Fishing Report July 24, 2020

Hi All

Do you ever wish it was 5pm and going home time, or it’s Friday and the weekend, or your summer holidays? Keep doing that on a regular basis and you wind up wishing your life away. I am kind of doing that now I think. I am wishing for July to pass and with the onset of August our local fish will finally show.  And you know I shouldn’t! The fish will arrive soon enough. I get it it’s been a hard slog trying to find some willing springs to play with but in the meantime you just gotta enjoy everything else around you.
For instance, I’ve had days this summer with very few fish in the box but… we had marvelous whale encounters, we’ve seen whole families of sea otters taking up residence in the sound, huge pods of Doll’s porpoises racing across the surface slashing at bait. And the least of it? Bamfield and Barkley Sound in the bright sunshine looking every bit the precious jewels that they are. Yup fishing has been tough but taking stock of this place and the wonderful people I get to share it with is a blessing all unto itself. I am a lucky man and July can just keep dragging on. August will come and so will our fish.
In the meantime, how does one make the best of it until then? Well the good news is we have seen signs of things picking up in the last day or two. My go to spots at this time would be Beale and Cree. Skinny gs on Irish Cream and Bon Chovy have been my best bets but anchovies are starting to be productive as well. Fish are generally in the 40 to 60 foot range although I like running some gear at 35 feet when I run through the reefs at Cree.
Coho seem to be soaring by us offshore and not cruising into the Sound to feed.
When hali fishing on the banks I am seeing plenty of coho. We use buzz bombs and MacDeeps while waiting for hali takes and just have a blast!
Frankly it is easy to see why the coho are staying off shore as the Sound is rather bereft of bait. That is the answer to our fish woes as far as I can see. There is very little bait showing. I’ve seen the most bait at Cree amidst the reefs on the south of Cree Island.
Halibut fishing has been very consistent. I’ve had some crazy good luck fishing Mudrakers while on the anchor. I was out with a crew yesterday and had salmon bellies and extra-large herring on spreader bars on the bottom. Of the four halis we put on board 3 we jigged up on the Mudraker. Give it a try, it might work for you too.
Harbourside is certainly different this year as we bubble our groups and socially distance from each other (I think the springs are socially distancing from us too!). We seem to be making it work though. All of our guests have been very cognizant of the times and are taking care to be safe as possible.
Please contact Aussie John for all moorage, accommodation and chartering enquiries, he’ll get back to you asap. Email:  “john@harboursidelodge.com”

So keep staying safe, be kind and stop wishing for August! We are going to enjoy the heck out of July first ( oh and maybe catch a fish or two in the meantime…)

Coach….

Fishing Report July 18, 2020

Hi All

Well the fishing season here in Barkley Sound has had a bit of a rough start. It had been hard work scratching up the odd spring and coho during the first two weeks of July. I’ve spent a number of 10 – 12 hour days on the water and only managed to bring home a couple of quality fish. That said, the past two days we saw some very respectable fishing across the Sound. Hopefully this is a harbinger of good things to come.
So if you are making your way to Bamfield in the next few days, make sure you have the following tackle in your arsenal.
Irish Cream and Bon Chovy Skinny Gs have been our best go to. Try and change out the hooks,  as I continually have had problems with them opening up on larger fish which can be very frustrating! I have found that Amundsen is making some spoons similar to the skinny g series. They are much better quality both in finish and in their hooks. I am very impressed with them. Bait is still a solid choice. I personally like using the glow blood and bones teaser heads. Glow white hootchies are also a good bet. We are still catching fish stuffed with squid from the local squid spawn.
Then inshore areas we have found most productive have been Austin, Cree, and Mears Bluff. Kirby down to Ohiat has also produced fish. Our most productive depths have been 35 feet in and around the reefs at Cree. 50 to 60 feet when fishing the slot at Austin and 40 to 55 feet while fishing Kirby Point and area. Beale and Whittlestone have given up some fish but both have been spotty.
Off shore is now open for chinook retention. I have not been as of yet but I have heard solid reports from the Rat’s Nose at Big Bank.
Halibut fishing has been very solid although strong offshore winds have hindered some from braving the seas. Extra large herring have been very productive if you are willing to weed through the dog fish. We actually had some good results using a 16 ounce mudraker. We were anchored and had rods down with salmon bellies and put down the jig to add some movement. The jig outfished both the herring and the bellies.
As most folks in B.C. are doing, we are trying to cope with the threat of covid 19 as best we can here at Harbourside Lodge. Yes we are open, albeit in a limited status.
Booking moorage, accommodation and charters is best done through emailing Aussie John at john@harboursidelodge.com. He will get back to you promptly.
While travel worldwide may not be on our foreseeable radar, staying here in beautiful B.C. maybe better than anywhere else in the world right now.
Barkley Sound and Bamfield are jewels situated on the west coast of the Island. What better time to explore your own backyard.
Hope to see you soon.
Take care and stay safe,
Coach…

