Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yamaha boat propellors handcrafted in Indianapolis eastside plant

Props at Yamaha's prop plant in Indianapolis are individually handcrafted, ground and polished.

Each prop has its own mold.
        Most boaters don’t think much about their motor’s propeller. As long as the prop turns and provides the speed they want for fishing, skiing or joy riding, they are happy.
Some may recognize there is a difference between some props used for skiing and others for enjoying a ride down the river or across the lake. However, most people use the same prop for both and rarely think about the prop unless they hit an object such as a stump, log or rock.
However, props play a major role in boat performance.
I never thought much about props until a thief decided he needed my stainless steel prop more than me. A friend suggested I could order one from the internet. I quickly learned that there was no one prop for my old 60-horse motor. There were significant numbers available for my motor, depending on how I used it and several other factors.
One key factor is pitch. That’s the distance (in inches) a particular prop would theoretically travel in one full revolution, as if traveling through a solid. 
A lower pitch will have greater acceleration and “pushing power” but a lower top speed, while a higher pitch prop will provide less acceleration, but a greater potential for higher top speeds.
After scratching my head several times, this old guy who has trouble changing light bulbs, went to a dealer to obtain a prop. At the time, it seemed rather expensive, 
Recently, I learned why props cost more than I anticipated, when I by chance received an invitation to visit Yamaha’s Precession Propeller Industries in Indianapolis, IN.
Frankly, I figured making a prop not much different than molding a candle. I thought someone would pour some hot stuff into a mold, let it cool a bit, and trim off the excess, and polish. And there, you would have a product.
I had no idea how much craftsmanship, labor and personal attention goes into every Yamaha prop.
Craftsmen and women make an individual mold for every prop. The individual wax molds are made in rooms with controlled temperature and humidity. Each prop is cast in the company’s foundry, and is ground and polished many times. It is inspected during every step of the process.
The average prop takes 15-18 days from start to finished product. Some take longer. And on average, a prop requires 100-110 man hours.
Each prop has a serial number cast on it, and plant officials have a detailed record of the building of the prop. They know when it was cast and which employee worked on each step of the process.
Jim Bough started the business in 1981 by developing props for bass fishermen who wanted top performance from their boats and motors.
Yamaha purchased the company to provide propellers for their motors, and also now makes models for other manufacturers. In addition, the company makes a limited number of props for other kinds of equipment for the food and drug industries.
Today, the company is approaching 100 employees and crafts about 40,000 props per year. It hopes to double its prop making capacity to nearly 80,000 over the next three years.
Although I don’t fully understand the stainless steel prop crafting process, I have a much greater appreciation of how they are built and what they can do for boat performance.
And on my boat, I now keep either a lock on the prop, or remove it when the boat is stored.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Caution needed around ticks

