The Sweet Smell of Success


Before I could even sit in the driver’s seat Sunday morning, I was astounded at the smell permeating from my truck. It didn’t reek, but the unique odors mixed with such harmony, I couldn’t help admire it. It was microwaved gym towel and concession stand complete with sour cream and union potato chip zest, only none of those items were ever in there.

Since road trips are so integral to the life of an outdoorsman with an indoor job, it’s refreshing to be able to smell the adventure leftovers the next day. My buddy Kurt had never caught a rainbow trout bigger than 16-inches on a fly rod, so we planned a day trip to the Redding section of the Lower Sacramento River. I woke up at 3:45, put the coffee on and started breakfast. Kurt arrived a little after four. We ate, cooked hot dogs, wrapped them in tin foil for lunch and were on our way by 4:30. We stopped at The Fly Shop in Redding for impulse patterns before hitting the water. Weather reports had agreed that it would rain, and rain it did. We didn’t mind because we were catching fish, but Kurt’s biggest fish was only 14-inches.

Just before lunch, he tied on a bugger and hooked up. The fish stayed low in the water and made Kurt’s 10-foot 4-weight rod bow in reverence. I edged the water, armed with my net as Kurt slowly backed up on shore. The fish wasn’t ready, but I caught a glimpse.

“Is it big?”

I laughed. Kurt knew the fish was big, but if I confirmed, would it make him nervous and do something stupid? Or if the fish broke off, would it crush him, being he had been so close to holding the biggest trout of his life?

“I’d say this would break your 16-inch mark.”

I dropped the net for a quick scoop, but the fish ran down river. We gave cautious chase. I again approached the edge of the water and attempted to net the rainbow that stayed on the deep side of the sharp drop off. Again, it disappeared into the seemingly bottomless pool. I had teased Kurt about how funny his cheap reel looked paired with such a technologically advanced, premium rod. I wondered if that worked on his confidence as the fight continued.

A few minutes later, the fish’s head came up and briefly broke the surface. It saw me and tried to dive, but my net was there. I lifted it from the water. The guy in the blue jacket across the river held his clenched fist and pumped it high, the international “Power to the Fisherman” sign of victory.

The sloppy measurement done by shaking hands put it at 19-inches. An ego-massaging guide would make it 20, no doubt. The fish was an absolute bus. It wasn’t one of those slender, sickly fish that when stretched gets rounded to 17 or 18 inches, or a soft, pellet-fattened stocker that’s clinically obese when released into a confusing world away from concrete.

This thing was Ray Lewis.

Soaking wet we sat in the truck which had been overtaken by the scent of cooked hot dogs which we quickly devoured with onions and potato salad. We turned on the seat warmers to address the chill. It didn’t dry anything, but did warm the wet. For a half hour we sat, eating and re-telling the story of Kurt’s fish.
We hit the water for another four hours, caught more fish in the upper teen-range, changed, then drove home.

I was a great day with big fish and seemed like a dream until Sunday morning when I opened the truck door, smelled the lingering reality, and smiled.

Jeff Lund
Teacher/Freelance Writer
Manteca, CA

"Its the coming back, the return which gives meaning to the going forth. We really don't know where we've been until we've come back to where we were. Only, where we were may not be as it was, because of whom we've become. Which, after all, is why we left." – Bernard Stevens  Northern Exposure

Fire Brine For “Tributary Springer’s”

Fire Brine For “Tributary Springer’s”

Early in our winter steelhead season, I wrote an article explaining how well Fire Brine will work to produce an amazing steelhead egg. It was well received by many fishermen who put that information to use. Those who took advantage of this "free info" and put forth a little curing effort, boasted great success and posted many photos all attributed to the Fire Brine Eggs they had created..  

Although growing up I watched my dad cure eggs in borax, wet-brining eggs has been a staple of salmon and steelhead fishermen for as long as I've been alive. However, it wasn't until I was about 20 that I discovered information on how to wet-brine baits. Through trial and error, I finally was wet brining eggs with good success. As my fishing evolved, I switched to Pautzke's "sprinkle cure" line-up and found a dry cure that was easy to use and flat out produces fish. Since then I've been teaching others how to create the ultimate salmon and steelhead baits using our Fire Cure and BorX O' Fire.

