I surf fish quite often and in the summer combine surf fishing with blue crab catching. That’s because of the proximity of the crabbing grounds with the ocean. One of the principle tools of the surf fisherman is the 5 gallon bucket. In fact if you see a guy fishing in the surf who doesn’t have a 5 gallon bucket, he’s probably an amateur. The bucket is used to carry bait, hold the catch, sunblock, beer – whatever. It also doubles as a seat if configured with a lid. I added a new high tech gadget to my bucket that replaces a simple lid with a tackle holding lid. Right up there with the cell phone in terms of great ideas. Still the ultimate simplicity of a 5 gallon bucket limits it’s utility. Invariably I end up with water in the bucket which screws up my tools lying on the bottom of the bucket – that would be pliers, bait knife, fillet knife, crab twine, and a rubber mallet for banging in the sand spikes, beach umbrella and the like. It becomes a real problem when the bucket doubles as a crab container and you have to dump live blue crabs on top of the tools. And we’re still faced with having to carry quite a bit of other gear to the beach. Ideally you’d like to be able to carry everything – tackle, rods, sand spikes, tackle, bucket, bait etc etc all in one trip from the truck to the fishing spot. Life is complicated by things like chairs and beach umbrellas which, some would argue, are pure luxury. When I go by myself, I just have to plan on two trips. When Nancy is with me, I have to plan on only being able to fish close to the stairs since she’s not big on walking too far down the beach to a prime spot.

So I decided that the 5 gallon bucket needs some customization to allow the tools to be stored in a fashion that protects them from water and blue crabs; that allows the sand spikes to be carried as part of the bucket; and allows pre-made rigs to be carried in a fashion where they don’t get tangled up. An objective was to totally eliminate the need to carry a separate tackle box. With my new work shop and scads of new tools, I was certain that I could create something to meet many of my objectives. So with a saw, a drill, and a pop rivet gun I attached four 4” pieces of 1” PVC pipe along the outside perimeter of the bucket and two pieces of 3/4” PVC pipe on the inside of the bucket. So now I can carry 2 sand spikes, the rubber mallet, and the fillet knife on the outside of the bucket and my pliers and bait knife inside. I attached a wide strip of foam on the inside for hooking rigs and installed a hook to hang my leader dispenser. As best I can tell, it’s a masterpiece of design engineering but the real proof will be in the field trials. I’m thinking a 3 week intensive field program of surf fishing and crabbing is needed to fully valildate the design and the workmanship. Olivia is coming tomorrow and will be with us for most of the week so she and I will do the first field tests.

Another shop project – design and build an adapter that would let me use my new wet/dry shop vac to clean the drain pipe of the air conditioner. The intake hose on the vac is roughly 1.5”; the A/C drain is 3/4”. So I needed some kind of reducing scheme that would be tight enough to allow the vac to work. If it wasn’t tight at both ends, there wouldn’t be enough vacume to pull the water from the A/C. I won’t go into the design details but suffice it to say, the adapter is a thing of beauty and works like a world champ. I pulled about a pint of water in about 15 seconds.

Do I smell patents?? Nobel prizes??

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