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Deep in the Coast Range, it wasn’t Saquatch that inhaled my roe. My friend Jason and I were catching lots of salmon and I do mean lots, every couple casts type lots of salmon. We even had a simultaneous bobber down double . . . . But we were catching mostly dusky chinook and the occasional bright hot coho thrown in and we were sorting through those fish looking for a chrome chinook or two.

‘Bobber down’ and I set the hook into a pretty hot fish. Hooked not far off the bank, I instantly caught a flash of purplish red tiger stripes. “Dude, this thing’s a chum!”

“Are you sure?” Jason asked incredulous.

“I think so.” While not so for folks in Alaska, BC or Washington, in these parts calling “chum” is a big deal. I had never caught one in Oregon. There are two stable populations, one in the streams draining into Tillamook Bay and the other in the Yaquina. According to the Oregon Native Fish Stock Status Report, the Oregon Coastal chum SMU consists of 13 populations, eight of which exist, three of which are extinct and two are presumed extinct. In the river system we were fishing, the chum is presumed extinct. Does this look extinct?

Rare Oregon Coast Range Chum

Rare Oregon Coast Range Chum

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Alan Moore, staffer at Trout Unlimited’s Portland office and awesome wild fish advocate has launched a blog, Wild Fishasaurus, a difficult decision he decribes thusly:

“We decided to go ahead and try this, at considerable peril to our reputations and financial well-being.  There are no criteria, clearly.  Nor is there quality control, clearly.  And most significantly, rotting, reeking, festering on-line ice-pick-in-your-eye-cuz-it’s-so-damn-boring fish conservation content sprinkled with bathroom humor knows no borders,boundaries, limits, laws or rules.  Hope to post something new or two a week.  Please anyone who likes what he sees and has an outlet, help us spread the word to anyone who isn’t to likely to be offended.”

Please add him to your blog rolls and check back often.  This is bound to be good . . . .

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It has been a long time since I posted on this site and even longer since I updated the status of my restoration of a 19′ Bartender. In fact, I was still in the deconstruction phase of the project when I last shared any information on this blog. The project has been exacting and time consuming and a great learning experience.

I decided to replace all of the frames in the boat. This is kind of difficult. What I do is I obtain the shape of the inside of the hull at each frame using a compass and a board. The board is place on top of the frame inside the boat and the compass is used to scribe the inside shape of the hull onto the board. Now you have the shape of the bottom of the hull drawn on the board. This shape is transferred to a sheet of MDF and then from there re-transferred to a new, quality piece of stock. Voila. New cross member. The piece you see in the foreground has the shape of the hull drawn on it. Once the piece of stock has been cut an exact fit is obtained using either a planer or a angle-grinder.

Layout

Fabricating Frame 6

My friend Bill helped immensely by showing me how to do this. He has also helped by fabricating the most difficult pieces (with the steepest and compound bevels) due to both his superior tools and skills. He also cuts the basic form of each side frame using a jig and his tablesaw and places the bevel on the side frames using his band saw. Thanks Bill. Tuna runs are on me! (When I’m done, that is.)

Speaking of side frames, we run the stock long to get the basic frame shape. I place the bottom of the frame in the boat and utilize a piece of wood that crosses the bottom portion of the  frame vertically(ish) and also touches the side of the boat. I place reference lines on the bottom frame piece and thus am able to locate the outside of the sides of the hull on my MDF sheet so I am able to cut and bevel the bottom of the side rib and fit it in place in the hull. Reading over my explanation of this process, it  is easier to demonstrate than to explain.

I have replaced eight of the twelve frames and in the process of replacing the ninth. I also need to replace sections of the keel and that is what is holding me up, at the moment at least from completing the frame replacement portion of the project.

Frame 5 Replaced

You might notice the pieces of ply under some of the the frames. These pieces reinforce the hull because tough the ply was generally sound, there were portions that weren’t which were removed in order to prevent future issues.

Frame 5 Replaced

Bartender Restoration

Bartender Restoration

Bartender Restoration (frames 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 replaced)

Bartender

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It has been a really long time since I posted. Once you get out of the habit of frequently updating it gets to where you don’t even know where to start. I’ll try to catch up as best I can and start updating the blog more regularly.

Mom was here this spring and I made her go fishing with me. We, (Mom, me and my mustasch) hit the lower Mckenzie flyfishing for trout through the mark and recapture area and caught and tagged a few fish.

Lower Mckenzie Trout Tagging Trip

The procedure was simple. Catch the fish, and into a cooler of cool river water:

Lower Mckenzie Trout Tagging Trip

Measure the fish:

Lower Mckenzie Trout Tagging

Back into the cooler and then tag the fish. Log all information and repeat on another trout. The idea is to capture and tag trout and by knowing how many trout are caught and how many have tags and how many don’t, the size of the population can be extrapolated.

