Posts Tagged ‘night fishing’

Hot August Night on Loon Lake, Stevens County Washington fishing for Silvers

Monday, August 15th, 2011
Nice wake and sunset as we head sto silvers territory

Nice wake and sunset as we head to silvers territory

Anticipation builds.  Fishing should be great!

Anticipation builds. Fishing should be great!

Loon Lake is always beautiful this time of night.  The terrain silhouettes like an old shadow box picture but is somehow alive.  Our target for the evening is Silvers for Jim and his son Andrew.  For me and Andrew’s young friend, it is probably anything that bites.   That probably means bluegills and sunfish for us.

Jim decided to fish the southeast side of the lake.  Not all the way to the end of the lake but in such a place as the garish, but somehow beautiful electronic palm tree seemed like you could actually climb it and perhaps find a coconut or something to eat with the fish you were going to catch.

We arrived at our desired location about 8:20 or so and Jim set about doing the hundred little things that make the fishing possible or better–at least in his and a lot of fishermen minds.  He has been working on a set of lights which make it possible to see what you are doing and another set of lights that float around on the water.  All this is designed to bring fish close to the boat.  In about ten minutes we were all there with lines in the water.  I opted for a regular small hook with a leader and a tad of marshmallow run up the leader to act as a float to lift the hook up off the bottom.  I topped the hook off with a good old fashioned night crawler.  Old habits die hard.   Being an impatient soul, I could not just through the line in, let it sink to the bottom, reel it up three turns of the handle and wait for a fish to bite.  This is the way to catch Silvers, I am told.  NOOOOO!  I have to throw it in, let it go to the bottom and gradually reel it in.  By my second cast, I had a nice, fat little blue gill flopping on the floor!

First blood of the evening!

First blood of the evening!

What a nice little pan fish to get the day started!  I was using my Emmrod Packrod®, Spinning version.  Notice the eye bolt in the butt end.  This would have let me hook a lanyard should that have been desired.  Folks in float tubes, kayaks and canoes have found that to be particularly useful.  I would suggest it is also not a bad idea when you take your kids and grand kids fishing.  You hate to loose a fish just ’cause the kid can’t hold on to the pole!  I was using the seven coil spinning/universal rod here.  It is amazing how much play you get when you have even such a small fish.  Too much fun!

Jim being a purist, wanted those silvers.  He was finally rewarded with the first about 40 minutes into it.  Silvers are a landlocked salmon which live about three years.  Normally they are not that big in Loon Lake, but this year, they have caught a lot of them in the 12-14 inch range and that is a nice fish!  I thought Jim caught 5 over the evening but only got four pictures which I will post below.  It was really fun to watch Jim trying to hook these sneaky little bait thieves.  The really do not hit the bait.  They come up to it and gum it.  Probably lick it.  Suck on it softly and you can barely feel them but your hook is empty when you reel it in.  I probably had three silver hits–based on the near the bottom nibble zone vice ten feet from the top blue gill zone–and was not able to hook any.  Once they bit on his bait, Jim would jerk his pole with all his might then let out a massive groan when they did not get hooked.  Sigh!  I think we counted about seven sets of fish dentures on the boat floor by the time we were done.  You just can not jerk the pole that hard! When he did hook them, he had to reel like crazy because the Silvers tend to try to outrace the reeling process to get slack line to spit out the hook.  Do they actually calculate that?  Sure beats me.  But, they do come flying towards the top of the water and Jim managed to stay ahead of what he hooked on the bottom and get them in the boat.

Speaking of bait, Jim was using a tiny glow hook which he would light up by flashing a camera flash attachment like tool at the hook which was cupped in his hand.  He used a green color which worked better than the red color I tried later.  Below the head of the hook, he would impale two maggots so they extended crosswise from the hook vice running them on the hook like you do with a worm.  Finally he topped that off with a kernel off white canned corn.    Later, he bagged the corn as it did not seem to make that much difference and caught at least two of the Silvers without corn on the hook.

