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March 20, 2012 / flogginwater

Gear Preview: Wright & McGill S-Curve II 7′ 2 weight fly rod

Returning readers probably remember me mentioning the little Wright & McGill 2 weight that I purchased late last year. Being the light-rod freak I am, I was really feeling the need for something lighter than a 4 weight. I really was missing the TFO Lefty Kreh Signature Series 2 weight I used to own. It was an amazing small-stream rod, and great for panfish. It was not a rod that would set any distance casting records – but inside 30 feet, it would drop a #12-24 fly in a teacup, with barely a ripple on the water’s surface.

Heading in to my favorite fly shop – River City Fly Shop – I chatted with the owner while drooling over the rods. Now, I’ll say this – the first rod I found that met the criteria, was a Wright & McGill S-Curve II “Fly Girl” model. The blank was purple, instead of brown, and the grip was less western style, and more of a cigar style with a flared butt. It was a really nice rod – but my machismo kicked in and I wanted the same rod without the words “Fly Girl” in pink or purple on it. Besides, if I brought home a rod that said “Fly Girl” – my wife would either think I bought it for her – or that I was starting to bat for the other team. Lucky for my ego and my penis, Don found the “men’s” version of that rod, without “Fly Girl” written on the blank.

In typical fashion, Don produced a small reel loaded up with a weight forward line, and handed me a rod case after hearing a description of what I was looking for. Ten minutes later I was back in the shop waving my debit card at him. It’s a recurring thing, that. I need to stop falling in love with every rod he puts in my hands – I’m going to go broke one of these days. As it is – this was the third rod purchase I’d made from him in a year. Between fly rods, reels, lines, and tying materials – I probably dropped nearly a grand (I realize that’s nothing for a lot of fly fishers – but that was 1/20th my income last year!)

The official model number for my rod is WMSC7024. Simple logic deduces that out to be “Wright & McGill S-Curve 7’0″ 2 weight 4 piece” since that’s what it is.

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It’s a striking rod to look at – very different from any other fly rod, strike that, any other fishing rod I own. The blank is given a mottled brown paint glittery paint job. The wraps are done with metallic looking thread. The reel seat is skeletonized and reminds me very much of that of my Echo fly rods, but with a plastic insert given the same paint job as the blank.

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The grip is where things take a big deviation from typical fly rods – where one would expect to see nice clean, tan colored cork – there sits a rubber composite grip that looks like it was designed by Darth Vader. The rubber grip is trimmed with composite cork rings to make it stand out, and on top of the grip, where the thumb naturally rests with a thumb-on-top grip, is a small sculpted shelf for one’s thumb – which lines up perfectly for my hands.

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It’s comfortable, and Wright & McGill claims the grip is warmer, more sensitive, and less slippery than cork. I’ve never had a problem with a cork grip getting slippery – but some guy out there somewhere might have. I will say this – the rubber grip is preferable to a crappy cork grip that’s full of filler. Good cork is getting more expensive – and we’re either going to start seeing more composite grips, rubber grips, or shittier corks if rod makers don’t raise their prices – otherwise, they’ll give you a nice cork grip and use shittier guides or something – you can’t keep something the same price and use more expensive components, and keep making the same profits. Something’s got to give – price or quality. As for the sensitivity claim – I’ll have to wait and see – since I haven’t taken the rod fishing yet.

One other thing you won’t see on any other graphite rod in this one’s price point – spigot ferrules or “internal ferrules” or whatever you prefer to call them. I like them. I dig them. I wish more makers would use them.

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I have tried this rod out with a few different lines while casting on the lawn – both at home and the fly shop. I’ve tried DT2, DT3, and WF3 lines – and it seems to prefer the DT2 and the WF3 lines best, though the DT3 line did cast reliably at 30′ – which is all I ask of a rod this light. I’ve tried three different reels also – the Fish Field which Don loaned me to try the rod initially – which was light enough to balance well with this rod. I tried my Okuma Vashon 3/4 which also balances, and lastly I tried the Pfleuger Medalist 1494 – which felt the most butt-heavy of the bunch, but not so much that it threw my casting off. I do believe that for now – I’m going to stick with the Vashon reel with this rod, and the DT #3 line it’s already spooled with, until I can afford another line for it.

