Author Archive

July 22, 2017

Hi All
Fishing continues to be solid here in Barkley Sound. That said you are still going to have to put the time in and work for them. Perserverance goes a long way to success.
Ok here is an update as to where I have been fishing and what I have been using.
I fished with Marcus and Raquel last weekend. We went around the corner of Beale to Seabird Rocks. Once again we trolled Irish Cream and Bon Chovy skinny gs. We fished tight to the reefs and kelp beds keeping our gear at 29′ and 27′. We had a very successful morning with 4 lovely springs to 18 lbs. Seabird is a technical troll. Many times my gear was was running at 29′ with 28′ feet of water under the boat. I really like that kind of fishing but don’t feel that you need to do the same. I saw boats fishing in safer water nearby and they also did quite well.
On Monday this past week I had the opportunity to fish with my partner Makiko.   The sun was out and the water flat calm. We returned to Seabird and decided to keep the downriggers in the boat and do some old fashioned jigging. We tied on 70 gram MacDeeps and fished amongst the reefs and kelp beds, way in tight. What a blast!
We were fishing 20′ of water and in less than two hours we fought 8 springs and a couple of pinks. We put 4 in the box for us for the winter, all between 15 and 19 pounds.  If you think the only way to catch salmon is trolling off the downrigger then explore the jigging option.  Albeit the conditions have to be almost perfect but man is it ever worth the payoff! Can’t wait to try it again!
I also fished Beale a couple of mornings and found it to be well worth the time. The only issue was the Beale Seal! I lost four springs in a row to the seals on Thursday morning last week! It was a bit frustrating to say the least. That said I am not one to advocate the seal cull. Seals and sea lions are smart and learn quickly. It’s an easier way to catch dinner for them by waiting for us to do it for them. If it’s a problem just get up and move.
Offshore fishing has been picking up. I did a trip out to Big Bank and the Rat’s Nose this past week. It was steady and nice to see some bigger fish. We had Jason, Francis and their Uncle Jimmy out and it didn’t take long to limit out on springs and coho. I can’t give up my skinny g just yet so we ran a Bon Chovy at 120′ and my standard go to on the bank, a large glow white hootchie at 135′. It was a very productive day!
Halibut fishing is still going strong although I did get skunked the other day, well sort of. I was out at 12 mile and anchored up in 205 feet. After battling through 3 large pacific octopus that all three did a twirl around the boat and tangled all three lines, we finally hooked up a hali. The rod was bent down to the water and the line was screaming of the reel. As excited as I was I knew this fish was too good to be true. Indeed it was. Once again I was fishing with Jason, Francis and their Uncle Jimmy.
Uncle Jimmy was on the rod and was in the battle of his life. We managed to get the fish to the boat and it was plainly obvious that she was well over the 133 cm limit. I placed my harpoon next to her and she was equally of length or more. Pushing 165 cm would have been close. We were lucky enough to get some great pictures and video before cutting her lose and watching her ease her way back to the deep.
Sad to see her go in some ways and yet what a feeling to release such a beautiful fish to continue the gene pool.
We are fast approaching the middle of the season. It’s flying by! We would love to help you out if you are in the area. Gas and diesel are in plenty of supply at the dock. The shop is stocked and the coffee is on. Please feel free to come by and quiz us as to what’s hot and where to go. We are happy to share. August is coming and so are our local big fish. We have some rooms available at the lodge and some open charter dates as well. Don’t miss out! Call us for bookings!
Till then,
Tight lines and full boxes…
Coach, Aussie John, Tom, Joe and Brett