That being said, once I got our new Fire Brine I had no doubt it'd be great to cure eggs for steelhead and salmon fishing. I quickly headed back to the bait lab to create the perfect salmon or steelhead egg. The truth of the matter is it didn't take long. Curing eggs with Fire Brine is fool proof, even for beginners.

Using Fire Brine is a simple way to produce a steelhead bait with perfect texture, color and fish-ability. It also can produce a fantastic salmon egg, ideal for Springer’s, by simply adding one or two additional ingredients. 

Now pay attention, I'm going to tell you exactly how simple it is to create this perfect Springer bait to add to your egg arsenal. For me, curing eggs in gallon Ziploc baggies is an easy, clean operation. With five color choices, plus natural, Fire Brine gives you options when deciding what color you want to create.

The wet brine formula is simple. I like to pour a 1/2 bottle of Fire Brine into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and then add 1/8 of Natural Fire Cure. I use Natural Fire Cure, so I don't change the color of the dye in Fire Brine and the color it puts on my eggs. That's not to say that I couldn't mix some of the colored Fire Cure to create additional colors I may discover work well, though.

The number one Go-To for me when it comes to tributary Springer’s is a deep red egg. I can get the exact egg that I want by mixing the Red Fire Brine and 1/8 cup of our dark Red Fire Cure.

It’s just this easy;

Place your egg skeins in the bag, seal it and gently tumble the eggs in the wet brine to mix the contents. Much like curing with our sprinkle-on cures, you'll want to gently tumble the contents every 15 minutes for the first hour. After that you can let your eggs bathe in the Fire Brine for a total of two to four hours. This will be completely dependent on the number of skeins you intend on curing. Check the eggs about every ½ hour checking for that rubbery consistency. At this point you will have achieved maximum color absorption and the eggs will be completely cured. Keep in mind; this varies a bit depending on if you put two, four or six skeins in the bag. This will dictate the length of time needed to get them completely cured. If you put your eggs in the bag and walk away, checking on them about six hours later, they may perhaps be over-cured. You do need to stay involved at some level, and remember this is a sulfite cure when using the Fire Cure.

Are you ready for the next step? There isn't one. That's it.

When I feel the eggs are cured to the texture I am trying to achieve, I'll take the eggs out of the Fire Brine and place them into a container lined with a few layers of paper towels. I like to make sure the container is long enough that I can lay the skeins out flat, egg side down, skin side up. Once on the paper towels I place them in the bait fridge overnight. They'll be ready to fish the next day. I put them on paper towels to help draw off the extra moisture from the wet brine. It helps get the skeins to a fishable consistency sooner. These eggs will be a bit wetter than the Fire Brine/ BorX O Fire eggs I create for Steelhead. However, they will be ideal for Chinook as they contain the sulfites that you need and will milk out just as a good salmon bait should.

One additional bit of info I am willing to share. “Fire Power”, which we all know is Pautzke’s Krill Powder is a no-brainer, go-to, have-to-have in most of my bait cures. The Fire Power krill powder definitely goes into my wet brine Springer bait recipe. I simply add one teaspoon into the bag and seal it up. That gentle tumble process I use for the first hour does a great job mixing that krill powder throughout all the eggs in the bag. As the eggs absorb the brine and cure elements, they also absorb the krill.

As far as choosing which color – that's up to you. We have provided the opportunity to challenge any water condition. The natural, red and orange are automatic go-to's. However, don't discount chartreuse. Chartreuse eggs look similar to orange or natural, depending on the color of the eggs when you started. Don't be misled. Chartreuse eggs out perform in low light conditions and dirty water. "Why?" It's simple UV. I don't really need to expound on this topic. This photo proves my point.

The UV's with red and chartreuse are amazing. Meanwhile, purple also has value as a darker presentation with a bit of UV. Remember, at times, Springer’s can be attracted to a darker color presentation in clear water. 

