I hate it when I am lying in bed trying to get a few more minutes of sleep after my wife leaves the house for the day and the phone rings. But this morning I ran out to the living found my cell and saw it was my wife calling. Since I was supposed to be awake already getting "The List" done I had to use my awake voice to say hello. My wife just called to tell me there was a coyote out in the field. Although she thought it was out of range she figured she would tell me anyway. So I quickly got dressed and got the Styre .308 with the bull barrel out. I got all set up on the back deck and started glassing looking for the coyote. I finally saw it at about 500 yards walking through the alfalfa field. It was slowly working its way from north to south, which was my right to left. I figured it was heading into the shady hillside where it was cool during the mid day heat. I noticed it was hunting as well so it was not moving quickly. I folded up the bipod and slug the rifle over my shoulder and snuck to the road heading up the hill. Once I found some cover behind some leafy Aspens and walked up the road about 75 yards. I figured the sound of the creek and 200 yard of irrigation sprinkler between me and the coyote would cover any sound I make walking on the dirt road. From there I took an old cat track to where I thought the coyote would make its entrance into the woods. I found a small clearing between the trees that looked down into the field and proned out. I had to move multiple pinecones and had to put up with a few hundred pine needles poking me . I could see the coyote about 150 yards in front of me with a 30 yard drop in elevation. I didn't take the shot at this point due to a ranch 500 yards behind it. Although the angle I was shooting down at and the up angle the ranch was from the coyote the shot would of been fine, but I decided to wait since it was heading my way anyhow. A few minutes later I watched the coyote jump the creek into some tall grass. I watched it pounce on a gopher or mouse then lay down and eat it. It was very hard to see while lying in the tall grass. Once it got up it moved to my right and behind the branches of a tree. At this point I was about 100 yards away still with about 30 yards of drop. I was just hoping that the coyote came back to my left giving me a shot. The coyote came back to the left turned and looked right at me and the 147 Grain FMJ boattail center punched it at about 75 yards. The coyote just dropped like a sack of potatoes.
The Cannon Digi Troll 10 TS down rigger is the Cadillac of down riggers.The 10TS is definitely a top performer in
every aspect with features to spare.It makes
every other rigger wish they could be like it.Well that is until they see the price tag.Even on sale you better plan on spending
$1500+ to get it operational.A standard
electric rigger will run you around $500.Why spend three times the cost?It has features other riggers just don’t have, and it will help you
catch fish.Does a person need to spend
the extra for a TS and its salt water rating?To me the extra cost compared to quality gained is a great value.
I had watched a couple other guides using Digi Trolls, and
there were days they were catching fish and few others were.Obviously I am in the business to catch
fish, so it was a no-brainer I had to get one.I have been running Scotty riggers for years, and they are one
phenomenal rigger but they are not a Digi-Troll.I wanted to run close to the bottom and
target certain fish.Using the Scotty to
track bottom was pretty difficult in my situation.Trying to run 3 riggers, 1-3 divers, driving
the boat, netting fish, baiting gear, and interacting with clients makes it
very difficult to run a rigger a few feet off the bottom.
Photo By Char Harmier Photography
If you run an upper end Humminbird fish finder you can
control it through the finder for either a Digi Troll 5 or 10.Only the 10 operates by itself. The features are pretty amazing, and
everything is just at the touch of a button on the rigger.I run Lowrance electronics so I adjust
everything right on the riggers touch pad.It is adjustable in every way possible.It also will bottom track at a set distance off the bottom and cycle at
two different depths for pre-set lengths of time.You don’t need a black box with this rigger
as it has Positive Ion built in.These
are just the main features it has, and if you run more then one rigger you can
operate them all from the same rigger with each one doing different
things.Add in different cycle speeds,
up down speeds, boom extension, etc. the list is long for features.
I bought it for one reason…BOTTOM TRACKING.It requires its own transducer (if you don’t
have a compatible Humminbird), and the transducer location is critical.If you get any turbulence or even a tiny air
bubble it affects how well it tracks.The turbulence will cause the transducer to give momentary false
readings.This causes the rigger to
continually adjust itself, and it will start running up and down like a
Yo-Yo.Other times it will drop it onto
the bottom then snap up the slack in a huge slam.It even jerked hard enough a couple times to
cause the cable to jump the wheel at the boom end.It took a while and mine is adjusted pretty
good but not perfect.I will have to
have another bracket added to the boat this spring closer to the center
line.This should totally solve my
false reading problem in rough or faster flowing water.