        Ticks are a serious subject. They certainly aren’t fun to write about, but I do it every year anyway. While to some it is a boring subject matter, hopefully it serves as a reminder, and to others may provide some helpful information.
One of my concerns about ticks is that hearing or reading about them may keep some people from enjoying the outdoors. But with caution and common sense, the outdoors can be enjoyed with little or no problem.
I regularly write about ticks because each year I learn of more people who have contracted Lyme disease or some other tick disease. It is important to take them seriously, but it also is important not to over react.
The symptoms of Lyme Disease include a persistent, slowly expanding blotchy red rash that is paler in the center than at the edges. Other symptoms are joint pain or swelling, especially in the knees, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating; headache; stiff neck or weakness of the facial muscle, dizziness, and an irregular heartbeat.
The symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis are similar. They include a moderate-to-high fever.
These diseases can be very serious, even life threatening, but If these diseases are diagnosed promptly, all three of them can be successfully treated.
The best defense is avoiding ticks. It isn’t always easy in southern Indiana counties along the Ohio River, which has more than its share of deer and turkey ticks.
Ticks become active as soon as the weather begins to warm up. Although you can come in contact with ticks on a mild winter day.
Most people think of ticks being in the woods; and they are. However, they are just as likely to be found in tall grass in your neighborhood -- maybe your own backyard. Around the house, minimize tick problems by keeping grass mowed short. They thrive in tall grass and weeds.
“We know that in order to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick, and that means a tick must be able to reach exposed skin,” said Michael Sinsko, a medical entomologist. “A little care can prevent that from happening.”
The best way to prevent bites if you plan to enter a grassy or wooded area is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into your socks. 
It also is important to wear a hat. This will keep ticks from dropping off overhead branches into your hair. I wear a hat with a brim completely surrounding it. Light colored hats and clothing make it easier to see the tiny nasties.
Repellents are effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, and DEET has been the most popular product for years, however a new one developed in Europe and Australia was introduced in the U.S. about five years ago.
Picaridin is an effective alternative to DEET that provides long lasting protection.  It was developed not only to repel insects but to offer a pleasant to use product that offered a light, clean feeling and odorless repellent. It can be found in several commercial products.
  Picaridin should be used as part of an insect repellent system.  We strongly recommend the use of permethrin treatment for your clothing and a topical skin repellent such as picaridin on exposed skin
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, you should check for ticks on your clothing or skin. If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the insect as close to the skin as possible. Try to remove the head of the tick.
Ticks should not be removed with your bare fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection.
I use a tool called a Tick Remover. I keep one hanging on the side of our refrigerator. I have no stock in the company, just found them to be more effective than tweezers removing small ticks.
For information on the Pro-Tick Remedy and other tick and insect information call 1-800-PIX-TICK, or email There also is excellent information and tick photos at www.tickinfo.comon the internet.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

If only old boat could tell a story

This old Pioneer boat probably could tell some interesting tales if only it could talk.

        I’ve always loved being around water. Fishing and boating have always been at the top of my list of pastimes.
Over the years, nearly every place the Junkers have lived has been on or near the water. There were a few exceptions in my early years, but in the last four decades a couple hundred yards has been the furthest we have been from a spot to cast a lure or launch a boat.
During that time, I’ve always owned a boat. Most were purchased used. I’ve had canoes, small sailboats, pontoon, ski, and fishing boats. Today, I still have a fold-up Porta-bote.
Late last fall, I saw a small 10-foot, aluminum jon boat at a yard sale. Figured it would slip easily into the back of my old truck, and thought it would be ideal to paddle around the small lake where we currently spend warm weather. I could picture myself casting Roadrunners and Beetlespins to the bass, crappie and bluegill as the sun settled behind the trees to the west.
I even purchased a small Minn-Kota trolling motor and a new battery to help propel my new (to me) fishing machine.
The boat did easily fit into the back of the old Chevy. I was right. That was good news.
However, the boat didn’t work for this fat old, unstable outdoor writer.
I attempted to launch it, and was sure motor battery, rod and reel, and old man were going to end up in the “drink”. It was totally unstable for this guy, and it seemed the water level was only about six inches below the side. (TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.)
So what was plan B?
In the meantime, my 14-year-old grandson thinks the boat is great. He spent a couple days paddling it around the lake. But then, he weighs half or less than this old biscuit and gravy eater. 
Plan B was to look on the internet for another small boat, but one not quite so small.
I actually found several within a reasonable distance of home, and decided to check one out located on the northside of Bloomington. The young owner said the older aluminum boat had comfortably and stably held he, his wife, and young son. 
Upon arrival at his home, I looked over the boat. It looked much like many I had seen years ago at various fishing camps.
Quickly, I made the decision to buy it. It appeared it would meet my need, but something else also attracted me. Isaiah Bowling, the owner, had found a very old magazine advertisement about the boat. It indicated the boat was a Pioneer and manufactured in Middlebury, IN.
I wish the boat could tell it’s story. How many big fish have been pulled over its sides? Where has it traveled to? What lakes? Who took it to picnics and shady sandbars? Did anyone ever fall overboard? How old is the boat?
A guess would be it was built in the 1950’s.
The old advertisement called Pioneer Boats, “America’s most advanced line of metal boats...
“Rounded V-bow with flat bottom design provides smoothest ride with utmost steadiness. Eleven models, 33 sizes in galvanized iron and steel and aluminum.
“Endorsed for 40 years by leading summer camps and resorts.”
From a brief internet search I learned Pioneer had been located at 125 Perry Street, In Middlebury, IN, and was purchased in 1972 by Jayco manufacturing, well-known builder of Jayco trailers. I have contacted Jayco in an attempt to learn more, but haven’t received a response.
I also discovered there currently is a Pioneer boat company on the east coast, but it doesn’t to appear to have any relationship, except the same name.
The former owners,Isaiah and Joni Bowling enjoyed the boat, and I’m sure others did as well. Now I own the old boat, and would love to hear from anyone who knows anything more about lineage of Pioneer boats.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Grandpa, I don't want to kill any more worms."

