HOW TO: Disassemble & Service the Angler’s Roost Spey Reels

2010 12 06 MV: Angler’s Roost Enterprises – an eBay website which is the brainchild of innovative fly fishing legend John Kuhn – has recently been producing some outstanding variable-drag traditional and spey reels.

These reels run $59.95 to $89.95, and possess composite disk drag systems which rival reels costing 10 times that much…

But occasional all such drags get wet, and if disk material wears into tiny granules between composite disks and the metal disks on either side, then water can slip in and hydroplane, causing the entire drag system to free-wheel… typically at the WORST times.

Conventional wisdom says “Keep the reel (and drag system) dry” ūüėź
Um… we’re FLY FISHING… this typically takes place in the medium known as … WATER.

Mark’s wisdom goes like this:
1. You can’t avoid getting the reel wet… so figure out a way to take water out of the equation;
2. Use something that will always take the place of water between the disks;
3. How about… lithium grease.

The following is a slide show of how to disassemble these surprisingly-easy-to-service reels, thereby making them even more valuable than they already are. The result will be a drag system¬†which provides a full range¬† of drag from near-free to near-locked (but NOT completely locked tight), and though not water “resistent” is at the least¬†water “agnostic”…

OBSERVATION – the A.R.E. reels likely share a common overseas manufacturer, so the everything in this posting applies to any reel whose construction & operation looks like the following diagram:

Here are the slides for 2 separate reels – one is a 7/8 spey reel, the other (my favorite) an 8/9 spey reel:

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Once re-assembled, you’ll have a reel which – no matter hot or cold weather, no matter bone-dry or soaking-wet – behaves the same way; dialing out all the way will create a near free-wheel (but not quite due to the inherent microdrag created by the grease), and dialing in all the way will create a near full-stop (but again not quite due to the inherent slippage created by the grease)… and this is a GOOD THING. One of the fastest ways to lose a big fish¬†is to accidentally over-tighten your reel’s drag to the point where the fish is effectively pulling against a fully-braked reel. Since a grease-saturated reel cannot ever be fully braked, you actually have the LEAST chance of the fish out-pulling and breaking your line, and therefore the BEST chance of ultimately landing the fish.

There’s my argument for fully-greased drag systems vs fully-dry drag systems.

No matter which philosophy to which you adhere, the slide show still provides you valuable information on how to service the Angler’s Roost Reel, making them an outstanding value in the fly fishing & spey casting market.


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Looking for a clever gift for all your boys this Christmas?
Running low on finances?
Believe in the quality of hand-made over store-bought?
This year I’ve devised what I think is the coolest, easiest, most practical Tyvek wallet you’re ever going to see & make…¬†

I’ve made a video on YouTube, and it turned out pretty darn good (thanks to daughter Neri who did a great job of filming me even whilst fighting a cold):

Cheers & a Very Merry Christmas!


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HOW TO: Change an invalid page layout in SharePoint 2007

2010 12 02 MV to All: This morning I was asked to provision 2 new SP2007 publishing websites based on a client’s existing site template (created by Save Site As Template); historically lots of people have trouble template-ing publishing sites, and this client was no exception. What happens is that during the provisioning process a new (publishing) website is indeed created… but in this case the default.aspx page had an associated page layout which was declared “invalid” by SharePoint during the rendering process.

The result? one of those horrible error pages that make it looks like your entire system is crashing down ’round you ears…

The fix? The site DOES exist, so key admin-related pages to which you need access ARE available – the “fix” is just cleverly navigating through SP2007’s URLs to get at this admin pages, and eventually to the PageSettings.aspx page (WITH all the necessary query string parameters correctly loaded) so that you can set the page layout to something VALID, thereby permitting the default.aspx page to render successfully…

Here are the steps:

1. CREATE a new website, using a Publishing Site Template which you’ve already created;
2. => You’ll eventually get a horrible error message saying this new site’s default.aspx page has an invalid page layout (that’s the problem we’re trying to remedy);
3. TRICK #1: MANUALLY EDIT the URL to browse to your new site, but to /_layouts/viewlsts.aspx;
4. BROWSE to /Pages folder; choose Edit Properties of the (faulty) default.aspx page;
5. TRICK #2: CHANGE the Content Type to “Welcome Page”;
6. => You’ll still ONLY have access to merely the “Edit Properties” menu item for the not-yet-fixed default.aspx page… but you’re on the way toward fixing it;
7. TRICK #3: CHOOSE Site Actions > Manage Content & Structure;
8. NAVIGATE to your new website > Pages, and hover over the default.aspx page… but now you get a NEW menu item “Edit Page Properties” !!!
9. NOTICE the invalid page layout will be clearly displayed in red ink ūüôā ;
10. CHANGE to any page layout which is valid – in my case, Welcome Page with summary links works nicely ūüôā ;
11. NOTICE the change in the displayed page layout thumbnail; SAVE your changes
12. CLICK on the now-fixed default.aspx page from inside Manage Content & Structure…
13. => You should now have a healthy-but-UN-published default.aspx page. PUBLISH IT.
14. => You now have cleverly snuck around in SharePoint’s ventilation ducts to get into the admin pages without actually having to go through the gah-busted (technical term) default.aspx page. Nicely done.

