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

Sitka 2015: Adjustments

Every year of our annual sojourn to southeast Alaska, I seek a pattern, a clue or a theme to the location and distribution of fish that may lead to an understanding or “edge”, eventually guiding us to a successful season. We’ve all read -with varying degrees of interest and concern- of the changes in sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and little did I know when I boarded the plane to Sitka that the ocean temperatures would play a pivotal role in our approach to this world-class fishery.

Most seasons the predominant chinook forage base in the Sitka area is sand lance, commonly known an “needlefish”. Sand lance are a preferred salmonid food item as they are usually abundant, readily preyed upon by chinook, very rich in oil, easily digested due to their delicate structure and can be packed away by an adult chinook like a belly full of spaghetti!!!

Chinook are so fond of sandlance that a large abundance will virtually stop a migration, making these chinook vulnerable to vertical techniques such as mooching and jigging. The problem this season was that the nutrient-poor warm water had in all probability, reduced local zooplankton (euphausiids and copepod) levels, causing the sand lance population to take a downturn. Sand lance do not roam far from their home sand, so are very dependent upon local conditions and poor food availability can quickly lead to a sand lance population crash.

Herring on the other hand are more mobile and opportunistic feeders and therefore have a better ability to adapt to a changing or re-located food base. The preceding paragraph was the longest possible way of stating that herring was the one and only food item found in the chinook we encountered and since the chinook were not all “ganged up” on a sandlance patch, mooching chinook was not the most effective technique.

What was the most effective technique for us?

Why trolling with downriggers of course!

Greg Copeland of KING 5 and my old buddy Phil Michelsen do the downrigger “Dance” with a fiesty, early morning chinook and Sitka 2015 is well underway!

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Phil Michelsen does battle with a big chinook on a misty morning and little would we know….

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 …that this would be the biggest chinook not only of this trip but of the last several years! A beautiful specimen of over 41 pounds! Phil’s grin just says it all!

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Phil and Greg’s last day was a productive, calm and memorable outing and there was alot of work to do after the “photo shoot”!

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Lauren Bivins of Harbor Marine in Everett and my summer “Robbo replacement” co-host John Martinis jumped in for some very solid Sitka success!

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 Lifelong friend Larry Stauffer and I doubled up on a couple chunky chinook that both fell to trolled whole herring. Overall, the average size of the chinook we encountered was larger which was a reverse of a trend of smaller fish over the past several years.

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My biggest halibut of the season was this 70 pounder that we hooked in over 400 feet of water. My Diawa Tanacom 750 electric reel made short work of this flattie!

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 One of Sitka’s signature landmarks, St. Lazarius Island also know as “Bird” Island looks different with every hour of the day. In this afternoon sun it looks spooky…

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…and in the morning sun as the charter fleet runs by it’s merely a milestone along the way. One of the most wonderful things about fish are the places we must go to find them.

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 Brock Huard is in the third season of his Sitka experience and he seems to enjoy it more each and every year. I feel very fortunate to be able to share some of his precious free time in this wonderful place.

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Sitka remains the angling experience of my life and there is something each and every season that stays with me throughout the year. This year it was the ability to make adjustments that stood out. As anglers, we are very good at going to the same places at the same times to use the same gear to catch our fish. However, change one leg of that triangle and we seem to struggle. The ability to observe changing conditions and make adjustments to our game plan is one of the most valuable traits that an angler can possess.

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

 

Recharge Your Electronic Gadgets off the Grid – Brunton Sustain 2

The latest gizmo to catch my eye is the Brunton Sustain 2 portable power pack that allows you to put a charge into your cell phone, gps, or digital camera off the grid. This particular model seems particularly handy for the fisherman or hunter because it’s waterproof and has a durable case.

I cruised thru some of the reviews online and most say it isn’t suitable for charging up your laptop. It works just fine for your smaller devices however and you it’s not like I’m going to pack my laptop into the backcountry anyway.

 

Brunton Sustain - Portable Recharge PackThe Sustain 2 comes with all the necessary cables and is capable of USB, 12V, 16V, and 19V output. It has a suggested retail price of $299.99 on the Brunton website but I found them priced as low as $165 on Amazon.com.

For the angler with a small boat or back country hunting or camping this unit might just be the ticket to keep your electronic gadgets charged up while your off the grid. I’ve been on long hunting trips in the past only to find my digital camera battery completely dead a few days into the trip with no means to charge it. A recharge pack like this could completely alleviate that problem.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

Gear Up for Summer with Lowrance and Simrad Rebates!

Simrad and Lowrance are offering some incredible rebates on marine electronics thru the end of the month. With summer just around the corner now is the time upgrade your electronics with these great deals. This rebate offer only lasts until the end of March…so ya better get on it!

CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO GET THE FULL REBATE COUPON

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Rob Endsley
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

“Chirp” Your Sonar with Lowrance Sonarhub

I’ve seen Lowrance’s new Sonarhub in action on Nelly’s boat and on the Salt Patrol boat and the Chirped sonar images are ridiculous. This new technology allows you to actually see the fish feeding in dense schools of baitfish and it clarifies the sonar images immensely. The next time you see the Salt Patrol boat at an event take a look at some of John’s sonar images and I guarantee they’ll blow you away.

Here’s a press bulletin from Lowrance about the new product release that explains the new Sonarhub in detail:

Lowrance Sonar Hub -The Outdoor LineRob  Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com