Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maiden Voyage

Morning on Red Lake
After working on customizing my "new" used Salem Ice Cabin, last weekend was the scheduled maiden voyage.  I love rigging my boat, installing the electronics, trolling motors, and all those cool personal touches that make your rig yours.  The previous owner Terry had already added a few items giving me a chance to add to the conveniences.  One of the first things was getting an electric auger hookup for drilling holes inside.  Electric is nice because one doesn't have to deal with fumes yet self contained electric augers only come in 8 inch and I was interested in a 10 inch.  These are usually connected directly to a deep cycle battery yet in this house the battery is completely enclosed with no inside access.  Taking a clue from my Ranger trolling motor connections, it seemed a great idea to install a Ranger receptacle into the house and replace the large jumper cable style clips with a connector.  The battery is located in a sealed compartment under the sofa requiring me to remove it along with the wood panel cover.  Underneath was 3 compartments, one for the main battery converter/charger/fuse center, one for the battery housing (battery has no internal access to the terminals), and one just sitting there waiting to be taken advantage of.  It's is really wired nice as I cut a 2 inch hole in the front panel underneath the couch, bolted in the receptacle, and wired it into the main battery connections.  Looking at the third compartment area and thinking about it I decided to order a standard door from Salem and cut a hole underneath the couch and make a storage area for my cables and extension cords.  I have received the door but will wait till warmer weather to finish the job.  Next job, organize the storage for my broom, ice chisel, and shovel.  The house has an enclosed "bathroom" area so I mounted special wall clips to snap in each of the tools.  It's pretty slick.  I also bought a 6 gallon pail with a toilet seat for those needs away from modern plumbing.  There was a basic 24" TV but after being in Mark's wheel house, I enjoyed his larger TV with built in DVD, I replaced it with a 28" and an Omni Mount wall bracket that allows a considerable amount of movement and secure storage.  The Salem came with 2- 20# propane tanks....somewhat light so I replace them with 30#er's.  The dealer wanted $35 for a kit to change but it really only needed a longer threaded rod, $5.00 at Fleet Farm. 

Steve Comfortably Fishing!
With all the changes in place my brother Steve and Kevin Aiona met Mark Applen and I as we headed north to Red Lake with the plan to meet Keith Holtan at the resort for a weekend of walleye fishing.  Also our friend Russ and his brother Randy were already on the lake "saving" a spot for us.  Mark  had stored his house at JR's and arriving about 30 minutes before me, he was hooked up and ready to go.  After locating Keith at the wrong resort we paid JR and headed out 6 miles to the Center Bar for the Friday night bite.  Unfortunately the bite wasn't as good as it was at New Years and by Saturday morning Russ had decided to move in closer to shore.  Packing everything up, by 9:00 we were up and on our way to meet Russ.  Luckily Keith pulled his weight and we had enough fish for a Saturday Night fish fry.  Depending on how you look at it, "un"fortunately Keith had to leave early which with one less mouth to feed allowed us to really pig out on the fish!  It was great to fish with him again and I am sure it won't be the last this year.  Heading back to the shacks after filling ourselves with fresh deep fried walleye, we settled in for the night with the plan to head back south by 9:00 Sunday morning arriving in time for the Super Bowl party.  Fishing stayed pretty uneventful through the evening with a few 13 inchers being caught but that's about it.   One never knows if it was smart to move back in but that's water over the dam.  It was a great time to be with everyone and the next planned trip is the Perch Extravaganza at Mille Lacs at the end of the month.  One thing I learned was my assumption that the propane valve was dedicated to which tank you have it set on was wrong.  On Saturday night we ran out of propane at 4:00 in the morning and I had to get up and switch tanks via the valve.  Apparently if I would have just opened both cylinders, the valve would have automatically switched them preventing the furnace from shutting off.  At -20F, that would have been a lot nicer!  On the other hand the stars really put on a show in the darkness of Red Lake, cold and crisp and clear.

Russ and Shadow
All in all I really like the wheel house.  We got the setup and tear down times to about 30 minutes, not bad, especially when we worked as a team, one drilling holes, letting the electric jacks down, banking with snow, cleaning the slush out of the hole, and getting things straightened out.  With a heavy travel schedule in the next 4 weeks as well as the deep snow on the lakes, there may only be a few more opportunities to get out on the ice but then again things can change fast.  The holes are very well placed and it's very comfortable to fish out of.  Steve and I had stopped at Walmart in Grand Rapids to pick up a coffee maker and saw one of our favorite movies, Secondhand Lions starring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine, in the $5.00 bargain bin.  It's pretty cool to fish in a comfortable and warm environment, watching a great movie while trying to outfox a walleye.  Our friend Russ has a young pointer named Shadow and I happened to check on them on Saturday afternoon in his house.  Looks like they were enjoying a mid afternoon nap when I walked in so I took a picture.  The cold weather continues as we are setting 40 year old records for below zero nights during the winter of 2013-2014, and it's getting old.  What's more interesting is the current snow cover on the lakes insulates the ice and has prevented it from getting very thick which should make ice out dates more normal.  We certainly don't need a repeat of last years fishing opener's ice cover.  I'll probably hit a local lake this weekend before heading to California on Monday.  I got to admit it's going to be nice to see mid 70 temperatures again!


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Excellent host and guide, Mr. Anderson. Nicest setup I've ever been in.

You'll be making memories on the ice for a long time.


Anonymous said...

indeed Mr.Anderson CAPTAIN DAVE

Nice house, great host, but I am not sure on the fishing spot ? As a Fishing Nut I know its just a Bonus when you catch a fish, the day is the best and when you can share that day with the best friend man could ask for is worth millions.


Dave Anderson said...

I guess it's pretty hard to top those comments!