Saturday, March 22, 2014

DIY Drift Boat/Raft Anchor

So this little project started off because simply because I can be forgetful at times.  I really didn't need a new anchor, nor was I thinking of upgrading, but after a float one day on a local river I just totally forgot to pick mine up after I took it off at the take out.....

Well obviously then I needed a new one, so I started looking at prices online and saw that a replacement would run me $80+!  I figured it couldn't be all that hard to make one, so I set out to do just that.  Let me preface that to build an anchor requires some know-how or at least have friends with the capabilities.  I saw some anchors that had steel housings filled with lead and this sounded like a good route to go for multiple reasons.  Simply put, it would last longer since straight lead anchors have a tendency to chip away in the rocky river bottom.  Plus, all those lead chips pollute the river, so having a steel case would eliminate that from happening.

Being that I am not a welder, and don't happen to be very good at it, I talked to Daniel and he said he could make that part happen.  As an added bonus, he had some scrap steel from a job site that would fit the bill for the casing.  For the lead fill, that can be the expensive part if you don't have access to scrap.  Luckily, my dad is a member of a gun range that allows foraging for scrap bullets and casings.  It just so happens too that he recasts lead bullets and reloads his own rounds, so we have plenty of scrap lead lying around.  The last part I needed was a ring eye bolt.  After a quick trip to the local hardware store and $6 later, that part was taken care of.  Now that I had figured out the logistics and acquired the materials, the build came together.

1.  Scrap steel ready to be cut.
Acquire Steel
2.  Cut steel and tack weld in place.  (The measurements for this anchor were 5.5" x 5.5" for the top square, 3" x 3" for the bottom square, and 4" tall.  This configuration yielded a 28lb anchor.)
Cut and Tack Weld in Place
3.  Weld up all of the sides.
Start Welding
More Welding
Finish Welding
4.  Use a grinder to smooth out the rough edges and welds.
Use Grinder to Smooth out
5.  Drill a fill hole and start smelting the scrap lead.
Drill Hole to Fill
6.  Fill anchor with hot lead.  (Make sure to be very safe and use protective equipment.)
Fill with Lead
7.  Place the ring eye bolt in the lead while it is still hot.
Place Ring Eye Bolt in Anchor
8.  Remove the excess lead and let it all cool and harden into place.
Let Cool
9.  Ready to hit the water!

All in all, this build wasn't terribly difficult if you have access to all the right tools and materials.  Basically most of this anchor was made from all recycled materials that were essentially trash before they were repurposed.  As far as cost goes, I only ended up having to buy a ring eye bolt and that was it.  So far, this new anchor has been on around a half dozen or so floats and has performed and held up perfectly.  If you're in need of a new anchor or want to upgrade, think about building one before you buy!

Stay fly,


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mercer's Missing Link

The Missing Link
After a solid year of "testing" this fly, I've realized its potential and it has become a go-to staple in my box.  It has effectively replaced quite a few flies that I used to throw and those that haven't tried it, need to!
Bunch of Missing Links
The Missing Link was developed by Mike Mercer and was a variation of Ralph Cutter's EC Caddis.  The EC Caddis is an excellent pattern in its own right, but the changes made by Mercer in the Missing Link make the later the best of the two, in my opinion.  Originally developed as a sort of caddis cripple imitation, the Missing Link has evolved into a pattern that can be utilized in many different hatches.  I believe that it's many features helps it be effective in all those different circumstances.  It utilizes the wing of an Elk Hair Caddis, the hackling of a Parachute Adams, spent wings like a spinner, and a slim body like an emerger.  I have fished it in both caddis and mayfly hatches with success and even fished it a few times where there wasn't a hatch and got a few fish to come eat it.  It truly is that effective sometimes.

Anyway, here's a short video I put together of the tie for those interested in adding some to their box.  Truth be told, I now carry about 6 dozen Missing Links in various sizes and colors!

Click HERE and check out our friend AC Fly Fishing's latest post and look closely to see what fly is in the mouth of the fish in the photo.  I'm sure you can guess what it is!

Hook:  Tiemco 100
Thread:  Uni 8/0 Olive Dun
Rib:  Pearl Flashabou or Pearl Krystal Flash
Thorax:  Ice Dub - Peacock
Spent Wings:  McFlylon, Antron, or Z-Lon
Hackle:  Dun
Wing:  Elk Hair

Stay fly,