Anglers all the time are asking me about it and what I
think.Like all anglers they are
looking for the magic item to put more fish in the boat.I reply back with a question “How many more
fish a day would it take to justify spending three times the cost?”Usually they think they should be getting
double to triple the fish.I tell them
to save their money.There is no doubt I
have caught fish I never would have caught without the bottom tracking
feature.The difference for me is I
have to catch fish (at least I think so), and if this rigger gets me the one
fish I wouldn’t have hooked it’s worth it.I also admit if I was not guiding clients I wouldn’t spend the extra money.I still catch more fish at set depths then
bottom tracking day in and day out.I
also remember two days where we boated 12 Salmon, and every one of them was
bottom tracking.I know I could have
done close to the same thing with a Scotty if I was fishing with friends to
help use my Scotty to bottom track.In
summary it is a great rigger with amazing features, but I don’t know if the
extra cost is worth it for the average sport angler.If that one fish in a trip is worth it then
for sure the Digi Troll can help greatly.
I am done with the first half of barrel break in.This rifles bore is polishing up amazingly
well.I am getting almost no copper
fouling already.I use only one good
soaking with Sweets and the copper is gone.I am happy so far.Now is the
time to start three the
shot break in, so I better mount up the scope.
I can then get the
scope zeroed very close to where I want it for load development.I had two options for this rifle a Burris
Fullfield II Ballistic Plex 4.5-14x, or a Leupold VXIII 4.5-14x with target
turrets both matte finish.The Leupold I
think is the better overall scope, but the Burris is top quality and fits this
rifles purpose better.I rank the Burris
Fullfield II line of scopes as probably the best value going today.I want a 0-500 yard rifle with specific
aiming points for a two inch kill zone.I also wanted those aiming points quickly without having to turn the
turrets, so the Ballistic Plex was the answer.Sure I could have a custom reticle built for the Leupold, but that is
more money and time.Besides it has
target turrets already.I will just
have to get another rifle that fits its design.As many of you know you shoot a varmint the first chance you get or you
may not get another one.There is no messing
around getting everything all ready and adjusted.
I have used Leupold standard bases and rings on 95% of my
rifles without a single problem.I went
with the “High” rings to allow good head positioning regardless of clothing or
shooting position.I also went with
reversible bases so it allows the most adjustment for the best fit.I do not Lock Tite in the screws on the bases
or rings.I clean the threads with
rubbing alcohol and air.Then lightly
oil (Tetra Oil!) the threads and tighten down tight.The front is a twist in base, and I get it as
close as I can by eye with the plastic wrench designed for this.Then I clamp of an old straight tube
(Balvar) scope in the front ring with nothing on the back.I don’t trust any cheap adjustable scopes I
would use as a wrench to maintain center so I used a fixed cross hair.Using the Bore Sight and scope I make final
adjustments to the base until the scope is perfectly centered.Then I put the back base in place, and
equally (1/16 turns) apply the rear screws making sure the center doesn’t
change.That is the best way I know to
mount a scope to the bores center.It
doesn’t mean the reticle is level to the bore but the scope is centered.
Then I turn the scope to its highest power.Holding the rifle like I will be shooting it
with my eyes closed I open my eyes when the gun feels in the perfect
position.Then I move the scope forward
or backward until I have the fullest view through the scope with no shadows.It takes more then once, and it is obvious
when you have it mounted correctly.Because
it is set on the highest magnification you will always have a full view on
lower settings.I line up the cross
hairs with a straight line across the shop and tighten the rings again equally
with small partial turns.Final
adjustments with the turrets on the bore sight and it’s now ready for paper.I will make final adjustments with the 2nd
and 3rd rounds as I go until close.The Point of Impact (POI)
will move slightly, but will be well within where I want it.
After almost a year of talking about when we were going to find time to go fishing, it finally happened. My wife and Maddy were out of town on a trip and I didn't work so I had a free day, and R-Dub Outdoor Pro-staffer Ron Oules had a free day to do what he wanted. Of course Ron wanted to go fishing.
I asked him what time he wanted to meet in Pateros, WA and he said 6 which meant getting up at 5 am to leave the house by 5:30. I arrived right on time, threw my bag and camera in the truck and away we went. Of course the first thing I asked was "Are your friends still catching lots of fish?" His reply of "No" did not instill a bunch of confidence.
