Be prepared

Safety is key out on the water

Posted: Friday, April 14, 2006

• Have the correct number and type of personal floatation device and other required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment on board your vessel for you and each of your passengers before heading out.

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• Let someone know the general area you will be fishing and an approximate return time. If possible, have a VHF radio or cellular phone with you to let someone know you might be late, or in the event of trouble, need assistance.

• Get the latest marine forecast before heading out, especially if you are using a smaller skiff. Keep your eye on the weather. Look for black lines moving toward you usually indicating wind. Remem-ber that no potential prize-winner is worth your life.

• Purchase your sport fishing license and your king salmon stamp prior to hitting the water.

• Replace old fishing line. Stretching line and abrasions with a rough surface causes monofilament to splinter and will weaken the line.

• Make sure that hooks are sharp. A sharp hook should stick to your fingernail rather than slide across it.

• Check salmon leaders regularly, especially if you have been catching fish. Abrasions in the monofilament will undoubtedly form from rubbing against teeth, hook-outs, swim steps and the like. Replace leaders whenever abrasions are found.

• Keep frozen herring bait cool in a small cooler with ice so bait will stay firm and fresh with the scales intact. One side of a herring has a better scale appearance than the other side. When fishing strips, use the "brighter" side of the herring for better flash and presentation.

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