New Kwikfish Colors That Rock!

Luhr Jensen came out with a handful of new color schemes for their ever-lethal Kwikfish last year that flat out tore up the coastal salmon for us last fall.

The three K-15’s on the left in the photo below worked great for both kings and silvers last fall and Luhr Jensen just released the new color on the right in both purple/pink and purple/blue. It’s a twist on the old #748, a.k.a. the “Gay Boy”, that was so lethal for fall salmon. Kings, silvers, and chums absolutely tore that plug up for  many years.

This new color scheme will no doubt get pummeled by salmon the same way the old #748 got schwacked.

Here’s a little different look at the new plug colors rigged up with Mustad open-eye Siwash hooks. Ten to fifteen years ago I would shy away from  larger plugs any time there was a single barbless hook restriction in place because you would miss so, so many take downs. With the new Mustad open-eye Siwash hooks, however, the hook up percentage on singles is much higher. These wicked-sharp hooks on LJ’s new plugs is a lethal combo!

Proof is in the puddin’!

We’re expecting the first big deluge of the fall this coming week, which means the rivers will come up substantially. When they start dropping though…it’s time to bust out the Kwikies because the Washington coastal rivers are going to be polluted with salmon. Guides like Joseph Princen from JP’s Guide Service are already catching limits of chrome kings daily and with a little rain the fishing is only going to get better.

Thanks for stopping by and best of luck to you on the water this fall. Rig up some of these new Kwikies and go get’em!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Bling Out Your Twitching Jigs with Polar Chenille

I’ve always liked to have a handful of twitching jigs in my box tied up with Flashabou. The smaller 1/4 ounce jigs have been a favorite of mine in low and clear water for years and lately I’ve found that larger jigs tied with some bling will also hammer the cohos in the fall.

The only hitch in that giddy-up that I’ve had is figuring out an easier way to build up the body of the jig without burning through a ton of material. Flashabou is a little spendy and it doesn’t take long to burn thru an entire package of it on half a dozen jigs.

Cruising the aisles of Sportco in Fife the other day I found my solution…Polar Chenille made by Hareline Dubbin. I’m sure it’s been right there under my nose this whole time. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in while!


Here’s a few blingers that I tied up in short order last night.

A closer look at Polar Chenille on a 3/8 ounce blinged out twitcher.

What to look for at either Sportco/Outdoor Emporium or your favorite local tackle shop. If you see something that looks like purple hedgehog in a plastic package…that’s it!!!

Check out the long fibers on this stuff. Lots of movement, lots of action, lots of UV!

There will come a time this fall when the water conditions are just right for these jigs to make an appearance. When that time comes I know that these blingers will hammer out some chrome coho!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

The 20th Annual Everett Coho Derby!

Two decades is a long time.

To create and host a fishing event that lasts for two decades and seems to grow every year is a huge accomplishment.

To build the largest salmon derby on the west coast, raise money for local fisheries enhancement and enjoy unquestioned public support is a wonderful accomplishment!

In the twenty-year history of the Everett Coho Derby, the Everett Steelhead & Salmon Club and the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club have formed a partnership to run the derby and also to divide the proceeds. The funds raised by this popular stop on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series support many community events and conservation projects including two major coho enhancement operations (a net pen on the Everett waterfront and an active hatchery), which places over 80,000 fish each year into local waters. The two clubs also stock local lakes with triploid trout, plant high lakes in the Cascades with trout and place salmon carcasses into streams to bolster stream productivity and ultimately salmon nutrition & survival.

Now the Everett Coho Derby has become the final stop on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series which means that each and every year, someone walks away with a $60,000 boat, motor, trailer and electronics package!

The 2013 installment of the Everett Coho Derby was a bit hampered by an unsettled weather system that forced the prize ceremony inside the Bayside Marine drystack!

Nearly 1800 tickets were sold for this event and it looks like nearly everyone who bought a ticket showed up on Sunday afternoon!


Tony Floor of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series has the crowds attention as he announces the Grand Prize winner of the $60,000 Derby Series boat while Master of Ceremonies Mark Spada (right) looks on.

