How to: Bow Mounted Crab/Shrimp Pot Holder

Ahh spring, where a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of….watersports. And bikes. And maybe finally posting a TR from the Oregon Splitfest. But whatever, it’s sunny out and while I know I should be stoked on hitting highway 20 and some local spring splitboard objectives, but I can’t lie, I’m not*. I’m solar powered and no amount of vitamin D supplementation matches to the feeling of the sun’s warmth on your face and the sounds/smells/sensory overload that comes with springtime.

With the springer run hitting full bore in the Willamette, and lings, shrimp and halibut opening in Washington I’ve been putting some thought into there wheres and hows of what kayak mods I decided last fall I’d get to this spring. Nothing crazy – a quick release anchor, a modified way to hold crab/shrimp pots in front of me and a milk crate/safety flag setup. Below is the first of the DIYs I’ll throw up, which is stupid easy to do and likely only requires a single photo, but as I know when you get a new yak that it takes a bit of a leap of faith in drilling into it figured I’d make it a bit more step-by-step.

Basically, I needed a better way to carry crab or shrimp pots. I typically use the Danielson fold up crab pots, and for shrimp use the non-folding McKay pots. With the rope, buoys and bait cans in the rear tankwell the pots never really sat well across the stern and most of the time I found myself putting them in front of the cockpit and using my monkey toes to grab onto the pots. I didn’t want to get too crazy and build an unnecessarily complex, deck cluttering PVC pipe monstrosity as I feel that part of the fun of kayak fishing is the fact that it’s simple. This solution achieves my needs, is simple and lets me use the tankwell for carrying bait, buoys and rope and have the pots where I can see them and more easily reach them. Caveat for those that have trouble grasping the obvious: this setup is DEFINITELY better for the size/weight of the fold up crab pots, but it should hold at least one shrimp pot – though you may want to keep the buoy and rope on it juuuuust in case.

Needed:
-A single lashing hook. Washington based Sealect Designs seem to be available everywhere AND you’re supporting PNW local
-Stainless hardware (machine screw, nylock nut, fender washer). Like with anything that requires drilling through the hull a backing plate of starboard or cheap plastic cutting board is smart, but in this case I just used a big ol’ washer
-Two short lengths (under 10″) of bungee for guide loops. You could also use some Niteline or similar, but I went with bungee for it’s shock absorbing properties (and the fact that I needed the 16′ of line I had for something else….)
-Drill and appropriately sized drill bit
-Marine Goop

The below pic is what you’re creating. Pretty easy and needs no explanation, right?

The end goal

Lashing hook. Placement will be determined by personal preference and kayak layout. For me I verified that I could load the pots on either the long way or short way before drilling, as well as put it in a spot where the hook faces slightly downward for additional confidence in it’s holding ability.

Obvious statement is obvious, but when drilling through your hull you’ll want to make sure the bit you use is slightly smaller than your mounting screw so that it gets some purchase into the plastic. As you just made a hole in your boat, and boats work better when they don’t have holes in them, a generous application of Marine Goop is a good idea. It’s highly unlikely that this hole would ever allow in any significant amount of water, but why chance it Also, save the plastic shavings that result from the drilling as you can use them to fill in holes.

Lashing hook. Caution: living live can and will result in death

Instead of pad eyes I used loops of bungee to run my primary cord through. I figured the shock absorbing property can’t hurt, but as the paddle loops are already bungee it’s likely overkill. Regardless, it’s a non-permanent mount that can be easily changed.

Used bungees instead of pad eyes

Easy as pie.

Come at me bro

*Sometime in mid-August I’ll think back to this post and be pissed at myself for not taking advantage of the snow

UPDATE: Somebody emailed me and asked if you can hold pots that are assembled with this setup. Pic below shows that yup, you can. If you want to stack more than one you can just add another loop to your bungee to extend it, though you may want to consider running some pad eyes or additional lashing hooks on the sides so that there is some support on the sides of the pot.

(mock) How to: on the hill base grind/structuring

*warning: blurry photos ahead, do not adjust your eyes*

Step 1:
Find east facing slope that has been baking in the sun all week.  Climb said slope.

Step 1:  Hike up east facing/melted out peak

Step 1: Hike up east facing/melted out peak

Step 2: 
Achieve a zen-like state and sit/ponder the conditions you’ll be encountering in the near future to decide how you’d like to structure your base.

