Fly Fishing Waders

My first few fly fishing trips were with boots and neoprene stockings. That felt just fine. The days were hot and getting into that cool water felt great.

However; my mentor went and ruined it for me.

He talked me into trying a pair of his waders one day…

Yup, we both know what happens next – the ‘gotta have one of those’ syndrome sets in.

I really loved the quick and easy cleanup – simply pull your boots and waders off and you are done. You could walk straight into church and nobody would know you were just out fishing. I can easily imagine there is a huge difference when the temperatures are cool.

So, I started shopping around. I was looking for a reasonable set of waders without spending a bunch of money. I didn’t need all the fancy features.

I finally settled on the “Northern Guide Breathable Chest Waders” from Caddis.

Caddis Northern Guide Breathable Fly Fishing WadersI’ve used them a couple times and they seem to do what they say they will do. My feet and legs have been kept dry. The belt is nothing fancy and there are no belt loops. My friend had a really comfy neoprene belt (and loops) with his waders. Perhaps that is what the higher cost gets you.

I did learn one interesting tidbit.  These waders have a chest pocket with a waterproof zipper – clearly a waterproof storage area, right?


This pocket has drain holes in the bottom corners.  Of course, that allows water INTO the pocket.  Once again, my phone seems to have survived another dunking – she has proven to be very resilient over the last few weeks (Samsung S3).

Still more 5 volt USB charging sockets

I am firmly in the “can’t have enough USB charging sockets” camp.  As previously noted (here), I’ve added several throughout my Newmar Dutch Star.

The other day, I was sitting staring at the “solar charging light” on my dash.  This light is originally connected to the tiny little solar panel on the roof that barely provides enough juice to keep topped off batteries topped off.  In my RV, it does nothing at all.

However; the hole in the dash in which it was mounted had some value!

I could pull out the silly light and put in another USB charging socket!  Now this would be really great for keeping the phone charged AND nearby during those long cross-country drives.

The new USB socket fit precisely in the existing hole.  For power, I tapped into the positive and ground wires feeding the two cigarette style 12 volt sockets that are on the bottom section of the center dash panel – not shown in the photos.  Installation probably took all of 30 minutes and it looks like it belongs there.

Newmar Dutch Star USB 5 volt charging socket port RV motorhome Newmar Dutch Star USB 5 volt charging socket port RV motorhome

Quadcopter Maintenance

My little remote control UDI U818A quadcopter has provided a lot of fun over the last few weeks.  I feel like I’m starting to get a bit of a handle on it.  It no longer feels totally out of control.  That said, I still have to be careful to keep it facing away from me as I can’t make the transition to reversing the controls when it is pointing at me.

Sadly, two of the motors stopped working recently.  The front right and rear left motors both stopped at the exact same time.  I thought sure this was an electronics problem.  At the time, I wasn’t sure how to troubleshoot the problem.  It later occurred to me that swapping the wires with the working motors would have probably worked.

I immediately ordered two new motor “arms” from Amazon.  One has to be careful to order replacement parts (motors, propellers) that match the direction of rotation needed.

The replacement arms/motors showed up in two days – Amazon Prime is a wonderful thing!

Swapping the parts out was very easy but the screws are VERY small.  In just a few minutes, I was back in the air.  Yay!

Fly Fishing Access via Private Land

I learned something this past weekend that I already knew. For some reason, my brain just switched off and I committed a serious goof.

I targeted the Prickly Pear creek near Helena for a bit of early morning fishing.  I used Google Earth to spot a couple of access points and took off in my Jeep.  I was super excited to get to fishing and focusing on that. Without even thinking, I used some dirt roads on private property to get to the creek and went to fishing.  Before too long, the farmer that owned the property was standing on the bank asking me what I thought I was doing.

Homer Simpson Slap DohDohh!

Having grown up on a ranch, I knew better.  What an idiot.  Permission is always necessary when crossing private land.

I apologized up one side and down the other.  The farmer was very nice while letting me know he wasn’t too pleased.

Those people that abuse privileges and harm the reputation of any group really irritate me.  I was one of them this weekend and that really, really bugs me.  I am terribly sorry and won’t let it happen again.

I read an interesting quote this past week – “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.”

I have a bit more experience now.

Yakima Kayak Rack

I’ve been hauling my Necky Manitou kayak on top of my Jeep Wrangler for the last couple years.  My method has been very simple, or crude, depending on your view.  I cut up a swimming pool noodle to fit around the front of the cockpit and one strip across the rear access hatch (held on my a strap) and tossing it up on the hard top roof of the Jeep.  I used a strap on the front and rear of the kayak as well as one across the middle that attached to the inner roll bar cage.  Those straps were simply shut in the door when it closed.

This works fine but isn’t quite as convenient as it could be.  It was certainly not fancy or high-tech.

The thing that had become really annoying is that I had to remove the rear strap to get into the back of my Jeep when the kayak is up there – which is nearly all the time since I am now a full-timer.  This made nearly everything a nuisance – hauling groceries, getting at the bikes, getting stored stuff, etc…

Another very slight motivation to find a better solution is that the top of my hardtop is starting to get a little scratched up.  This doesn’t bother me as it isn’t visible but it could affect resale value at some point down the road.

So, what to do??

I’m not a fan of those exoskeleton cages that are often seen on Jeeps and are the “approved” method for mounting a roof rack. So, that approach was out.  I started looking around the forums for options and found a post by a fellow that detailed his installation of a Yakima kayak rack on this Jeep Wrangler.  I liked the look and decided to duplicate it.  Be aware, there are a few warnings in Internetland about using the Jeep Wrangler rain gutters as a rack mount (not designed for that and not strong enough) but I decided to give it a try since I putting only one kayak up there (50 lbs) and a few people have been doing it successfully for several years.

I jumped over to Amazon to order the Yakima kayak rack parts and POWIE!  What a surprise!  Those parts don’t quite fit into my pocketbook..  I had to think about this.

Of course, a bit of thinking led me to Craigslist.  There I found the bulk of the parts that I needed.  A couple days later I had the Yakima 1A Rain Gutter Towers, Mako Saddles, and Hully Rollers in hand.  Better, I had spent half of the cost of new components.  Better still, the saddles and rollers were brand new and still in their original packaging!

All that remained to order new were the cross bars and Side Loader Brackets (needed for the Jeep hardtop). Amazon to the rescue, of course.

Total parts cost: $274.00.   This compares nicely to the all-new price of about $500.00!

The only real negative to this system is that the Yakima Side Loader Brackets have to be mounted with bolts and that means drilling two holes into each side of the hard-top.  Not my favorite thing to do but it could have been much worse.  So, with drill in hand, I went to work.

Here is the final product – minus some trimming and tucking of straps.  I would prefer to store the kayak upside down to avoid it collecting stuff – mostly water. I haven’t tried flipping it over with the Mako Saddles and Hully Rollers but suspect that would probably work – more things to try!

Jeep Wrangler JK Necky Yakima kayak Rack roof Jeep Wrangler JK Necky Yakima Kayak Rack Roof Jeep Wrangler JK Necky Yakima Kayak Rack Roof Jeep Wrangler JK Necky Yakima Kayak Rack Roof

Will it hold up??  Time will tell!