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April in Review and May Looking Forward

April turned out to be an interesting month.  It was so cold it felt more like February or March then April!  All in all there was some good fishing for those who braved the cold.  Earlier in the month we had some good fishing off W. Van, the Freighters and Bell Buoy area, and some good days up Howe Sound.  The fishing wasn’t what I would call consistent but if you put your time in you were rewarded with some good days and some nice size fish for this time of year.  There were some great fish caught in the low to high 20’s and that makes it all worthwhile.  As the month progressed we expected to see some more fish off the QA and S end of Bowen.  I went out for some personal fishing 3 times searching for these fish early, but didn’t have any luck.  These areas didn’t seem to turn on in mid April like they did last year.  It could have been that the fish weren’t there or that it was just really difficult to get out there as we had so many windy days and there wasn’t a lot of fishing effort.  Or it could have been both, either way, we were stuck to W. Van, the freighters, and the Bell Buoy a little more than we normally are for mid April and when we did make it to the QA and S end of Bowen, it was generally slow.  Luckily we were able to get some nice fish in the harbor in the spots previously mentioned and a few fish up Howe Sound when we had 8-10 hr charters.

A nice April Chinook caught on a chartreuse and sliver flasher, 6 foot 25lb test leader, 4.0 Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoon in Green/Glow

In the last week of April things started to turn on a little more as one would expect.  The winds were backing off a little bit more and some boats were able to put some sustained effort out off the S end of Bowen and there were some fish around.  There were also some decent days off Thrasher on the S end of Gabriola and further N at Five Fingers out in front of Nanaimo.  It was good to see the fish starting to show up, albeit it about 2 weeks later than last year.  Then again, nature seems to be about 2-3 weeks behind this year so maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that the fish are 2-3 weeks behind?  You never know, but that is what makes fishing so much fun.  I truly enjoy trying to get in tune with mother nature and test my guiding theories.

Two nice Chinook taken in the last week of April 2011

In May we should see the fishing get stronger off the S end of Bowen and QA area and things will also continue to heat up over on the “other side” at Thrasher.

Off the S end of Bowen or further offshore on the “Hump” you will find most anglers fishing from 90-150 on the riggers and productive lures are spoons in Glow/Green, Cop Car, and Night Rider, usually in the 4.0 size.  I also like to run 2 of the 4 rods with bait, my favorite being an anchovy in a glow teaser head.  Leaders for both these setups are generally 25lb test and 6 feet long.

At Thrasher there are two distinct fisheries.  You can fish offshore in 600-1000 feet of water and hope to troll over a school of fish or you can fish off the structure at Thrasher in 100-250 feet of water.  Both can be very productive.  You have to have some faith on the offshore fishery as you can go through some quiet times before you hit a school of fish.  The good news is when you do hit a school you often get doubles and sometime you can stay on the school most of the day and rack up some impressive numbers.  For the offshore fishery the best depths in the past have been 90-175 on the riggers with most of the fish coming from the 120-175 range but be sure to keep a rod “shallow” in the 90-120 range because some days they are higher up.  Glow/Green and Night Rider spoons work well as do hootchies in glow/green and glow/blue colors.  These same lures work well when you are fishing the structure off Thrasher Rock.  In this area it seems to be “find the bait, find the fish” and the bait is usually close the bottom in 100-200 feet of water.

4 Chinook from Thasher Rock last season. We can't wait to get over there more this year!

If you are interested in booking a charter with us please give us a call at Pacific Angler 604-872-2204 as we still have a few prime time weekend dates available in May.  If you want some advice on what to use and how to rig it up, come on by the shop. We have a huge selection of spoons and hootchies, including stock on the “hot” colors that are often hard to find.  We also have anchovies and herring in a variety of sizes in stock, including the higher quality vacuum packed baits.

See you on the water or in the shop.

Jason Tonelli