Northwest Outdoor Report

Kester and McCulloch Scoring Blackmouth in Area 10

Matt McCulloch from Tyee Charters (206-799-2530) on Bainbridge Island has been hitting blackmouth all the way up to 16 pounds at Jefferson Head, Kingston, and Skiff Point. He says the south side of Jeff Head has been really good on the outgoing tide, but the seals have been a real issue there lately. McCulloch’s also been finding quite a few fish feeding on spawning herring and anchovies in as shallow as 40 to 50 feet of water around Kingston. His go-to trolling setup lately has been a glow in the dark Hot Spot with a 4 inch Irish flag Kingfisher Lite spoon. He thinks the stellar blackmouth fishing should hold up all the way thru the month of January.

Nick Kester from All Star Charters (425-327-2421) says he’s been kicking back a lot of shakers in the 21 inch range in the south end of Area 10 this past week to find his keepers. Kester has been scoring his legal blackmouth at Tyee Shoal near Eagle Harbor and he says there’s plenty of blackmouth at Jefferson Head too, but the seals have been horrible there lately. He’s been scoring most of his fish trolling either Cookie’s and Cream or Irish Cream spoons 45 inches behind a Gibb’s glow in the dark flasher.

Humptulips Cranking out Hatchery Steelhead

Joe Superfisky from Superfly’s Guide Service (360-888-7772) says the bank anglers have been outfishing the driftboaters by a longshot on the Humptulips River this past week. Superfisky says the area around Stevens Creek Hatchery has been hot for hatchery steelhead as they bomb upstream in the recent high flows. He was on the river on Friday and says he saw at least a dozen steelhead laying on the beach when he floated by with his customers. He’s been picking off a few nice fish in the boat, but his advice is to hit the bank at Steven’s Creek for your best shot at a nice Humpulips hatchery steelhead.

New Years Razor Dig Underway

Razor clammers will have this weekend and Monday to dig clams on the Washington coast. Twin Harbors, Long Beach, and Mocrocks will be open tonight. Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, and Copalis Beaches will all be open tomorrow and Monday for digging. The razor clam limit is 15 per person and the best digging usually occurs one to two hours before low tide.

Steelhead Cruising the Green

Daniel Bravo from Auburn Sports and Marine (253-833-1440) says the Green River has been kicking out a few hatchery steelhead above Flaming Geyser Park. Bravo says the word on the street is that sand shrimp, sand shrimp, or sand shrimp hs been the go-to bait on the Green lately. He says he’s heard of a few reports of wild fish in the Green already, as well. The Green received a plant of 116,000 steelhead smolts in 2011 and should provide decent steelhead fishing into January.

Chad Belding at Holiday Sports

Chad Belding of the popular and entertaining hunting show The Fowl Life on the Sportsman’s Channel will be at Holiday Sports in Burlington on December 29th from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign autographs and talk waterfowl hunting with fans of the show.

Pennsylvania Deer Hunter $50 Million Richer

From the Levittown Patch. Roger Custer of Levittown, Pennsylvania bought a Powerball lottery ticket while picking up supplies for a week long hunting trip with some friends in early December. When he returned home from his hunting trip five days later he pulled the ticket from his pocket and handed it to his wife and said, “Check this and tell me how many millions we’ve won.” After checking the numbers his wife began crying with joy. While he was away hunting Custer had hit the Powerball jackpot, winning $50 million before taxes. The Custer’s after-tax winnings amounts to just over $33 million. Custer says he plans on doing a lot more hunting and fishing in the near future.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

The Ultimate Steelhead Rag

Fishing rags for steelhead has actually been around longer then I have been fishing. A few guys have told me they were fishing rags back in the 1960’s.

My Dad started fishing rags on the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers back in the eighty’s. I’m not sure where he saw it, or came up with it, but it was a styrofoam and yarn combination that he swore by.

At some point, backer-rod was the simple go-to method to create the rag body. One cut and you had a nice small piece of foam to pull the yarn through.

Today, and for quite some time now you can find rags tied on leaders, packaged and sold in sporting good stores pretty much everywhere. Most of the manufactured rags are white-bodied and usually have one or two colors of yarn pulled through them.

I gave up on trying to find backer-rod about ten years ago. Walking through Target one summer I stopped in the toy section and stood and stared at the big box filled with pool noodles. There were about six different colors in the box but the colors that caught my attention were the orange, pink, and chartreuse/green noodles.