July 14, 2017

Hi All
Well it had to happen at some point I suppose. We have had such a great start to the season with solid fishing here in Barkley Sound but things have slowed the past few days. There are still some fish around but you are going to have to persevere in order to get it done.
My last productive day was Tuesday of this week when we once again fished the reefs off of Seabird Rocks. Skinny Gs in Irish cream glow were the still the hot ticket. Fighting through many shakers and a now very aggressive seal we managed to box four nice spring salmon in the teens. Once again we had the gear at 29 and 27 feet.
We returned the next morning and fished through the ebb tide but spring. Salmon over 10 lbs were elusive to say the least. I have to admit though the amount of spring salmon around in the 2 to 4 lb range is very exciting. They are healthy, scrappy and built like footballs. It certainly bodes well for the next couple of years!
Now the good news, the weather offshore has been superb. Calm seas and soft tides have made the trip out to the Nose or our fave hali spots almost dreamy. And the hali fishing? Nothing short of phenomenal. We had two boats offshore last week for a hali trip. Aqualady with Captain Tom went of early in the morning with 5 excited guests and I made it an afternoon trip later that same day. Tom came back in around noonish with their limit including a 132 cm beauty that weighed in at 68 lbs. The rest of their fish ranged from 25 to 45 lbs. I got the gear down at 1:30 pm and things happened fast. We hit a good fish within the first few minutes that wrapped our other line. Despite a chaotic few minutes of scrambling to untangle gear and such we boated a beauty at 58 lbs. Ten minutes later the starboard rod went off and my guest Glen was battling what turned out to be a twin of Tom’s big fish, 132 cm and 70 lbs. Another amazing day offshore here in Barkley!
We have seen quite a few Hali’s come into the dock lately. Many in the 50 and 60 lb range. If battling a flatty is on your bucket list then make sure you have the right gear. We use 8 foot sturgeon rods, I am a big fan of the Shimano Technium. Great rod! Nice and bendy at the tip so you can really tell what’s happening down deep. That said any sturdy rod and reel spooled with at least 100 lb non stretch line will do the job. Spreader bars with two lb weights minimum if your drifting. One pound and and one and a half pound are usually fine if you are on your anchor. Salmon bellies have been really productive as of late. Extra large herring will work too. Look for the humps that come up on the bank and fish in and around them. For us the magic depth is between 200 and 215 feet deep. Make sure you have a good gaff and I would highly suggest a harpoon. A 55 lb hali can be a very angry and agitated creature when pulled out of the water and into the boat.
I have guest Marcus and Raquel this weekend so I’ll be out on the water this afternoon and all weekend. Call the lodge for any info you need. Aussie John, Brett and Joe will be around to help you out. I am back to the dock and can handle calls usually after 5:00 pm daily.
We just received a shipment of tackle including more Skinny Gs ( they are still the hottest lure going for us) and a varied assortment of other gear. Coffee is on and the gas dock has both boat gas and diesel. We have some rooms available in the lodge and also some charter days available too. Just call us at 250-728-3330 and we will be happy to help plan your Harbourside Barkley Sound Adventure.
Tight lines and full boxes…
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom, Brett and Joe.

