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October 2010: Smiles and Chinook!

October is always a bitter sweet month for us guides…we know that our guiding days are numbered for mature returning fish. However, the BEST part is that at this time we’re just about the LAST location on the BC coast enjoying the terminal Chinook fishery! Right here, 5 minutes from downtown Vancouver!  Over the years I’ve fished many places on the British Columbia coast and when it comes to consistent opportunities to find mature Chinook salmon in October, Vancouver is the place! So far this month we’ve been on the water every day and we’ve had a mixed bag of results with lots of rain putting a damper on the fishing in more ways than one. As a result, the Capilano River has been running high and most of the Chinook holding off the mouth of the river are right up at the head of the Capilano estuary ready to head upstream at the next high tide– as are the fresh arrivals. However, we’re finding the bite windows are short and as guides we really have to be on our game as we are averaging an honest 1 to 3 bites per charter.   Almost all of our fish are coming on the bottom or just off the bottom in 80-120 feet of water on Anchovies behind flashers or Whole Herring No Flasher combinations on a HIGH SLACK TIDE. This is ABSOLUTELY imperative for consistent success. On October 5 I decided I’d change things up and go for the finesse approach with a 100% cut bait presentation on all rods and no flashers.  This isn’t a technique commonly used in the Vancouver area  but as my colleagues will tell you, it is DEADLY effective when executed correctly and the most sporting technique in our arsenal.  We boated a couple of nice chinook in the mid teens, lost another, and missed 2 other good Chinook Bites which we failed to convert on—not including the 2 times those sneaky fish stole our bait while we weren’t watching…LOL! Speaking with fellow Captains Eddie, Jeff, Jason and Preston who have this fishery dialed in, they all report the most consistent presentation being a large Anchovy in a teaser head 6 feet behind a glow flasher fished 5 feet off the bottom over the first 6 days this month–when Sally the seal isn’t looking to steal the guests hard fought Chinook. My arch enemy, Mr. Whiskers stole one of my guests fish early last week as well. It isn’t a regular occurence, but it does happen from time to time. Come check out this fun and exciting fishery for yourself!