I figured colored foam…how could this not work? I’ve also experimented over the years with any type of colored foam I could get my hands on. Some are tough and spongy while others are light and brittle. You won’t know if it will work until you cut a piece of foam and then try to pull yarn through it.

Colored rag bodies just make too much sense. Over the years, I have found that they work great for both steelhead and salmon. I pretty much rely on the pink and orange for steelies though. I use green or pink for Salmon. When I say salmon I can honestly say that I have caught, kings, coho and chums on “Rags & Eggs”.

The other key component in your rag construction is the yarn. I use a lot of the Glo Bug Yarn. They have so many colors to choose from, it’s durable, and they now have a lot of colors in UV.

When it comes to steelhead I think color selection is key. Even though Dad, back in the day, would use white backer rod he would use anywhere from four to six different colors of yarn when he would make his rags. The key to his success was the color contrast and not much has changed in 40 years of steelheading.

Steelhead are very visually stimulated. Light and dark colors in combination create contrast that they pick up on. It also grabs their attention when color combinations replicate natural food that they feed on.

Think about the different colors in a Sand-Shrimp. Pinks, orange, purples, perhaps a little black, and the guts inside a sand shrimp are a brighter yellow color. Those are pretty much the basic go-to colors for my steelhead rags.

I will mix in some steelhead peach or at times a brighter pink or cerise. Usually I use a maximum of six colors with a single dark color mixed with two lighter colors in each combination. For me it’s all about the creating contrast.

Due to the large diameter of the Glo Bug yarn I will cut it to length and then separate each piece length wise to make it thinner. To try and pull a full size piece of the yarn through the foam and you’ll find that it’s just a little too thick.

To create or punch out the rag body it’s really pretty simple. First take your pool noodle and cross cut off a disc or round. The wider you make the disk you cut off, the longer your rag body will be.

Next take a three to four inch piece of copper 3/8th in. water pipe. Take a small file and sharpen one end of the pipe, inside and out, until you get a sharp edge. When pushing the sharpened end of the tool against the foam and slightly twisting it back and forth, it will cut right through the foam. Using a pencil to push the cut plug of foam out of the tool works well.

Next, grab one of your yarn color combinations and pull it through the foam. This is easy to do with a needle and a piece of braided fishing line tied in a loop. Something else that works really well for pulling yarn through the foam is a fly bobbin threader. Push the threader through the foam, place one end of the yarn pieces into the threader and pull it back through the foam.

I pull the first three pieces of yarn through the foam. With the three short pieces laid together you can easily pull it through the foam as long as you grab the very end of the yarn in your loop. The more the yarn doubles back on it’s self in the loop of braid the bulkier it is and the tougher it is to pull through the foam.

When I push the needle through for the second yarn grouping I place it in the foam just below the first layer of yarn. I don’t want to try to pull yarn through yarn because it won’t work.

Once I have both sets of yarn pulled through I’ll pull and separate the pieces of yarn and spread them out around the body of the foam. Then I’ll cut and trim the yarn to length.

The final step is to simply tie your leader and thread the rag on to it. Push the needle through the body of the rag from bottom to top. Make sure you put a bead above your hook before threading on the rag. This helps to keep the eye of the hook from punching up into your rag. Without the bead you’ll go through a lot of rags in a day because the hook will tear up the foam.

Tie yourself a leader roll full of rags and go chase some winter steelies. Eggs and rags or rags with sand-shrimp tails are both hard combinations to beat. For me, float-doggin rags with bait in steelie-green water conditions is a definite go-to…

Duane Inglin
710 ESPN Seattle
The Outdoor Line



The Worlds Best Smoked Duck

The reality is, there is more than one way to cook a duck. The first time I brought my limit of seven ducks home I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to cook’em or what I wanted to try.

The one thing I knew for certain, is that after I breasted-out my ducks I needed to get the blood out of the meat. Robbo gave me a great tip. An over night soak in a mixture of kosher salt and water did the trick. By the next morning pretty much all the blood was out.

While my duck breasts were soaking I had time to get on the internet and research some recipes. I found a few that looked interesting and I settled on one that gave me an idea.

I was going to smoke my duck breast and I was also going to change a recipe that I found for a brine…just a bit.