Fishing Report July 5, 2020

Hi All

Fishing in Barkley Sound has been spotty at best the past week to ten days. I will be the first to admit it’s been a struggle for both springs and coho. As sparse as things have been, the good news is that there are some big fish around, they just have been few and far between.
I fished with Jeff and Scott from the Lower Mainland last week. We fished hard for springs for three days and managed one day offshore before the big blow made it too difficult to get outside.
We fished Austin and Cree as it was blowing hard northwest. It’s nice protected water over at the Broken Group when it blows northwest. We ran our gear at 50′ and 60′ dragging irish cream and bon chovy skinny gs 6′ behind glow green flashers. We weeded through lots of shakers but big solid fish were hard to come by. Our best morning was at Swale. We marked lots of bait and arches but the bite was never really on. We had two great fish to the boat, both 20lbs plus, but could not seal the deal. Frustrating for sure for when you got a decent hit and you couldn’t take advantage you knew it was a long time before the next chance came along.
Offshore hali fishing has been very solid. Both Jeff and Scott went home with some gorgeous B.C. white gold. We took a hali each ranging from 27 to 38 lbs.
I’ve just finished up with guests Michael and Rob. Michael hails from Kelowna and Rob makes his home in Whiterock. Salmon fishing for both continued to be tough for these two as well. We fished hard during a southeasterly blow last Friday. We only had two solid fish on all day. Both took off hard and peeled line but we could not take advantage and we were blanked for the day. We dragged skinny gs again along with glow white hootchies. We fished Kirby for the early morning bite then Little Beale for late morning and the afternoon.
Saturday we headed over to Austin and Cree and finally had some luck. The bon chovy skinny g was the money shot for us. We landed 3 decent springs at between ten and 15 lbs and lost 2 other fish that seemed to be much bigger.
Sunday was our offshore day. Light winds made for a smooth ride out to 12 mile. We anchored up in 210′ of water and put down salmon bellies, salmon heads and an extra large herring. The herring was the ticket as we landed 3 halis. One small chicken and 25lber and beautiful fish at 125 cms that weighed in at 58lbs.
We finished the day fishing for springs at Austin and Cree for the high tide change but came up empty.
So here is the deal. Yes it’s been tough fishing for springs for sure, but we know that can change on single tide. Migratory fish come in waves. Some days they are in thick and others nowhere to be seen. What’s a guy to do? Stick to what we know best.  Small spoons, glowwhite hootchies, and 5 1/4 inch bait (go small at this time of year!), all are effective early in the season. I tend to fish a little bit deeper this time of year. At Kirby and Little Beale I start at 38 – 55′. At Austin and Cree I’ll go 50 – 60′. Fish through the tide changes before you move. Patience and hope go a long way. It will get better I promise. In the meantime, put in your time. Gear out of the water never catches the fish.
As for Harbourside? We are up and running in a limited capacity. We are keeping groups bubbled. Our self contained suites are a great option!
Contact Aussie John at john@harboursidelodge.com for more info.
Until then I’ll stand by and hopefully have a more positive report later this week.
Coach….

