A new Downrigger “Spin” on Herring!

With chinook fisheries opening up in Puget Sound, out on the coast and going strong in British Columbia and Alaska, a technique refresher is definitely in order.

Known as the "remote" or "dummy flasher" rig, this downrigger setup is a great way to reap all the fish attraction benefits of a flasher while enjoying the fight of the fish without the drag of having a flasher directly on the line!

The most important aspect of successfully deploying this rig is getting the action right on your herring. Krippled Lures of British Columbia has complete rigging instructions on their very informative website!

Note that the monofilament lines to the release and flasher are 150lb test! This is a vital aspect to this technique. If you attempt to use lighter line on your flasher, I hope you have a big tackle budget! The speeds at which your Cannon Downrigger will pull the flasher through the water will pop 50 pound test with ease. When you consider bottom contact and the associated abrasion…Brother, just get some 150 lb leader material and size A9 crimps and you're in business.

You'll also notice a longer release drop and a halibut clip riding the wire. This is a specialized release necessary for this system. You can build them yourself using the aforementioned 150 lb mono. Often these longer releases are available on store shelves but the "homemade" variety with high quality stainless halibut clips are the way to go. Use the length of your downrigger boom as a rough guideline for the length of your releases as you want the release drop at least as long as your boom. Longer release drops are much easier to reach, rig and help you to better see strikes as well! 

To deploy this rig, snap the flasher on your cannon ball and lower it five feet. Snap on the release assembly, clip in the Krippled Herring rig and drop to the depth desired. Repeat until you have reached your limit!

When retrieving the rig, the halibut clip will often slide to the ball, so you can bring the flasher and release on board to avoid fouling your fish! Good luck and enjoy flasher-free fishing!!!

 

The TEN MINUTE LIMIT!!!

I wish I could claim this angling feat as my own…. but alas…. or rather ALASKA!

It took a couple of friends of mine in Sitka, Alaska all of 600 seconds to hook and land this dandy load of South East chrome!

The word from up north right now is unanimous… We are looking at potientially the best chinook opportunity in the past ten years.

Seth Bone of Kingfisher Charters will be checking in with a report tomorrow, May 21 during the Outdoor Line radio show and coming soon to a podcast near you. Kingfisher started their charter season on May 20 and chinook, halibut and big lings are all on tap.

And if that's not enough here's a shot of a 58 pounder that Hawg Quest's Glenn Hall just sent me!!!

Gentlemen…. It is now officially time to head NORTH!!!

When it comes to fishing, guarantee not to promise

By Jeff Lund. Making lists is the first step in missing the point, because it only increases the chances of looking back, judging based on check marks and failing to realize that life had its own plan and it would have been pretty great if you wouldn’t have been so preoccupied.

Same goes for results.

My buddy Klinger found a set of limestone falls with deep pools filled with fat cutthroat trout. I’d like to go there and catch some, unless Klinger wises all of them up to the fact that dudes are tricking them with fake food.

So it is with caution I have created a mental agenda for this summer with respect to where I want to fish, what I want to see, and also what I want to show the trio of cheechakos that will be visiting in July.

I’ve been instructed by the wives of those friends that are making their first trip, to keep them out of the stomachs of black bear.

This is my baseline goal.

I don’t even want to promise fish, because sometimes it doesn’t happen, and I can’t promise no bears, because the 3G coverage is spotty at best, and even if it was great, I’m not sure the carnivores would care about what I had to tell them.

I can say I have returned all nine people that have visited me to their Lower 48 homes intact, though Becker did go back to Virginia with a chunk of the back of his neck missing. For the record it was from a fall on a branch rather than a bear and we laughed, well, I did.

So I can’t promise absolute safety, though I do adhere to strict personal guidelines when afield.

I do know I will catch fish, but don’t want to get them too focused on stats, because as coaches, they know how dangerous and detrimental that is to the overall experience.

No one takes official life stats. If you think you need them for validation you’ll never find it, and if you start making outlandish guarantees or promises, that’s when the icebergs show up.

If I planned something like catching a fish in every state and province until I reached the piles of hemlock and cedar my mom has waiting for me to chop, I might feel unnecessarily better than someone without the means to fish rivers that habitually pop up in popular fishing magazines.