Pondering

Pondering

Step 3: 
Crack beer and drink while continuing to ponder.  Throw in occasional curse about POS tripod that broke and how it’s cramping your photo steez.

Drink and ponder

Drink and ponder

Step 4: 
Ride down hill ’til the snow runs out and you’re faced with at least a 30 foot (research shows 30 foot is the minimum to get a quality grind) section of sand and other non-snow surfaces.  Tell buddies that you’d just ollie the gap or ( __insert miscellaneous BS here____ ) if it were light out and you could see, but as it’s not you’ll just ride over it.  Bonus points for snagging nose on a tree or rock and throwing in a sommersault halfway thru the base grind.

Midnight Wintersteiger

Midnight Wintersteiger

Step 5: 
Meet back up with snow, turn back and admire your work, then proceed to ride ’til you hit pavement.  Call it a night knowing you’ve just saved yourself $50 on a basegrind/structuring.

Sand meets snow

Sand meets snow

Step 6: 
Admire handiwork in the daylight the next day, confident that the structure you added will help channel water off your base this spring.

Nice work

Mission: accomplished

How to: Save $200 and get a few extra years out of your gear

So as mentioned in my Westcomb Rampage pants review my not even one year old Four Square pants lost a battle with my Black Diamond Contact crampons up at Lassen last Memorial weekend.  The worst part about it was that the crampons weren’t exactly necessary, but as the boots I brought up there (Burton Hails) were so flexible I put on the crampons just to stiffen up the sole a bit to help me dig into the snow and walk.  I was pretty bummed about the pants as I’m a bit taller and it’s hard to find pants that fit, but also because I’m cheap and had no desire to buy new pants.  Yes, I know these pants are 99% fashion and 1% function and were way out of their element, but it should be noted that my first pair of Four Square pants circa-1996 or so from when Peter Line and Ingemar Backman still owned the company and they had a lifetime warranty on their clothing lasted me until ’06 (with an annual re-DWRing and a bit of thread on a zipper once)!  Of course they never faced a cage match with crampons.

Anyways, on to my one picture how to.  I wish I had the before picture so you could see how my pants had been disembowled and were puking their mesh liner and gaiters, you’ll just have to imagine the tauntaun scene from Empire Strikes Back.

To help you visualize my pants...

To help you visualize my pants...

They looked shredded, but thanks to a sewing genius I’ll call by her secret agent name ‘mom’ they were salvageable – in fact they probably have more street cred now with the uber-steezy exposed stitching. Basically they were patched with one of those iron-on/adhesive backed patches from the inside to hold everything together, than stitched up and down over the exposed fabric shreds to tie everything together. Good for at least a few more years of resort riding with just a regular re-application of DWR.

Pants, post-surgery and recovering well

Pants, post-surgery and recovering well

How to: refilling old binding holes

So this is an easy one, but as I see questions asked about it all the time and as I’m in the process of rehabbing a pair of new (to me) Volkl Gotamas I figured I’d snap a few quick pics and post up a how to to hopefully help at least one other out there. I’m one of those people that can read a how to a million times and still be a little unclear, but feel like I could perform brain surgery on someone if I had a few pictures to guide me along.

There’s ongoing debate as to how many mounts a ski can take before losing structural integrity. Three seems to be an accepted norm, but there are quite a few other people out there skiing on skis with swiss cheese underfoot with no problems. Ultimately what are you trying to do is not add additional strength/structural integrity to the ski (though I’m guessing that’s a side benefit, but probably minimal at best) but trying to make the ski waterproof. You don’t want water getting into the ski’s core and causing degradation from the inside. Yes, you can do it the easy way and use those hammer in plastic plugs that some ski shops use, but I personally don’t trust those staying in on their own and they just look goofy to me (odd comment, I know).

So, materials list for this one is similar to last time, though the clamps aren’t needed so play make believe that they aren’t there.

  • Epoxy
  • Cup or other object to mix and hold epoxy
  • Small objects (toothpicks work great) to get epoxy into holes and pop bubbles
  • Fiberglass or steel wool (not necessary, but if you’re planning on drilling back INTO the same holes you’ll want)
  • Gloves (optional, I opted out of them)
  • Dremel tool (if your topsheet is puckered you’ll need, if not skip step 2 below)
  • Beer (not optional, I subbed an Avery Brewing Co. IPA this time.  Again, play make believe)
Materials.  Pretend the clamps arent there.