Fisheries Notice FN569 23 June 2020

Fishery Notice - Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Subject: FN0569-Commercial, Recreational and Aboriginal - Salmon - Chinook - 2020 Fraser River Chinook Conservation Measures and Coast-wide Recreational Annual Aggregates - Amendment to FN0565

This fishery notice amends FN0565 to include the Recreational - Salmon category. The notice is otherwise unchanged.

This notice provides the Fraser Chinook fisheries management measures for the 2020 fishing season. 

Chinook Conservation Measures:
To address conservation concerns for Fraser River Chinook salmon, DFO is implementing updated fishery measures to support conservation of at risk Chinook. 
Updated management measures for Fraser River Chinook are outlined below.   

Southern BC Recreational Fisheries:

This Fisheries Notice supersedes FN0322. The following measures are now in effect for Area 123
WCVI Subareas 20-1, 20-2, Areas 121, and seaward of a 1 nm Boundary Line (defined below) in Areas 123 to 127:

-Effective immediately to 23:59 hours July 14: Chinook non-retention; 
-00:01 hours July 15 to 23:59 hours July 31:  2 Chinook per day with a  maximum size limit of 80 cm.
-00:01 hours August 1 to 23:59 hours December 31: 2 Chinook per day
Please refer to the relevant Fishery Notices outlining fisheries management measures in place to support the recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales for any 
additional fishing restrictions in the areas listed above.

The Boundary Line is approximately 1nm seaward of the surf line and is defined as follows:

A line that begins at Pachena Point lighthouse at 48 degrees 43.327’ N 125 degrees 05.855’ W
then to 48 degrees 42.456’ N 125 degrees 06.583’ W seaward of Pachena Point,
then to 48 degrees 46.420’ N 125 degrees 13.997’ W seaward of Cape Beale,
then to 48 degrees 54.572’ N 125 degrees 33.622’ W seaward of Amphitrite Point

Chinook daily limits remain at 2 per day shoreward of this Boundary Line, and also in Areas 21 to 27.

Fishing Report June 24,2020

Hi All

As we all are aware, it’s been a very strange start to 2020. First off I hope all of you are well and safe along with all of your families and loved ones. I am happy to report that our Harbourside crew seem to have pulled through the pandemic thus far unscathed and eager to be back on the water.
We are indeed open in a limited capacity. We are set up to handle as many as four separate bubble groups. This means we could have four different groups staying at the lodge at the same time. They would have access to their own cooking facilities, washrooms and sleeping arrangements. None of the groups would need to mix or be in any close contact with each other. We can also handle boats with folks staying on the dock as long as they too have their own cooking, washroom and sleeping facilities. These facilities would all have to be on board.
Social distancing requirements will be expected at all times. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing will be mandatory of all guests. It will be a different Harbourside experience for sure but no reason it shouldn’t be a memorable season despite the Covid-19 setbacks.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of our upcoming summer is that our very own Aussie John will not be joining us in person. Johno will still be very much involved with the lodge. Please direct all of your accommodation and moorage inquiries to him by email (john@harboursidelodge.com). He will be sure to get back to you promptly.
Ok now for the good stuff! What’s been going on with the fishing? Well things are shaping up and Barkley Sound is coming into it’s own. There are fish around and we can certainly help you with some early season tips and forecasts.
Keep in mind three things that are happening in the area right now. The annual solstice squid spawn, the massive balls of immature herring prevalent all over the sound and a plethora of one and two year shakers. So with that in mind?
Small spoons such as wee gees, coyote killers and my personal fav the skinny g, should be absolute go tos! I would also suggest hootchies, glow white and the flash fly variety in glow and uv as very effective. Spoons should be fished six feet behind your fav flasher and hootchies chin to forefinger. Depths can vary. Last weekend we found fish from 35 to 65 feet on the riggers. We fished Kirby Point at 37 and 55 feet and over at Austin and Cree we fished 55 and 65 feet. Mears, Austin and Cree are very reliable this time of year. Make sure you fish the tide change straight through. I find it very tidal reliant over there. Great place to fish comfortably and safely when it blows hard northwest as well!
Little Beale has produced, as has Whittlestone . The squid spawn has been heavy on the southwest side of the Sound.  Don’t forget about the Wall. It may not be as sexy but it can sure produce under the right conditions!
Halibut fishing is prime time right now! This is often the best time of the year to put some white gold in your freezer. Get out to the bank if the sea state allows. Find humps that come up to 190 – 210 and fish in and around them. I am big on anchoring but if you aren’t set up for it, drifting with spreader bars and salmon bellies are a fav way to go for most halibut fisherman. Squid and extra large herring can also be very enticing to flatties.
I have been up to the lodge for two weekends so far this month. I am finishing school this week then will be up for the remainder of the summer as of June 25th. Please feel free to email or phone the lodge should you have any questions regarding our operations or re: up to date fishing info. Happy to oblige.
In the meantime and in between time, let’s go with a Dr. Bonnie Henry quote, be kind, be calm and be safe.
Coach….