About 10:15, the wind really picked up.  The fish quit biting and about 10:30 we called it a night and headed back in.  All in all, a great night fishing and an awful lot of fun!

This Blog is supported by Atherton Enterprises, Inc.  An authorized Emmrod® Fishing pole distributor.  Anywhere you need a small fishing rod, is a place where you need Emmrod®.  Travel poles, backpacking, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, or just under the seat of your pickup.  With several models to choose from, you just can not go wrong!  The original dock shooter (Packer®), Kayak King® spinning rod and its  fancier sidekick The Rugged Flex® Spinning rod, or casting rod–which ever cranks your reel.  Do not forget the Packrod® such as I used or the Combat Rod® which is the shortest option of all. Finally, the top water rod option can be used on any of the Emmrod® fishing p0les and gives you great feel and fun.

Please check out the web site, watch the videos and help support me with your Emmrod ® purchases!

Thanks for stopping by. Dave Atherton 509 216 8589,

Here are photos of two of the fish we caught.

another nice silverThis one was swimming the other direction when we caught it.


What Pound Test Line should I use with an Emmrod Compact Fishing System?

Friday, December 17th, 2010
The Emmrod Short Top Water Rod

The Emmrod Short Top Water Rod

Obviously, the size of the fish you are targeting plays a role here.  Frankly, I am not that concerned with the top end of the scale.  I am more interested in our efforts to catch minnows.  How LIGHT of  a line can we get away with using?

The Nature of the Emmrod Fishing gear rods is they are a bit stiffer.  One of the very few abilities we do not have is to go to those ultra-light lines.  As a general rule, use ten pound test line as a minimum weight line.  You will find the act of casting or vigorous pull backs snapping those two to four pound lines. 

As with all rules, there are exceptions.  One of my customers, Phillip, has terrified the fish in the ocean near where he lives with his fishing prowess and collection of Emmrod Compact Fishing poles.  He is a fair sort of person who DOES want to give the fish a fighting chance so he likes to stretch the effort by using lighter lines. 


He expressed his excitement to me recently after trying out his Emmrod Top Water Rod.  He could actually use his lighter lines.  I provided him the shorter version; however, I imagine the longer version would accomplish the same thing.


Long and short Emmrod Top Water Rods

Long and short Emmrod Top Water Rods

So, I have a request from all you Emmrod Fishermen out there.  Please send me feedback on how you stretch your system to use lighter lines. 

I am going to make a category of blogs called “Fishing Tips” where I can share the wisdom of the various fishermen and women out there who are enjoying Emmrod.  Every tool has its tricks.  Let’s Collaborate!


See the Bass hit when using your Rugged Flex Jr with a Top Water Rod

See the Bass hit when using your Rugged Flex Jr with a Top Water Rod

Check out the Rugged Flex family of Emmrod Compact Fishing Rods

26 July 2010 Eloika Lake, Elk, Spokane County, WA fishing update

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The good folks at Jerry’s Landing have forwarded an Eloika Lake Fishing update to me.

Give them a call or visit:

Jerry’s Landing

41114 North Lake Shore Road
Elk, WA 99009-8743
(509) 292-2337

The fishing has been a little slow the last week.  Our water temp. is 81 degrees and the lake turned over, so we think that maybe by next week the fishing should improve.  They are using top water baits right now out in the center of the lake.  The crappie are found in the open holes in the center of the lake, mainly in the evenings.  The best time for the bass have been at dawn and evening.

In an earlier conversation, Julie told me they had some very nice large bass and the crappie were a good size as well. Keep your eye on Eloika Lake as it is one of the most fun lakes for me to fish.  I like it that you never know, just like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, what is going to be on the end of the line.  Perch, Bass, Crappie, Trout?  Who knows. That is what makes it fun.