Here’s the ingredients that I settled on:

2 quarts apple cider
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar
2 crushed bay leafs
1 tea sp. cracked peppercorn
1 tea sp. minced garlic
1 tea sp. garlic pepper

Mix your ingredients thoroughly with a wisp until the salts and sugars are dissolved.

This time I am actually going to smoke duck breasts and goose thighs. For the breast prior to brining I cut them in half length wise. For larger breasts such as big mallards I will even cut those into three pieces.

I will let this meat soak for a good twenty four hours. It’s all about adding flavor and ensuring that your meat will be nice and tender when the smoking is complete.

When you remove your breast and thighs form the brine you’ll notice a slight color change. No worries, this is the result of the salts and sugars absorbing into the meat.

Now here is the game changer. Knowing that duck and goose are extremely lean and free of fat also means that it is very easy to over-cook and have it end up chewy and tough. That is exactly what we don’t want.

I knew I needed to add some fat to the meat prior to smoking. In my mind I thought, “why not wrap each piece in bacon”. Everyone knows that anything cooked in bacon is a sure hit. Make sure you get the “Thick Cut Bacon”. It will cost a little more, but the amount of fat in each piece protecting your prized duck or goose is well worth it.

Wrapping each piece of duck and goose is pretty simple. For the duck strips I just take a single piece of bacon and go around it length wise and pin it in place with a tooth-pick. I make sure the tooth-pick is pushed all the way in on the bottom so it’s not in the way when setting your wrapped meat on your smoking rack. It’s OK if it sticks out of the top a bit. For the goose thighs I basically spiral wrap the bacon around the thigh from top to bottom.

Because duck and goose meat is so dense, it’s not like smoking fish. I find that you really do need to smoke at higher temperatures. I use a Little Chief and put it in an insulated box that I built. This works great in getting my smoker up to the temps that I need. Something else I do to get my smoker up in temperature is a combination of chips and pucks.

I like to use the Peterson Smoke Pucks, as they really aid in getting the smoker to the higher temps that I need. I also use smoking chips for flavor. When smoking fish or fowl fruit chips are always a great choice. For this recipe I use apple chips as it complements the apple cider brine very nicely.

The overall smoking time will vary. I usually keep the smoker between 140 and 160 for six to seven hours. As the meat in the smoker warms up I eventually get it up to about 180 for at least the last hour to hour and a half.

Overall smoking time tends to be about eight hours depending on your temps. I want the bacon on the outside of the duck done but not burned.
Because of the bones in the goose thigh meat it actually takes a bit longer to smoke. Once I removed the duck from the smoker the goose thighs were left in the smoker for another hour and a half. Total smoke time for the goose was about nine and a half to ten hours. Again, total time will depend on your smoker temperature control.

Goose thighs on the top rack and the duck strips on the other three racks.

A good look at what the bacon wrapped pieces look like right out of the smoker. Again, the bacon is done but not burned.

Finally I simply unwrap the bacon and prepare the meat for serving. With the duck, I like to cut it into strips. You can see how the meat ends up medium rare and moist. You will not believe the amount of smoke flavor on this fowl, it’s amazing. For the goose thighs, I strip as much meat off the bone as I can. You will find that the goose tends to be just a bit tougher then the duck, however it’s still very flavorful.

Give this smoke duck or goose recipe a try, I think you’ll find a new favorite to serve to your friends and family around the holidays.

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


Northwest Outdoor Report

Last Clam Dig of 2012 Scheduled
The tradition of digging razor clams on New Year’s Eve continues as WDFW just tentatively scheduled the last razor clam dig of 2012 for December 28th thru the 31st on the Washington Coast. Twin Harbors Beach will open on the 28th and then Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Long Beach will open up on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, and Copalis Beaches will be open to razor clam digging. As many as 20,000 people typically descend on the Washington coast for razor clam openers providing a huge economic boost to small coastal communities.

Dismal Spring Chinook Run Forecast for Columbia River
State, federal, and tribal biologists completed their forecast for Columbia River spring Chinook last week and things don’t look all that rosy for 2013. They forecast a run of just 141,000 upriver springers for the Columbia, the poorest in 6 years. While slightly down from 2012 the Willamatte forecast came in at 59,845 spring Chinook, which is down slightly from last year’s run of just over 65,000. Last year’s spring Chinook run forecast was 314,000 fish and the actual run came in well under escapement at just 203,100 fish. Anglers flock to the Columbia every year starting in early March for a chance to catch what many consider to be the best eating fish on the West Coast.