April 23 2020 – Fishing 2020 and COVID-19

As all lodges and businesses in Bamfield are doing, we are constantly monitoring the restrictions put in place to cope with Covid-19.

At the present time, non-essential travellers are being asked not to travel to Bamfield and other towns in our area. Until we see what restrictions are lifted or replaced Harbourside Lodge will not be open for business.

As we get closer to June there will no doubt be some changes in travel restrictions and social distancing laws, and we will act accordingly.

If you are looking to make bookings please contact us via email, and we will respond with information and availability, based on our current knowledge and bookings.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Regards,

The Team at Harbourside Lodge

Sept 5, 2019

Hi All

The end of the September long weekend and the conclusion of the Port Alberni Salmon Fest seems to signal the arrival of fall and for many of us that means moving on to other activities. As for me? I am back in Vancouver already immersed in basketball, volleyball and who knows what else when it comes to kids and P.E. classes. It’s great to see everyone at school and I love the enthusiasm of each student as they come through the doors of the school for the first time this year. I am, however, missing being on the water. I find myself checking the Bamfield web cam frequently, it’s cool to see what the weather is up to.
I am back to Harbourside for 4 days next week. This time, however, I am bringing 44 grade 10 students from my school here in Vancouver. We take over the lodge for the week. It’s an amazing opportunity to show these students the beauty and splendour of BC’s wild west coast. For many of these students they will see the west side of the Island for the very first time. There will also be a few that have just arrived in Canada and will never have even been on a BC Ferry.
The students will participate in a variety of activities including hiking, whale watching, and fishing. It’s so much fun for me to be able to share the beauty of Barkley Sound with such an eager group.
Now just a heads up, the lodge will indeed be full next week but Aussie John will still be manning the docks selling fuel (diesel and gas), ice, bait and tackle. So if you are up Bamfield way for a late season run at salmon fishing, by all means call in to Harbourside.
Ok so where are we at fishing wise. My last day on the water was Labour Day Monday. Having chatted with the Harbourside crew since I left it seems things are still fairly status quo. Last weekend was definitely slower than previous weeks. We fished Swale Rock and Harbour Entrance. My go to at this time of year has been Bon Chovy flashers (lime / yellow / greenish) and No Bananas flashers, paired with glow white bloody nose teaser heads. I also fished a herring aid teaser head last weekend, it was productive, as was the Amundsen Herring Aid spoons. I was running my gear at 31 and 34 feet off the downrigger. The bites weren’t rapid fire but they were consistent. We were into 8 to 10 springs each day we were out, landing 4 or more each trip. I didn’t touch a coho last weekend. A few were caught but not in any great numbers. I expect that to change within the next few days. A good solid run of 10 lb plus coho should be showing up any day now. When they do, hang on…They absolutely crush the gear on the initial take. So much fun! Try anchovies and or glow white hootchies. I fish a little deeper for our local coho. 50 to 65 feet on the down rigger is often the magic number. Perhaps one set up at 35 and one at 55 would be wise as to keep you in the spring hunt at the same time.
Fish have been caught consistently at the Wall all the way down to Assits. Brady’s Beach and Aguilar Point have also been quite productive, with some nice springs being caught just outside the Bamfield harbour entrance. Kirby and Flemming should be very good right now but for whatever reason they seem to be slow.
Whittlestone fired up yesterday, so it looks as though we might have another run moving in.
For the more adventurous, I would head over to the southside of the Broken Group and fish Harbour Entrance down to Swale Rock. This seems to be the where the most consistent fishing has been for the last week or so.
Halibut fishing is still worth your while if you can get out on a flat sea. As per usual, salmon bellies and extra large herring fished on spreader bars are the ticket. Get onto the bank and find humps that come up to 200 feet or so. Fish in 205 to 215  feet in and around the humps. Take some MacDeeps and L’iL Nibs with you and fish them off the back of your boat while waiting for the halis to strike. Try 10 to 30 pulls. The coho action off shore can be hot and what a blast to play such an amazing fish on light tackle while the boat is anchored or drifting.
I will have a last report of the season late next week. Don’t quit on it yet folks. It can still be a very good time of year to get into some fabulous fishing.
Until next time,
Coach…