July 10, 2017

Hi All
Fishing has been very solid here in Barkley Sound during early July. It always makes me wonder why more people don’t get out here in late June and July. The weather is good, the place is uncrowded and the fishing can be every bit as good now as it is in late August, and maybe, yup I said it, even better!
I’ve been fishing with guests Curtis and Martin from Vancouver. We have had a great few days. We have worked the reefs hard at Seabird Rocks in front of Pachena Bay. We have been fishing tight to the kelp and rocks with the gear at 27 and 30 feet. Skinny Gs from Gibbs / Delta are still the hottest thing going for us. We are running a glow Irish Cream behind a uv glow green moon jelly flasher on one rig and a lemon lime flasher with the same terminal end on the other. Both rigs were equally effective.
We fished the afternoon ebb tide in Wednesday for 3 hours. We had 6 springs on plus many shakers and put 2 in the box. We returned the next morning for the early ebb tide and were into 5 fish during the early morning bite landing two fat springs in the teens. The bite slowed down mid tide and we took a break and jigged for lings. We were not successful in our attempts at boating a ling cod but the boys had a blast playing black rock fish one after another. About an hour before the flood tide change we put the trolling gear down once more for spring salmon. It was quiet for an hour or so, but shortly after the tide changed the bite came on. We managed to boat 6 more springs as my partner, Makiko had joined us and we decided we’d like to put some salmon away for us too. A great afternoon of fishing. The sun was out and all was good!
On Friday the seas looked ideal for a hali hunt offshore. . At 8:15 am we were off and running southwest 210 degrees out to the banks with four of us and Charley dog on board. As my previous blogs will attest, we were looking for humps that come up on the bank 10 miles to 14 miles out. Typically the bank is about 225 feet deep. I’m looking for humps that come up to 190ish. I then will anchor the boat close to the hump in about 205 to 210 feet. Spreader bars with salmon bellies and herring are always my go tos ! Friday they did not disappoint.  Between 10:00 am and noon we tagged 4 Hali’s measuring 120cm, 111cm, 107cm and 88cm. Basically we had one fish at 50 lbs, two at 40 and one at 27. As you can imagine supper that night was awesome!
Saturday we planned to make a run to Ucluelet for a visit to Zoe’s Cafe and some shopping for some essentials needed back at the lodge. If you are in Ucluelet check Zoe’s out. Great pastries, artisanal sandwiches, coffee etc… Worth a drop by for sure!
We also dropped the lines at the Turtle Head just offshore form Ucluelet along the way.
I haven’t fished up that way yet this season and was curious about it’s productivity.
We fished Skinny Gs once again at 110 feet this time. It wasn’t on fire by any means bit we did manage to land and release 5 nice springs from approximately 13 to 20 lbs. We fished the 160 foot contour line that runs south and north from Ucluelet about 6 miles out. At times this can be a very productive troll. Throw in an Orca show as we approached Ucluelet and we really had an amazing day!
I am fishing this week with returning guests Glen, his wife and best friend from California. Hopefully the fishing stays as good this week as it was last.
Aussie John is doing his thing down at the tackle shop and the docks. We just received a new shipment of Skinny Gs so get here and get ‘em while they last, we were sold out in three days last week!
Gas and diesel are available, the coffee is hot and we are always willing to share our thoughts on what to use and where the fishing is hot. Please, by all means, drop on in for all the latest.
We have some charter days still available, moorage at the docks and some rooms at the lodge still to be filled at various times. Aussie John can help you with all of that.
It’s been a great start to the season. Don’t delay. Get here and enjoy the Harbourside experience before the summer wears on.
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom and Brett.

July 5, 2017

Hi All
Once again we have settled into a blustery high pressure system which has given us some gorgeous sunshine but strong north west winds have limited our fishing possibilities. I am writing this Wednesday July 5  and the weather forecast does look like lighter winds for today, through Saturday. Hopefully we can get offshore on a hali hunt and give you the low down.
Fishing slowed down from last week. Austin and Cree, which were on fire last week have definitely mellowed. That’s not to say you’d be wasting your time there but limiting out by 10:30 am might be a tad on the hopeful side.
I fished there with guests Jaime and Jacinthe from Victoria. We had the gear in the water by 7am and fished through two tides. We caught two decent fish in the teens on a glow green and white skinny g at 50′ on the rigger but the bite went off and did not come back on. I decided to move after the tide change and headed south to Seabird Rocks located in front of Pachena Bay. We fished tight to structure with a uv green moon jelly flasher matched with a skinny g at 27′ and a glow white hootchie and lime green flasher at 33′. We hit a beauty immediately on the hootchie and boxed a 16 pounder. Shortly after we caught another fish in the high teens on the skinny g. The skinny g hit once again but this time the fish managed to shake the lure and continue on it’s journey. That was it for the afternoon bite. We returned to Seabird Rocks the next morning and once again the skinny g in green and white glow proved to be the hot lures. We managed 4 lovely spring salmon to 20 lbs including one screamer that took a hundred meters of line. It wasn’t crazy fishing by any means but still very productive.
The winds returned that afternoon and forced us to return to calmer flatter water.
The winds have been strong ever since making fishing around the north side of the Deer Group (Kirby, Edward King and Flemming) challenging at best. Effingham, Austin and Cree are fishable in such strong winds but the bite has not been nearly as good as it was last week.
It still looks like small spoons and hootchies are the ticket. The salmon we are cleaning at the table are full of tiny immature herring and needle fish. The skinny gs have been leading the way. I’ve had great success with the green/white glow and no bananas, cop car and silver/gold have been very good as well. Yesterday I stopped in to the marine store in Ucluelet and they echoed my thoughts on the skinny gs. They have definitely have been hot over at Ucluelet as well. The Silverhorde Purple Spoon is also working well.
So what are my thoughts if you are coming Bamfield way in the next few days?
Firstly stop at Harbourside and get the latest news on what’s happening on the water. If I am out on the water chat with Aussie John or Brett. They will give you the scoop.
I have returning guests Curtis and Martin for the next 5 days and I think we will start out by heading over to Seabird and Pachena. Friday looks like a great day to hunt hali’s so we will head out to the banks and fish the humps about 12 miles out. Spreader bars with salmon bellies and extra large herring will be the order of the day.
In the meantime please feel free to email or phone the lodge.
We have had a cancellation or two in August during prime time for lodging. Get on it now! It won’t last long. We have dates open in our self contained suites on Saturday August 5 to Tuesday August 8 and then again Monday August 14 to the 20th. You cannot fish Bamfield at a better time than those dates!
As per usual, the tackle store is stocked, fuel both gas and diesel, fish ice, drink ice all available. Stop in to say hi, we’ll leave the light on for you…
Tight lines and full boxes…
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom and Brett