San Juan Blackmouth Still Good, Brant Numbers Looking Good
Kevin John at Holiday Sports (360-757-4361) in Burlington reports good numbers of blackmouth being caught in the islands when anglers can get out. He says high winds have kept most boats off the water, but when the wind lay’s down the fishing has been very good. Kevin said the Rosario Strait has been the most productive area and the average size has been 8 to 12 pounds. Small spoons like Coho Killers and Kingfisher Lite’s in green or purple with UV on them have been the go-to lure so far. He also reported that biologists will make another flight next week to determine whether the brant season will open in mid-January. He seems to think it will, since brant numbers appear to be up overall over last year.

Puget Sound Shrimpers Get Quota Boost in 2013
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted last Saturday to increase the recreational spot shrimp quota to 70% of the overall non-tribal catch in Puget Sound. The increase translates to more days on the water for prawners in 2013. Sport shrimpers in south-central Puget Sound had just two days on the water last season compared to 51 days in 2003. This year, the season will increase to five days in south-central Puget Sound. In the San Juan Islands the spot shrimp season will increase from 6 days last season to 32 days. Shrimpers should check out the WDFW website for a full rundown of the upcoming Puget Sound shrimp season.

Sky and Snoqualmie Steelhead Showing in Flurries
The fishing counter at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville is reporting steelhead showing up at the hatchery areas on both the Skykomish and the Snoqualmie in flurries and that no big numbers of steelhead have really showed up yet. Most of the fish have been taken later in the morning and they recommend covering as much water from the bank as possible. Three Rivers Marine custom jigs have been taking a lot of fish and they also recommend using a new product called Hevi-Beads, which seems to be working well in very high pressure areas like Reiter Ponds.

Lewis and Elochoman Kicking out Steelhead
Chase Sick from Bob’s Sporting Goods (360-425-3870) in Longview is reporting good steelhead fishing on the East Fork of the Lewis River and also over on the Elochoman River near Cathlamet. Chase says the go-to rig so far this winter has been jigs in either peach or pink under a float. He says any jig with a shrimp color seems to be getting the job done. The best jigs so far have been John’s Jigs and AeroJigs. He expects good fishing to continue for hatchery fish until the wild steelhead show up in February.

Riding the Cowlitz Roller Coaster
Todd Daniels from Tall Tails Guide Service (206-437-8766) said he’s been getting close to his limit of steelhead every day on the Cowlitz River this past week and the fish have been big so far this winter. He’s been working hard to get his clients into fish though and says the bite has been far from spectacular. He said the majority of the fish are being caught very close to the Blue Creek Hatchery and that boaters should bring both yarnies and eggs along. Daniels said bank anglers have been scoring steelhead off and on with jigs under a float, but again nothing spectacular.

IGFA Certifies New World Record Yellowfin Tuna
The IGFA has officially approved the 427 pound yellowfin tuna caught by Guy Yocum on September 28th as the new all tackle world record and the 130 pound line class record. Guy was fishing aboard the El Suertudo (“The Lucky One”) about 100 miles from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico when the big tuna hooked up. It took Yocum approximately 50 minutes to land the huge yellowfin, which was hooked on a Mustad Demon circle hook. Yocum’s world record catch previously belonged to Mike Livingston, who caught a 405 pound yellowfin in 2010 fishing out of Magdalena Bay, Mexico. Since Yocum’s tuna was hooked using a Mustad hook it will qualify him for $1 million in the Mustad Hook-a-Million contest.

Chad Belding at Holiday Sports Next Week
Chad Belding of the popular and entertaining hunting show The Fowl Life on the Sportsman’s Channel will be at Holiday Sports in Burlington on December 29th from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign autographs and talk waterfowl hunting with fans of the show.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Evinrude’s new player in the Jet Pump engine market!

BRP has just introduced the new Evinrude E-TEC 135 H.O. — an outboard that should have strong attraction in the “jet sled” or shallow river running engine market.

Evinrude/BRP has the engine poised to compete in the hotly contested 100 to 150 hp outboard segment, given that its two–stroke design gives the 135 H.O. up to 36 percent more torque than 150 hp four-stroke outboards from other engine builders.

Essentially a detuned version of the “small-block” E-TEC 150, the 2.6-liter V-6 oil-injected engine weighs 418 pounds, 28 pounds more than the Evinrude E-TEC 130 V-4 outboard. Still the 135 H.O. is the lightest in its horsepower class. This is important in minimizing transom “squat” — a key consideration for fishing shallow-water, rapid rivers for steelhead and salmon.

Factory-tuned for high-performance applications, the 135 H.O. is available in 20- and 25-inch models, including counter rotation on the 25-inch version for twin-engine deep “V” hull big water installations.

Come see the entire Evinrude line at the West Coast’s Largest Boat Show:

The SEATTLE BOAT SHOW, INDOORS + AFLOAT JANUARY 25 – FEBRUARY 3, 2013 featuring more than 1,000 recreational watercraft, seminars and the latest accessories indoors at CenturyLink Field, plus afloat on South Lake Union.

Stuff Your Stocking with Salmon Sauce

By my count there’s only five days until Christmas and some of you may be looking for an easy gift for the angler in your life that just loves to eat salmon.

That’s me…I love to eat salmon and everything else for that matter.

A friend introduced me to Johnny’s Salmon Finishing Sauce a couple years ago and I’m hooked on this stuff. It’s almost like tartar sauce only much, much better.

They sell it at Outdoor Emporium, Sportco, and many of the larger grocery chains in Washington and you can also find it on the Johnny’s website.

Whenever I find Johnny’s Finishing Sauce on the shelf at Sportco I clean them out. It’s that good!

If your lookin’ for a last minute gift idea or perhaps a new sauce for your summer salmon barbecues I highly recommend you give this stuff a try. It’s good, good stuff!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


How to Make a Durable Yarnie for Steelhead

There is obviously more then one way to tie a yarnie. When it comes to creating Steelhead lures I want to be certain of two things. One, what I am using needs to look and perform as I envisioned it and two, I want to make sure it’s durable.

Having confidence in what you are offering and not having to worry if it looks good or is fishing right takes some of the guess work out of it. Something as simple as a yarnie is no different.

The easiest way to create a yarnie, or as my buddies in Idaho refer to it “fishin fuzz”, is to simply put two or three colors of yarn in your egg loop. This actually works pretty good, but eventually it seems to always come out of the loop.

I like to take a few extra steps to create a yarnie that has great color and will fish well. To do this I first select three or four colors of yarn. To make it easier to work with and keep the yarn together I pull it through something. I usually use an old slinky-shot bottle cap, but an oversize straw also works well.

I hold the cap in my hand and with a couple of inches of yarn pulled out I use some of Altlas Mikes Miracle Thread and do a simple multi-wrap. I go at least 10 to 12 times around the yarn and then just simply pull it tight and break it off. Theres no need to tie or half-hitch with this stuff. This stretchy thread works great and stays in place once it’s pulled tight.

The next step is simple, just cut it off. I usually will cut it at least ½ to ¾ of an inch on each side of the thread.

By pulling the strands of yarn and flatening out the circle I basically form it into a flat disc of yarn. Next I cut and trim it to the size I want.

Once trimmed up I have a flat disc of multi-color yarn that I need to now form into a ball. By pulling on the yarn, as if to separate it, I basically turn it into a ball. Finally I place it in the palm of my hand and roll it around between my two palms as if I was making a mud-ball. You’ll be surprised at how well this works.

Depending on how large I make the yarn-ball or perhaps where I might be fishing helps me decide which size hook to select. I usually will tie on either a double hook rig with Mustad #4’s or a single or double hook rig with size #2’s. Either way it’s on Mustad hooks and between the yarn and those hooks the fish are not coming off.

The bonus you have when tying yarnies with the magic thread is the solid center. The tight center of the yarn-ball makes it so that once its on your leader its not coming off.

When tying double hook rigs I’ll tie on the bottom hook first. Then I will use a sewing needle and thread the leader through the tight center of the yarnie. Slide the yarn all the way down to the top of your first hook. Then simply tie on your second hook, much like tying a dual hook cheater rig for side drifting.

That’s it, a durable yarnie on a double hook rig, “Deeadly”. I usually leave the yarnies a little big. If I want to use them on a river that’s a little high and off color I have a larger profile. Once I trim them small, that’s it, I can’t make them bigger. I can always trim them on the river.