Dave Atherton

Commercial Fishing vs. Sport fishing

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

I find myself conflicted.  I really detest fishing nets and long line fishing.  On the other hand, I like cheap fish at my local stores!  How do we find a middle ground? Wikipedia has a fairly good pro and con article on Long Line Fishing which I will not regurgitate here.  But, the long and short of it is the various jurisdictions are working hard with the commercial fisheries to craft both product and procedures to avoid the negative aspects of Long Line Fishing yet keep it as a viable means of meeting our commercial fish production needs.

What are the primary negative aspects?  From an ecological point of view, they are:  Catching unwanted species of fish;  catching birds–about 100,000 albatross die each year as a result of long line fishing per the Wiki article; and catching turtles.  I will add one more to that.  They just take too many fish.  A multi mile long line with hundreds or even thousands of hooks has the capability to decimate the fish population in an area.  In fairness, the law recognizes the state of the fishery and limits or raises the number of hooks permitted based on the number of fish available to catch.

My strong feelings are based on what I observed in Hawaii.  I do not recall why, but a number of long liner boats were fishing near Guam or Samoa, I forget which, and went afoul of the government or the people there. In any case, they moved to Hawaii.  They were dragging lines within legal limits; however, were not obeying local custom. Local custom, if I recall correctly said long liners had to stay at least 20 miles out; however, legally, they could be within a few, two or three? miles of the shore.  They were encouraged to obey local custom but declined. There was virtually an instant decline of the fisheries within 20 miles of the coast and this was the fishery the tourist trade, local recreational and small scale commercial fishers used.  I am not aware of the politics involved, but, would guess the powers that be within the local community, the business community and the ethnic Hawaiian as a subset of the local community raised such a stink the state government felt compelled to change the rules and pushed that long line fishing limit back out to the 20 mile, or perhaps even the 26 mile limit.  The close in fishery almost immediately began to get better.

So as a recurring theme, we need to continue to seek that middle ground where we preserve our resources, recognize the value of all the players and consumers and determine how to meet our corporate needs as people, yet meet the needs of each of the groups involved.  Total environmental fascism is clearly not the answer.  Neither is fishing it all out until it is gone.  God has given us huge resources and technological skill and a huge amount of ocean.  Let’s see how to put it all together.

While the brilliant minds are out their figuring out how to do this, check out my Emmrod fishing system at which you can access at any of the following addresses:,,,,,,

The Eel in the Fridge

Friday, December 11th, 2009

When we first moved to Hawaii in 1985, we lived temporarily in a condominium on the far west end of Oahu Island.  We were about a half mile from the end of the road.  Where the road ended was about a mile walk from the northwest tip of Oahu and not that far from the big wave surf beaches of the North Shore.  But, this story is not about surfing.  My only story about that involved a brief stop in Oahu in 1969.  I stopped for a day or two on the way back from high school in Manila to live with my uncle, aunt and cousin in Birmingham, Alabama.  One stop was at Waikiki to hang out with some of my classmates who had also stopped there.  I borrowed a surf board from a guy.  Saw the wave coming, climbed on the board, the wave arrived, the wave went, and the board sank. Story of my life!

This is about fishing.  I really did not have a clue about HOW to fish for anything, but, I found a likely spot, went out about 8 pm, and fished for an hour or two.  The only thing I managed to get was a snarly Morey eel.  Dude was NOT a lady!  It was ugly as sin.  I had heard these could be skinned and cut into long strips which were great for Ulua fishing. This is a big eyed Jack that weighs over ten pounds if I recall correctly.  Mostly we saw the babies which were Papio.  So, I kept it. 

By the time  I got home, I was really tired.  Instead of taking time to clean it, I just put it in a sauce pan, put the lid on it and stuck it in the fridge.  I headed towards bed but got to worrying.  My wife gets up way before I do.  I did not think she would be filled with joy and thanksgiving at her husband’s great hunting prowess.  Also, my wife is from Thailand and most things that look like snakes from that part of the world are not something with which normal people want anything to do.  I went back and wrote a note and taped it to the pot lid.