June 29, 2017

Fishing Report June 29

They’re here!

Fishing here in Barkley Sound has been outstanding as of late. The winds have been up from the northwest but the action has been at Effingham, Austin and Cree Islands which are beautifully protected from the winds.

On Monday June 26 and Tuesday June 27 I fished with long time fishing pal Glen Montgomery from Flyguys Fishing Adventures. We were on the water each day with gear down by 6:30 am. We trolled the pinnacles by Austin and Cree with the gear at 60 and 50 feet on the downrigger. On Monday we fished my fav purple Kingfisher spoon behind a purple uv haze farbetter flasher. It hooked us up to our first three hits of the morning. On the other rigger we fished a green and white skinny g by Gibbs–Delta behind a Gibbs green uv moon jelly flasher. This rig then went nuts! We hooked up the next 13 springs and some coho all on this outfit. Many were shakers but we managed 4 springs in the 10 to 15 lb range and 4 lovely coho from 4 to 8 lbs. The next morning it was all about the skinny g. Purple had completely shut down but the green and white skinny g was awesome. Once again we limited out on spring salmon from 10 to 16 lbs and coho from 4 to 8 lbs.

On Wednesday, June 28 I fished with guests Dad, Andrew, and son Ross, along with Grandpa, Jim. Jim is visiting Canada from Scotland and had never held a fishing rod in his hand until now. It was great fun having all three boys on the water bonding and enjoying our spectacular west coast.

Once again we fished Austin and Cree Islands. We dragged the green and white skinny g alongside a green, yellow and red skinny g behind a lime green farbetter flasher.  50 and 60 feet on the downriggers were still the magic depths. Both rigs were deadly combos as we were into numerous double headers. We had the gear wet by 6:15 am and had 8 spring salmon from 12 to 18 lbs in the box along with 4 coho by just after 10:00 am.

Now I know that fishing is fishing, and some days are diamonds and some days are stones, but I gotta say that this has been a great start to the season and I am very excited as to what’s to come next.

Beale and Little Beale have also been productive but have been challenging on the ebb tide once the current hits the incoming westerly swells. It really makes for an uncomfortable chop and some very difficult fishing. The Wall continues to give up some nice fish and is never a waste of time. The nicer fish have been as shallow as 35 feet, much like August. Small 3.5 spoons have been the most productive lure of choice. Many of the salmon we have cleaned have been full of immature herring less than an inch long. Small spoons have been the best to mimic such bait. I have not heard much from Kirby or Flemming as the northwest winds have made both places a tough troll.