Wright & McGill has a whole line up of rods in this line from this 2 weight – upto IIRC 9 or 10 weight rods, plus they have their saltwater line that uses the same technology, which actually originated the black rubber/composite grip usage for them. And of course you can get the “Fly Girl” models of these rods, with a purple blank (which I like, sans the “Fly Girl” thing) and the more comfortable cigar shaped grip. These are not your Dad’s Wright & McGill rods – but Dad might like them anyway. I can’t wait to get this rod wet and get some fish slime on it.

March 19, 2012 / flogginwater

OBN Prompt: "My Outdoor Scary"

Rebecca from the OBN has given us bloggers an interesting writing assignment – to share what is our scariest encounter, or the thing we’re most scared of happening to us in the woods – be it drowning, beamed up by aliens and probed, eaten by a grizzly bear, mauled by a monster trout, etc.

I’ve been trekking up and down creek beds and around the banks of lakes by myself ever since I was 16 and got my driver’s license. In all that time – I’ve managed to avoid confrontation with scary animals (although I remain aware, and if I get the sense that something isn’t right, I remove myself from the area), I try to wade smartly and have avoided major dunkings and drowning. If I’ve been anally probed by aliens they did a good job of zapping the memory of the incident.

While the thought of being eaten by say, a mountain lion is something that I keep in mind when I’m in the woods (I’ve found plenty of cougar tracks along some of those river banks) – the thing that scares me most isn’t one of the creatures native to the forest – it’s people. Evil, two legged animals – the scariest predators out there.

There’s been way too many stories in the news papers and on the television news of drug runners and growers usurping public lands and turning them into big marijuana farms. There are areas that the local law enforcement officials have publicly stated they will not go. How scary does that shit have to be, where the trained, armed police officers flat out say “No way, Jose!” Not only is it the pot farmers – but even worse – the damn methamphetamine cookers – those are arguably the worst, and scariest. Pot, at least, is a natural plant. Pot plants aren’t exactly prone to explosion, nor do they poison the surrounding area. Not so much with the meth labs.

I’ve heard these stories from relatives ever since I was a kid. An aunt and uncle of mine lived on the SW Washington coast, right along the banks of one of the forks of the Nemah river, and just a few miles from some excellent trout ponds up in the mountains. While driving up to one such pond with my uncle and my dad, my uncle warned us of recent activities up there and drug busts of the meth cookers. That was fifteen years ago – and things have only generally gotten worse.

When I was younger and much more active in seeking a law enforcement career, I did a number of ride alongs with deputies from my local sheriff’s office, as well as troopers with the Oregon State Police – and they all told me the same thing – the meth cookers are one of the scariest things you can encounter. Mobile meth labs, and larger fixed bases that frequently get built or parked in the woods – away from prying eyes. Riding with the officers responsible for policing the wilder, more rural areas of my county, they both spoke of weekly pursuits involving the rolling meth labs – along with tense situations where guns were pointed each direction.

These people are bad people, and they’re not afraid to hurt or kill you if they think you’re going to be a problem – or you might tip off the cops to their grow op/cooking location. There’s a lot of money at stake for them.

It’s not just the drug manufacturers that are the problem either – it’s the damn thieves and violent predators that prowl the woods anymore, looking to steal what they can, or rob their helpless victims with the protection of being away from cell phone coverage and fast police response.

Just the other day on one of the fishing forums I am a member of, one of our long time members, frequent poster and fishing maniac related her own story of running into a pack of these people – and flat out said she will never go fishing by herself again. She ran into a pack of men – one of them clearly armed with a pistol – that were following her back to her car, where she found a group of men peering into her car. Were it not for her dog “finding her inner Cujo” she believed she would’ve been another statistic.

