Fishing Reports 2021

Fishing Report, August 26 2021

Hi All

I am so lucky! I have the best guests ever. All my crews who come up to Harbourisde to spend a few days with me are absolutely stellar! From the end of June to the beginning of September I am blessed and so fortunate to be able to spend time with them in a place that I love so very much…
Ok, I know, this is starting to sound like a bit of an emotional rant but here is the thing. Some of my crews patiently put up with my incessant nattering while waiting all day for 3, maybe 4 quality fish. Some days maybe even less. What I am trying to say is that I really wish all of you could experience Bamfield now. Like right now! Because people, the fishing is over the top good as I write this. Not good but great, not even great but phenomenal, not just phenomenal but… ok you get the picture…
As many of you know I often have 4 guests on the boat at one time. That’s 8 springs I am after.
Step 1 is let’s get a fish on board. Step 2 is let’s get a fish for each guest (I am often happy when I accomplish that). Step 2 is can we possibly limit out? The past few days we are limiting out 8 springs before noon. Three days ago I had 8 springs in the box by 8:45 am. That’s crazy!
And it’s so much fun!
Ok then here’s the skinny. Get on a boat, get your gear in the water and fish! It’s almost that easy. The best and most consistent fishing seems to be on the north side of the Deer Group, (Kirby, Flemming, Robbers Pass) and on the south side of the Broken Group (Harbour Entrance, Gibraltar, Swale Rock). That all said, the Wall all the way down to Danvers and Assits has also been lights out. Some folks are still catching fish on spoons such as skinny gs, and glow white hootchies but the best producer has been anchovies trolled 6′ to 7′ behind your fav flasher. Bloody nose chrome teaser heads have been my best go to. If fishing the Broken Group ( I love Swale !) I am trolling 38′ to 42′ on the down riggers. I like to go shallower at Robbers Pass at 30′ (the early morning bite at Robbers has been super productive). 42′ has been solid at Kirby, Sandford and Flemming.
Offshore is a mixed bag right now. The coho are thick and there are springs down deep if you can get your gear down to them. Spoons, hootchies or plugs are all working well. We’ve had a blast jigging MacDeeps for coho while on the anchor for hali. 15 to 30 pulls on your salmon rods will suffice. Set the hook hard and reel fast as the coho can spit lead very quickly.
Speaking of hali things have slowed down some. There are still flatties to be caught but it’s a bit hit or miss at the moment. I was on the hook for 6 hours two days ago and managed 5 hook ups landing 3 halis. There were a couple of boats around me that went zippo on halibut. Is it worth the effort then? For sure, we hooked up 40 or more coho on the jig while waiting for the hali bite. It was so much fun! Get on the bank, find a hump that comes up to 200′ or so and anchor or drift bellies / extra large herring on spreader bars. We had guests of the lodge land a 131 cm hali that weighed over 60 lbs yesterday out at Big Bank. Put in the time and you may be rewarded but dang it’s hard to leave the Sound and go offshore when the fishing is so good inside!
I have one more group of guests here this weekend through Monday and then I have to get back to Vancouver to start school. I’ll be back up for the September Long Weekend and then that’s a wrap for me. It’s been a blast as it always has each year.
Talk soon,
In the meantime and inbetween time…
Coach aka Jonathan…