Off shore has been spotty at best, mostly because the winds have been up from the northwest making offshore not very fishable. I did manage to get out on Saturday however. Doug and Shayne, from Clairsholm Alberta, were my guests as went off on a hali hunt on the bank roughly 10 miles out. The tides have been huge as of late making fishing challenging to say the least. We managed to hook up 5 hali during the day, keeping 3 from 26 to 44 lbs. The weather was spectacular however, almost too hot for the day. It was a great day and reminded me once again at what a joy it is to live on the west coast!

The Canada Day long weekend is almost upon us which really signals the start of summer. Fishing is going full swing and the weather looks great long term. We now have some openings next for guests to stay at the lodge and for charters if need be. We would love to see you here to enjoy the Harbourside Lodge experience. As per usual we are well stocked at the tackle store.  Come in, fuel up, get some bait and tackle, or just come by for a coffee and we can fill you in on all the local hotspots.

Till then, tight lines and full boxes…

Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom and Brett…

June 23, 2017

Hi All
It’s been a blustery few days here in Barkley Sound. There have been very strong north west winds that have limited the choices of many fisher folks. Things seem to be calming down a bit today so hopefully we can get out and explore a bit more. Might be a day or two before offshore possibilities are a reality though.
Ok let’s get at it.
Salmon fishing has been spotty. There are fish around and if you have the right gear in the water at the right depths at the right time, you will be rewarded. So let’s help you with the right stuff.
I’ve been on the dock the last few days, doing some much needed boat maintenance. This actually gives me opportunity to chat with many fisherfolk coming in for fuel and gear. It’s a great way to get an idea about what’s going on around the sound.
The past couple of days we have seen fish come in from Beale, Diplock, Flemming and Sandford. It’s been typical standard early season stuff. 50′ to 90′ on the rigger. Small spoons and hootchies have been the most productive. Coho killers, 3.5′ coyote spoons, silver horde and skinny gs, have all been producing fish. Cop cars, herring aide and of course my fav, purple haze spoons are leading the parade early so far this season. Fish them 6′ behind your favourite flasher for best results ( we have all the gear you need right here at our shop!)
I have noticed a number of boats coming in with flasher hootchie setups. Many of the these have long leaders from the flasher to the hootchie . Long leaders are very effective for spoons and rolling anchovies but not so much with pulling hootchies.
Hootchies have no action of their own and need to dart through the water behind a dancing flasher. A long leader will deaden the affect of the flasher. My rule of thumb is running a leader from my chin to extended arm, likely 30 to 36 inches. At this length your hootchie will have a nice enticing wiggle and waggle that springs and coho seem to love.
Speaking of coho, we have started to see some very nice ones come to the dock.
One of our guides, Brett, brought in a beauty the other evening that was pushing 10 lbs. A great fish for early June. This bodes very well for August indeed!
Not much to report on as far as halibut fishing is concerned. It’s just been too snarky to get outside. We are hoping Friday and the the weekend will allow us an opportunity to get off shore and get after some flatties. So that said, same old same old as far as hali fishing goes. If you have read my blogs before you should have it pretty much dialled in by now. Get out to the banks 210 degrees southwest of Bamfield, ( we like to go 10 to 14 miles out), find a hump that comes up to 200′ and anchor up or drift.
Salmon bellies and herring on spreader bars are the ticket. You cannot go wrong if the seas allow a day offshore!
Harbourside is really beginning to hum now. Please drop in for fuel, gear, or a coffee and a chat about what’s hot on the water. We have some spots left at the lodge for those of you that would like to come stay and a few open charter days if you would like to up your chances at landing the big one.
Aussie John has been here for a month already and has gotten us an early jump on the season so we are all ready for you!
Till then,
Coach (aka Jonathan), Aussie John, Tom and Brett.

June 5th 2017

June is here and the fishing is starting to pick up in the Barkley Sound region. Local areas that have been producing are The Wall, Whistle Buoy, Kirby, Sanford, Diplock, Meares, Austin & Cree.

Fish are being caught anywhere from 32 feet to 140 feet and deeper so I recommend hunting for the bait then adjusting from there. I have caught all my fish in the last week on either 3.5-inch Irish Cream spoon, 3.5-inch Cop Car spoon, Army Truck hootchie or a Purple Haze hootchie.