August 29, 2019

Oh boy people! If there was any time one could put themselves in a position to catch a mature spring salmon it would be now in Barkley Sound. It is on folks!

All the usual places are producing, some better than others, but fish are everywhere. Just put in the time with the right gear and depth and you will be rewarded.
Last weekend Harbourside Lodge hosted the Pace Processing Group. Huge thanks to Sean Darrah for putting this together.
I had Bob and is son Michael on board Charley Girl. Bob is a longtime Harbourside regular and Michael was here for his second visit to the lodge. As most of you know I love it when family combinations come up to fish with us. There is nothing better than the bonding time family members have while spending time on the water. Bob and Michael had a very friendly rivalry going as to who was bagging the biggest and most fish. All in fun. I know Bob really wanted to show up Michael with the biggest fish of the weekend but the look of pride and joy in his eyes while watching Michael play a fish was genuine and heartwarming.
We fished mostly at Swale Rock. Tight to the shore at 35 feet on the downriggger was the ticket for us. We trolled anchovies in bloody nose glow teaser heads which were very effective.
We fished some at Whittlestone as well which also was productive. A little shallower for us here at 30 feet on the riggers. We dragged the same gear but glow white hootchies at this time of the year at Whittlestone can be incredibly effective.
At this point in the season these are the following areas I would suggest to produce good results for springs:
Harbour Entrance (over in the Broken Group)
Swale Rock
Kirby Point
Little Beale down to Whittlestone
Brady’s Beach east to the Wall and all the way down to Assits.
There are many other places to fish. These suggestions are just the ones I would got to being in close proximity to Bamfield.
Don’t forget it is the Port Alberni Salmon Fest this upcoming Long Weekend. Tons of prizes and such. Weighins are located both in Port Alberni and Bamfield but to weigh in a derby contestant you must weigh in at Port Aberni. You can get tickets at Gone Fishin in Nanaimo and Port Alberni as well at Breakers Marine in Port Alberni and in Bamfield
Our local coho are just beginning to show up. Hopefully by the weekend they will be here in force. They are usually a bit deeper than our springs. Try depths of 40 to 60 feet. Anchovies and glow white hootchies are the ticket for coho. Brady’s Beach and Sandford are local coho hot spots.
Harbourside Lodge has been very busy of late. Please check with Aussie John as to moorage and room availability.Gas and diesel are in good supply and the tackle store has lots of great gear, shaved salt ice, bait and everything else you need during your fishing trip.
I’ll be spending one last weekend at the lodge and then I am back to being Coach at school in Vancouver. I will be out during the week of September 10 with 44 grade 10 students. Awesome experience but I will tell you more abut that later.
In the mean time, go fish!
Coach…

