Vest and Bench Tips
by Tom Dewey
- Slip-proof Forceps. After a lot of thrashing around, you've coaxed that nice 16" brown to your feet. You reach for your forceps, only to have them slip out of your wet hand. Make them slip-proof by wrapping the finger holes with rubber bands. Or coat them with a layer of shoo goo. Why manufacturers don't furnish them with rubberized handles is a mystery.
- Infinitely adjustable lightweight (nylon) hipper straps. Stitch a 2-1/2 inch length of Velcro to the strap, positioning it so that instead of the usual two-snap adjustment, you may snug the hippers up at any comfortable position. One would think that hipper makers would have done this years ago.
- Lightweight waders creep into your wading shoes? Halfway into your fishing afternoon do you have to stop, take off your wading shoes, and tug the waders back up? Carry a roll of duct tape. Before pulling on your wading socks or gravel guards, strip off about 18" (half-width) tape, wrap snugly around wader just above ankle bone. (Bend back the trailing end about 1/2 inch to facilitate removal at end of day). This cinches the wader so that it can't creep downward. Another feature wader manufacturers should investigate.
- Fly line keep tangling in those dangling hip boot straps? The solution is simple and makes them disappear! Cut off bulbous end, turn strap around, re-thread through keeper, and, voila, free end of strap now hangs inside boot! The "dangling strap" - still another useless tradition foisted on the fisherman by mindless manufacturers!
- You've fished hard and long, and now it's pitch dark. And you've got a long walk back to the car along a narrow country road. How to keep from being run down by the farmer's joy-riding 16-rear old kid showing off for his sweetheart? Hardware store reflective tape stuck to chunks of Velcro can be carried in your vest. Tuck several pocket flaps inside their pocket, stick the reflective tape/Velcro "markers" to the pocket closures and you'll light up like a Christmas tree in his headlights. Permanent reflective markers can be affixed to the back side of your vest.
- Murphy's Law of the Vest: "If a tippet can get tangled, it will." Vest zippers are notorious for snagging fine tippet material. The part of the zipper where the pull attaches is rarely closed tight and tippets invariable get caught. Don't try to bend these tight with pliers - they are cast and may break off. Instead coat and close the opening with shoe goo or similar thick glue...even nail polish will do. Several applications may be necessary.
- Most sheepskin patches come with a safety pin. Glue or stitch Velcro tabs to these, and place one or more mating pieces on your vest. Tradition says upper left pocket flap, but whatever works is OK.
- Some of the best float ant now comes in handy squeeze bottles, with leak-proof snap caps. Carried right side up, you sometimes really have to squeeze, especially in cool weather, to get the stuff out. And no provision is made to attach these bottles to a zinger. Solution: tape a small D-ring, key ring or whatever to bottom of bottle. Then wrap bottle with several turns of tape to prevent sliding. Hang from zinger and float ant is always ready to dispense. Still another feature manufacturers should incorporate.
- One of the best small-fly fly boxes can be worked up easily from ordinary inexpensive Radio Shack replacement cassette tape boxes. Glue a thin layer of foam to bottom, affix a piece of plastic tape to one side for a hinge. The small size means several can be carried in place of one standard size. Great for midges, other small flies. And cheap!
- Make your own side shields for your fishing glasses. Leatherette or leather cut to your preferred shape, then holed with ordinary paper punch, and slipped over the bows of your fishing glasses keeps side reflections to a minimum. Cheap, easily made, several sets can be distributed among your gear.
- Custom dubbing dispenser: Most commercial products provide for only a limited number of mixes. Make your own. A piece of 3/4" foam, drilled with 3/4" holes, and sandwiched between two pieces of Plexiglas (usually scrap at the local hardware store). Drill a 3/8" hole in one piece of the plexy so that they center over the 3/4" holes. Glue bottom plexy to foam, top plexy is taped on one side for hinge. 3/4" foam core art board is ideal. Wood also works. An entire dubbing package will stuff into each 3/4" cavity. A 30-mix dispenser measures about 8" X 14".
Tom Dewey, Pres.
Tom Dewey & Associates, Inc