Here’s¬†a gallery of thumbnails with those very steps:

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Kudos to my esteemed colleague Bart “Bartman” Peeters, who learned this technique several years ago, and only recently passed it onto me. Any beer sent to me should come in pairs, so that one bottle goes to Bartman.




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Product Review: The 2010 Angler’s Roost 14ft 5/6wt Euro Spey Rod

Prepare yourself for a head-turner. The ever-popular Angler’s Roost Enterprises – John Kuhn (of Buffalo, NY) has really outdone himself with his latest creation, the 2010 14ft 5/6wt “Euro” style spey rod.

Here’s a slide show of some images I took with my new HTC EVO phone:

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While you’re busy looking at the craftsmanship and attention to detail, let me offer you my thoughts on this new rod – the 4th Anglers Roost spey rod, and the 7th ARE rod¬†I own:
2 12ft 5/6wt American style (handles) rods;
1 14 ft 7/8 wt American style rod;
1 11ft 2wt single-handed rod (no typo there, it’s an 11 ft 2wt rod you won’t believe);
1 9 ft 5wt single-handed rod; and 
1 6ft-6in 4wt single-handed rod.
I also own the following non-ARE rods (in case anyone questions my bias):
1 15 ft 9/10 wt Reddington Red Fly II American-style spey rod;
1 14 ft 9/10 wt Cabela’s American-style spey rod;
1 9ft 4 wt Ross single-handed rod;
1 7 ft 2 wt TFO Lefty Kreigh single-handed rod;
2 9 ft 7wt non-label old restored bamboo single-handed rods;

I live & fly fish (I suppose that’s being redundant) in the far western suburbs of Chicago & Lake Michigan, in scummy¬†ponds after¬†11-20 inch¬†largemouths, in 100-yard-across-knee-deep rivers after 11-18 inch smallmouths, and in the clearer, deeper, faster streams to the north (Waukegan, Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Sheboygan) after 10-40 inch Browns, Rainbows, Kings, Cohos, and our beloved Steelheads. That’s a pretty wide spectrum of fish, sizes, waters & casting conditions, so I’ve an equally-diverse range of rods.

That said, when the Kings, Cohos and Steelhead are running in the decidedly-modest-in-most-places rivers on the western shoreline of Lake Michigan, what most spey fisherman no doubt have found is that 15ft, 9-10wt rods are Рsimply put Рoverkill, and 12 ft 5-6 wt rods are (borderline) underkill, readily getting snapped by a many fierce Kings & Steelheads in a bad mood.

That makes John’s 14ft 5/6wt pretty much¬†the perfect tool for effortlessly¬†casting/swinging/skating/drifting¬†either combos of flies & eggs or¬†large leeches on medium sink tips on skagit lines¬†all day long on the Pike River, the Root River,¬†the¬†Milwaukee River and the Sheboygan River.¬†

“ALL DAY LONG” is¬†an important distinction to make here, because many of the local “fly fishermen” (you can hardly call them that when all they do is¬†flail a chuck-n-duck rig all of 5 ft from the tip of the broom handles they call rods)¬†don’t actually know how to cast, and¬†couldn’t throw their hardware all day long if they really had to. ¬†¬†But those who do actually cast know that the fish can be in many places & situations within only 100 yards of where one is standing – in 5 ft of deep crevice just 40 ft out in mid-stream; in 1 ft of cataract a full cross-stream cast of 130 ft; at the surface in a foam-covered lazy eddie in 4¬†ft of steep bank across 80 ft of near-calm water. It’s important to have a rod that’s short enough to let me¬†drift a nymph not 20 ft from my rod tip, long enough to loft an intruder on 5 ft of T14 a good 90 ft over swift mid-stream rapids to that perfect seam; small enough to actually “feel” the tug of an¬†feisty & fearless 12 in brownie, but strong enough to take the fight out of a 39 in, 28 lb King who will throw himself out of the water with a resounding “SMACK” body-slam every 30 seconds¬†during a¬†15 minute battle-royale…¬†¬†

John Kuhn’s¬†latest 14 footer is just such a tool – the only¬†rod you need enter the water with for a day-long venture after whatever happens to be moving…

So here’s what my first impression was when I got home from work, saw the ARE tube leaning next to my door, opened it, and took out the rod sock:

“Attention to Detail…”¬†

So nice to have a labeled sock to let me know precisely what I was holding. Start collecting enough rods (it just happens, I don’t know how), and you’ll come to appreciate this more & more…

Fit & the finish: perfection.