Similarly, if I planned a trout in every river, and didn’t catch one, I might think there is something missing in my life though I am employed, have friends, a loving family, and am of relatively sound mental health. I’m also able to have one heck of a good time doing what I love to do every summer while I digest the hectic school year. If anything this is more of a testament to getting a college degree and a job with health benefits and more than 10 vacation days per year, than actually poking a foreign river itself.

Seriously, with all that’s going on who cares about the difference between a Rogue River cutthroat and a Skeena River rainbow?

So to my buddies ready to trace in the steps of the 1898 Gold Seekers (with the benefit of a few technological breakthroughs of course), I can’t promise you anything except for some trees and a lot of water.

But, I do think you’ll like it.

This column appeared in the May 19th issue of the Manteca Bulletin


Jeff Lund
Teacher/Freelance Writer
Manteca, CA

Oregon Tuna Classic is now an IGFA Qualifying Event

Ever wanted to compete with the best in the world of offshore fishing?  Well now for the first time, you have a chance to qualify for the invite only IGFA Offshore World Championship by fishing right here in the NW.  The Oregon Tuna Classic, a series of four tournaments that run through the summer has been classified by the IGFA as qualifying event.  You can read the entire press release below.

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2010


There are some exciting things taking shape this year with the Oregon Tuna Classic (OTC) events. Last year, in spite of the economy, we grew from 1,028 participants to well over 1,400 and this year we are expecting that growth to continue. The albacore fishery off Oregon and Washington continues to be a shinning bright spot in the northwest sport fishing.

We are proud to announce the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) has classified the OTC events as IGFA Offshore World Championship Qualifying Events. Through a series of a points system one team will receive an official invite to the 2011 IGFA Offshore World Championships.

The OTC events will be filmed by three different networks this year for national TV and we will be joined by Capt.Tred Barta for the season finale event in Garibaldi. He is back in the saddle going as hard as ever and will be fishing as well as filming for his award winning show, “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta” that airs on the VERSUS network. We will also be fishing with two writers from national magazines the week of the season finale.

Sponsorships are up again this year and we are very thankful for the generous support received to help put these events on.

In 2010 the need is even greater than ever.  One out every four families in Oregon and southwest Washington will receive a food basket at least once during the year.

Through these events, our sponsors, volunteers and participants are all part of the OTC Team that has, since 2005, contributed cash and tuna totaling over 880,000 pounds of food to those in need in Oregon and southwest Washington.

More updates to follow as we get closer to the first event on July 17th in Newport.

Congrats to the Oregon Tuna Classic and good luck to all that fish the events. 

CAST For Kids Seahawk Event

I had the privilege of joining Robbie Tobeck this past Sunday for the 4th Annual C.A.S.T. for Kids Fish and Feast charity fundraiser at the VMAC in Renton, Washington. Jim Owens and the staff at C.A.S.T. once again put on a first class event for the kids, rounding up a bunch of the Seahawk players and at least a dozen or more local guides and their boats to take the kids out on Lake Washington. A huge and well deserved THANK YOU to all of the folks that made this even possible!

C.A.S.T. Chairman Jim Owens introduces former Seattle Seahawk Pro Bowler Robbie Tobeck to an auditorium full of excited children and their parents on Sunday.  

The kids get an important safety briefing from Capt. Jack Sparrow himself before heading out on the lake.

This isn't defensive end Nick Reed's first rodeo. The little girl behind him says "Go Seahawks!"

Nick is first on the leader board with a perch that's "thiiiiiis" big. Nick's a good guy…can't wait to see him on the field again this year.

Former CWU standout quarterback Mike Reilly put on a fishing clinic, hauling in perch left and right.

The smile says it all!

Here's some more great shots as we made the rounds thru the C.A.S.T. for Kids fleet.

Click HERE to learn more about C.A.S.T. for Kids. Thanks again for a great day!

Rob Endsley

NW Bass Lake Washington Tourney Results

This past Saturday was a great day to be on the water, especially if your names were Rob Eckstrom and Joel Grafe.  Rob and Joel teamed up to take first place in the this years NW Bass Lake Washington Chanllenge Circuit Qualifier.  Rob and Joel weighed in a total bag of 20.44 pounds to edge out second place finishers Sean Minderman and Eric Smith who weighed in with a 19.60 pound bag.   Sean and Eric also took home honors for the big fish of the day at 5.96 pounds.