I also made Mom go winter steelheading with me. I caught a small steelhead, my last of the season:

Late Season Oregon Wild Winter Steelhead

Mom was watching from a bridge above the river and when she said, “oh you got another one,” I thought oh no, the old bird is losing her marbles. A split instant later and my lure got slammed by a big steelhead and . . . equipment failure. My reel wouldn’t engage and I lost the fish. From her perch high above the river mom had seen the sea-run brute turn and chase my lure. That’ll teach me.

We also took a cool hike to Alsea Falls:

Alsea Falls Hike

Alsea Falls Hike

Alsea Falls Hike

Alsea Falls Hike

Alsea Falls Hike

We took a drive in the Cascades:

Mt. Washington, Oregon Cascades (3/30/10)

Mom left too soon but in another rare event my sister Stephanie was here and I made her, you guessed it, go fishing:

Me and Steph, Middle Fork Willamette

We hit the Middle Fork Willamette on a slow day but I eked out a few fish including this nice one:

Middle Fork Willamette Rainbow

Her visit was too short and she is back in Germany now.

Other fishing trips have yielded some nice trout:

Lower Mckenzie Guided Trip

Lower Mckenzie Trout

Mckenzie Redside

Middle Fork Willamette Rainbow

I even got out on the ocean for some rockfish. We headed out at Newport:

Heading Out at Newport

The catch included lingcod, cabezon, rock bass a quill back and even a sole:

Rockfish, Lingcod and a Sole

I’ve also been working on the Bartender. I have to run but I’ll try to finish catching up the next couple days.

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and then there are free boats.  I’m mostly kidding and still enjoying the process.  There has been a lot of work to go into this boat and a lot yet to do.  I guess that groundscoring a boat for restoration has saved me some expense and time, it just doesn’t seem that way.  Like any restoration project you dig into one thing and you discover another problem and before you know it . . . . Anyway,  I’ve removed the ceilings on both the starboard and port sides:

Bartender Restoration

I’ve also removed half of the bow decking:

Bartender Restoration

Bartender Restoration

I’m really close to having her to a point that I can actually begin replacing the frames. I think I powered through the no-end in sight doldrums by fantasizing about big ling cod and halibut pulled off the bottom of the Pacific and ocean bright coho trolled near the top and the big chinook lurking deep, crashing the injured baitfish the coho send twirling towards the bottom . . . excuse me, I have some work to do.

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Can you really call this progress? Apparently, you can. I have been continuing to work on removing all trim so that I can access and assess the structural members of the boat. Actually, looking back at my last update, I have done quite a bit.

I probably already complained about the ringshank nails but indulge me– they are still are massive pain but I have at the very least developed a technique for torquing their heads off. Drill with a 5/64″ titanimum bit. Follow up with a 7/64″ bit. Repeat endlessly. It works best with two corded drills:

Bartender Restoration

When I last updated, I had basically finished removing the fiberglass sheathing from the upper sections of the hull:

Topsides Fiberglass Removed

To jog your memory, this is what the interior of the boat looked like before I began disassembling it:

Bartender, Cockpit View
I removed all of the mahagony trim and started removing the the cockpit planking beginning at the aft area of the starboard side:

Bartender Restoration

I worked my way forward. I removed the flotation and have been breaking off the remaining nail shanks flush with the wood and then sanding the inwales, for my sanity as much as anything else:

Bartender Restoration

I’ll try to reuse whatever pieces I can salvage both to save some money and to pad my green credentials. Here is what the starboard side looked like once I finished with it:

Bartender Restoration

Since this photo was taken I have also completed this process on the port side. Now all that is left is to remove the forward deck, complete opening up the rear bulkhead and remove the sheathing below the waterline, at least where the frames are located so I can access the nails holding in the frames. That way I can begin replacing all of the frames. I figure I might as well since I have the boat apart.

Soon, I’ll be at a point where I am starting to put things back together again. I can’t wait to turn that corner . . . .

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I should explain . . . I’ve been fishing more than usual. Because of Oregon’s dismal chinook returns this past fall, I took the salmon season off. Somehow, I fought off the salmon cravings though the tremors were hard to take. So, I’m resolved to steelhead as much as possible and more than is prudent this winter. Hey, a man can have worse vices . . . .

Matt and I set anchor in a good hole and started working it–Matt with my fly rod, which always brings him luck. He fished the soft water out in front of the boat that tailed out over a ledge that kept pulling his indicator under. I saw the indicator again plunge beneath the surface of the river and said, “ledge again, huh?”

“That’s a fish!” The chrome hen gave Matt about all he wanted on my 8 weight:

Lake Creek Winter Steelhead

Lake Creek Steelhead

As Matt bled the hen steelhead, a fish grabbed my spinner. I reared back to set the hook and instead ended up in a sword fight with the fly rod, lines tangled and the fish was gone. We moved a bit further down and as my spinner thumped in a tailout, I felt a fish attack my lure, the rod surged down twice and then inexplicably it was gone. Oh well.

We didn’t scrape any steelhead the rest of the day. We did see a old, spawned out coho, ravaged by fungus, sweep down a rapid with us and then stubbornly, beautifully turn around and nose toward the rapid again. I took meaning from that and if I was more eloquent, I’d explain.

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