrible analogy/comparison/whatever - I'm just glad to see one of us still enjoying the 'aina!!! Surf one for me Greg!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kayak Rigging on an Overcast Day

We took the weekend off and just cleaned up the house and moved some projects forward. The day over here in the Northern Virginia area started out gray and dreary, but it got sunny and warm enough to lure me out to do some work on the kayak - then it got dreary and cold again for the majority of the time I was outside. Anyways - I installed three of the nine Yak Attack plates/attachment points I bought in the recent few weeks. The rear point is a Mighty Mount and will eventually be the light/flag mounting point. The other two I placed today are just aft of the chair on the gunnels - 4 inch GT 175 plates - for rear trolling points in single seat configuration. I tested the mounting plates with 1.5 inch mounting balls and a "rocket launcher" rod holder. I might stick another two Mighty Mounts just forward of the factory installed flush mounts so I can use those points to troll if I have the kayak set up for tandem. When I get another day to work the drill, I'll mount the 8 inch GT 175 plates midway up the gunnel and a pair of GT90 4 inch plates up forward so the kids have spots for their rods (and I'll have a spot to mount a rearward looking camera).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good Sales Going on

I have been on the fence for quite sometime about getting a pair of waders. Being able to go out (here in the local area) and cast on the weekend early mornings has been on my mind as something to take the place of surfing dawn patrols while we are stationed in DC (away from the ocean). I've looked at the Simms, Patagonia and Redington - but for the low price of $153 (inclusive of tax) I couldn't pass these up. Regularly (before the new sonic sealed version came out) these went for $295. There's more deals out there, but I have to be selective when pulling the trigger (to make sure La and the kids get some love too). Any how - go take a look around, the stores are hungry and you can get into some deals right now (at least 20% off on most everything if you keep looking at the sites you normally would haunt).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Haiku Happy

So I entered a contest recently. The contest was to come up with a haiku (5-7-5) that made the contest sponsor feel like they were on the flats trying to catch bonefish. Here are my entries (none of which were good enough to win - I wonder if I was at least one of the first losers or if these suck and I was at the back of the pack. Ahhh whatever - I didn't need that cool prize anyways - and I bet it was the wrong color (just kidding - I like haikus and I hope YOU like them, mine, too). The positioning of the these are going to be screwed up by this new blogger format (where you can't space paragraphs out anymore, but despite the setback, Enjoy!!! Tan Bonefish Bitter Strong Fluorocarbon leader Smoking eight weight reel // Fly fishing for bones Smiling the entire time Nothing is better // Aquatic mirage I felt you take my fly Now you are both gone // Bonefish I see you All sleek, silver and shiny Three two one fish on!!! // Barely visible I try my best to woo you You laugh at me hard // Peeling off backing You are heading for the rocks I am left broken // Blue sky warm water Light breeze and willing bonefish Simple perfection

Going Home with a Gyotaku!!!

My parents have been up visiting from Florida. I'm sending them home with a gyotaku of a red snapper (or tai if you're Nihongo, or mya mya if you're pinoy). I rummaged around the room in the basement where I keep all my fishing stuff and I found all the unfinished gyotaku I had made before I came back home from my unaccompanied tour of duty overseas. I have caught the bug again to finish these out. So now I'll be preoccupied as winter sets in and the local fish slip further and further into their cold induced slummer - between fly tying and coloring in gyotaku, hopefully the sun will rotate back to this hemisphere faster...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Stopping the Bleeding...

Crap - it's been over a month since I wrote anything here... even though I don't have anything specific to post up, I'll type something to break the silence. If you're out there reading this stuff - my apologies. With the weather getting colder and our distance from the ocean, I've been retreating to inside stuff and things we can do around the area - not so amphibious. I'll be finishing off some of the gyotaku prints I roughed out before I got back home and maybe even get some framed. With that said, we did take a trip earlier in the month to Virginia Beach. First time I had the truck out in sand and the beaches there were as awesome as ever. No fishing or kayaking (La got to SUP with a good friend) and the kids and I built a sand volcano as usual. We love Virginia Beach more than any other place (with the exception of Japan, San Diego and maybe Oahu), and I am looking forward to the return of warmer weather so I can surf and hook fish with the kids and La (3 months until the tide turns on this one). Until then, I'll be tying a bunch of flies. I got stocked up on tying materials and hooks this weekend from a trip to the Hanover, MD Bass Pro Shop. What a zoo the parking lot was (Black Friday). Makes me kinda disgusted thinking that is what America has become - land of the credit card and home of the ruthless shopper. Anyhow - I'll post pictures of the kayak rail mounts that are going to be installed soon and pictures of the flies that I'll be tying up. If a frigid surf trip emerges, I'll post pictures of that too - the water at Virginia Beach can dip into the 40's - crap that's cold....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Still Going Strong