This isn’t from a lack of trying numerous different combinations and almost always having an anchovy rig running on one line. Matching the flasher colour to the lure/hootchie/teaser head is something I always do and the past week has been no different.

Currently one must find the bait to find the fish and mostly the fish being caught have been between 5 to 15 pounds. Even these smaller fish can pop the clip and take off a pile of line producing that most loved sound and provide anyone on the rod with some entertainment.

Happy hunting and best of luck out there. Brett

June 1st 2017

Fishing Report May 30 2017

Hi All

Both the weather and the fishing has seen some significant improvements over the past few weeks. Summer is just around the corner and Bamfield is beginning to hum.

Aussie John has landed and is sorting out all that needs sorting in preparation for all of you. We now have the lodge up and running and are ready to welcome folks to the wild west coast and all that Bamfield has to offer.

Ok let’s get to the good stuff. What is happening on the water? We are seeing very typical early spring and summer fishing. Spring salmon have been showing up in all of the usual haunts. We are now seeing some mature salmon mixed in with the feeder springs that call the western reaches of Barkley Sound home. When this starts to happen it can be confusing as to what depths to ply your gear. Typically for feeder springs we like to bounce our cannon balls along the bottom at depths pushing 200 feet but with larger mature fish arriving, it pays to keep some gear shallow where they like to hang.

My favorite place to fish at this time of year allows your gear to target fish without trolling to deep. Effingham is a beautiful spot to fish, stays in the lee of summer nor’westerlies and allows you to fish your gear relatively shallow through the water column. I very much enjoy the tactical troll at the west end of Effingham towards Austin and Cree Islands. Drop your gear to 55’ and 65’ and troll through the pinnacles tight to Austin and Cree. At 65’ your gear may bounce the bottom as you pick your way through, but for the most part you are looking at around 90’ of water under your boat. Watch your sounder closely as the rocky pinnacles just south and east of Austin come up very quickly. The pass through fishes well on either the flood or the ebb tide as the flow will push bait fish into the pass where the feeding springs lie in ambush.


My first time fishing this area I picked up 4 beautiful springs in 30 minutes and pretty much ordained myself as Skipper of the Year. The very next day I returned ready to box another 4 springs. Within the same time period of 30 minutes I managed to lose 3 cannon balls on the pinnacle ledges and limped back to Harbourside a much more humble fisherman. If you haven’t given this area a try, stop in at our gas dock and ask Johno or myself to show you where on the map one should fish. Chart your course on your GPS and watch your sounder closely. Once you have a couple of slug trails recorded on your GPS, you should be good to go. This area often picks up at the tide change so don’t pull up your gear until at least an hour after slack water. In early June and July, I fish an anchovy off one rigger and then a purple 3.5’ spoon on a 6’ leader behind a purple uv haze flasher. Last year I actually began fishing the purple spoon off both riggers as they far out fished the anchovy. Towards the end of July and into early August it seems anchovies begin to take over but early summer spoons rule!

Other areas that hold fish this time of year are really the same ones we fish late into August. We just fish a little bit deeper in early summer. The Wall has been productive when bait is showing. Both sides of Flemming have been very good. Typically we really only fish the north side of Flemming but the Bamfield side has been quite productive this spring. Aguilar Point all the way west to Cape Beale has produced fish, as has Kirby Point and Edward King.

Offshore fish have started migrating down the Banks and are now feeding at various hot spots along along the coast. Big Bank and the Rat’s Nose have started to turn on and if the weather and waves are good it can be a very rewarding troll.

Spoons and hootchies are the order of the day off shore. I like glow white hootchies and spoons with glow green and white. These are deadly off shore combos. Spread your gear out depth wise until you have dialed it in. I typically start at 90’ on one rigger and 130’ on the other one. Then it’s just a matter of playing from there.