Don’t forget to take a little extra time and mix yourself up some NAK; Nectar, Anise, Krill. If you aren’t sure how to make it, follow this link to my NAK blog and you’ll be set. Yarnies fish good on their own, but they are deadly effective with a little scent on them.

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Hidden Gem, Ranch House BBQ

When you see a bunch of Harley’s parked outside a restaurant on the weekend you can bet there’s some good eats to be had inside. There’s one thing that bikers and outdoorsman have in common…they love to eat good food!

I’ve been driving by Ranch House BBQ on Hwy 101 west of Olympia, Washington for years en route to fishing, hunting, and clamming destinations on the Olympic Peninsula.

Nearly every time I cruise past the Ranch House the parking lot is stuffed with cars and bikes. Since I am usually towing a boat I opt out of stopping, but I made note that this place was probably worth hitting when the time was right.

On our way to dig razor clams back on the Washington coast back in November I was astonished to see only a half full parking lot so I whipped in there with the wife. The time was right to see what this place was all about.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into the Ranch House is that these folks take their bbq seriously. Ranch House BBQ has won bbq awards all over America…and all over the world. From the trophy case up front to the walls around the restaurant there are trophies, banners, and ribbons literally everywhere.

Everything on the menu looked awfully tasty but I stuck with the old bbq standby…a full rack of ribs with a cold Fish Tale ale. My wife ordered a full bbq’d chicken and of course half of that ended up on my plate. Both the chicken and the ribs were awesome.

Some of the bbq joints that I’ve visited here in Northwest toss some bbq sauce on their meats and called it “barbecue” without actually getting that smokey flavor into the meat. At the Ranch House all the meats are slow smoked with tasty rubs and little to no sauce added while they are cooking. They’ve got their own great barbecue sauce on the table to douse your food with, but the meats are so tender and delicious the sauce really isn’t necessary.

Ranch House was crowned World Champion at the BBQ World Championship in Ireland in 2000 and has won titles in Washington, California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and even Canada. In addition to all the awards owner Amy Anderson and her all-girl grill team have been featured on the Food Network numerous times. This place is the real deal!

Even if the parking lots full you owe it to yur-bad-self to stop by Ranch House BBQ in Olympia and enjoy some of Amy Anderson’s award-winning bbq. Rest assured we will be stopping in to see these nice folks as often as possible from now on. This place is a hidden gem!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Every-Body, Needs a Buddy

Every-body needs a Buddy, as in “Portable Buddy”. Mr. Heater has been making portable heaters for years.

A couple years ago when I sold my aluminum drift boat I left the attached heating system that I installed in the boat. It worked great for that boat, as I had multiple Mr. Heater heating elements mounted in three locations. I also had a propane tank secured in the back of the boat and several hoses secured under the left gunnel tray that went from the tank to the heating elements.

I would remove part of the system in the spring as I didn’t need it until fall rolled around again. The hoses and some of the brackets I would leave in the boat. To be honest, at times, that extra crap was kind of in the way. In the bow of the boat up under the dash I had a bracket that I left in place because it was screwed in. This minimized some storage room up front and was kind of a pain.

The bottom line is that I spend many days on the water each year, some of which I don’t need a heater, and some I do. Let’s face it, heaters are nice to have, but we don’t always need them.

When I sold my aluminum boat and purchased my RivTech driftboat I spent a little time looking around for exactly what type of system I could put in my new boat. I had several ideas but was really trying to make it so that when I needed the heaters…they were there. When I don’t need heaters I didn’t want extra components in the boat cluttering things up.

I finally settled on the Mr. Heater “Portable Buddy”.

For me, now in my glass boat, it was a no brainer. Truly a heating system that was actually portable and safe. Here are some of the manufacturing specs that make these little heaters so great.

  •   4,000- to 9,000-BTU radiant heater for spaces up to 200 square feet
  •   Approved for indoor/outdoor use;   clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient
  •   Auto shut-off if tipped over, if pilot light goes out, or if detects low oxygen levels
  •   Fold-down handle; swivel-out regulator;  connects to propane tank (not included)
  •   Measures 9 by 14-1/5 by 14-2/5 inches; 1-year   limited warranty

It actually can run off of a 1 lb. screw in cylinder or off of a larger tank connected by a hose.

With a glass boat safety from an accidental fire was kind of on my mind. Perhaps it’s thefFiremen in me or just common sense. Either way the fact that these little portable heaters have “auto shut-off tip-over protection”, pretty much sealed the deal. for me

Did I mention that they will heat up to 200 square feet…”BONUS”!