I think she actually opened it. Due to the warning, she was not scared.  On the other hand, she was not impressed with “Today’s Catch.”

I did skin it and use it to try to catch some fish. Caught some little ones, but nothing to write home about.

As a point of interest, due to the coral and rock and lava on the ocean floor, you could not put the hook on the end of the line  and the weight up higher.  We would put a large swivil on the line with the leader above the swivil and capabile of sliding up and down the line a bit.  Then, we would put a lighter line below the swivil with a weight at the end.  We expected to loose the weight as that would catch in the rocks and the weight leader would break letting you recover your hook and any fish that might be on it.  If the weight was above the hook, you would likely loose the entire rig and most importantly, the fish.  At times, you would cast out and set the weight in the rocks, then, hook the leader with the bait on the line and let it float down to the swivil.  Typically, we would park the pole in a holder in the sand of the beach, put a bell on the pole, sit down and read a book, cook or sleep until the bell rang. 

To use the Emmrod fishing system like I used to fish, I would use the Gulf Master or the Gulf Master II.  You can check these out at or

Why you should get a night watchman job on a dry dock!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

My last duty station in the military was at Barbers Point, Hawaii.  In 1987 and a bit of 1988, I worked part time as a night watchman on a dry dock just outside of Barbers point.  In and of itself, there are quite a few interesting stories to tell about that.  This dry dock was involved in making the decorations depicting bomb strikes on the vessles used to film “Winds of War.”  That was neat to see.  Then, there was the huge sailboat we had in the dock for about six months while we cleaned it up and fixed the break in the keel which was caused by not blocking it correctly.  At least, that is what the owners said.  Then, there were other boats that came and went including a submarine which was also used in the movie. 

Now, those things are neat, but not the reason why you take a low paying night time job.  You take it because these little man made bays off the ocean are prime breeding areas for all kinds of fish.  On top of that, you have a huge spotlight at your disposal to draw the fish to the good ol’ fishing hole.  We had so much fun fishing there.

I have tried to recall and look up names of fish we frequently caught and have struggled on both accounts.  There was a large eyed Jack we called Papio.  I think when it got over five or ten pounds we called it ulua.  What we caught off the end of the dock was Papio.  These were a nice silver fish that tasted great.  When they hit, the really fought and were great fun to catch.   They tended to school with a reddish colored fish whose name I could not locate.  It too tasted quite nice.  If you caught an eight inch fish of either type, we figured they were pretty big.  Then, there was the Oio.  This is a Ladyfish or Bonefish.  These were really fun.  They looked a bit like Walleyes and were typically 18 to 24 inches long.  You cleaned these fish by “Spooning” them.  To do this you cut off the tail about an inch into the fish.  Then, you took a large spoonand gradually worked the meat out the cut end of the fish.  It would squirt out like toothpast.  Then, you took the bowlful of meat and mixed it up with eggs and other spices and vegetables and made deep fried meatballs from it.

My FAVORITE fish to catch was the Hammerheads.  They were about two feet long and fought like crazy. It would take about 20 minutes to land each one.  The interesting thing about these fish was they stunk to heaven.  But, if you gutted them and let them hang in the water overnight, they cleaned right up and you had some very good meet with no bones.  MMM MMM  MMM!  If you ever fish for hammerheads, be very careful of their teeth and skin.  The first one I caught sliced me like a razor and the skin is like an 80 grit sandpaper so handle with care.

I just wish I had had my Emmrod fishing poles back then.  It would have been so easy to put all my gear in a little bucket and have it convenient to go fishing.  The packer to bring in those guys you caught with bait and the kayak king to go after the Oio and Hammerheads by spinning.  Yes sir, if the opportunity to get a job on a dry dock presents itself, jump for it!