Hali fishing is what it is, and that means if you are in the Barkley Sound area it’s time to get your flatty on! These tasty denizens of the deep are active and eager to chow down in early spring and summer.  As many of our readers know, I love to fish halibut off the banks south west of Barkley Sound between 10 and 14 miles out.  I am looking for gradual rounded pinnacles that come up just a bit off the banks. In short, get on the banks in about 225’ of water. Now search for a hump that comes up from 185’ to about 215’. If you are outfitted for it, drop your anchor and set your lines out on the bottom. If you don’t have an anchor system you can back troll and or drift over the hump. Once you past 215’ I’d pull your gear and then backtrack and drift once again. If you are drifting, you will want 2lb to 3lb weights on your spreader bars. If you are anchoring up I like to stagger my weights. I’ll drop 1lb weights out the back of the boat and 1.5lb out the sides. This keeps a nice spread and reduces the chances of tangling up gear.

We pretty much stick to spreader bars, salmon bellies and or extra-large herring when hali fishing. Salmon bellies are much more resilient in the water and stay on the hook much longer. Herring are easily picked off and are tasty tidbits for dogfish so that sometimes can be a big pain. That’s said? Hali just love herring so I tend to make sure I have at least one rod rigged with herring on each trip. It’s often worth the hassle.

Circle hooks are also a good way to go when hali fishing.

Circle hooks eliminate gut hooked fish. They will always hook fish in the corner of the mouth. Once a circle hook is in, it’s locked down. A fish will not shake it if the line stays tight. If a fisherman gets a chance to tangle with an oversize fish (133cm for a legally caught halibut) a circle hook will allow the fisherman to release the fish with little more than an annoying pull in the side of the mouth. Even a large fish released with a clipped line and the hook left in will be able to fend quite nicely as the hook erodes away reasonably quickly.

The draw back for circle hooks is the “take”. You can’t rear back and set the hook. Leave the drag loose enough so you can pull line with your bare hand. When a hali hooks up, let it take line. When the first run slows, gently tighten the drag and reel. When you feel head shakes and weight, you are hooked up! Then let the fun begin.

Once again should you be a hali novice or are new to the area I’d be happy to chart some hot spots for you.

Come look us up Harbourside’s gas dock and tackle store. The gas dock and store will be up and running come the first week of June. All the gear we carry in the shop is the same gear our guides use on a daily basis. We won’t be selling you gear that we ourselves wouldn’t use with guests in our own charter boats.

We are booking fast but still have some spots left for charter dates, lodging and boat moorage. By the way if you have never fished Bamfield in July you have been missing out. The weather is spectacular, it’s uncrowded and the fishing can be superb!

Coffee is on and we are looking forward to seeing old friends and welcoming new ones to the Harbourside experience.

Till then, tight lines and full boxes…

Coach (aka Jonathan…)


April 21, 2017

Fishing Report April 21, 2017

Hi All

Welcome to the 2017 version of the Harbourside Lodge Chronicles.

It has been a very cool and wet winter that has transitioned directly into our spring. As I am writing this though, the sun is actually shining and thoughts of Bamfield summers where glints of light reflect radiantly off chrome bars of salmon are making me twitch just a little bit. It is almost upon us.

Fishing in the area is still spotty. There are, however, fish to be had. And just like wearing a very comfortable pair of slippers, it’s good to know that our usual haunts are still producing some very nice fish.

Early season salmon fishing in Barclay Sound is all about finding bait and keeping gear close to the bottom. Places like the Wall, Kirby, Flemming and Austin / Cree / Mears are worthwhile spots to drop the gear and find some early season springs. There has been some great new gear that has come on the market and is perfect for the early season salmon fishery that Bamfield offers.

Try a variety of the new glow and moonjelly flashers such as the Salty Dawg, Green Onion Glow, or the Yellow / Green Kinetic. Top spoons such as the new Pescas in glow green with blue or black trim. Irish Cream, Homeland Security are terrific down deep and off shore.

I can’t give up my favorite, purple haze flasher with a 3.5 or 4 inch purple spoon. This rig was absolute money for us last season. Troll these outfits at 2.5 to 3 mph for best results. Bait is always effective though when trolling deep it is so hard to detect little bites and nips. Spoons and hootchies give you a much better chance of keeping your gear in the water.