The 1/2 bottle of Fire Brine and 1/8 cup of Fire Cure is the ratio I settled on. That's not to say that if I had a good number of skeins to cure, I could simply double the ratios and use a full Bottle of Fire Brine. Also, consider adding 1/8 cup of refined white sugar to produce a sweeter bait. Some of our Chinook are drawn to sweeter baits, lower in the system. Guys who fish these systems pretty much know which ones they are. If you take advantage of the opportunity to chase Springer’s low in a tributary, consider a couple options. Take some Fire Brine/Fire Cure eggs with you and maybe even some that have a slight sugar tweak. You may find the sugar tweak ends up as your Go-To bait for that fishery..
Good luck on your wet brining endeavors.

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Class Act

Derek Floyd of Reel Class Charters in Sitka, Alaska is a marked man.

Without question, he is in the crosshairs of every "salmon sharpshooter" participating in the upcoming Anacortes Salmon Derby.

His recent success in the past couple seasons of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series is unprecedented…and very impressive! We're talking wins and in the 2011 Roche Harbor Invitational, 2010 Resurrection Derby,  top boat weight in the 2011 Resurrection Derby and more!

So it should come as no surprise that when I heard that he was bringing his Alaskan charter boat "The Angler" down from Sitka for the winter, I cringed a bit knowing that the Derby Series "Top Gun" was bringing his favorite weapon to bear upon the rest of us mere mortal salmon fishermen.

I've known Derek for more years than I care to admit and the first time I met him was at… you guessed it, a salmon derby. Even though we've known each other for quite some time, I have never had the opportunity to fish with Derek so when he invited me aboard his 30-foot Coldwater, for a little San Juan salmon action, I jumped at the chance!

Derek in his "office", the deck of his 30' Coldwater the "Angler".  



Scott Bumstead is Derek's "partner in crime" and nothing short of an ace angler in his own right.

It didn't take long for Scott to work some "middle-rigger magic" and this fine 14lb made an empty fishbox suddenly look good!

Not to be outdone, Derek hooked up quickly and Scott's rigger popped loose again and we're into a double!

One of Derek's go-to tactics is the "choked" or "half-hitched" herring. he was kind enough to allow me to film his technique… Click on the pic below to view the video!

…and soon I had my own "half-hitched" chinook in the fishbox!


You don't often see the Straits of Juan de Fuca this flat in March, let alone sunny and warm! We were very lucky with weather -and fish- on this trip.


Back at the dock, Scott and Derek look over a fine limit of blackmouth, some approaching springer size! 

I've been fishing literally my whole life and I've been absolutely blessed to fish with some talented anglers that I can call friends and Derek certainly fits into that category.

If you have a chance to get up to Sitka, by all means, book a trip with Derek's outfit, Reel Class Charters. You'll be treated to a memorable, productive experience and just as importantly, you might just pick up a trick or two that will make a difference in your education as an angler.

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line

Saturdays 6-8am

710 ESPN Seattle

Dual Colored Herring

Every year there is a lot of effort put into creating new and innovative color/attractants. At times I think these are more for the fishermen then they are for the fish. That being said, with creativity and innovation comes new and exciting opportunities.

How many options are currently on the market just in flashers alone?  Plus we know that more ideas are in dude’s heads right now just waiting to hit the market. Guys who are going to make their mark in the industry with the “Go To”, have to have or absolutely the very best flasher ever created.

The reality is most of them work to some degree. Without question, some of them will outperform the others. Then there are a few which definitely stand out amongst the many, choices.

As fishermen we are always trying to find that upper hand. We will spend money, experiment, have our systems dialed, only to come back next season retooled and excited about the change. I’m not advocating that we discard everything we have done in the past, but perhaps think about  fishing one or two rigs with a slight change to see how it matches up to the tried-and-proven. 

Bait options are no different.  Changes in color and or scent are the norm. Now a day’s, if guys don’t want the hassle of mixing and blending salts, sugars, scents etc. Pautzke’s has made the ability to brine herring almost a no brainer.  

