Brook’s Top 5 Trout Lures

By Jason Brooks

Nearly 2.3 million catchable sized trout have been recently planted in lakes all across Washington. 

Now that opening day of the lowland lakes fishing season has passed the crowds are starting to subside but the fish are still readily biting. I spent this past weekend on one of my favorite lakes with great success. Here are a few lures that worked for us that will work for you too!

A feisty trout is a lot of fun to catch-Jason Brooks

These are my top five lures for getting these early season rainbow trout to bite:

-1/4 ounce Silver UV Cripplure by Macks Lure
-Brown Smile Blade Fly by Macks Lure
-Black and Silver 1/4 ounce Roostertail by Yakima Bait Company
-F4 Flatfish by Yakima Bait Company
-Kokanee Cut Plug by Brads

The Author’s top trout-catching lures-Jason Brooks

I’ll either flat line the spinners and spoons or I’ll place a  ¼ ounce to ½ ounce split shot a few feet in-front of the other lures to get them down a bit. When you’re fishing any of these lures for trout be sure to troll slow.

To rig the new Kokanee Cut Plug tie two size 8 Gamakatsu painted octopus hooks and then slide a rubber bobber stop by Beau Mac on the leader, which comes with a small bead. The bead acts as a bearing for the cut plug and really lets it spin freely. By using the rubber bobber stop you can adjust the set-back of the hooks to catch those short-biting fish. And last but not least be sure to add a bunch of scent to the cavity of the Brads Super Bait. The scent cavity is designed specifically for adding scent and it works great!

Rigging the new Kokanee Cut Plug-Jason Brooks

Using a Super Gel or bait oil by Pro-Cure attracts trout that might otherwise not want to move around in the colder water. Top-producing Pro-Cure scents for me are Rainbow Trout, Crawfish, and Trout and Kokanee Magic.

Adding scents to your lures increases your catch-Jason Brooks

There are 2.3 million reasons why you should hit your local lake for trout in the coming weeks. The opening day crowds are gone and there are still plenty of hungry fish around.

Jason Brooks
The Outdoor Line Blogger
710 ESPN Seattle
Jason Brooks Photography

Seven Ways To Get Your Salmon Season Off to a Swift Start!

By Tom Nelson

Well, “show season” aka “winter” is fast fading in the rear view mirror and after several full days of seeing the latest and greatest the fishing industry 2017 has to offer, I’ve boiled down the vast array of choices to these top of the line items that will get you off on the right fishy foot this season!

Daiwa Four-Carrier J Braid: A whole lot of anglers who’s opinions I sincerely respect are moving toward a spool of 65lb braid with a 20-foot top shot of 25 lb test mono for their mooching and trolling reels. The Daiwa J Braid in particular has less flexibility and stretch than most braids and more abrasion resistance making it a great choice for salt or river salmon fisheries!

Silver Horde’s Two Face Spoons: Kelly Morrison of SIlver Horde noticed that most of the “hot spoons” that anglers had the pleasure of fishing have had one thing in common: some type of paint finish on the “back” or concave side. Silver Horde has capitalized on this trend by finishing both sides of the very popular -and effective- Kingfisher Lite and Coho Killer series of lightweight trolling spoons.

CANNON Terminator Kit: Are you still carrying around a box of crimps and a pair of specialty pliers that you rarely use for anything else? Here’s the thing: as soon as you crimp your cable, you’ve damaged it and the clock is ticking. Here come the wire frays and then “POP” another expensive ball, release and rigging has just become habitat. With Cannon’s nylon Terminator, the wire is cushioned in the channel of the loom and you’ll enjoy significantly longer wire life, saving you money and fishing time!

Pro-Cure Downrigger Dynamite: There’s little question of the deadly effectiveness of Phil Pirone’s proprietary blend of amino acid bite stimulants which is the backbone of the industry’s leading Brine-n-Bite herring brine. Realizing that artificial trolling lures could benefit from the same chemistry, a mixure of herring, anchovie and sardine was spiked with amino acids and BOOM! You’ve got Downrigger Dynamite. Give it a drag. It will get you bit…

Daiwa LEXA 300 Linecounter: It’s simply about time that someone came up with a line counter that’s out of the way, easy to see and palms like a genuine low-profile reel. Introducing the Daiwa LEXA 300 LC. High speed slick with a butter smooth drag, don’t underestimate the power of it’s oversize gears and 21-pound drag system. As great as this reel is, I can’t wait to see the LEXA 400 LC ’cause it will be the best reel at Buoy Ten this August!

Gamakatsu Big River Open-Eye Siwash Hooks: Now available in a wider variety of sizes, you’ll be able to find these replacement hooks to fit any size spoon, plug or lure you care to rig. Benefitting from Gamakatsu’s magnificent curvature and shape of their popular Octopus hooks, these Big River Siwash are a definite upgrade for the questionable “original equipment” hooks that are all to often furnished with our favorite lures.

SIMRAD NSS 16 evo 3: All I could say was “Wow” when I saw the speed and layout of this behemoth! Processor speed is no longer an issue, nor is screen space as custom splits are a fingertip selection away. In addition to the Simrad DNA of a fully integrated Auto-Pilot, there’s a “Hot Key” that you can program to your favorite function. The screen is the brand new SolarMAX™ HD display technology that delivers exceptional clarity and ultra-wide viewing angles, combined with an all-weather touchscreen and expanded keypad for total control in all conditions.

There’s lots to get your attention this season and there’s no reason to wait! Try out some of this gear now so it will be familiar to you come our busy summer seasons and we’ll see you on the water!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Evinrude E-Tec: The Next Generation!

I’ve been running Evinrudes for well over a decade and honestly thought that the final word, the final step in the evolution of the two-stroke outboard engine was the transition from a carburated Variable Ratio Oiling engine to a fuel injected E-Tec with pinpoint oil injection and incredibly low emissions.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My Weldcraft 280 Cuddy King came with a pair of Evinrude ICON 250 engines and it’s been smooth sailing and very good performance ever since!

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While the performance I received from the 250 ICON’s was very good, I was about to get a lesson in the form of some serious innovation from a company that is not afraid to take a chance in the marketplace.

In June of 2014, Evinrude/BRP revealed a new outboard engine that produces up to 75% fewer total regulated emissions, with 15% better fuel efficiency and 20% more torque than leading four-stroke engines.The Evinrude G2 engines, the next generation of Evinrude E-TEC outboard engines are without question a real game-changer in the marine industry.

Last month, the gang at Bayside Marine repowered the Weldcraft with the E-Tec G2 outboards and just look at that clean rigging on the transom!

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“OK” you say…”So what’s the difference”… GREAT QUESTION!!!

With the old engines my top speed was 44 MPH, and my most efficient cruise speed was 32.3 mph at 4000 RPM with a fuel burn of 21 GPH resulting in an economy of 1.60 MPG.

Compare the above data with the results of a Performance Evaluation conducted earlier this week by Evinrude/BRP Factory engine guru Gary McAllister and the results blew me away! With the same boat, same guys and same props on the new outboards, here are the Evinrude Generation 2 results:

Top speed: 52 MPH!! Best Cruise: 35.2 MPH @ 4000 RPM while only burning 16.3 GPH which gave us a much improved 1.92  MPG... THAT IS A 20% INCREASE IN FUEL ECONOMY!!! Sorry, I’m shouting but  can’t help it!

BRP’s next generation of Evinrude E-TEC engines will be backed by unmatched value with the industry’s best engine warranty, least maintenance and best-in-class fuel efficiency. We’re talking a 5-year engine warranty, 5-year corrosion warranty, and 500 hours with no dealer-scheduled maintenance, allowing for the most time on the water!

The Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard engine just flat delivers with best-in-class torque, fuel efficiency and lowest total emissions. The new E-TEC G2 engine offers the first and only customizable look, the only clean rigging and fully integrated digital controls. In other words you can now choose the absolute perfect combination of boat and engine by selecting top and front panels, as well as accent colors that match your boat.

Come see the new re-rigged ESPN boat, Great White the Weldcraft at the Seattle Boat Show, January 23 through February 1st at Century Link Event Center in Seattle!

SEE YOU AT THE BOAT SHOW!!!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

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

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
www.theoutdoorline.com

 

 

Beau Mac Floats, More Options Then Ever

I have been a big fan of Beau Mac Floats for years. For me, I’m sold on the quality and the variety of floats now offered by Beau Mac.

I look for several things when I am looking for a quality float. First and foremost is durability. I don’t like fishing floats that can’t take a little abuse and stay intact over the course of a tough day of fishing.

When you take a lot of buddies fishing your float’s get abused because, well, that’s what your buddies do to your gear. This wouldn’t happen if they were simply cast into the water. It’s the amount of time my floats spend in trees, banged against rocks and the shoreline that tends to beat’em up a bit. And no, I’m not talking about me…

Another key point that I like about Beau Mac floats is the color or the color contrast that they have. The vibrant colors at the top end of their floats not only make it possible for you to see your float, but it’s also an indicator as to how deep your float should be floating on top of the water. This indicates that you have your float weighted properly.

With so many styles of floats and weight ratings on floats how do I decide which float to use and when? One thing is for certain, not all floats are created equal. Several floats may perhaps be marked 5/8ths oz. but they actually perform completely different when rigged exactly the same in your presentation.

Let’s take a look at some of the floats Beau Mac now offers and I’ll identify some practical applications for each type or style of float.

One of the more popular styles of float and one of my favorites for my go-to technique of float-doggin with a stick lead is an in-line sliding float. For a majority of the season, for both salmon and steelhead, I match a 5/8 ounce float with my stick lead which weighs on average about .42 ounce.

As a comparison this is very close in weight to a four bead slinky. Keep in mind that with this presentation we are dragging the weight. That is why you have a float that is rated much higher then the weight you are actually matching to the float.  At times for summer steelhead I have cut the stick lead in half and then I’ll match it with a smaller 3/8 ounce float. Beau Mac’s In-Line Slider float has a wide range of weights starting at 1/4 ounce going up in 1/4 oz. increments to 1 oz.

The new Beau Mac wood floats are an extremely nice float too. If you’re looking for durability, this is the one. The wood is extremely tough and it does not crack easily. The brass inserts on both the top and bottom prevent line from cutting into the float. The brass inserts also ensure that the float slides extremely well.

My ideal conditions for this float application is fishing any presentation vertically. The wood float works very well for jigs, but it also is well suited for fishing bait suspended. The torpedo design makes for a float that goes down on a fish take with little to no resistance and the weight of the float aids in cast-ability when fishing small jigs.

As with all floats match your float, jig and in-line weight so that the float rides correctly in the water. With a 5/8 ounce float fishing a 3/8 oz. jig you should use a 1/4 ounce Beau Mac in-line sinker to get the proper presentation.

Even though this is a 5/8 ounce float it’s not what I will use for float dogging. It’s labeled 5/8 ounce as is the foam 5/8 ounce that I use. However, the difference in buoyancy is just enough that the wood float will not stay up where I like them to be in the water column while dragging weight.

The new Beau Mac clear floats are a very good choice for multiple steelhead fishing applications. One thing to keep in mind is that these floats are marked in grams (gms). Here is a simple conversion to memorize: 20g = 0.70oz, 25g = 0.88oz, 30g = 1.05oz.

The clear floats come in several sizes. I have had great success using the 25 gram float for float doggin and the 20 gram is great for fishing jigs. I will definitely use the 30 gram for fall salmon, fishing bait suspended under a float.

These clear floats are a great choice for low clear conditions or even moderately clear conditions anytime. They are extremely tough and I haven’t had any issues with the floats separating and filling with water. I think if you check these out you’ll also be impressed with the retail price.

Beau Mac also offers a great selection in their torpedo float design. There are several sizes and weights to choose from. I have used the torpedo floats for both float doggin and fishing jigs. I find the in-line slider to be a much more durable float for float doggin and really like the torpedo design for jigs or fishing bait suspended. The narrow taper allows for even the lightest biters to take your offering without feeling the resistance of the float. They are also extremely easy to retrieve as they do not create a lot of drag on the water. The shorter  and more round taper style is also a good choice on lakes for trout or spiny-ray fisheries.

Beau Mac offers the complete system for float fishing. You have a couple of options when it comes to Beau Mac bobber stops. The dacron thread stoppers work great on braid and they also work well as a line marker on your plug rods for knowing the distance of line you have out. Simply measure an equal distance of line on your reels for your plug rods and slide on and secure a bobber stop. You can even use multiple colors perhaps marking with a bright green stopper at 30 feet and a bright pink at 40 feet.

When I rig up my rods with a top shot of mono for float doggin, I will always run my bobber stops on the monofilament. This is where the rubber stoppers come in and work very well. You only need to remember a couple things when choosing which stopper to use. The dacron stops don’t work well on mono, so use the rubber stops if your using monofilament or flourocarbon. The rubber stops don’t work well on braid, so use the dacron stops on braid.

There ya go…..Hopefully some of this info helps you decide on which style of float to use specific to the application or technique you are trying to master.

Beau Mac is a great local tackle company that’s been around for decades and best of all they make gear specific to our fishing needs here in the Pacific Northwest. Their floats work for me and I’m sure you’ll find them to your satisfaction too.

See ya on the water!