Early season halibut is really prime time for flatties. Spring sees a more consistent bite with the likely hood of bigger fish than later on in the summer. That said if this fishery is anything like it has been over the past few years we can expect a strong halibut fishery deep into September. All the usual spots will produce. As many readers know I love to fish the humps off shore between 10 and 14 miles off. Check your charts and locate your boat in and around humps that come up on the bank between 190 and 215 feet. An anchor system definitely will put you at an advantage but drifting and back trolling can still be effective. We mix things up between salmon bellies and extra-large herring. Somedays the bellies knock them dead and some days it’s all about the herring. Octopus can also be very effective and certainly stays on the hooks solidly.

We are so very much looking forward to see all of our regulars this summer as well as welcoming newcomers to the Harbourside experience. Aussie John and Tom will have things up and running for opening early June. I will be up to the lodge by mid June. At this point we are already filling up prime spots, that said we do have accommodations still available in prime time. It would be prudent to book now. Tom has added another Grady to the fleet so we have more options for charters and larger groups. All booking enquiries can be made through Aussie John via email at

Until then we will keep you posted on all things fishy here in Barclay Sound.

Coach… (aka Jonathan…)

Sept 1, 2016

Hi All

It’s almost sad as we are nearing the end of our season. That said the last part of August and early September are as good as it get’s here in Barkley Sound
Let’s get to it then!
All of the local hot spots are now producing. From Beale down to Yankee Bay has all been good. Flemming and Kirby have had their “going off ” moments. Go to where you feel confident, drop your gear and wait for mayhem!
For that to happen though you have to present the right gear at the right depths and the right speed. First I would roll anchovies in purple haze or bloody nose teaser heads 6′ behind your favourite flashers. I like to match my flashers with my teaser heads but I am a bit of a fashion guru when it comes to that. Hootchies, especially in white are still taking springs and the coho luv ‘em! Trolling some plastic keeps gear in the water as the coho especially have been notorious for slamming gear but not hooking up. Hootchies allow you to keep your gear in the water when that happens, and that’s a good thing. Spoons have still been effective too, especially in the 3.5 inch range.
Depths are still shallow. At Beale (and their have been some very big fish hooked there but the Beale Seal has stolen many a tyee lately!) I’ve been trolling at 38′ and 33′. Flemming and the Wall I’ve been running my gear at 27′ and 33′. Down towards Danvers and Poet Nook I run a little bit deeper at 45′ and 50′.
Keep a relatively quick troll at 2.6 to 2.8 even 3 miles per hour speed over ground. Troll with the tide as much as you can as the fish usually have the snouts pointing into the current and are more apt to see your gear coming at them.
Off shore is still a good bet for numbers but big fish are more likely to be in the sound. Big Bank, the Nose, 12 mile are all producing at times, that is if the seas are calm enough to get out. We haven’t been offshore much for salmon but are still having our best season ever with halibut. Captain Tom has been out 4 times in the last week and limited on halis each time including a gorgeous 6′ blue shark he caught and released on Sunday the 28th. 12 miles to 14 miles from Beale on humps that come up to 200 feet have so very productive. Extra large herring and salmon bellies fished on spreader bars will put you on the flat fish.
The long weekend is almost upon us and that means the Port Alberni Salmon Fest starts Saturday the 3rd and runs till 4:00 pm on Labour Day Monday. First prize for largest salmon is 15k with 5k going to daily winners. 2nd and 3rd place daily winners are taking home 2k and 1k. At only $40 per rod entry it’s a fun deal. You never know with each hit if this could be a derby winning fish. Someone is going to be a winner, might as well be you (hopefully me though!)!
We still have some moorage and a few spots for accommodations left this weekend and into early September. Call now and book as you have to get in on the most exciting fishing time of the year. It will all be over way too soon!
Stop and say hi. Coffee is on. The tackle store is stocked with gear and bait and we will be around for the best weekend of the year!
Coach (aka Jonathan) Aussie John and Tom…