Fishing Report, August 18 2021

Hi All

Did you ever have one of those days when it seems everything you do you’re just one step behind? Sort of like the old ” a day late and a dollar short”. Last week I was living that whole scenario almost ” ground hog day” like.
I’d started with a crew at Little Beale. Things were dead there for the early morning bite but I wanted to stick it out for the tide change. Nada, zippo, lots of zeros  on the score sheet. I get word that the bite is on at Swale. We pull up and head north to Swale. We see at least 5 boats with fish on. We drop the gear and bingo, a huge take and a pin popper. Fish doesn’t stick. Ok that’s fine, at least we are in the money now.. Here we go! And then? Nothing. The bite ends and all is quiet on the western front. We pound it at Swale and manage 2 teens over the next 4 hours. Late in the day we get a soft take. Thinking we have a shaker I violently yank the rod off the rigger and reel hard and as to shake it off. I pass the rod to tend to the rigger and then all hell breaks loose as line goes peeling out and apparently we are on to a decent fish. The decent fish gets to the boat and I go “oh my” as I  stare down at an absolute hog head thrashing below the boat. I scoop into the net before it’s next run and just like that we have a tyee on board. 11 hours of fishing and I boat 2 lovely fish and a 30 plus. Not exactly a bust but darn that was a lot of work.
Next morning I head back to Swale thinking I’ll be there for the morning bite. Again… nothing, zippo, nada! Sure enough I get word it’s going off at Kirby. I pull up the gear and head over. Drop the gear and wham! we get hit, but it doesn’t stick. Once again I am thinking ok, here we go! We troll Kirby for the next 4 hours and we wind up dry. No hits, no takes, no fish…The bite is over and we missed it. Luckily Little Beale has an afternoon bite and we manage 4 springs to the box to sort of save the day.
Is there a moral to be learned here? A lesson perhaps? Not really sure. It happens to everyone at some time. Monday I fished from 6 am to 2 pm without a fish in the box. at about 2:30 pm we got into a solid afternoon bite and boxed 4 gorgeous springs to 25 lbs. Saved the day yet again.
Perseverance pays off. Keep your gear in the water, especially through the tides. If you are dragging the right gear at the right depth in the right spots, it will pay off.
So let’s talk about the whats, the wheres and the whens to fishing Barkley Sound in mid August.
Fishing is actually outstanding here right now. There are lots of fish and lots of places to find them. Good to try spots lately would be Sandford, Kirby, Flemming, Swale. Yesterday right out front of the harbour turned on. The Wall all the way down to Danvers produced. And yes I think Little Beale is still a good go. Anchovies are lighting it up. Fish them at least 6′ behind your fav flasher. 35′ to 45′ on the riggers. Beale, Kirby, and Swale it seems that 40′ to 44′ on the riggers have been the money depths. I’d suggest a little shallower at Flemming, 30′ to 35′ would likely work best there.
Offshore has seem limited days as north westerlies continue to blow making to very difficult to get outside. When you can get out the salmon fishing has been very good. 7 mile to 12 mile has seen consistent action for springs and coho. 90′ to 140′ on the downriggers has been best. No need to fish bait here. Try glow white hootchies, spoons or plugs. Fishing at Big Bank and the Rat’s Nose has been very good for springs, coho and halis.
Hali fishing is still spectacular. Smaller fish this year though, but being able to take two under 90 cms makes it very worthwhile. Salmon bellies are a must if you are anchored or drifting. That said, we have been jigging one of Lighthouse’s paddle tail jigs while anchored and it’s just been hammering the halis! As per usual, find the humps and fish in and around them, 210 to 220 feet of water seems to work best for us.
This is prime time here in Bamfield. You’ll regret not being here! Grab some anchovies and make it happen.
And please…stop by Harbourside and say hi. I am quite easily persuaded to talk a little fishing when encountered!
In the meantime and in between time…
Coach, aka Jonathan….

Fishing Report, Aug 5 2021

Stop whatever it is you’re doing. Get out of the office as fast as you can! Load up the boat or call your best friend who has a boat and get your butt to Bamfield. It’s on! The fish have shown up and they are in a right foul mood, that is if you happen to be lucky enough to annoy them with a single barbless hook in the lip!

