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The Frugal Fisherman: Part II

For those of you that don't know this, fishermen by nature are a frugal lot.

Being penny wise and pound foolish is standard fare, and I am no different.

I recently noticed that the felt soles on my wading boots had become worn out on the bottom. I found this out the hard way,of course, discovering this while fishing on the river, going into my rendition of the "slick rock disco", and falling into "the drink".You would think I would have noticed that my felt soles had worn out and that I was now wearing hockey skates in the water, but with my wading boots being much like my car, I just get in them and go.

I headed on down to "The Blackbird", which is my favorite outdoor store--(not because of service or price but because they have this giant fifty foot,black and yellow blackbird statue in the parking lot)--and proceeded to reaquaint myself with wading boot prices. Having last bought wading boots circa 1990, fifteen years inflation certainly caused my jaw to drop.

Outside of standing there and looking like one of the "appalachian" characters from the movie Deliverance, I was quickly convinced that my boots still had plenty of life in them, and that a "re-sole-ing" was the answer. I found that my good friend Hodgeman made felt sole replacements for my boots, and that the fifteen dollar cost was quite reasonable.

I also thought this would allow me to "become one" with my boots and give me that nice "do it yourself" project, that gives one that warm satisfying moment when one feels self-suffecient.

You see it coming, don't you?

The instructions seemed fairly simple,Step 1: first remove the old felt soles.

Since. there wasn't much felt sole left, this didn't seem like a very demanding first step. But, what was left was secured to the bottom of the boot like a barnicle to a pier. I pulled and peeled and cut, (and at one point seriously consideredusing my Dremel tool) until finally getting enough old sole removed.

Step 2: Spread a thin layer of supplied "felt sole cement" on the felt, wait 30 minutes.

This went rather well. No problemo.

While I waited, I "scuffed" up the bottom of the boots to help with the adhereing of the felt soles. This seemed rather redundant, since I had gouged up the bottoms pretty well during the felt removal process.

Step 3: Repeat spreading of "felt sole cement", wait thirty minutes and secure felt to bottom of boots. Note:You may want to use a generous amount of tape to help hold the felt in place and help secure the heel and toe area.

Boy, was that an understatement.

After about a roll of duct tape and the use of some large c-clamps that were laying around, I think I finally got the felt to adhere to the boot. I say "think", because there is so much duct tape around the boot that I can no longer even see the felt sole and can only trust that the tape has secured the two surfaces together. Not to mention that the boots now look like a pair of freakish silver Michael Jackson dancing spats or a pair of "punked out" Air FrankenJordans.

Step 4: Allow eight hours drying time.

This is where I am at now.Past history tells me that nothing good can come of this.

I am afraid to remove the tape, feeling the same anxiety a plastic surgery patient feels when they remove the bandages. Maybe I am being a touch negative here, but I have the feeling when I remove the duct tape-- that of course assuming I can get the sticky duct tape off-- the felt sole will simply fall to the ground, be stuck to the duct tape, or that the shoes will scream"I'm alive, I'M ALIVE HA ha ha ha...."

At this point I feel compelled to show you an actual "un-retouched" photo of my boot repair operation. If you are unable to view this wherever you are reading this you might want to visit www.twoguyswithflys.com in order to get a full understanding.

Yes, these are my wading boots. This is what they have become!

Perhaps, the boots will remain shaped in this contorted figure that the duct tape-clamping combination has transformed them into. With my luck, I will be walking around with the toes pointed skyward like some "pixie shoed- fishing gnome", with leaves all stuck to the outer surface because of the tape "residue" left on the outside of the boot!!

Maybe, the soles will initially be fine and as soon as I hit the cold clear water of the Rogue river they will just simply shrink up and fall off.We all know about shrinkage and cold water-now don't we fellas?!

I just have a BAD FEELING about this!!

At any rate, I will be back down at the "Blackbird" this afternoon repricing wading boots.

As usual, I will have spent fifteen dollars more than the actual price of the boots, and wasted two hours "becoming one" with my boots.

I don't know what it is that makes us fishermen so frugal and why I continually get sucked into thinking I can "do-it-myself", but I know this won't be the last time...

...In fact, there is this pin hole in my breathable waders somewhere that I can't find, anyone know how much a patch kit is?

A.J. is a writer of fishing humor and the characters that are in and around the world of fishing. He also is a peddler of fly tacks?!~? You can view his fly tacks and get some laughs at http://www.twoguyswithflys.com His first book is due out in December of 2005.

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