How to Properly Launch a Boat

This infographic has been provided by our good friends at All of us need to brush up on our boat launching skills from time to time. We’ll have more of these informative graphics in the coming weeks and months to help get you thru boating season!

How to properly launch a boat

Dog Blog

It was a journey to get through the passing of our last dog. “Jesse” was a family member in every sense of the word and putting her down was one of the toughest days in my life.

There is only one cure for the passing of an old friend.

Meet Bailey the bad dog…

Well, maybe not all bad....

I won’t bore you with too many details but suffice it to say that I’m a dog person and I grew up bird hunting with family and friends. For most of my life I’ve owned dogs and had a hand -at the least- in their training. For the outdoorsman, there is little more satisfying than training a willing pup, watching their development into adulthood and sharing in their first hunt, their first experiences with live birds.

Since we started The Outdoor Line, it became apparent to us that we’ve got an unprecedented opportunity with this pup, to bring a variety of training experts and gun dog writers in on the project in hopes of producing a solid hunting companion and sharing Bailey’s progress in words and pictures here.

I’m a fan and devotee of Richard Wolters excellent book “Game Dog” and if you’re familiar with the work, you’ll see much that is familiar here. The “dividing line” between the basic commands (Sit, Stay & Come) and more advanced work (Heel, hand signals and blind retrieves) is generally considered to be 20 weeks in most working or in this case retrieving breeds.

The retrieving dummy (what I'm holding, not me...) is to be used only for training. Chew toys, squeeks and bones are fine but unless you like your birds shredded, Don't play tug-of-war with the training dummy. The dummy is for serious (but not too serious) business.

Keeping the pup’s enthusiasm is key! When they stop sprinting to the retrieve, stop, praise and retreat!

Keep it playful and tease your pupil to pique their interest. Avoid burnout at all costs! Ten minute sessions a couple of times a day is plenty!


Ideally, you want to see the pup goin' all out after a retrieve but settle for cheerful completion. Every pup is an individual and if you switch training locations, do not be surprised if you have to start from ground zero. Playing fetch in the backyard when it's just the two of you is a different ballgame that going to a public park with distractions. Patience and encouragement is the key!

A sight to warm the heart of any prospective trainer... Your pup trotting back with a mouthful of training dummy!

Encourage, clap, cajole... anything to communicate that bringing that dummy back to you is the best idea since sliced bread!

Praise is the name of the game! Make a huge fuss when pup delivers to your hand. It's just what you want, unless you enjoy chasing winged birds that sprint as soon as the dog lets them go short of your grasp...

The successful backyard retrieve is an important building block to training the well-behaved retriever. No one wants to share a day afield with a dog that thinks he is the boss and requires “training” during the hunt.

In this blog series, we’ll introduce Bailey to water, hand signals, blind and double blind retrieves and eventually live birds. I hope you’ll follow our progress as trainer,… and trainee.

Tom Nelson The Outdoor Line 710 ESPN Seattle


Solving the Third Downrigger Dilemma

You just went ahead and put that third downrigger on your boat and now you’re scratching your head wondering how to effectively use it without turning your trolling spread into a seagull’s nest. Trust me…I’ve been there and I’d much rather be catching fish than untangling a mess of cables and fishing line.

So, here’s a dirty downrigger trick that I picked up from the Outdoor Line’s in-house salmon trolling guru, Tom Nelson, that will help make that third downrigger produce fish.

Winter blackmouth and mature king salmon often hug the bottom to avoid predators and that’s where your gear needs to be to catch them. It’s fairly easy to drag the two side downriggers on the bottom and have them fishing effectively, but once you deploy the third downrigger it’s usually got to ride up in the water column 20 to 40 feet to avoid a collosal tangle.

Nelson and trolling veteran Derek Floyd of Reel Class Charters in Sitka, Alaska will run 15 pound downriggers balls on their side downriggers and then much lighter balls on the stern. Hanging a ten pound ball  on the stern downrigger, for instance, allows that gear to drag back further than the other two riggers and then then it can be dropped very close to the bottom in back of the other two balls.

I would avoid using a flasher on this setup, but whole herring, strips, plugs, and spoons are all great lures to run off the third or even fourth downrigger in the spread. I’ve fished with Nelson on many occasions and we catch a lot of fish on the third downrigger because it’s getting downtown where it needs to be.

Outdoor Line schematic that shows how to fish deep water with three Cannon downriggersThere’s a little trick that will hopefully put a few more king salmon in your boat this summer. I’m gonna be running this trolling spread on my Alaskan charter boat this summer and I’ll let you know how it goes. As of right now it’s been working great!

Give it a try and don’t be afraid to let us know how it works out for you by posting the results in the Outdoor Line forums.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Sitka 2012: Lucky with the weather…and the fish!

In this, our twentieth (yes, that’s 20 years) annual trip to Sitka we experienced some of the best salmon and halibut action and did so in some places we had never been before!

—"Big Red", our 27' Stabicraft makes it's fourth trip to Sitka Harbor. Majestic Mt Edgecumbe, Sitka's storied dormant volcano and a dead-ringer for Japan's Mt. Fuji looms in the background.

Every once in a while, you dodge a bullet. In our case we dodged gale-force winds which can churn the waters of southeast Alaska into an unholy -and unsafe- froth. A gale was just laying down as we arrived and another is kicking up as I write this. The eight days in the interim were fairly flat and even sunny at times. Those rare days when the sun shines and the winds calm in southeast Alaska are a blessing to experience and when the fish cooperate…I have a hard time imagining a better place to be!

This shot sums up the weather quite nicely! I'll trade you raingear for sunglasses and sunscreen any day!

We’ve seen peaks and valleys in the Sitka sportfishery over the years and this season was one of the best in years! The abundance of chinook in particular gives reason for optimism for our coastal salmon season which indeed is off to a great start!


—Phil Michelsen and Larry Stauffer with the results of a "double header" or two kings on at once!

Dave Heiser with the largest chinook of the trip with this chrome 29 pounder. Interestingly, the largest king of the trip again came on the middle downrigger!

Derek Floyd of Reel Class Charters in his natural habitat: the coastal waters off os Sitka watching a happy client playing a hot chinook!

While the chinook were definitely in a biting mood, the halibut were not too shy about taking a baited hook either! In fact, we had our best halibut year ever, thanks to the flat calm weather and some local advice!


—Larry Stauffer with 70 pounds of proof that this is a solid halibut season in southeast Alaska!


It's pretty easy to understand why Sitka has become a trip we anxiously await each and every year: Good weather, great fishing and close friends enjoying it all together!

I hope you can experience some of the wonderful experiences that southeast Alaska has to offer. One thing I can promise you: You will not be disappointed!


Tom Nelson The Outdoor Line 710 ESPN Seattle