Setting Your Crab Gear Up For Success!

One of the most underrated aspects of life in the Great Northwest is harvesting and enjoying Dungeness crab with friends and family. This wonderful tasty privilege comes with a responsibility to fish your crab pots in a way that prevents gear loss and a wastage of this valuable aquatic resource. Many pots that folks assume is “stolen” are really just under-weighted pots that merely drift away when a high tide lifts the floats. The currents in our tidal bodies of water are quite strong and if your crab gear is not right where you left it, its quite often simply lost crab gear that keeps fishing until the required cotton rot cord latch rots and the pot opens up.

That said, here’s one way to set your gear up for successful crabbing and make sure it’s right where you put it when you return to pick it and bring the crab home for dinner!

Let’s start with the “raw materials” namely an SMI three entry tunnel pot with built in bait tube, floats, 100′ of leaded line and a 12 pound downrigger ball.

aIMG_0033 (Small)

 

Why a downrigger ball and what do you do with it? Great question! Most if not all sport pots are intended to have weight added to fish effectively. Simply zip-tie the ball to the center of the pot and you’re in business!

IMG_0035 (Small)

 

Now it’s time to make your “bomb-proof” line attachment to the pot. I start with a strong edge where the pot mesh is double strength and throw a clove hitch.

IMG_0037 (Small)

 

Lock the clove hitch with the “boater’s friend” aka the bowline…

IMG_0038 (Small)

 

…and lock the bowline with the “Yosomite finish” which is simply tucking the tail of the bowline around the loop and back along the main line.

IMG_0039 (Small)

Add your combination of floats (I use the required red and white and add a second float to allow quick identification) Marked one float with the length of line and finish with a bowline end loop. Store the whole works inside the pot and you’re set!

IMG_0042 (Small)

 

Every afternoon in Puget Sound should look like this!

Adeckload

 

And every evening dinner should look like this!

adinner

 

We have a wonderful crabbing opportunity and resource and it’s up to us to fish responsibly and not lose our crab gear to minimize waste. Keep a copy of the WDFW fishing regs in your boat, measure and record each keeper and you will not end up in an episode of Nat Geo’s Rugged Justice!!

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!

IMG_8560 (Small)

 

 

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

IMG_8570 (Small)

 …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!

IMG_8609 (Small)

 

 

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”!

IMG_8753 (Small)

 

 

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

IMG_8811 (Small)

 

 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.

IMG_8841 (Small)

 

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!

IMG_8845 (Small)

 

 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…

IMG_8851 (Small)

 

…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.

IMG_8899 (Small)

 

 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.

IMG_8994 (Small)

 

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

 

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!

DSC_0081

 

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!

photo (14) (Medium)

“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

The Four Cornerstones of Winter Chinook Success!

It’s 0640 Saturday morning, we’re between segments on the Radio Show and Rob Endsley’s pen is just flying across his show sheet.

“Well, if you don’t write it, I will…now what is the fourth blackmouth point?” Rob says.

Some of the best “stuff” happens in between segments while the microphones are off and Robbo and I are rippin’ each other but good. However, often the “fertilizer” that flies both ways feeds an idea or concept that leads to an important or instructive point that is “blog-worthy” or, in this case, four points that boil down a whole bunch of winter chinook wisdom into an easy to remember approach.

Cornerstone One: Fish Deep

Sucia0002

After a late summer and fall of easy coho fishing, it’s very tempting to take a laid back approach to winter chinook or “blackmouth” fishing and that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Coho or silvers are most often found suspended over deep water while Puget Sound winter chinook are almost always found near structure in a depth band of approximately 80-250 feet of water but generally within 10 feet of the bottom.

While you can enjoy success on silvers without paying strict attention to your boats course or depth, to consistently hook chinook, you have to keep a close eye on both! Despite the fact that I use Cannon’s Bottom Digi-Troll 10’s in Bottom Track mode, to keep your gear within 10 feet of the bottom you must follow the bottom contour –or areas of near equal depth- while at the same time constantly adjusting the depth of the downrigger ball to remain in the strike zone.

Cornerstone Two: Fish Small

HiFly7In the winter we typically find less bait and baitfish individual sizes are at their smallest. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “match the hatch” and that is definitely the best game plan here. Fortunately there are a lot of tackle options that fill the bill. Silver Horde has the Coho Killer, Needlefish Ace-Hi fly and Kingfisher Lite spoons from size 2.0-3.5. With those three items alone you have the ability to mimic bait sizes from 1.5 to nearly four inches! The word “opportunistic” has been used to describe the dietary habits of immature chinook and while they will feed on a wide variety of species, often the best approach is to start small and gather all available information to get dialed in from there.

Cornerstone Three: Fish Fast

evinrudeThe fact of the matter is that in wintertime, there are less baitfish available and fewer fish chasing them than in the summer months and that puts you into a “search mode”. The most effective way to search is to cover water quickly and there is no better way than downrigger trolling to do just that.

However, there is more to fishing fast than just leaning on the throttle. Keeping an eye on current direction and velocity is a great approach to speed up and enhance your fishing efficiency. Chinook tend to face into the current so that feed can be washed into their view and you’ll cover more territory by “riding the tide” as well. Even though your Lowrance or Simrad GPS chartplotter displays a digital speed over ground, the best way to keep track of your speed through the water is to continually monitor the downrigger wire angle and relate that angle to the speed you observe on the GPS display. You’ll find that wire angle increasing when “bucking” or trolling into a tide and that may be an indication that it’s time to change trolling direction!

Cornerstone Four: Fish Near Feed

BairSchoolWinter chinook or “blackmouth” are also refered to as feeder chinook and brother, you had better believe that “findin’ and grindin’” is what they’re all about. When you’re a little fish in a big body of water, one of your best defenses against becoming someone else’s snack is getting bigger so that you fit in less predators mouths. Therefore, fast growth becomes a reproductive and survival advantage to a young chinook and the only way to achieve that growth is to find groceries. So, in turn the smart winter chinook angler needs to find the feed to find the fish and this is where your fishfinder is your very best friend! Learning to correctly operate your sounder, fine tune it’s adjustments and interpret the display will result in a full fishbox. At times, you’ll see larger arcs surrounding a bait ball and that my friend is where you want to stay for a while.

When you consider that there is someplace in Puget Sound to fish for and catch quality chinook all winter long you’ve got to admit that we’re very fortunate indeed to live here! Compared to the Great Lakes that freeze solid and coastal waters that are continually lashed by winter gales, the blackmouth fishery in Puget Sound begins to look very inviting and I hope to see you on the water this winter!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Sitka 2014 Great White: NORTH!

This year’s edition of The Outdoor Line’s annual Sitka trip was a very special one. We had some Alaska “first-timers”, (I was going to say “Greenhorns” but…) some of our wives made the trip for the first time in several years and 2014 marked the Alaskan arrival of the 710 ESPN flagship, the Weldcraft 280 Cuddy King.

The trip began back in late May with the barge trip from Seattle to Sitka. It’s a bit freaky seeing your boat and truck sail away but it’s a gas to fly into Sitka and find your ride safe and sound thanks to Alaska Marine Lines!aBarge

 

 

We were very fortunate to arrive in time for some flat, sunny weather and a solid chinook bite. Jack Reyes mugs for the camera on the first fish of the trip. Little did we know that the bite would remain…but the nice weather would not.aJack#1

 

Team Outdoor Line’s Brandon Robichaux can’t help but grin on his first day in Alaska..and his first Alaskan chinook!aBrando

 

Phil Michelsen handles a hot king and finds that the Daiwa DXS Series Rods and Saltist reels are more than a match for a big Alaskan chinook!aPhil

 

I even get into the act and all my work getting Great White ready for this trip comes to fruition!aDayone Nelly

 

710 ESPN’s Michael Grey of the “Wyman, Mike & Moore” show experienced Alaska for the first time and his very first Alaskan chinook turns out to be a very memorable experience!aMGglass

 

My summer on air partner John Martinis joined us in Sitka for the first time and I believe that it won ‘t be his last appearance on this trip!AJohnM

 

In between weather systems we managed to refine our halibut anchoring techniques. Here, Phil Michelsen, Michael Grey and John Martinis admire out day’s catch with chinook to 26 and halibut to 100lbs!aPMJbut

