odiousgambit's Blog

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The Frankenstein ThingOctober 4th, 2014 at 10:34:55 am
To explain a post,


The Frankenstein Thing
How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love the Bomb Torch

Maybe because of the Frankenstein movie where the villagers have a bunch of torches as they search for Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, or some other forgotten reason, always wanted to make a torch. Never had much real reason to do so, though.

Well, I was notified by way of a painful sting that I had a yellow jacket nest in my yard; a steady stream of the insects in and out of a 4 inch wide oval hole in the ground had been approached too closely to suit.

Well, I read up on it and was able to get products for wasps seemingly similar to what was recommended. After dark [this is when it started to feel Frankenstein-ish] I shot a whole can into the hole; next morning at first light dusted the hole with insect dust, all as recommended. Well, it didn't get rid of all the activity, some was still nearby, different area slightly. So, after dark again I tried to find what must have been some other alternate hole but could only identify a general area. I was a little miffed that any were still alive anyway, but the stuff recommended was supposed to be heavier than air, and I had been able only to get something with different ingredients.

Knowing the 'country' way of getting rid of these things, it was on. Kerosene dumped all over the general area after dark, then set aflame. And I wanted that flame to get going quick by tossing something burning into it. A rolled up newspaper dunked in kerosene works, but now was my chance to make that torch! I also had a bunch of wood ready and built a bonfire and kept feeding the fire for nearly 24 hours.

My torch:

It worked.

The damn sting spot never raised a lump, but kept itching. The pain soon came in the form of bruise-like pain. After that finally left, on and off itching continued for a total of about 10 days after the initial sting. Live and let live was out of the question.

BTW, if you ever use flammables for any similar reason, you should always use kerosene, not gasoline. Not only is gasoline way too explosive, it also is unsatisfactory for starting fires in that it may use itself up too quickly. Kerosene at normal temperatures does not give off an explosive vapor; you'll sometimes notice it is reluctant to catch fire using a match. But it burns steadily once it starts, lasting a good long while and will get even somewhat wet wood burning. Yet it is also true that both substances come with warnings not to use them for making fires. That is reasonable since there is one circumstance that makes kerosene potentially disastrous, besides the obviously risky business of splashing it around a fire that is already going. Know what this other thing is? If you don't, you are at risk using it.

never pour kerosene on hot coals, as this does make it exposive. People have blown up their stoves doing this

October 4th, 2014 at 3:39:39 pm
Lol nice =)

I don't often have kero lying around, only using it for the torpedo heater. And since I have it so rarely, I suppose I consider it "more valuable", despite any price difference. When I need a "thicker" fire that kero or diesel provides, I use a gas/oil mix. I always keep a gallon of used motor oil handy for many reasons, and mixing a few ounces of gas with the oil accomplishes the same feat. Plus when it burns, the smell reminds me of all the old beaters I've owned and drove into the ground ;)

I've been wanting to try something even cheaper - explosives. I used to rid ant hills by putting a little Black Cat firecracker in the hole. Usually one to loosen and make the hole bigger, then another to get it in there deep. Seemed to work pretty well. Since much of a hive is vulnerable, squishy little larvae, I have high hopes that it'll work.

Of course, if it doesn't... let's just say I hope I'm there. Preferably with a video camera XD
October 5th, 2014 at 3:37:08 am
>mixing a few ounces of gas with the oil accomplishes the same feat

interesting. A few ounces with how much oil, roughly?
October 6th, 2014 at 9:52:07 am
Just depends on conditions, but the short answer is "not much at all".

My oil is usually already pretty watery. I only use 5w-30 for everything, I tow a lot, and I don't even think of changing until after 7,000mi. On a dry June day, I don't mix at all.

The worst is probably early spring when everything's been soaked for 6 months and anything piled is still holding liquid water. Even in this worst-case condition, we're only talking 100ml (down with imperial units!) to a litre of oil. So just a 3 or 4 ounces per gallon.