We make the half hour drive to Manson, WA and see that there are already plenty of fishermen on the water. We put the boat in the water at Old Mill Park. Of course the first thing I do is forget my lunch and snacks in my bag in the truck, oh well.
You could not of asked for a more beautiful morning on the water. It was glass calm with a gentle breeze.
We get the rigs set up and I get a quick lesson in down riggers. The lesson was simple - "don't screw up".
About 10 minutes later it was "FISH ON". Now catching any fish is fun, but I can't say that these Kokanee are hard fighters. They also have a soft jaw so you can't just horse them in or you risk ripping the hook out.
About two hours in and we had landed about 10 fish. I was happy with the day at that point. The best part was that Ron lost the first fish of the day. Of course I did not let him forget it. But as the fish "Karma" goes around and comes around I ended up missing a bite and losing a hooked fish by the end of the day. But hey who's really keeping track?
Now out in this area there are plenty of boats in a small area. Although I am not a freshwater fishing expert I do know that asking how deep or what are you using is against fishing etiquette. So the good old adage of "If you are not lying you are not fishing." came to mind. So of course some other fishermen could not resist asking how deep we were. Our go to answer was haven't caught anything above 90 feet deep. In reality we were between 70 and 50 feet the whole day. When they asked what we were using we said green cut plug with sweet corn. In reality we were using a pink squid.
Now you all should feel lucky that I was able to divulge some secrets of the trade. I hope it will work out for you.
At the end of the day we ended up with 15 fish. When we pulled out of the water the other boats were only reporting one to five fish caught. But, I did not see their fish to verify their stories.
If you ever get a chance to go to Lake Chelan for a Kokanee fishing trip I would highly recommend it.
I picked up the new Savage 116FHSS the other day.I looked at everything from metal work, stock
fit, action fitting, sling studs, etc, and it all looks well put together.I was a little bummed about how the muzzle
crown looked.I think it should have
been smoother the entire edge to edge, but I don’t see anything that looks cut
crooked.I have worked with a lot of
Savage rifles over the years, and they are just flat kicking the butt of the
other makers.I started out as Remington
700 guy, and then transitioned to Brownings.Rifle to rifle the Savage has always been more accurate.
This rifle has the new Accu Stock 2 so I compared it to a
new Remington BDL/CDS synthetic stock. The Accu Stock is 10 times the stock
quality with an aluminum bedding system and much better molding and stiffness.The only thing the Remington has is
a little better feel. I was frustrated with the Savage bolt removal process,
but now that I have done it a few times it is pretty easy. Taking the action
out of the stock was probably as difficult if not more so then a fully bedded
rifle. While I had the action out of the stock I adjusted the Accu Trigger down
from its factory 3# to 2.25#. I made some minor adjustments in addition to the
provided set screw. After putting it back together I checked the locking lug
engagement and it is acceptable.
I then start the cleaning process
step by step:
With my home brew powder
solvent of 50-50 Kroil/GM Top Engine cleaner.I use a coated cleaning rod, bore
guide, copper brushes, and clean the dirty solvent out with 100%
cotton patches with a jag.
I don’t just sit and scrub with the
bore brush until it is wore out.I
use five brush passes, clean patch, wet patch, dry patch and repeat if
After I clean the powder
fouling out I use Sweets 7.62 with a nylon brush to get the copper
out.Dry patches after letting the
solvent soak a while to get the dirty Sweets out.
I continue with Sweets until no more
light blue shows on the first patch after soaking.
One more time with the copper brush, solvent
and dry patches.
Finally I use JB Bore Past starting with
blue “Cleaner” and finishing with red “Polish”.
I wrap my cotton patches coated with
paste around a nylon brush, and really work them back and forth for a
Then I clean the bore with
solvent and lightly oil with Rem Oil.
The small bore of the 22cal takes more time and effort, but
it has always been worth it for me.
I load up three casings with a heavy bullet and moderate
powder charge.These are just for barrel
break in.I will shoot them one at a
time making sure each casing has the same number of firings.Luckily I can shoot within walking distance
of the house, so I just go out and fire one round and fully clean the gun.This will take some time as I will do single
rounds for 50 times, and then will do three rounds for 20 times.Every single time the barrel will be fully
cleaned and polished before doing the same thing again.
