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Riverman "Floats" New Ideas with Retro Perspective

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Tackleunderground recently pulled aside fellow member "Riverman" for a session in the Member Spotlight.

Jed Volkman also known as "Riverman" is a 41 year old Fisheries Habitat Biologist & self proclaimed "tackle making spaz" from the

eastern side of the great state of Oregon.


Alright, So how often do you fish?

From October through May I fish at least one day per week, often more. Summer steelhead arrive in our rivers here beginning in September and the fishing for them is good through the end of March. Beginning in April we start fishing for spring Chinook salmon which concludes in late may. After that we fish for bass most of the summer. The small town I live in has a river running through the center of it. Depending on the time of year this river has within its banks Fall Chinook, Coho, Summer Steelhead, and Spring Chinook Salmon. Within 30 miles of me is the Columbia River which has all the fishing a guy could ever want. We have white sturgeon that commonly exceed 8 feet in length, record class walleye, smallmouth, largemouth, cats, crappie, bluegill, and many others.

Whats your favorite species of fish?

I guess I would have to say there are two favorites, smallmouth and Spring Chinook. I love smallmouth because they are "animals", will slam anything and put up a good battle. Chinook are just plain mean and when they grab hold of a lure your reel will start screamin out 30# test, it's amazing!

What about your favorite piece of tackle?

Hmm, this is a tough one as there are so many. I would say it is an ole bait-casting rod that I use for steehead fishing. The rod?with some help from me, has caught several hundred steelhead I am sure. Last year though my oldest son was using it for spring Chinook Salmon and while running the motor he let the line get wrapped around the prop?yanked this beautiful rod right into the Columbia River! You can probably imagine the string of words I put together when this happened! Anyway, my boy did manage to rescue her and has thus been allowed to keep living today??.the rod is missing a few eyes but will return to action.

I understand you work in biology, how has that helped your lure making?

I have two degrees' date=' one in Plant Science and another in Fisheries Science. My title is "habitat biologist". With federal dollars provided by taxpayers, I work with private landowners who are interested in restoring and protecting salmon habitat on their property. I am just an average intelligence guy that chose to go to college.

Certainly my education has helped me have a good understanding of how fish think and just what might get them interested in particular lure design. Greater than that though, is the experiences I gained as a youngster spending literally years along streams and rivers trying to catch anything I could with a hook and line. I also have a strange obsession with fishing and tackle-building that pushes me far harder than most. As a youngster I would lay in bed at night unable to sleep in anticipation of the next day afield. Now I am in my 40's and still find my hands shaking while tying on another lure, I enjoy fishing that much. The ability to read well, write, and use a computer has helped me too. I type very fast which improves correspondence and allows me to write three letters in the time others may write one.[/quote']

Has making lures cut into your fishing time?

Yep, big time.

Describe your luremaking space.

To be honest my shop is a bit embarrassing. I am not the "shop type". In fact I didn't know what a band-saw was until I started building hard-baits. Everything and I mean everything, I learned online from others willing to share their experiences. My shop is along one side of my garage. I have no heating or air conditioning so things get a bit miserable at times. In the summer I work at night, in the winter in a coat, lol. I own a band saw, a wheel sander, a wheel grinder, several hand saws, and a lathe that I bought at a yard-sale for 50 bucks. I also have a small motorized lure dryer that was once a rotary caster. All of my finish work I do at the kitchen table?much to my lady-friends dismay! All of my painting is done with water-colors, permanent markers and rattle cans. I hope to soon purchase an air brush.

Tell us about your latest creation.

Most recently I have been building hard-baits of various sizes and shapes. I am not much at painting but would like to perfect this skill in the coming months. Instead I discovered as did Lincoya that I could print pictures out on paper and then glue these to the lure body. The whole thing is then finished with an epoxy and makes for a very realistic imitation. My list for future projects is long, I want to perfect at least two crank bait styles, two jerk baits, several spinner ideas that I have been working on?.one I worked with this morning and am very excited about, and a host of other large baits. The ideas seem to keep coming the more I read and the only thing lacking is the time to develop them. I would suggest to others that they search on eBay for "vintage lures", here I get many of my ideas. There have been bright people building lures for a long, long time and many of these ideas need to be brought back to life.

Do you have plans to market your creations in the future?

About a year ago I started working on floats/bobbers and made several hundred of these. It was during this process that I decided to start a web-site catering to salmon and steelhead fisherman. I spent at least 3 months researching float/bobber designs and found that Europeans are literally light years ahead of us when it comes to fishing with floats and that much could be learned from them. With this information I settled on several basic designs I felt would be affective here in the USA and have since had them manufactured for me. I now have in my possession more than 6' date='000 balsa and plastic floats which I intend to begin selling in the coming weeks. My company name is Bikini Bait Company and includes a drawing of a pretty girl, in a bikini of course, holding a fishing rod, kind of a 1930's sales approach.

Six months ago I had no intention at all of selling any lures but after working with them for many months I now find myself interested in doing so. Whether I will choose to make them myself or put them out to someone else for production I do not know as of yet.[/quote']

What's on your workbench right now?

Among all the partially finished lure bodies is a sheet of plastic I obtained from a close friend. This plastic can be cut into pieces, placed in boiling water and then shaped by hand?.you can imagine the ideas that are coming from this?woohoo!

Tell us about the biggest OOPS you've made while learning this trade.

There are so many, the dropped lures with wet Devcon on them, the sanding wheel knuckles, the lures that looked so beautiful but would do nothing but roll in the water, etc., etc. I think us tackle-building guys are definitely a unique group, you certainly have to love doing this as it can be enormously frustrating at times.

How often do you visit Tackleunderground?

Several times per day.

We know he does :) If you'd like to be featured in the "Member Spotlight" give us an email at: memberspotlight@tackleunderground.com

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