I dunno how it'd work in an enclosed space like a hole. All my oil fires start best lighting the bottom and letting it crawl up (obviously). Perhaps you'd need a more stout gas mix, but it'd still be cheaper than kero. Of course, the more gas you add the more volatile it will become, so you might get into "whoomp" territory as the fumes gather during pouring. Wear long pants ;)

HealingJuly 9th, 2014 at 6:09:10 am
My range of motion with my right arm is returning slowly. It's still painful to lift it into certain positions, but there is no spot that absolutely can't be reached without too much pain to continue, as was the case a week ago. I hid this completely from my wife; once I had to say I 'slept on it wrong' to explain away a grimace. Fortunately it was nearly normal for carrying bags etc right from the get-go.

I returned to fishing with a spinning reel. That had a few moments but went pretty well. I love to just get into the river if nothing else; but caught some pumkinseeds and a small smallmouth.

July 10th, 2014 at 6:29:07 am
It occurs to me that you might keep an awful lot from your wife. I'm not judging, just amusingly observing one who's still in the game ;)

Sounds like a rotator. Hard to diagnose just off of "arm hurts", but what you describe fits. Good news is that it won't hurt forever. Bad news is that it will re injure constantly for the rest of your life, and over the stupidest things. Best thing about bad news - it could always be worse.
July 10th, 2014 at 8:46:32 am
>It occurs to me that you might keep an awful lot from your wife.

Oh, absolutely, I don't deny it. In this case ... hell, in all matters ... I feel I have to guard against overreaction and also adverse reaction. The prospect of injury exists unless you want to live inside a cocoon; does a guy really want to hear about it every time he ventures outside the door? Well, I would be hearing about it.

>Sounds like a rotator. Hard to diagnose just off of "arm hurts", but what you describe fits.

ya know, it really seemed like it was the arm and not the joint. I swear. Even just now, checking it out, a bit of pain in the arm when the critical position is reached. Could that still be rotator cuff?
July 10th, 2014 at 9:47:38 am
You don't have to explain. I was married. Once ;)

Hmm. Probably not. Rotator doesn't really radiate. If it's real bad it will, but you'll know exactly where ground zero is. It might hurt up high near the clavicle, or in the back, or on the "ball", or in your armpit, but it always hurts in the shoulder.

I dunno about arm pain. Of course, "arm" contains a lot of parts and pieces lol. If the "arm" you can't lift is your forearm, that's controlled by the bicep. You likely bruised the hell out of it. If the "arm" you can't lift is the whole arm, well, the shoulder lifts the arm...
July 11th, 2014 at 3:44:01 am
looked into rotator cuff; doesn't seem to be a sure thing that the pain would come from the shoulder, although some of the persistent pain is now in the shoulder. When it happened, it sure seemed like the arm only, but a rotator cuff is not exactly a joint. Could be.

For my TombstoneJune 27th, 2014 at 10:23:09 am
Just carve on there, "the slippery stick finally got him"

Because I think that's what will get me one day.

Yesterday, I was exploring a route to a new fishing hole on my "private" stretch of river. I was quite please to find a section with somewhat of a gradual grade to it rather than the cliff that the half mile or so generally presents. Well, there is one section that is a little steeper, I had a rope with me to make it quite safe to scoot down [and get back up] but didn't deploy it because it was the first time I had explored the spot and didn't know if I would need it further down. On the way back up, I was missing having it set up, tied to a tree, pretty bad, the terrain was wet and slippery. But just as I was about to declare myself safe, I stepped on my old nemesis. It was a worst-case scenario, the wet and slippery stick was pointed down the hill. My foot slid down the stick about 4 feet, and next I was scrambling desperately to avoid tumbling down the grade. Somehow I recovered successfully, but my right arm that I landed on was hurting like hell. Thought I might have broken it even, I was nauseous and everything. Figuring later that I would be in more pain than I was actually in if it was broken, I decided to just see what develops. I took an excess of aspirin and did sleep OK, a good sign; today I am better too, except I am still unable to lift my arm over my head without a lot of pain. I'm not sure what condition that would describe, but I am quite sure nobody can do anything for me, and I can sleep.

