Fulton Coupler Hinge

Fulton HingeOne of the real joys of small boat ownership is being able to store your rig in the garage.  In addition to keeping it out of the elements and generally taking good care of it, you also have the opporunity to do any necessary and “unneccesary” tinkering in relative comfort.  Trouble is, garages these days are barely large enough to park a car or two in and get out, so getting a skiff in amongst all your other stuff can require a little geometry so the door will close with that all important inch of clearance.  If your rig has a break-away or removable tongue, you’re probably in business, if not, a swing tongue is a great solution that can really make garage storage easier and simpler.   A Fulton Fold-Away coupler is a great solution, it’s a relatively easy install and can create up to a 48″ swing tongue.

Before cutting the tongue off the trailer and realizing I’d forgotten to do something important like pull chase lines for the wiring harness, I spent some time laying out exactly what needed to be done, and in what order.   Measure twice, cut once.  The installation process is very smooth and the tools required are pretty basic.  I used a 4″ angle grinder with a metal cutting disc, a reciprocating saw would work but I found the angle grinder worked really quickly.  In addition to all the standard miscellaneous tools; hammer, tape measure, square, etc, you’ll need a drill (two charged batteries helps) and ratchet that can accomdate half inch bits, a torque wrench capable of 80 ft.-lbs, and a number 55 torque bit which I found at Northern Tool Supply for about $5.   Fulton provides a complete set of installation instructions which are easy to follow and they make coupler kits for a variety of sizes capable of fitting trailers with frame dimensions from 2 x 3 all the way up to 3 x 5.  For this install, a bolt-on style hinge was used, weld-on models are available also.

The tongue before measuring and cutting

The tongue before measuring and cutting, note the location of the wiring harness exit.

After pulling chase lines through the frame for the wiring harness (and then being extra careful not to cut them), the tongue was cut using a 4″ angle grinder with a metal cutting disc.  A file knocked down any burrs or rough edges and it’s a good idea to hit the raw exposed metal with some Cold Galvanizing spray to protect it from rusting.  I also test fitted the coupler and marked the locations for drilling the holes required for bolting the hinge in place.

The tongue after cutting with marked pilot holes for drilling.

The tongue after cutting with marked pilot holes for drilling.

Test fitting with pilot holes marked prior to drilling.

Test fitting with pilot holes marked prior to drilling.

At this stage there are lots of pilot holes to be drilled, 16 in total and it’s easier (and much more accurate) to begin by drilling with an 1/8″ diameter bit and then expand the holes to 1/4″, 3/8″ and finally 1/2″ using the appropriate sized bits.  Now you’re ready to install the thru-bolts and snug them down tight with the torque wrench.

Hinge installed and ready to reroute wiring.

Hinge installed and ready to reroute wiring.

With the coupler hinge in place it’s time to reroute the wiring harness.  I found it easy to keep the wiring harness out of the way by coiling it in an empty 5 gallon bucket.  Note the chase lines draped over the top of the hinge ready to be reattached and pulled back through the trailer frame.  You’ll want to make sure that the rerouted wiring harness has enough surplus to allow the hinge to comfortably open but not so much as to be pinched when you close the coupler for trailering.

The installed hinge in the folded position.

The installed hinge in the folded position.

The completed installation ready for storage and trailering, you can go ahead and slide your skiff into position in the garage.  Now that I can store the boat straight in instead of at an angle, it’s saved all kinds of room and the garage door easily clears.  The Fulton Coupler hinge is available at most quality marine stores for around $100.



Buried Treasure in that Old Tackle Box

A Heddon Midget River Runt, one of the best fishing lures ever made. Photo by Chris Landsberger

A Heddon Midget River Runt, one of the best fishing lures ever made. Photo by Chris Landsberger

Ed Godfrey writes about antique fishing lures in The Oklahoman.  Heddon advertises itself as the world’s oldest lure maker, having started in 1894. The company was started by James Heddon in his family kitchen in Dowagiac, Mich and recently a set of 89 Heddon lures sold for $125,000.