 

Bass Pro and friend of The Outdoor Line Marc Marcantonio on the hunt.  

Boats, anglers, and fans all around the pavilion at Coulon Park for the official weigh-ins.

A total of 79 teams fished the Lake Wa. Qualifier this year with 313 fish weighed and 311 fish released.  I was really impressed with the care that many of the anglers took to take the fish back to the area of the lake that they were caught.  The total payout for the tourney was $17,590.04. 

Nic Barr with his two big fish for the day.

 For more on the Challenge Circuit, listen to Gary Stiles visit with The Outdoor Line  or visit NWBass.net.  Congrats to the winners and good luck to all the participants in the next few qualifiers, stay tuned to The Outdoor Line for more tourney results.

Happy 95th Anniversary Wooldridge Boats!!!

It was 1915 when "Grandpa" Wooldridge (1896-1986) built his first river boat to make that first-ever float down Oregon's Rogue River. The evolution of Wooldridge Boats from the past to the present was laced with many firsts,…

…like the first-ever trip UP the Rogue River in 1947 … with a prop, of course, no jets back then!!! 

 

The history of Wooldridge Boats and company founder Glen Wooldridge has been chronicled in numerous books, magazines and films since 1915. 

 

Ted Trueblood, famous associate Editor of Field & Stream, who ran rivers and fished with Wooldridge, wrote a glowing foreword to Florence Arman's book, "The Rogue, a River to Run". This volume gathers up many of the adventures, legendary stories and history of the era along with fascinating historical photos and facts.

The Rogue River trip was just one of Glen’s many “first-evers.” The adventures ranged from Alaska's Yukon River to California's Klamath, including the powerful and intimidating Idaho rivers and those seldom touched in British Columbia. At age 79, "Grandpa" Glen was first to run the fearsome Hells Gate on BC's Fraser River. At the root of it all was a Wooldridge Boat.
Wooldridge designed boats, built boats and blazed a historic trail along the way, guiding such prestigious folks as President Herbert Hoover, Clark Gable and Ginger Rogers, to name a few. Wooldridge was drifting, running props and was close-at-hand during development of the outboard jet by Dick Stallman, who created and produces the outboard jet drives used on motors worldwide.

Of course there's more, lots more. Wooldridge Boats are no longer made of wood, the material of choice is now aluminum, all-welded of course, and the lineup now includes several deep water prop and inboard jet designs. The fourth generation Wooldridge, Grant, is building boats, and a vital cog in the operation. The third generation Wooldridge, Glen, is President, of the company. Named after his grandfather, Glen continues the family tradition as an innovator, explorer and fine boatman. His dad, Bob, lends valuable advice and boat building experience


The evolution of Wooldridge Boats during these many decades has contributed to the continuity of the product and its customer friendly design. There is that ever present awareness that folks buy boats to get at the very best of our outdoors and that demands boats that offer superior handling every step of the way.

The Evolution of the Wooldridge hull is very apparent in their new 95th Anniversary edition!

 

"Little Red" is an agile, stylish, high performance dynamo that is as home on the rivers as it is on the lakes and bays! Versatile is the word here!

With innovative, affordable watercraft like this available to the everyday angler and boater, it's a safe bet that Wooldridge will be around for another 95 years!

Angler’s Pouring Into Neah for Halibut Opener

Washington halibut fisherman were streaming into Neah Bay today with a sense of urgency. Fisherman get just four days to land halibut this year in Area 4 with openers on May 13th, 15th, 20th, and 22nd and the possibility of additional days on June 3rd and 5th if any of the May days get weathered out.

Veteran Neah charter captain Mike Jamboretz, owner of Jambo’s Sportfishing (425-788-5955), has been able to prospect a little bit on his deepwater ling cod charters the last couple of weeks and likes what he sees in terms of halibut numbers.

Mike will hit Blue Dot, 72 Square, and inside the “C” shaped closure off Washington’s northwest coast for easy limits of halibut. "Easy" being a relative term in halibut fishing. Mike also likes the southwest corner of the closure area because it not only has a lot of halibut, but also plenty of big ling cod.

"We've found some really good areas holding a lot of smaller halibut and we've released 50 and 70 pound halibut fishing pipe jigs within the last few days. The greatest numbers of halibut we've found so far on our ling trips has been in the southwest tip of the closure. There's really a lot of fish in there, but not many big ones in the mix," said Mike in our conversation tonight.   