This puts an end to fly fishing for a while for sure, or probably any rope-assisted descents to fishing holes [in case you were wondering, this is one important ingredient for a 'private' fishing hole in a public river]. Generally, my experience with these sorts of injuries is that they take forever to get over. Well, if still alive don't complain I guess.

I'd say I've slipped on such sticks nearly a dozen times as an outdoorsman. In steep places I keep telling myself to watch where I put each step; easier said than done. I have successfully avoided mossy stones etc pretty well, something that has gotten other guys I know for sure. Sometimes the sticks are under leaves, this one probably was. It's bad enough if they just roll on you!

Anyway, you can get my tombstone ready.

June 28th, 2014 at 12:58:40 am
Too dumb to look where he was going.
Didn't carry a walking stick.
Descended a steep grade without deploying a rope assist because no one told him he would need it coming back up.
June 28th, 2014 at 3:17:06 am
Too dumb to look where he was going.
Didn't carry a walking stick.
Descended a steep grade without deploying a rope assist because no one told him he would need it coming back up.

Ouch! Something tells me Fleastiff would enjoy tombstone-making.

First Foray Fly FishingJune 20th, 2014 at 5:22:36 pm
First Foray Fly Fishing

Like that alliteration?

Finally took the plunge today for really fly fishing; up till now it was just practice casting in the yard. First time with my own fly rod; I had previously fooled around with my brother's rod, enough to know I sucked at it.

Some things to learn, things that the experienced person doesn't even think to mention to the newbie. The whole business of having the fly and line flying around overhead, and in front of you and in back of you ... the degree that you have to be sure you are totally free of vegetation, front and back and overhead, cannot be over-emphasized. There is something about the little fly and hook and the whole get-up that is extremely eager to get fouled up into anything it can. The tininess of it all seems to make it worse; any weed whatsoever is perfect for the tiny hook to just dig in and hang on for all it's worth.

Not to mention the difficulty of just dealing with the tininess period. The leader line is something like 4# test and we are practically getting microscopic here. Threading the line into the eye of the hook is much harder than threading a needle. In fact I thought a needle might come in handy to clear out the eye, but the normal sized one I grabbed was too big. The eye is that small; if any needle could fit, it'd be the smallest they make. I thought about cheating and using 8# test line, but that line is also too big to go in the eye! Tying on a fly took me about 15 minutes and after doing it twice now I'd say I'd expect it to take 5-10 minutes next time. I guess I better enjoy it while I can; once the vision gets worse with age, forget it.

The casting was outright embarrassing in more ways than one, but the fishing went well. They stock trout upstream and I keep thinking this is the way to catch one and surely they come down this way. No success with that, though. It does seem to be the way to catch fish in rapids, where a lot hang out. I caught about 12 over a few hours, none particularly big as usual here. Sunfish [yep some are pumpkinseeds I think], smallies, rock bass, all thrown back.

Pretty good way to fish and travel light I think.

It just occurred to me I don't know where I put the flies, gotta go look [g]

June 21st, 2014 at 9:56:54 am
Guess you missed that part in FWF ;)

Yes, casting with a fly rod is very much an "everybody stand back!" activity, and "everybody" especially means vegetation. A spin cast setup is easy. With a short 5' rod and a 1/16th oz lure, I can be up to my chest in brambles, cast under a willow 4" off the water, and do so from 20' away no problem. Spin casting is all wrist; as long as there's room for the rod tip to swing 6", you're in business.

Fly casting needs more room. A soccer pitch is about ample ;) That's why you almost never see a fly fisherman on the shore; the farther into the water, the farther from the trees.

