You may have noticed there was no saltwater report last week. Throughout the winter, I am going to do a report every second week as things just don’t change that much during this time of year.
I would say we are officially in winter chinook season now and the fishing will usually remain decent right up until April when we start to see migratory chinook show up in larger numbers and we move to other productive locations. So, time to bunker down for the winter season, keep an eye on those weather patterns and pick your days.
Speaking of picking your days, we got lucky on Wednesday this week. Tuesday I was supposed to go out but cancelled because of the heavy rains and SE winds gusting to 45 knots. Wednesday was the total opposite. It ended up being flat calm, the rain never showed up, and we even got some sun!
The fish decided to co-operate on Wednesday as well. This was a welcome change, because the last 2 trips out I actually had pretty tough fishing even though others were able to put some decent fish in the box on the same days. In the winter, it often boils down to being in the right place at the right time. With the shorter days, you usually only get one tide change in, so if you are in the wrong place that day, that’s how it goes. When you are in the right place for the tide change, you can get some nice fish, like these ones.
One of the more productive setups on my last trip was a Kingfisher Irish Cream spoon in size 3.0. The spoon was fished “naked”, so no flasher. For added attraction, a dummy flasher was used off the cannonball, in this case an Oki Tackle Salty Dawg. I like to run a 60-inch lead on the dummy flasher, then put my clip on about 2-3 feet above where the flasher is clipped on (clip the flasher on at the cannonball or a few inches above). Then I run the spoon about 6-7 feet off the clip, which is a 60-inch clip because my booms are extended to that length. This length of release clip makes it easier to work with them at the side of the boat when you are setting your gear. Some anglers use a shorter lead to your dummy flasher or shorter release clips, but this system works well for me and with the longer booms. If I was using riggers that had 30-inch or 48-inch booms I would use those lengths for release clip and to the flasher.
The key to success with this rig is keeping that release clip position on the rigger wire or braid, only 2-3 feet up from the dummy flasher. You generally won’t get a tangle on the drop down or when trolling because the drag of the flasher keeps it back and the tension on your rod lifts the release clip a bit as well. You don’t want your spoon too far up and too far back from the dummy flasher. A lot of people get worried about tangles, so they put their clip 5 or 6 feet above the dummy, and in my experience, this just doesn’t seem to be very productive. Your spoon is too far away from the attraction radius of that flasher. I am sure there are fisheries where having your spoon further up and further back can be deadly, but when fishing deep for winter chinook, this hasn’t been my experience. Give this setup a try, because fighting the fish with no flasher is a lot of fun! Stay tuned for some videos on the Pacific Angler YouTube channel on how to set this up.
I also dropped some prawn traps this week. It was pretty solid and very few of them had berries, less than 1%. The ensuing prawn tacos were well received.
See you in the shop or on the water,