Jambo counted 220 boats in this area on a "canoe" day last year and most were hooking into flatties. "Pretty well picked over" was his statement tonight about this area, but there's still plenty of flatties in there to bend a rod and fill freezers.  
 
One of Mike's go-to lures for lings and halibut is copper pipe jigs. Canadian waters have a two pound gear limit and since he chases halibut across the border in June he makes all of his jigs two pounds to make them legal on both sides of the border.  

“The copper pipe emits a slight electrical charge in saltwater that really brings the fish in. That, and the clanging noise it makes when it hits the bottom drive halibut and ling cod nuts. The only scent I use on them is a little WD40 to wash away any human scent,” mentioned Jamboretz.  

Eight and a half inches of three quarter inch copper pipe filled with lead weighs exactly two pounds. Mike adds a one eighth inch cotter pin thru the side of the pipe jig, to which he connects a 12/0 treble hook to a split ring and 250 pound barrel swivel. The larger treble keeps the lings from inhaling the hooks, making it much easier to get the hooks out of the toothy creatures when they’re brought aboard.

In addition to the pipes he'll also fish B2 squid, scampi tails, and tuna tails on a 24 inch leader with two pounds of lead. Much of the halibut water in both the Washington and Canadian waters is from 300 to as much as 550 feet deep, thus the need for the heavy weight.  

The halibut at areas like Blue Dot and 72 square average between 25 and 70 pounds, with a big halibut sprinkled in that occasionally hits the 90 to 100 pound mark. Ling cod have to be 24” to keep and Jambo says they generally see three foot long “gators”, as he calls them, all day long at the offshore ling haunts.

Even though it's over in a blink the halibut season should be a good one for anglers that venture offshore. Ling cod and halibut can be retained on the first three days of the Area 4 halibut season this year, but as of midnight on May 20th the dreaded 20 fathom rule goes into effect in Areas 3 and 4. It's still lawful to fish for halibut on May 22nd, but any ling cod fishing will have to take place in less than 120 feet of water after May 20th. For more information on this and other new bottomfish rules please reference the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations.

Log onto Jambo's Sportfishing or call Mike at 425-788-5955 for information about bottomfish, halibut, and salmon charters out of Neah Bay.  

Cured Prawns Bag Second Season Springers

 

Early in the run Bill Swann of Swanny’s Fishing was fishing cut plug herring and knocking the daylights out of Chinook below the I-5 bridge on the Columbia near Portland. Now that the lower river is closed, however, Bill has shifted into switch-a-rooni mode and his bait cooler holds something else besides herring.

The same herring that worked early in the season are only working about fifty percent of the time on Drano, where’s Bill’s fishing right now, and he’s getting the other half on trolled prawns. 

Once the fish get above Bonneville Dam and begin holding in areas like Drano Lake, Wind River, and The Dalles, cured prawns become a mainstay and draw as many bites, if not more, than anything else.

What’s the secret to curing prawns?  “Swanny” was kind enough to tell me most, but not all, of his secrets.

“I used to cure my prawns in a mixture of two cups of sea salt, one cup of sugar, one cup of borax, and two quarts of water. I’d add pink, dark pink, or purple dye to this mixture along with my scents and leave them in the mixture for about 48 hours, and they’d be ready to go. Nowadays its way easier, as I just use Pautzke’s Fire Cure on the prawns and don’t need to mess with mixing up my own ingredients”, says the veteran river guide.

Bill recommends keeping the amount of sulfite cure used on the prawns light, as adding too much cure to the prawns damages the shell and causes the head to become hollow. “Once the head is hollow it just falls off, so you’ve got to be careful to not add too much of the Fire Cure to your prawns,” Bill says about the effect of the cure on the prawns.

He places approximately 20 prawns in a Tupperware container, sprinkles the desired amount of cure on the prawns, and then adds enough water to just cover them before sealing the lid on the container. He turns the container every six hours for approximately 48 hours, draining the juice off the prawns at the end of the process. The prawns are then layered in another Tupperware container, covered with rock salt, layered again and covered with rock salt, repeating the process until the container is fully layered. Kept cool, the prawns will last up to three weeks using this process.