Glad to see you're practicing at home. Do you have a video camera? It's not a bad way to focus on your delivery while also being able to see what's going on behind you. Like any other thing, it's all muscle memory. You want to learn the right way first before you wear a groove into mistake land. Overhead, like anything more than 10' off the ground, shouldn't be much of an issue. Your cast should be "high" because the rod is so long, but it shouldn't have much arch in it. The biggest thing for me, and it sounds like for you, is timing the back cast. As I'm sure you're learning, the swings get slower and slower as you play out line to give time for the line to play out before switching directions. Swing too fast and the line piles up and flops. Swing too late... your line dies and your fly lands in the veggies.

When you get your timing down, the height of your line should never fall lower than 4' or higher than 10' (estimated). It should pretty much go straight back and forth, back and forth, until your final cast to place the bait.

If you really spend time practicing, remember to practice different things. "Hitting your target" is only one small part, and there's a bunch of steps you have to do before that part. It would suck to find a great school of fish or a whopper that's sitting in a predicament you haven't prepared for.

However long you practice hitting the target, equal that time with these few things:

The loop - The line traveling back and forth during your set up. I can get more in depth if you continue to pursue this, but for now, just work on timing to maintain the height of your loop. Practice the distances you'll see at your crick. I do short, med, and long, but the Catt is big. I'm not sure if you'll need 40' - 50' casts where you are. You want to wear a groove into your muscle memory so it's there. It will help from snapping too fast and piling up, or snapping too slow and letting it fall in the veggies. And move around when you do it. Take a few step around the yard, do it close to the apple tree, close to the house, close to the truck. You're not going to cast from a yard out in the field. Give yourself obstacles.

The lie - Remember not to point on your final delivery cast. You want your fly to be the furthest thing away from you with your line relatively straight back to you. You have to sort of lob it toward the target to get that lie. Stop the rod at 90* to the ground, 70*, 50*, see what angle gives you the best lie. Point at the target like a spin cast and you're going to throw a pile of line on your target.

The roll - If you cast to the other side of the crick, your line will often land in faster current than your fly. Your line will get dragged ahead of the fly and will end up pulling it in an unrealistic manner. The thick line will also spook wary fish. You need to get than line upstream without moving the fly. Just like snapping a garden hose or extension cord over a yard obstacle, a quick upward-then-sideways motion with your rod will snap the line up out of the water and upstream. Practice doing this until you can move the slack in your line upstream without moving the fly.

Practice these things =)

And buy yourself a $5 pair of cheaters. The Fed needs them too, and you're traveling so light, they're easy to tuck into a pocket. And go easy on the coffee. Even if you can see, it's hard to thread that needle if your hands are shaking ;)

After today I have another week off from racing. Assuming I won't have repairs, I'll try to get out and make a video so you can visualize what I'm talking about.
June 21st, 2014 at 11:50:00 am
Good ol' Face. I should buy you a beer, and will as soon as you give me your email address. Sorry if you want bitcoins, I know nothing about em.

>a $5 pair of cheaters

what are those?

Ummmm, something tells me if you saw me in action you'd get so frayed from jumping up and down it would call for cold beers applied immediately!
June 21st, 2014 at 8:20:48 pm
Cheaters? They're, well... old people glasses XD

They're just a $20 or less, generic pair of glasses you can get at any drug store. I think they just magnify things. I'm not really familiar, I have 20/10 vision (a freebie to make up for my colorblindness, I guess). But many on the WarWagon pass them around when making the lineup, or reading directions, or tying fly fishing knots =p

Just wait until you a hold of tapered line. Used for small, finicky fish, it starts out at about 8# where it connects to the fly line, and tapers down to little more than spider's silk at the fly end. I can't even use the first 2' or so because I snap it just tying the knot.
June 22nd, 2014 at 4:43:36 am
The set-up I bought does have tapered leader, and that is a problem, yes. I wound up cutting off the first bit by accident I think. Box says it all is 5# btw.

Yeah, maybe I ought to get some of those glasses.
June 23rd, 2014 at 6:54:23 pm
I assume the # rating must be the end that attaches to the fly line. I don't even think you can rate what ties to the fly. I'm familiar with ultra light gear, that's just about the only stuff I use, even today. I have one 6.5', med-heavy, "just-in-case" rod, but my other two that I use for crick chubs, Erie smallies, and Catt steelhead are 5.5' microlight spinning rigs with 4# test. Even 8# feels like weed whacker string to me, and the first thing I do when buying new gear is stripping what comes on it and respooling with 4#.

