Category Archives: Equipment & Tackle

Finally ready for the Season

Finally after hours of scraping, sanding and applying treatments the final coat of varnish went on this week. I have a huge debt of gratitude for all of the advice, tips and help over the past months from so many fellow anglers and others.

In particular a very special thanks to Uncle Billy, Stuart McCall and Tam for so freely sharing their experience and for their patience in answering all of my numerous questions and concerns. A big thank you also to Tam and Stephen at the Vale of Leven Angling Club for stepping in to complete the painting and varnishing when I was at work.

Looking forward to getting her into the water on Sunday when hopefully the water will remain firmly on the outside!

On the home stretch

The end is in sight or the start of the new season not for me not long depending upon how you view it. First coat of varnish on and already boat is looking better as the mahogany  starts to looks its best.

I am  using “Tonkinois Marine No.1” varnish – a french marine varnish. Being a novice here and having sought advice which as always was freely given and much welcomed then opinions on varnish ranged from “don’t waste money spending a fortune on expensive varnish since it will only need to be scraped off in two years…” to “try to get the best varnish you can afford as it will last longer before needing replaced….”  Le Tonkinois was suggested and having checked it out then their claim that you could apply further coats directly after a few years appealed to me. Time will of course tell but if it buys one or two more years before needing scraped off then great!

Huge thanks to all the guys at the club for helping flip the boat over this morning albeit after a few hairy moments when we each realised a few more bodies would have been handy!


Learning new skills

Just discovered why fly tying requires lots of skill, knowledge and experience! My very first attempt at tying, in this case a “Mackenzie Cascade“, at least that’s what it should be. Thank you to Davie McPhail for his excellent helpful YouTube videos with step by step guidance and advice. The “whipping tool” still remains a complete mystery to me as to how to use this but I will get some much needed help on this.

IMG_0372Whilst admitting to being a little chuffed at finally having made a start it is clear that much more practice and hours on the vice are going to be needed in order to master the basics of this “art form”. It’s probably just as well I am not paid on a “piecework” basis as this first fly took several hours!

Black Magic

A move to the warmth of the painting shed and a good few more hours preparation masking and sealing seams below the waterline with Sikoflex flexible marine sealant.

Took much longer than expected to complete and my goodness this stuff is messy and can and did get everywhere! Good stuff this Sikaflex sealang and getting it off my hands – so far it has resisted white spirit, turpentine, soap, acetone, Cillit Bang. Hope it stays on the boat as strongly! A few days for sealant to cure then undercoat and paint lower hull section before varnishing can begin. Onwards and upward.

Finally the end is in sight!

After many cold hours scraping, sanding, filling I can start to think of the end being in sight. Tomorrow will hopefully see the boat moved and firstly the sealant applied then paint and 5-6 coats of varnish applied in the finishing shed during next couple of weeks. However it will definitely be a race to the line time wise to complete all coats of paint and 5-6 coats of varnish on the hull given allowable time in the workshop and work commitments.

Grateful to a fellow club member for fabricating a new ridge pole assembly for me which is great and is considerably lighter and easier to handle and stow than the previous version. Boat has also been measured and templated for the manufacture of a new boat cover which should be ready next week. So things beginning to come together and barring any problems should be completed within next two weeks. Wishing now that I had stripped down the seats but will have to wait until next season most likely due to time constraints.


5 Star Treatment

Sunday 27th January 2019

A few more hours to day cleaning hull down with tack cloths, hoovering out any debris from plank seams before applying  a generous coating of Cuprinol 5 Star Wood Preserver to entire hull. This treatment is a clear, low odour, water based, all purpose treatment to prevent insect attack, re-infestation and protect from fungal decay. Now I need to leave for a week now to soak in and dry out before deciding whether another application is needed prior to starting the next stages of performing some minor repairs with two part epoxy and filler and reapplying sealant to plank seams. Home straight in sight!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Another good few hours today sanding and more sanding  working down the grades of sandpaper but I can finally see the the finish line. Next step is to clean hull and gaps between planks with white spirit and then applying a coating of wood preservative.

Following some inspection from people more learned than I the plan then most likely involves completing some minor repairs and replacing flexible sealant in readiness for move to “finishing shed” for painting and varnishing. It’s been a slog but feels like I am at last approaching the home straight!

Bottom Scraping cont…

4th January 2019

A new year and still at it, although finished scraping and now started sanding down. I must admit it’s been a slog but starting to see the finish line although still a lot to do. Despite uncovering some concerning areas of “soft” wood which will require attention, the beautiful old mahogany is starting to emerge via gentle progressive sanding. Next steps are to complete sanding then onto remedial actions of applying wood preserver, filler etc.. Given the number of hours already spent I now really understand why there are more fibreglass boats than wooden boats!

Bottom Scraping – continued

Saturday December 29th

More “Bottom Scraping” today, another 6 hours or so in the workshop but despite the seemingly slow progress I feel that I’m on the home straight at least with regards to getting the hull scraped in preparation for next steps. In addition to the layers of anti-fouling red paint the tedious job of carefully removing all of the old (waterlogged) filler accounted for much of the time spent. Goal one of course is to strip everything back in order to assess condition of timber before deciding next steps. A bit concerned at condition of a few areas of both pairs of inner two planks (adjacent to the keel) where advice will be needed.

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Onwards and upwards.

Another Game Fish – The Grayling

What to do in the close season has always been a source of frustration and boredom for me. So in my attempts to find a way to continue fly fishing when the Salmon and Trout seasons ends I have finally decided to “start” to get to grips with chasing a new prey  – ” Grayling” or “Thymallus thymallus” a fully fledged member of the salmon family “Salmonidae“.

First stop was to try to understand the “basics” in terms of equipment for nymph fly fishing for these beautiful looking Game fish. Having sought some advice and read many reviews I finally opted for a setup from Snowbee. Whilst not having tried it on the water yet my first impressions of  this beautiful little 10ft 3wt Fly rod from Snowbee (“new style handle”) are good. It looks well made and finished to a high standard and weighs in at practically nothing at an amazing 82g!! Speaking of weight I can’t wait to give it a swing. The reel – a Snowbee Spectre 2/3wt is also a tiny lightweight, especially when compared to my more familiar salmon fly reels.IMG_0198

I never fail to be amazed at the availability and quality of freely given generous help and advice by fellow anglers, many of whom I have never met in person and have only conversed via Facebook. Help offered even extended to an invite to join them on the water in the coming days chasing Grayling. Next step was to understand how to setup this rod in terms of line, leaders etc. My thanks to all who patiently explained the basics here, in particular thanks to Albert Davyboy Tatlock and John Bell (The Lomond Angler) for their patience in responding to my repeated and frequent naive questions.

From all of the valuable help and advice then my aim is to load the reel with backing then Ikon Tactical Nymph Line then 2x or 3x Dohiku Fly DK French Nymph Tapered Leaders – Dark Olive / 15m or 10m depending on conditions, to which I will attach 2x Stroft LS New Low Stretch Tippet – 0.12mm / 50m using 2x Stroft Rig Rings  – O.D. 2mm – yes 2mm rings !! These will be fun to deal with given my eyesight.

For choice of nymphs or bugs in terms of pattern, size and colours then this is still a complete black hole. As is understanding the required technique as to how to fish them. To assist I have gathered some books, some courtesy of Santa from which I will hopefully pick up some further information during the next few weeks. Of course no amount of reading or asking is a substitute for learning by doing or trying so the first chance I get I will be on the water to “learn by doing!” and also to “learn by failing too ” no doubt!

Watch this space!