Aug 19, 2019

Hi All

It’s been 9 days since I caught everyone upon the goings on here in Bamfield, it’s been busy but it’s been great. Fishing is just plain outstanding! Whether it’s coho or big springs, if you are willing to put in the time it will pay off big time. As most of the readers of this blog know I am always willing to share where the hot spots are but in all honesty at this point in the season I don’t think it really matters. It’s going off everywhere. I’ll cover off where I have been fishing but I know there are plenty of other spots I haven’t fished that are also going great.
I fished with the Kuno family last weekend,Jan, Gary and son Chris. This was their first time fishing on the ocean and first experience salmon fishing. It was an awesome experience reliving one’s “first spring” with them. All three family members got into playing some nice springs. Nothing huge but plucky, feisty fish in the teens. We fished Little Beale and Kirby with bait and the new Amundson Salmon Camp spoon between 32 and 39 feet. It was pretty even between
Bryan, Doug and Warren were my next crew in. All Vancouver Boys. They too were experiencing ocean and salmon fishing for the first time. I have now made the switch now to bait on both downriggers. It’s that time of August where I find anchovies produce the most consistent results. the two as far as producing fish.
First day out with the boys we fished Little Beale. It came fast and furious. We fished the Bon Chovy Flasher with bloody nose teaser heads at 30 and 34 feet.  It lit up! The boys had a blast playing springs from the high teens to the mid twenties. We packed up the gear with the intention to do some ling cod fishing but ran into a huge bait ball at Cape Beale being worked by hundreds of birds. We dropped some MacDeeps at 10 pulls and bam! We were into some coho on the jig and Doug hooked up a spring in the mid twenties! Awesome fight and an awesome day!
Halibut fishing has slowed some. Still fish to be had but not as solid as early in the summer. The seas have been lovely and flat this summer for the most part, so spending the day offshore has been amazing. Salmon bellies and extra large herring fished on spreader bars are still the best way to produce halibut. Out on the Big Bank above the Rat’s Nose has been very hot, especially up on the flats. Well worth the trip when the water is good.
We finished out our trip with Bryan, Doug and Warren fishing at Swale and back to little Beale. Both places produced good fish. Swale can be very good in the afternoon.
Back at the lodge we were treated to some amazing live music. All three guys are professional musicians. The haunting and mesmerizing strains of the cello on the back deck overlooking the Bamfield inlet were stunning. What a treat!
Yesterday I fished with Sandy and Jo. Also first timers. Again I cannot tell you how fun it is for me to see folks experience their first spring salmon. Jo boated a lovely 26 pounder for her first spring. She was so excited, dancing and clapping all over the back deck. It was very cool! All the action yesterday was on bait, once again Bon Chovy flashers and bloody nose teaser heads. The morning bite at Kirby was very solid.
The summer seems to be slipping away so quickly. We have been very busy at the lodge and it looks like things are just going to get busier as we approach the end of August and early September. There is still limited space available at the lodge, however, we are running strong at the tackle shop. Bait, tackle, fish ice, drink ice, coffee and snacks are all available along with boat gas and diesel. Aussie John is manning the tackle shop as usual and despite a long busy summer is still up for a good chin wag if you drop by.
I’ll see you either on the docks or perhaps we will cross paths on the water.