I’ve personally encountered a number of sketchy people in the woods – people you just *knew* weren’t out there fishing, picking mushrooms, or watching the native flora and fauna. They were hunting – but not for deer or elk. I’ve had encounters while camping – strange people and vehicles coming into my camp sight at night, doing strange things. Were they looking for someone to rob, rape, or kill? I don’t know. I do know that a few of those times – making my presence known scared a few of those people off. I also know that in my daylight encounters with some of these people – they quickly altered course once their eyes locked onto the pistol I carry openly on my hip 90% of the time I’m in the field (only carry concealed when I’m visiting a park that doesn’t allow the open carry of firearms).

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I take my personal safety, and those of my companions and loved ones very seriously, and have since I was a young teenager. My parents enrolled me in a martial arts class when I was ten. I worked my way up to third degree black belt by the time I was 19.

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I bought my first handgun when I turned 21. I don’t worry myself into a frenzy, nor do I look for trouble. I don’t let the thought of bad people doing bad things to me ruin my fun or keep me from going to my favorite waters or woods – but I am ready if someone tries.

I’ve never had to draw my gun on another man in the woods yet – and I hope I don’t. I’ve had to in the city before – and I tell you this – it’s not a good feeling. It’s not a feeling I want to experience again – it’s not something I want to do again – but I will if I *have* to.

It’s why I train – both in the use of a firearm, and unarmed – to defend myself and my loved ones – both in the woods and in the city. It’s why I’ve taught my wife to shoot, and tried teaching her some basic unarmed combat techniques. I will teach the same things to my son when he’s big enough.

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Someone bringing harm to me & mine – THAT is my outdoor scary.

March 19, 2012 / flogginwater

Gear Review: Cabela’s LSi 9′ 6 weight

You may have guessed, if you’ve read more than a few lines here, that I’ve got a serious addiction to fishing – especially fly fishing. I’ve also got this silly burning itch to keep obtaining nifty new gear.

Last year for my birthday, I decided to really treat myself and get a brace of new rods – nicer than anything I’d ever purchased before. Up until that point, I’ve always limited myself, mostly because of my modest incomes, to not buying any single rod costing more than $100. There are some amazing fishing rods out there for less than $100 – some even going for half, or even a third of that price, but there’s always that little lust of having something that’s sitting on the greener grass of the pricier pastures, you dig?

And so as my birthday approached, I carefully considered what I wanted to get. I’d already dropped way more than I’d ever spent on a single setup when I purchased my Echo switch rod a month prior – but I figured I was on a roll in upgrading the collection. Being a light rod nut, my collection was more of 3 and 4 weight rods, with a single 6 weight (a fiberglass WW Grigg) in the quiver. Desiring to fish the famed Deschutes, but not wanting to undergun myself with it’s native, wild fish stocks – I needed and wanted something better suited to those conditions. I temporarily filled my light rod itch by buying the SR4106 – and I still had my Cabela’s Wind River 4 weight. I didn’t really *need* another light rod – what I *needed* was another general purpose rod – one that I could fish deer hair poppers and sliders for bass, or bigger streamers and heavy nymphs for trout with, and maybe a light carp rod. I needed a 6 weight.

I’d fallen in love with the Cabela’s LSi 8’6″ 3 weight about the same time I bought my Echo SR rod – but like I said – I needed a 3 weight like I needed a hole in my head. I was considering one of their 6 weights, and waffling between it, and the Echo Carbon or Ion 6 weights. I’d also been pondering the Wright & McGill S-Curve 9′ 6 weight, and the Fish Field 9′ 6 weight that River City Fly Shop sells as their store brand. All of these were good rods in the $150-$200 price range. Then Cabela’s put the LSi rods – normally about $189, on sale, with free shipping to boot. I ordered the 9′ 6 weight 4 piece rod for $125, and spent the extra coin I saved on a reel and line to go with it.

