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When you fish with us, you can expect a fun, safe, and productive day on the water...and great gear is part of it.
We spent lots of time and money evaluating gear (you should see the rod collection in our garage!) and have found the following to work the best for us and the area:
Jet Boat
Willie built the boat we have always wanted to our specifications. Our 25' x 106" Willie Predator is the biggest and most comfortable jet boat on our rivers. It anchors perfectly for our Rogue River Spring Salmon fishing and backtrolls like a dream when we are pulling plugs and bouncing roe for fall run salmon on the Sacramento. Willie's design and build quality are the best out there and...they make a darn pretty boat!
Kicker Motor
Yamaha 9.9 hp High Thrust - Just look at the boats on the river and it becomes pretty obvious that this kicker is extremely popular. Run one and you will know why. Yamaha has a real winner with this motor and most of the river guides know it.
Landlocked Salmon Gear
What can we say? Sep has spent years catching trout, kokanee and landlocked salmon in California lakes. His knowledge of this fishery is embodied in his lures, dodgers and downrigger accessories. Use his gear and follow his advice and you'll catch fish.
Downriggers
Scotty
We use 4 Scotty 1106 electric downriggers to plumb the depths of Shasta for landlocked kings and big holdover trout. There are lots of downriggers to chose from, but simplicity of design, lightening fast retrieves, a lifetime warranty and great customer service made Scotty our choice.
Divers
When 4 downriggers are just not enough lines in the water, what do you do? Divers of course! There are lots of divers to choose from, but most of the trippable divers are hard to adjust and trip. Facing the same problem on the Great Lakes, charter boat captain Randy Even invented the Lite Bite Slide Diver. With precise adjustments to trip with even the smallest fish, adjustable planing surface to move the diver away from the boat and sliding capabilities, the Lite Bite is the only diver we use for our landlocked king salmon trips.
Scents
Pro-Cure has the widest selection of the most effective scents and roe cures in the world. Pro-Cure's super gel scents last for hours in fast current and their Last Supper roe cure is the only one we use - it is the best of the best!
Depth Finder
More than a depthfinder the top-of-the-line Humminbird 987c-SI is a complete fishing system. The 987c SI delivers it all with breakthrough Side Imaging sonar for picture-like images of the bottom, precision GPS Chartplotting, and a no-compromise ultra wide, high resolution screen. The Side Imaging sonar is one of the most useful fishing tools that we have encountered. This unit gives picture like detail of the bottom including snags, rocks, bottom topography, channels and drop offs. We've run this unit through holes where we have caught countless salmon and found new holding structures that we didn't even know existed. The 987c-SI is one fishing tool that no serious angler should be without.
Auto Pilot
We always thought that autopilots were cute toys and that real guides backtrolled manually. Then one day we were on a friend's boat with a TR-1 autopilot and within a few hours, a "cute toy" became an essential piece of fishing equipment.
The TR-1 Gold gives us control from anywhere in the boat instead of always having to have a hand on the trolling motor. This allows us to move around, fix rigs and help out a guest while the boat continues to fish seamlessly for the rest of the guests.
Sunglasses
When you spend as much time on the water as we do, you need good polarized sunglasses. Costa Del Mar's patented Wave 580 lenses in colors that work well for our river are the best fishing sunglasses that we have found. In side by side tests with other premium brands, we have found that we see underwater objects much more clearly with the Costa Del Mar sunglasses. The frames and lenses provide full coverage and fit comfortably all day. You can find cheaper sunglasses, but if you spend much time on the water, you will find investing in a pair of Costa Del Mars is will worth it.

Trout & Salmon Rods

Berkley's new series of IM-7 graphite Tactix rods have found their way into our boat for just about every application. These technique specific rods are light, strong and sensitive and available in some hard to find actions.
The TXTS762UL is one of the most versatile trout and landlocked salmon rods that we have found. At 7'6" and weighing almost nothing this ultralight rod is as at home on the river drifting lures and bait for trout as it is sitting in a downrigger on Shasta. These little rods are tough too. We've brought 20 lb. salmon that inhaled our #50 Hot Shots to the boat with these ultralight rods.
For pulling lures for striper and salmon, we chose the TXC862MH. With enough backbone to set big treble hooks in hard jaws and a forgiving parabolic action, these rods are tough to beat.
Backtrolling
Reels
There are lots of choices in backtrolling reels and everyone has their favorites. Since we run plugs for most of the salmon season, we need a reliable level wind reel with a solid drag and line counter to keep the lines from tangling. We've chosen the line counter member of Abu-Garcia®'s legendary Ambassadeur® family of nearly indestructible reels. The highly accurate and easy-to-read line counter displays how much line you have out in feet. The Carbon Matrix™ drag provides a wide range of settings with ultra-smooth drag performance. You can pay a lot more for a reel, but the Ambassadeur® 5500LC is hard to beat.
Side Drifting
&
Boondogging
Rods
Whether boondogging roe for salmon or minnows for stripers, we found Fenwick's medium weight steelhead rods to be the best. Guests need to cast and hold these rods for hours at a time without tiring. When the strike comes, the rod needs the backbone to set the hook and enough flex to make up for those little "oops" when guests (and sometimes the guide!) don't keep the line quite tight enough.
Some folks just use their trout rods, and that kind of works, but a longer rod, made for the job works much better.
Again there are lots of choices in this category, and the prices can range for somewhat reasonable to outrageous. Based on our experience, it is really hard to beat Fenwick's 8'6" HMX spinning rod. Fenwick's IM-7 Graphite construction and lightweight SS304 hard chromium plated stainless steel guides make for a really tough, lightweight rod perfectly suited to any drifting technique.
Spinning
Reels

Spinning reels range in price from a few dollars (pure junk) to several hundred dollars(compensating for the buyer's physical inadequacies:). In between are the working reels. For us, light weight, reliability, easy casting and most importantly, smooth strong drags were the criteria.

We've tested lots of spinning reels and standardized on Abu Garcia's Cardinal 500 ALB and 700 series. Both series feature all aluminum bodies and are tough, smooth casting, can handle braid without breaking a sweat, and have an ultra smooth drag.

Main Line
We use braid on all of our reels and have tested most of them. Strong, round, and resistant to digging into the spool, Stren Super Braid is the best that we have used.
Leader

Fluorocarbon line has come a long way in the last few years. Hailed as nearly invisible in water, fluorocarbon will get you more bites, but historically, the knot strength left a lot to be desired. While you still need to lubricate the knots, Berkley's Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon - Professional Grade is truly a next generation line. With good knot strength and low visibility in water, Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon is the only leader that we use.

Hooks
We've tried just about every brand of premium hook on the market and have standardized on Owner. For our river salmon and striper fishing, we use the sharp and strong SSW hooks. For all other fish, we use the Owner Mosquito hooks. These hooks are "sticky" sharp and the thin wire penetrates quickly for solid hook sets.
     

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