I am going to put in a word of caution.  I am not sure how healthy these fish were.  Who knows what kind of impact those rusting hulks we cleaned up had on the water in there.  But, my last kid was born after we ate a lot of these fish and I was not able to sell him to the circus. On the contrary, he has his Mother’s good looks, His father’s wife’s intelligence, graduated from Whitworth University summa cum laude and is now teaching English for the Japanese Government in Japan. 

Check out the Emmrod fishing system at,,

High Times in the Sulu Sea c. 1964?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

At this point in my life, I am having a hard time recalling exactly when I took this trip.  It would have been in 1962 or 1964.  So, I was about 12 or about 14.  My parents were missionaries in the Philippines.  We lived in the second largest Island, Mindanao.  Even then, the seeds of lawlessness which pervade that part of the country were there, never-the-less, it was somewhat of a fairyland in my mind.  I loved it!   One summer, I took a trip to Balut Island with Ken Marriott to visit the island where he worked as a translator.  While the drive took almost 13 hours, it was only a bit over 100 miles.  The highway was a wide gravel road where you drove in the middle except when passing.  At one point, the road was out for some reason.  We had to do a detour over a jungle mountain.  There might have been some sort of dirt road, but, I clearly recall the bus going in the mud up to its hubs.  The fact they got it out of the mud, going uphill, and got it over the mountain is a testament to the “Indomintable” spirit of the Philippinos.

We finally arrived in Cotabato City late in the evening and made arrangements to catch an outrigger canoe to go to Balut Island.  I am not sure how far out that was, but, the total trip was estimated at five to six hours.  We were leaving about 10 or 11 pm.  The canoe was about 25 feet long, two and a half to three feet wide and about 2 feet deep.  There was a bamboo cross piece about 1/3 of the way back and about 2/3 of the way back.  At the ends of the bamboo and about 10 feet or a bit more out on each side there was an outrigger made from a couple pieces of bamboo.  As most of the readers here are fishermen and women, I know you are seeing cane poles in your mind.  There are lots of kinds of bamboo.  Virtually 80 percent of several of the houses I lived in was made from about three or four kinds of bamboos.  In this case, the bamboo was about 5 to 6 inches thick and probably 30 feet long before being trimmed down for the outriggers.  About midway in the boat, there was a diesel inboard engine.  Sorry motorheads, I have no more information on that subject beyond it turned a propellor somewhere that made the outrigger canoe go.  The helmsman sat in the back and steered with a rudder.  


Well, we finally pushed off the sandy beach and headed out onto the flat, moonlit sea.  Soon, the combination of diesel fumes, the monotonous rocking of the boat and the steady hum of the engine lulled us all to sleep–likely including the helsman.  BANG! With a shuddering crash, we came to a halt.  As the moon had gone down and the sky was pitch black, a lantern was lit and we discovered we had ploughed through the outrigger of another canoe and our bow was nestled neatly on the side of their canoe.  Needless to say, There were four very unhappy Philippino men blaming each other for the accident.  Truth was, no one had lights on their boats and it was pitch black out.  After about 15 minutes, they parties resolved their differences and pushed apart.  Their outrigger was broken, ours had been knocked loose with the ratan lashingings broken.   So, I climed out on the far outrigger and one of the Philippino’s climed out and retied the broken lashings.  We continued on our way arriving at Balut Island as the sun was rising.  The end to a perfect night!

Here are the PS’s! 

#1.  The guys in the boat we hit had the hugest red snapper like fish I had ever seen.  Must have weighed 50 pounds or so. 

#2.  Looking at the map, we may actually have gone to General Santos vice Cotabato.  In my mind, it was Cotabato City, but looking at the map, because Balut island is just off the point of Mindanao, that makes more sense to me.

#3. Otherwise, this is all a true story, not just a fish tale.  For those, you need to get an Emmrod fishing system appropriate to your needs, head out into the wild, catch a few fish and send me an email with your fish stories!

Check out the Emmrod products at,,,   Thanks for visiting us!  Dave