Fishing in Barkley Sound is superb right now! The coho have literally infested our local waters and have made for some ridiculous fishing. If there is any drawback whatsoever it’s almost annoying trying to get through them all to latch on to a spring. I personally have never seen this many coho this early in the season. By the time late August / early September rolls around there will a lot of fat feisty heavy fish that will truly make this season memorable. It seems Mother Nature is still willing to try and right this ship we have so poorly navigated over the years. I hope we don’t screw this up too!
I finished up last week with the Underhill Boys, John, Jim, Dave and Gilbert. What a blast this crew is! It is our 7th year together and each time out just seems to get better.
The boys arrived last Friday and we spent a few hours in an afternoon troll over at Austin and Cree. Trolling Irish cream Skinny Gs at 50 feet we managed a lovely 17lb on the outside of Cree. We dropped another smaller spring just after and returned to the dock with the spring and a couple of coho.
Saturday was a designated hali day and off we went to the banks and our hali spot. We dropped spreader bars with salmon bellies and heads. The heads were a good idea as they kept the dogfish at bay some, however, it did not deter them all and I was kept very busy unhooking doggie after doggie. My work paid off as one of our hali rods bent low to the water and screamed line. John was into a good fish and the battle was on. Twenty minutes later a gorgeous oversized hali made an appearance and we snapped a few pics and sent her off back to the deep. This was just a harbinger of more to come. Over the course of the day we released 6 oversize halis. Each one significantly over the 126 cm size limit. Dave had the catch of the day as he reeled up a monster that we estimated to be well over a 150 lbs. It is so very exciting to see so many larger fish around. Just maybe the size restriction is working and DFO got it right this time. I certainly have seen the size of halibut in our neck of the woods increase each year over the last 5 years or so. It’s very encouraging for sure.
At the end of the day each of the crew played and released one or more oversized beasts and we did manage to put four lovely fish in the box for the boys to come home with. Jim also had the pleasure of wresting with the largest dogfish i have ever seen at well over six feet. I have tried to research to see if this was indeed a dogfish or some other shark species but I cannot come up with anything conclusive. Enlighten me people if you have more knowledge. My boat has pulled up three sharks this season at well over six feet. I’d love to know if they are the same species or not.
We finished the trip with the Underhill crew over at Austin and Cree on beautiful flat water on a morning that was nothing short of spectacular. We trolled a number of different set ups including anchovies, hootchies and an assortment of spoons. Nothing came close to performing as well as the Irish Cream skinny g. Put it in your tackle box people. It is very effective here in Barkley Sound. That said, replace the hook after opening the package. If you don’t, they will bend. Replace it with an open eye siwash Mustad or Gammakatsu. We have them in the store. Trust me you will be glad you did. I learned the hard way and it cost me some very big fish for guests.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I fished with dear friends Jamie and Jaz from Victoria.
We did one hali day on Tuesday and spent an amazing day on the water on the bank. It was sunny and flat. We got two nice 20 lb flatties and missed out on a couple of much larger fish but all in all the day was much slower than previous hali trips.
Wednesday morning it blew hard southeast and the rain came down in torrents. Of course we went fishing! We decided to not venture far from the confines of Bamfield and we fished the Wall, harbour mouth and Scott’s Bay. It turned out to be a wise move, not just due to the weather and bumpy seas but the fishing was spectacular. Coho after coho. We fished a bit deeper than I normally do. The magic depth turned out to be 50 to 54 feet. Again we tried the whole tackle box but it came down to the irish cream skinny g. Jamie and Jaz boated to nice springs each. All four were hooked up just outside the Bamfield Harbour mouth. They were not big fish but each one was very spirited and took wonderful long runs and jumps. The four averaged about 17 lbs. I am still amazed at the amount of coho though. We released what seemed to be dozens. I fish with 40lb flourocarbon leaders and they work so well for releasing fish. I can grab the leader and bring the fish to the boat without ever taking it out of the water. A quick flick with the gaff or a pair of pliers and the fish swims off, annoyed perhaps but otherwise unharmed.
Congratulations go out to our good friend Brian Yamamoto. Brian latched onto his first ever Tyee this week at 32 lbs. He also used a Skinny G in irish cream at 54 feet. Brian is an avid fisherman and was overdue for his first Tyee.
Things are heating up at the lodge now. More boats mooring down below and more fish at the cleaning tables. Please call Aussie John at the lodge soon (1-250-728-3330) if you are looking to spend some time with us here at Harbourside. Joe has some openings for guided trips. Joe is as good a salmon fisherman as there is. Book him soon if your are looking to tangle with some big chinook. You can call Aussie John at the lodge to book Joe.
There maybe some open spots for lodging yet but get on it soon people as they will get booked up as we approach August. Otherwise the store is full of tackle and snacks and of course we have fuel, both
I have a day off today. The sun is shining and Bamfield is looking her best. You know? I think I am going to go fishing….
Till next time,
Coach…. (aka Jonathan)