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The LSi rod series is Cabela’s replacement for their LST series. LSi means “Line Speed – Improved” whereas LST means “Line Speed Technology” or something like that. The rods are a nice brown blank, trimmed with gold hardware, and a brown woven graphite reel seat. The cork grips are fine grade, with composite cork trim rings front and back – which I dig. I normally don’t like gold or brass hardware on a fishing rod, but it does go with the LSi rods. My personal preference would’ve been nickel silver or brushed titanium, but I won’t nit pick.

All LSi rods feature alignment dots – which is nice when you’re putting together a 4 piece rod, the butt section of which doesn’t have a guide on it.

The LSi is definitely what you’d call a fast action – faster than I normally like – but the LSi rods I’ve cast don’t suffer from problems when casting at short ranges. The 3 weight that originally sold me on the line could cast just a leader, then the next cast shoot 45′ of line. The 6 weight will also cast in short, and fire out 50-60′ cast when needed.

My first outing with the LSi to the Deschutes River, I hooked (albiet briefly) a steelhead in some slack water. The rod gave me a good feel for the head shake or two the fish was on, before my 5X tippet snapped. The LSi performed very well that trip – which mostly consisted of chucking a two-fly indicator nymping rig. 2 flies, split shot, and a thingamabobber isn’t graceful to cast with any rod – but the LSi did it as good as any other rod I’ve done it with.

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I will say this about the LSi – being as fast as it is – it doesn’t really like lines that tightly adhere to the AFTMA standard for a 6 weight line. It really, really shines with the lines that are a half size heavier – like the Airflo Ridge, SA Mastery GPX, etc. The Cabela’s Prestige Plus #6 weight forward floater I bought with it just wouldn’t properly load the rod unless I had 40′ of line out. The Ridge line will load with much less line out there. Couple that with a furled leader (standard equipment for me) and you have a rig that will fish in close or far away.

The only fish landed on the Deschutes trip was a fat Whitefish that ran about 12 or 13 inches – and it put a nice bend in the LSi. I could feel the thrum of the fish’s tail in the current. I like a sensitive rod – and the LSi fills the bill in that department.

Later in the season, after the trout streams had closed, I still had the fishing bug. Being a panfish fanatic, and always up for trying new waters (or old waters that’ve been far too long ignored) I hit up some ponds down toward Salem to see what was home. These ponds contain a healthy mix of fish – stocked rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. You never know what you’ll catch, unless you’re plunking rainbow powerbait.

I had a blast bringing in late season panfish with the LSi – the sensitivity offered by this rod made it fun to fish a 6-line for bluegill.

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The LSi is certainly one of the finest rods I’ve ever had the pleasure to fish – it ranks right up there with Lamiglas, Loomis, a Sage and Echo in terms of quality and castability. It’s only downside is that it’s not made here in the USA – it is built overseas, but then again, so are Echo rods, and some St. Croix rods, and TFO’s line up. You’d be hard pressed to find a rod under $250 that’s made in the US anymore. And Made in Korea or Made in China doesn’t have to equal complete shit, and it certainly doesn’t where the LSi line up of rods comes into play. Cabela’s has themselves a group of winners with their LSi line of rods.

March 19, 2012 / flogginwater

Gear Review: Echo SR 4106

Last year I focused a lot of my fly fishing efforts on perfecting my wet fly fishing techniques, especially for trout living in streams. I love trout fishing, and for me – the pinnacle of trout fishing isn’t going after huge browns and rainbows that live in big, deep rivers or massive impounded lakes – rather I’m more of an oddball. I love smaller waters, and cutthroat trout. Sea run cutthroats are about as big a cutthroat as you’ll find in Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest in General. And it’s natural, living 70 miles from the coast, and living in a valley nestled between the towering Cascade range, and the more gentle Coast range mountains – that I’m drawn to the waters draining those mountains and their wild, native coastal cutthroat trout.

