The traveling on weekends back and forth from Vancouver to Bamfield has finally ended and I am now settled in at Harbourside for the duration of the summer.
My first crew of the year arrived Friday evening. Rob who lives in South Surrey and his good friend Michael from Kelowna were very eager to get out on Charley Girl and experience all that Barkley Sound has to offer.
Day one, Saturday morning, was a salmon day. Rob has spent time working as a deckhand on a gill netter but never had the opportunity to catch a salmon with rod and reel. Michael was an experienced salmon fisherman but he hadn’t pulled in a halibut before (on the agenda for Sunday). Either way I had a job to do.
Saturday morning was warm but socked in. Thankfully the radar works beautifully on the new boat. We went round the corner at Beale and headed down to Sea Bird Rocks. We fished a glow white hootchy with a glow green flasher at 30 feet on down rigger 1 and ran a black trimmed glow flasher with an irish cream skinny g at 27 feet on the other rigger. Other than some rambunctious black rock fish we came up empty. We changed the gear to different colours and different depths. We couldn’t get bit. My buddy Al from Bakerbuoy Charters sent me a text that there was a good bite going on at Keeha Bay. Now this is Al who I have mentioned before. The best fisherman I know. This is the guy who can pull a spring salmon out of a ditch on a rainy day along the Island Highway. In my mind there is no one better on the water. If he texts and says the bite is on, then go! They were having success jigging off the bottom in 45 to 70 feet of water. The squid spawn is still going on at Keeha and the springs were taking advantage. Off we went full of anticipation. But…a day late and a dollar short. My first trip of the year and we blanked. O for, nada, empty box, zippo. I drove the boat home with my tail firmly between my legs…
Sunday was a hali morning that dawned with splendour and renewed hope. The trip out to the banks was stunning. Clear skies, flat seas. We saw sea otters, humpbacks, sea lions, harbour porpoises, dall’s porpoises. Salmon were finning everywhere feeding on the surface krill. It was just wonderful.
We anchored on a hump on the bank that came up to 200 feet, dropped the hali gear with herring and salmon bellies and the bite was on. At least the dog fish bite…
Omg! I couldn’t get the gear down before the bait was stolen and or we had a dog fish on. I use circle hooks and it did prevent some of the pesky sharks from hooking up and made for easier releases but man I was working my butt off.
After a couple of hours Michael hooked up his first ever hali and we boated a fat 104 cm fish. Not long after that Rob hooked into a beast. The initial run lasted a minute and pulled a couple of hundred feet of line. The battle was on, however I knew it was an oversize fish. No matter Rob was having a blast. After 25 minutes or so we finally got colour. This wasn’t a hali but the largest dog fish I have ever seen. This thing was 6 feet long and two feet thick. I had never seen anything like it. The b
oys thought it was awesome and I didn’t have to release an oversize.
We waited it out another two hours before we got another hit. Before the end of the day Rob managed to boat a hali at 106 cms. We picked up one more to end the day and the three of us came home with some serious white gold. After the day before I let out a long sigh of relief.
Monday morning was my last chance to put Rob on to his first ever spring salmon. We headed over to Keeha and got out the MacDeep jigs. We back trolled with the kicker to keep the lines straight up and down and just off the bottom. In a span of 2 and half hours we got the boys into 5 springs and landed 4. Great day on the water!
I now have 3 days off to spend some time on the water with Makiko. Nothing better then spending some quality time on the water with your loved one!
The season is really just starting and there are some fantastic fishing opportunities here around the Sound.
Aussie John is performing his usual magic at the fuel dock and tackle shop. I swear people stop in here for fuel just because he’s so darn entertaining!. Come check him out folks. Seriously, he’s worth it!
Joe, our other guide is here and ready to run with his boat. Call and book with Aussie John. I’ll have another report out within the next 5 or 6 days.
Coach (aka Jonathan…)