Last year Clam Outdoors introduced a great feature to their flip-over style Fish Trap ice shanties, a layer of grey inside their tubs. What this did was make anything that might fall into the sled while fishing easier to locate against the lighter background. It was such a big hit, that this year they added it on to some more models, and next year more models will have the feature also.
This year, I picked up my first single man Fish Trap upgrade in more than 10 years. Although I loved my original Pro shacks, I wanted to be even more efficient on the ice, so in order to avoid extending poles, I went with the new Kenai Pro. This shack is the one for me for several reasons. Two features make it a sight fisherman’s dream; the higher seat makes looking down the hole easier than ever, and without the quilted thermal material offered on a lot of models, no excessive light gets in. That is a must for sight fishing! Another feature is simply the height of the tent itself, even when I am not sight fishing, I don’t have to worry about snapping rods on the hook set when you have those days when the wind is whipping and it is brutally cold outside!
That said, the grey interior on the sled is not offered on this model …. yet! So, I borrowed the idea of fellow Clam pro staffer Steve Berry, and decided to make it happen on my own. My first choice for painting the tub was DuPont’s Fusion paint, because it bonds to plastic. My local ACE Hardware only had it in white and I thought that would be too bright. After talking to one of the helpful employees, I went with this Rust-Oleum product which also works on plastic, and it came in “Winter Grey”, perfect!
Anytime I am putting one of my new shanties together, a pair of saw horses are a must. Way back in the day, when I had an apartment, I would use the kitchen table. When company would come over, I must say I did get some strange looks when they saw a shanty on the kitchen table! Anyway, the saw horses are a big help and makes the job a whole lot easier when you can work with an elevated platform.
First I dry wiped any large particles of dirt out of the sled, then took some glass cleaner to get any small fragments out before applying the paint. I let that dry for about 20 minutes, and then applied blue tape, the kind for painting to avoid any overspray. That was easy to do, even for me and I strongly dislike taping things off.
The painting process itself was fairly easy. I shook it up the can for several minutes, and once I started painting just kept the can moving constantly to avoid any runs of excess paint. I will say this though, I would install the runners that protect your tub’s bottom first. Unfortunately I had two things working against me, during our packing back from Clam’s HQ in Rogers, MN, my runners got put into my buddy’s shanty box, so I have to wait a few days for the installation. The other factor, to be honest…I couldn’t wait to see the outcome, I just had to paint it right away!
Loved the outcome, and even if I did not have the runners to install before putting the rest of the shack together, I would suggest adding another coat. One reason, the paint was priced really reasonably at around $4.00 a can, and the other reason, if it looks this good with only one coat, it should look twice as good with the application of another layer. The more I think about it, for right around $15 bucks total, I just might add a third coat.
If you love the idea that Clam introduced last year, and the shack you want doesn’t have the grey interior option yet, or even if you want to give your old Trap an upgrade, here is your fix. On the older shelters, I would take as much of the hardware off as you can, bust out the old Sunday paper and a lot more tape before applying your coats of paint. You don’t want to take off your tent, you already have it secured around the lip of the tub. Tape and paper as best you can before getting started. Ideally, you start out with a new tub, and who knows, you might love your shack, but if your tub could use replacement, Clam has those too!