Hello Anglers! It has been a while since our last update. Since our last report Guides Andrew, Eddie and Jason T. have all been on the water doing multiple trips with our guests. We’ve been over to the the Gulf Islands on 2 occasions, fished West Vancouver on multiple occasions and been over the Vancouver Harbour a few times. While the hot action of our last report has since abated….the fishing has remained consistent usually offering 1 to 3 opportunities at nice keeper sized Chinook per trip. While we’ve had a few opportunties at fish, we’ve also had 2 “skunk” trips where we failed to land a keeper size Chinook. While not true “skunks”, they have been very disappointing for our guides as our guides work hard to the get our guests into keeper sized fish. Darn those seals—as we have had the misfortune of having some nasty harbor seals take our guests fish. However, as usual, we have the usual mix of shakers and undersize which keep the downriggers moving up and down.
In addition, the crabbing has been inconsistent so far this month as some of the usual hot spots and waypoints haven’t produced. We’ve found “some spots hot some spots not”. One of the keys for crabbing success is lots of bait…and we usually load up the traps with lots of chicken or salmon trimmings as bait. You can’t have too much bait!
Fishing Tackle…a look ahead into late February, March and April…
Guide Tips of the Week: Some useful nuggets….
I’ve spent thousands of hours fishing Vancouver area waters over the past 30 years and it’s time to offer up some basic information for you. I ran into a few of you at the shop and the Boat show this past week so here are some of the highlights..
Our best lures have to be spoons so far this winter…but now is the time of year when it’s time to change up and move to hoochies, BAIT and other coloured spoons replicating the prominent baitfish. From now on, on my trips, I’ll be running hoochies or bait on my high lines. I’ll keep the small spoons on the basement though. The reason for this is simple…millions if not billions of mature herring are moving into the Strait of Georgia for their annual spring spawn. Migrating herring (Usually 5-8 inches long) typically spawn in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound from late February to mid April—and they’re usually found higher in the water column where larger than keeper sized Chinook into the mid teens are chasing these herring around. Mature Herring are in LARGE schools and when they’re passing through Vancouver waters…..let’s hope the fish are there too… sowith that… 45 to 90 feet depths will produce these fish. Thus, if you’re rigging up for this fishery…replicating the size and colour of the herring will be key at the shallower depths. I fondly remember being on a personal fishing trip with Dad one day when we came across a CARPET of mature herring suspended in open water. We headed over to the bird show and the high rods were the ticket. We boated 3 fish well into the teens in short order. We also lost one substantially larger fish we never saw—and it was definitely well into the 20 pound range. Keep your eyes open when you’re on the water! I cannot stress this enough…chase the birds and bait in open water!
For hoochies: this is the time of year when I bring the Army Truck variations, Green Spackleback, Purple and Green Haze Hoochies, and Black and White Cop Car hoochies out. As with fish suspended in the water column, fish your flashers back further, and tie your hoochie leaders from 30 to 35″. These fish are aggressive and don’t like lazy gear so make sure you’re moving at a brisk speed. I’ve put many large fish in the box with this tactic over the years.
For spoons: 5.0 Cop Car, 6.0 Glow Cop Car, 4″ Coyotes in Blue/Green Half and Half…Purple Haze/Green Haze with Scale Patterned spoons are on the lines. Stay away from the tiny spoons up high! You may wish to forgo the flashers with these…but ensure you are “on the bait”. Bigger fish prefer big bait. BIG spoons catch BIG fish. Match the hatch! Mature herring make these spoons good producers! I fondly remember one day in late March going back to the dock with a 23lb and 24 lb Springs I caught in the middle of the day at 70-90 feet in 400 feet of water. Weapon of choice: Medium Whole Herring! What?! Yes, Medium Whole Herring! I was called a liar and asked where I bought the fish…HAHA!
Flashers: More flash the better…light catches fish!
Knots: Check your knots…give your knots a 5 lb “jerk test” by tugging on the knots in a quick jerk between your two arms. If it holds for this test, chances are it’ll hold for the big fish. Check your leaders too while you’re at it…run your thumb and index finger down your leader to check for frays, knicks and burnished spots. If in doubt, change it out!
Line: Time to respool your reels. If you haven’t respooled your reels in the past one or more years, come down to the shop and get your reels respooled. EVERY year I hear stories of people breaking off large fish early in the season. DOH! Don’t let this be you!
Until next time,