Tips & Techniques
Recipe for a professional overlay
As a reel technician, I get lots of customers who are wishing to achieve better casting distance or better “free spool” from their bait casting reels. When I receive the reels, during my troubleshooting, I notice that...Full Story
The 300 pound GorillaBy Gary Heffley
12/05/12 -- Let us talk or at least allow me to talk about one of the biggest gorillas in the fishing room. Catch and Release or Catch and Keep? Both have merits no matter where your position lies as there is a time and place for both...Full Story
Honkin a short reed goose call
01/23/13 -- Many variations of the Short Reed Goose Call are available; most are made from ABS, polycarbonate, wood or acrylic. According to call designer Shad Harrison of Harrison Calls of Vale, OR, the shorter a goose call...Full Story
Sea state forecast described
By Troy Nicolini
[Nicolini is with the National Weather Service in Eureka. This article was published originally in the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers Newsletter*.] The National Weather Service office in Eureka has been using...Full Story
Top Ten flies for stillwater
11/10/12 -- Stillwater fishing has progressed at a rapid pace in the last decade. Techniques, rods, lines, and even the players on the field have gone in different directions to hone their craft. It has almost become personal...Full Story
Picking out a rod and reelBy Gary Heffley
Picking out the perfect rod and reel can seem very complicate. Even discussing this may will seem complicated but it really isn't that difficult. By working with a knowledgeable sales associate at most any tackle...Full Story
Pro tips - choose your steelhead line wiselyFishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
With some spare time on my hands this week due to the recent storms, I checked out a few of our local fishing guide’s web sites to see what they were up to during their time off the water, I ran across...Full Story
Don't be a boat ramp rat!By Chuck Giles
It’s that time of year again to discuss boat ramp etiquette; yes, there is an unwritten set of guidelines for launching and loading your boat. What follows are just suggestions to keep you from incurring the wrath of... Full Story
Some words on drag systems
Through the many years of being a professional reel technician, there has been much discussion on drag systems, as well as some confusion on the part of my customers. Here I will try to clear up some confusion and explain...Full Story
How to fillet and smoke a salmon
This is not a very normal year. I can't remember a year when salmon would take a lure at Weitchpec in July, but they are now, and they are beautiful fish. Also I am seeing adult steelhead going up the Trinity River behind...Full Story
Chug a Coke, Save a bleeding fish
There’s nothing worse than watching a big beautiful wild fish bleed out from a damaged gill. I found myself in just that situation with a big brown trout one day. Watching helplessly as the water turned red. Thank God Kent was...Full Story
Leave young wildlife alone!It is spring: Oregon’s wildlife are giving birth and raising their young, teaching them what to eat, where to take shelter and how to survive in the wild. During that time mothers leave their young alone, often for...Full Story
Bear paws on windows? Don't feed the bears!The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) is reminding everyone that Oregon is home to a healthy population of an estimated 25,000-30,000 black bears. During spring, Oregon’s black bears are coming...Full Story
What you CAN'T see -- Importance of Regular Preventative Reel Maintenance
It’s what you can’t see that does a lot of damage. Regular maintenance on your reels is important if you want to extend their life. This is a customer’s reel that is fished in saltwater. Outside, the reel looked...Full Story
Kokanee Special: Curing your own corn
For more than 15 years I’ve been guiding for kokanee in California and while a few things have changed when it comes to terminal tackle, one thing hasn’t: We all tip our baits with corn. When I first started everybody made...Full Story
Tips from the Reel Tech anti-reverse bearingsBy John Strenk
One of the greatest things to come to the world of fishing reels was the implementation of a one way roller bearing, or anti-reverse bearing, into spinning and casting reels. These bearings now found in most all of the...Full Story
On the bully pulpit, PFD'sBy Gary Heffley
I don’t have the power of political position to make it so and I don’t have the podium at which I can preach to the masses but I have this forum by which hopefully I can reach even just a few of the readers with a very simple...Full Story
Avoiding kayaking injuriesBy Marna Powell, Kayak Zak's
Before You Paddle: Warm up cold muscles with movement and exercise. Do not stretch your cold muscles. Dress for the water. Eat a balanced meal and drink plenty of fluids. Double-check your kayak, gear...Full Story
Prepare to be boardedArticle and photos by Casey Allen for Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers
Any time I get pulled over by law enforcement I get nervous. Even though I know I have done nothing wrong my pulse quickens and my voice quivers. It must be like having white coat syndrome, where your blood...Full Story
Extend the life of your reelBy John Strenk (The Reel Tech)