If 4# is normal to me, I dare not think of what that spider's silk must be rated at. 6oz? XD

In any case, I don't ever use it, and probably wouldn't suggest it. If you're in the Adirondacks after native brookies, or in Idaho after native cutthroat, sure. Use the specialized finicky gear. But if you're home going after aggressive sunnies and smallies, just use normal 4#-6# mono. It's cheaper, easier to deal with, more familiar, and works every bit as good.

A little tip on the leader, since we're talking about it. I usually max my leader length out at about 80%-ish of my rod length. You basically want your leader to be long to maximize distance between the fly and the spooky fly line. But if you get too long, you'll find issues. I don't know about you, but when walking I either have the fly in my off hand, or attached to the hook holder on the rod. When you have the fly here, you want the "free" line, that is, the line off the tip of your rod, to include about 6" of fly line. As you may have seen (or will see eventually), if you get any longer, the connection between the leader and fly line will back up passed the last eye. Usually this eye is tiny, and the nail knot or blood knot will get jammed in the eye when you want to begin fishing.

This gets maddeningly frustrating if you move a lot, or if you miss a fish because your first cast gets all jacked up. Keep that leader out of the eyes!
June 24th, 2014 at 1:47:05 pm
>Keep that leader out of the eyes!

yep, learned that right away

as for the other, I was going by this
Quote: link
Remember this Formula!

Fly Line Weight = Fly Reel Weight = Fly Rod Weight.


what I got from this is that my ready-to-fish get-up is 5# straight across the board when it says 5# on the box

Uncracked Fish MysteryJune 14th, 2014 at 4:57:15 am
Was back at my favorite "private" fishing hole yesterday; good for the soul. I was in a mood for hook, line, sinker, cork and worm fishing and got my fill!

First cast caught a smallie; almost every cast got some action. But I was pondering one thing: the typical pattern for me [if the fishing is good] seems to be this:

*catch the first 2 or so right away like it was nothing
*after that, the action might be good but the fish keep "outsmarting" you. Expert bait thieves that get your bait but don't get hooked. Next, clever acrobats that get off the hook somehow. Then some kind of devil that hooks hard, seems big, and somehow dives into a rock ledge and gets the hook stuck in the rocks! I marvel at this last sometimes. Finally, you catch a few more fish, which reassures me I didn't forget how to do it or something.

All this adds to the fun, really, but what is the explanation? Face?

June 14th, 2014 at 10:33:15 pm
An explanation of the pattern? Is that what you're asking?

I'll take a whack =)

Catching fish right away, especially now, is common. This is one of the true hot runs for bass, chubs, sunnies, and the like. Everything should be done spawning and looking to put weight back on. Everything should be abandoning nests as most things have hatched, and are looking to put weigh back on. And the water temps are in the 60s nearing 70, ramping up their metabolism. Things will calm down in a bit, especially once the water reaches bath temps. But right now, life is good =)

If the bite turned off, it'd be easier to explain. First, a fighting fish spooks the rest. That makes them skittish or puts them in full on "hide mode". Second, fish release a chemical when stressed. Musky and pike actually have "bathrooms" where they will defecate away from their hunting grounds, as the chemical from the prey they chased and ate is expelled with their excrement and scares the other fish away. But, your bite isn't turning off. You're just not catching.

My first thought, the "thieves", is sunnies. Even the hyper aggressive pumpkinseed is no match for a bass. If you throw something in the water equidistant from all fish, the bass will outrun and out power it 100 times out of 100. Bass with their giant mouths and inhalation mode of taking food aren't going to pick a bait off a hook. A sunny, on the other hand, have teeny mouths and eat with a sharp little suck. You may have heard it before if they're feeding on the surface. It sounds like a wet "click", like if you created suction between your tongue and palate and broke it by opening your mouth. Most times that suck will pull the hook into their mouth. But if the hook is big or hits their mouth in a way that the point doesn't enter, they can suck a bait right off. Especially one without much substance, like a squishy worm.