Speaking of refining techniques, Pro Cure’s Brine & Bite has  forever changed the way I handle my herring. With one jar of Brine & Bite powder, you can cure up to 8 trays of bait that stand up to some trolling, mooching and shine like nothing I’ve ever fished before!ABrine&b

 

My dear friend Larry Stauffer and his wife Dana enjoyed a consistent chinook bite and we enjoyed having our wives join us for a few days of Alaskan angling!aL&D

 

My wonderful wife Kathy handles this hot king and I can’t begin to describe how special it was to have her join me on this trip!AK

 

Kathy and Dana share a laugh and a special moment after this double on mid-20 lb chinook!

aK&D

 

Larry, Dana, Kathy & I with our days catch. We’ll be remembering this trip in pictures -and barbeques- for months to come!aLDK

ESPN’s Brock Huard joined us for his second season in Sitka and his passion for fishing and ability to learn is amazing to watch! I’m pretty sure he is as hard-bitten as I am with southeast Alaska!ABrockNelly

While it’s nothing short of wonderful to share this time in Alaska with family and friends, we’re working on a bit of a promotion that may allow us to host a listener on this trip next year so stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile, we’re working on sharing what we’ve learned in Alaska about chinook salmon fishing right here. Want technique tips? Stand by! We’re going to deliver some tips that will deliver more fish in your box this season!

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Anchor System Academics

The ability to quickly, effectively and safely anchor your boat is a fundamental aspect of seamanship that will help you catch more fish, enjoy a restful time on your vessel and most importantly, keep all aboard safe and sound in the event of a grounding or complete power failure.

My main focus for this project was to lay out and mount an anchor roller mount and deck pipe (deck top access to the rope storage locker) that would be easy, convenient and safe for everyone on board. Fortunately, the gang at Harbor Marine in Everett had everything I needed!

Our project boat is the Weldcraft 280 with nothing short of a bulletproof “pulpit”!

aPulpit

 

Our “raw materials” for this project are, top to bottom: Lewmar anchor roller mount, Rocna Fisherman 6kg modified plow anchor and a Perko hinged chain pipe.aRawmaterial

 

The anchor roller mount installation is straightforward, just line it up straight and make sure the anchor’s point, in this case the Rocna chisel tip clears the pulpit support under the roller.aDrill

 

Now it’s time to lay out the chain pipe hole and since this is a fairly significant jig-saw job, it’s definitely a case of “measure twice, cut once”!

aTrace

 

Rest assured, I double-checked the area under the cut to make darn sure that there was no electrical or other “trouble” hiding under the deck!

aHole

 

Marine silicone around the pipe flange guarantees that the only water getting into that anchor locker is coming through the pipe… not around it!

aSilicone

 

Nice, clean, sturdy installation so far, now for some chain on that Rocna Fisherman!

aMount

 

A boat length of 3/8″ Galvanized Proof Coil chain shackled to the Rocna finishes the package…almost… 

aChain

 

While the installation looks bad to the bone, the anchor is a bit tilted and will rock back and forth a bit on the road and the last thing we want is to weigh the anchor on Interstate 5!…So…

aBad

 

Drill baby drill! The Lewmar anchor roller mount has three holes pre-drilled to fit a 5/16″ lock pin. Drill the anchor stock to fit one of the roller mount holes and add a piece of 150lb test mono with crimped loops for a pin keeper…and buy an extra pin just in case!

aPin

Now I’m ready to anchor fish for halibut in the Straits, springers in the Columbia or maybe even to take a little break in the action! These days, we all need a little break…Right?

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

The 2014 Salmon Forecasts!!!

A sure sign of spring after a long winter is the annual arrival of our salmon forecasts and the “North of Falcon” meetings. I await the salmon forecast numbers like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Hello, my name is Tom and I am a “salmon sicko”.

After watching the numbers for a number of years (never mind how many…) I’ve found that you can “call some shots” by digging into the forecast numbers. The WDFW, DFO Canada and The PFMC (Pacific Fisheries Management Council) work very hard to get their chinook and coho abundance estimates out in a timely manner. These figures take some pouring through to find the real “meat” but don’t worry, I’ve done all the leg work for you right here!

2014 Preseason adult Chinook Forecasts (in thousands)

Stock                    2009       2010     2011       2012       2013       2014 
Willapa fall             34.8      31.1       36.8        45.2         27.1        32.4
Hoh fall                   2.6         3.3        2.9           2.7           3.1          2.5
Nooksack/Sam       23.0      30.3      37.5         44.0        46.5        43.9

Skagit summer       23.4      13.0      15.9          9.6         13.2        18.3

Stillaguamish          1.0        1.4         1.9          0.9           1.3          1.6

Snohomish Wild      8.4        9.9         7.4          2.8          3.6          5.2
Snohomish Hatch   4.9         5.6         5.1         3.9           6.8          5.4
Tulalip Bay              4.0         3.4         3.5        5.9          10.9          4.7

S Puget Wild          17.2      12.7        8.9          8.9           5.2          4.8
S Puget Hatch        93.0      97.4      118.6       95.8       101.9       101.4

Hood Canal Wild     2.5      2.4           2.1         2.9            3.3          3.5

Hood Canal Hatch  40.1     42.6         38.3       43.9         65.7        80.6

Key Stock totals 255,600  253,100  278,900  266,500  288,600  304,300!!!

This is a very significant selected stock chinook forecast to say the least! Easily the highest number we’ve seen for over a decade.  We can be fairly safe in the assumption that chinook seasons may be similar to last year. Generally these particular stocks stable with respect to 2013, while the Skagit,is up sharply and the Nooksack/Samish checks in with a solid forecast as well which should drive a very strong Marine Area 7 summer chinook season. The number that really stands out to me is that 22% increase in Hood Canal hatchery chinook… North area 9 should be smokin’ again come July!
.
The Silver Story! 2014 Preseason Adult Coho Forecasts (in thousands of fish)

Stock                     2009         2010            2011          2012        2013        2014
Straits Wild              20.5          8.5              12.3           12.3       14.8         14.5
Straits Hatch            7.0            7.8              12.7           18.6       15.4         15.3
Nook/Sam W           7.0            9.6               29.5           25.2      45.4          20.8
Nook/Sam H          25.5          36.0               45.7           62.8      49.2          61.7

Skagit Wild             33.4          95.9             138.1          48.3     137.2        112.4

Skagit Hatch          11.7            9.5               16.2           14.9       16.3         15.8

Stilly Wild               13.4           25.9              66.5           45.5        33.1        32.4

Stilly hatch              0.0              5.4                0.6             4.1          3.1          3.1

Snohomish W         67.0           99.4            180.0         109.0     163.8        150

Snohomish H          53.6           24.5              80.4           80.5      111.6        78.1

S Sound Wild          53.6          25.3              98.9           43.1       36.0         62.8

S Sound Hatch        188.8       186.4            173.3         162.9     150.9        172.7

Hood Wild                48.6          33.2              77.5           73.4       36.8         47.6

Hood Hatch              52.0          51.2              72.1           62.6       68.6         82.7

Key stocks Total   338,600   320,800      916,000   628,600     783,200   869,800

 

Is this the “new normal”? Ever since the 2011 coho run we’ve been experiencing some absolutely world class coho fishing. The increase in south Puget Sound stocks alone have me thinking that 2014 will not see many anglers stray far from Puget Sound come September! In fact, the overall feeling among fisheries managers is one of optimism bone of increasing oceanic salmonid survival.

If all this is not enough to get -and keep you- fired up, how about a Frasier River sockeye forecast that’s conservatively estimated at 24.3 MILLION with another 345,000 headed for the Columbia! Lake Washington sockeye anglers may have another year to wait with only 166,000 headed for the Ship Canal but a look north to the Baker River gives to 35,377 bright, red reasons to be encouraged!

Keep in mind that these numbers are but the “raw material” that the co-managers will use to craft our local seasons and only by attending the North of Falcon meetings can you have an impact on the process. We will keep you posted here but I sincerely look forward to meeting some of you….at the meetings!!!

For a schedule of the North of Falcon meetings near you hit WDFW’s North of Falcon page.

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

Boat Review: Weldcraft 280 Cuddy King

I sincerely look forward to “show season”.  I get to meet a whole bunch of new people and talk fishing and boating. The boating conversations often lead to answering questions regarding design and layout of various fishing hulls.

During these discussions, one of my recurring challenges is trying to effectively explain the importance -and effect- of reverse chine aluminum hulls to boaters who have never experienced their soft ride and easy handling. For decades, advanced hull designs have been the exclusive province of the fiberglass boat builder…but no more.

Introducing the Weldcraft 280 Cuddy King available at Master Marine     

aWhite

 

What is reverse chine? Great question! Below you’ll see a shot of this vitally important design characteristic. 

aWeldcraft Chine

As you can see, the “V” entry of the hull is surrounded by a flat “step” also known as a “reverse” chine. The structure of the reverse chine lends strength and rigidity to the Weldcraft but it also provides lift. Not unlike the wing of an airplane, the reverse chine’s lift slows the hulls descent into a wave, significantly softening the ride, reducing and in many cases eliminating pounding. In addition, as the Weldcraft enters a turn, the combination of lift and the chine outside the turn’s suction, prevent an uncomfortable roll and allow a very controlled tight turn. Bottom line: If you’ve never experienced the ride of a reverse chine aluminum hull and you believe that fiberglass hulls “just ride softer” than aluminum hulls, you owe it to yourself to experience the ride and ease of control of a Weldcraft.

Sight lines through the boat are excellent. No blind spots here!

aWhitefront

 

The bow is a very serious -and safe- work area. Non skid footing surface, welded heavy-duty cleats, rails and a raised coaming for the hatch just says it all.

awhitebow

 

Here’s your fishing station: A rear helm with steering, gauges, twin main engine control, kicker control and a Simrad fishfinder GPS which also offers autopilot control.

aRear

 

The spacious, heated cabin offers ample leg room, head room, hand holds, soft-rider seats, VHF radio in the brow and the Simrad NSS12 Touchscreen which gives you a complete, integrated electronics system in one compact package.

aCabin

 

The rear deck? It’s all about fishing room! We’re talking ten feet from the back of the cabin to the front of the transom!

aRoom

 

I almost feel sorry for that Cannon Downrigger…it looks lonely there on the gunnel all by itself…

aRigger

Weldcraft 280 Cuddy Cabin Specifications

Length:                 28 feet

Beam:                  102″

Sides:                    40″ x .160″

Bottom:                 96″ x .250″

Deadrise:              60 degrees at bow to 20 degrees at transom

Dry Weight:           5756 pounds

Fuel Capacity:      160 Gallons

Max HP Rating:    500 hp

Power installed:  Twin Evinrude 250 E-TEC Counter rotating

Come see this Weldcraft in the Master Marine booth at the Seattle Boat Show January 24 through February 2. We’ll be taking names for test drives! Who’s up for a spin???

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line  

710 ESPN Seattle

www.theoutdoorline.com

 

Looking Back On An Awesome August!

The word “awesome” has become a bit overused these days but I’m having a tough time coming up with words to describe a month that included the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Puget Sound,the San Juan Islands and a couple of days fishing with our heroic wounded servicemen.

The first major local offshore event of August is the Washington Tuna Classic (WTC) which benefits the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Always wanting to get a jump on the competition, noted “Tuna Tyrant”, former Seattle Seahawk Robbie Tobeck invited me along to host a couple of Wounded Warriors on a WTC scouting trip.

Game face already in place, Tobeck reluctantly pauses for a shot with our guest angler, Wounded Warrior veterans, Chad and Anthony. 

 

Game face part two: Want to get yelled at by a Mike Holmgren coached NFL veteran lineman? Stop fishing during a hot tuna bite long enough to take a picture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chad, Robbie, myself and Anthony with our days catch and August is off to a great start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second weekend in August brought the inaugural Salmon For Soldiers at Bayside Marine which was, honestly, one of the most positive fishing events that I’ve even had the honor of participating in. Nearly 70 boat owners from across western Washington hosted 300 servicemen & women for a day of fishing and fellowship.

Randy Shelton (left) was the driving force behind Salmon for Soldiers, while Rob Endsley and I helped with promotion and other support efforts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bayside Marine generously hosted the event, providing the food and beverages to the several hundred anglers, veterans and care-givers in attendance.

 

Immediately …and I do mean seconds… after Salmon for Soldiers, we hit the road for Astoria, Oregon and the legendary Buoy 10 salmon fishery. Here, the sun sets on the Columbia River at Longview , bringing a very busy Saturday to a welcome end.

 

With a huge forecast of upriver bright chinook on tap, double-digits hookup mornings were the norm and nets were flying everywhere!

 

For the past few years, our largest chinook of the season has come from Buoy 10 and this year was no exception. Here, Phil Michelsen is all smiles with this chrome upriver bright 34 pounder!

 

Local, late August chinook opportunity leads us to look north and west. Here, two San Juan angling legends Larry Carpenter and John Martinis jump on board Big Red for a morning on the west side of San Juan Island.

 

We had a very productive morning and the in the fishbox was a mixed bag of chinook, hatchery coho and, yes,,, pink salmon!

 

For the rest of the month, Puget Sound will be “in the pink” with a little silver mixed in for good measure. I’m pleased that Congressman Rick Larsen has taken an interest in the health of our salmon runs and the fishing industry as well. Left to right, Chris Beard, Tim Beard and Rick Larsen with a morning’s mess of pinks!

 

I really dread Labor Day weekend…It’s symbolic end of the summer season but as we all know, as one door closes, another one opens! September brings a whole new set of opportunities and challenges

Oh, yeah… Hunting and football seasons too…

Maybe September isn’t so bad after all…

Tom Nelson                                                                                                                             710 ESPN Seattle                                                                                                                   www.theoutdoorline.com

Marine Area 9? Fishin’ just FINE!!!

It’s hard to find the words to describe what awaited anglers at Midchannel Bank on the 2013 Marine Area 9 & 10 selective chinook opener…

With reports from the earlier opening areas -namely Sekiu, Port Angeles and the San Juans ranging from solid to white hot, I know I wasn’t the only eager angler tossing and turning on the eve of the opener! I couldn’t get to the boat fast enough, due in part to the fact that I had to hustle my wife Kathy and son Matthew out of the house at 0400… Not an easy task in anyone’s household I’m sure…

The only thing tempering my enthusiasm for the opener -coming on the largest hatchery chinook forecast in over a decade- was a goofy, mild flood morning tide. Some anglers couldn’t wait until daylight and ventured out in the dark, hoping to catch an early fish on the quickly fading pre-dawn ebb. For the most part, the early anglers could have slept in an hour because the mid-morning flood brought with it something that I can only refer to as Midchannel Mayhem!!!

 

After landing only half of our opening double, the bite was so rapid, we could only get one downrigger in the water at a time! Bailey the black lab licks her chops at what will soon become her favorite…smoked salmon skins!!!

 

Now with three in the box and my back turned to my wife’s downrigger, I heard line just peeling from the Daiwa Saltist 30..

.”What the heck dear?” Kathy screams, “…the rod was bent while it was in the ‘rigger and then it just doubled over!!!”

“That’s a big fish Kath,” I said as I slowed the boat and cleared the gear… “Let’s take our time with that one”…

We did take our time but I was a little impatient with the net and tapped this king on the tail, which led to a scolding from my wife but the smile on her face holding this 26 pounder says it all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy and our son Matthew -who also is our Producer/Board Operator on The Outdoor Line Radio Program on 710 ESPN Seattle- hold up the last two fish of the day. We’re limited and headed home by 0850hrs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was feeling pretty good about our day…until the phone rang… It was my friend Nick Kester of All Star Charters: “Hey Nelly, can you come by and get a boat picture! We’ve got our TEN KINGS and we’re all done!

Wow…so that’s what a ten chinook morning on Puget Sound looks like…

 

Back at the dock, the wife and I stop for a quick pic before the work begins…

You can’t clean fish on the waterfront without attracting a few spectators… Here, Bailey the black lab has a word with the friendly neighborhood harbor seal.

 

All of our kings were full of candlefish which appear to be bigger on Midchannel Bank than in years past. Four inch spoons and squid are not too big this season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll be back out in the morning and we’ll keep The Outdoor Line’s Fishing Report Page fresh and up to date!

See you on the water!!!

Tom Nelson                                                                                                                             710 ESPN Seattle                                                                                                                   www.theoutdoorline.com