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Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show

January 29th, 2014 · No Comments

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The biggest fishing and hunting show in the PNW is next week, February 5-9th! I’ll be at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show the entire with Kayak Shed in booth 627, showing off the best of the Jackson Kayak fishing kayaks. Be sure to come by. This show is pretty awesome and fills the entire Expo Center in North Portland.

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Washington Sportsmen’s Show

January 21st, 2014 · No Comments

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This week, stop by the Washington Sportsmen’s Show in Puyallup! I’ll be working with The Kayak Acadamy (booth 966) and showing off the latest Jackson Kayak upgrades and additions. That includes the new hatch on the Jackson Cuda, the new Jackson Big Rig, and you’ll definitely want to check out the seat upgrade for 2014! On Thursday, I’ll also be hosting a seminar on kayak fishing and winter steelhead.

In two weeks, you can find me at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show in Portland, with Kayak Shed!

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Patching up Drysuits and Waders

November 23rd, 2013 · 1 Comment

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If you wear anything to keep waterproof, be it waders or a dry suit, and you spend any time fishing, chances are at some point there will be a hole that will make for a miserable discovery. Breathable dry gear is expensive–a couple hundred bucks each for waders and dry tops, and much more for dry suits. Fortunately holes and small tears are easily repaired, and can bring new life to something you might otherwise shove aside and replace.

Most of what is needed to fix up your old waders

Most of what is needed to fix up your old waders


My gear had some hard abuse over the last few years. It’s now at the point that whatever I wear, be it my dry suit, waders or dry pants, I end up with wet feet. It was time to get my suit patched up and ready for some cold winter fishing action.

Chances are, you have almost everything needed to repair your waders or dry suit. The most important thing you will need to pick up is Aquaseal. Aquaseal is available at most outdoor stores, and certainly any kayak shop. This is what will be filling in small pinholes in the suit, or adhering patches over larger holes. Aquaseal sells in a small tube for a few bucks, and there is enough for many repairs. Between my dry suit, dry pants, dry top and waders, I haven’t even used half a tube. Aquaseal is also used for rubber gasket replacement, should that become necessary.

Aquaseal is the only thing you will probably have to go out and buy.

Aquaseal is the only thing you will probably have to go out and buy.


Other things you will need is a light source. Flashlights work great, but I couldn’t find the one right in front of my face until I was done. Small fluorescent fixtures are good too, but are cumbersome. Don’t use halogen or incandescent lights which will get hot and cause even more problems for you. You’ll also need marker to keep track of holes you find, and if you know you have tears and holes over 1/4″ long, you’ll need some patch material (eVent, GoreTex, etc). Dry suits usually come with a small patch, but check your local kayak shop if you don’t have anything suitable.
That light would be a tell-tale sign of a hole in my dry suit.

That light would be a tell-tale sign of a hole in my dry suit.


Starting off, you need clean gear. Check out the article from last spring to see how to clean your breathable fabrics properly. With everything clean and dry, turn your suit inside out. Reaching into arms and legs, scan around with the flashlight. Holes will begin shining through, if they are there, and use the marker to circle these areas.
Here are  couple very small pinholes that probably came from errant hooks or rockfish spines

Here are couple very small pinholes that probably came from errant hooks or rockfish spines


Depending on what you found when running the light through the suit will dictate where to go from here. I had a couple holes that were patch worthy, though small. Patches are best made round, so there are no sharp corners that can promote snagging. I chose to use a quarter to shape my patching, but you might need something larger. Patches should extend about 1/2″ around holes and tears. Using the quarter as a guide, I traced cirgles around the holes in the suit I was patching and another circle in the patch material can cut it out. If you have a large tear to patch, you might need something like a fishing line spool, or bigger, to make sure you cover the whole area.
Right-side out, I've taped up the hole so the Aquaseal won't leak through.

Right-side out, I’ve taped up the hole so the Aquaseal won’t leak through.


Now, turn the suit right-side out. We need to tape the outside of the suit. If you have a hole, the tape will keep the Aquaseal from leeching through and gluing the other side of the suit. If you have a tear, make sure the tape is holding the suit together as closely as possible. Painters tape is the best option for this, as the tape will not stick to the suit. It will remove cleanly and easily when the time comes. With things taped up, we can turn the suit inside out again.
Here I've got the area I am going to patch traced out and my patches cut.

Here I’ve got the area I am going to patch traced out and my patches cut.