While the curing process is quite easy, the trick comes in the additives. Bill will cure as many as five different batches or prawns with krill, mysis shrimp, shrimp and anise, garlic, and a product called Fool-a-Fish.  Fool-a-Fish is a liquid that contains ultraviolet enhancing crystals that make the prawns more visible in low light conditions. These additives go in the cure early and are absorbed by the prawns during the process.

In addition to the different scent additives Bill will also use pink, dark pink, and purple dyes in his cure, explaining that each color will work better than others on certain days. Bill further explained, “When I’m fishing four rods I’ll usually have something different on each rod and if one starts getting bit regularly I will switch the other rods out to that scent and color combo.”

Once in the water “Swanny” wants all four prawns to spin differently and will rig them accordingly to get the right amount of spin, or no spin at all. “Some years getting them to spin like a bullet is the trick, but other years you want them about dead still in the water, with no spin. It’s just a matter of experimenting and seeing what they want,” says Swann. 

Bill runs a double hook rig and uses the small rubber bands used in the dental industry to hold the head to the trailing hook.

To reduce spin and keep the prawns running straight he will add a small diameter toothpick to the bait, piercing it thru the tail and running it thru the body as carefully as possible, so as not to damage the shell.

The "Drano 500" is in full swing right now and while the bite has definitely see sawed up and down quite a bit lately fishing should only improve in the coming weeks as spring Chinook continue to spill over Bonneville dam in huge numbers. Add a batch of Swanny's cured prawns to your cooler before targetting second season springers. You never know when they might save the day!

So Many Fish, So Little Time

Over the last two weeks I have been blessed with great opportunities out on the water and taken advantage of every one of them. I have fished in SE Alaska for salmon, fished aboard the Rampage for halibut and ling, flyfished the Yakima, and bass fished with Marc Marcantonio.

 Two weeks ago, I made the rounds in Se Alaska as part of my business with Griffin Maclean Insurance.  One of the contractors that we insure in Wrangell, Johnson Construction, set me up with the two guys that know how to get it done in Wrangell.  Harley had been telling me for quite some time about Steve and Jack Yurata and their expertise on the water and although it was still a little early in the spring, Steve and Jack were able to put me on a couple of fish and provide me with a wealth of learning opportunites.  You know when you are on the boat with good fisherman and when you are it is always a good thing to pick their brains and get as much from them as they will give you.  I peppered them with questions and even talked Jack in to shooting a video for me.  One of the other things that really impressed me about Jack and Steve was their attention to detail.  They were constantly analyzing what was going on with everything from reading water, to troll speed, depth, gear, technique, and making changes accordingly.  I have to say that they certainly have the program dialed as we were the only boat to hit the dock with fresh salmon that day.

The Costa sunglasses saved me as it turned out to be a nice sunny day in SE Alaska.

Upon returning from Alaska, I only had a few days before it was off to Westport  to fish aboard the Rampage.  This trip turned out just like last year when a windy rough morning gave way to a beautiful day and limits of halibut for everyone on the boat.  I even did a first for me and caught a ling and halibut on the same drop.   for more on that adventure check out Nelly's blog.

 After the halibut adventure it was time to change gears and get the waders on as I was heading over to Canyon River Ranch to fish with the great guides out of Red's Fly Shop.  This trip was part of an auction item throught the Seahawks for the Chilhaven auction.  Although I had virtually no flyfishing experience I was part of the item that was donated by Steve Joyce at Red's.  One of my new friends, guy Conversano, bought the item at auction and set it all up.  I have to admit that I was a little worried as I knew that most of the guys I was fishing with were great fly anglers and I did not want to slow them down.  It turns out that my worry was for nothing.  I fished the morning with Steve Joyce and he gave me some lessons and had me feeling like a pro after a short time. 

Is this how fly fisherman always eat?  I could get used to this.

After lunch I jumped in the boat with Red's guide Troy Lichttenegger.  Troy was every bit as helpful as Steve and put me on my biggest two fish of the day.  I still can't believe the fight that these trout have and the show that they put on is incredible.  All in all, everyone caught fish and had a great time, flyfishing down the Yakima is definitley something that I will be doing again.

My last trip of the week was a day out on Lake Washington with Marc Marcantonio.  Having the opportunity to fish with a pro like Marc will help me take my bass game to the next level.  Now all I need to do is convince my wife that I need a third boat.

Marc puts another nice bass in the boat to complete his limit.