I am tired of packing my heavy bull barreled varmint
guns.I love them for their insane
accuracy, non-existent recoil, and dozen round capability.I hate them for their poor balance, speed of
movement, and heavy log weight.I have
been debating it and now is as good a time as any to buy a new gun.I know the coyotes are hooking up and by the
time I get it done it will be spring.I
promise I will show a picture of the first varmint killed with this gun but it
may not be a coyote.
I wanted an easily available commercial round from a factory
production gun in a 22 center fire cartridge.It has to be 22 cal or I can’t use it during the big game season in Washington.I would have preferred a 6mm caliber but it
is not an option this time.The gun must
be Stainless Steel with a synthetic stock.I am a velocity freak within my budget so the obvious choice is a 220
Swift.Well heck I can’t find a
Stainless 220 Swift, so I must go to the next obvious choice a 22-250.I have one 22-250 that shoots in the high 1’s
to low 2’s so I know this cartridge is accurate and fast.
I call my local dealer and put together a “Group Buy” to get
a discount.You should put together a
group buy with your favorite gun shop and save a lot of cash.If your dealer won’t do a group buy I would
find a new shop.I order up the brand
with consistently the most accurate rifle not specifically factory sorted
available.Yes, you got it right a
SAVAGE in the 116 model.The 112 is the
most accurate…but it is still a Savage. I am telling you if you want a stock
rifle that shoots super accurately then buy a Savage. You can save some money by buying a Stevens…same rifle
with the old trigger and stock system from Savage.I have one old style Savage trigger set at 18oz….and
the safety works!!I don’t want to get
in a debate because there are some great rifles out there.My most accurate big game rifle is a totally
stock Browning, but no one builds accuracy into every rifle like Savage.
My rifle is in and I will pick it up next week.I will walk you through the entire process I
use with every rifle I have.(I know it
is only two, but I do this every time.)I will cover everything from barrel break in to lube choice.Just my opinions and experiences, and I hope
I can help you save time and un-needed expenses.Stay Tuned
This weekend brought up an important issue hopefully all Steelhead
anglers encounter.It is more and more
common to catch fish with a partially or “Misclipped” Adipose fin.We usually end up with 4-5 misclipped fish
every year.Not a huge number but I
would say around 1 percent are misclipped.I have noticed an increase now that the automatic clipping process is being
used.When the fish were clipped by
hand there were very few, and any misclipped were still very obviously clipped.
Misclipped Adipose Fin
I can usually tell pretty quickly as soon as I can see the
fish for the first time - even eight feet under water - if it is a keeper or
not.Just one of those things that comes
with experience and looking for it.In this instance, I
called it as a non-clipped well before it was netted, and the client was a
little disappointed to hear he had to let it go.When it was finally time to net the fish I
could then tell it was worth a closer look.The client commented that he could now see the fin, and he also believed
it should go back.I got a closer look
after the hook was removed.The fin had
an obvious flat top and was more of a line from the back to the back edge.The Adipose fin is normally rounded across the top,
and the arch starts right at the back line.
I told the client he had his first keeper of the day and
hoisted it in the boat.There was a lot
of concern from the clients, and I finally told him it was 100% my
responsibility.My accepting the
responsibility seemed to settle his nerves a little, so I introduced the fish to the
love stick.Now I will admit only a
very few people would have kept the fish because of the noticeable fin.I will also tell anyone if you have any doubt
at all turn the fish loose.Do not ever
keep a fish you are not sure is a clipped fish.We have a mandatory keep fishery.The more clipped fish we remove the higher probability of the fishery
remaining open in the future.
We ended the day with 9 boated and several keepers.We headed in and the WDFW Creel Checking staff was at the dock waiting.The client with the misclipped fish started
getting nervous again.It didn’t help
with his buddy telling him he was going to jail because it was on his card not
mine.We saved the misclipped fish for
last, and the checkers initially caught their breath.As soon as the checker got a closer look though, the
checker said it was a hatchery fish. In addition to the misclipped fin, the
checker could see another marking on the fish that indicated it was from the Wenatchee area.The magic wand beeped (collecting the PIT tag number identifying the fish), and the head went in
the bag.Another great day Steelhead
fishing and educating other anglers about is what it’s all about.
Editors note: Please remember we were 100% sure of the misclip through our experience. If you are not sure let the fish go. We are not responsible if you keep a wild fish thinking it is a misclip.