So this is the board I made for La a couple of years back (while we were living in Gulfport, MS). If you've been looking at the paddling pictures I've been posting, you've probably seen it alongside the amphibious assault craft (JK Big Tuna). We've got a few other boards she could pick from, but she always goes back to this one ;) For flatwater I still think this is the best thing out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tuna Tank

Here's our kayak's live well in action. We caught a few bluegill and a couple of bass - instead of releasing them right away, we plopped them in the tank and the kids took turns getting a closer look at them. Obviously I painted the tank "sand" color, but like most things, it doesn't adhere to the polyethene too well. The lighter color lets whatever is in the tank stand out a little better than if the tank were just black. Spray paint is cheap and time together as a family is priceless. Nice way to spend a few hours!

We're Camouflaged!!!

The leaves on the trees were falling like snow and provided a cool backdrop to our Sunday fish catching endeavor.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Transition to Fall

The temperatures are definitely cooler. The fish aren't rising for flies or bait anymore. Getting the fish to take is more a game of patience and good looking - putting the hook in front of them is the only way to get any response. Makes you think about how slow it will be when winter sets in (or think about a warm winter - this is supposed to be an El Nino year, or we'll just call it global climate change). Well with persistence, we are still catching - we had a few of these smaller bass, several bluegill and Marlon caught his first yellow perch.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mason Neck Outting

So we took advantage of yesterday's great weather by visiting Mason Neck State Park. They had a cartop boat ramp that you could drive down to and prep your boats - the parking lot was just a short walk away. The wind was blowing from the SW and basically pushed us to the mouth of Kane's Creek. The Big Tuna held both kids and a bunch of fishing gear and logistics (jackets, snacks, spare lures, shoes and other stuff) and left La to be free (the SUP travelled way faster - noticably so than the big amphibious assault craft). The only bad part was we didn't catch a single fish - in fact, besides minnows, we didn't see a single fish. Next time we'll try Pohick Bay.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


With Fall setting in the air temperature has obviously been dropping. You'd think the water temperatures are following suite - but they are holding comparatively (to the air temps). I have noticed changes in the fishing patterns though - more bass strikes (as they try to fatten up for the winter) and the bluegill are moving to deeper water. Well - when presented with a change, you make adjustments and keep on going - in this case it specifically paid off!!! I hooked into this HUGE bluegill - I didn't measure it with a tape, but I'd estimate it to be over 7" long!!! I believe this is the biggest bluegill I've ever caught! I'll probably start using my conventional fly gear soon to get a better reach into the middle of the lake to see what else is down there - just goes to show "you ain't gonna catch fish if you don't go fishing".

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Flyfishing Kiddoroosters

The kids got their new Kiyotaki rods from today - Chris S is awesome to work with and has the best customer service ever - if you are interested in tenkara, give his site some love. The kids were pretty excited and stoked to get their own appropriately sized flyrods. I had them practicing and within 5 minutes they had their casting strokes down and they were consistently hitting their targets. I tied on some flies and they were off! Noe hit one of the small Bass on her first cast! I had to cut their fly lines down to size (they were picking up too many 'wind' knots) and then the real action began - Noe whacked a medium sized bluegill and she was giving herself kudos for getting a huge bend in the rod!!! I resized Marlon's line too (if you're reading this and want to get the same setup for your kids, cut the lines to just a hair longer than the rod - their casting was perfect after that modification) and he caught three bluegill. I don't know who was more excited - the kiddoroosters or me!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kayak Work on Columbus Day

So on this latest iteration of Columbus Day (I'm still not sure why we get the day off, but I'll take it), the final project I worked on was installing the bungee net holders on the sides of the rear cargo area. If you are looking to do the same (the kayak does not come with these mesh panels - order them from the Jackson Kayak website), use a 3/16" drill bit and get yourself a good rivet gun. There are four impressions on the inner lip of the compartment - find those and drill your holes. 10 holes and 10 rivets later and your done! Slippers, soda cans, small tackle boxes, mosquito repellent and other quick grab stuff now have a home.

Bow and Stern Anchors

3 pound grapple hook up front (deployed from the starboard beam, locked in at an appropriate length for the wind and depth, then shuttled up to the bow by the trolley - which is on the starboard side - storage issue for me, you can put it wherever you want), 2 foot drag chain out the stern (the boat is moulded with a chain channel and side handles sized to drop in a small Flexi dog leash). Can you say "two point mooring"? I can!

Better Blocks for the Anchor Trolley

So I didn't feel right about the last block I had used for the bow end of the trolley. I went to West Marine and grabbed a cheek block that gets screwed down. Using a 9/64 inch drill bit, #8 1" stainless steel screws, 1"x2" cuts of cutting board (for backing) and the new Harken block and fairlead, I now feel absolutely confident in the trolley. Now I just need the sun to come out so I can take this out on the water.