Until then…
Coach…

August 9, 2019

Hi All

Fishing in Barkley Sound is fantastic right now.
Hmm…
It seems every blog I write I start with the same thing. That said, I am not sure how I could start it any other way. It really is fantastic. Now it’s important to remember that the fish aren’t launching themselves into your boat with every tack you make. Its good out there for sure but you still have to do the right things, be in the right places, fish the right times etc…, and, if you can choose between being lucky or good? Always choose lucky first.
Ok let’s get you up to date. It’s the morning of August 9, a Friday. I am off in between guests.
August Long Weekend was the annual Bamfield Fireman’s Derby. This is such a great event. Kudos to Gord Hawkins along with all the other volunteers.  Its such a fun event with a great community feel! Put it in your calendar for next year. I have no doubt you’ll love it!
This past weekend I fished with great friends Jaime and Jaz from Victoria. Jaime is a long time fishing buddy and has now passed the bug onto his wife. Jaz is, shall we say, enthusiastic when playing a fish. Very entertaining for sure. It makes for a fun day!. We fished Little Beale last Saturday morning. Trolling an irish cream skinny g and the new Amundson salmon camp spoon. Downriggers were at 34 and 39 feet. We started at Spike Rock west towards the wash rocks and as soon as we snugged into the wash rocks bam – a double header!  It was actually my first double header of the season for springs. Late I know but here it was. After the usual chaos had ensued we managed to boat both springs, not huge but nice healthy fat fish in the teens. We hooked up and lost a couple of more springs that morning before things got quiet. We finished the day at Kirby and limited out on coho. Such beautiful fish, many pushing 10 / 11 lbs.
We fished hali on Sunday and put some good hours on the anchor hook on a gorgeous flat day on the sea. The hali were there for sure as we hooked up with some dandys. As many of you know I fish circle hooks for halibut and this was one of those days that I could not keep fish on. We had some massive takes but only one hooked up. Some days are diamonds folks and some days are stones. If you are going out for halibut the dog fish have seriously thinned. Spreader bars, salmon heads, bellies and extra large herring are the preferred baits of choice. The hali will sit around humps and pinnacles that come up on the bank. I prefer water in depths of 205  to 210 feet.
The past two days I have fished with long time guests Randy and Don. We fished Pachena Point last Tuesday afternoon. The seas were amazingly calm. We were fishing for about half an hour when lodge owner Tom showed up in his grady. He promptly set out his gear and boated two lovely springs trolling irish cream skinny gs at 35 feet. Tom was by himself and was fighting fish on flat seas, in the sunshine surrounded by grey whales blowing all around him. It made for a classic west coast moment. As for us? We laid an egg and blanked. It happens sometimes.
Joe (a great guide and friend at Harbourside) had fished Swale Rock that day and suggested we head over there, as the fishing had been really good there. The next day we headed to Swale Rock.
He also set me up with an agitator rig. He has been fishing with these for many years, and told me they would work really well at attracting fish.
The agitator rig attaches to the ring on the fin of the cannon ball and really works well attracting fish. We fished at Swale early from 6 am to 9 am. Fish were being caught around us but we were coming up empty. I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my touch. I then ran one downrigger ball with an agitator and one without. The side with the agitator outfished the other side completely.
We trolled anchovies at 40 feet and the Amundson spoon at 47. We immediately began to hit fish. Both coho and springs. Our springs seemed to hit the spoons and the coho preferred the bait. We finished the day with 6 coho and 4 springs. I have run the agitator each time since that day and the results are amazing.  Joe has made several sets and they are selling in the Harbourside store.
We returned to the scene of the crime the next morning for a half day. Once again we trolled the Amundson spoon at 45 feet and anchovies at 39 and our  It was an epic morning. The boys limited out on their spring quota and I took 2 for myself ( I don’t get much time to put fish in my freezer so this was bonus!). We limited out on coho as well, including releasing an absolute beauty that was pushing 15 lbs. What a fish!
So what’s the bottom line out Bamfield way? Our local fish are making a push. Bait (anchovies) is working but spoons are still very effective. I am finding fish still a bit deeper than I usually fish but I think that will change in the next week or so. Fish are to be had between 40 and 50 feet but by mid August I wouldn’t be surprised if I am running depths of 30 to 35 feet.
Joe has also finished a lot of good charters recently, and had great results. After fishing Barkley Sound for more than 30 years he has a wealth of experience that he puts to good use. He had Bob & Jay out for 2 days, and they took their limits home. Bob has fished this area for 20 years and it was the first time for Jay in Barkley Sound. He had an amazing time and will be back with a group next year. Janet and Ernie, very old friends of Joe’s came next, and it was their first time fishing on the west coast. Once again Joe found the spots and came back with all the limits. Janet and Ernie flew back to Toronto extremely happy.
We are now into prime time and it is becoming very busy. Our fuel dock and tackle store are always busy with folks gearing up for long days on the water. We have lots of bait, fuel and tackle. When I am not on the water I am getting a chance to meet and talk with many of you. We are getting lots of positive feedback from the fish blogs and we very much appreciate folks stopping in to say hi and comment on them. We are glad folks are reading them!
Aussie John has been his entertaining self on the docks. Tom is still over the moon over his two fish the other day after I blanked (it might be a while before I live that one down!) . Call 1-250-728-3330 for all of your fishing needs.
I’ll hope to see you all out on the water or down at the docks.
Till then…
Coach