I spent more time swinging flies on coastal streams last year than I had the previous two – and I was sparked with the desire to find a better (read, funner) rod to chase these fish with than my 8’6″ 4 weight, or my heavier 5/6 weight rods. I wanted a rod that would let me fish wet flies swung on a tight line, but give me a bit more reach than the 8’6″ rods would provide – and so I set out on a quest to find a rod of at least 10 feet, that cast a #4 line – the 4 weight being what I consider the best general trouting line for the average size fish (12 inches or less) normally caught.

I took to the Internet – oh great wonder of wonders – and began researching rods for both price and utility, reading reviews and hunting for bargains. I originally set my sights on a Cortland Brook rod – it’s been a while since I’d had the pleasure of owning a Cortland fly rod – but the Brook eluded me. It was also a bit pricier than I realistically could afford.

I wandered in to my favorite fly shop – River City Fly Shop – in Beaverton, Oregon last August to pick Don’s (the owner and proprietor) brain and see what he had. No Cortland Brook rods – no Czech nymph rods – but he said he did have one long, light line rod that should fit the bill for me – in the form of an Echo SR Switch Rod. The tube he handed me said 10’6″, #4 line. Okay, that was exactly what I was looking for, wasn’t it? But a being a switch rod, I was a bit nervous. I have wanted to learn how to cast a double-hander for some time, but they’ve always seemed so expensive – the internet gurus made it seem like one wouldn’t be properly outfitted with a two-hander for anything less than $500.

Don found a Cortland reel that he’d spooled up with an Airflo Ridge 6 weight tactical trout line, and put it on the rod. You may be asking yourself, “WTF” at this point – “I thought you said it was a 4 weight?”. I did. And the tube, and rod, say #4 line on them. But here’s the deal – Switch Rods – which are just short Spey type rods, are meant to be cast with heavier lines than they are rated. It’s wonky, and I’m not sure I really get the reasoning – but Echo has published line recommendations for every rod they make – and it said right in the book that they recommend either a #6 weight forward floating line, or a 240 grain compact Scandinavian style line for it.

I took the rod out back behind the shop and cast over the grass. 5 minutes of casting – both single, and awkward double hand, overhead, roll casts, sidearm casts – and I was back in the shop waving my debit card in front of Don. I *had* to have the rod – damn the price tag. Yes, it was a few bucks cheaper than the Cortland I was originally looking for, but not by much.

Don, being the awesome guy he is, gave me the Cortland reel and the Airflo line for free. I took it home and cast it in the backyard that evening. Sometimes I’ve been struck with buyer’s remorse once I get an item (especially an expensive item) home. Not so with the Echo – the sweet, sweet casting of this rod just solidified my lust for it more. The longest practical cast I can make in my back yard is about 70′ – and double hauling with one hand, the SR rod did it with ease. My shorter sticks tend to be good out to 50′ before I start having problems (I never claimed to be Tim Rajeff, I just love the rods he makes). I had to take this rod fishing.

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So I did. I hit up my favorite coastal river in search of sea run cutthroat, which were migrating back into the river from their saltier feeding grounds. While I didn’t find scores of sea run fish, I did find plenty of resident fish to help pop the cherry of this rod. What I was more concerned with though – was how the rod cast. Could I duplicate my back yard efforts with flowing water? In a word – yes.

The Echo really was like a magic wand for me – it honestly added distance to my cast, without me changing anything in my casting stroke. It was easier to cast than any other rod I had in my collection at that point – and it wasn’t the lightning fast pool cue that most rod companies push at you to do it. Echo calls the SR a “fast” action rod – but it isn’t. I’d honestly say it’s more of a moderate or parabolic action – but whatever it is – it’s good for me and my casting.

As an experiment, I climbed a rocky bank (this was low water in August, mind you) and stood above the river, and peeled off most of the line from the reel (only had one or two wraps left on) and began to cast. Two false casts and a release, and the line straightened out ahead of me. I almost shit my pants in amazement. 70+ feet of fly line laid out before me – a feat I’d had to work hard for with other rods.

I tried a two-handed overhead cast, and found that I could cast as far, with less effort from the ol’ casting arm. I was hooked for life on this SR rod.

