30 July 2018

The end of July is here now. It really has been a terrific month of fishing here in Barkley Sound. Going through my log book I can see that July has produced more and larger fish this month than any July in the last 8 years. It hasn’t been shorting ducks in the proverbial barrel but if you are willing to put in the time and fish through tide changes you will likely be rewarded.
July has been my busiest month since I started this business. I’ve been on the water everyday since June 29. I’m tired for sure, not yet tired of it, just physically tired. I have a month to go and then back to the real world in Vancouver. I am such a lucky man to be able to spend my summer days on the water. I meet such wonderful people and see amazing things every single day. I’m very much looking forward to August and the return of our local spring salmon.
I’ve fished last week with Marlee and Melanie from Vancouver along with Marlee’s brother Josh, who made the trip up from San Francisco. We fished a short afternoon at Cree Island on day one. A full day at Seabird in day two and then a third day offshore for halibut. Cree was good in the afternoon as we picked up a nice couple of springs. 55′ on the down rigger fishing bait one side and an Irish Cream Skinny G on the other side. Both setups produced. It was a first salmon ever for Melanie and she played it like a pro!
The next morning we scooted out to Seabird. We hit a lovely 23 pounder first thing at 24′ on the riggers. Josh then boated a teenager not long after. The switch kind of went off after that. The next 5 hours of trolling Skinny Gs was unproductive. We switched up tactics and decided to jig with 70 gram MacDeeps. We put the boat up close to Seabird Rocks in a little trough of 35′ and jigged about 6 feet off the bottom. Marlee hooked a monster spring, almost pulling her over the starboard gunnel, burying her rod in the water right up to the reel. Biggest fish I have seen in 5 years! It ran starboard out about 50 meters and then launched skyward. It then ran across the surface back to the the stern of the boat and out the port side. Another leap high into the salt air and the fish went one way and the jig went another. $#%….or darn it gee! ( perhaps more saltier phrases were actually spoken ). It was a hog! Some you win and some you lose. It was awesome however just having a chance to play.
We did manage another spring after on the jig. It was a lovely 22 pounder.
The next day we were off shore. It was a challenge. After we had laid the anchor and were tight to the hook the seas came up to 2.6 meters. We were having trouble getting around the boat without stumbling. We were fortunate enough to land one 25 lb hali before we had to call it and get out of there. It wasn’t much fun. My crew were good sports about it but I doubt they would want to get out in those seas again anytime soon!
My next trip was with Elizabeth from Vancouver and her brother Ray from Toronto.
We fished Little Beale on the afternoon of day 1 for a couple if hours but to no avail.
The next morning we were off in the deep fog to Seabird. Fishing at 24 and 27′ we dragged Skinny Gs, the Irish Cream and Gold Nugget. We dropped the gear at about 6:00 am. At 11:00 am we still had an empty box. Time to change it up. High slack was at noon so I wasn’t going to move. We got in tight to the rocks to jig with MacDeeps.
Drifting over this little 35′ slot Ray hit a good spring and the fight was on. We were fortunate to get this one into the box, a 27 lb gorgeous spring. What a way to land a salmon. Engine off, drifting in 35′ feet of water pulling jigs at 12 pulls. Can’t get any better.
A south wind started to blow us off our slot. We decided to go back to trolling. In the next two hours after high slack we had 11 springs to the boat and managed to box our limit. Just an amazing afternoon! All the fish were in the 20 lb plus range. We dropped a few that were much larger!
Hali was the target species on day two. I like the humps that come up on the bank 12 miles or so out. We anchored in 205′ and put down spreader bars with salmon bellies and one rig with an extra large herring. It wasn’t on fire but we boated two decent halis. We also had half a dozen hali takes that just didn’t hook up. It gets that way sometimes. We also jigged out the stern while waiting for hali hook ups. We played some lovely wild coho and some small springs. We also boated two small hatchery coho. Very entertaining while waiting for a flatty strike!
After two halibut were in the box we pulled up the gear and headed for Seabird rocks for the tide change bite. High slack was at 2:20. We had the gear in the water at 2:40 pm. Once again dragging Skinny Gs. This time I had Irish Creams on both riggers. The port side rod went off time and time again. We hit 4 springs in our first pass. Then two more in out next pass. All on the same rig at 24 feet. With just two landed I checked the gear to see why the port side was so blatantly outfishing the starboard rig. The only seemingly difference was leader length. The port side rig was about 8 inches longer. I re-rigged a longer leader and dropped it down. Bang! It goes off. After that both sides hit equally including a couple of double headers. A seven foot leader seemed to be the ticket. What a day! We limited out on springs to 27 lbs all in an hour and twenty minutes! Just gotta love this place!
We returned to Seabird the next morning on a half day looking for ling cod. The MacDeeps seem catch all. We played two large springs which we decided to put in the box for the smoker but legal sized lings were not in the cards that morning.
I have the Jason Lee group coming this afternoon and spending the next few days with us. This is their return trip as they were up to visit up last summer for the first time.
The fishing has been awesome but the fog has been very thick. You have to have the right electronics to navigate your way around.
Aussie John has been busy chatting it up on the docks selling ice, tackle and fuel.
Please come by and say hi. We’d be happy to share fishing info and tackle tips.
It’s the Bamfield Fire Department Derby this weekend. It’s a great cause and a great time. We have tickets at the shop. No better place to spend your August long weekend!
Till next time,

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