To get a very good quality herring with color, you simply follow a few basic rules. I like to keep my herring in Pautzke’s Fire Brine, at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Then I will put them in the bait fridge overnight, for another 8 to 12 hours then they’re done.  Now you have great color and firmness which makes for durable baits that will fish very well. By the way, if you were hoping for some UV on your herring, it’s also in the brine, so you won’t need to add any.

Now let’s take it one step further. We’ve already recognized the advantages of multi-colored flashers.  How about creating baits that have the ability to flash two colors instead of just one? Weather they are plugged cut, or placed in a helmet, every rotation/ roll gives off dual color attraction.
It’s obvious that if we take herring or anchovies and simply soak one side in Fire Brine, it’s not going to cure the whole herring.

To make sure my herring or anchovies are completely cured, I pre-soak them in the Natural Fire Brine first. This where I also add my Fire Power krill powder or any other scents I may choose.  I give them a good eight hour soak time at room or garage temperature. I want to make sure the herring are completely cured before moving on. The first couple hours I will I move the gallon zip lock around gently every fifteen minutes or so, to mix up the brine and krill powder and stir the herring a bit.

Once I have them cured to the firmness that I like, it’s time to add color to one side. Now I do have the option of leaving the herring in the natural brine for up to twenty hours or so. It’s not going to ruin the bait. I always do a minimum of eight and will leave them overnight if I don’t have time for the second step until the next day.

Now for the color; I find it’s easiest to lay the herring or anchovies in a tray first, then slowly pour in just enough colored Fire Brine to just start covering the top of the back or bottom of the tail.

Once I have poured in enough Fire Brine I will then cover the containers with lids. By covering with lids, I ensure that the moister stays in and on top of the exposed skin. If I leave the containers uncovered, the exposed herring may begin to dry on the exposed side.

To make sure I have a really strong color transfer, I will again let the herring soak for another 6 to 8 hours. This allows time for the color to really absorb into that side of the meat. 

If I am trying to create bait that has a natural shiner on one side and the other side colored up,  I am done. These baits are ready to fish. I will take them out of the brine and place them in a bait container or if I plan to freeze them back on the Styrofoam tray. More on that in a little bit.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Creating baits with color on one side is easy. Now let’s get both sides colored up, with yes; two different colors.

I basically take the baits out of the shallow tray. At this point I have created some herring and anchovies that are all naturally colored, some are natural one side and chartreuse on the other and some are natural one side and blue on the other.

The two photos above now show some of the herring getting a second color on the other side. You can see the photo on top, has a tray with the blue sided herring up and soaking in chartreuse. The tray below that is with the chartreuse side up, soaking in the blue. The photo on the bottom shows all colors under a black light. Notice how dark the blue herring is. It almost appears as dark shadows in the tray of chartreuse while the chartreuse herring glow in a vat of black.  “Confused Yet”??

Something else you will notice in this photo. At the very top, I have placed some of the finished herring and anchovies back on the Styrofoam trays. Under normal light you can see which ones are natural, blue or chartreuse. Keep in mind some of these are completely natural and the ones showing color are natural on the other side. Now compare them in the photo on the bottom. These are obviously the same trays however, under black light conditions some of the baits disappear.

This is another photo to simply show up close two sided herring under normal light conditions and then once again, under a black light. You can imagine that as these baits are fished and rigged properly the roll of the bait will give off a constant state of flash as they transition from dark to light. Again, this can be accomplished with any color combo. I believe a combination of red and chartreuse would be a definite winner. The red and chartreuse flasher has proven its ability time and time again. Also one other point, the red and chartreuse are the strongest UV colors of Fire Brine. Shhhh, Keep that one to yourself and try not to tell anyone.

Here are the finished baits. Some all natural, some natural one side and chartreuse on the other and the labor intensive baits of blue on one side and chartreuse on the other.

These are obviously not baits that you simply cure the night before you intend to fish. You need to plan ahead and give yourself a couple days to complete this bait preparation. It’s that whole 10% who are out there catching 90% of the fish. It comes down to preparation and trying something a little different.