It’s time to clean, yet again, all the spots that require repair. This time all we need is some rubbing alcohol. A rag or cotton ball will be fine. If there was anything left behind from the earlier wash, the alcohol will help take care of it. The alcohol also will not affect the Aquaseal. Lay the patch out on a piece of cardboard and spread a thin layer of Aquaseal over the whole patch. One the suit, apply more Aquaseal over the area that the patch is going to cover. Make sure that the whole area is covered with Aquaseal and even a little bit beyond the area you marked. This will help bond the edges of the patch. Once the glue is on both pieces, line up your patch and press it into place. When in place, cover it with a piece of wax paper and then use a large book or other heavy object to help press it into place. Leave it like this at least over night. Twelve hours is ideal.
Patch glued into place. I got so into gluing the inside of the suit, the patch is backwards. It'll still work.

Patch glued into place. I got so into gluing the inside of the suit, the patch is backwards. It’ll still work.


In the morning, remove the book and wax paper, turn the suit right-side out, remove the tape and inspect the patch job. Chances are your suit is good to go fishing. If at all possible, though, try to give the Aquaseal another twelve hours to finish curing.
Big books for weight.

Big books for weight.


If you have smaller pinholes that don’t require patching, or if you needed to clean up the outside of your patch job, all you need is the Aquaseal and a small disposable paint brush. As with the patch job, we need to clean the area with alcohol before proceeding. Once clean, brush on the Aquaseal over the area, and extending beyond any pinholes and abrasions. This time, since nothing is being glued, just keep the area flat and allow to dry overnight. Aquaseal dries clear and is abrasion resistant, so it can be used on the outside of your waders as well. This helps make sure you have created a good waterproof barrier to keep you dry once again.
Tiny pinholes or areas that just looked thin through the light can just be coated with Aquaseal with no patching needed.

Tiny pinholes or areas that just looked thin through the light can just be coated with Aquaseal with no patching needed.


Repairing your waders and other dry gear is not hard work, though it can be time consuming. But, in the end, I think it is well worth doing. It will keep your dryer, warmer and safer when on the water doing some fishing.

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Signal Light – Time Machine Fly Box

November 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

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Continuing on with Steelhead fly tying with flies inspired by John P. Newbury’s Time Machine Fly Box, I bring on the Signal Light.

The Signal Light is one of a group of flies that were named after features of or around the Deschutes River and tied by Randall Kaufmann. It is also one of the few in the series that would “normally” have a marabou wing. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a hairwing Signal Light though. Like all of these flies, they are open to interpretation and some meddling. The important points of the Signal Light is that have a body made of 1/4 Red, 1/4 Green and 1/4 Black, from butt to collar. You can use dubbing, floss, chenille, yarn or whatever else you have to come up with the colors. Here are a few of the Signal Lights that I put together.

signal light - summer
This Signal Light has a red and chartreuse butt section, followed by a body of black UV Ice Dub. The collar is purple schlappen and black deer hair wing. I’d consider this one a bit more for summer-time as it should ride very shallow in the water.

signal light - winter
To contrast, this Signal Light would be more for winter use. The butt section is orange UV Ice Dub and a green chenille. Again the body is black UV Ice dub. This thicker body hides a few wraps of .020 lead-free wire for a little bit extra weight. The collar is purple schlappen and the wing of deer hair over a few strands of copper Krystal Flash. If I were to do this again, I’d make it with a marabou wing instead.

intruder signal light
To really mix things up, here’s an Intruder style fly, inspired by the Signal Light. There are a lot of materials in these, but from front to back: orange UV Ice Dub, red Saddle Hackle, chartreuse Saddle Hackle, black UV Ice Dub, orange UV Ice Dub, red Saddle Hackle, chartreuse Saddle Hackle, black Marabou, purple Marabou, purple Holoflash. The hook point will be removed and a trailer hook slipped on the loop of Tufline in the rear.

Very often there will be a tail coming off the flies, and I would have used purple hackle fibers or even purple Fluoro Fiber. Why I didn’t manage to tie any up with tails, I’m not sure. When I buy more hooks and tie up more, I’ll make sure to include tails.

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Purple Peril – Time Machine Fly Box

November 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments

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The Purple Peril is another steelhead staple and was originally designed by Ken McLeod. I’d go out on a limb and say that it’s probably at it’s best in early fall, but it’s worth swinging the Purple Peril any time of the year. I didn’t tie up a single traditional variation of the Purple Peril, but one is at last fairly close. The fly usually sports a purple hackle fiber tail, purple wool yard body with silver tinsle, purple saddle collar, and a natural squirrel tail wing.

purple peril - buckwing
This is fairly close to the original. I have a bit of natural squirrel tail, but, for some reason, went with a natural bucktail wing. I used purple Fluoro Fiber for the tail and purple UV Ice Dub for the body. At the collar I tied in a few purple Sili Legs under the purple schlappen collar.

purple peril - bunny
Trying something completely different, I kept with the Fluoro Fiber tail and switched up the body with several strands of purple flashabou. The first collar is made up of purple crosscut rabbit and purple schlappen. The wing is black bucktail.

Again, more variations of the a common theme. I’m pretty fond of both and can’t wait to swing them.

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