Now, single hand casting wasn’t all I’d done that day. I’ve spent hours watching videos and pouring over illustrations in fishing books and magazines on the mechanics of certain double hand casts – and I did my best attempts to recreate them for someone without any formal casting instruction. The SR didn’t seem to mind, and was forgiving enough that even my craptastic casting form – I could roll a team of wet flies out, or turn over a woolly bugger. Double hand casting is said to be harder with a shorter rod – but I’ll tell you this – my arms and elbows hurt less at the end of the day on the water casting with both hands, than they usually do after a good day on the river with my single-hander. That, in itself, is worth the price of admission.

Over the course of what was left of summer, and the fall that followed – I fished as hard and often as I could – and not long after buying my Echo SR, I found myself back on that favorite coastal river, swinging flies for sea run cutties again.

I found one run that was a dream for me – a nice long, smooth, deeper run that fed into a still, glassy pool right above a rapid, and another long pool below it. I fished the top run, getting some nice chunky little cutts. Then I noticed a GOOD fish boiling over in the slack water. I figured it had to be one of the piggie sea run fish I was looking for, so I shot a cast out, fishing a #12 black Woolly Bugger on a 5x tippet. The fish ate it, I set the hook, and the fight was on. The SR rod bent down to the cork as the fish ran upstream into the top run. I got the fish close enough, that when he flashed on the surface, I saw that it wasn’t a cutthroat at all – but it was a steelhead (sea run rainbow) – I was elated!

The steelie did an about face and ran downstream – I had to wade into water that I hadn’t tested, and didn’t know how deep it was in order to follow – as I’d made the mistake of letting the fish get into the fast water between pools. Running through the rapid, I was glad the water didn’t get higher than the tops of my waders. The fish got into the lower pool, and I fought it back to the top of that run where I landed and released her, a fat little 20″ summer run steelhead. I don’t know if I would’ve landed that fish as quickly as I did with any of my other rods, if I landed it at all. The cushioning that the SR provided, and the extra length over which to absorb that energy, protected that whimpy 5x tippet enough to keep that steelhead on the line, even with her mad dash through the rapid.

If I’d had any doubts about the SR’s abilities – landing that fish washed them away. Now I’m looking forward to hitting up the Deschutes River again this year, and taking the SR along to chase some of those wild, fat redband rainbows it’s famous for. The SR4106 is quite a versatile rod – I’ve nymphed with it, swung wet flies and streamers with it, and fished dry flies with it. I might even break it out and fish poppers for bass with it this year, just because.

The only “complaint” I could lodge about the rod is that it’s looks belie it’s abilities. The Echo SR rods are very plain in appearance – but that’s honestly something I prefer in a rod. The blank has a matte olive-gray finish, the reel seat is black metal, the single foot guides are wrapped in light gray thread, and the cork foregrip features a front section of composite rubber-cork, which first takes some used to in the visual appeal department, but it quite quickly grew on me. Tim Rajeff knows how to design a fly rod for sure. He and his team design rods to be utilitarian casting and fishing machines – and leave the flashier looks to other makers. I like it. I don’t have to pay for flashy looks – I pay for performance. Consider it the difference between a Mazda Miata and a Porche 911. Both will go fast and you’ll have fun driving them – but the BMW is flashier, prettier, and more expensive.

I for one like the matte finish on the rod – it prevents glare that spooks fish in low clear-water conditions (like I was fishing with this rod). I also don’t mind single foot guides – I know some guys get all bent out of shape over their use on a flyrod, but I understand that it keeps both cost and weight down on the rod – and I’m all for that.

The composite cork grips might look a little funny, but they do feel good – and they’re another one of those cost-savings measures that I don’t mind – good quality cork is only getting more expensive – and those expenses get passed on to the consumer. Hell, if it took $20 off the price of the rod, I’d buy it with the entire grip made from composite cork.

I honestly can’t complain about the SR4106. It was my first Echo rod, but not my last. I liked it so much, that I bought an Echo Ion 8 weight as a birthday gift to myself, and, should I find myself gainfully employed again soon, I’d like to add a couple more Echo rods to my quiver.