I had mentioned before about freezing. Yes believe it or not, you can refreeze herring. I keep the trays that I purchase them on, just for that reason. I plan to fish these baits in a couple weeks, but wanted to get them done. So now that they are cured, I will place them in the freezer for a day. When they are frozen solid, I will slip them into a vacuum freezer bag and put the vacuum to’em. They will easily last for several months. I usually won’t keep them that long. I will cure up my baits a week or two ahead of time if I need to, freeze them and then plan on fishing them. Usually I cure my herring and anchovies just a few days before I fish them and they always fish very well. 

Give dual-color herring or anchovies a try. It just may be the difference for success on any given day.

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Carlson’s Sailfish Photo Assault

If you look closely you'll see three 35 mm SLR's and a Sony compact in his beard. Or is that leftover pizza? It's hard to tell from this angle. 

Nelson and I had the distinct pleasure of working with fishing photographer Collin Carlson from on the Outdoor Line Billfish Bonanza trip last week in Costa Rica. Three weeks before we left I had mentioned to the fellars over at Outer Escape that we were looking for someone to snap photos in Costa Rica. They gave me a name and less than a minute later Collin and I were chatting on the interwebs and he had agreed to join us. His quick decision to join our Costa Rican may-lay gave me a high level of comfort. He was a fishing freakazoid just like us. Sailfish, sunshine, rum…I'm in!

Carlson's a Utah native that's spent his entire life catching and photographing trout, muskies, and anything that swims in his home state. Photographing saltwater speedsters would be a new gig for Carlson, but after checking out his portfolio I was more than confident he could pull it off. 

Outside of his mad skills on the lens there are other attributes to this fine man. At any given moment he could pull something out his beard. Combs, belt buckles, bottle openers, shoe laces, flip flops, sunscreen, nail files…hundreds of useful items conveniently located right there within his wooly beard. It's like a built in carry-on luggage bag right there on his chinny-chin-chin. Ingenius!    

Carlson ended up with 2,700 images from the Billfish Bonanza and these are just a handful of the smoking hot sailfish photos he bombed me with yesterday. I wanna go back!

Carlson got dangerously close to the bill on this one. The bill is covered with 80 grit sand paper that shreds skin easily. I got lightly brushed by one of these pokers in Panama several years ago and it gave me a nice scrape similar to a road rash.  

Sailfish possess freakish speed and the aerial displays can take your breath away. They are the perfect specimen for the camera.

30 pound high-vis mainline, a Bimini twist, and 15 feet of 130 pound leader are all that holds this bad boy.

Coming in hot! I guess when you handle bills for a living you get a feel for their movements and are able to avoid that pokey thing on their yapper. They always freak me out a little when they are boatside. In the late 90's I met legendary Kona billfish captain McGrew Rice, who had a deep scar from his temple all the way across his chin. As a teenage mate on his dads charter boat he was handling a large blue marlin and he zigged when he should've zagged. The marlin's bill slashed McGrew's face deeply and he bears the tell tale scar to this day. 

Incoming! Carlson snapped this photo as a 120 pound sail went schizo when the mate grabbed the leader. 

Sailfish stun their prey with their bill before clamping down on it with their hydrodynamic mouth. At 50 plus mph there's enough pressure to flush any mildly stunned baitfish quickly and decisively down their throat.

The huge eyeball lets them see great distances in vodka clear water.

Thus the name. You'll see them basking on the surface with their sails held high. Here's some Sailfish Video Footage of just such a thing.

Take me to your leader!

The very second a sailfish comes out of the water the vibrant blue color on their flanks becomes a golden brown.

This one's ready for the X Games!

I'm amazed by fish in general, but the bluewater species simply blow me away. To survive in the crystal clear waters near the Equator a fish has to be lightning fast. Sailfish are thought to be one of the speediest fish in the ocean and experts believe they can swim at speeds well beyond 50 miles per hour. Having been involved with countless sailfish I would have to agree.

Carlson, the lifelong trout bum, was so touched by these spectacular fish that he wouldn't stop talking about his next bluewater adventure in search of these speedsters. When he does go I can only hope he'll grace us with a few of his photos!

I'll be posting a photo barrage from the trip right here on my blog and over on the Outdoor Line Forums. Stay tuned…there's more where this came from! 

