It's been a while since our last blog post so I have a sort-of grab bag of things to convey.
The first thing I'd like to talk about is our new prototype.
I'm often asked if we have a two person version of the Chironomid and the short answer was always "no ... not really". The longer answer is that I have designed a few two person prototypes.
Some of you may have noticed that we no longer have the "Dragonfly" available for sale. The Dragonfly was my design of a light and fast rowing speedster ... but it didn't have the fishing advantages of the Chironomid. It couldn't – it was designed to be 16 feet long and have two rowers. That was legit but I had spent three years building a business around stillwater fly fishing and, not surprising in retrospect, all inquiries about the Dragonfly were from people who wanted a two person fishing boat!
The first two person prototype I designed WAS a fishing boat which can been seen in a few photos on our website. It was 17 1/2 feet long, had one rowing station and two sets of pontoons. It also took longer to set up but had a lot of stability. It worked great but really required to have two persons use it. It is now owned by a great young couple in northern Alberta.
So I re-rigged the Dragonfly completely and now have a new prototype that has one rowing station, one set of pontoons, all the fishing gear of the original Chironomid, 10 more pounds to lift on the roof rack, but with TWO seats – the TANDEM CHIRONOMID ... and with a little added ballast it can be used by just one fisherman as well. Here are the first photos of Jerett Marsh and me in the prototype. Although not shown in these photos (my bad) the rower would normally swing around, as in the one person Chironomid, and face the clear bow when anchored for still fishing.
Next - a few tips and tricks about the Chironomid as so many owners are fairly new to the boat:
The stern floor of the boat is perfect for installing a small closed cell foam reservoir for a fish finder transducer. Form this well to the shape of your transducer (down pointing sonar only), contact cement it to the floor of your hull and weigh it down with a brick as it dries. Before you head out to fish add a few tablespoons of lake water to the well before you insert the transducer. You've now got a great "shoot-through-the-hull" fish finder. I have found that using the finder this way not only lets me see the lake bottom contours changing as I row, but passing over fish allows me to get a sense of where most of the fish are in a lake at the time. AND - no raising and lowering or compromising the glide of the boat!
Tighten up your seat-mount and receiver tube bolts occasionally. Vibrating over roads while your boat is on roof racks can gradually loosen them.
Mark your anchor lines will indelible ink about ten feet from the anchors. When you're hauling up an anchor it will remind you to slow your cranking before you inadvertently bash it against the hull, or pull it over the anchor line guides :)
If you pull up an anchor that is loaded with weeds, and raising and lowering it a short distance is not enough to remove most of the debris, then your oars (disengaged from the oar tower of course) are just the right length to reach the load of weeds. I find it best to lift the weed mass upwards.
When anchoring in windy conditions it is often better to use just one anchor if you find that the wind is shifting to an angular direction after you so carefully got the boat double-anchored down-wind! As the boat is long and narrow it wants to point itself sort of like a wind sock. This doesn't become a problem in light wind but in stronger wind, and especially if the lake bottom is not level, the anchor with less grip will want to let go and swing the boat around. Using just one anchor (usually the stern) will let you stay pointed in the same direction.
If you develop a squeak while rowing it could originate in the oar-lock collar or tower but I have usually found it to be the pop-lock buttons of the pontoon outrigger arms. A few quick squirts of Fluid Film will usually eliminate this and last for the rest of the season.
If your swivel seat mount seems to be losing some of its swivel cleaning and lubricating it with Fluid Film is in order.
For those of you who like to mount an electric motor on your Chironomid occasionally a special mount is not necessary. A few pieces of rectangular hard rubber can be glued to the top and sides if the pontoon outrigger receiver tubes to match the mounting bolt system of most small electric motors. You will also need a motor handle-extender, of course.
I also find that the outside portion of the rowing outrigger receiving tubes is a great place for a Scotty-style rod holder mount.
Remember to keep your boat protected from sunlight and snow cover during the winter and polish the hull inside and out with 303 Protectant once a year!
Finally - many of you know I'm not a big fan of advertising and marketing. I've had a number of small businesses in the past; most of them related to some form of creative craft - brewing, music production, cuisine - things that will sell themselves if they are good enough. But if you are selling a $35 piece of cold smoked arctic char, for example, it doesn't require as much of a commitment from a consumer as does a Kevlar fishing boat ... word of mouth marketing can exponentially expand at a much greater rate with that piece of fish than with the Chironomid.
So I would like to extend my heart-felt appreciation to those of you who have helped us to survive and grow over the last three years. This year, unlike the past two, most of our sales have come as a result of word of mouth from those who own, or have used, one of our boats. And that means a lot. Whatever the future holds - thank you.