02/15/12 -- Here's a tidbit of advice from me at The Reel Tech. I’m sure you guys all have reels with a thumb bar disengagement systems such as Shimano Curados, Citicas, Calcuttas, Chronarchs, Pfleuger... Full Story
Safe wading tipsFishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
As the temperatures plunge and frost permeates the shores of our rivers, it can only mean rivers are running high and fast - that’s when accidents can happen. Most of us have tripped on a rock, or waded in too deep... Full Story
Coast Guard will be looking for youBy Todd Vorenkamp
12/06/11 -- When disaster strikes, before you get into the water wearing your personal flotation device and survival suit, you definitely want to let the Coast Guard know where you are. In this primer, we will be discussing... Full Story
Is it time to upgrade your Marine VHF Radio?By Todd Vorenkamp
12/06/11 -- Mariners and boaters alike may have noticed a distinct feature on newer marine VHF radios over the past few years – the presence of a red button on the front of the unit with a “DISTRESS” label on it.Full Story
Archery makes you a better hunterBy Francisco Garcia
9/02/11 -- Deer hunting with archery equipment can be a humbling experience. You can see bucks all day and all season long but it doesn’t mean you will slap your tag on one. There are too many variables...Full Story
To help or not to help? That is the questionBy Chuck Giles
Whether we realize it or not, those of us who enjoy boating have joined an exclusive fraternity. We signed nothing obligating us to help each other in times of distress. However, there are laws, and moral obligations...Full Story
Trolling Flies, Jay Fair's keys to successBy Gary Heffley
Jay Fair gained his fame and reputation as a fly tier, guide and innovator on the use of trolling flies to catch trophy trout on Eagle Lake and other Northern California and Southern Oregon Lakes. Jay shared...Full Story
How to fish a dry flyBy Art Teter
Every year I see guys fishing a dry until they have pounded the water to death with very little success. Sometimes, it is something as simple as (and you have all heard me say this before) just "paying attention"... Full Story
The Safety Belt of the Sea: The PFDBy Todd Vorenkamp
When I started sailing and racing sailboats many years ago, it was rare to see a crew out on the water wearing lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs).PFD’s were always viewed as bulky...Full Story
Live Bait for BassBy Gary Heffley
Most bass anglers frown on it, tournaments forbid it and lure manufacturers spend millions of dollars to mimic it. Live bait fishing for bass is not just something families do, soaking minnows or worms under a bobber... Full Story
[Editor’s Note: This list of tips is just beginning. The editors, reporters and readers of MyOutdoorBuddy.com will be adding tips regularly.
Please share with our readers what you know that will enhance the experience of wetting a line in northern California waters. What have you learned? Your expertise, no matter where you fish (fresh or saltwater) or what species you target, could be invaluable to other anglers. What not to do is just as important as what to do. Please send your strategies, ideas, tips, techniques and personal experiences to MyOutdoorBuddy (see e-mail address at bottom of home page). Please include you name and hometown.]
1. Boat Accessories -- Always check to make sure your boat’s vital equipment is operational. Discovering that your boat’s live well aerator, bilge pump, lights (internal, running and navigation), radios, or direction finders (compass or GPS or radar) are not in proper order AFTER you have launched can ruin a day or more. – Frank Galusha, Editor
2. Boat Safety Equipment – Always check to see you have proper life jackets for each person who will be in your boat. Wear them and ask your passengers to wear them. Make sure children under age 13 are wearing life jackets at all times. Have at least one life-saving device you can throw to someone who has fallen overboard. Have a rope handy you can throw to a person in the water. Have a spare motor and check it frequently to see that it is working properly. Make sure you have an anchor in case your motor(s) fail, or oars if your boat is equipped with oarlocks. Carry flares, air horns, extra water, a first-aid kit and, if you are on medications, put your vital pills in a small box and store them inside the boat or your tackle box. If your boat is equipped with an automatic shutoff lanyard switch, always clip it to your belt or wrist while underway. If you are thrown overboard your engine will stop and you may be able to swim back to it. If your plans include going offshore in north coast waters, see Tip #5 – Frank Galusha, Editor
3. Coast Guard Advisories/Marine Safety – The following are not “Tips” but essential rules or recommendations, some of which will be strictly enforced by the Coast Guard to ensure safe boat at sea.
There should be a personal flotation device on the vessel for each person, sized accordingly. Children under the age of 13 are required by law to wear a life jacket.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that boaters equip their vessels with immersion suits or other full-body protection, as water temperatures will be cold, and hypothermia can quickly overtake the average person.
Boaters should have flares and an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon with 406 MHz capabilities to enable a faster response by the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.
Boaters should have an operational marine VHF radio on their boat in order to contact the Coast Guard on channel 16, in the event an emergency. Due to the high mountainous areas throughout the region, boaters should not rely on their cell phones as a means of communication. In order to expedite the Coast Guard's response in an emergency, mariners should have a GPS unit onboard or, at a minimum, maintain a knowledge of local waters and know your location at all times. The Coast Guard reminds radio operators that VHF channel 16 is an emergency channel, and that improper transmission on channel 16 not only hampers Coast Guard response, but may be punishable under federal law.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that all boaters file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location to which you will be heading. It is also recommended that you regularly check in with those who are aware of your plan, especially if your plan should change.
Mariners should check current and forecasted weather conditions prior to getting underway, and remain aware of changing conditions once on the water. The National Weather Service broadcasts weather conditions throughout the day on VHF channel WX2. The Coast Guard broadcasts weather conditions on VHF channel 22A at 9:30 a.m., noon, and 4:30 p.m.
It is against the law for anyone to operate a vessel under the influence of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol by anyone else aboard is also strongly discouraged.
Prior to taking to the water, boaters are encouraged to go to http://uscgboating.org/ for more complete information on safe boating. The Coast Guard also highly recommends boaters get a free vessel-safety inspection from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. More information on these inspections can be found at http://www.vesselsafetycheck.org/. A few minutes now could save a life later.
Current weather information and advisories can be found on the National Weather Service website. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/west/mtrmz.htm
Obtain a copy of the “rules of the road” about how to handle your boat in harbors or at sea be sure you understand all navigation signs, signals and lights, especially fowl weather warnings or warnings about dangerous bar crossings.
4. Licenses and Regulations Booklets -- Always make sure you have your license and current regulations with you when you are going fishing. Seems simple but many forget one or both and have the dilemma of fishing without the license ( illegal) or not fishing at all and taking a chance of not knowing and guessing what, if any, size, method of take or limit restrictions a body of water may have. Keep a copy of regulations in your vehicle, boat, vest, tackle bags and boxes so you always have a copy handy. It will save you money in the long run plus the regulations are free at most dealers that sell bait and /or tackle. Hang your license where you can’t miss it and keep a checklist to insure you don’t forget it. – Gary Heffley, Anderson, reporter
4. Boat Drain Plugs -- Remember to check your boat’s drain plug before launching. Make sure it is in place and screwed in tightly. The proverbial “fire drill” at the ramp of someone who forgot to put it in is often funny but can ruin an outing or result in costly repairs if not caught soon enough.
Develop a pattern that forces you to check your drain plug; e.g. make it part of a checklist for launching such as removing transom savers, trailer tie downs, winch and safety hooks and checking depth finder sensors.
When you remove a drain plug always store in the same place or in the same manner so you won’t forget to put it back in or can find it quickly.
Some boats give the angler access to the drain plug from inside. In that case perhaps you can develop a way to hook your drain plug to your boat through the drain plug hole with a small but sturdy key chain, wire or cord. That way, if you forget to check the drain plug perhaps you will be able to pull it back into the hole from inside your boat or reach over the back of the transom and put it back in before your boat has taken on much water. Always carry a spare drain plug or two in your boat tool box or tackle box. Then, if you lose your plug, the day won’t be ruined. – Frank Galusha, Editor
5. Avoiding Monofilament Snarls
Now for a fairly valuable tip for those of us who use spinning tackle and often suffer from loops becoming tangles in the reel. I overheard Tim Brady at Dragonfly Outfitters in Weaverville offer this advice to a customer who was asking about spinning reels. Although I had heard this years ago I had forgotten this tip and was not able to help my nephews when they were encountering the loop / tangle issue on our recent trip.
When casting a spinning reel use your fingers to manually close the bail bar instead of using the reel to do it by engaging the reel by turning the handle. This will all but eliminate the loops. This can save snagged lures, missed fish and time spent dealing with line knots and tangles. – Gary Heffley, reporter
6. Carry portable radios and GPS units if at sea
You may think you have a communications link when you don’t! A dead boat battery may leave you without a way to reach the Coast Guard on VHF Marine Channel 16, so try carrying a small battery-powered, hand-held Marine Radio and a GPS such as you might use while hiking. A hand-held radio may not reach out far enough to make contact with the Coast Guard but since many vessels are required to monitor Channel 16, a nearby ship may hear your distress call. Also, a portable GPS allows you to give your position – an absolutely vital piece of information if the Coast Guard, including helicopters, or any other rescue vessel is to know exactly where you are in the ocean. Needless to say, make sure you have spare batteries on hand for such portable devices. Note: Marine Radios and VHF receivers have channels for weather reports. -- Frank Galusha, Editor