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Island Fever


SANTA RITA, GUAM – I grew up on an island, so I am familiar with Island Fever. The shores encroach on your comfort until it seems like you have to wear boots just incase the next high tide doesn’t stop.

I’m also familiar with the more optimistic view of being guarded by water. The community is usually small and tight, the pace of life is refreshingly slow, there’s always somewhere to hike and of course, plenty of water to fish.

My brother has been stationed in Guam for three years so I needed to make it down before the Navy shipped him elsewhere. I finally did. Day one we went on a hike early in the morning. Like any rational human in a new land, I was sure everything was poisonous or at least had sinister intentions.

No, I am not a wuss. This is a carefully practiced reaction to unfamiliarity so that I will never be the guy crossing a fence to pet the cute grizzly bear cub, ride a buffalo, or lay next to an anaconda to see if I really could fit inside its stomach. You should treat every gun like it’s loaded, right? Well same goes for animals, loaded with venom.

I kept my hands to myself and we made our way down a trail to a cave and an underwater pool. Guam is known for its extensive cave systems. During World War II, the Japanese used the tunnels as fortifications and after the United States regained control of Guam in 1944, some Japanese solders hid in the caves rather than face capture. One hid in the jungle for almost 30 years, believing it was better to live in defiance or die than give himself up to the enemy.

We didn’t find any World War II relics, or 90-year old soldiers, just melted candle wax from previous visitors.

The next day we snorkeled, twice. Once as the sun was coming up, and once in the afternoon. My brother took me on a long winding path through coral. Two fish attacked me. I was trying to take a picture of one, and he backed into a defensive position. I left him alone and continued on, then the little coward took a nip at me as I kicked past him. I was sure there would be blood, but I couldn’t even find where it nipped me. Later a territorial Picasso fish the size of my hand tried to eat my leg while I was innocently talking with my brother. My brother doesn’t believe me, but there is a bit of horribly mangled skin the size of a freckle. It might actually be a freckle, but I’m pretty sure its from my nemesis.

I got my revenge on fish the next day when my brother and I went on a chartered fishing trip. Our guide was a friendly young local with the hair and mustache of Jack Black in Nacho Libre. He wore flip-flops and didn’t bother to slow the boat when he left the wheel to relieve himself off the stern. Being there is nothing in the immediate vicinity of Guam and it was a relatively calm morning, there was no danger, but it is a unique feeling to be on a boat headed blindly into the waves of the Philippine Sea.

We got into some tuna within a half hour and a little later had two solid mahi mahi in the cooler. On the way back in, we caught two more mahi and added a few more tuna.

My brother and I dissected the differences between mooching with herring plugs and the Guamanian way of doing things over fresh raw tuna for lunch. It’s at moments like those that you wonder how anyone could fall victim to something as silly as Island Fever. Life is good, even if the tropical fish Disney made into benevolent characters are out to get you.

Jeff Lund
Teacher/Freelance Writer
Manteca, CA

"Its the coming back, the return which gives meaning to the going forth. We really don't know where we've been until we've come back to where we were. Only, where we were may not be as it was, because of whom we've become. Which, after all, is why we left." – Bernard Stevens  Northern Exposure

Billfish Bonanza 2012!

The second edition of The Outdoor Line Billfish Bonanza in Los Suenos Resort in Costa Rica had some new faces in the same sunny, warm places and the sailfish were in a biting mood! Over the three days of the event, 42 sails were landed along with three marlin and several dorado!
We got into town a few day before the event to set things up and of course we had to go check out the fishing before the tournament… Right?

Larry Stauffer asks the Dragin' Fly's skipper James Smith about the latest fishing report as we prepare to get underway.


Leaving Los Suenos in our wake, the day looks flat calm and the forecast is for highs in the 90's. The forecast in Seattle that day? highs in the 40's and winds in the 30 knot range…

Choose your weapon: Thirty pound class stand-up gear, 6'6" medium-heavy boat rods sportin' bimini twist splices to the swivel, Leader are 100lb mono which is crimp-looped to 7/0 circle hooks.