You're diving devil has me wondering. You can almost always tell what you caught without seeing it, even the ones you lose. Most fish habitually do the same thing. Smallies love to rocket. Even the ones I catch in 30' of water head right for the surface and try to touch the moon. They also pull in bursts - run, run, rest, run, run, rest..., and almost never tire. Largemouth are similar in that they love to jump, unless caught in a weed bed. If weeds are around, they'll try to bury themselves in it. But largemouth are lazy and wear out quickly. They don't have near the stamina of a smallie. Sheephead always dive right for the bottom and pull in looooong runs with short rests. But you wouldn't find them in a little crick. Suckers also dive, but even the big ones don't really fight at all. A catfish would hook hard, seem big, and dive like you described. They're the diesel trucks of the fish world. But the picture I have in my head of your crick doesn't make me think you have cats there. I dunno, maybe my picture is wrong.

So with the thousand variables and million possibilities, I'm thinking this - your first casts are gonna be hit by the hungriest fish. Of the hungriest fish, the biggest and most aggressive are gonna get there first. They're going to hammer it and swallow it. Fish on. The first fish caught are going to spook the recently fed fish and the skittish "prey/predator" fish, so they'll turn off. That leaves either some hungry but smaller fish, or the "so-so" fish that will eat but aren't starving. These so-so fish are going to nip and nibble either by lack of desire, or lack of size. Some you'll catch, some you won't.

I've been watching my garden pond fish with some amazement, and it has certainly taught me things about feeding, which will translate into catching. I've been meaning to write about it, but just been too busy =/
June 15th, 2014 at 4:15:42 am
>I'll take a whack =)

gotta love Face!

We must have some non-fishermen out there scratching their heads, wondering how this can be so interesting. But Face, I don't see how anybody can dispute that you've nailed it again!

I'm a little surprised you didn't say you have experienced the diving devil too. Have you? I have caught catfish in deeper pools in similar 'criks' so it could be a catfish ... haven't caught any to prove it. This fishing hole doesnt have deep pools nearby so that isn't a "for sure"
June 15th, 2014 at 4:19:03 am
PS: somebody or something I read a long time ago convinced me some hits you get fishing are fish responding to protecting their territory. I have this little swimmer lure that drives 'em nuts, sunfish and smallies both, and I swear some of it has be territorial rage.
June 15th, 2014 at 8:01:06 am
Thanks, OG =)

No, I haven't caught a cat in many years. Here they live in the deep pools at the mouth of the Catt and I almost never fish there. When I fish the big crick I'm almost always using only a spinner and targeting trout or smallies. Both of them head into the air when hooked. The only other crick fishing I typically do is tossing tiny jigs or flies for crick chubs, and they aren't hitting hard or pulling like a truck =)

Territory isn't something I'm familiar with. During the spawn, sure. Fish will guard their nests and will often hit something to protect it or will mouth and move a bait to get it away. But now, smallies tend to move and cruise searching for food. My pond is showing me some of that territorial stuff. All 5 of my fish are to the point they're trained. Whether sunning in the shallow or hiding under the hyacinth, they will all group up, head up, if I approach the pond. If I start feeding, both the largemouth and the pumpkinseed will bully the bluegill, nipping them and chasing them around.

What this could also be is the predator instinct. Especially in the case of all bass, they are designed to hit anything of opportunity, no matter what. No matter how fed they are, they must go after it. All the bass I've ever kept hit everything I throw in the tank, even if their bellies are distended with food. The largemouth I have now gobbles everything it can get to. If it's already full, it'll jet out, gulp the worm or minnow or tadpole, then immediately spit it out. The bluegill and pumpkinseed then grab it up. But hungry or not, gulp it he must. It's instinct.
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