Tony Floor congratulates Jason Edwards, Arlington, for winning the 2013 NW Salmon Derby Series grand prize boat. Jason competed in the Harbor Marine Salmon Tournament in Everett, last July.









In total there were 1854 adult tickets sold and 216 child tickets given away for a total of 2070 anglers signed up for this event, making it the biggest salmon derby on the West Coast.  Not bad when you consider the humble beginnings in 1993.

In the youth division, the first place prize of $100 went to Dean Fagan who caught an 11.13 pound Coho on eggs at Haller Park on the Stillaguamish River.

The top prize fish weighed 15.50 pounds and was caught at the “Horse Shoe” on the East side of the Possession Bar.  This fish gave Don Pittman the $10,000 first prize donated by Everett Bayside Marine, Harbor Marine, John’s Sporting Goods and Performance Marine.

The second place money of $5,000 donated by the Everett Salmon Association went to Hut Phanhthavilay who caught a 14.20 pound fish on a Dick Nite spoon near the 522 bridge on the Snohomish River.

Third place and $2,500 donated by Dick Nite Spoons, Silver Horde, Ted’s Sports Center and Greg’s Custom Rods went to Dylan Alexander for his 14.19 pound fish also on a Dick Nite spoon on the lower Skykomish River.

The last cash prize of $1,000 Donated by Roy Robinson Chevrolet/ Subaru went to Gary Tisdale Sr. who fished Possession Bar with Silver Horde gear.  The top merchandise prize, a Cannon Downrigger, went to Curt Wikel at 13.91 on the Snohomish River with a Wiggle Wart.

See you on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series trail and good luck out there!

 Tom Nelson                                                                                                                      The Outdoor Line                                                                                                                                                                        710 ESPN Seattle

Storm Introduces Self-Tuning Crank Bait

All I can say is…Finally!

Storm’s new Arashi crank bait could definitely be a game changer. The Arashi comes with a self-tuning eye that eliminates the need to gently bend the eye to the right or left to achieve the proper action. If you’ve ever done this you know how finite the bend needs to be to get some plugs to run true. With the new Arashi plug all the fine tuning has been eliminated.

A friend in the industry tells me that they’ve tested the same technology on deep diving bluewater plugs and they are achieving speeds of up to 15 miles per hour without any rollover. That’s a game changer my friends!

Here’s a look at the self tuning eye of the new Arashi plug.

Crank baits are an essential item in any smallmouth anglers arsenal here in the Northwest and with any luck we’ll start seeing some steelhead and salmon colors in theses plugs soon. For backtrolling in heavy and fast current for both salmon and steelhead the new Arashi plug could be just the ticket.

There’s a complete color chart for the Arashi crank baits on the Storm website…Arashi Crank Baits.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a couple of these to test out on fall kings and coho here real soon!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle



Customizing My Shelton Rockfish Release Device

This past summer the Alaska Department of Fish and Game required all charter fishing vessels in Southeast Alaska to carry a rockfish release mechanism on board at all times. Since I own such a vessel in Craig, Alaska it was apparent I was going to have to change how we do things on the bottomfish grounds. No problemo!

If you’re not familiar with what happens to a rockfish when it comes up from depth they usually suffer from barotrauma, also known as “The Bends”. If they aren’t descended rapidly the chances of a rockfish making it back to the bottom are slim to none.

In several conversations I had with Puget Sound Anglers president Ron Garner last winter he continued to mention the Shelton Fish Descender as a viable option to meet the new standard. They were relatively inexpensive and after checking the SFD’s out online I quickly figured out a way to customize them to make them easier to use.

The online instructions looked simple enough, but I immediately recognized how tangled up the whole mess could get in heavy seas with braided bottomfish lines sweeping under the boat. And, I wouldn’t have much time to get a rockfish hooked up and hauling ass back down to depth before I was off to tend to another rod on deck. On most days there’s little time for tinkering.

This is what I came up with. A 2 pound pipe jig with the SFD descender poured directly into the top of the jig. When Dad was building my pipe jigs last spring I had him pour me a jig with the Shelton Fish Descender poured into the jig.

Since two pounds is only sufficient to sink your average-sized rockfish I added a split ring and a three way spiral swivel to the bottom of the jig so that I could add more weight as needed. The weights that I added to the pipe jig were 2 pound square leads that don’t roll around the side trays when the boat is underway.

Smaller sized yelloweye rockfish, for instance, would usually take around 4 pounds of weight to get them to descend. Larger yelloweye in the 12 to 15 pound range would descend with two additional two pound leads spun onto the swivels making the jig a total of 6 pounds.

In speaking with Garner he told me that yelloweye rockfish larger than that would take 8 pounds or more to get them down. I had small lanyards rigged up just in case I needed more than 6 pounds of total weight, but I never needed them.

Overall the performance of this device was quite sufficient after I got the hang of using it. The key was to hook up the rockfish and send it downward and keep it going in one continuous motion, otherwise the fish would slide off the needle and I would have to retrieve the fish and start over. Having the bail open and ready to roll was crucial to making this work.

After some practice I could rapidly get a rockfish onto the needle and back down to depth in short order. I had a spare halibut rod on board with a large Penn 345 reel attached to it that could handle the heavy weight of this device.

Unless I find a better device for the summer of 2014 I plan on pouring more SFD’s into pipes that weigh 2, 4, and 6 pounds that can quickly be deployed onboard the “Polar Bear”. A small rack of these pipe jig descenders would greatly simplify this task.

If you’ve done some tweeking to your own rockfish descenders to make them more effective I’m all ears. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on the Outdoor Line forums. There’s a great learning environment on the OL forums and the only ones that get lit up are…well…us!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


Daiwa Saltist Line Counter Passes Alaskan Field Test

There are few products that I’ll give my blessing to before I field test them in the fish-filled waters of Southeast Alaska. I spend my summer months running salmon and halibut charters in Craig, Alaska, a place where very few reels last more than a couple of days. Read on to see how the Daiwa Saltist 30 line counter reel fared in these harsh Alaskan waters.

Between the sheer numbers of fish, severe abuse by charter customers, and harsh Alaskan weather any reel in service on a charter boat in these waters gets the living you-know-what beat out it. I can’t think of a better place in the entire world to test a line counter reel!

I recieved my shipment of Saltist’s in early July and they promptly went into service. At first I only switched out a couple of rods to the Saltist’s just to see how they felt and it wasn’t long before all of my Lamiglas “Salmon Moochers” were sporting them.

I opted for the Saltist 30’s because I could stuff 230 yards of 25 pound test Trilene Transoptic line on them. Break offs aren’t uncommon and we at times mooch cut plug herring in water as deep as 300 feet. I wanted plenty of line capacity to get the job done.

The Saltist comes with a power handle that makes cranking in large salmon, halibut, or bottomfish quite comfortable for even the most inexperienced angler. I also like the fact that the spool, frame, and sideplates are all made of machined aluminum, which greatly reduces any corrosion that’s caused by dissimilar metals.  A carbon drag system and sealed, corrosion-resistant ball bearings come stock with the Saltist. The drags on the four reels that I put into service full-time were just as smooth at the end of the season as they were when they first started. In addition, there was no gravelly feeling in any of the reels that we used, and abused.

These reels cycled thru thousands of fish, were punished by lord-only-knows how many snags on the bottom, and survived multiple encounters with our favorite fur bag…the Stellar sea lion. A 1,500 hundred pound sea lion will smoke a lesser reel in seconds. The Saltist took everything Southeast Alaska could throw at it and was still standing strong at the end of the beatings.

Lastly, and this is a big one for me, the counters were still working at the end of the season. The line counter always seems to be the weakest link on any line counter reel. Go figure!

If you’re looking for a reel for the Columbia River, Puget Sound, or the Washington coast I’d probably opt for the Saltist 20 instead of the 30. The smaller 20 still holds 210 yards of 20 pound test and is super light and sweet on a light jigging, mooching, or trolling rod. For our charter application in Southeast Alaska, however, the Saltist 30 is the perfect reel.

As you can tell I’m happy with the performance of my Saltist’s and I’ll be ordering a few more for next season. If they hadn’t passed the ultimate test, well, I wouldn’t be talking about them here on the Outdoor Line. I really like these reels.

The Daiwa Saltist 30…worth every penny!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle