Try this Ram Mount for Field Photos

I find myself hunting solo quite a bit and I’m always looking for a new gizmo to help capture the moment. Ram Mount’s manufactures a slick X-Grip to hold a cell phone and a one inch ball adapter that will screw directly into a camera tripod, or in my case, the tripod from my Vortex spotting scope.

The camera on the new iPhone 7 comes with a timer feature that makes it easy to set this up for a big game photo in the field. When I’m hunting I nearly always have this spotting scope and tripod with me and if I don’t then I’m packing a small tripod that fits easily in my pack.

Field Photos with a Ram Mount

I brought it along on a recent field trip with our oldest daughter and it worked great. When your not using this X Grip in the field it can be used in your truck or boat to keep your phone right where you need it. This X Grip will eventually be mounted on the dash of my charter boat in Alaska to keep my phone from rolling around on the dash of the boat.

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If this Ram Mount doesn’t work for you the’ve got around 5,000 configurations of mounts for your phone, tablet, marine electronics, etc.. I’ve got another Ram Mount in my jet boat that holds a Lowrance HDS 7. When I don’t need the Lowrance unit I can take the mount and unit off the boat entirely or swing it out of the way. It can be adjusted infinitely for viewing anywhere on the boat.

I’m not aware of any other mounting system that offers so much flexibility. The mount in my jet boat has been in the rain for three years now and it still looks like it came right out of the box.

If you’re interested in picking up a Ram Mount for yourself or for someone else for Christmas they’ve got a special 10% off offer for Outdoor Line listeners that’s going on thru the end of December. Click on the link below to get your discount:

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Thanks for stopping by and good luck on your next outdoor adventure!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Daddy Daycare with Can Am, Camp Chef, and Grilled Cheese!

Yesterday I picked up our oldest daughter Ava from school with the Can Am Outlander 6 x 6 in tow and fully loaded with all the fixin’s for an quick afternoon adventure into the woods of the Kitsap Peninsula.

The mission at hand was to teach her five things about the outdoors – pine cones, fir trees, ferns, salal, and some interesting rocks. The bridge between adventure and learning would be a fun ride on this beast-of-a-machine Outlander 6 x 6 along with grilled cheese sandwiches and hot cider off our new Camp Chef Rainier Campers Combo stove.

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Shortly after launching the Can Am mothership we were blasting thru huge mud puddles in search of a nice spot for a picnic. It’s essentially been pouring rain non-stop here for the last couple of weeks and there was no shortage of water on the trails and roads where we were riding.

ava_6x6_webAfter finding a spot to hunker down for a bit I had the pre-made grilled cheese sandwiches (her fave!) on the stove in short order. I bought this stove because it comes with the griddle which makes it nice for cooking grilled cheese, pancakes, bacon, etc.. It’s a great piece of equipment for making adventures afield fun for the kids!

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Ava’s no stranger to this stove. We use it quite a bit at home for “camping” on our back deck and it now resides permanently in my river sled. Packing it along in this ATV was a no-brainer!

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It took all of five to ten minutes to whip up the samiches and warm up some cider in the coffee pot. One advantage to this stove is that I don’t have to cart along an extra frying pan. The griddle can also be replaced by a grill for cooking burgers, steaks, and hot dogs and it all packs nicely in a carrying case.

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Thankfully Mother Nature gave us a rare sunny afternoon here in the Pacific Northwest to blast outside for this quick adventure. After a grilled cheese sammy and a few shots of hot cider Ava was all fired up to learn a few things about the outdoors.

I have to reset myself sometimes to look at the small things in nature instead of searching for big game, big fish, and big everything. For a four-and-a-half year old that can be kind of daunting. This was the perfect opportunity to do that!

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After jumping up and down in a few mud puddles and horsing around a bit we spent some time looking at the different plants that grow in our area. It’s winter and there’s not many bugs or frogs around, so today plants were the go-to item and of course a couple of interesting rocks.

We talked about how pine cones become fir trees, checked out some ferns and salal brush, and looked at a bunch of rocks until we found some interesting ones. One, in particular, looked like a dinosaur tooth. It took a grand total of fifteen minutes to scope out a few items in Mother Nature’s treasure chest, just the right amount of time for a four and a half year old’s attention span.

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This morning at breakfast Ava was sitting at the table telling us how the pine cones fall to the ground and become fir trees. I figure I only have around nine more years with her until I become her idiot dad that knows nothing. That may not be far from the truth, but at least for now we can have some fun together. I’d say this adventure was a successful one!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle   

Two Hunting Products That Have Helped Me Tag Out

By Rob Endsley

Here’s a couple of outstanding products that have helped my hunting tremendously the last few years:

KUIU Binocular Harness

A few years ago I started shopping around for a new binocular harness that was durable, easy to use, lightweight, and compact. I found that with KUIU’s binocular harness. I live in Washington State and most of my hunting occurs in the west where we don’t think twice about scrambling up mountains and ridges after big game.

As advertised this bino harness fits tight to my chest and does a fairly good job of keeping the rain off my binoculars. If it’s really coming down sideways I’ll pull the rain cover over the harness. Most of the time I don’t need to do that though. If you hunt here in Washington you’ll spend quite a few days in the rain.

Here’s a quick video from Jason Hairston of KUIU that shows how the binocular harness works:

Primos Trigger Stick

I originally purchased the Primos Bi-pod Trigger Stick and had great luck with it. On a particularly windy day a few years back in the blacktail woods, however, I couldn’t hold the crosshairs steady for a standing shot at a buck around 150 yards away. The wind was howling and even with the rifle resting firmly on the bipod the crosshairs were waving all over the place. The second I returned home I jumped on the Primos website and found that they had just released a new tripod version of their Trigger Stick.

I immediately purchased the Jim Shockey Tall Tripod and it’s helped put several deer in our freezer now. Here’s a quick video that shows how it works and there are plenty more videos on YouTube for this product.

The only drawbacks I’ve found with the tripod version is that it’s a little heavier to lug around and if you’re in a stalking situation be sure to keep the rubber strap around the bottom of the legs. If they catch on the brush and then come back together quickly they make a clanging noise thats no bueno. Keeping the strap cinched tightly around the legs alleviates that problem. Because of the added weight I probably wouldn’t take it with me on extreme hunts into the backcountry when shaving pounds and even ounces off a pack is critical. It’s always along on day hunts or hunts where I’m using an ATV for transportation though.

Other than those two minor details the trigger stick has worked flawlessly for me. I’ve hunted with it in -25 below zero temperatures in Montana and driving rain in Washington and it’s worked every time. Learn how to operate this piece of equipment and I promise you it will help you make those difficult shots in the field a lot more do-able.

Thanks for checking in and good hunting to you!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

It’s Here – Daiwa Lexa Line Counter!

By Rob Endsley

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Daiwa’s new Lexa 300 line counter is a compact powerhouse that will put plenty of salmon, steelhead, and tuna in the boat here in the Pacific Northwest. With the Lexa’s buttery smooth Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag anglers can finesse a big steelhead or walleye on light line or slam the breaks on a running Chinook or albacore. It also makes it a great all around reel for Pacific Northwest guides that make the seasonal switch from salmon and steelhead to walleye.

With 22 pounds of drag you can do just about anything with this reel. Saltwater salmon, ling cod, and tuna suddenly become fair game with this low profile reel.

The Lexa 300 line counter holds 240 pounds of 40 pound braid and is equipped with a  braid-ready spool with cutouts for tying off braid. No more wrapping electrical tape around the spool or backing with monofilament to keep the braid from spinning on the spool.

Most line counters are built with trolling in mind but this one also has Magforce cast control which makes casting a breeze. This makes for quick redeployment of the gear when the bite is on.

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The line counter on the Lexa 300 is centered and the numbers are easy to read. The reel also comes with Daiwa’s “Swept Handle” that places the paddle closer to the rod.

Daiwa also has plans for a Lexa 400 line counter slated for release next year. That reel will very likely end up as mooching reel on my charter boat in Southeast Alaska.

The other nice thing about the new Lexa line counter is that you can find it in both left and right handed versions and two gear ratios, 5.5:1 and 6.3:1.

As of this blog very limited supplies of the new Lexa 300 line counter have been shipped to retailers and you won’t even find it on Daiwa’s website. They will retail at around $199 and expect to see them in stores sometime in early November. Definitely worth the wait!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
www.theoutdoorline.com

River Cooking with a Camp Chef Stryker Series Stove

Today I had the pleasure of taking northwest outdoor writer Jason Brooks and his son Ryan steelhead fishing on a local river. It’s February here in Washington and we are in the middle of the wettest winter in history. Today it would clear up just long enough for us to think it was a good idea to stay out longer before another deluge would settle in.

After hooking a couple steelhead we decided to pull over for lunch during a very brief clearing and Jason pulls out this completely awesome little Camp Chef Stryker series stove. While I ate my uneventful peanut butter sandwich and venison pepperoni sticks Jason quickly boiled up some water and added it to a Mountain House freeze dried meal. It took exactly TWO MINUTES for the water to boil with this stove!

Oila! Ryan and he dove into their warm lunch on this cold and wet Pacific Northwest day. I wasn’t envious one bit.

Camp Chef Stryker Stove

The entire stove including the fuel canister fit right back into the small pot and it tucks away nicely in a dry bag or storage compartment in the boat. It even has it’s own ignitor so you don’t have to worry about packing a lighter or matches.

Camp Chef also makes a propane model but like me Jason is a hardcore hunter and wanted the compact butane model for his high country hunting trips.

The exact model of this one is the Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker 100 Isobutane Stove.

 

Camp Chef Stryker Series Stoves

 

They retail for around $65 to $70 and you can bet I’ll be ordering one soon. This is just the ticket for tricking our two kiddos into fishing with me again, and again, and again!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

 

Christmas Gift Idea – Age Your Own Whiskey

Heritage Distilling in Gig Harbor has put together the perfect Christmas gift for the whiskey lover in your life. I can’t think of too many of my fellow sportsman that don’t like a fine whiskey on the rocks after a long day in the field. I know I do!

With this handy kit you can age your own whiskey at home until it reaches the perfect aroma, taste, and richness that we all love in a good whiskey. Acquiring this taste generally takes about two months…if you can wait that long.

Heritage’s kit sells for $125 and the 1.25 litre cask will produce about two 5th’s of whiskey. Best of all, they can ship it just about anywhere!

heritage_distilling_webThey also have a Cask Club and they offer classes that allow you to distill your own custom blend of whiskey, gin, or vodka from start to finish. The classes are approximately three hours long and sound like a heckuva lot of fun.

Can you tell I’m excited about having a distillery just miles from my house? Heritage Distilling…check it out!

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

It’s a “Butt Out” Honey!

When I marched into the house with my new “Butt Out” field dressing tool from Hunter’s Specialties a few hunting seasons ago my wife gave me the look like…”now what?”

“It’s the most innovative field dressing tool since the invention of the knife honey”, I announced in the kitchen as I held it up to the light so we could both view my newhunting tool in all it’s glory. All I got was a sigh…my signal to head for the garage and plant the Butt Out firmly in my…hunting pack.

If you’ve ever field dressed a deer or an elk you know how difficult it is to remove the anal canal from the animal. It usually involves splitting the pelvis with a bone saw and then it takes a lot of force to split the pelvis wide enough to remove the canal. With the Butt Out, however, this task takes less than 10 seconds.

To highlight just how simple this process is here’s a short one minute video from Hunter’s Specialties on how to operate this awesome field dressing tool. Don’t watch this manly video, however, if you’re a total sissy and squishing an annoying fly makes you squeemish.

Using the Butt Out Field Dressing Tool from Hunter’s Specialties

With the general rifle opener coming up here in Washington in less than two weeks you owe it yourself and your hunting partners to pick one of these awesome field dressing tools. Trust me, I’ve used mine on two deer now and it work’s awesome. Plus…the Butt Out makes for some good laughs around the campfire!

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
www.theoutdoorline.com

Dirty Downrigger Trick: Silver Horde’s Rudder Flasher!

Now that “seminar season” is begrudgingly giving way to fishing season, I’m looking back on the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard after my  “Dirty Downrigger Tricks” PowerPoint presentations.

I’m always looking for some new and interesting blog ideas and I believe a series of blogs answering these questions regarding controlled-depth trolling techniques may just be what the “downrigger Doctor” ordered!

One of the relatively recent additions to the downrigger fisherman’s attraction repertoire is the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher!

“We originally marketed it as a halibut spreader back in the mid 1970’s and by the late ’80’s some guys out of Edmonds started using them as rudders on their downriggers” said Silver Horde’s Kelly Morrison. Indeed, it is the “spreader effect” that is one of the most endearing qualities of the Rudder Flasher. As soon as it’s placed in the water, it immediately “weather vanes” or points behind the boat which allows you to easily reach your release -without untangling it- and quickly get your gear back to the fishes’ depth.

There are two ways to rig the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher: One, simply run your release directly off the back of the rudder…

…and two, running a “Dummy” or remote flasher off of the Rudder Flasher and then stacking your release a few feet up from the flasher!

By far the biggest advantage of the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher is it’s fish attraction characteristics. The Rudder Flasher affords your downrigger presentation a consistent horizontal profile which allows salmon to find your gear more easily. Simply stated, a rotating flasher makes noise and vibration in the water column but it’s continually moving, rolling aspect can often be a challenge for a salmon on the far reaches of the attraction threshhold to locate. The combination of a rotating flasher and a Rudder Flasher is a one, two salmon attracting “punch” that will result in more fish in your box!

Next time you’re out on your favorite trolling drag and you see someone land a fish, take a close look at what is running just on top of their cannon ball… The Silver Horde Rudder Flasher used to be the trollers secret handshake. Now, it’s more like the mark of the highliner fishermen.

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

 

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!

“NOT 200 SQUARE FEET”

 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
www.theoutdoorline.com