Reel Seat:¬†decidedly “spartan”. NO fancy wood or inlays or composite patterns or the like – just very attractive well-finished metal…¬†and in a spey rod that’s just what I like.

Handle: Obviously “euro/scandahooovian”, and beautifully done. Take a look at the pictures.

Butt: Again obviously euro/scandahoovian by design, and beautifully executed.

Cork: Well-balanced. There’s a fine line between so-smooth-and-featureless-you-think-it’s-going-to-slip-out-of-your-hands and so-rough-and-pitted-that-it-actually-starts-to-be-uncomfortable-after-an-hour… and John’s latest rod finds that balance. My first time out with the rod I promised my wife I’d only be out for 15 minutes (just to see how it cast)… I ended up being gone well over 4 hours [nb, the Fox River is only 1/3 mile from my front door], it felt so good in my hands.

Action: “MAD POWER”. John designed this rod to be light & stiff in the butt and mid-section, with the movement (and hence power) in the tip. Using IM7 instead of older IM6 material, I suppose by all definitions that makes this a “fast action” rod. What it feels like is that I’ve got a 9/10 weight LAUNCHING POWER packed into 5wt WEIGHT & BALANCE… and with SWITCH ROD FEEL. Normally the rule is “POWER, LIGHT WEIGHT, FEEL… pick any TWO”, but John’s come as close as anyone I’ve ever met at delivering on ALL THREE METRICS.


I say “mad power”, because when I put on my Rio Powerspey 9/10/11 wt long-belly line, not only was this 5/6 wt rod up to the challenge, but it seemed to THRIVE on the extra weight. I made a simple¬†15 ft stepped¬†fluoru leader, tied on a typical massive white zonker-stripped streamer, and¬†– even in a 10 mph upstream (river left) wind, I was launching 110 ft casts again & again & again – right in the middle of downtown St Charles, IL. This is me standing on a boulder less than a foot above water, at the shoreline, with virtually NO room to backcast, doing¬†nothing more than a basic Perry Poke…. and this rod is blasting that much¬†fast-sinking leader &¬†baitfish-sized hook out to mid-stream (where only spin-casters typically can reach) that passers-by just¬†stopped and STARED… Then I aim 45 degrees downstream – INTO the wind – and found myself launching 120 ft. I was so giddy I pulled out my cell phone (I know I know – BAD luck) and called John right there on the spot. I said “John, I’m blasting your rod out 120 ft… INTO THE WIND”. He just laughed and said keep testing it, so I did. I hung up, waited for a slight calm moment, and threw out more line… 125 ft. 127 ft. 130 ft. 133 ft…. 135 ft. A second time. A third. Again. Again. Again. Into the wind. Standing at the water’s edge. Nothing but a Perry Poke¬†or my own invention, a hybrid launch-before-it-even-anchors-snap-cast. It was one of those times where you forget to fish, because everything – the rod, the line, the tip, the leader, the hook, the technique – comes together, and you just want to see how far you can cast…


And perhaps most surprising is this – even¬†though I’ve¬†learned only “western” style spey casting (more pushing with top hand, or at best combo top hand push/bottom hand pull), I found myself NATURALLY¬†scandi-casting this rod. There’s just something about the cork being SO long, the butt being SO natural to PULL on, and the flex under the cork being in¬†JUST the right place that withouth trying or thinking about¬†it, I found myself scandi-casting like I’d been¬†born to it…

Go figger.

Skagit casting was also easy, but I spent all my time with my Rio Powerspey (which has I think a 65 ft belly), I was having SO much fun. More on throwing a skagit later.

For a mere $119.00 the Angler’s Roost Enterprises 14ft 5/6 wt spey rod represents a value & performance that¬†can only be described as amazing. Sage, Winston and all the other¬†fly-fishing “royals” ought to be scared shitless.

I highly recommend you pick up one of these rods for Christmas.

Me? I already have one, and am even going to bug John to produce an 11¬†ft or 12 ft version¬†with the same action. It would be the perfect¬†“Bagit” (Bass-Skagit) rod, and would transform how people fish for bass…



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HOW TO: Enable mere mortals contribute items… but NOT DELETE anything.

2010 11 16 MV to All: On our current corporate portal project we had a need for all users to be able to contribute/submit candidate news articles for submission… In order for them to be able to “contribute” to a list, SharePoint OOTB settings would end up giving these mere mortals the ability to EDIT and even DELETE content from this list. Not a good idea, as users immediately started accidentally deleting other people’s news articles. Bad bad bad…

Solution actually is pretty straightforward:
DEFINE a new SharePoint Site Group = “Corporate Portal Users”
ADD only the special AD “group” (it’s not really a “group”) “NT\AUTHENTICATED_USER” to this SharePoint SIte Group.
=> anyone successfully authenticating on the network is in this group.

BROWSE to top-level site > Site actions > Site Settings > Permissions
DEFINE a new permission level called “Contribute & View Only”
– CHECK the following critical privileges:

Here’s a screenshot of the Admin page:¬†¬†

The LAST item is the key, because viewing an individual item actually calls the DispForm.aspx page – a form/application page. If users DON’T have this privilege, then they end up being able to see the list of items, but when they click on an individual item, they’ll get an “Access Denied” message…

 So far so good.

MODFIY the permissions of the News Items List as follows:
-ADD “Corporate Portal Users” to the list, with “Contribute & View Only” as their privileges in this list

Here’s a screenshot:

SAVE your way out.

If you did it correctly, only key individuals (corporate content owners et al) have full “Contribute” privileges in this list; anyone else has access only via their membership (by simply being authenticated) in Corporate Portal Users, and they’ll only be able to add content, but neither edit nor delete it.




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SOLUTION: When your publishing pages are "stuck in edit mode"…

INTERESTING – ever have a client contact you and say their pages were “stuck in edit mode”?

When attempting to re-create¬†this phenomena, I noticed the following…

The URLs contain additional “Query String Variables” called ControlMode and DisplayMode.

When creating at least some of the QuickLaunch Links, one or both of you inadvertently copied & pasted a URL which was not for the PUBLISHED version of the page (e.g. http://ServerABC:23453/sites/employeeportal/EMPLOYEESERVICES/Pages/Leave-of-Absence.aspx), but instead was the URL while that particular page was in “Edit” Mode – e.g. http://ServerABC:23453/sites/employeeportal/EMPLOYEESERVICES/Pages/Leave-of-Absence.aspx?ControlMode=Edit&DisplayMode=Design

The result is that every time¬†a user¬†clicked on¬†its link,¬†the underlying¬†URL FORCES the page into EDIT MODE, hence the annoying behavior…

Use the appropriate link – Adjust the URL under the Leave of Absence link by removing everything after “.aspx”;

Hover over every one of the links created thus far, glance at the browser’s Status Bar to see where the link will go, and adjust that link if it contains those same Query String Variables which force it into EDIT MODE as well

Hope this helps anyone else who had similar experiences.



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UTILITY – a handy standalone utility for launching IE7/SharePoint 2010 in a kiosk scenario…

2010 09 13 MV: My current project has nearly 50 kiosk-type computers set up in various locations throughout the USA. We learned (after much investigation) that in order for PeopleSoft to successfully integrate and implement SSO with SharePoint 2010, we could NOT simply let kiosk users login via the OOTB “Sign in as a Different User” menu item. Doing so only changed the SESSION security context, but PeopleSoft was actually inspecting the owner of the IE7 PROCESS itself as well. By signing in as a different user PeopleSoft got confused. It would look at who launched the BROWSER, so it was possible to start the browser as Person A, change the SharePoint login to Person B, and yet when looking at a PeopleSoft via SP2010’s Page Viewer Web Part, Person A’s information was still visible…

Most uncool.

We solved this problem by simply having kiosk users actually start the IE7 browser as THEMSELVES; this required a simple little utilty which I wrote in C# using the cool new Visual Studio 2010 Pro Edition (I have a personal $1100/yr MSDN sub, and encourage all of you to do likewise), using only the .NET Framework v2.0 since the utility was heading to some pretty “dumb” kiosk computers (XP Embedded OS, 250 MB of RAM, etc etc)…

Kiosk IE7 Launcher Utility Screenshot

The utility can be configured to run on kiosk startup. It presents a splash screen with a we-told-you-not-to Disclaimer, and then a pair of fields for The User to enter their LAN credentials. When they hit the bit “I Agree” button, the launcher uses The User’s credentials to start the IE7 process as them. From there SharePoint then knows who they are, but MORE importantly, PeopleSoft does as well, and displays only The Users info (NOT the info of a previous user).

If you’ve encountered the same problem, then hopefully you’ll benefit from this small utility.




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