Fishing in Barkley Sound is fantastic right now.
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.