Materials. Pretend the clamps aren't there.

Step 1:
Make sure your skis are dry. If you’ve recently skied them odds are they aren’t dry. You want to make sure they are dry so you’re not sealing moisture INTO your skis so let them sit for a day or two.

Step 2:
In my case the old bindings had pulled out of the ski causing a bit of topsheet puckering where they were previously mounted. As these upward dimples would keep my new bindings from sitting flush on the topsheet I opted to Dremel the bumps down.  I didn’t take any action shots of this step as trying to juggle a Dremel in one hand and a digital camera in the other seemed like a good way to shed skin.

Topsheet dimples

Topsheet dimples

Step 3a:
Mix your epoxy per directions. If you can mix it a little thin it will help you on this step, but if not no worries. Using your toothpick or other implement fill each of the old binding holes with epoxy. Make sure you poke around to get any air bubbles out of the epoxy. This step will start to suck as your epoxy starts to set, so mix small batches and work quickly in lieu of mixing one larger batch.

Alternatively, a host of other items can be used and give you a pretty similar outcome – though not quite the same level of adhesion to the ski/core.  Hot glue or even bathroom caulk can be subbed out, but as I love geeking out in the garage and wanted a bit stronger of a bond I opted for the epoxy route.

Step 3b:
If your plan is to reuse the same mounting holes pull out your fiberglass or steel wool and mix a little into the holes that have been filled with epoxy. You’re trying to add a little additional stiffness and integrity to the plugs in this case.

Step 4:
You’re done! Set your skis aside to dry and assume the victory pose.

VICTORY POSE!

VICTORY POSE!

How to: ghetto fab delam/edge separation fix

Ever picked up a pair of Gotamas for cheap at an REI used gear sale and didn’t initially notice they had a delam/edge separation issue near a compressed edge. Well, if so, this ghetto fab how-to is for you.

Today’s target:

Pic of part of the area to be fixed

Pic of part of the area to be fixed

Materials needed:

  • Slow cure epoxy (marine epoxy preferred as it’s more pliable when cured, however any slow cure can get the job done)
  • Clamps
  • Mixing dish/paper cup or slice of cardboard
  • Couple little doohickeys and whatnots to help spread the epoxy into the area in question
  • Latex gloves
  • Beer (the beer is of the utmost importance as you’ll see below.
  • Two pieces of wood to use on top/bottom of area to be fixed to help spread force of clamp evenly (not seen in this pic)
  • Materials for fix

    Materials for fix

    Step 1: Put on flip flops. This is important as you’ll be more relaxed and Zen-like, becoming one with the blown ski.

    Faux-leather not recommended

    Faux-leather not recommended

    Step 2:
    Mix epoxy in your cup. No photos taken of this step as it’s pretty obvious, but keep mixing it until the epoxy and hardener can no longer be distinguished from one another.

    Step 3:
    Wedge area to be fixed open slightly with a thin object. Flathead screwdriver or a putty knife work well. Once area is wedged open fill with epoxy, trying to spread around inside the damaged area. The goal here is to maximize epoxy to core surface area so that you’re getting the best adhesion possible. Depending on the type of epoxy you are using you can heat it slightly to thin it out a bit so that it fills in the area better.

    Spread epoxy inside the damaged area

    Spread epoxy inside the damaged area

    Step 4:
    Put a piece of wood on the top/bottom of the area to be fixed and clamp down. You’ll notice that epoxy will squirt out of the fix. I recommended wiping that epoxy up as best you can so that those wood blocks aren’t attached to your skis once the epoxy cures. You can also wax the areas you don’t want epoxy to stick to ahead of time, but in my case I was trying to crank through (never a good thing, take your time if you can!) the fix as I had to make it to an appointment. Step 4 is also where the beer comes into play. If you just noticed that your area to be fixed is LARGER than you first thought and now have to revert to step 1 again stop cursing a take a sip of your beer and hum a little Bob Marley to relax. The beer also comes in handy when you notice you somehow managed to get epoxy on the eye cup for your camera.

    Wait...did I just notice another area to be fixed?

    Wait...did I just notice another area to be fixed?

    Open mouth, insert beer, problem solved

    More delam no cry....everything

    Now you just let your clamped skis/snowboard sit overnight undisturbed while the epoxy cures. Tomorrow undo clamps, mount up, bring to local hill and have fun. If your edge is compressed, as mine is, you may want to consider making that edge your outside edge.