Kennedy (left) and Molly Junker proudly display a bluegill they caught on an early spring outing, before Kennedy felt sorry for the worms and decided they should be released.

        “Grandpa, I want to fish,” said granddaughter Molly as we walked to the mini-barn where she saw some of my fishing tackle hanging on a wall.
“It’s too cool and windy,” I countered. “Maybe later.”
A short time later while checking my propane gas grill on the deck, “Grandpa, can we fish now, Molly pleaded. “I really want to fish.”
“But, it’s still pretty cold and windy,” answered Grandpa again.
Then, granddaughter Kennedy joined forces with Molly. She too wanted to fish.
“Well, we might try it after while, if the wind settles down a bit. I’ll go get some worms,” I offered. And off I went to buy a container of worms at a local bait outlet. I figured the girls just might forget about fishing.
But, they didn’t. The wind was still blowing, but the girls weren’t convinced we should postpone the outing any longer. We didn’t.
I picked out a small rod and reel and told the girls we would take turns catching fish. With the strong wind coming out of the west, I didn’t want the girls (Kennedy six and Molly seven) casting by themselves. There was too great of a chance of a hook ending up somewhere it shouldn’t. Like in one of the girls, or me.
I sat in my old chair on the lake bank with the girls along side. Each wanting the first opportunity to catch a fish. Since the previous day was Molly’s birthday, she had the first chance.
Worm loaded onto the hook, I cast against the wind. The worm no more than hit the water and the slim bobber settled into place, and a fish pulled it under the surface and out of site.
“Here,” I said to Molly and handed her the rod and reel. “Reel, wind it in...Keep the rod up.”
She turned the reel handle and after a brief battle landed a fish. She was excited, but I was a bit worried. Would there be another fish around  for Kennedy to catch?
Molly’s fish was unhooked and returned to the lake. I cast out again for a waiting Kennedy.
Another fish hit, and I handed the rod and reel to Kennedy with the same instructions her sister had received a couple minutes earlier.
Kennedy brought in another bluegill. She was delighted, and proud. “I caught a fish,” she grinned.
Several more times, I baited the hook, and the girls brought in fish. Then the action began to slow.
The girls had become more interested in the worms than the fish. They had opened the bait container. First they just observed the wiggling worms, but then both had a squirming worm in their hands. Most young girls don’t even like to look at gyrating worms. Admittedly, that may be sexists. Most young boys aren’t thrilled about them either.
We caught several more fish, and Kennedy watched with considerable interest as I baited the hook.
A funny look came upon Kennedy’s face. 
“Grandpa, I don’t want to kill any more worms,” she announced.
That’s something I’d never heard before from a youngster. We fished a little longer, and the remainder of the worms were saved.
About that time, the girl’s big brother, Denver arrived on the scene. He had been paddling my little boat on the lake.
“I can’t believe she likes worms,” said Denver. “Kennedy is even terrified of ants.”
And despite the concern for the worms, I think both girls soon will be ready to catch more fish. Guess it is time to change bait to beemoths or artificial jigs.