Costa Merger to Broaden Product Offerings

Costa Inc. and Essilor International recently completed its previously announced
merger agreement, bringing together two technology-minded partners committed to
building and defining the next generation of sun lens technology.

The merger also enables Costa to leverage Essilor’s expertise in surface
coatings to develop innovative products in response to specific needs, such as
anti-fog or hydrophobic lenses. In the prescription sunglasses segment, Essilor
and Costa will work together to broaden product offerings.

New Sun Protection from Buff

BuffMatt Crawford of Buff Headwear introduces several new pieces of sun protection available from Buff in 2014 including their new balaclava and redesigned mask.

8 Weight Rod Shootout

If you’re interested in a comparison of the latest batch of 8 weight saltwater fly rods.  Look no further than the 8 Weight Shootout recently completed by George Anderson and his staff at the Yellowstone Angler.  Noted for their thorough testing and rod comparison shootouts, George and his staff of testers put 24 of the most current 8 weight rods through some serious testing and evaluation.

Mayfly Group, Owner of Abel Reels acquires Ross Reels from Orvis

Mayfly Group, LLC, Colorado Springs, Colo., will acquire the Manchester, Vermont-based Orvis Company’s Ross Reels subsidiary effective Jan. 1, 2014.  Mayfly operates various sporting brand names including Abel Automatics, Inc., the manufacturer of Abel fly reels and accessories in Camarillo, Calif.  [Read more…]

Cortland Product Packaging Gets Makeover

Packaging_New 2014Cortland Line Company announces it will unveil new product packaging beginning with orders that ship in January, 2014.  The new look will feature a cleaner layout and color scheme to catch the consumer’s eye. It will also provide more clarity in conveying essential product information such as species, casting type, line weight / lb. test, and technical specifications.  But the design effort didn’t stop there.  It has a more far-reaching objective; a unique approach that is environmentally sound, and pays tribute to Cortland’s heritage as it looks forward to its centennial celebration next year.  [Read more…]

Select Shimano and G.Loomis Gear Available Online

G.Loomis Gear -843x403Bringing more awareness – and availability – to its growing line-up of technical and leisure fishing apparel and footwear, anglers can now go directly to the Shimano web site – fishshop.shimano.com – to purchase a special selection of Shimano and G.Loomis branded gear. [Read more…]

New Wiley X Sunglasses for 2014

The new Wiley X Arrow

The new Wiley X Arrow

Eyewear innovator Wiley X®, Inc. has a well-earned reputation for providing wearers with Absolute. Premium. Protection. – and with a host of new models joining its already extensive product line of vision protection systems for work and play, that reputation is sure to grow in 2014. Excitement about these new models will be even greater because almost all Wiley X eyewear styles are Rx-ready, making these glasses an ideal, no-compromise solution for people who require prescription lenses. [Read more…]

Fishpond Unveils News Website

Cloudburst Gear Bag

Cloudburst Gear Bag

Fishpond, inc., creators of high quality fly fishing and outdoor travel gear and accessories, reveals a new website to foster a stronger connection to its customers.

Fly fishing enthusiasts and anyone with a passion for the outdoors will enjoy the incredible imagery throughout the site by fishpond founder and designer, John Le Coq, who is also an accomplished photographer. In addition to stunning photos from Colorado and other great fishing locales, the new site features easy navigation. Users will find all products including new products for 2014 under the heading Products.The Pond section allows users to dive deeper into news, events, product reviews, environmental news, and more about our ambassadors. The site is designed to allow customers to feel a closer connection to fishpond and what it stands for beyond building the best products on the water and in the outdoors.

“Every aspect of the new site is geared for users to learn more about fishpond, its products and its commitment to spreading the spirit of the brand,” comments fishpond co-owner, Ben Kurtz. “We are especially excited about The Pond section as it will allow our consumers to learn more about the issues, news and people that make fishpond what it is.”

About fishpond:

Fishpond is a worldwide brand of products designed and manufactured for fishing and outdoor enthusiasts. Fishpond was created with the philosophy that innovation, design and a responsibility towards the environment from which we draw our inspiration is critical to our success.

For more information, visit www.fishpondusa.com