July 9, 2019

Hi All

We have now completed a full week and a bit of fishing Barkley Sound and it feels like we are getting a better picture of all that’s happening fishwise throughout the area.
I just finished up with Brendan, Paul, Liam and Patrick. Had a great time with these four guys. Lots of fun on the water and in the evening at the dinner table.
The Boys arrived on Thursday afternoon so after settling in and getting their gear stowed  we set off for an afternoon / evening fish. We went round the corner of Beale to Keeha Bay. Here we got out the MacDeep jigs and buzz bombs and jigged the bottom for springs feeding on spawning Opal squid. It was calm, partly sunny and just gorgeous on the water. After tangling with the odd flounder and rock fish Brendan hooked into a feisty 10 lb spring. With one in the box the pressure was off and on we went. Things slowed down some so we decided to see if we could cover some water by trolling. I rigged up a white flasher with a large glow white squid imitation (Aussie John has them in store!). We hooked up two larger springs and lost two others. The Boys were fading as it had been a long travel day and we headed back to Harbourside for some steaks on the grill.
Friday morning we returned to Keeha and picked up two nice springs on the same rig within the first hour. After that the bite went off. We pulled up the gear and headed over to my favourite haunt, Seabird Rocks. We decided to try and find some lings for the Boys and I was hoping to see some salmon arches on the sounder. Seabird should be happening now but things are different this year and it really looks very quiet. The current (very big tides right now) was very strong and we found it difficult holding the boat tight to structure where the lings hang out. At one point while drifting through the kelp I was jigging a 6 inch green and white needle fish Magic Lure when I felt a solid thump. Thinking I had hooked a good size ling cod I set the hook hard and called Brendan over to take the rod. All of a sudden the line went horizontal and the reel started screaming. The fish then braked hard and came flying to the boat. At the stern the water broke and over three feet of silver arched toward the sky and then bolted towards Pachena Point. The biggest spring salmon I had seen this year was putting on a show. In passing the rod to Brendan one of us must have knocked back the drag and all of a sudden we were in free spool. The fish was running hard and we backlashed the reel big time. I tried to reel over top of the backlash in an attempt to save the fish but alas the slack line was enough for the big brute to spit the hook. Ahh… the ones that get away always become great stories, but damn… I wanted that one…
That was really the only action we head at Seabird. We pulled up the gear and tested the waters at Little Beale (just inside Cape Beale).We fished here for 45 minutes and things did not look fishy here at all. Time for one more move, across Imperial Eagle Channel to Austin and Cree Islands.
I love this trolling tack. I put the gear at 50 and 60 feet, trolling a Bon Chovy and an Irish Creme skinny g. Very close to Austin Islets is a channel between two reefs. Bait fish collect in there pushed by the tidal action of either a flood or ebbing tide. Stay patient and fish through the tide change and more often than not the bite will come on. As if by clockwork that’s exactly what happened. It started with a double header right off of the last rock section of Austin. Every time we trolled by this rock and, only trolling the same direction as the incoming tide, we hooked up to a nice spring. The next hour went fast and furious as we ended the day with some quality fish.
Day three was a hali day and off we went to some humps rising on the bank to about 200 feet. I anchored in 205 feet and rigged up salmon bellies and heads on spreader bars. The dog fish have been thick lately and you have to wade through dozens it seems before a hali will hit. I know dog fish are a pain but please release them with care. I realise some fisherman are happy to rip hooks out their mouths and even slit their throats but we must understand that dog fish also have a place within the marine ecosystem. They are to be treated with as much respect as we treat releasing a wild salmon. We are, after all, guardians and custodians of this amazing resource and we must do our all to take care of all of it. Ok I am now down off of my high horse… back to fishing.
I am now strictly using circle hooks only. I keep the drag on my reels very loose so a striking hali can easily peel line. Once it stops its initial run just tighten down the drag and reel gently. When you feel head shakes and weight keep reeling and you’ll be hooked up. The circle hook is usually tight to the corner of the mouth and likely won’t come loose.
We hooked up and landed 4 halis at 125 cm, 123 cm, 105 cm and a 102 cm. A very productive day for sure!
The boys left back to Vancouver with a good haul on Sunday morning. I had Sunday off and and now await my next guests, Curtis and Reza who are spending the next 4 days with me.
I will update my blog Friday morning of the 12th.
As for a synopsis of the fishing here in the Sound? It’s spotty at best. Some of the local tacks tend to go off occasionally but it seems there is no rhyme or reason. You just have to have gear in the water at the right time. The most consistent fishery seems to be Keeha and or Effingham, Austin and Cree. Skinny gs and glowhite hootchies would be your best bets at this time of the year. At Keeha fish them just off the bottom. at Ausin and Cree I fish skinny gs at 50 and 60 feet. Make sure your gear is in the water an hour before and after tide change. If you need to move make it after tide change.
In the mean time please stop by Harbourside and check in with Aussie John, me or Joe.
We are well stocked with fuel (gas and diesel), tackle, bait, drink ice, and shaved salt ice. We are also an IAP so we can issue online fishing licences.
Harbourside also has accommodation and moorage and we have some availability, so ring us on 250 728 3330 or email requests@harboursidelodge.com.
In the mean time and in between time, we will see you soon…
Coach (aka Jonathan)