Just in time too! It was tough slugging during the last week of July. North westerlies kept most of us inshore and the Sound was pretty dry. Things started to show promise during the Long Weekend and the Bamfield Fireman’s Derby. Fish were around but it was an all day kind of thing to have 3 or 4 hits and hopefully a couple of decent fish in the box. Harbourside was well represented at the Derby. Dave Lucas weighed in a 24.5 lber which held up for 3rd place. Dave’s Dad, our very own Captain Tom hit a walk off homer with a 26.5 lber weighed in with less than an hour on the derby clock. Tom’s fish held the leader board for 1st place!
My last crew, Rob from South Surrey and Michael from Kelowna managed some great fish during their 3 day stay including Michael’s first ever Tyee at 32 lbs. Rob boated 25 and 26 lb beauties, add some 20s and a couple of teenagers and they went home very happy.
So now that you have rushed out of the house, started the car and are in a mad dash to get here, lets talk about where you should fish and what to drag once you arrive.
Here’s the deal… Bait is usually the right call in August as our locals arrive and I have been ready dragging chovies in teaser heads as I should be. I have, however, kept a skinny g on one side of the boat as well. I have caught a few on bait but the skinny g has out fished the bait by far. I’ve had the best success using the Bon Chovy skinny g. Irish Cream should be effective as would No Bananas but for some reason the Bon Chovy really lit it up for me.
As for where and how deep? Little Beale has been solid but the water can be bumpy with a heavy north westerly and an outgoing tide. Depths on the rigger should range form 30′ to 40′. 37′ and 40′ has been best for me.
Kirby has been a tough go as there are so many shakers to get through. Whittlestone has been hit or miss but lights up when it’s on. Scott’s Bay, Brady’s Beach and the Wall can all have their moments. Austin and Cree have also been a tough go as to the crazy amount of shakers one has to get through but if you can wade through them there are decent fish to be found. Gibralta and Swale are beginning to turn on and it’s a great safe troll over there when it blow northwest.
So… Bring bait and you should be good but don’t put the spoons away just yet. Try bait on one side and a spoon on the other. Pick a winner and go from there.
Hali fishing is still fantastic if you get out. 7 mile out to 12 mile and then the rat’s Nose at Big Bank have all produced great fish. Find the humps that come up to 200′ and fish around them. Spreader bars and salmon bellies have been money.
If you are in the vicinity of Harbourside please stop in and say hi. I’d be happy to indulge in some fishin’ chat!
In the mean time and in between time, see you on the water…
Coach… aka Jonathan.

Fishing Report, July 27 2021

It’s 5:15 am and I’m sitting at the dining room table here at Harbourside Lodge. It’s a very rare day off the water. I can sleep in! But here I am, coffee is brewing, it’s so foggy outside that even the birdlife are having second thoughts about moving too much. I can sleep in! but no….My internal fishing alarm clock is beeping like crazy. I gotta get up. The water beckons…

So here I am catching up on my reports, of which I am late once again. Let’s get at it then.
Fishing in the Sound was getting better by the day, until about three days ago, then someone turned off the switch. I mean lights out, it’s bed time. Off shore? not so much but inshore just died. The past three days Bamfield has seen some very large tides for this time of year. I am assuming the large volume of water moving back and forth the Sound has really put the fish down. Before the full moon and crazy tides I was having great success at Little
Friday we fished Beale. Trolling Bon Chovy Skinny Gs and a glow green white Amundsen Slim Shiver Fish Cop was the ticket. We trolled at 37′ and 40′ on the riggers. Last week with the “Tom Cairns” group we picked up our first tyee of the season just off the wash rock at Little Beale. Awesome fish for a great bunch of guys. Thursday and Friday I had Dana and Wayne all the way from Regina. We went off shore on Thursday for a hali trip. We managed three halis, one over and two under along with a giant octopus and two skates, all the while being circled by three very hungry looking blue sharks. If you have never seen one they are just beautiful animals, gorgeous blue colours… Beale with four of us. We limited out on springs to 22 lbs and a bonus 5 hatchery coho. Once again 37′ and 40′ in a tight to the rocks tack along Little Beale
Last Saturday saw the big tides come in and just like that switch turned off. If the seas allow offshore at 7 mile has been very productive for springs, coho and halis. Troll deep for springs, 140′ – 180′. Spoons, glow white hootchies and bait will all work. Bait can be problematic i the coho are thick. Too much work. Spoons or hootchies would be a better alternative.
Hali fishing is still very productive. Salmon bellies and heads and extra large herring have been straight up money.
Again, as I always, say, get on the bank and find humps that come up to 200′ feet or so. Fish around the hump not necessarily on it. 205′ – 215′ feet of water is perfect. Anchoring is always the best way to go if you have the system. Don’t try your windlass, it can be very dangerous as you are liable to take a wave over your bow.
The long weekend is coming up and the Bamfield Fireman’s Derby is all set to go. Gordy form Breaker’s Marine runs the best derby going! Tons of prizes and giveaways. I’m gonna win the derby with the biggest fish ( I am due!) but there are great cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd. Get your tickets at Breaker’s here in Bamfield.
In the meantime and in between time, full boxes to all of you…
Coach (aka Jonathan)

