The Nautical Intrepid
Although I’m currently struggling with bedding options and epic storage issues, I thought it’s about time to document a few of the Interpid’s other mods-in-progress. I don’t plan to fish much mainly due to the cost of out-of-state fishing licenses out this way, but I do want the option to take advantage of the occasional fishing opportunities that present themselves out here. I’ve driven right past various fishing holes along the way and wished I could pull in for a couple of days to try my hand in futility, but the challenges presented by the 26′ Defiant travel trailer always worked against that. The compact Grandby now opens up that option.
Mind you, I’m far from a fish killer. There’s a difference between going fishing and catching fish. In my case, it’s a big difference. But I enjoy the hardware and the contemplative aspect of that endeavor. It’s not the same when you fish with a real fisherman, since the expectation to actually catch something ramps up, while the contemplative aspect fades. Often but not always, a kind of impatient searching takes the place of just enjoying the time and place, while only occasionally wondering why there’s not even a nibble for hours. That can be something else to contemplate, but the answer is always comfortingly present: I don’t know what I’m doing.
My rods, with one exception, are all decades-old garage sale items. The one decent rod is just that – decent, obtained at a bait shop in Wisconsin, I think. The reels are mostly of the spincast type, those awkward contraptions that have the reel set sideways, with everything jutting out exposed. My sole spincast reel, the simple enclosed type used by kids everywhere, was a gracious gift donated by my ex, herself an accomplished fisherwoman with much patience. I suspect it was a mix of pity and the tiresome exposure to my casts often followed by “dang!” when my lure dropped into the water beside the boat, or when the line formed a confused bird’s nest within the reel. It’s a beauty, and works flawlessly.
At any rate, the Grandby’s interior is no place to hold fishing rods, a few of which are one-piece affairs that approach eight feet in length. A solution was needed, and once again the Grandby’s jack mounts begged to be put into service. A trip to Home Depot netted ten feet of something labeled tri-layer coex pipe, a pipe which is much lighter and cheaper than rigid schedule 40 tubes. It’s more flexible as well, but seemed stiff enough to do the job when cut to an eight-foot length. I scrounged up a couple of end adapters and screw-in covers that fit, along with a pair of L-brackets, and I was in business.
In practice, I found that this material expands more than the aluminum camper once it heats up, and wants to lengthen in the hot Arizona sun. Since it can’t expand because of the solid way that I mounted the ends, it appears to droop at center. In a 50-degree sunrise, it’s straight as an arrow. By noon, it’s sagging. A battery hold-down bracket screwed into the camper’s under-surface provided a way to loop a Velcro strap near the mid-point, and voila, it’s straight all the time now. I had originally planned on using cable ties, which last about a year in full exposure, but I already had an 18″ length of Velcro strap, which in my experience can survive up to three years in the same conditions.
I did allow myself one extravagance after that success. Once on site, I’m too lazy to remove the lure/hook and stuff the rod(s) back into the tube at end of day. No point in laying them on the ground and stepping on them, either. For that reason, I decided to add to the StowAway cargo box’s duty as shovel holder and mounted a fishing rod holder to one side. That’s simply what amounts to an aluminum towel rod with three upright tubes welded to it. Insert the fishing rod handle, and you’re done. Cheapie plastic versions abound, but these presented mounting issues, so I antied up for a marine grade affair that will last forever. I’m ready.