March 17, 2012 / flogginwater

Sunk on Dry Land

Thursday the wife, kiddo, and I headed across a couple counties to visit some good friends. This friend had my little 6 horse – he was going to look at it for me last summer, and life just kinda got in the way for him – he’s busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest because of his job and family (police officer, a training officer at that, plus being his agency’s public information officer, and getting nailed with court constantly because he’s got one of the highest arrest rates for his agency – and he’s got a 3 year old daughter and 13 year old son to keep up with – so understandable how he’s got no free time.) We had a great time visiting with them, and it was nice getting the little 6 horse back to whack on and tinker with in hopes of getting it running.

So this afternoon I decided to give the the advice I was given by the local marine dealer a try. Carried the motor out to the boat, since it’d be easiest working on it while mounted to the transom. I soon learned a valuable lesson – TAKE THE FUCKING PLUG OUT OF THE BOAT when it’s not in use. The week of rain we’ve had since my fishing outing left the boat FULL of water – covering the seats. Now, this wouldn’t have been SO bad – but the wonderful plywood storage box that was built between two of the seats contained three tackle boxes, my main fly box, my fire extinguisher, two first aid kits, a roll of tape, and a small tool kit. It was all under water. So were the fold up seats, the throwable PFD’s stored under the seats, the plywood flat bow floor, my dock lines, and all the carpeting. EVERYTHING, basically, except my battery and trolling motor – which are stored inside when not used. Took me 15 minutes of trying to get the plug out – I had to restort to a screw driver and a hammer to pop it out, in ice cold rain water. 10 minutes later the boat was done pissing all over the driveway, with a little help of my trusty bailing bucket. Bad sign ONE.

I took the flywheel off, and reset the points and coils – and BAM – the flywheel turned freely again, as did the throttle. I was a bit disheartened though – by the covering of rust on the surfaces of the fly wheel and coils. Took emery paper to the whole mess (marine guys said this was OK) and reassembled. Hook up the gas hose, pump up the bulb, set the choke, set the throttle, yank the starter cord and….. nada.

Yank the cord some more, push choke in, twist the throttle a little further this way and that – yank the cord again and – you guess it – nothing. Bad sign TWO.

Pulled the plugs – no sign of them getting any fuel into the cylinders after multiple attempts to start. OK. Check the fuel filter, and promptly pulled apart the fuel pump in the process. Doh! Off to the marine shop for a rebuilt kid, picked up my nephew to get his assistance as a second pair of hands along the way.

Getting back, we rebuilt the fuel pump (he held the directions and read them, I looked at the pictures. Pump the squeeze bulb and…gas shoots out of the line at the fuel-in portion. CRAP. Check everything…doh – tighten hose camp and re-squeeze…okay! Or at least, no more fuel shooting out. Squeeze the bulb till it’s hard again. Open the choke. Smells like gas. OK. Checked the throttle, yank the cord and….NOTHING. Again.

Pulled the spark plugs to check for spark. Nothing. FUCK. DOUBLE FUCK. FUCKITY FUCK. I’m really getting annoyed with this motor, and myself at this point. The motor – understandably for not running when it should. Myself – because I felt it was my fault it was in this condition anyway – I didn’t replace the thermostat when I got the motor – didn’t even check it. And it was stuck. And it caused the motor to overheat. And that killed the coils and condensers once and for all. And now it doesn’t run, because I’m a tard.

I can’t afford to sink anymore cash into this motor – both because of my lack of income at the moment, and my lack of give a damn about a 38 year old motor that won’t run. For the potential cost of what it’d take to get back into running condition if i paid a marine mechanic to do it – I could buy a motor from the same mechanic that runs. Or for a few hundred more – I could get an almost new motor that runs, or a bigger running motor of the same vintage. See the dilemma?

I might just be stuck being battery powered for quite some time.

Today was not my day. I hope tomorrow is better.