I did the math, and here is what I came up with!


 The view from my oarsman seat, again “NOT 200 SQUARE FEET”.

Finally, the view form the rear seat, I think you get the idea. The bottom line is, these things are compact, portable and crank out the heat. With three of them in the boat, every seat gets the heat. When the day finally warms up they are compact enough to tuck away in the back of the boat, and well out of the way.

I don’t know about you but usually the first thing to get cold for most folks in the boat are their feet. These Portable Buddy heaters are perfect for getting the feet warm and throwing out enough heat to keep everyone happy. A single one pound cylinder on the medium heat setting will last about 6 hrs. Throw a couple of extra cylinder’s under the seat for those long cold winter steelhead days and you’re good to go.

Sportco and Outdoor Emporium usually have these in stock and on-sale for as low as $69.99.

Do yourself, and your friends in your boat a favor and pick up a couple of these Portable Buddies. It may not turn one of those non-fish days into an epic one, but at least you’ll be warm which is far better then No Fish, COLD and Miserable!

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle











Northwest Outdoor Report

Duck Dynasty Sets Ratings Record
A&E’s breakout hit Duck Dynasty just set a record for the network of 6.5 million viewers in the season finale last Wednesday. The reality show about a quirky Christian family that makes duck calls and decoys is A&E’s most-watched telecast ever and has topped ratings for even the major networks. Duck Dynasty is now A&E’s top rated series ever.

Commission Meeting Focused on Gillnet Removal
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will be briefed on the plan to remove gillnets from the Lower Columbia today at the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Tumwater. There will be a public comment period after the briefing and hundreds of both sport and commercial fisherman are expected to turn out. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission already voted 4-2 last week to remove non-tribal gillnets from the mainstem of the Columbia River. The Commission will make its final decision on the harvest reform package at the January 11th and 12th Commission meeting.

Shinman and Norling take Resurrection Derby
75 angling teams descended on Friday Harbor last weekend for the 3rd annual Resurrection Blackmouth Derby. Fishing was quite good in the San Juan Island for those that attended, with over 200 fish weighed in compared to 120 last year. Bob Norling and Mark Shinman from Anacortes took first place and $10,000 in the derby with a 15.67 blackmouth. The duo took second place in the derby last year. Next up in the Northwest Salmon Derby Series is the Roche Harbor Derby held February 7th thru the 9th, followed by the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby held in Port Townsend the weekend of February 16th thru the 18th.

Colville’s Open Hunting for Wolves
The Colville recently announced that it would open the hunting season for gray wolves on its 1.4 million acre reservation in Northeastern Washington. The tribe says that wolves have caused a crop in both the deer and elk populations on the reservation that remain a valuable food source for tribal members. They are allowing up to 3 wolves to be taken in along the southern portion of the reservation north of Spokane. No wolves have been killed yet and the season is set to close on February 28th.

Scant Hatchery Steelhead on the Skagit
John Koenig from John’s Guide Service (360-708-3166) in Rockport reports very slow fishing for hatchery steelhead on the upper Skagit River. Koenig says there’s more wild steelhead in the river than hatchery fish right now. Aside from the slow steelhead fishing he said the dolly varden fishing has been excellent. He’s been catching plenty of dollies on the upper Skagit sidedrifting eggs, with a few over 25 inches in length. Dolly Varden congregate in the upper Skagit this time of year to feed on eggs left behind by spawning chum and silver salmon.

Gale Force Winds Should Move Skagit Ducks
Travis Brewer from Banded Hunts Washington (360-333-2488) in Mount Vernon thinks the gale force winds forecast for this weekend will make for some great duck hunting in the Skagit Valley. Brewer says there’s been thousands of ducks rafted up on both the Samish and Skagit Bay’s and high winds should have those birds flying over the weekend. The high winds and rain could make for some of the best duck hunting of the entire season.

Big Trout Hitting Streamers on the Yakima
Erin Smith at Red’s Fly Shop (509-933-2300) on the Yakima River reports that some bigger trout are being caught swinging streamers on the river right now. The hot patterns have been either a Dolly Llama or Sculpzilla in a size 6 and she recommends fishing the deeper holes to find wintering trout this time of year. She says the most productive stretch of river has been between Umptanum and Red’s Fly Shop.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle