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Mooching and Drifting for salmon in the Columbia River's Buoy 10 fishery!

Using lead weights to take your bait to the desired depth when fishing in the Buoy 10 area has really caught on with a huge number of salmon anglers in recent years. Lead’s effectiveness and simplicity make it the preferred choice for many seasoned anglers and guides.

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This year’s huge salmon run has allowed me to do some experimenting and I have found great success utilizing two new techniques. Mooching/jigging and drifting. While these techniques have been employed for many years in other salmon fisheries on the west coast, they are almost never seen on the lower Columbia River.

The advantage of employing these techniques is that it allows you to keep your bait in the fish zone as long as possible rather than quickly trolling through the school of salmon and then needing to fire up the main motor and run back up stream and troll down through the school again. This technique also allows you to utilize lighter lead to deliver your bait to the salmon because the boat’s motor is not in gear moving you forward and away from them. Also, if all of the anglers on the boat look out for each other and work as a team, it allows you to keep fishing while someone is fighting their fish, similar to a bottom fishing trip.

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Mooching for salmon is a simple process. Longer 10.5′ rods have an advantage but any rod can be used. All you need is an anchovy or herring, hooked to your two or three hook leader, a swivel with a lead sinker fixed to a drop line or just hooked to a slider. 6 – 16 ounces of lead seems sufficient for most conditions but you may find that you prefer to go lighter or heavier for certain river conditions.

To start the mooching process, hold your rod tip about a foot above the surface of the water and let your bait fall to the bottom (or any desired depth). Don’t free fall the bait, make sure to keep a little tension on the line while it is falling because it is very common for the salmon to grab the bait during the drop. When this happens you will often only feel a slight bump, instantly respond by setting the hook or reeling until the line comes tight and then setting the hook.

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Assuming you are dropping all the way to the bottom (my preferred approach),once bottom is reached, close your bail and lift the rod skyward. Remember you started with the rod’s tip about a foot above the surface of the water, now lifting (moderately fast) will allow you to raise the bait 9-10 feet upward, then drop the rod tip back down reeling the slack line in at the same time, this is when you will often feel a slight bump, set the hook! That bump was the fish grabbing it. You can do this “lift up and reel down” technique until you retrieve your bait all the way back to the surface or you can just do it in the “fish zone” which I consider to be the bottom 10 feet of the water column.

We often just raise and lower the rod 9-10 feet with out reeling in on the drop and checking to make sure it hits bottom every 3-4 lifts. This is more of a jigging approach than what is traditionally considered true mooching. I’m always watching the fish finder to see where the salmon are located in the water column, calling out to my anglers where I’m seeing the fish so that the anglers can adjust their baits depth accordingly to get it in front of the salmon.

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Occasionally some of my anglers tire of the up and down lifting motion of mooching/jigging and they just place the rod in the rod holder and the next thing you know, we have a fish on that rod! Kind of surprising when we have often thought in the past that the trolling motor needs to be running in order to drag the bait through water and make it spin. The reality is that with great bait, moving water, and a boat that is getting pushed by the wind and being jostled around by the waves, there is more than enough action and enticement being provided by your bait to make the salmon bite it.Remember to always start with your rod tip just above the water before lifting, and after dropping back down be sure to end with it just above the water, that way you allow yourself to get a full upward sweep as well as a good hook set. New anglers find that they make loose fish using this technique because after setting the hook they often just start to reel the fish in. Make sure that after you set the hook, you then reel all the way down the water’s surface and give the fish a strong upward lift to again firmly drive the hooks home and ensure the fish is on the line, then continue fighting it by lifting up and pulling the fish toward you and then lowering the rod and while reeling to take up the slack. This is the standard fish fighting routine for seasoned anglers but an all to uncommon approach for folks new to trying to land large fish.We will often troll until we hook a fish (or until we see fish on the fish finder) and then while we are fighting the fish the other anglers just pick their rods up out of the rod holders and start jigging them up and down making sure to lift the rod skyward faster rather than slower because it is the speed of the spinning bait and the abrupt stops and up and down direction changes that trigger the fish to strike.

I find the drifting technique to work well in deep water (over 50 feet deep). However it can also work very well when the tide is ripping really fast in shallower water. In deeper water I put the baits down suspended anywhere from 20-45 feet deep on the line counter and stick the rods in the rod holder without the motor on. Specifically speaking about the drifting technique, as long as your line has some angle to it (rather than hanging straight down) as you are drifting then it is definitely spinning. If it is just hanging straight up and down then you may want to consider mooching it up and down in the water column to impart more action to it.

Amazingly enough we have caught dozens of fish this season utilizing these techniques when there wasn’t a single fish being shown on the fish finder.
For Coho Salmon my bait of choice for mooching is whole anchovies rigged with a three hook leader and for Chinook Salmon I prefer Blue Label cut plug herring again with a three hook leader. For both types of bait, the bottom two hooks are 4/0 and the top hook is a 5/0.

I and my wife Lacey DeWeert who runs the other guide boat for our business use nothing but Maxima fluorocarbon leader material for all of our salmon leaders. We find that it’s abrasion resistance keeps large salmon from biting through it. We also find that since it is a little stiffer than standard nylon monofilament, this allows the bait’s spinning motion to be transferred up the leader to the swivel, thus keeping those notorious twists and kinks out of our leaders. Generally we use 40 pound fluorocarbon leader which has replaced the 50 pound nylon monofilament that we used in years past. It’s strong enough to handle any of our salmon, we never get bitten off by toothy Tules anymore and the thinner diameter allows the bait to spin even easier, providing an amazing presentation. This has been one of the huge keys to our consistent success during Buoy 10 salmon season.

Kevin Newell – Total Fisherman Guide Service

Best Fishing Gift Ideas for 2013 – New Products & Classic Winners

Here is a compilation of the best new fishing products that came out during 2013. ThisChristmas Fishing Gifts fishing gift list has items that are sure to please everyone from the novice to the most experienced angler!

In addition we’ve included some unique fishing items that we believe most anglers would love to have but don’t typically possess.

It’s our hope that this fishing gift list helps you in your search for that perfect Christmas gift for that amazing angler in your life!

Voted Best New Rain Gear 2013 – Shimano’s Dryfender 3T Jacket & Bib



  • Workmanship & Materials are Guaranteed to keep you dry for the natural life cycle of the Product
  • 3-Layer Dryfender 3T shell is waterproof, breathable and durable
  • Fully seam sealed
  • YKK center front zipper with storm flap
  • Chest pocket features YKK water-resistant zipper with custom Shimano zipper pull
  • Adjustable cuff with inner watertight sleeve gaiter to keep water out
  • Stowable storm hood features side vents for better acoustics
  • 2 large bottom zippered pockets for storage
  • Adjustable drawcord hem

Voted Best Fishing Kayak 2013 -Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak

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  • PERFORMANCE CRAFTED TRI-HULL LT900 polyethylene delivers incredible durability and strength. Tri-Hull design offers superior stability and tracking.
    SLIP RESISTANT EXO-RIDGE DECK Proprietary textured design ensures you and your gear stay dry and secure.
  •  6 REMOVABLE MOUNTING PLATES Strategically placed high-strength mounts mean no more drilling into your boat hull. Customize with rod holders, fish finders, slide tracks or GPS.
  •  HUMMINBIRD® TRANSDUCER SCUPPER (PREDATOR 13 ONLY) Designed to support the latest Side Imaging transducer technology, the recessed scupper port provides convenient built-in mounting.
  •  CENTER CONSOLE WITH MOD POD COVER (PREDATOR 13 ONLY) Mount arrange and customize gear, including paddle leashes, GPS, fish finders and rod holders, open to reveal storage access

Voted Best Fishing Combo – 13 Fishing Whiteout Ice Fishing Combo

  • The all new 2013-14 Whiteout Combo features new evolve solo components, a custom evolve blackjack integrated slim seat design and a solid toray carbon blank.
  • The reel features 6 ball bearings, fat bail, and instant reverse.

Humminbird SmartCast RF35 Wrist Mount Waterproof Fishfinder

  • Wrist-mounted fishfinder features 1.25-inch high-visibility display with 48 x 32 pixels of resolution
  • Remote sonar sensor with 150-foot remote operating range and 120-foot depth capability
  • One-Touch menu navigation easily controls FishID+, depth range, fish alarm, and sensitivity
  • Waterproof design with Wet Switch technology that saves battery life
  • Includes dual-channel, waterproof advanced RSS unit with 500 hours of in-water usage time

Voted Best Polarized Fishing Glasses 2013 – Costa “Tuna Alley” Polarized Sunglasses

  • Tuna Alley offers a large, wrap-around fit to protect against outside glare.
  • It features front frame vents to alleviate lens fogging, as well as a no-slip interior lining to keep the sunglasses comfortably in place all day.
  • Nearly indestructible co-molded injected nylon frame construction, sturdy integral hinges and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
  • Tuna Alley is available in tortoise, matte black, white, crystal and the new blackout frame colors.
  • Available in the full spectrum of patented Costa 580 (TM) lenses. It can also accommodate Costa’s Rx sun lenses.

Voted Best Fishsmart Tackle 2013 – G2 Floating Wading Net

  • The G2 Wading Net floats, has a rubber coated net to protect the fish and prevent hooks from being caught up in it.
  • The stretch cord with clasp make this net the best of it’s kind.
  • The bright orange EVA flotation material on the handle as well the as the net ring make it highly visible and safe on the fish.
  • Available in bright orange or pink for the lady anglers.

Voted Best Fishing Vest 2013 – Columbia Sportswear Henry’s Fork V Fishing Vest

  • Updated this season in a new, super-lightweight honeycomb fabric.
  • This performance fishing vest features the cushioned Columbia Comfort System™ yoke at the back shoulders to evenly distribute weight.
  • 12 finely tuned pockets to hold all your gear.

The Ultimate Line Winding System

  • A Break-Thru Item For Spooling Line
  • Zero Line Twist
  • Extreme Portability

Lifeproof iPhone Cases – Waterproof!

  • Built-in scratch protector protects touchscreen.
  • LifeProof’s original and proven case technology.
  • The most comprehensive device protection available.
  • Completely waterproof, drop proof, dirt proof and snow proof.

Floating Jacket for Lifeproof iPhone Case!

  • Synthetic molded from soft, buoyant foam, the LifeJacket for the fre iPhone 5 Case preserves the life of your device, no matter how wet it gets
  • The form-fitting design slips right over your case, and comes off just as quickly
  • And, even if a trip to Davy Jones Locker isnt a threat, the LifeJacket adds an additional layer of shock protection to your LifeProof Case
  • Featuring the high-vis bright orange color of a classic life jacket, the LifeProof LifeJacket keeps your phone afloat and in sight.
  • And, the included lanyard and wrist strap keeps it in hand.

Berkley Gulp Alive Killer Crawler Bait

  • Hollow core for lifelike feel and incredible action
  • Still more durable than live nightcrawler
  • Deadly finesse style and clear water tactic
  • Especially deadly on Mustad’s Slow Death hook

Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp Scent Spray, 8-Ounce

  • Attracts fish with smell, holds with taste
  • Convenient spray bottle
  • Features shrimp
  • Comes in 8-ounces
  • Bottle shoots stream or spray

NorCross HawkEye Handheld Fish Finder

  • Marine tool is ideal for fishermen
  • Using an ultra wide, 25 degree sonar beam angle, delivers accurate depth, fish and bottom structure readings from 1.5 to 99.9 feet
  • Operationable down to zero degrees Fahrenheit; includes a trollable, mountable, and floatable sonar sensor with 35 feet of cable and cable tie-strap
  • Exceptionally easy to use; simply turn the power on, toss the sonar sensor from the shoreline, bridge, or boat
  • Fits in the palm of your hand

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Hands-Free Lotion

  • 3M Technology allows time released protection for up to 12 Hours
  • Sponge applicator built in to base of tube allows for quick & easy application and clean hands
  • Splash & Sweat resistant to ensure consistent protection through all your outdoor activities
  • Repels deer ticks that may carry Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes that may carry West Nile Virus
  • Lotion formulation developed for and used by the US Military

 Portable Camp Fish Cleaning Table with Faucet

  • DIMENSIONS: 45-1/4″L X 23-1/4″W X 33-1/4″H
  • FOLDED: 45-1/4″L X 23-1/4″W X 2-3/4″
  • STAINLESS STEEL FAUCET HOOKS TO STANDARD GARDEN HOSE
  • FLEXIBLE DRAIN HOSE
  • LOCKING LEGS

Ice Fisherman’s Dream! XtremepowerUS 3 Bits(6″, 8″, 12″) 55CC Gas Ice Hole Digger

  • Engine: 2-stroke,air-cooled
  • Displacement:55cc
  • Rated output power:1090W
  • Overall with Bits Dig up to 3ft Deep
  • Auger Bit as 6 , 8 & 12inch (Total 2 packages)

Betts Old Salt Premium Cast Net for Catching Bait Fish with Storage Box

  • 1 pound per foot
  • Includes how to instructions
  • Utility Storage Box

Energizer 3LED Trailfinder Performance Cap Light (2AAA Batteries Included)

  • 3 Light Modes; White (high-low) and Red for Night Vision
  • Contoured Above Brim Design does not Obstruct Vision
  • Swivels 90 degrees to point light where it is needed
  • Recessed Push Button Switch Prevents Inadvertent Activation
  • Packed with 2 AAA Energizer MAX Batteries

Angler’s Choice Oval Notch Fight Belt – Extra Comfort when reeling in big fish!

 

Lindy Rigger – Tackle and Leader Storage

  • Anti-tangle storage system
  • Holds snells of any length
  • Unique snell keeper holds snells securely
  • High Density foam holds hooks in place
  • Lindy Riggers float!

Best Fishing Gifts 2012

Best Fishing Gifts 2012What fishing gift do you get that special angler that has everything?

Fishing gifts can be some of the hardest to buy, but we have compiled a list of some of our favorites and we think they will definitely be a big hit!

We have done a ton of research and we believe the following list compiles some of the coolest and most unique fishing gifts for the 2012 holiday season!

 

Survival Fishing Kit

Survival fishing kits have always been a big hit amongst anglers!

Whether you’re traveling to far off remote destinations, or just like beeing prepared for unforeseen emergencies, these kits have a great assortment of tackle and are sure to make your angler happy and prepared!

 

How To Tie Fishing Knots (Waterproof & Portable Cards)

An angler needs to remember how to tie quite a few fishing knots and sometimes we forget just the right way to do it, or forget just what knot is needed for that particular situation.

These cards are really a lifesaver in a situation like this!  They are durable and stow away compactly in a fishing vest, tackle box or in the boat.

 

Wrist Mount Fishfinder

This fishfinder made by the trusted folks at Humminbird is a revolutionary concept in fish finder design and function!

This unit is great for bank anglers that want to see what is happening out in the lake or river.

You just cast the remote sonar sensor into the area that you want to fish and it beams back what it is seeing to the watch like display!

 

Fishing Line Spool Holder & Dispenser

Keeping your fishing lines organized AND untangled is a must for every serious fisherman!

These fishing line spool holders (in small & large) do an excellent job of keeping the lines untangled and still easily accessible.

These holders can be used on the boat or in the tackle are of your home!

 

Fish & Game Cleaning Stations

Having a large, clean and dedicated table for processing your fish and game is a must for hardcore fishermen.

These tables keep you from messing up your kitchen while at the same time providing you with a more than adequate space for doing all of your cutting and packaging.

Plus, they fold up and can easily be taken with you to the field!

 

Under Water Video Camera – See the fish!

There isn’t an angler out there that doesn’t wish that they had the ability to see under water and find out if the fish were really there!

These units are amazing, now we have the ability to not only visually find fish but also tell what type they are and even see them bite our line!

 

Lure Wrap – Covers Hooks & Eliminates Tangles

These lure covers are designed to cover the lure/hooks when they are tied to the main line and connected to the rod.

There is nothing more frustrating than grabbing a handul of your favorite rods and then trying to untangle the mess that happens after all of the hooks grab the other lines and lures.

This product is a huge headache saver!

 

Bubba Blade Fillet Knives

These knives are just awesome!  Very high quality and they are going to last.

The handle has a sticky textured grip that will not slip in your hand even when wet!

The full tang blade is made from one piece of steel that goes all the way to the base of the grip.

Teflon coated stainless steel blades that slide easily through the fish and don’t rust!

 

Daiwa Compact Travelers Rod & Reel Kit

Your favorite angler will never be without the ability to cast a line!

This compact travel rod stows away easily in their suitcase or behind a seat in the angler’s vehicle.

 

Tsunami Ultra-strong Aluminum Pliers 7.5

Aluminum pliers are the only way to go for the serious fisherman.  They won’t rust and they are very light weight and durable. Say good bye to pliers that won’t open because of rust or nasty rust stains on your boats interior.

Titanium coated stainless steel jaws!

Titanium coated carbide cutter!

Coiled tether to keep pliers handy AND secure!

 

Heavy Duty Rolling Wooden Rod & Reel Rack


This is a great way to keep those expensive rods and reels organized and protected.

      • Heavy duty but elegant hard wood design.

      • Wheels for easily moving all rods even when fully loaded.

      • Holds up to 16 large rods & reels.

 

Rolling Wire Rod & Tackle Bag Rack


    • Accomodates 12 Rod and Reel Combinations

    • Three Adjustable Shelves to Maximize Your Specific Storage Requirements

    •  Each Shelf Can Hold Up to 50lbs

    •  Sturdy Wheels Allow for Easy Movement, Even When Loaded

    •  Rubber Clips Secure Rod Tips and Prevents Them from Falling

Coleman SportCat PerfecTemp Catalytic Heater

    • 1,500 BTU unit runs up to 14 hours on one 16.4-oz. propane cylinder (sold separately)

    •  PerfecTemp Catalytic technology for safe, efficient flameless heat — at the game, in the tent, in the garage or around the home

    •  Easy-grip handle for convenient carrying

    •  Tie heater to most surfaces with built-in eyelets

    •  Detachable base stabilizes heater

Rapala 6-Inch Double Sided Hook Sharpener

 
 

    • Coarse Round Side for shaping and initial sharpening of hook point

    • Fine Flat Side for honing and final stages of sharpening

    • Non-Slip Handle Grip

Mr. Heater Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

  • Indoor-safe portable propane heater for rooms up to 100 square feet

  • Continuous odor-free heat for up to 5-1/2 hours; 45-degree heating angle

  • Simple on/off buttons; uses 1-pound disposable propane cylinder (not included)

  • Low-oxygen sensor and accidental tip-over switch with auto shut-off for safety

  • Measures 12 by 10-1/2 by 10-1/2 inches; 1-year limited warranty

5 LED Cap Light – attaches to baseball cap


    • The MasterVision 5 LED cap light is a lightweight, compact cap light that is engineered to withstand extreme conditions and rugged use.

    • This cap light is powered by 2 lithium coin cell batteries for hours of ultra bright white light from 5 LED bulbs with more than 100,000 hours of burn time.

    • It weighs only 1.24 ounces with batteries, is water resistant, and attaches to the brim of a cap for the most powerful hands-free light source available.

    • An essential tool for the professional and recreational outdoorsman, mechanic, hobbyist, or anyone who needs a ultra bright, hands-free light.

Togiak Float Tube


    • High back stadium seat with adjustable backrest for extra support and comfort

    • Roomy armrest storage with additional reel pockets, gear pockets, small mesh pockets and flat zip pockets

    • Rear mesh storage platform and horizontal rod holder

    • Lash tabs and D-rings for attaching gear and creel bags

    • Safety flag pocket

Rapala – Soft Grip Fillet Knife Combo


    • This Rapala 3 Knife set contains a 4″, 6″, and 7.5″ Soft Grip Fillet Knives

    • 3 Coordinated Sheaths Included

    • 2 Stage Knife Sharpener Included

    • Handground Stainless Steel Blade

    • Great Gift Item!

Perception Sport Fishing Pescador Angler Kayak


    • This stable, easy to paddle sit-on-top kayak comes fully rigged with fishing features needed to hit the water right away.

    • Anglers love the versatile hull design that’s good for tracking on lakes but also maneuvers easily on rivers.

    • The extra large cockpit opening provides plenty of room to work with your tackle and offers easy entry and exit.

Yeti Coolers Roadie 20 Quart


YETI® Roadie® Coolers are built to take the rugged abuse that comes with the way we work and play.

Unlike ordinary coolers, which are essentially “disposable”, a YETI® is made to last!

Keeping things cold is what a cooler is all about.

With thicker walls, more than twice the insulation and a full-frame gasket, YETI® Coolers outperform the competition – it’s not even close!

 

Rapala Cut Resistant Fillet Glove


    • Keep all your digits intact with the Rapala Fillet Glove

    • A comfy blend of natural and synthetic fibers with stainless steel provides the best protection ever

Plano Guide Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag


Fishing in the rain, on the shoreline or in a boat with a bottleom full of water” Relax…

The 4674 Guide Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag is designed to keep gear dry when fishing in wet or extreme conditions.

The bags are designed to hold multiple StowAway utility boxes for organizing your tackle, while the unique flow-through bottleom allows water to run through, allowing gear inside to dry naturally.

 

Rapala Folding Fillet Knife


    • Offers rugged compactness and exceptional value

    •  Textured soft-grip handle provides a cushioned feel that allows for a secure grasp

    • 5-Inch blade is made of Swedish surgical stainless steel for exceptional flex when filleting

    • Textured soft-grip handle provides a cushioned feel that allows for a secure grasp

    • Sturdy lock-back design

Celsius 6″ Floating Pliers


    • With its Tungsten Carbide cutting blades, these pliers have no problem cutting through monofilament or braided fishing line.

    • The floating soft-grip handles and adjustable lanyard means you’ll never lose these heavy-duty fishing pliers.

    • A must-have tool for every tackle box.Extremely sharp cutting edge is able to cut through the strongest fishing lines out there.Curved design makes for easier access while removing hooks.

    • Won’t rust!

Plano Small Waterproof Boxes Quantity of Three


    • Package of three waterproof terminal accessory boxes

    • One compartment

    • Four compartment

    • Six Compartment

    • Waterproof O-ring waterproof seal

Gear-Retractor – great for hook sharpeners,  & small pliers!


    • Keep your fishing tools in easy reach AND secure with this simple piece of equipment.

Casio Men’s Moon Phase Tide Graph Sport Watch


    • Featuring an innovative moon phase display, the Casio Men’s Sport Moon Phase Tide Graph Watch keeps you in touch with Mother Nature.

    • The digital-gray dial face is protected by a durable mineral dial window.

    • Embellishing the dial are an easy-to-read time display, a day-date-and-month calendar, and other high-tech details including a countdown timer, a stopwatch, and an hourly time signal.

    • Its sleek look is achieved with a silver-tone, stainless steel band, equipped with a sturdy fold-over-clasp, and other a matching 42-millimeter stainless steel case and stationary silver-tone stainless steel bezel.

    • Presenting a sporty design, this functional timepiece encourages your celestial fascinations.

    • Powered by quartz movement, this watch is also water resistant to 330 feet.

Allen Company Ultralite Fishing Chest Pack


  • Compact Chest Pack with the capacity to hold two tackle boxes

  • Holds one large and one small tackle box

  • Low profile design

  • Cool mesh lining, D-ring for net keeper

  • Non-rusting zippers and pulls

We hope you enjoy these gift ideas for the 2012 Christmas and holiday shopping season!

 

How to scale (descale) a fish


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. 

Garden Hose Technique

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.

Pot Scrubber Technique


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.

Knife Edge Technique

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.

 Stainless Steel Brush Style Fish Descaler


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.

 Automatic or Electric Fish Scaler


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.

Shimano Tekota 500 LC – Equipment Review

Tekota LC ReviewThe 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.

The Shimano Tekota’s Line Counter

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.

The Handle

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.

Overall Construction

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.

The author, Kevin Newell, and his wife Lacey DeWeert are professional fishing guides in Oregon and Washington!

Copyright 2011 Total Fisherman™