Fishing Report, July 17 2021

Hi All

Ok I know, I get it… I’ve been somewhat derelict in my fishing report duties. Alright then. More than derelict. Downright absent. Let’s just say it’s been a strange start to the year.
Anyway I am back so let us get after it.
Trying to describe early season fishing in Barkley Sound is as challenging as the fishing itself.
Up to July 15th those wanting to catch and retain a mature chinook salmon have had to play the waters inside of the Sound. Fishing the rocks and reefs inside the surfline has been legal but chinook retention offshore has been closed. So that means working all our local spots and hoping for migrating chinook (mostly American hatchery fish) to come into the Sound and feed. They will do this providing the feed is sufficient for them. So then… that’s the ticket. Keep checking the sounder and looking for bait balls. If you find them? work them hard as sooner or later the bite will come on. The problem is finding the bait. We’ve had success at Sandford, Swale, Austin and Cree. Depths can vary depending on where you are. At Sandford I fish 37′ to 50′ on the rigger. Austin and Cree I tend to go a little deeper to 55′ and 65′. We caught a few good fish at Swale last week fishing at 80′ which for me is like submarine depth deep! Flemming and Beale I’m dropping gear to 33′ and 43′.
At this point in the season you cannot go wrong with Irish Cream or Bon Chovy Skinny Gs 6 ‘ behind a glow green flasher.
We have also had success with Skinny Gs in purple, gold and silver. That said my go to is either the Irish Cream or Bon Chovy. Glow white hootchies are always a safe bet. Anchovies are working but there are so many feeder springs and pinks in the sound that bait is too expensive and way too much work.
I haven’t fished Fleming hard but I have heard that it has been productive. One of my favourite tacks is Little Beale and it has produced the odd fish but hasn’t really turned on yet. Keeha Bay and Keeha Beach hasn’t been as hot as previous years during the squid spawn but I’ve put some hours in there and been rewarded each time with a couple of good fish.
The really good news is that there are lots of coho around. Austin, Swale, Sandford and Fleming have been good for coho. Kirby hasn’t really turned on yet as there are so many shakers there it’s tough to fish.
Hali fishing is as per usual, lights out. That is if you can anchor up near any humps showing on the bank. That is the ticket for sure. Salmon bellies and heads have been money for me.
As for the lodge and such, things are definitely quieter it seems and certainly not as entertaining without Aussie John around. We are very much hoping 2022 will bring us back to pre-covid normal. Just isn’t the same here without him.
So I promise to maintain some fish updates as the summer wears on. If you are in the Bamfield area and are looking for fishing intel please, by all means stop by the lodge and ask for myself, Joe or Captain Tom.
In the meantime and in between time keep your gear wet, there ain’t no fish where it’s dry…
Coach aka Jonathan…
On a sad side note, my handle on the water is Charleygirl. Charleygirl is a golden retriever and has been my beloved companion on the water for the past 17 years. There has never been a better fishing partner and friend. If you chartered with me then you are well acquainted with her. I had to say goodbye to her this past week. As inevitable as it was, it still hit me hard. I am so glad I am here in my favourite place, as it was hers. It’s a good place for happy memories and to heal.
Here’s to you Charleygirl…