The Steelhead Yarn Ball (Yarnie) or Puff Ball as it is also commonly called, is a great alternative to using Corkies or Birdy Drifters when you’re steelhead fishing.
This rig can also be used for salmon and trout.
This demonstration shows you exactly how to tie the special knot used for this rig, as well as how to create the yarn ball itself.
Removing the scales from a fishes skin, also known as ‘scaling a fish’ or ‘descaling a fish’ can be a difficult task if not performed properly.
A nice benefit of scale removal is that it also removes the fishes slime coat and with it much of the fishy smell.
Fish such as salmon and trout have scales that can be removed fairly easily so this is better for these types of fish. A quick and effective but fairly messy technique to employ is done with a garden hose.
This is best done in an area where you don’t care about making a mess and preferably one that you don’t really need to clean up. Scales are going to be everywhere so make sure you don’t do this near your car or house siding because scales will stick to whatever is nearby and be there forever.
Use a hose with a nozzle set to a strong narrow stream of water and just blast the scales off of the fish.
A standard stainless steel pot scrubber is an effective and quick way of literally scrubbing the scales off of the outside of a fish.
These scrubbers are a balled up bundle of round stainless steel ribbons. They are durable and stow away nicely in your fish cleaning kit.
Just make sure you thoroughly rinse the scrubber to remove all of the scales and slime that will get embedded deeply into the scrubber and cause it to stink a few days later.
A butter knife or if need be your actual fillet knife can be used to scrape off the scales from each side of the fish.
I don’t recommend using your fillet knife because this will definitely dull it’s edge.
These items are common in upscale kitchens where they can be stored in a drawer and placed in the dishwasher for cleaning.
Simple and effective to use especially for heavy scaled fish such as bass. Just scrape forward from the tail to the head until the scales are removed, then rinse the fish with water to remove any slime or scale pieces.
A similar tool and just as simple to use is a spring style curry comb which is used for brushing horses or pets. It’s double sided and does a great job at removing fish scales.
These are for the hard core fisherman or someone who has a LOT of fish to clean! These power assisted tools take all of the elbow grease out of scale removal and really speed up the process!
If you have a lot of fish to descale, or big fish, or big fish with heavy scales, then these are the tools that will really get the job done.
Make sure you use lots of cold running water in conjunction with whatever scale removal technique you utilize. After you think you are done, run your hands over the skin and you should be able to feel any missed scales.
If the fish that you are filleting has especially ‘springy’ scales and they are flying all over the kitchen, then just fill the sink with water and scale them under water.
The Shimano Tekota reel has been on the market for around a decade now and is one of the favorite reels of big water fishermen here in the NW. Even though this reel comes in a non line counter version you rarely see them in use, it’s the line counter Tekota that everyone utilizes.
I’ve used the Shimano Tekota 500 LC reel on my guide boat during every trip going on 9 years now and I’m going to share my experience and take on the good and bad regarding its construction and performance. This is a robust reel with a lot of quality and great features but it does have some flaws and downside. We’re going to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Shimano Tekota 500 LC.
This reel has the best integrated line counter on the market. Oftentimes you will see a line counter reel that looks like the manufacturer added the line counter as after thought. This isn’t the case with the Tekota LC, the line counter is cleanly integrated into the reel and the counter’s rounded corners make it comfortable to hold.
The line counter itself is durable and with minimal maintenance, will outlast the other components on the reel during heavy use. I’ve never had the line counter mechanism fail. The only problems I’ve had with the actual line counter are fogging of the display window due to internal moisture. On another occasion the plastic see through window covering the line distance numbers came off.
These reels hold approximately 225 yards of 65# braided line.
One downside that isn’t obvious even after using the reels for a while is that the reel needs to be completely loaded with line in order for the line counter to be accurate. So when you break off 20 to 50 yards of line, please realize that there is going to be a difference in the amount of line that this reel says is deployed verses the other reels in your spread. This can be a huge problem when targeting suspended fish or when fishing multiple rods down the same side of the boat. A little bit of lost line isn’t enough to make much of a difference but if your reel has noticeably less line on it make sure you compare how much it is off so you can still keep it fishing at the same level as the others.
The “less than full” line counter problem that is inherent in this reel is also a major reason to not use the larger Tekota 600 LC unless you really plan on doing some deep drop fishing and don’t mind having to respool an extra 100+ yards onto the reel to keep its line counter accurate. The 600 LC’s high line capacity is nice but if you don’t really need that much line, you will find it prohibitively expensive to keep filling such a large reel all the way to the top with braid every time the reel gets a little less than full.
An obvious advantage that the Tekota has over traditional level wind reels, is its large oversize handle. This handle allows the angler to get a great grip and allows anglers without much coordination to still effectively crank fast. New anglers find this handle style easier to use then the traditional double handle bass reel style.
The grip itself has a rubber insert that covers the metal rivet that attaches the grip to the handle. This rubber insert has fallen out on a few occasions. Please keep in mind that my reels see very heavy use and that this probably won’t happen to most anglers.
I do very little if any maintenance on my reels and I have never had a problem with any type of corrosion on Tekotas, they seem very impervious to salt water corrosion issues.
Fishing reels like any good tool are supposed to look good, and Tekotas look great but there is one exception to this. The side plates of the reel are anodized aluminum but the middle section is painted. The paint on this middle section will chip and flake off when abused, which is to be expected of a painted surface. I don’t know why Shimano doesn’t anodize the whole reel but I wish they would because a reel with chipped up paint doesn’t look as good as an anodized surface that is scuffed up.
The line out clicker is loud but not too loud, and it holds up well to constant use.
This reel has always had an adequate drag and retrieval rate for the fish that we fish for here in the NW. However I wouldn’t say that they have a high retrieval rate or an extremely strong drag when compared to some of the latest reels that have been created for just this purpose, but keep in mind none of these new reels have line counters.
If you use G. Loomis rods be prepared to have a constant issue with having to tighten and retighten the reel seat when using these reels. G. Loomis needs to make a slightly larger reel seat to accommodate the size of this reel’s foot. I don’t think this is a Shimano issue but it’s worth mentioning here.
I used to burn up or break Abu Garcia level wind reels in six to twelve months! Now I get about 2 years of use out of a Tekota 500 LC, sometimes more. These reels will last longer under normal use but I use them 200 days a year for every species that we fish for, salmon, steelhead, bottom fish and sturgeon. Some of our sturgeon are 8+ feet long and fighting these huge fish is what really does a number on these reels. I also troll heavy lead (16 to 20 oz) which also accelerates the wear and tear on these reels. Under normal use a person can probably expect 10 years to possibly a lifetime of use.
In the event that something fails on one of these reels, I have had good success sending them back to Shimano to be repaired. A typical repair bill is $30 to $40 and the turnaround to get them back is generally three to five weeks.
The bottom line is this, you can find a better reel to fish with but if it’s a line counter reel that you need, you will be hard pressed to find a better one then the Shimano Tekota LC series. For the longest time this has been the best line counter reel available, however the combination of durability, quality construction and aesthetics make the Daiwa Saltist a good runner up.