Duane Inglin
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
Theoutdoorline.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tackle Review: Mustad Open Eye Siwash Hooks

I’d like to say Mustad’s open eye siwash hooks are new, but they’ve actually been on the market for a few years now. I’ve tested them extensively the last two years on my salmon fishing trips and I can vouch for the sharpness and holding power of these hooks. They are float out wicked!

Mustad’s 10848 open eye siwash hook is in fact a true straight-shanked siwash hook that is manufactured with the bend of an octopus hook. There’s no need to put an offset in these hooks to increase your hook up ratio…the lethal bend is built right in.

I use 2/0 Mustad open eye siwash’s for my Vibrax spinners and 5/0’s on my Kwikfish and I’ve been very happy with the performance of these hooks.

When river flows are right I run a lot of K-15’s for king and silver salmon in the fall and most of the rivers in Washington have single hook regulations in place nowadays. That used to mean a lot of take downs and very few fish to the boat. A standard siwash hook with a plug pushing against it pushes out of a salmons jaw far too easily and no matter how well a big king salmon seemed to be hooked up, well, they’d almost always find a way to shake loose. You had to bend and tweak your hooks to make them work and half the time you’d break or weaken them in the process. Not any more!

Once you get a solid hookup with one of these hooks you’re going to end up with a salmon in the net. They are sharp as heck and the octopus style offset attached to the split ring with a heavy rolling swivel makes them hold very, very well in a thrashing salmon’s jaw.

Another advantage to these hooks is that they are manufactured with an eye that’s quite a bit larger than any other hook I’ve seen on the market. You can see the over sized eye in the first photo…it’s huge.

The big eye is perfect for making hoochie spinners because it helps to hold the mini-hoochie over the top of the hook so it doesn’t slide down. It makes rigging up hoochie spinners quick and easy.

I’m not sure if Mustad intended this, but the eye is also a lot easier to crimp.

Several saltwater charter captain friends in the Puget Sound also use these hooks exclusively on their trolling spoons and they swear by them.

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again…these are wicked hooks that have already been tested on the proving grounds by savvy fisherman.

If you need another weapon in your fall salmon arsenal this fall I suggest you give these hooks a try. Mustad’s open eye siwash hooks are a proven winner!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

 

Gear Review: Swivellock Oar Locks

I ran into Ron Reed at the Washington Sportsmans Show in Puyallup back in January and he was kind enough to hand me a set of his spiffy new oar locks to try out. Ron is the maker of Swivellock Oar Locks, an innovative driftboat oar lock that pivots, swivels, and has an oar-right built right into the lock.

The oar locks have been on my driftboat in the driveway for three weeks now waiting for the opportune time to test them out and that day came yesterday on one of the Southwest Washington rivers. 

Having spent god-only-knows how many days in a driftboat it doesn't take me long to determine if something is going to work, or not. Three oar strokes into yesterdays river trip and I was immediately sold on these oar locks. 

Swivellocks fit up and over the rope wraps on the oars and when you have to pull the oars in to miss something in the river they then easily slide right back into place on the rope again.  I thought the transition between the rope and the shaft of the oar might hang up a bit, but I was wrong. The oar locks operated flawlessly. 

The pivot option makes Swivellock's absolutely dead quiet on the river. No more clunking and banging on the oar locks as you're trying to sneak into a steelhead run in low and clear water. This option also makes it easy to stand up and row, which I like to do when I'm trying to get a better view down river or I'm stretching the ol' back out.

The open top on these oar locks is perfectly spaced to allow a standard Oar Right to slide into place and keep the oars in the upright position when on anchor. Again, there's no slop between the Oar Right and the oar lock. It's a perfect fit!

The only drawback I can find with the Swivellocks is that they don't give like a brass oar lock. If you hang up an oar in some timber or in some boulders on an uber-technical river like the Sol Duc brass oar locks will expand just enough to allow the oar to come free before there's a serious problem. 

Here's a few photos of the Swivellocks to give you a better idear of what I'm talkin' bout:  

The only time I may take Ron's Swivellocks off my driftboat is if I'm fishing the Sol Duc or perhaps one of Washington's other gnarly rivers, but the rest of the time these babies are staying on my boat. They make a noticeable difference when I'm rowing the driftboat and I think he's definitely produced a winner here.

Even though Ron designed them for the driftboat crowd I think these oar locks could find their way into the yachting crowd, as well. They would sure look nice on a dingy or shore launch.

To pick up a set of Swivellocks for your driftboat you can get ahold of Ron at "ronjreed1@hotmail.com" or call him at 971-400-0828. Ron can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1577644824.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com