Why the heavy leader? These critters come unglued when you hook 'em and after all, you're battling big game tackle busters!

See the slack in the line as this sailfish tail-walks toward the boat? The challenge is reeling as fast as you can. It is simply amazing how fast these fish can move.


Acrobatics? No question. It's hard to find words to describe what a sailfish can do in the air.


Kathy Nelson can just about hide behind this dorsal fin! The colors and size of these fish is simply astounding!


Once the fishin' was done, the table is set at El Pelicano, a beach-side restaurant for the Tournament banquet where all the prizes were awarded.



Topping their last-place-to-second-place finish last year, Team "Bite the Big One" took home the first place trophy and the Grand Prize Lowrance package for over $4000 in cash and prizes! Left to right: Team Captain Lee Andersen, Doug Stough, John Hjores, Rocky Arnt, Tourney Host Tom Nelson, Tim McGuire and Tourney Host Robbo Endsley.

Here's hoping that next year you can join us in Costa Rica and escape some of the gray, windy weather that March in the Pacific Northwest seems to be stuck on.

Currently, we're in the planning stages of The Outdoor Line Billfish Bonanza 2013 so come on down! The water is fine!

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line

710 ESPN Seattle

Float Doggin with the “Stick Weight”

Float Doggin with “The Stick Weight”
Call it Float Doggin, Bobber Doggin, or even Float Drifting; it’s basically all the same. The biggest difference between, Float Doggin and Float Drifting is as simple as, are you in the boat or on the bank.

When you are in the boat, and for me it’s the Drift Boat, it’s all about running my presentation out in front of the boat, especially in low clear conditions. Anytime you are float fishing and purposefully dragging the weight under the float, from the boat while moving, it’s Float Doggin.  If you are standing on the bank float fishing, again, purposefully dragging the weight, it’s Float Drifting.

No matter which one you choose, it all starts with how to rig. How to rig, really comes down to matching the right size weight with the float.

We are trying to achieve a seamless drift. Another words, I want to be able to let my weight drag along the bottom without constantly getting hung up. When you are Float Doggin and the weight you have selected continuously grabs the bottom, even for a split second, it does a couple of things. The first thing you'll notice is that your float constantly goes up and down all day long. Second you never achieve a free flowing natural drift and or presentation. Yes it’s true the weight is dragging, so the float will point down river as it lies on its side. None the less, I still cannot fish this method effectively if my float stops and submerges every 5 to 10 feet.  I need my float to keep moving, matching almost current speed where-by giving me a nice smooth natural presentation.

Here is a short video blurb where I talk about the usefulness of the Stick Weight….

The way to accomplish this, as mentioned before, is to match the weight with the float. There are several, no actually many, weight possibilities to choose from. I have tried all different weight combinations as well as many different floats. The photo below shows a number of different size weights, and types of weights. I’ve used pencil lead, solid core and hollow on a dropper piece of leader. I’ve used drop shot weights, the little ¼ oz size with the swivel. I’ve tried Slinky’s, all with moderate success due to the fact that they all hang up.  

Introduce me to the stick weight. “Hi stick weight, nice to meetch’ya"… I’m a first time user…..

My introduction to the stick weight actually came with drift fishing out on the OP in the boulder riddled waters of the Bogie. Any other type of weight would absolutely get hung up cast after cast. You will spend a whole lot of time out of the water, re-tying, only to lose your presentation within the next 5 to 6 cast if you’re lucky enough to have it last that long.

It worked so well and provided a free moving natural drift that I thought, “I wonder how this would work with a float”?  Once I figured out that when paired with a 5/8 oz Beau Mac torpedo float; well let’s just say I thought I had discovered Float Doggin Nirvana. 

But let's also not forget where the stick weight and I were introduced, "Drift Fishing". This little bugger works great for drift fishing, float drifting, float doggin and of course side drifting. I have used it in all applications. For you hard-core side drifters, give these weights a shot. I guarantee you and your clients will spend much more time in the water and far less time re-tying.

It works very well. It provides the snag free, continuous movement I want on my drift. It lightly taps the bottom of the river to keep my presentation in the strike zone in pretty much all water conditions. Well perhaps not all, but I would give it 85% of the time, it’s versatility produces the type of drift I am looking for.
So the number one question I always get, where do I find’em? My answer, you don’t…. You don’t find’em because you have to make them. It’s really very simple. You can find everything you need at Sportco and/or Outdoor Emporium.

Items needed to build “Stick Weights”
-1 lb. roll of 1/8in Hollow Core pencil lead
-1 package of Brad’s .035 Spinner Shafts, spinner wire. (ss-035)

You simply cut the lead to length, as in length of the spinner wire. Slide it onto the spinner wire and crimp the top end, just below the spinner wire eye. I also like to take the bottom end and bend that completely back on itself, so the lead will not pull off the wire if it does hang up a little bit.

Even if this weight does grab bottom, the thing that separates this little creature from all other weight options is simply this. You are able to pull it up and out of the snag because of the very small diameter. Also because it is rigid, with the wire insert, it will not bend in half. It may from time to time get a bit of a bow in it, but they are easy to straighten and keep on fishing.

If I told you on most days, you could fish a single piece of lead and never lose it, I think you would want to know how that is even possible. Well I just told you all about it. 

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

$49 Plus Tax and a Column Idea

I’ve been known to be indecisive.

So Friday after school I headed north on Interstate 5 but needed some direction once I hit Sacramento. Would I go right and fish the Truckee River, turn left and spend the weekend on the Russian, or simply stay the course and end up on the Upper Sacramento? I had to call for help. Help told me North.

I arrived in Redding five minutes after The Fly Shop closed, a disappointment that paled in comparison to what was to come.

I found a bargain hotel, $49 a night. The stained towels were supposed to be pool towels, but based on the debris in the pool it was either out of order or they were getting ready to stock it with Tilapia. The door to my room had been kicked open at some point in its life, but repaired just enough so that it locked. Both chairs were worn hard, like they’d been attacked by belt sanders. The toilet paper had a circle of something in the center of the roll as if it had been sealed with wax, like it was the 17th century and the 2-ply scroll contained information vital to the king.

I pulled back the bed spread and found what looked like toe nails that had been put in a dryer lint-trap, or digested by an owl then picked out and spread on the top sheet.

I got a new room.

The sheets were funk-free, the towels cleanish and door worked properly. I settled in to watch Back to the Future. There was a knock and I discovered the special feature of the new room, the peep hole was blocked. I opened the door. It was a dude in a nice dress shirt holding a plastic bottle containing what looked like apple juice, but two other things were probably better guesses. I expected the, “sorry wrong room”. I got something even better.

“Is your wife here?”

Is my wife here? C’mon Redding.

“Uh, no. Don’t have one of those.”

Idiot. You just admitted to sleazy dude that you are staying in the dirty cell alone.

He said okay and left.

I thought about the filet knife in my truck, but then remembered Atticus Finch’s mantra about carrying guns being an excuse to get shot.
Somehow I fell asleep once Marty made it back to 1985. At midnight, yelling woke me up. Someone was counting down from 10. Oh boy, what happens at zero?


The countdown restarted. I peeked out the window to see a new guy standing next to the dumpster. I thought he was marking it with a batch of processed adult beverages, but he wasn’t. He resembled a quarterback looking down the offensive line calling an audible and the ball was to be hiked when the countdown reached zero. Since the ball never came, the countdown restarted. This quarterback’s cleats had no traction on reality.

This place officially became less comfortable than the hotel across from the Mega-truck stop in Winnemucca, Nevada, where every couple minutes a voice announced the availability of shower stalls for wary truckers. In the morning, the shirt I wore to school and on the drive up smelled better than the clean shirt I slept in. It might have to be burned.

Oh, and I did go fishing during my time in the Redding area.

It was fun.

Jeff Lund
Teacher/Freelance Writer
Manteca, CA

"Its the coming back, the return which gives meaning to the going forth. We really don't know where we've been until we've come back to where we were. Only, where we were may not be as it was, because of whom we've become. Which, after all, is why we left." – Bernard Stevens  Northern Exposure